We are two weeks removed from the 2022 NFL Draft. It is an exciting time for fantasy football managers as the 2022 NFL rookies have finally fallen into place. Now, especially for those who play in dynasty formats, it’s about time to carefully select these players in upcoming rookie drafts.
You may have a 2022 NFL rookie draft this weekend or sometime in the near future. Some leagues draft rookies immediately following the NFL Draft. Whenever your league does decide to draft, it’s important to do as much research as possible, in a likely short amount of time, before adding the 2022 rookies to your roster.
Below, I lay out a three-round mock draft of the 2022 NFL rookie class. If your rookie draft is already behind you, let this rookie draft be a comparison tool, as well as an additional resource for your 2022 redraft fantasy football leagues. More importantly, if you have a rookie draft coming up, let this be your guide toward making the best picks possible!
For the purpose of this mock rookie draft, each pick is with consideration points per reception (PPR) scoring, as well as a superflex roster for a 12-team league. Make sure to see where these rookies stack up in the updated Fantrax dynasty rankings!
Mocking Up a 2022 NFL Rookie Draft for Dynasty Fantasy Football Leagues
1.01 – Breece Hall, Running Back, New York Jets
By selecting Hall with the 36th-overall pick, the Jets finally have themselves a running back capable of logging 250 or more touches this season and beyond. Le’Veon Bell is the last New York Jet running back to do so in 2019. Breece Hall is the clear-cut top pick of all 2022 rookies in dynasty rookie drafts. For most dynasty fantasy football managers, he fills the biggest hole in rosters at the running back position. Hall is not only going to get force-fed most of the carries with the Jets, but he should keep defenses honest, easing up the pressure on quarterback, Zach Wilson. With an improving offense, Hall should see a decent amount of scoring opportunities, as well. Take him with the first pick and don’t think twice about it.
1.02 – Kenneth Walker III, Running Back, Seattle Seahawks
It’s clear that the Seattle Seahawks want to focus on running the football. Kenneth Walker III walks into one of the best scenarios of any 2022 rookie this season. Although Seattle is bringing Rashaad Penny back on a one-year deal, he has an extensive injury history. Additionally, veteran, Chris Carson, is no guarantee to play this season for the Seahawks, or football for that matter, after suffering a season-ending neck injury last season. That leaves Walker in a sweet spot to log most of this team’s carries. He runs hard and can make defenders misses as he glides side-to-side across the field.
Unfortunately, the Seahawks rank dead last in offensive plays run per game last season. I don’t expect that to improve with Geno Smith or Drew Lock under center. If the Seahawks fall behind in games, they’ll be forced to throw the ball. Walker isn’t very well-known for his pass-catching role or ability. Still, he fits this team’s scheme. Walker is a worthy second pick in rookie drafts for a team in search of a rock-solid running back for years to come.
1.03 – Drake London, Wide Receiver, Atlanta Falcons
If you are a dynasty manager who doesn’t necessarily need a running back, then look no further than Drake London. He has the best combination of talent and fantasy-friendly landing spot amongst other rookies at the wide receiver position. Ahead of the 2022 season, the Falcons are without Calvin Ridley, serving a one-year suspension, and also lost Russell Gage to the Buccaneers in free agency.
That leaves London, 31-year-old Cordarelle Patterson, and tight end, Kyle Pitts, as the top receiving options for newly acquired quarterback, Marcus Mariota. London is a complete mismatch for opposing defenses. He will likely dominate in the red zone and is a good bet to win a ton of contested catches. Last, but not least, if rookie quarterback, Desmond Ridder, slides in to start sooner than later, he will likely look London’s way as a trustworthy, big-body option. I like London to see over 100 targets in his rookie season.
1.04 – Treylon Burks, Wide Receiver, Tennessee Titans
There is a handful of players that could come off of the board with this pick in rookie drafts. The reason I have Treylon Burks here is for the value he presents for the 2022 fantasy football season in addition to the clarity of his future with the Titans. It’s no secret that Burks is going to draw A.J. Brown comparisons. Not only does he have a similar size and skillset to Brown, but he was selected with the 18th-overall pick that the Titans received from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for Brown. It’s obvious Tennessee saw an opportunity to retain quality at the position while prolonging having to pay big money.
Burks should see a healthy dose of volume in his first season, though it is a run-first team with Derrick Henry coming out of the backfield. As far as Burks’ career arch, it’s possible he is catching passes from fellow rookie, Malik Willis, as soon as next season. That little bit of clarity, on top of his own ability, gives Burks a slight edge over rookie wide receivers going off the board after him in this mock draft.
1.05 – Garrett Wilson, Wide Receiver, New York Jets
Wilson is the fifth rookie receiver to go in this mock draft. That’s after going 10th-overall in the 2022 NFL Draft and the second receiver off of the board. The Ohio State touchdown machine is one of the latest offensive weapons to be added to Zach Wilson’s arsenal. If it weren’t for the multitude of young playmakers in New York, I would be taking Wilson ahead of the aforementioned Burks in rookie drafts. Let this be a reminder that you are welcome to do so! I just think Burks’ role is going to be much larger from the get-go with the Titans.
Garrett Wilson is going to be a problem for defenses when he has the ball in his hands. His playmaking ability after the catch is the best amongst this rookie wide receiver group. It’s where he will likely rack up most of his fantasy points. Wilson’s skillset also figures to provide the Jets with another quality option to run sweeps from time to time. He can separate from defenders, get downfield, and come down with the 50/50 balls. We’ll be talking about the Wilson-to-Wilson connection in no time.
1.06 – Jameson Williams, Wide Receiver, Detroit Lions
If you have the fifth-overall pick in your rookie draft, then you likely missed the fantasy playoffs. There’s a chance that’s due to an overwhelming amount of injuries last season. If it’s not, and you are in the process of rebuilding your roster, then look no further than Jameson Williams with this pick. It’s fair to say Williams, sans the January 2022 ACL tear, is the best rookie receiver in this draft class.
Sadly, though, the injury is a reality, and we have to take it into consideration. When Williams does retake the field, his speed will be an asset to the Lions offense. I’m not expecting Williams to return any time before November, if at all this season. With that said, he will probably break out next year. It’s yet to be determined who Detroit’s quarterback will be in 2023. That’s a bit unnerving, but nevertheless, you need to get Williams stashed on your Injured Reserve or bench with this rookie draft pick. He is the next big home run hitter for fantasy football.
1.07 – Chris Olave, Wide Receiver, New Orleans Saints
Sometimes teams tell you they love a player without actually telling you they love a player. There is an argument to be made that the Saints love rookie, Chris Olave, too much. The Saints made deals with both the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Commanders before and during the 2022 NFL Draft. When all is said and done, it has been determined that New Orleans moved a second, two thirds, and a fourth-round pick in order to move up to the 12th-overall pick to select Olave. It may be worth it as he is a near-perfect fit opposite Michael Thomas in this offense.
While Thomas, upon his return, is likely to serve as the possession receiver while Olave’s superior route running and ability to get downfield should provide big-play potential. What makes Olave more interesting for the 2022 fantasy football season is Thomas’ reported slow-moving return to football activities after ankle surgery. If he can’t get going soon, Olave is the clear-cut wide receiver on this offense. That makes him an enticing rookie selection, not only for dynasty formats but redraft as well.
1.08 – Kenny Pickett, Quarterback, Pittsburgh Steelers
The first rookie quarterback slipping to the eighth pick in this mock draft tells you all you need to know about the new guys at the position. Pickett isn’t as sure of a thing as Trevor Lawrence of last season or Joe Burrow the year before. He does, however, have plenty of options to get the ball to in this Steelers offense. There is a very real scenario where Pickett “wins” the job over Mitchell Trubisky this summer. If that were the case, Pickett already brings a better arm than Ben Roethlisberger to the table, which is good news for each and every receiver.
The downside to Pickett’s game is his tendency to turn the ball over. He is known to hold onto the ball longer than most quarterbacks as he progresses through his reads. I think if Pickett does improve upon that, we could see him checking down to Najee Harris quite a bit. Regardless, it’s going to be difficult for Pickett to step right in and rise to any sort of fantasy relevancy, but he will always have a safe QB2 floor within this offense. As Pittsburgh improves their offensive line, he will only continue to benefit.
1.09 – Skyy Moore, Wide Receiver, Kansas City Chiefs
We are at the point with the rookie wide receivers where the value enhancement is attributed more to landing spot and quarterback play than anything else. Skyy Moore is the biggest beneficiary of that. Following one of the bigger offseason splashes, the Tyreek Hill trade, Kansas City is clearly moving forward while retooling Patrick Mahomes’ pass catchers. After adding Juju Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling in free agency, Moore joins the group and figures to be all over the field.
He is agile, with great hands, and should get the ball quick from Mahomes then be on the move. I do appreciate that offensive coordinator, Eric Bienemy, is sticking around in K.C. because I think he will really unlock Moore as a part of this offense. He isn’t going to be streaking downfield for deep bombs from Mahomes. Leave that to Valdes-Scantling. Instead, I expect Moore to operate underneath, and be a favorite, quick shot option in the red zone. It will be hard to carve out a large role with the Chiefs right away, but Moore’s career trajectory could possibly mimic that of Hunter Renfrow’s in Las Vegas with Mahomes as his quarterback.
1.10 – Christian Watson, Wide Receiver, Green Bay Packers
Speaking of rookie wide receivers who benefit from their landing spot, how about Christian Watson landing in Green Bay with reigning NFL MVP, Aaron Rodgers at quarterback? Doesn’t get much better than that. Although he is a first-round selection from the NFL Draft, the Packers did trade up and take Watson with the second-overall pick in the second round last month. Watson, like the rest of this receiving corps, will spend all year trying their best to fill the shoes of Davante Adams, arguably the league’s best wide receiver for the last three seasons, at least.
If you lower your expectations, you’ll come to appreciate Watson as his own player and what lies ahead for him in Green Bay. He has a large frame and long arms standing tall at 6’4″ and weighing in at 208 pounds. He is easy to spot when he’s lined up on the field. If he can quickly develop a rapport with Rodgers, then fire him up as a potential WR3 with upside this fantasy football season. I think, however, that this offense will quite literally run through running backs, A.J. Dillon, and Aaron Jones, for the most part. Rodgers did sign an extension to stick around for a few more years so you can hang your hat on that when drafting Watson in dynasty rookie drafts.
1.11 – James Cook, Running Back, Buffalo Bills
Nine picks after Kenneth Walker III and we finally have another rookie running back selection. Most fantasy football managers and NFL fans will know Cook as the brother of Minnesota Vikings running, Dalvin Cook. Those unfamiliar with James Cook need to know now that comparing James to Dalvin is a waste of time. Dalvin is a more complete back, and specifically for fantasy football, entered the league positioned for a workhorse role with the Minnesota Vikings.
James Cook enters the league on one of the best offenses in football in Buffalo. For the 2022 season especially, Cook doesn’t project to have a large role. He figures to be a third-down, passing catching option week-to-week, with probably a handful of carries to his name. I would consider him the “handcuff” to Devin Singletary, with potential for an expanding role as the season progresses. Be mindful that Josh Allen is going to get his carries at quarterback, too. With a limited number of touches to show from his time at the University of Georgia, Cook has a lot of tread on his tires. I like him a lot in 2023 and beyond.
1.12 – Isaiah Spiller, Running Back, Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers, after missing the playoffs last season, are all of a sudden 2022 preseason Super Bowl contenders following an impressive offseason. Of the many improvements this team made, adding rookie running back, Isaiah Spiller is one that will probably get overlooked. While I love me some Austin Ekeler, especially for fantasy football, the L.A. offense lacked a clock-killing, brute force out of the backfield, especially late in games. Enter 6’1″ 215-pound Spiller to the mix.
He isn’t the fastest rookie running back in the class. Spiller also isn’t an NFL Combine standout, either. However, he does have three seasons at Texas A&M with 174 or more carries and 200 or more total touches. His career average of 5.53 yards per carry is what jumps out to me. While Ekeler is a proven threat to run and catch passes out of the backfield, it became clear, especially in the extended season last year, that mixing in other backs, like Justin Jackson, was beneficial to the offense’s efficiency. Jackson is still a free agent and Spiller figures to see the second-most touches in this backfield behind Ekeler now.
If you have Ekeler on your roster, in this range of rookie draft picks, then Spiller is a no-brainer selection here. Ekeler won’t be around too much longer and Spiller is capable of carrying the load.
2.01 – Malik Willis, Quarterback, Tennessee Titans
Like the 2022 NFL Draft, Malik Willis falls out of the first round in this mock draft, though not as far. He is now the heir apparent to Ryan Tannehill. Barring an injury to Tannehill, Willis will spend the entire 2022 season on the bench. When he does get the opportunity to start, he offers a big arm and upside to score fantasy points running the ball.
2.02 – Desmond Ridder, Quarterback, Atlanta Falcons
Ridder has a better chance than Willis to take the field this year if Marcus Mariota struggles or succumbs to injury. If he does, he will have Cordarelle Patterson, Drake London, and Kyle Pitts at his disposal. That’s just as good, if not better, as what Willis has in Tennessee, though not quite what Pickett has in Pittsburgh. Ridder may not fulfill his promise of a Super Bowl in Atlanta, but has a solid chance as any rookie quarterback to provide fantasy value.
2.03 – Dameon Pierce, Running Back, Houston Texans
After fading the running back free agent market, the Houston Texans look to rookie, Dameon Pierce, as a potential lead back for the 2022 season. In 2021, five different Houston running backs account for 366 of the team’s carries Pierce is a strong runner who Davis Mills can trust to churn out yards and protect the football. This landing spot is juicy from a volume standpoint. He can keep pace as an RB2 next season as he competes with older backs on the roster for carries.
2.04 – Tyler Allgeier, Running Back, Atlanta Falcons
I guarantee Allgeier comes off of the board in your rookie drafts around here. His value continues to soar following the news of the Falcons’ release of Mike Davis. I’m here to tell you that this is too high for Allgeier. The temptation is very real, especially if you have this high of a rookie pick in the second round with a need at running back. However, Allgeier is still going to forego touches to veterans Damien Williams and even Cordarelle Patterson mixing in. He is a fifth-round pick for a reason. Don’t expect much from him this fantasy football season.
2.05 – George Pickens, Wide Receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers
George Pickens is the best player available at this point of this rookie mock draft. On one hand, he is a big receiver who can make plays downfield. Pickens is a second-round pick heading to a franchise that scouts receivers better than anyone. On the other hand, he does have injury concerns and will have to fight for targets amongst Dionte Johnson, Chase Claypool, Pat Freiermuth, and even Najee Harris this season. Stash him and his high ceiling.
2.06 – Zamir White, Running Back, Las Vegas Raiders
White is a great value to snag at this point in any rookie draft. He’s the lead back from the University of Georgia and saw far more run than James Cook. Yes, that James Cook, who comes off the board nine picks earlier in this rookie draft. With news that the Raiders are declining to pick up Josh Jacobs’ fifth-year option, there is a legitimate chance that White takes on an early-down role in this offense as soon as next season. You could do worse than acquiring the potential lead back on a team with Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, and Darren Waller.
2.07 – Matt Corral, Quarterback, Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers are desperate for a quarterback to lead their team to the postseason. It’s been too much trial and error of Sam Darnold, P.J. Walker, and even Cam Newton. Corral offers a dual-threat option under center but lacks a big arm. That’s good news for Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore. I’m fully expecting a preseason trade for a veteran, like Jimmy Garoppolo, that puts Corral on the backburner for a bit.
2.08 – Jahan Dotson, Wide Receiver, Washington Commanders
Dotson should probably go a bit higher in rookie drafts, but will likely drop due to his size and lackluster offense. Make no mistake, though. Dotson is the fifth rookie wide receiver to come off of the board in the 2022 NFL Draft. His route running is not be taken lightly and he can play outside or in the slot for the Commanders. Though he might not see a ton of Carson Wentz’s targets, he will compliment Terry McLaurin nicely and open up cleaner opportunities for him. Dotson likely isn’t going to pay off fantasy dividends for another year or so, at least.
2.09 – Pierre Strong, Running Back, New England Patriots
Strong is the latest addition to a New England backfield that can never have enough backs. In their last five drafts, the Patriots have added Sony Michel, Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson, and now Strong. Michel was traded last offseason to the Los Angeles Rams. I wouldn’t put it past Bill Belichick to move Damien Harris next with how good Stevenson showed last season. Nevertheless, Strong joins a crowded backfield as a rookie. There’s a road to fantasy relevancy, but it’s a bumpy one.
2.10 – John Metchie, Wide Receiver, Houston Texans
John Metchie is a rookie out of the University of Alabama who winds up on a team with a major need for starting wide receivers. Outside of a late-season knee injury, Metchie is a top-rated pass catcher in this rookie draft class. He figures to compete for a massive target share with just Bradin Cooks opposite of him. If you need a wide receiver to plug in this year, I can understand reaching a bit higher for Metchie is rookie drafts. Especially if Cooks gets trade, which I would consider unlikely at this point, but you never know, then Metchie’s value absolutely skyrockets.
2.11 – Wan’Dale Robinson, Wide Receiver, New York Giants
This is one of the more confusing picks from the 2022 NFL Draft. Robinson plays similarly to Kadarius Toney, the Giants’ 2021 first-round selection. He is lightning quick and will probably play most of his snaps out of the slot. Given the injury history of this Giants wide receiver corps, Robinson could play more than expected in his rookie season. He could provide fantasy-friendly PPR value and is a fine choice to round out this round of this rookie draft.
2.12 – Alec Pierce, Wide Receiver, Indianapolis Colts
If there is a receiver to best replace veteran T.Y. Hilton’s deep threat skillset in this Colts offense, it’s Alec Pierce. I’m only interested in Michael Pittman Jr. in the Indy passing game, but Pierce could provide weekly home run potential.
3.01 – Sam Howell, Quarterback, Washington Commanders
If you are not in a superflex dynasty league, then Sam Howell should slide to the back-end of the third round or go left undrafted in rookie drafts. He isn’t very accurate and his pocket presence is subpar. This is a low-risk pick with potentially high reward for Washington. It’s an uphill battle to earn a roster spot on your fantasy football team.
3.02 – Trey McBride, Tight End, Arizona Cardinals
Trey McBride is the best tight end for fantasy football to come out of every 2022 rookie draft. Bittersweetly, he slides in on Arizona’s roster behind Zach Ertz. Great news for McBride’s development, but bad news for fantasy football managers who want tight end production ASAP.
3.03 – Jalen Tolbert, Wide Receiver, Dallas Cowboys
Be like the Cowboys and wait to draft Tolbert if you can in your rookie drafts. With Michael Gallup recovering from an ACL injury, Tolbert has a chance to earn vacated targets left behind primarily by Amari Cooper in this offense. He is likely more of a deep threat than a middle-of-the-field catch-and-run player for Dallas.
3.04 – Rachaad White, Running Back, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
White slides in as Ronald Jones Jr. exits this Tampa Bay backfield. This should still be the Leonard Fournette show, but he has a mildly concerning injury history. White is a good pass-catcher than would dominate touches if Fournette were to miss time at any point. A late-round rookie draft steal, if available, and you have room on your bench.
3.05 – Tyrion Davis-Price, Running Back, San Francisco 49ers
Davis-Price will mix in with Elijah Mitchell, Trey Sermon, and even Deebo Samuel for backfield touches in this 49ers offense. I’m not using any higher than a third-round pick in rookie drafts for a possible piece of this backfield.
3.06 – Khalil Shakir, Wide Receiver, Buffalo Bills
Shakir provides a good combination of size and speed out of the slot. With the Bills moving on from Cole Beasley, Shakir could work his way onto the field in a similar role. There is a major load of talent around Josh Allen, but if you want to get your hands on any share of it, then go with Shakir in the third-round of rookie drafts.
3.07 – Hassan Haskins, Running Back, Tennessee Titans
If you have Derrick Henry on your dynasty roster, then Haskins should be a priority pick in rookie drafts. He is a power back that is as close as you can get to replacing Henry if he were to miss time. Haskins is fresh off of a 270-carry season with 1,327 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns.
3.08 – Justyn Ross, Wide Receiver, Kansas City Chiefs
This is one of the riskier picks of any rookie draft, but it’s a low risk if you use your third-round pick. Yes, I know it was 2018, but Ross posted a 46/1,000/9 receiving line as a freshman. Since then, he’s battled a congenital fusion of his neck and spine. It’s the reason he went undrafted last month. Who better to bounce back with than Patrick Mahomes as your quarterback?
3.09 – Brian Robinson, Jr., Running Back, Washington Commanders
Robinson’s presence further dings Antonio Gibson’s fantasy value in this backfield. He is merely a handcuff pick at running back this late in rookie drafts.
3.10 – David Bell, Wide Receiver, Cleveland Browns
David Bell is not a very exciting pick for rookie drafts. He is one of the slower wide receivers in this draft class. His saving grace is the vacancy of targets left behind by Odell Beckham, Jr. and Jarvis Landry in this offense. He is a deeper league bench option for 2022 redraft leagues and a stash for dynasty teams.
3.11 – Tyquan Thornton, Wide Receiver, New England Patriots
For a team that could use a boost at wide receiver, Thornton really doesn’t add much. This is a run-first team that gets a deep threat, and that’s it, out of Thornton. Good news for the pass catchers who are already on the roster.
3.12 – Carson Strong, Quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles
Strong is one of the more talented undrafted free agent rookie signings of this draft class. He has a big arm, but needed a cartilage replacement in his right knee. Gardner Minshew is the backup quarterback for now behind Jalen Hurts, but if Strong is healthy and can impress, he’ll earn a spot. He’s a late third-round stash for super flex rookie drafts.