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Darren Waller

Stew Milne/Associated Press

Darren Waller Looks Like a 2022 Fantasy Steal

Darren Waller
Stew Milne/Associated Press

Darren Waller Looks Like a 2022 Fantasy Steal

I don’t get it. I really don’t. Darren Waller is a freaky athletic, skilled talent that also happens to play the position most deprived of elite talent in fantasy football land. For some reason, Fantasy Pros has him ranked as the fifth-best tight end, and not even a top 40 player in their overall draft board. I’m not sure how you can pass up on that value this year. Let’s take a look at why.

I know it may seem like Darren Waller may lose out on touches with Davante Adams joining the Raiders, but I’m here to tell you that, if anything, the new arrival will actually improve Waller’s fantasy football outlook.

Derek Carr targeted Waller like a madman last year, and he was a great tight end option for fantasy owners. However, there were also games where Waller simply disappeared, mainly due to the crazy amount of attention defenses put on him. He was the main man relentlessly targeted by the opponent.

Henry Ruggs helped a bit in that regard with his ability to stretch the field, but he was out of the equation halfway into the season. No one else on the Raiders was a major threat anymore, which allowed Waller to effectively become neutralized and double-teamed often. As a result, Hunter Renfrow went and balled out with man coverage being the only thing he had to worry about.

Now with the Davante Adams addition, sure Carr may target Waller a little less, but the quality of targets he receives is bound to increase dramatically. Renfrow should still get some great looks, but Waller will be the X-factor that is able to exploit matchups as defenses worry about their complicated schemes focused on stopping Davante. On top of that, with a more pass-happy and powerhouse offense, Waller is bound to get more red-zone looks and that is always massive in fantasy football.

For me, Waller is a bona fide top 3 TE for fantasy this year. Kyle Pitts and George Kittle are solid options, but neither of their quarterback situations are good enough for me to say that they finish better than Waller this year. Mark Andrews and Travis Kelce certainly have the talent and situation to finish ahead of Waller, but at this point in time they’re the only two tight ends I would pick to do so.

Let’s not forget that Darren Waller’s biggest strength right now is draft position. Davante Adams has taken all the limelight and people have forgotten about the 6’6”, 250 pound beast who runs routes like a receiver. Don’t miss out on Waller, you will regret it.

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