Seattle’s quarterback room consists of Drew Lock, Geno Smith, and Jacob Eason. Neither Levi Lewis nor Kaleb Eleby will emerge out of training camp as the successor to Russell Wilson, but why couldn’t they make the 53? Levi Lewis has mobility (1,088 career rushing yards and 14 career rushing touchdowns) and experience operating a run-first offense. Lewis fits how Seattle wants to run (key word: run) their offense and likely has the edge between him and Eleby of making the 53. It will be an uphill climb for either of them.
There were 262 names called during the weekend of the 2022 NFL Draft, but those aren’t the only players who make the transition to the pros. Every year there are undrafted players who make an impact and become marquee names after the NFL overlooked them. 2022 surely won’t be an exception, so it’s worth tracking where these guys land. Every AFC undrafted free agent among fantasy football-relevant positions is listed below.
Justyn Ross led a national-champion team that also boasted Tee Higgins, Hunter Renfrow, Amari Rodgers, and Travis Etienne in receiving yards as a true freshman with 1,000. Per Dwain McFarland of PFF, Ross’ career 2.99 yards per route run was the best in the 2022 wide receiver class. He only went undrafted because of a spinal fusion surgery before his junior season. Ross is a great wide receiver project. If he makes the team, he has the chance to work his way onto the same field with Patrick Mahomes. If that happens, he will be very fantasy relevant.
Trey McBride will have to compete for playing time as a rookie, especially after the Cardinals signed Zach Ertz to a healthy contract in free agency. But the news that DeAndre Hopkins will miss the first six games of the season should open up opportunities for McBride, as well as the newly acquired Marquise Brown, behind Ertz in the Cardinals’ passing attack. I’m not saying he’s going to be this year’s Kyle Pitts. But could he be this year’s Pat Freiermuth? It’s possible.
Greg Dulcich’s workout metrics were OK without being exceptional. He was above the 63rd-percentile in all the major Workout Metrics, including a 99.1 Speed Score. With Okwuegbunam, Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, and Denver’s desire to run the ball, it would be astonishing if Dulcich was a major contributor as a rookie. But his being drafted as early as he was should serve as a check against going overboard on Albert O in fantasy circles.
Saquon Barkley was a slight worry in the pre-draft process. New coaching staffs can take teams in new directions, but it appears to be another chance for Barkley. This new coaching staff is intent on using him as a receiver. Barkley participated in mini-camp, and looks to be back to full health. The Giants made no actions during the NFL Draft that show they are anything less than fully confident in him.
Buffalo passed on Breece Hall in the first round, but added James Cook in the second with the No. 63 overall pick. The younger brother of Vikings star RB Dalvin, Cook will have an immediate role as a receiver out of the backfield. Last season, he had 27 receptions and four receiving TDs for a loaded Georgia offense and averaged over 6.0 yards per carry. Singletary is in the final year of his contract, and it is easy to see Cook as a player who will gain a lot of value throughout the season.
Are the Chicago Bears trying to get Justin Fields killed? Chicago’s 74.5-percent Protection Rate with Fields under center ranked No. 33 among qualified quarterbacks. The Bears are bad and will likely have plenty of garbage time for Fields to exploit, but it’s hard to get excited about him for fantasy this season with how pedestrian his supporting cast is. At least Darnell Mooney, Cole Kmet, and David Montgomery will be fed extensively.
Perhaps A.J. Brown’s arrival convinces Jalen Hurts and the Eagles coaching staff to let it fly all over the field and more often. But in a low-volume passing offense with a quarterback who is still improving as a passer, loves to run, and has other very capable pass-catchers to feed as well, it’s fair to wonder. Brown still has WR1 upside. But it is going to be harder to tap into that upside as currently constituted in Philadelphia than it was when he was in Tennessee.
Kenny Pickett ultimately got the draft capital and landing spot anybody would’ve wanted from this pedestrian quarterback class. He may not be a fantasy superstar. But he’s going to be the Steelers quarterback of the future, will start games sooner than later, and has a superb cast of weapons. He’s going to be fantasy relevant soon. Even if it’s without as juicy a ceiling as most other first-round quarterback prospects.
Rashod Bateman gave a glimpse of his brilliance during his rookie season, and it was enough for the Ravens to not only trade Hollywood Brown, but NOT bring in another receiver during the draft. Bateman was as stellar a draft prospect as anybody in last year’s stacked class and now has the chance to show it. There might not have been a bigger winner from the draft weekend.
Devin Singletary played the best football of his career down the stretch and into the playoffs as Buffalo made their run to the AFC title game. But this offseason, they attempted to sign J.D. McKissic. They did add Duke Johnson. But as it stands, Singletary is the primary back in one of the NFL’s better offenses. The Bills have been linked to the draft’s top RB, Breece Hall, with their No. 25 overall pick. This would crush Singletary’s value. The Bills also have picks No. 56 and No. 89, but those two could be less threatening, with Hall and Kenneth Walker most likely off the board.
Rashaad Penny, a former first-round draft pick, played the best football of his injury-plagued career to finish last season. He’s now in a great spot to see a ton of volume in 2022. The offense could struggle. A LOT. But Penny will see all the carries he can handle, especially with Chris Carson’s injury concerns. If he survives the draft, he should rise up redraft ranks and be a cheap source of RB production in dynasty. This could all change if Seattle drafts one of the draft’s top RB prospects at No. 38 or No. 39.
I am back with the final iteration of the 2022 NFL Mock Draft series, many hours of grinding, and months of prospecting. I have entered the below mock into the HuddleReport.com Mock Draft Challenge. Just know while perusing through, the Mock Draft Challenge is scored based on 1pt for each player that is selected in […]
With the 2022 NFL draft looming, many fantasy managers are looking to rookie drafts to replenish rosters. Breece Hall, Treylon Burks, and more headline this year’s draft class. But not all top rookies will be immediate booms for fantasy purposes. Amongst the teams making Day 1 and 2 selections, there are a few that provide great situations for incoming rookie playmakers. In this piece, I discuss the teams who will be fantastic spots for the top rookie playmakers in fantasy.
Green Bay has five selections on the first two days of the NFL draft, including two first round picks. It has prime opportunity to snag a top WR; with the likes of Garrett Wilson, Drake London, and Treylon Burks generating buzz to go in round 1. Any top selection contains the alpha traits to command a heavy Target Share and has the advantage of playing with an MVP, boosting the future rookie playmaker’s stock further. A top rookie receiving playmaker will be a smash for fantasy purposes.
The Jets are in on what seems to be a small batch of players, Garrett Wilson Kayvon Thibodeaux, Sauce Gardner, and Drake London. Joe Douglas takes Thibodeaux and 4 and comes back for the Wide Reciever at no. 10 with Wilson.