It sounds counterproductive, but it might be wise to let Deebo Samuel go to someone else during your 2022 fantasy football draft.
I remember grabbing New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas in the middle rounds of my 2019 fantasy football draft. It was surprising he was there considering his league-leading 125-catch campaign the previous season, but I wasn’t complaining and certainly wouldn’t give up on such a train sleeper.
That worked out well, Thomas had another 149 catches in the league for league-best 1,725 yards, and I was the champion over the nine other suckers in that particular league that season.
A year later, however, Thomas would not slip. I knew that. Someone else would reach out and overcharge the recipient, even if it meant rewarding them handsomely.
Amid injuries, Thomas didn’t. But that’s not what this article is about.
No, we’re focusing on San Francisco 49ers All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel here. He’s the one we want to break down and describe why you, the best fantasy football owner out there, would be wise to take a similar move as I did with Thomas after his 2019 season.
Deebo Samuel 2022 fantasy football projection
Dual threat offensive players are gold mines in fantasy football. Running backs guaranteed to have lots of carries but also rack up lots of catches make for excellent points per reception (remember when St. Louis Rams running back Marshall Faulk was always a top fantasy pick?), but it’s rarer Having wide receivers who pick up a lot of yards, even on the ground.
Well, that was Samuel in 2021: a “broad back.”
His 1,770 all-purpose yards ranked third in the NFL last season, and 365 of those yards came on the ground. 14 net touchdowns also flew through the air and turned the rushing game into a fantasy football dream.
Samuel scored 338.96 fantasy football points in ESPN PPR leagues last season.
In 2021, Fantasy Football Calculator listed Samuel’s average draft position (ADP) as 8.06 (Round 8, #6 pick) in 12-team PPR leagues, which was actually lower than his teammate at the Niners, his wideout -Colleague Brandon Aiyuk (5.06).
In any case, Samuel’s All-Pro 2021 campaign only serves to massively improve his draft positioning this year, and right now his ADP for 2022 is 2.05, being the seventh wide receiver in the same league format.
Why Fantasy Football Owners Should Avoid Deebo Samuel
No, of course she should not avoid Samuel entirely at all costs in your fantasy football draft. If for some reason he slips late into lap 3 or even beyond, don’t hesitate.
However, given its ADP 2022 listed above, the likelihood of this happening is slim. And he might even sneak into the back end of the first round in some leagues.
Understanding that someone else is going to overrun Samuel or that you’re playing “Let’s find this year’s sleeper” in the final rounds is only part of the equation. There’s another reason why letting Samuel go to someone else early is a smart fantasy game.
You’re probably aware of Samuel’s standoff with San Francisco, and part of that is because he wants a new contract. Beyond that, however, Samuel is reportedly frustrated at being used as a “wide back,” which may make him unique (and a fantasy football gem), but it will also shorten his career if this continues.
Read more: How much fine will Deebo Samuel pay if he skips training camp?
The 49ers used an NFL third-round draft pick for a running back, Tryion Davis-Price, this year, although they already had two sophomore rushers on the roster, Elijah Mitchell and Trey Sermon, suggesting that they’re willing to hoard real jams and don’t use Samuel that way this season.
So how does ESPN see it? They currently forecast Samuel’s fantasy performance at 264.54 points, almost 75 points down from a year ago.
This is not entirely unlike Thomas’ situation at the start of 2020, although one would certainly hope that Samuel doesn’t succumb to his injuries like Thomas did.
Still, it would be clever fantasy play to have someone else snag Samuel early on draft day, although your role will be to identify the next sleeper in the mid and late rounds.