Fantasy footballers know that the season never ends, especially dynasty team owners. One of the most exciting events for die-hard fans is the NFL Draft. Many wait patiently to see where the talented offensive players land to finally analyze which players have the best combination of talent and opportunity.
Not surprisingly, many find themselves itching to project the new crop of players—no small task when you consider they have not played a down of NFL football. The 33rd Team compiled its first iteration of Dynasty Rookie Rankings in this article below to ease the transition into the 2022 NFL Season and perhaps some rookie drafts that await.
|1||Kenny Pickett (PIT)||1.4|
|2||Malik Willis (TEN)||2.2|
|3||Matt Corral (CAR)||3.2|
|4||Desmond Ridder (ATL)||3.4|
|5||Sam Howell (WAS)||5|
|6||Carson Strong (PHI)||6.4|
|7||Bailey Zappe (NE)||6.8|
|8||Dustin Crum (KC)||7.8|
|9||Brock Purdy (SF)||8.8|
|10||Kaleb Eleby (SEA)||10.4|
|11||EJ Perry (JAX)||10.6|
|12||Jack Coan (IND)||12|
To start, we have the quarterbacks. Kenny Pickett edged out Malik Willis and Matt Corral as the QB1 in our rookie rankings, primarily because he has a good shot of seeing the field early in his first year. Although the Steelers brought on Mitch Trubisky, it will not be long before the city calls for the hometown hero. Pickett, a former Pitt Panther, boasted the highest PFF-season grade and PFF-passing grade among his contemporaries in the 2022 NFL Draft Class, an inspiring narrative for a potentially fantasy-relevant signal-caller in Year 1, mainly because Pickett walks into an offense that is already fleshed out. Pickett will have Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and George Pickens to throw to and Najee Harris to hand the ball off and check down to.
Steelers wideout Diontae Johnson catches a slant from Kenny Pickett today at OTAs pic.twitter.com/DkkTCOQvgz
— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) May 31, 2022
Still, this quarterback class is uninspiring because, presumptively, not a single player is walking into a situation where he will be the starter throughout training camp. Willis, Corral, Ridder, and Howell could all have the talent to play effectively, but veterans stand in each their way. We all know, though, that injuries happen, and opportunity could knock for some of these unheralded slingers. Watching defenses try and decipher a Tennessee offensive attack spearheaded by Derrick Henry and supplemented by Willis’s dynamic athleticism would be a sight to see. Not to mention, NFL defenses would be hard-pressed to defend against Willis and Henry. Henry’s rushing ability alone is enough to keep defensive coordinators puzzled, but Willis’s class-high 11% big-time throw percentage suggests he would keep an overeager defense honest.
— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) June 1, 2022
Corral might be an option that the Panthers cannot overlook if Darnold continues to struggle next season. Corral registered the third-lowest turnover-worthy-play % among all FBS quarterbacks last year, with at least 350 drop backs. If Corral shows that he can protect the football, that might be appealing to a Panthers team that gave the ball away 29 times last year, tied for second-most in the league.
The Carolina Panthers pick Ole Miss QB Matt Corral at No. 94 overall.
FORTY-NINE touchdowns (most among SEC QBs) ???? pic.twitter.com/vC8CFIP2nG
— PFF College (@PFF_College) April 30, 2022
Another option is former Bearcat Desmond Ridder. Ridder playing with two of the league’s most physically imposing receiving options would also make an intriguing fantasy narrative that is highly likely to translate into at least some fantasy production. Overall, it is hard to say right now (and looks to remain that way through the preseason) which of these guys will be the best option from a dynasty perspective. Only a handful of players in this class have a high chance of putting up points this year or in the near future.
|1||Breece Hall (NYJ)||1|
|2||Kenneth Walker III (SEA)||2|
|3||James Cook (BUF)||3.33|
|4||Dameon Pierce (HOU)||4.67|
|5||Tyler Allgeier (ATL)||5.83|
|6||Isaiah Spiller (LAC)||6|
|T-7||Zamir White (LAV)||7.5|
|T-7||Rachaad White (TB)||7.5|
|9||Brian Robinson Jr. (WAS)||8.883|
|10||Jerome Ford (CLE)||10.67|
|T-11||Pierre Strong Jr. (NE)||11.17|
|T-11||Hassan Haskins (TEN)||11.17|
|13||Kyren Williams (LAR)||12.5|
|14||Tyler Badie (BAL)||12.83|
|15||Zonovan Knight (NYJ)||15|
|16||Jerrion Ealy (KC)||16|
This year’s running back class was between two players: Breece Hall and Kenneth Walker III. Breece Hall was usually the favorite amongst his peers for his proven record of accomplishment and his well-to-do scouting combine performance. Kenneth Walker III burst onto the college football scene last year in his first season with the Michigan State Spartans after transferring from Wake Forest by winning the Doak Walker and Walter Camp Awards.
Unlike Walker’s counterpart Hall, Walker more than doubled his output in every significant statistical measure in his one year with the Spartans from his two years with the Demon Deacons. Walker and Hall embody the personnel dilemma between two players, one of which has wear on the tread but a prolific production profile. The other has an eye-popping final season stat line, but nothing much to speak of before that.
Hall figures to be the better option for fantasy football right now because he walks into a good situation. Immediately, Hall will eat into a large share of New York’s backfield. Moreover, Hall is the better pass-catching back between the two. Yet, the presence of 2021 fourth-round pick Michael Carter II undermines the skill disparity. Carter averaged the most yards-per-route-run out of anyone not named Alvin Kamara last season as a rookie. It would be prudent to think that Carter has the third-down role in that offense on lockdown.
The New York Jets pick Iowa State RB Breece Hall at No. 36 overall.
FIFTY rushing touchdowns since 2019 (most among RBs) ???? pic.twitter.com/N6wxxDPn2b
— PFF College (@PFF_College) April 29, 2022
Walker is likely the third running back on Seattle’s depth chart behind Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny. The Seahawks rewarded Penny with a new contract after a strong finish to the 2021 Season, and Carson has been the incumbent for the past few years. Either way, both Penny and Carson tend to miss games. Carson has only played in 45 of 65 games since 2018, and Penny has only played in 37. The Seahawks likely did not use a high second-round pick on Walker to have him sit on the pine.
Kenneth Walker III has FIVE touchdowns vs #6 Michigan ????
RB1 on our 2022 draft board ????pic.twitter.com/16Dvk2MKpB
— PFF (@PFF) October 30, 2021
Other options at RB include James Cook, Dameon Pierce, and Tyler Allgeier. Cook appears to immediately improve the Bills’ pass-catching prowess out of the backfield. There have even been suggestions that Cook will take snaps lined up out wide or in the slot as a receiver. Cook is a less inspiring dynasty pick because of Devin Singletary and Zack Moss. Both backs are capable in their own right, but the Bills’ offense does not seem conducive to successful fantasy running backs. Josh Allen routinely “steals” goal-line opportunities, and they pass at a league-high rate. These factors are less weighty on Cook and could even weigh in his favor as a passing threat. Cole Beasley’s departure leaves plenty of check-down targets available, and many of them could be Cook’s.
James Cook is a home-run hitter ???? pic.twitter.com/pfwxSTsVHJ
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) May 30, 2022
Pierce, the former Florida Gator, brings versatility to an anemic Houston offense that planned on starting Marlon Mack otherwise. At this point in the offseason, it appears Pierce will be a part of that backfield. Mack or Rex Burkhead are the only threats that stand in his way of producing early. At the very least, Pierce could see work on third down early in the season. Throughout the draft process, scouts lauded Pierce’s ability in pass protection. Not to mention, he can bring it on the ground and through the air. Pierce is a “do-it-all” type of player with just as good of a shot as anyone to produce as a rookie.
Dameon Pierce 75 yards to the house, and what a block by Tyrie Cleveland. pic.twitter.com/aKayUMl9Sg
— Chris Hummer (@chris_hummer) October 19, 2019
Allgeier is a classic one-cut running back that produced well at the college level. In Allgeier’s final season with BYU, he posted the third highest PFF-season grade in the draft class. Allgeier seems to slot into Mike Davis’s role with the Falcons from last year, although there is reason to believe that he will do it better. Davis only averaged 3.6 yards-per-attempt last year and logged the fifth worst PFF-season grade and worst PFF-fumble grade.
Tyler Allgeier 68 yard touchdown run!
This dude is 5-11 220 LBS and runs a 4.4 40 yard dash. pic.twitter.com/kQTalfr4Zb
— Benjamin Criddle (@CriddleBenjamin) October 2, 2021
Isaiah Spiller, Zamir White, Rachaad White, Brian Robinson Jr., and Pierre Strong Jr. all present handcuff appeal at the moment with no clear path to meaningful touches early. Spiller looks to be the thunder to Ekeler’s lightning, though. Zamir White has a solid chance to be the lead back in Las Vegas next year after Josh Jacobs’s presumptive exit. Rachaad White is talented but buried on a contending Tampa Bay roster that will use players outside of their stars sparingly. Robinson is deadlocked behind Antonio Gibson. Even in the unfortunate event of an Antonio Gibson injury, J.D. McKissic limits Robinson’s upside. Lastly, Pierre Strong Jr. could be a surprise with the Patriots if he can win the James White role in that offense.
ISAIAH SPILLER COULD NOT BE TACKLED ???? pic.twitter.com/sVyN0hAq1q
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 10, 2020
|1||Garrett Wilson (NYJ)||1.8|
|2||Treylon Burks (TEN)||2.2|
|3||Drake London (ATL)||3.6|
|4||Jameson Williams (DET)||4.8|
|T-5||Chris Olave (NO)||5.2|
|T-5||Skyy Moore (KC)||5.2|
|7||Christian Watson (GB)||6.4|
|T-8||Jahan Dotson (WAS)||8|
|T-8||George Pickens (PIT)||8|
|10||Jalen Tolbert (DAL)||10.4|
|11||Alec Pierce (IND)||10.8|
|12||David Bell (CLE)||12.2|
|13||John Metchie III (HOU)||12.8|
|14||Calvin Austin III (PIT)||15.2|
|15||Wan’Dale Robinson (NYG)||15.4|
|16||Romeo Doubs (GB)||15.8|
|17||Khalil Shakir (BUF)||17.2|
|18||Justyn Ross (KC)||17.6|
|19||Velus Jones Jr. (CHI)||18.2|
|20||Kyle Philips (TEN)||19.2|
|21||Danny Gray (SF)||20|
|22||Bo Melton (SEA)||20.4|
|23||Jalen Nailor (MIN)||23.2|
|24||Erik Ezukanma (MIA)||24.2|
|25||Dai’Jean Dixon (NO)||24.6|
The most exciting position group, perhaps in the entire draft, notwithstanding fantasy at all, is the receivers. This year was famously laden with plenty of NFL-caliber talent. After all, 12 receivers were selected in the top 54 choices. That is an astounding 23% of the top 54 picks. The draft left fantasy fans pondering, “who will be this year’s Justin Jefferson, Odell Beckham Jr., or Ja’Marr Chase?”
Garrett Wilson is WR1 in our consensus rankings, likely because of his graceful athleticism, contested-catch prowess, and magnificent YAC aptitude. Garrett’s 6 yards after the catch per reception and his 3 yards per route run were top ten in the draft class. Garrett is likely the new No. 1 target in New York, even with Elijah Moore’s emergence last year. Unfortunately, the Jets will probably be playing from behind more often than not next season, which bodes well for fantasy production, particularly the passing game.
Jets rookie WR Garrett Wilson. ????
— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoSNY) June 1, 2022
Next was Treylon Burks. Burks is the new top dog in Tennessee after they traded away A.J. Brown, a player Burks was often compared to. Burks is somewhat of an enigma because many thought he would test off the charts at the scouting combine. Lo and behold, Burks’ athletic measurables were merely pedestrian. Nevertheless, Burks looked like a game-wrecker with the Razorbacks, posting over 800 yards and seven touchdowns in a COVID-shortened 2020 season and 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2021.
OH MY TREYLON BURKS ???? ????
— NFL on CBS ???? (@NFLonCBS) May 26, 2022
London came in at WR3 for us, likely because of the less-than-ideal situation he enters as a rookie. First, Pitts looks to be the No. 1 option in the passing game next year, but that could work to London’s advantage as teams prioritize neutralizing Pitts. That inevitably opens things up for the former USC Trojan in the zero-sum game of fantasy football. London led college football in contest catches despite missing the end of the season. The Pitts-London tandem should not be viewed as a binary inquiry. Both players have the skill set to succeed, and both can post tremendous seasons next year. However, Marcus Mariota is the starting quarterback in Atlanta as it stands. Unfortunately, Mariota does not have the best history of supporting his receiving options.
Jameson Williams was widely believed to be the WR1 in this draft class before tearing his ACL late in the season. While Williams may play early in the season, fantasy footballers should not count on it. In the first round of many rookie drafts, his value is too high to ignore. Williams and Amon-Ra St. Brown could make one of the league’s best receiver duos, and people should not forget that Williams averaged more than 100 yards per game along with a touchdown a game over 15 games last season.
Another tempting option is Skyy Moore, who led the FBS in missed tackles forced. Moore enters Kansas City as Tyreek Hill leaves. Obviously, that opens a big door for someone in that offense. That is the issue, though. It is hard to predict who between Moore and JuJu Smith-Schuster will get the lion’s share of the work. Perhaps the Chiefs offense is prolific enough to support both, but there is apparent risk involved with selecting Moore.
Another tempting but risky option is Green Bay’s Christian Watson. Watson, an absolute combine beast, fills another void left by a star receiver in Davante Adams. While it feels natural to assume that Watson will immediately step into the offense as a key contributor, something feels too easy. Watson enters the league as a very raw prospect with a limited route tree and minimal usage in college. However, when North Dakota State called his number, Watson answered, usually with a long touchdown.
A high riser in our rankings was Chris Olave. Olave should slot in nicely to the Saints’ offense. If Michael Thomas plays next season, Olave will be a perfect complement to the big-bodied possession receiver. If Michael Thomas misses his third consecutive season (basically), Olave could be among the draft class’s elite, at least in production. Olave is a silky-smooth route-runner that can attack the intermediate and deep levels of the field with ease. That skillset sure seems tailor made for Jameis Winston’s deep-throw habits.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) June 2, 2022
Other names include Jahan Dotson, George Pickens, Jalen Tolbert, and Alec Pierce. Dotson has Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, Dyami Brown, and Antonio Gibson to worry about, and Pickens is currently the third wide receiver on the depth chart. On the other hand, Tolbert and Pierce will likely have more opportunity than Pickens and Dotson early but do not have the same kind of hype or draft pedigree to support them.
|1||Trey McBride (ARI)||1|
|2||Greg Dulcich (DEN)||2.4|
|3||Jelani Woods (IND)||3.6|
|4||Isaiah Likely (BAL)||3.8|
|5||Cade Otton (TB)||5|
|6||Jeremy Ruckert (NYJ)||6|
|7||Charlie Kolar (BAL)||7|
|8||Jalen Wydermyer (BUF)||7.6|
|9||Chigoziem Okonkwo (TEN)||9|
|10||Derrick Deese Jr. (DET)||9.2|
|T-11||James Mitchell (DET)||11.2|
|T-11||Jake Ferguson (DAL)||11.2|
|13||Cole Turner (WAS)||11.6|
This year’s tight end class was not the best we have ever seen, but there are talented players in this lot in their own right. Trey McBride is our consensus TE1, and many thought he was the best tight end in the class. McBride posted an impressive 95.0 PFF-receiving grade that was good for the top of the class and led all tight ends in receiving yards last year with 1,125—over 200 more than the second-highest (Isaiah Likely, 912).
However, McBride only reached paydirt once last year. Some argue that could be chalked up to teams eliminating him as a red-zone threat through scheming or double teams. McBride should be an effective second tight end on the Cardinals behind Zach Ertz. Ertz’s effectiveness has steadily declined over the past couple of years, but Ertz remains a solid receiving option. McBride provides some youth at the position and could be a fantastic tight-end option if he had to step in for Ertz.
Kyler Murray to Arizona Cardinals rookie TE Trey McBride pic.twitter.com/SNpRcK3SZ3
— Bo Brack (@BoBrack) June 1, 2022
Greg Dulcich was our TE2 because his only competition for targets from the tight end spot in Denver in Albert Okwuegbunam or “Albert O.” While Okwuegbunam showed promised as a receiving threat the past couple of years, Dulcich has the pedigree that his counterpart lacks. In what should be a star-studded offense at Mile-High Stadium, Dulcich appears to have nothing but opportunity in front of him. The former UCLA Bruin hauled in 47 receptions for 725 yards and five touchdowns in 2021, but the intriguing number on his stat sheet is his 17.3 yards-per-reception figure. That mark is the highest in the class among tight ends with at least 60 targets, and Russell Wilson is one of the best deep passers in the NFL.
UCLA 24, California 14
11:19 – 3rd Quarter
— UCLA Football (@UCLAFootball) November 28, 2021
Jelani Woods is our TE3 because his only real competition for targets in Indianapolis is Mo Alie-Cox. Cox has never been a significant receiving threat, and actually, Woods and Cox have similar builds and play styles. The Colts have historically had productive tight ends, and with Matt Ryan incoming, the signal-caller will likely not be the issue. Woods is a massive target for Ryan and will probably get some snaps early.
The Indianapolis Colts pick Virginia TE Jelani Woods at No. 73 overall.
EIGHT touchdowns (1st among ACC TEs) ???? pic.twitter.com/NDOYW99Caz
— PFF College (@PFF_College) April 30, 2022
Outside of those three, the remaining tight ends do not have any clear path to many snaps. Likely falls into an understudy role behind Mark Andrews, and the remaining tight ends are at best No. 2 on the depth chart with minimal likelihood of heavy usage. Especially when you consider that it is increasingly rare for tight ends to make waves at the beginning of their career, they do not offer exciting prospects.