DeVonta Smith’s Fantasy Football Outlook for the 2022 NFL Season

Coming off a Heisman Trophy-winning season at Alabama, DeVonta Smith entered the NFL subject to enormous expectations.

Even as a rookie, Smith had a solid year. He finished with 64 receptions for 916 yards and five touchdowns. His receiving yards set a new Philadelphia Eagles record for a first-year player. These numbers are promising, and Smith has a good chance to make a significant jump in the next few seasons.

But is the promise enough to make him a good fantasy football pick?

With that said, here are some fantastic prospects for DeVonta Smith in the 2022 NFL season.

DeVonta Smith 2022 Fantasy Football Outlook

One of the biggest questions surrounding DeVonta Smith when he entered the league was his size. At 6’0 and 170 pounds, some wondered if he would have trouble against bigger, stronger NFL defenders. Although she does not have ideal physical strength, Smith overshadows her with her other abilities.

His high-quality route running was used heavily by the Eagles in 2021. Smith was primarily a perimeter receiver, finishing above the 75th percentile against man, zone and press, including the 84th percentile against press, according to Reception Perception.

He also had a target percentage of 22.8% and averaged 8.8 yards per target and 2.0 yards per drive, according to SportsInfoSolutions. The former Crimson Tide was just the fourth rookie in the last five seasons to put up those numbers, the others being Terry McLaurin and Pro Bowlers Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson — not bad company.

However, Smith’s rookie campaign flew under the radar due to the Eagles’ low pass attempts. With 492 sacks, Philadelphia finished second to last in that category, signaling that while Smith had a good first year, it could have been even better if the team had committed more to attacking the defense through the air.

There was one big offseason move by Philly that could work both for and against Smith: the acquisition of AJ Brown.

Having a wide receiver like Brown on the roster could encourage the Eagles to use more of the passing game, which could make the Smith-Brown duo one of the most feared in the league. However, it could also mean that Brown becomes the undisputed focal point of the Eagles’ passing game, taking away some of Smith’s presence in the offense.

Either way, Philly fans should be excited to see the two together. But how did Smith fare in fantasy football last year?

He finished as WR29 and WR41 in points per game. Beginning in Week 7, Smith failed to see more than six targets per game. He totaled 121.6 fantasy points, and his best game came in Week 10, when he scored 18.6 points on multiple touchdown catches.

One thing that could help Smith produce a lot of fantasy points this coming season is how Philadelphia uses the deep ball. The team ranks second in the league with a 21.7% deep-ball rate. Because of that, even if he gets fewer targets, Smith’s overall production could be similar.

At just 23 years old and entering his second year in the NFL, Smith still has plenty of room to grow, and a likely increase in the Eagles’ pass attempts should intrigue fantasy football team owners. He can also learn from Brown, which could mean a lot of development in the season as they work together.

Overall, Smith is an intriguing player on a fantasy team, but owners may need to worry about more experienced players with an established history of putting up big numbers. He is projected to be available around the seventh round in most traditional league formats.

Fantasy owners should no doubt have plenty of wide receivers above Smith on their draft board, but nabbing him in the later rounds could bring a very pleasant surprise.

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