Eric Karabell ranks players for their value the rest of the 2022 season by position every week until the fantasy football trade deadline (noon ET Nov. 30, 2022). Use the information to propose or assess trades and to optimize the players on your bench for their future potential.
Rankings, rankings and more rankings! Studies show fantasy football managers love their rankings, from preseason to in-season to every part of a season, and that is why we provide end-of-season rankings as soon as Week 1 ends! What's amazing about the NFL is that so many things have changed in a week and since preseason drafts (and by the way, you can still draft your teams and start fresh for Week 2!). Yep, myriad changes here, some due to injury, some based on performance and other factors.
Regardless, here we go with the very first "end-of-season" rankings for the 2022 season. Buckle up. It's going to be a long and fun ride this season!
Rankings changes: Dallas Cowboys star Dak Prescott suffered the most important injury at this position the first week, and he needs thumb surgery. Prescott moves from fantasy starter to considerably outside the top 100, but he might not miss as much time as originally feared. Keep him rostered, of course, and don't all rush out to acquire his replacement, Cooper Rush. Injuries happen, and when they happen to quarterbacks, it can affect other players, too.
We preach patience here, so don't expect wild rankings changes based on one performance. Others moving around, even if ever so slightly, based on one game, include Jalen Hurts, Carson Wentz and Marcus Mariota in the positive direction, while Trey Lance, Trevor Lawrence and several rookies go in the other direction. Still, you drafted these fellows for good reason, so give it more time.
Trade for: Green Bay Packers starter Aaron Rodgers, for starters. Remember how he started the 2021 season, with a seemingly humiliating 38-3 loss at New Orleans in which he threw for 133 yards and two interceptions? He lost only two more regular-season games and ended up a top-5 fantasy quarterback, throwing for 37 touchdowns against four interceptions. Don't worry. You say Rodgers has nobody to throw to and we say, he'll find someone. And Tom Brady is still, still, still not too old. He just didn't need to throw so much on Sunday night at Dallas.
Be cautious trading for: Do not trade for Prescott as if he will be a top-10 fantasy quarterback upon return. Too many things can happen. Could be four weeks, could be eight. And if you desire to trade for Washington's Wentz after his four-touchdown performance against the Jaguars, good luck with that. We have so much evidence how that's a bad idea, from past injury to performance. Be careful with San Francisco's Lance, too. The franchise claims it's not close to returning to Jimmy Garoppolo, and perhaps the 49ers mean it, but they aren't like the Jaguars with Lawrence. San Francisco can be only so patient.
Rankings changes: Well, perhaps we did underrate New York Giants star Saquon Barkley a bit. It's one game, but certainly one marvelous performance, and he must rise in the rankings. No running back scored more PPR points. There is plenty of ranking movement for the many teams that adjusted the suspected workloads for their running back tandems, including those with the Packers, Jaguars, Rams, Jets and others.
Again, it hardly means that if one invested in the Packers star Aaron Jones they should move on. Do not do that, even though AJ Dillon looked like the top option. James Robinson, Kareem Hunt and Cordarrelle Patterson are among those moving on up, while it was the opposite for Cam Akers, Breece Hall and injured 49er Elijah Mitchell, who drops all the way out of the top 60 running backs with a knee injury. Jeff Wilson Jr. and Tyrion Davis-Price move way up.
Trade for: Things are tricky at running back. Barkley's value might have risen so precipitously that he costs the equivalent of a top-5 running back. Trading for him under those circumstances seems unwise. With Robinson, if his value is of a borderline RB2, then trade for him. He and Travis Etienne Jr. can coexist. Trade for Etienne, too. Doug Pederson will figure this situation out. It could be like Cleveland with Nick Chubb and Hunt. They're both quite valuable.
Be cautious trading for: Some might wonder why Panthers' star Christian McCaffrey isn't mentioned in the "trade for" section. We should certainly expect more volume is coming for him, right? Well, it probably is, but this was one of the preseason worries about such a brittle player, and 10 games played out of 33 for a two-season period is hardly durable. What has changed? It is tough to imagine McCaffrey showing up on the "trade for" side in this column this season.
Meanwhile, as for the other NFC East running backs after Barkley, Antonio Gibson and Miles Sanders scored 38.5 PPR points between them, although their teams have options waiting. For Washington, Brian Robinson might be a month away. Be careful here and with Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. The Dallas offense might not perform as well with its backup quarterback and a battered offensive line.
Rankings changes: The Chargers' Keenan Allen and Buccaneers' Chris Godwin suffered hamstring injuries that figure to cost them playing time, thus they move down in the rankings. Hey, every week counts. Miss a few and they matter. The Cowboys' CeeDee Lamb isn't hurt, but his quarterback is, and that has to matter, too. Lamb remains a WR2, though. Buffalo's Gabe Davis joins that rarefied rankings air. Kudos to the Saints' Michael Thomas. He looks good again, although he rises only to WR3 range for now. The Bears' Darnell Mooney needs the football more to keep his WR3 value.
Trade for: One might say do whatever it takes to get one of the top-tier wide receivers. Cooper Kupp, Justin Jefferson and Ja'Marr Chase are that good. Not that there were legitimate worries, but the top wide receivers traded in real life -- Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, A.J. Brown -- certainly delivered solid performances in their debuts. Acquire with confidence. Same with Christian Kirk, the new Jaguar.
Be cautious trading for: Any of the rookies, of course. It's way too early to trust them. There's never a firm timetable on when to trust early-season potential breakouts such as the Ravens' Devin Duvernay and Cardinals' Greg Dortch (who knew?), but fantasy managers should add them as free agents rather than dealing something of value for their services.
Rankings changes: 49ers star George Kittle missed his first game, reminding us of his durability issues. Miami's Mike Gesicki figures to drop off myriad rosters this week as concerns about his volume seem real after one game. Fantasy managers can be reactive at tight end after the top 10 options, anyway. Do the Saints' Taysom Hill and Texans' O.J. Howard matter in fantasy? Well, they might. We ranked them ever so barely, but they need more than a combined three targets to remain ranked.