These Good Players On Bad Teams Worth Betting, Drafting In 2022 NFL Season

These players should make the best of an unfortunate situations


August 19

While Super Bowl champion is one of the most difficult NFL markets to handicap, it’s a fan favorite and the odds give us a simple outlook on the top dogs and underdogs of the season.

Bookmakers at FanDuel have given the following teams the longest odds to win it all in 2022: Texans (the longest odds), followed by the Falcons, Seahawks, Jets, Jaguars, Bears and Lions. These are the teams the public loves to fade before and throughout the season.

Remember that while you don’t have to back a team, you can still make a profit off their best players. Here are three players, in particular, I’ll be not only betting on from week to week but also considering in fantasy.

Brandin Cooks (WR, Houston Texans)
The Texans are considered the worst team in the league, with the least-talented roster heading into 2022. However, there’s one name to remember: Brandin Cooks. Target share measures the percentage of a team’s targets directed to a player, Cooks was tied for the sixth-highest target share of all wide receivers last year. In the last four weeks of the regular season with Davis Mills at quarterback, Cooks finished top 10 in fantasy points per game. Mills could potentially take a huge step in his second year. His 66.8% completion percentage was the second-highest in his class. He had the most 300-plus-yard games of any rookie and actually led the NFL in passer rating on deep balls (20-plus yards). With no significant skill-position additions, Cooks should be Mills’ main target once again and we should see similar production to what we saw in the final four weeks last year. While the team does have a tough schedule, they go from one of the toughest sets of opposing pass defenses to the seventh-easiest based on 2021 DVOA pass rankings. Whether it’s betting Cooks’ catches and yards props or drafting him in fantasy, he’s going to be a target monster.

Kyle Pitts (TE, Atlanta Falcons)
Kyle Pitts may not have lived up to his rookie year expectations in the end zone, but his talent remains unquestioned. Pitts’ 2021 rookie campaign was historic. He was the second rookie tight end in history to gain more than 1,000 receiving yards and finished with the third-most yards of all tight ends. He also finished with the fourth-most fantasy points by a rookie tight end ever and he did this while scoring just one touchdown. Not much in life is certain, but Pitts scoring more than one touchdown in 2022 is. He was the fourth-most targeted tight end in the league and led the Falcons in catches. There’s no question he will do so again this season, with Russell Gage gone and Calvin Ridley suspended. The Falcons drafted Drake London eighth overall in the 2022 NFL Draft, and he should help take some of the defense’s focus off Pitts, but Pitts should still get the bulk of targets. Marcus Mariota or Desmond Ridder may not be the best teammate to have under center, but Pitts’ upside as the only established weapon on the team outweighs the quarterback concern.

D’Andre Swift (RB, Detroit Lions)
While everyone may secretly be a Detroit fan after “Hard Knocks” this year, I doubt many will actually be willing to put their money on Dan Campbell and crew. However, you may want to consider doing so with their dual-threat running back D’Andre Swift. Injuries have limited him in his first two years, but he has shown tons of upside when healthy. In 2021, Swift finished with 1,069 total yards and eight touchdowns, despite missing four games. What makes him even more of an enticing back to invest in is that he has one of the best offensive lines in the league paving the way for him. Barring injury, Swift holds a ton of value in fantasy because of his role as a runner and receiver. When he went down in Week 12, he was leading all backs in receptions, which is key in PPR formats. Some people may devalue Swift because of the injury concern, as he’s only played 13 games in each of his first two seasons, but I think the risk is worth the reward. What running back is 100% healthy anyway?

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