It’s the year for many of our favorite 2022 2nd-year breakout players for this season. Some had a good season and others had down ones. And then some just had okay seasons due to opportunity and or injuries. As I looked into a few 2nd-year players, I tried to identify the ones that excited me but I think they will also excite any fantasy manager that may have used a rookie pick on any of these players. I could name a few but for the sake of this article, I have Identified one for QB, RB, WR and TE. Let’s take a look.
Trey Lance – Quarterback – San Francisco 49ers
The super talented second-year quarterback should be primed for a breakout season in 2022. Trey Lance was one of the five high-profile quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL draft. Even though he was selected 2nd overall by San Francisco, unlike the other four, he didn’t play much in his rookie season. We got to see a glimpse in the preseason but not much after. Long time veteran, Jimmy G, was named the starter and led the 49ers to a 10-7 record.
So why is Lance considered a breakout?
First, when you have high draft capital as he did, there is no question that you are the future of the franchise. A lot of his breakout is contingent on Jimmy G being traded or cut. But when we did see Lance play, I don’t know about you, but I got excited from what I saw. His arm strength and dual-threat ability showed out the most. He can make all the throws and has a pretty ball when he sets his base, and his footwork is proper.
Like any other young QB, he must work on his consistency in making the right plays and accuracy when passing. Coach Shanahan’s system has always been about consistent QB play with a low risk of turnovers. In the 2 & 1/2 games he played last season, Lance scored over 20+ fantasy points in each game except for 1. His rushing upside alone in this offense is intriguing and is more than what Jimmy G can do at this point in his career. If Jimmy G gets traded, Lance will be atop dynasty asset for years to come.
Travis Etienne – Running Back – Jacksonville Jaguars
My 2nd-year breakout candidate for running back is Travis Etienne. This young man just flat out knows how to play football. The former Clemson tiger star should make some noise in the revamped Jaguars offense. Gone is the craziness of Urban Meyer and his regime, and in comes Doug Pederson with a better scheme to feature great players like Etienne.
So why is Etienne considered a breakout?
I expect to see Etienne used all over in the backfield and as a receiver. His explosive play style should be the key in his development. Trevor Lawrence should be excited. Hopefully they can recapture the magic from their Clemson days where they wrecked havoc on defenses. Etienne had a stellar college career with 4,952 rushing yards and 70 touchdowns. He also contributed in the receiving game with 102 catches, 1,155 yards receiving and eight receiving touchdowns.
With that type of production playing big time college football, one can only be intrigued by his potential. Revamped offense, 100% recovery from injury and picking Etienne in your rookie drafts should finally pay off.
His rookie season got cut short early with a Lisfranc foot injury. So that is something to monitor as the start of this season gets closer. With a full recovery and positive reports, Etienne should be a full go when camp starts.
Rashod Bateman – Wide receiver – Baltimore Ravens
My 2nd-year breakout for Wide receiver is Rashod Bateman. He was another rookie to have a slow start due to an injury but he should be fully recovered and ready to make his case as a top receiver for the ravens. The former Minnesota gopher was one of the top rookie wide receivers coming into the draft in 2021.
Other than his opt-out junior year due to Covid, Bateman put up some impressive numbers as a true freshman and sophomore. With college career totals of 147 catches, 2,395 receiving yards, and 19 receiving touchdowns, Bateman was worthy of being a first-round pick.
So why is Bateman considered a breakout?
Last season when healthy Bateman showed flashes of greatness. He has a prototypical WR1 frame and athleticism to take advantage of any defensive coverage. Sticky sure hands to make all catches with precise route running and footwork to create separation.
When looking at last season’s tape what I liked about Bateman was the way he was able to make contested catches without taking big hits. That will be key to his health and longevity in my opinion. Also with the trade of Hollywood brown, Bateman steps right into 100 plus targets.
Off-season workouts with QB Lamar Jackson will only help out the case for a breakout season for Bateman. He was drafted here to be the guy so why not unleash him this year in an offense nobody is expecting to have a wideout breakout. Coming off of a 46 reception, 515 yards and 1 touchdown injury plagued season. All signs support that Bateman will have positive regression with all of the opportunities this season.
Pat Freiermuth – Tight end – Pittsburgh Steelers
Last but not least, my second-year breakout for tight end is Pat Freiermuth. Some could argue that Freiermuth broke out last season to an extent. After taking more in-game opportunities after the Steelers week 8 bye, Freiermuth had season totals of 60 catches, 497 yards, and 7 touchdowns on an impressive 79 targets. He finished as the number 14 tight end in standard and 13 in ppr.
So why is Freiermuth considered a breakout?
In dynasty leagues, it’s very hard to identify breakout tight ends in fantasy. The position alone has a scarcity of guys you can actually depend on week in and week out. When I look into trying to identify them I like the profile that Freiermuth showcases. His 6’5” 258-pound frame is the typical size you would want to see in your tight end. With rookie production like he had, you would and should be excited for year 2. With his effectivness and opportunity in the redzone, Freiemuth has room to only get better.
In my opinion, if you can’t get an elite tight end such as Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews, you would at least want a tight end to give you consistent numbers. Coming in as the featured tight end in this offense for 2022, Freiermuth should easily be a top 12 candidate at his position and at the very least give you the consistency that you want.
Gone is Big Ben but with either Mitchell Trubisky or rookie Kenny Pickett at the helm. Freiermuth should be a good safety blanket for whoever starts. I would expect Freiermuth to continue his production from his rookie season and put up similar season numbers if not more. As I stated. Freiermuth has the skill set to be a solid consistent tight end on your dynasty rosters with the upside of being a fringe elite player.
Thank you for reading this article. Where do you have these players ranked among 2nd year breakouts in the NFL in 2022?
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