With the 2022 NFL regular season more than half over, it is time to take a look back at the current rookie class. This 2022 crop has performed much better than most expected and many players have had a quick impact.
To help us mock draft, we welcome our friends from Campus 2 Canton, where they focus on college fantasy football and devy content. These guys know their rookies and college players!
We set up a three-round superflex rookie mock draft to find which players had gained or lost value since the season began. The draft participants, in order, were:
- Felix Sharpe, C2C
- Scott Connor, DLF
- Matt Bruening, C2C
- Dan Meylor, DLF
- Austin Nace, C2C
- Ryan McDowell, DLF
- Chris Moxley, C2C
- Matt Price, DLF
- Alfred Fernandez, C2C
- Addison Hayes, DLF
- Colin Decker, C2C
- Bruce Matson, DLF
1.01 Breece Hall, RB NYJ
Prior to the ACL injury that prematurely ended his rookie season, Hall was on his way to not only being considered the top rookie, but the dynasty RB1 overall. Even after a slow Week One start, Hall was dominant and is still being valued as the top rookie in a strong-than-expected class.
Felix’s comments: All lights have been green for Hall. From his collegiate production, to his Combine testing, to his draft capital. Even Hall’s landing spot was a plus given that this Jets team is implementing Mike LaFleur’s version of the 49ers’ wide zone rushing scheme. ACL injuries are not nearly the career-threatening injury that they used to be. Hall is locked in as a top-five dynasty back and the no-brainer 1.01 in this class.
1.02 Kenneth Walker, RB SEA
After a slow start to his career, Walker has been on an unbelievable tear since the season-ending injury to Rashaad Penny. Over the past four games, Walker is tied for the RB2 spot with Alvin Kamara, each averaging 22 fantasy points per contest. With injuries to some of the top backs in the game, it can be argued Walker should be ranked as high as RB2 overall.
Scott’s comments: With Hall’s injury, Walker is the clear RB1 in the class. Arguably, given the current running back landscape, he is a top-three running back in all of dynasty. He would be the favorite for the 1.01 in a mid-season draft.
1.03 Garrett Wilson, WR NYJ
There were a couple of concerns about Wilson entering the league. One of those was the competition offered by 2021 rookie Elijah Moore. That has proved to not be an issue at all for Wilson. The other possible problem was quarterback Zach Wilson and the overall offensive scheme for the Jets. Unfortunately, that has held back the former Ohio State receiver in many weeks. He did flash his upside in Week Two when he was the WR6, catching a pair of scores.
Matt’s comments: Wilson was my WR1 in the class and has shown flashes even with bad quarterback play. With the Elijah Moore drama I expect him to continue to step into that alpha role.
1.04 Chris Olave, WR NO
While many of these rookie receivers have shown promise at times this season, the only consistent producer has been Saints new WR1 Chris Olave. Olave was often falling to the late first or even early second round of off-season rookie drafts due to a perceived lack of upside. Now, Olave has finished as a top-24 weekly scorer five times and is the WR15 on the season, despite missing a game with a concussion.
Dan’s comments: Olave has pulled away from the rest of the rookie receivers over the first couple of months of the season. He’s shown excellent separation skills and is lethal after the catch. A future dynasty WR1 and a guy I wish I had on every dynasty roster. I would have taken him at 1.01.
1.05 Drake London, WR ATL
The Falcons WR1, London has faced a very similar early-career path to that of Garrett Wilson. While both have shown their upside and looked like risers early this season, they have each been limited by their offenses and quarterbacks. We know those things can change quickly in the NFL though, so the young receivers maintain their value.
Austin’s comments: Tough choice here between Dameon Pierce and London, but London has secured a great market share early. If the Falcons get a competent quarterback, London and Kyle Pitts should both produce big numbers.
1.06 Jameson Williams, WR DET
As he continues to recover from an ACL injury, we haven’t seen Lions first-round pick wide receiver Williams on an NFL field yet. Also, Detroit head coach Dan Campbell has been somewhat cryptic regarding a possible date the Alabama product could make his debut. Regardless, Williams has actually gained dynasty value as the Lions offense has shown signs of life and the rookie should slide in as the perfect complement to breakout receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown.
1.07 George Pickens, WR PIT
While he wasn’t a first-round pick in the NFL Draft, like many of the other receivers in this value range, Pickens has established himself in this tier. Pickens has looked like the Steelers WR1 at times while other weeks failing to show up. This is normal for a day-two rookie receiver but the upside of Pickens can’t be denied.
Chris’s comments: I did not anticipate going Pickens here but I did. He’s earning himself a role for the Steelers and the trade of Chase Claypool tells me they like what they see. He was, at one time, the top receiver in devy as a true freshman and injures and poor quarterback play set him back. Banking on the skills we’ve seen and with alpha size, the potential is very high here.
1.08 Jahan Dotson, WR WAS
Penn State product Dotson entered the league severely undervalued despite his status as a first-round NFL Draft pick. In the first month of the season, Dotson finished as a top-25 fantasy receiver three times before suffering an injury that caused him to miss five games. Once again, Dotson is an undervalued dynasty asset.
Matt’s comments: Three touchdowns in the first two games of his career and has been injured since. Sticking with the first-round wide receiver here over the other options.
1.09 Dameon Pierce, RB HOU
Each of the other players drafted up until this point were first-round rookie picks for much of the off-season. That wasn’t the case for Pierce. While the opportunity was clearly going to be there, there were lingering concerns about his projected limited upside and lack of pass-catching skills. Those haven’t been a problem at all as Pierce has proven to be one of the toughest runners in the league already.
Alfred’s comments: I was not a huge Pierce fan heading into the season but at 1.09 I can’t pass up the production. He clearly belongs in the NFL and is on a team that should not really be putting resources into his replacement as they rebuild. Seems like he’s going to be an RB2/flex for his rookie contract barring injury.
1.10 Treylon Burks, WR TEN
Unfortunately, Burks’ career has gotten off to a rough start. Tennessee used the pick they acquired for AJ Brown to select Burks but the off-season reports regarding Burks were almost exclusively negative. After four games, Burks suffered an injury that landed him on the injured reserve. The good news for the rookie is no other Titans receiver has established themselves and Burks could still quickly ascend to the WR1 spot for the team.
Addison’s comments: The choice at the 1.10 here was a decision between Burks and Kenny Pickett. I get that this is a superflex league, which would make the quarterback more valuable, but Pickett hasn’t done well enough to make me trust in him as a player. I already didn’t believe in him much pre-draft and he’s done nothing to change that based on his early performance this season. Pittsburgh is playing their way right into a top-five, maybe even top-three pick in 2023, which they could use on another QB. Burks has been injured for most of this season, but I still believe in his prospect profile, his draft capital, and the overall talent and opportunity in Tennessee to trust him here at the 1.10.
1.11 Kenny Pickett, QB PIT
It took three rough weeks of the Mitchell Trubisky era before the Steelers turned to rookie Pickett. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been much better, throwing eight interceptions to just two touchdowns through four starts. Still, Pickett is a young starting quarterback and those are not easy to come by in a dynasty league.
Colin’s comments: Anytime you can get a starting quarterback at the 1.11 in an SF rookie draft, you’ve got to do it. Pickett has had some flashes this year and has a solid core of weapons around him. He should be a solid QB2 for fantasy for many years.
1.12 Rachaad White, RB TB
White started his career slowly but has been trending up in recent weeks. With rumors that White could take over the Bucs’ backfield as the back half of the season rolls on, expect him to continue to gain dynasty value.
Bruce’s comments: White has proven that he has enough gusto to provide fantasy results when given the opportunity. He was one of the top receiving backs in the draft and is looking the part as a solid pass-catching back. Fournette isn’t getting younger and it’s not going to be long until White gets his opportunity.
2.01 Malik Willis, QB TEN
Felix’s comments: There is a steep drop-off here. The Titans appear to have a plan for Willis, who flashed in the preseason. This is a pure upside selection. He has QB1 potential with his rushing ability. In a superflex league, this pick is a no-brainer in my opinion.
2.02 Alec Pierce, WR IND
Scott’s comments: Pierce is a good value in this spot after a significant tier break. Unfortunately, his situation looks very poor for the rest of the season but he showed enough heading into 2023.
2.03 Tyler Allgeier, RB ATL
Matt’s comments: This is a hard spot for me as there are a couple of different ways to go. I personally think there’s a decent drop at running back here, so I’ll take Allgeier. They’ve been running him as the one with Cordarrelle Patterson out. Even with Patterson, he could be the hammer for this offense and the red zone back. Add in his ability to catch the ball, I’ll take the last running back in a top tier left for me.
2.04 Christian Watson, WR GB
Dan’s comments: I’m still buying Watson based on his pedigree and upside. He needs to get on the field consistently but is the only player with elite potential still available so I’m willing to take a shot here.
2.05 Skyy Moore, WR KC
Austin’s comments: Another difficult decision at this pick. Moore has flashed once or twice this year but hasn’t truly broken out in a receiver room lacking for star power. Moore is tied to Patrick Mahomes, which was the tiebreaker over Wan’Dale Robinson.
2.06 Wan’Dale Robinson, WR NYG
Ryan’s comments: Although many thought the Giants reached for Robinson, he has quickly shown he can be the top target in the Giants offense. An early-season injury did slow down Robinson’s path, but with injuries to others on the depth chart, Robinson is tied for the team lead with 15 targets over the past three games.
2.07 Greg Dulcich, TE DEN
Chris’s comments: This is a BPA pick for me. A productive player at UCLA and a 70th-percentile+ athlete, Greg Dulcich has established himself already in the Broncos offense. His 10.7 YPT leads the NFL for tight ends and if he can work intermediate/deep consistently, he could be a top option at the position before season’s end.
2.08 Romeo Doubs, WR GB
Matt’s comments: Doubs has been up and down so far but we should cut him slack considering he’s a fourth-round rookie. Impressive start for someone with his pedigree and the splash plays have been impressive.
2.09 Brian Robinson, RB WAS
Alfred’s comments: Like my first pick, I am just scooping up startable assets as they fall to me. Robinson is not the most inspiring pick but Washington obviously wants him to be their main runner. Like Houston, this is a club that will ride out its running back room while they rebuild the rest of the roster. It’s worth it to take a player you know you’ll get something from for a few years at 2.09.
2.10 John Metchie, WR HOU
Addison’s comments: I’m not going to lie, this was purely a homerun swing based on the allure of the unknown. Metchie hasn’t played at all after being diagnosed with leukemia, and yes it’s possible he doesn’t return in 2023 (or maybe ever). But he was a productive receiver at Alabama and drafted in the early second round by Houston, who is in dire need of receiver help, especially with Brandin Cooks halfway out the door. If Metchie can return to football, I’m willing to take the shot on him here than a lot of other uninspiring players we’ve seen play already.
2.11 David Bell, WR CLE
Colin’s comments: Bell has already earned some work as a rookie. With Deshaun Watson coming back, this passing offense should improve as well.
2.12 Isiah Pacheco, RB KC
Bruce’s comments: Shooting my shot for upside with this pick. Isiah Pacheco’s size-adjusted speed combined with him being linked to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense makes it hard to look away. We already saw how quickly he rises in value this off-season. If he gets a big game or two, his dynasty trade value will improve.
3.01 James Cook, RB BUF
Felix’s comments: The hate has gone too far. This is a precipitous drop off for a player who was taken as early as 1.03 in early rookie drafts. James Cook’s season got off to a rocky start, fumbling his first carry. But if you liked his versatile skill set coming into the season, there’s no reason to dislike that ability now. Some players take some time to develop. Cook might be one. This pick is a value.
3.02 Tyquan Thornton, WR NE
Scott’s comments: A round two wide receiver who has already produced despite an early injury. Getting him in round three, I will take this shot all day. Generally, taking wide receivers here is bad process unless they fall like Tyquan Thornton.
3.03 Isaiah Likely, TE BAL
Matt’s comments: Baltimore has shown us they want to run a ton of two tight ends sets, instead of getting Lamar Jackson another wide receiver. Isaiah Likely has already been productive as the TE2 for the Ravens. While I typically don’t draft tight ends in rookie drafts he has value in the offense and I don’t love the other options.
3.04 Desmond Ridder, QB ATL
Dan’s comments: Despite not playing yet as a rookie, Desmond Ridder is a value here. He should get his chance later this season. Hopefully he helps unlock the upside of the weapons in Atlanta.
3.05 Khalil Shakir, WR BUF
Austin’s comments: Shakir probably remains an afterthought for this season, but he’s talented enough to take the slot role in that Bills offense. I like WRs tied to an obvious stud QB
3.06 Jaylen Warren, RB PIT
Ryan’s comments: An undrafted free agent just a few months ago, Jaylen Warren quickly claimed the Steelers RB2 job and is growing his role on a weekly basis at the expense of second-year starter Najee Harris.
3.07 Cade Otton, TE TB
Chris’s comments: A toss-up between a few tight ends here, I ended up going Cade Otton. He flashed at Washington for multiple years and got his shot in the fourth round this year. With an increasing role, he’s become a big piece of the Tampa Bay offense as a rookie. Hard to argue with the first-year impact he’s making and how quickly he’s ascended in a veteran-heavy offense.
3.08 Trey McBride, TE ARI
Matt’s comments: Not much work so far with Zach Ertz around, but 90-catch 1100-yard collegiate tight ends are few and far between. The Cardinals spent a second-round pick on him and once Ertz moves on we should see him emerge as the third option in a Kyler Murray offense.
3.09 Bailey Zappe, QB NE
Alfred’s comments: I seriously considered Bailey Zappe at 2.09 and am pleased he fell to 3.09. He’s already shown he’s a capable starter and in superflex that is tremendous value. Sure, it’s probably Mac Jones‘ job but trades happen, injuries happen, the NFL happens… we’ve seen Zappe can perform. Happy to have him as a roster stash at this stage of the draft.
3.10 Kyren Williams, RB LAR
Addison’s comments: Similar to my John Metchie pick, Kyren Williams is another unknown at the NFL level. This draft is happening in Week Nine, so Williams should be back next week or hopefully the week after. The Rams have already experimented with Ronnie Rivers since they know what Darrell Henderson is and Cam Akers is or is not with the team, who really knows. My belief is Williams will get his shot as the starter this season and if he sticks, great. If not, it’s just a late third.
3.11 Sam Howell, QB WAS
Colin’s comments: As my QB1 pre-draft, Sam Howell was definitely a miss for me. I still don’t fully understand his fall during the NFL draft. But the situation in Washington presents a sliver of hope that he can start one day.
3.12 Zamir White, RB LV
Bruce’s comments: I think this is great value late in the third round. I’m just shooting at a running back at this point considering there’s a chance he could get an opportunity somewhere down the line. White was second-round rookie pick just a few months ago. Since then, we’ve seen Josh Jacobs produce three RB1 games and hold down the starting role. He is set to be a free agent next year or get resigned by the Raiders. Either way, considering he’s a mid-rounder with an interesting athletic profile, Zamir White’s not a bad guy to stash considering the price tag.
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