2022 Fantasy Football Rookie Mock Draft 1.0
The 2022 rookie class is one rife with uncertainty. There's no doubt that combine testing and the Reese's Senior Bowl will greatly impact the likely draft order. That said, it's time to run through an initial framework for what Dynasty Fantasy Football rookie drafts might look like this coming season. The following mock will be two rounds, based on a SuperFlex Fantasy Football, 12-team, PPR, Tight End Premium format.
Predicted Team - Detroit Lions
For most years, there is an elite prospect that deserves the first draft pick. In 2021, Trevor Lawrence was that player in almost every league. In 2022, there isn't a clear frontrunner. Given the positional scarcity this year and the SuperFlex format, the top pick will likely be a quarterback. Matt Corral has all the tools NFL organizations love to invest in and build around. He has arm strength in spades, decent accuracy, and above-average mobility. Sound decision-making is the area Corral needs to work on the most, avoiding the major blow-up games. In 2020 he threw 14 interceptions, with 11 of them thrown between just two games. In 2021, Corral has managed to keep the interception total down to three thus far, and his 67.5% completion percentage is solid.
Predicted Team - Arizona Cardinals
Continuing along the line of positional scarcity, there are three top running backs in this draft that figure to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Isaiah Spiller is the best of those three. He has the requisite size of an NFL back and boasts a well-rounded skill set. While not excelling in any particular area, he has above-average agility, vision, and contact balance. Spiller also has a history of solid production against stiff competition. He has managed to run for 900 yards in each of his three seasons at Texas A&M.
Predicted Team - Pittsburgh Steelers
Another quarterback should come off the board at the 1.03 pick. A handful of signal-callers could fall into this slot, but Sam Howell is the most consistent. While 2021 has been a down year, most of it can be attributed to losing his top two receiving options from the previous two seasons. Howell is a bigger-bodied gunslinger with high-level rushing upside as well, making him an intriguing fantasy prospect.
Predicted Team - Miami Dolphins
The NFL needs more thumpers at running back. Breece Hall may not have the shiftiness of other elite backs like Saquon Barkley or Dalvin Cook, but he knows how to get downfield and pick up yards, especially when a play breaks down. His game is ironically reminiscent of his former backfield mate at Iowa State, David Montgomery. At the 1.04, most fantasy leagues will again prioritize running back, given that there are plenty of talented receivers to be selected throughout the rest of the draft.
Predicted Team - Philadelphia
The wide receiver seal will finally break with the fifth pick. While there are multiple deserving receivers in this class, Treylon Burks stands apart due to his athleticism and size. Listed at 6'3", 225lbs, a receiver-needy team will fall in love with Burks. He has the potential to develop into a D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown-type receiver in fantasy.
Projected Team - Atlanta Falcons
Possibly the most controversial pick in both NFL and fantasy drafts, Malik Willis, will be selected at the 1.06. Positionally Willis is listed as a quarterback, but the main allure is his rushing upside. Willis projects to run an offense similarly to Lamar Jackson or Jalen Hurts, and the fantasy world has seen the numbers those types of players can put up. His passing skills may hold him back from the starting role in year one, but similar to Trey Lance, the potential will be too great to pass on.
1.07 - Kenneth Walker - Michigan State - Running Back
Predicted Team - Houston Texans
The final running back in the top tier for 2022, Kenneth Walker III, has been an absolute machine in college this year. His current stat line includes 233 carries for 1,498 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground. Those numbers are bordering on Heisman-type production. His athleticism is not elite, and that may hold him back in the NFL, but he'll likely earn an opportunity early. Scarcity rules once more.
Predicted Team - New Orleans Saints
One of two stud receivers that may enter the 2022 NFL draft, Garrett Wilson, will likely nudge out the other as the preferred Dynasty Fantasy Football player. Wilson has crisp route-running skills, good speed, great hands, and isn't afraid to go up for a contested catch. He also has the benefit of declaring as a junior, which will appeal to plenty of analytically-minded Dynasty Fantasy Football managers.
Predicted Team - Cleveland Browns
The counter-part to Garret Wilson, Chris Olave, has been a staple at Ohio State for quite some time. Like Devonta Smith last season, Olave decided to stay for his senior season and bolster his draft stock. His age and senior status may turn off some of the analytical community, but Olave is a polished receiver who will likely earn round-one draft capital.
1.10 - David Bell - Purdue - Wide Receiver
Predicted Team - Las Vegas Raiders
At this point in the draft, the receivers have been flowing and show no sign of stopping. David Bell is the analytics manager's dream, breaking out significantly as a true freshman. Coming from Purdue may cause some to question his ability, but the relative success of Rondale Moore thus far in his NFL career should stymie those concerns. Regardless of his team and competition level, Bell certainly has the talent to compete at the NFL level.
Predicted Team - New York Jets
Injuries suck. Drake London was having a stellar 2021 season before fracturing his ankle against the Arizona wildcats. At that point, he had accumulated 88 receptions for 1084 yards and seven touchdowns. Still only a junior, London may opt to return to school and regain his health. He'll likely be selected in the first two rounds if he does declare for the NFL draft. A big receiver who wins contested balls, London compares well stylistically to Mike Evans. That said, he'll have to prove his athleticism is up to snuff before being grouped in with a player of Evans' caliber.
Predicted Team - Detroit Lions
Before the 2021 season, Jameson Williams wasn't expected to be the first Alabama receiver off boards in 2022 rookie drafts. That honor was supposed to be reserved for John Metchie. Williams transferred to Alabama from a crowded Ohio State receiver room and has made an immediate impact. He's racked up 59 receptions for 1,218 yards and 13 touchdowns on the season to lead the Crimson Tide.
Predicted Team: Houston Texans
A throwback to the good old days of statuesque gunslingers, Carson Strong will likely be taken in the first two rounds of the NFL draft. His lack of mobility may limit his fantasy upside, but his passing acumen may be enough to make him a valuable QB2 in SuperFlex leagues. Some may criticize the competition level Strong faced, but NFL teams have overlooked that aspect in the past when it comes to quarterbacks (see Jordan Love or Trey Lance).
Predicted Team - Washington Football Team
Pittsburgh has relied on Kenny Pickett to guide their team for nearly five years now. For the first four seasons, Pickett was an adequate college quarterback with above-average mobility. He's shown a massive improvement in both accuracy and touchdown thus far in 2021. That could be a product of the surrounding cast on his team, or it could be his development. Either way, an NFL team likely takes a shot on him in the first two days of the NFL draft.
Predicted Team - Atlanta Falcons
A candidate to be a top-tier alpha receiver for an NFL team, the reason George Pickens will fall so far in most drafts is because of injury. In the 2020 offseason, Pickens suffered an ACL tear that has kept him out of the entire 2021 college season. He is just now looking to be cleared for play. Pickens is a junior, so he could return to college in 2022 to regrow his draft stock. If not, he'll likely be selected in the top three rounds of the NFL draft.
Predicted Team - Buffalo Bills
While not the most athletically gifted receiver, Jahan Dotson is a guy who has consistently produced in a lackluster passing environment at Penn State. What's more, he managed to put up impressive performances against the best competition. While often underrated, expect him to exceed expectations once he reaches the league.
Predicted Team - Tennessee Titans
The NFL doesn't have a long history of success when it comes to sub-sized running backs. Kyren Williams is currently listed at 5'9", 199lbs, which would put him on that list. That said, Williams has good open-field awareness, dynamic agility, and impressive pass-catching skills. He'll at least have a role in the league, though it won't be that of a bell-cow back.
Predicted Team - Cincinnati Bengals
The first tight end to leave the board in this draft is Jalen Wydermyer. He hasn't put up crazy numbers in college, but his athleticism and size are evident. He should be selected early in the NFL draft and will be a solid contributor for whichever team selects him.
Predicted Team - New England Patriots
Playing second-fiddle to Jameson Williams all season, John Metchie is still no slouch. Metchie is a solid route runner and has prototypical size for an NFL receiver. He'll likely never be a consistent top-12 receiver for fantasy, but stranger things have happened. Additionally, Metchie has the type of pedigree worth betting on, coming from Alabama.
Predicted Team - Los Angelas Chargers
An elite prospect coming out of high school, Charbonnet faced some bumps in his college career. After playing well his freshman season at Michigan, Charbonnet was barely utilized his sophomore season. Transferring to UCLA this season, he's racked up 1,031 yards and 12 touchdowns on 180 carries. If he declares, there will be plenty of NFL teams interested in his services.
Predicted Team - Green Bay Packers
Before the 2020 season, Justyn Ross was considered an elite receiving prospect. Expected to be a top draft pick in the 2021 NFL draft, an unfortunate congenital fusion condition was discovered before the 2020 college season. That injury caused him to miss the 2020 campaign and forced him to return to Clemson for another year. Back in 2021, Ross has been unable to replicate the production he posted his freshman season, though much of that might have to do with Clemson's quarterback play. If a team can look past the medical issue, they may find a diamond in the rough with Ross.
Predicted Team - Las Vegas Raiders
After a successful college career, it's time for Desmond Ridder to take his talents to the NFL. Ridder is a tall, lanky, mobile quarterback who doesn't have flashy, elite traits that pop on film. That said, he's been a consistent producer in college, and he should have a chance to start in the NFL eventually. Worst case scenario, Ridder becomes a long-term backup.
Predicted Team - Dallas Cowboys
A 5-star prospect coming out of high school, Zamir White was thought to follow in the path of Nick Chubb, Todd Gurley, and Sony Michel as talented NFL backs to come out of Georgia. Much like them, White suffered multiple knee injuries that have waylayed his career to this point. Healthy for part of 2020 and all of 2021, White could find a home in the NFL if his knee injuries haven't completely sapped his athleticism. The combine will likely be a key factor for where he gets drafted.
Predicted Team - Chicago Bears
Another transfer player who excelled in his new environment, Wan'Dale Robinson, exploded onto the scene for Kentucky this season. He's reeled in 85 balls for 1067 yards and seven touchdowns thus far and is a threat to take it to the house whenever he hits the open field. A downfield burner, Robinson would excel in best-ball leagues and would have the potential to be a boom-bust receiver on any Dynasty Fantasy Football roster.
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