Darren Waller Fantasy Outlook & Injury Update 2022 (Upside Takes a Hit in Crowded Raiders Offense)
Darren Waller came out of nowhere to post a 1,000-yard season in 2019 and finish as the No. 3 tight end in PPR-scoring fantasy football league. He followed that up with a his first Pro Bowl appearance and a No. 2 finish at TE. In 2021, knee and ankle issues forced Waller to miss six games and finish as the No. 17 TE.
Waller was still seventh among TEs when it came to his weekly average, though (12.1 PPG). With that being the case, it's no surprise to see Waller in the middle of TE1 territory once again. His average draft position (ADP) has him going as the fifth tight end off the board and as a late fourth-round selection.
Darren Waller Fantasy Football Outlook
Tight end has always been a tricky position to project in fantasy football. There's little consistency year to year from anyone besides Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews. However, Waller has done enough to firmly plant himself in that next tier of talent. He averages 4.2 receptions per game in his career (which is more than Atlanta's Kyle Pitts) for 49.0 yards (which is more than Detroit's TJ Hockenson).
Fantasy managers do have a right to worry that Waller's best days are behind him. He posted a career-low 2 touchdowns last season despite seeing 15 red zone targets. His catch percentage also checked in at a measly 59.1% and he logged 5 drops. The 29-year-old played was absent for the entirety of the fantasy football playoffs, making his return to the field in Week 18 by posting 22 yards on 2 receptions.
What's important to remember here is that a down year from Waller doesn't mean that he will finish outside of the top-12 tight ends. It simply means he may not be able to live up to the hype as a top-five option at the position. While the addition of Davante Adams could lead to softer coverage for Waller, it is going to eat into his target share in a big way. The veteran will need to make adjustments.
Darren Waller Injury Update
As mentioned above, Waller was in and out of the lineup in 2021. He missed the Raiders' Week 7 game with an ankle injury and was on the sideline from Week 12 through Week 16 with a knee issue. Waller did return for the team's final game of the regular season and started in the playoffs.
Waller recently reported to training camp despite rumors that he was going to hold out due to contract demands. He explained back in June that his "body feels great" and that he's been able to participate in every practice drill as well as weight room exercise. Waller is feeling no lingering effects.
Darren Waller Projections
Projections from the NFL odds on FanDuel Sportsbook expect Waller to have another solid year. He's 35th to lead the NFL in receiving yards (+6000), which slates him as the fourth-highest ranked TE. Keep in mind that's a title he took home back in 2019 when he tallied 1,145 yards through the air. He is also 32nd to lead the NFL in receiving touchdowns (+6000), which slates him as third-highest ranked TE. When taking Waller's averages over the last three years into account (5.9 receptions per game, 11.9-yard average), it wouldn't be shocking to see him post another 1,000-yard season.
Is Darren Waller a Good Fantasy Football Pick?
When it comes down to it, is Waller someone to target in the early rounds? Yes, but he may not be as much of a home run selection as in years past. He's the No. 5 tight end inThe Duel's PPR fantasy football rankings, and is worthy of a selection in the fourth round or later.
Waller is the No. 3 option in an offense that passed the ball on 62.9% of their offensive plays last season (No. 4 in NFL). That along with the fact that his connection with quarterback Derek Carr hasn't wavered will make him a TE1. However, the idea of Waller anywhere above that fifth spot is a reach.
If you've drafted Waller this year, make sure to check out the best Darren Waller fantasy football team names for your squad.
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Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.