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Andrew Erickson’s 2022 Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings (Top-75)

Mar 21, 2022


 
2022 NFL Draft interest continues to heat up as the calendar inches closer to April. Free agency has run its initial course and as a result, the newly released NFL mock drafts shift the value of dozens of high-end rookies.

I’ve tried to stay ahead of the rookie buzz with updates to my 2022 fantasy football rankings, 2022 NFL Big Board and personal NFL mock drafts.

But the time has finally come to put together my own fantasy football Rookie Big Board. The following rankings will include all positions and can be used as a guide in both dynasty rookie drafts and best-ball leagues.

These rankings will have to be updated once landing spots are determined in the draft, but getting familiar with the entire class now will make re-evaluating that much easier down the road.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into my top-75 rookies in the 2022 NFL Draft class with insights on the top-50 prospects. Giddy up.

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1. Breece Hall (RB – Iowa State)

Running back Breece Hall was my No.1-ranked rookie in non-Superflex formats heading into the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine, and his elite showing solidified his status atop the rookie rankings. The Iowa State product measured in at 5-foot-11 and 217 pounds, which was slightly different than his listed playing size in school (6-foot-1, 210 pounds).

But his slightly stockier build did nothing to impede the Iowa State Cyclones’ on-field performance because he lit the testing drills ablaze: 4.39 40-yard dash (93rd percentile), 40″ vertical jump (94th percentile) and 126″ broad jump (91st percentile).

Hall’s 116.85 size-adjusted speed score was nearly identical to former Dallas Cowboys running back, DeMarco Murray.

Pairing Hall’s athleticism with an off-the-charts college production profile – over 4,500 yards from scrimmage and 50 touchdowns – makes him my 1.01 in dynasty rookie drafts.

Consider his abilities as a slick receiver out of the backfield – 82 catches over three seasons, just two drops in his last two seasons – and Hall provides immediate fantasy football appeal. He has the requisite size and all the tools to be a three-down running back who never leaves the field.

2. Garrett Wilson (WR – Ohio State)

After enjoying a breakout sophomore campaign in 2020 that saw Garrett Wilson earn a 34% dominator rating – which considers the number of touchdowns and receiving yards a player commands within their offense – at 20 years old, the Ohio State product ran it back in impressive fashion in 2021.

The Buckeye scored 12 receiving touchdowns, compiled over 1,000 receiving yards and generated the FBS’ 12th-highest passer rating when targeted (141.7). 

He also proved to NFL teams that he was more than just a shifty slot receiver, averaging 3.00 yards per route run despite operating on the outside on 83% of his routes run, which nearly matched his same yards per route run average from 2020 when he spent most of his time inside. 

And although Wilson’s 2021 24% dominator rating was less than his sophomore campaign, that’s really due to Ohio State’s talent in the wide receiver room. He was competing for targets with senior Chris Olave and sophomore standout Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who led the nation in PFF receiving grade (91.7). 

Going beyond the box score reveals that Wilson is a versatile route runner who can align anywhere on the field and still win.

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The Buckeye wide receiver also tested extremely well with a 4.38 40-time (90th percentile). He has solidified his status as one of the top WRs in the class with impressive testing numbers in addition to his savvy route running.

3. Treylon Burks (WR – ARK)

Treylon Burks finished first in his class in yards per route run (3.57) while also ranking No. 1 in yards per route run when lined up outside (6.08) among all receivers. It’s an encouraging sign that a size-speed specimen delivered when aligned on the perimeter, as he spent 77% of his career in the slot.

His 8.5 yards after the catch rank 14th among 169 qualifying wide receivers (92nd percentile) over the past two seasons.

And R-E-L-A-X about Burks’ 4.55 40-yard dash time and less than stellar jumping numbers. The Arkansas wide receiver weighs 225 pounds so asking for anything in the sub 4.4s is expecting D.K. Metcalf athleticism. He isn’t the freak athlete Metcalf is, but he’s still a top-3 wide receiver in this rookie class.

His elite college production and top-notch 32% dominator rating speak for themselves.

Burks remains a weapon waiting to be unleashed by an NFL offense. And I hope that the market sours on him in both best ball and dynasty formats post-combine so he can be acquired at a better value.  My favorite NFL comp for Burks is Josh Gordon.

4. Jameson Williams (WR – ALA)

Alabama’s Jameson Williams can be the extra firepower that a team needs to get over the top after a monster season as the Crimson Tide’s No. 1 receiver.

Williams commanded a 31% dominator rating by hanging 1,561 receiving yards, 20 yards per reception and 15 touchdowns – all achievements that ranked top-three among his 2022 NFL Draft class. His gargantuan yardage totals were fueled by his ability to create yards after the catch and downfield. He finished top-seven among all college wide receivers in yards after the catch per reception (9.3) and receiving yards on 20-plus air yard throws.

Williams has shades of Will Fuller and Mike Wallace to his game; a big-play waiting to happen.

5. Drake London (WR – USC)

Drake London boasts all the skills to be an alpha possession receiver at the next level. The 6-foot-4 and 219-pound towering wide receiver only played in eight games due to an ankle injury but made every game count. He commanded a 38% target share and led all WRs in contested catches (19). London concluded the year third in yards per route run (3.52) in his draft class.

The USC product has also yet to turn 21. His game as a big-bodied wideout echoes a spry Kenny Golladay and/or Michael Floyd.

6. Kenneth Walker III (RB – Michigan State)

Kenneth Walker III made a massive splash upon transferring to Michigan State in 2021, leading his class in rushing yards (1,634), missed forced tackles (89) and explosive runs (46) en route to winning the Doak Walker Award –  an honor bestowed upon college football’s best running back.

His success earned him a 34% dominator rating, which considers the number of touchdowns and receiving yards a player commands within their offense.

The number is solid considering Walker commanded just a 4% target share in his junior year, catching 13 passes for 80 receiving yards. 

His massive accomplishments this past season were inevitable after he rushed for 13 touchdowns as PFF’s 15th-best graded running back in 2020 as a sophomore at Wake. 

With the second-most missed tackles forced over the past two seasons – trailing only Iowa State’s Breece Hall – and third-most rushing yards after contact, Walker possesses the groundwork to be an effective rusher at the next level. Breaking tackles and creating after contact in college translates to the pros extremely well, as seen most recently by Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams.

Williams led the nation in missed tackle rate (48%) in his final season at North Carolina and would go on to lead the NFL in the same metric at the conclusion of his stellar rookie season. 

Elusiveness is just one trait Walker has in common with Williams, as both skipped their senior years to enter the draft. Declaring early is a positive sign for a running back in dynasty formats, as they save themselves from another year of wear and tear. 

The lack of work in the passing game is really the only major blemish on Walker’s prospect profile because his testing at the NFL scouting combine was also exceptional. He weighed in at 211 pounds and ran a 4.38 40-yard dash (96th percentile). 

7. Chris Olave (WR – Ohio State)

Chris Olave can separate from defenders at an elite level downfield. The former Buckeye wrapped up his 2021 season in the 96th percentile in separation versus single coverage and caught seven touchdowns on throws of 20-plus air yards.

Olave cemented himself as a top-20 selection by blazing a 4.39 40-yard dash (90th percentile) at the NFL Combine.

He draws parallels to Calvin Ridley with his route running ability.

8. Isaiah Spiller (RB – Texas A&M)

Age-adjusted production is a critical metric for dynasty managers, and no running back is better there than Isaiah Spiller. Since Day 1 at Texas A&M, Spiller has been the lead dog for the Aggies. As a true freshman in 2019, he scored 10 rushing touchdowns and finished 16th in the nation in yards after contact per attempt en route to a 22% dominator rating.

The power running back capped off his first year in impressive fashion with back-to-back seasons of 1,000 rushing yards and 100 missed tackles. Spiller also displayed receiving prowess, commanding at least an 8% target share and an average of 25 receptions per season.

With an all-encompassing skill set and desirable size – 6-feet and 217 pounds – Spiller should be a solid producer at the next level, although his lack of top-notch speed could keep him from being elite. He had only eight carries of 20-plus yards in 2021.

The testing numbers at the NFL combine also did no favors to his draft stock. He elected to not run the 40-yard dash on Indy’s fast track and laid an egg in the jumping drills. 7th percentile vertical jump and 22nd percentile broad jump will make it tougher for him to demand high Day 2 draft capital.

Spiller reportedly went through drills with an injury, which may explain the poor showing. Either way, he will get an opportunity to boost his numbers at Texas A&M’s pro day on March 22nd. 

9. George Pickens (WR – UGA)

The Georgia Bulldog WR broke out as a true 18-year old freshman, finishing 2019 as PFF’s the 17th-highest-graded receiver in the nation (88.0) – ahead of future NFL wideouts like Jerry Jeudy, Justin Jefferson, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle.

His 2.64 yards per route run were identical to Jefferson’s. George Pickens‘ unbelievable first year generated a 27% dominator rating – the No. 1 age-adjusted mark among the WRs in this draft class.

And it’s so clear that Pickens plays with a dog mentality. Part of his highlight tape is him putting opposing cornerbacks on the ground in the run game.

Injuries plagued Pickens’ draft stock during the college season, but he looks to be fully healthy based on his testing at the NFL Combine. I will be drafting a lot of Pickens in my dynasty rookie drafts.

10. Skyy Moore (WR – Western Michigan) 

Skyy Moore first played wide receiver in college after playing quarterback and defensive back in high school. The transition couldn’t have worked out better in hindsight, considering the Western Michigan Bronco has entered the Day 2 NFL Draft conversation after an extremely productive college career.

Moore broke out as a true freshman with a 20% dominator rating, catching 51 passes for 802 yards and three touchdowns. He took a backseat in his sophomore season to Seattle Seahawks second-rounder D’Wayne Eskridge in 2020, but he still posted a modest 20% dominator rating amid the stiff competition.

He would more than make up for a so-so second year in his final season at Western Michigan, finishing as PFF’s third-highest graded wide receiver in the FBS (91.6) with a 41% dominator rating to boot.

His 3.40 yards per route run ranked in the 99th percentile among 2022 draft-eligible wide receivers over the past three seasons. The slippery playmaker – tied for first with 26 forced missed tackles in 2021 – should hear his name called in the second round after an impressive combine outing.

Moore ran a 4.41 40-yard dash (82nd percentile) at 195 pounds. He also jumped 125″ in the broad jump (77th percentile) and 34.5″ (38th percentile) in the vertical jump.

His athletic numbers were better than expected. And they way he plays bigger than his measurables would suggest, are eerily similar to former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith.

11. Christian Watson (WR – North Dakota State)

Christian Watson was the talk of the town as a standout in the 2022 Senior Bowl. The North Dakota State prospect showed that his 35% dominator rating and No. 1-ranked 4.33 yards per route run were no fluke, even if they came against an easy schedule of opponents.

And he continued on his draft stock ascension with a blazing 4.36 40-yard dash (91st percentile) during on-field testing. That speed at Watson’s size – 6-foot-4 and 208 pounds – is absolutely ludicrous.

Combine that with his 38.5″ vertical (84th percentile) and 136″ broad jump (98th percentile) – all that’s left is calling the dude a certified stud that has a chance to see Round 1 draft capital.

He looks like DeVante Parker on the field, before all the lower body injuries.

12. Rachaad White (RB – Arizona State)

The premier pass-catching specialist in the 2022 NFL Draft Class is Rachaad White. The Arizona State product ranked first in his class in receiving yards, No. 1 in yards per route run (2.24) and second in receptions (43). 

His 16% target share is absolutely bonkers for a running back at the college level, and it will do wonders for his draft capital.

The same sentiment can be made for White’s 31% dominator rating and 3.33 offensive yards per snap over the past two seasons. Both would have ranked in the top three in last year’s class.

His yards per snap and PFF receiving grade also both rank first among the class. White’s career receiving grade was superior to anybody from last year’s class as well.

After a strong showing at Senior Bowl week – PFF’s highest-graded rusher (74.9) – and at the NFL combine – White is soaring up the dynasty rookie rankings. The Sun Devil flaunted his explosiveness with a 38-inch vertical jump (86th percentile) and a 125-inch broad jump (87th percentile). 

Watch any clip of White from college and you will immediately be overwhelmed by shades of Arian Foster and Le’Veon Bell. White’s got great vision at the line of scrimmage to go along with extremely light feet. 

13. Malik Willis (QB – Liberty)

The Liberty signal-caller did wonders to his draft stock after an impressive week at the Senior Bowl. His 91.7 PFF passing grade throughout the Senior Bowl practices was the highest of the week.

Willis averaged almost 100 rushing yards per game over the last two seasons, putting him in elite company with some of college football’s best rushers. His ability to add value with his legs will grant him extra time to develop as a passer at the NFL level.

Combining his mobility with a strong downfield arm – fourth in PFF passing grade on throws of 20-plus air yards – is a recipe for fantasy football success.

14. Justyn Ross (WR – Clemson)

Justyn Ross looked the part of college football’s next superstar after a breakout freshman season. At 18 years old, Ross led the Clemson Tigers in receiving yards despite playing alongside older teammates Tee Higgins, Amari Rodgers and Hunter Renfrow who were future pros. He was PFF’s second-highest-graded WR in his first season (91.2).

The 6-foot-4 and 205-pound wideout followed up with an impressive sophomore campaign, leading the team in receptions (66) as Trevor Lawrence‘s most heavily targeted receiver.

Ross was well on his way to being a locked-and-loaded Round 1 selection for the 2021 NFL Draft, but a rare condition affecting his neck and spine forced him to miss the entire 2020 season.

He came back in 2021 to show that he was fully healthy, but an anemic Clemson offense that ranked 87th in PFF’s grading torpedoed his numbers. Only 64% of his targets were deemed catchable, which ranked in the 28th percentile.

If Ross can recapture his playmaking ability from 2018, he will be a steal for a team on Day 2. 

He’s an underrated route runner at his size, but not a contested-catch fiend. Reminds me a lot of Corey Davis because Ross is not particularly explosive. 

15. Dameon Pierce (RB – Florida)

Dameon Pierce took the title as PFF’s highest-graded running back in the FBS (92.0) despite seeing just 100 carries. The senior’s 39% missed tackle rate ranked second among the 2022 draft class. 

There’s no doubt Pierce’s freakish athleticism aided in his colossal rise in 2021. Bruce Feldman listed Pierce at No. 21 on his annual “College Football Freaks” list, which highlights the most athletically gifted players around the country. According to Feldman, Pierce squats 705 pounds, benches 390 pounds, has a 37-inch vertical jump and has been clocked at 4.50 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

However, the fact Pierce never fully took over Florida’s backfield does raise red flags. His 12% career dominator rating is eerily similar to Trey Sermon (12%) from last season, and Sermon struggled to separate himself from the pack in his rookie campaign. 

Even during his breakout senior season, the 5-foot-10 and 218-pound running back earned just a 22% dominator rating while sharing the backfield alongside fellow draft-eligible running back Malik Davis.

However, I am willing to offer some benefit of the doubt after Pierce never topped 106 carries in college. There may have been some underlying issue with former Gators head coach Dan Mullen that prevented Pierce from seeing a more featured role. Case in point: Pierce only had two games with double-digit carries in 2021, both of which came after Mullen was fired toward the end of the season. 

Pierce’s lackluster dominator rating doesn’t capture his coach’s potential ineptitude. The fact Pierce competed with NFL talent like Jordan Scarlett and La’Mical Perine very early in his college career paints a better picture of how his impact will be felt in years to come. 

His running style and body type bears striking resemblance to Patriots running back Damien Harris

16. Zamir White (RB – UGA)

Zamir White runs with strong intent and decisiveness at the line of scrimmage. He knows where to go and how to hit the hole. Solid explosiveness and burst; constantly get yardage after first contact. Elusive in space as a receiver.

The Georgia Bulldog is built like a three-down back at 6-feet and 214 pounds. Great testing measurables from the NFL Combine: 4.40 40-yard dash (93rd percentile) and 128″ in the broad jump (94th percentile).

White’s overall counting stats are not particularly great, but that’s because he split work with James Cook and Kenny McIntosh, as many Georgia backs often do. What matters more is White’s career three yards per snap – a mark that stacks up with the likes of Michael Carter from last year’s draft class. 

As PFF’s third-highest graded running back in the SEC last season, White is in strong contention to earn Day 2 draft capital – a threshold that is very important to hit for fantasy. 

NFL comp: Lamar Miller

17. Jahan Dotson (WR – Penn State)

While slightly undersized – 5-foot-10 and sub-180 pounds – Jahan Dotson packs a serious punch, as the Penn State product was a mega-producer in his final college season earning an absurd 43% dominator rating. 

He easily saved his best for last, finishing ninth in PFF receiving grade (87.2) and eighth in receptions among his 2022 draft-eligible classmates. Dotson’s sure-hands – 94th percentile career drop rate (2%) – will help him vacuum up targets at the next level, especially if he carves out a role as a team’s primary slot receiver. 

However, Dotson’s draft stock did not rise after testing results. These Penn State guys tend to be athletic freaks, but Dotson was underwhelming. He was vastly underweight and failed to pop in the drills despite being so much smaller.

4.43 40-yard dash (74th percentile), sub-60th percentile jumps and an abysmal 7.28 3-cone drill (9th percentile). 

Dotson’s a solid route runner and reliable receiver, but his ultimate upside doesn’t seem to be more than real-life WR2. Becoming Emmanuel Sanders might be his best-case scenario. 

18. David Bell (WR – Purdue)

It didn’t take long for David Bell to produce at the collegiate level. As an 18-year-old true freshman, Bell broke out with a 26% dominator rating, 1,035 receiving yards and 86 receptions. The Indianapolis native made the most of his opportunity with future second-round pick Rondale Moore sidelined with injury.

That’s the same script that played out the following year with Moore limited to just three games in a truncated COVID-19 season, as Bell posted a 44% dominator rating with a 32% target share in 2020.

His first two years at Purdue were utterly impressive, so it comes as no surprise that he blew up his junior year as the bonafide No. 1 in the Boilermakers’ offense. Bell finished third in the FBS in receiving yards on the outside (1,097), second in total forced missed tackles (25) and 10th in PFF receiving grade (86.9) among his draft class.

But there are elements to Bell’s game that might limit him at the next level. His 28% career contest-target percentage ranks seventh in the FBS over the past three seasons, which is concerning given his tweener size.

It also reflects poorly on Bell’s separation skills, which have not been great. His 44% separation percentage against single coverage ranks 76th out of 97 qualifying wide receivers (22nd percentile) since 2019.

His lack of athleticism is to blame for the red flags on his profile. At the combine, Bell posted a 33-inch vertical (21st percentile), 118″ broad jump (32nd percentile), 4.65 40-yard dash time (10th percentile), 7.14 3-cone drill (19th percentile) and 4.57 20-yard shuttle (2nd percentile). 

Not ideal for a wide receiver pegged to potentially sneak into the back-end of Day 1 or top of Day 2.

It’s not too surprising that at 6-foot-1 and 212 Bell wasn’t a burner by any means, but the lack of explosiveness in the jumping drills and short-area quickness isn’t ideal. 

19. Tyler Allgeier (RB – BYU)

Tyler Allgeier has been a monster over the past two seasons, ranking first in rushing yards after contact (1,847), second in rushing touchdowns (36) and third in PFF rushing grade (94.8) among FBS players with at least 150 carries.

The high-end production helped the BYU running back post a 28% dominator rating since the start of 2020, capped off by an astounding 36% rating in his final season with the Cougars. That mark is the best “true” single-season dominator rating in the class.

Allgeier credits a lot of his backfield success to his experience playing linebacker, a trait that definitely aided Javonte Williams in his progression as an NFL running back.

Allgeier also displayed an ability to overcome adversity in 2021 after the team lost so many key components – from future New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson to the entire starting offensive line. That hardly slowed down the former walk-on, though, as he finished sixth in his class in yards after contact per attempt (4.16) and first in touchdowns (23).

He also set career highs in receptions (32) and target share (8%).

Although my concerns with Allgeier were realized by his lack of explosiveness in the testing drills. 4.60 40-yard dash (42nd percentile) and sub-65th percentile jumps don’t suggest he will be blowing past NFL defenders. He’s going to have to win by embracing contact, which could shorten his shelf life as a runner.

My NFL comp for Allgeier is James Conner, who fantasy players know has dealt with a flurry of injuries due to his physical style of play.

20. Brian Robinson Jr. (RB – ALA)

As is the case for many Alabama running backs, Brian Robinson had to bide his time for an opportunity to see a steady workload. Sharing the highly coveted backfield with Najee Harris, Josh Jacobs and Damien Harris over the past four years didn’t lend itself to Robinson seeing much of the field.

To his credit, the 225-pound behemoth bulldozed over the competition when given work in 2020, ranking 10th in yards after contact per attempt (4.05) in the FBS. After Harris was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Robinson delivered a worthwhile senior season to put him firmly on the NFL radar.

The big back finished third in missed tackles and seventh in PFF rushing grade (90.4) while also flashing his chops in the passing game. He caught 35 of 38 targets for 296 receiving yards.

Robinson is far from a can’t-miss prospect but offers the physicality and size to be a thumper at the next level. The bruiser-back greatly improved his draft stock by showcasing 4.53 speed at the NFL combine (61st percentile). 

21. Trey McBride (TE – Colorado State) 

Trey McBride posted eye-popping numbers in 2021. The Colorado State Ram compiled 1,125 receiving yards, which comprised 37% of the team’s total passing yardage production. His sheer dominance and command for the football – second-highest target rate per route run (30%) – elevated him to a 94.7 PFF overall grade – the best among tight ends in the nation – and the John Mackey Award.

However, his senior year breakout wasn’t too surprising based on what he did in a truncated 2020 season. McBride commanded an absurd 71% dominator rating – which considers the number of touchdowns and receiving yards a player commands within their offense – operating as the engine of the Rams offense in the four games played.

He even possesses under-the-radar upside because he can win downfield. McBride finished third in catches and fourth in yards on targets of 20-plus air yards. If he ends up armed with a big-armed quarterback – watch out. 

Because McBride impressed at the Senior Bowl, he has a great chance to be the first tight end drafted. McBride looks the part of a high-floor inline tight end who can start from Day 1 with his well-rounded skill set. 

I don’t believe McBride will ever become super dynamic with the ball in his hands, but he can easily carve out a role as a solid PPR fantasy tight end because he commands targets. Owen Daniels is an appropriate NFL comparison. 

22. Jalen Tolbert (WR – S.ALA)

South Alabama’s Jalen Tolbert was a mega-producer in the small school college ranks.

The 6-foot-1 and 194-pound deep-ball specialist earned a career 31% dominator rating – top-three in the class – and that’s factoring in a redshirt freshman season. From his sophomore year onward, Tolbert posted dominator ratings of 35%, 42% and 42%. He torched defenses downfield as the nation’s leader in targets (99), catches (38) and receiving yards (1,402) on targets of 20-plus air yards.

Tolbert also boasts a 19-year-old breakout age – his player profile stacks up with some top wideouts from his class.

And although Tolbert doesn’t possess elite speed – 57th percentile 40-yard dash time – he still understands how to get open deep. He’s similar to Adam Thielen in that fashion. 

23. Khalil Shakir (WR – Boise State)

Khalil Shakir‘s electric Boise State career hit its peak during his 2020 season when he cultivated a whopping 46% dominator score – the second-highest single-season rating among the 2022 Draft Class. He finished that year as PFF’s ninth-graded WR (88.8), averaging over 100 receiving yards and 7.4 catches per game.

Shakir’s junior season was a strong follow-up to his 2019 breakout sophomore campaign when he hung a 22% dominator rating at age 19.

The Boise State slot wide receiver would go on to end his college career on a high note as PFF’s third-highest-graded wide receiver (92.9) among his draft class. 

As a strong favorite to etch out a role working inside for an NFL offense, Shakir could emerge as a Russell Gage-esque receiver that works well in fantasy PPR scoring. 

24. John Metchie III (WR – ALA)

John Metchie III is the latest wide receiver talent to leave the Alabama Crimson Tide for the NFL, after he caught 96 balls for over 1,100 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in his final junior season.

It’s been a long-time coming for Metchie because playing alongside future first-round picks Jerry Jeudy, DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle and Henry Ruggs made it nearly impossible for him to get playing time.

He got his first crack at legitimate playing time in 2020 after Waddle went down with an injury. However, he was lackluster at best taking a massive backseat to DeVonta Smith.

All eyes were on Metchie when Smith and Waddle would move on – and for the most part he delivered. Metchie led Bama with a 20% target share in 13 games played before his injury. He just happened to be overshadowed by Ohio State transfer Jameson Williams.

Still, Metchie has a nice skill set that will translate well into the NFL. He’s a savvy route runner that understands how to get leverage and create separation from defenders. His game reminds me of Eddie Royal. 

He probably won’t ever be a true No. 1, but being a rock-solid No. 2 or slot option is very much in his range of outcomes. 

25. James Cook (RB – UGA)

There’s fantasy football juice to squeeze with running backs who possess top-tier pass-catching ability, and Georgia’s James Cook fits that mold to a tee. The younger brother of Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook finished with the fifth-highest PFF receiving grade at the position in 2021 among his draft class.

He hauled in 27 of 30 targets for 274 receiving yards, including 112 in the College Football Playoff game against Michigan.

His overall counting stats are not particularly great, but that’s because he split work with Zamir White and Kenny McIntosh, as many Georgia backs often do. What matters more is Cook’s career three yards per snap – a mark that is a strong indicator of future production at the position. 

If Cook added 10-plus pounds of muscle to his frame, he’d look extremely similar to his brother. At his current build, he just looks like a smaller, faster version of Dalvin – Andre Ellington-esque. 

26. Sam Howell (QB – UNC)

Sam Howell earned the starting quarterback job at North Carolina as a 19-year old true freshman and never looked back. He finished fourth in the FBS with 38 touchdown passes in his first season, cementing himself on the NFL radar.

He followed up an impressive introduction with an even more dominant performance as a passer in 2020, finishing as the nation’s sixth-highest-graded quarterback (92.3) and fourth-best deep passer (98.0) in an offense littered with future NFL talent.

Unsurprisingly, Howell took a bit of a step back in his final season without the likes of Javonte Williams, Michael Carter, Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome at his disposal. The UNC product finished as PFF’s 37th-graded passer (80.3) – 15th among his 2022 draft class.

To make up for a lack of passing efficiency, Howell turned up the dial on his rushing production. After posting just 600 yards on the ground through two seasons, Howell rushed for 1,106 yards as PFF’s second-highest-graded rusher (91.0) in 2021.

If the first read wasn’t there, Howell was looking to create yards with his legs. This presents problems for the real-life NFL but shouldn’t be considered negatively for fantasy.

Howell’s escapability lends itself to rushing success at the NFL level if he doesn’t have a lot of talent around him. Conversely, his first two years of college show he will take full advantage when he does have weapons around him.

It’s hard to label Howell as a “situation-proof” quarterback – a rookie quarterback’s team context plays an integral part in their growth – but it’s hard to overlook his versatility as far as how he can rack up fantasy points in the years to come based on which team selects him.

27. Matt Corral (QB – OLE MISS)

Matt Corral rallied the Rebels to a 10-2 record while finishing third in the SEC in passing yards (3,343) and 11th in the nation in PFF passing grade from a clean pocket (91.6).

He also rushed for nearly 750 yards and 11 scores. It’s that exact dual-threat ability fantasy football dynasty managers should be looking to invest in for years down the line.

28. Kenny Pickett (QB – PITT)

Every college season, a quarterback emerges from the woodwork into the top-quarterback prospect conversation. Joe Burrow and Zach Wilson were that QB riser in the past two drafts, and this season it’s Kenny Pickett. The Pittsburgh Panther threw more touchdowns (42) than the previous three seasons combined as the entrenched starter (38).

Pickett finished third in PFF passing grade from a clean pocket (94.3) and first in his class in adjusted completion percentage (79%). His overall experience and breakout season make him the most NFL-ready quarterback in this class, but he is far from flawless.

His extremely small hand size -8½ inches, 1st percentile – does raise some concern, as betting on outliers tends to generate sub-optimal results over time.

Also, Pickett doesn’t offer the same type of rushing other QBs in this class offer. He tends to go slowly through progressions and hold the ball too long, as evidenced by a 3.19-second average time to throw – the second-slowest in the draft class (Malik Willis, 3.33)

29. Desmond Ridder (QB – CIN)

Desmond Ridder made a strong push around NFL circles during his senior season, leading Cincinnati all the way to the College Football Playoff against Alabama. PFF’s seventh-highest-graded 2022 draft-eligible quarterback then turned heads at the 2022 Senior Bowl, showcasing accuracy and polish.

Ridder also offers juice with his legs, having rushed for over 2,700 yards during his four-year career (58 per game). His athleticism was at the forefront of his testing at the NFL combine.

The Bearcats quarterback ran a 4.52 40-yard dash (96th percentile), jumped a 36″ vertical (92nd percentile), and 127″ broad jump (98th percentile).

From speed to predictive passing metrics working in his favor – 97th percentile passer on early downs per PFF (91.0) – the Cincinnati product possesses all the ingredients to become a fantasy-friendly quarterback at the next level.

Considering I have a cluster of rookie QBs in this range, Ridder will be most drafted one in rookie drafts because he costs the least.

30. Pierre Strong Jr. (RB – South Dakota State)

For any small-school running back to make a living in the NFL, they need to dominate their competition in college. That’s what gives South Dakota State’s Pierre Strong Jr. a chance to make a splash at the next level.

Strong finished with a top-10 career and single-season dominator rating while grading out as PFF’s highest rusher (95.6). His 3.3 yards per play also ranks second among running backs in his class, which is a great indicator of future success. Last year’s late-round standouts in that category included Elijah Mitchell and Rhamondre Stevenson.

The 5-foot-11 and 207-pound back also blazed a 4.37 40-yard dash (95th percentile), tying him with Rutgers’ Isiah Pacheco for the fastest running back time.

Additionally, Strong jumped 36″ in the vertical (71st percentile) and 124″ in the broad jump (84th percentile).

Strong’s “strong” outing will almost certainly boost his draft stock for both the real-life NFL and fantasy rookie drafts. High-end college RB producers that display above-average athleticism tend to hit at the next level.

The South Dakota State running back gives off strong Darren McFadden vibes (in a good way). 

31. Kyren Williams (RB – Notre Dame) 

Kyren Williams carried the rock over 400 times for 2,000-plus yards as a member of the Fighting Irish over the past two seasons, putting together a very impressive resume for NFL scouts to consider. Whether it be rushing or receiving, Williams got it done for his team.

He finished 13th in yards after contact per attempt (3.71), seventh in broken tackles on rushes and third in receptions among running backs in his draft class. 

Williams’ smaller stature may hold him back from being a full-fledged fantasy bell-cow at the next level, but he is sure to make up the gap with his impressive pass-catching background. In addition to finishing as PFF’s 13th-highest graded receiving running back in the nation, Williams commanded an 11% target share in 2021 – a very high mark for the position. 

The receiving usage helped Williams achieve a 30% dominator rating.

And that’s where the accolades end for Williams because his poor combine outing nuked his real-life draft capital. 

For starters, he came in underweight at 5-foot-9 and 194 pounds. Williams was already facing an uphill battle due to his small stature, so coming in lighter than his listed playing weight (199) was not a sign of good preparation.

He would follow up his disheartening weigh-in with an abysmal 4.65 40-yard dash (23rd percentile). That sluggish time is expected from larger running backs, but not from ones at sub-200 pounds. The closest recent comparable small backs running that slow include Mark Walton, Myles Gaskin and Theo Riddick.

Williams still boasts a strong receiving profile, so the poor showing won’t knock him out of the draft altogether. But the days of him routinely being mocked in Day 2 are over.

32. Wan’dale Robinson (WR – Kentucky)

Robinson owns PFF’s No. 1 career receiving grade (93.4) in the 2022 draft class. Keep in mind that Robinson’s elite final junior season would have never come to fruition had he not transferred from Nebraska prior to the 2021 season. As a Cornhusker for two years, Robinson was often taking snaps in the backfield as a running back. And yet he still was able to command 18% and 30% dominator ratings.

While the dual-threat ability highlights his versatility, it may have held him back from unlocking his true potential at the wide receiver position. In his first season playing wide receiver, he finished second in the FBS in yards per route run (3.56).

Robinson will get the chance to further tap into his receiving ceiling at the professional level. Just be wary that his fantasy upside might be capped due to his size. The Nebraska transfer came in at 5-foot-8 and 178 pounds (sub-6% percentile size). It’s not ideal to have a wide receiver shave three inches off his height upon being officially measured.

The closest player comps of recent note include Greg Dortch, Braxton Berrios and Keke Coutee. Robinson offers speed – a 4.44 40-yard dash – but it is somewhat to be expected at his smaller stature. 

33. Calvin Austin III (WR – Memphis)

A 4.32 40-yard dash (96th percentile) combined with a 135″ broad jump is quite the showing. That’s what Calvin Austin put on display at the NFL scouting combine. The mark is the best broad jump ever at the Combine by someone 5’8″ or smaller, per NFL Network research ace @FrontOfficeNFL.

Considering he was already a draft riser after a strong performance at the Reese’s Senior Bowl, the Memphis product is staking his claim as a Day 2 selection. Just be wary that his size at 5-foot-8 (1st percentile) and 170 pounds (2nd percentile) will limit his fantasy ceiling, despite the elite athleticism. His closest player comps per MockDraftable.com like Marquise Goodwin and D’Wayne Eskridge leave a lot to be desired. 

If his fantasy draft stock grows exponentially, he’s probably going to be a strong fade in rookie dynasty drafts

34. Jalen Wydermyer (TE – Texas A&M)

Jalen Wydermyer has been producing at a high level in the SEC since the age of 19. The Texas native broke out as a true freshman, catching 32 passes for 447 yards and six touchdowns en route to a 21% dominator rating. 

The Aggies tight end turned up the afterburners in Year 2 with an impressive 26% dominator rating. Wydermyer finished fourth in the FBS in receptions and ninth in PFF receiving grade (84.0). 

After back-to-back seasons of outstanding play, college football fans couldn’t wait to see how Wydermyer would tie a bow on his Texas A&M career. Alas, the gargantuan tight end failed to live up to the lofty expectations, settling for a career-low PFF receiving grade (68.1) that ranked 25th out of 50 qualifying 2022 draft-eligible tight ends. 

However, Wydermyer’s entire body of receiving work – all-time tight end leader in receiving yards, receptions and receiving touchdowns at Texas A&M – combined with his elusiveness and size paint the picture of a coveted prospect. It might just take some time for the 21-year-old to acclimate considering his lack of willingness as a blocker in the run game. 

Being a sub-par blocker isn’t the worst trait for fantasy football, as tight ends need to run routes to score points. But any drawback to a young player’s game that gives coaches an excuse to get them off the field is not ideal.

Wydermyer also opted out of all the testing drills at the NFL combine, casting some doubt into his athletic profile. There’s a strong possibility that at his size – 255 pounds, 6-foot-4 – that he is slow. That could impact his real-life draft stock. 

NFL comp: Jordan Akins

35. Isaiah Likely (TE – Coastal Carolina) 

Turn on any Coastal Carolina game over the last four years and you’re likely to see a tight end haul in a touchdown. Isaiah Likely hauled in 27 receiving touchdowns since 2018 – more than any other tight end in college football. 

Likely’s nose for the end zone fueled his 24% career dominator rating – the highest in the class and a mark matched only by Pat Freiermuth from 2021’s tight end class. 

Touchdown equity is not the only part of his profile that is alluring. He’s not just falling in the end zone. He’s a terrific wide receiver playing tight end, as evidenced by his 95.2 PFF receiving grade (third), 1,513 receiving yards (first) and 2.87 yards per route run (sixth) since 2020.

Only McBride and Kyle Pitts have a higher PFF receiving grade over that span.

At 6-foot-4 and 245 pounds, Likely fits the archetype as a pass-catching tight end at the next level – which is exactly what fantasy footballers should gravitate toward. It’s rare to find tight ends who come into the league with this kind of receiving profile and mismatch potential against slower linebackers/safeties. 

However, be wary that his tweener size does create some inherent risk if he ends up on a team that doesn’t know how to use him properly. He is too small to be a legitimate in-line tight end but too big to be a traditional wideout. The essence of Julius Thomas and Ricky Seals-Jones

Likely also won’t be much of a factor in the blocking game unless he puts on substantial weight. If that does happen, be confident that Likely can fill an every-down tight end role after finishing in the 91st percentile in positively graded run-blocking rate in 2021.

36. Greg Dulcich (TE – UCLA)

No tight end has moved up my board more than Greg Dulcich over the past few weeks. The UCLA tight end weighed in at 6-4 and 243 pounds at the NFL combine and tested extremely well: 122″ broad jump (88th percentile), 4.69 40-time (70th percentile), 34″ vertical (63rd percentile) and 7.05 3-cone (75th percentile). 

Per Next Gen Stats, Dulcich averaged 18.0 yards per reception over his four-year career at UCLA, which is the third-most by a tight end invited to the combine since 2003. In 2021 alone, he ranked fourth in yards per reception (17.3). 

It’s hard to watch Dulcich’s tape and not see hints of Dawson Knox

37. Alec Pierce (WR – CIN)

I wasn’t expecting much from Alec Pierce at the NFL Combine, so I was pleasantly surprised when he impressed during the testing drills. A 4.41 40-yard dash and the No. 1 vertical jump (40.5, 93rd percentile) in the class imply that Pierce has the requisite athleticism to be a factor at the NFL level.

With projected Day 2 draft capital per Grindingthemocks.com, Pierce needs to be on your fantasy radar. His 19-year old breakout age is also a factor that fantasy drafters should gravitate towards. 

He helped take the top off the ball for the Cincinnati Bearcats in 2021, boasting the sixth-highest aDOT in the class (17.1)

38. Jerome Ford (RB – CIN)

Jerome Ford‘s draft stock rose during the 2022 Senior Bowl, putting him in a solid position to earn Day 2 draft capital come April. PFF NFL draft analyst Mike Renner went as far as tabbing Ford a top-five back in the class, and the praise is warranted based on how he showed out his senior season.

The Cincinnati Bearcats running back posted the ninth-highest dominator rating (27%) in the class on the back of 1,300 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns.

The Alabama transfer’s 21% career dominator rating hardly does him justice considering he played alongside other NFL backs until this past season.

However, he failed to follow up his all-star game performance with worthwhile combine testing. His 4.46 40-yard dash (8th percentile) was blown out of the water by other backs in the class. But what was more alarming was Ford’s lack of explosiveness in the jumping drills.

The Bearcats back’s 31″ vertical (14th percentile) and 118″ broad jump (54th percentile) does create concern that Ford won’t be able to stand out in a crowded backfield. He ran into similar issues in college, based on his lowly career college dominator rating.

39. Jerrion Ealy (RB – OLE MISS)

Jerrion Ealy owns PFF’s fifth-highest career rushing grade (92.1) among the incoming rookies but falls flat with total production based on his 16% dominator rating. He split time with Snoop Conner all three years at Mississippi, and that seems like his most realistic role at the next level: an undersized but efficient change-of-pace back at 5-foot-8 and 189 pounds. 

He’s one of just two draft-eligible running backs that finished top-five in career rushing grade and PFF receiving grade (Tyler Allgeier).

Ealy should at least get drafted based on his 94th percentile broad jump (128″). 

40. Hassan Haskins (RB – Michigan)

Michigan’s Hassan Haskins broke out in a big way as “the guy” for the Wolverines in 2021. Haskins earned a 23% dominator rating, raising his career dominator rating to 20%.

With an identical PFF rushing grade to Breece Hall (91.6) over the last three seasons, Haskins looked primed to exceed expectations in the NFL. He offers a lot of size at 6-foot-2 and 228 pounds and will leap up draft boards if he tests well at his pro day. 

The Michigan product also led his entire class in rushing attempts inside the 5-yard line (29), which gives him a real shot at carving out a goal-line role in the pros.

41. Tyquan Thornton (WR – Baylor)

Say hello to the fastest man on Earth. Well at least by the NFL Combine standards for a short period of time. Baylor’s Tyquan Thorton broke John Ross‘ 4.22 record with an unofficial 4.21 40-yard dash – the fastest mark ever recorded. 

Although, he did not hold the record for long as his official time came in just short of the record at 4.28 seconds.

The Baylor wideout was barely on my radar for fantasy football purposes before the NFL Combine, which was clearly an oversight on my part. His speed alone will get him decent draft capital.

Thornton’s speed translated well into on-field production as he graded out as a top-10 wideout in PFF receiving grade from the intermediate level of the field (10-19 yards) last season.

42. Tyler Badie (RB – Missouri)

Tyler Badie tied Kenneth Walker III in rushes of 10-plus yards (46) to lead the 2022 Draft Class. The undersized explosive running back enjoyed a breakout season in his final season at Missouri stepping out of Larry Roundtree’s shadow. His 916 yards after contact ranked fifth-best in the class.

Quite the feat for a sub-200 pound running back. But what’s more impressive is Badie’s 124 catches during his four-year tenure in college – capped off by 52 receptions in 2021. That was the highest mark among all 2022 draft-eligible backs. 

43. Kevin Harris (RB – South Carolina)

Nobody posted a higher single-season dominator rating than Kevin Harris did in 2020 (45%). However, he took a back seat to ZaQuandre White as a junior with a meager 14% dominator rating.

But even so, the fact that Harris owns such an impressive single-season performance warrants immediate attention in rookie drafts. Especially considering his explosive testing numbers were off-the-charts excellent at the combine. 89th percentile vertical jump and 91st percentile broad jump at 221 pounds is utterly astounding. 

44. Jeremy Ruckert (TE – Ohio State)

Jeremy Ruckert posted just a 9% dominator rating and averaged three targets per game at Ohio State. Primarily heralded as a blocking tight end, Ruckert won’t have much juice for fantasy without any worthwhile receiving chops.

Be mindful that Ruckert was playing alongside an elite group of wide receivers, so it’s not due to a lack of effort that his receiving numbers were so poor. If he lands on an NFL team without many proven pass-catchers, he could climb the target pecking order. Just don’t expect him to hit the ground running in Year 1 – like the majority of rookie tight ends. 

45. Tyler Goodson (RB – Iowa)

Tyler Goodson enjoyed an extremely productive career at Iowa, averaging a 24% dominator rating. The do-it-all back caught over 70 passes and capped off his collegiate career with over 250 carries and 1,100 rushing yards.

However, the uptick in volume drastically decreased Goodson’s efficiency with career-lows in rushing grades across the board. All in all, Goodson owns one of PFF’s worst rushing grades (78.0) in the class. His receiving ability does give him a chance to succeed at the NFL level, but he doesn’t project to be anything more than a rotational back.

46. Zonovan Knight (NC State)

Knight burst onto the scene for the Wolfpack as a true freshman, leading the team in rushing yards. Although he improved drastically in PFF grading from his first year to his second (65.4 vs. 84.2), the climb did not continue in this past season.

The North Carolina State product posted his worst single-season college dominator rating (13%) after just three rushing touchdowns. With him unable to become the sole owner of the backfield, it makes it easy to project Knight as a committee back in the NFL.

He has only one game on his college resume with 20-plus carries. However, he does possess receiving skills, having caught 41 passes the past two seasons. Knight also has a propensity to break tackles, ranking 14th in that category since 2020. 

That well-rounded skill set should help him carve out a secondary role on an NFL offense.

47. Charlie Kolar (TE – Iowa State)

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a tight end who was more consistent than Charlie Kolar over the last three college seasons. The Iowa State product owns a 24% dominator rating over that span and PFF’s fifth-best receiving grade (93.1) among tight ends. 

Kolar’s 24th-ranked 2.13 yards per route run and 158 receptions – tied with McBride for the most among all college tight ends – highlight a receiving prowess that should make him a fantasy factor in the NFL. Kolar’s massive frame will help him carve out a role as a red-zone threat.

48. Abram Smith (RB – Baylor)

Abram Smith‘s 25% dominator rating and 3.3 yards per play this past season is outstanding considering he spent the previous year playing linebacker for the Baylor Bears. He made the switch back to running back for his senior season and delivered massively with 1,598 rushing yards (fifth) –  1,011 of which came after contact. 

It’s almost like the guy used to play defense. Oh, wait.

With an impressive outing at the Senior Bowl – he was named top RB of the National team – Smith needs to be on your rookie radar. He has the requisite size at 6-feet and 213 pounds to be a three-down back at the next level.

49. Carson Strong (QB – Nevada)

The Nevada Wolfpack put a lot on Carson Strong‘s plate in 2021, as the redshirt junior attempted 523 passes after never having cracked 400 in the two years prior. Still, Strong did not falter, finishing with a career-high 89.9 PFF passing grade and 36 passing touchdowns. The Wolfpack QB also ranked fourth in PFF passing grade from a clean pocket (93.2).

Strong is your typical strong-armed pocket passer who can make all throws on the field, but he’s a statue in the pocket – his 8.3 rushing yards per game is by far the lowest mark in a quarterback class filled with guys who can create value with their legs.

50. D’Vonte Price (RB – Florida International)

D’Vonte Price failed to live up to an elite sophomore campaign. He was super productive (38% dominator rating) in Florida International’s 2020 truncated season, but his numbers came crashing back to Earth in 2021 with a full slate of games. 

He’s got size and speed to boot – 4.38 40-yard dash speed at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds – but it may not be enough to keep him from falling into the late rounds of Day 3. 

51. Sincere McCormick (RB – UTSA)

Not only is Sincere McCormick an early declare – a trait that fantasy managers should gravitate toward – but the UTSA product was a mega-producer at the college level. 

His 28% dominator rating over three years as a Roadrunner ranks third among the running backs I sampled. He also produced very early as a true freshman in 2019, posting a career-best 30% dominator rating.

Although McCormick measures at just 5-foot-9 and 205 pounds, he proved his durability with 724 carries the past three seasons – the most among the 2022 draft-eligible running backs in the sample. With receiving chops and home-run hitting ability – third in rushes of 10-plus yards since 2019 – McCormick is an intriguing late-round pick in rookie drafts or dynasty stash, especially if he captures any worthwhile draft capital.

Unfortunately, McCormick likely won’t demand too high of real-life draft capital after he tested poorly in Indianapolis. The sub-40th percentile marks in the 40-yard dash and jumps suggest he made be headed to UDFA territory. 

52. Kennedy Brooks (RB – OKL)

53. Cole Turner (TE – Nevada)

54. Derrick Deese Jr. (TE – San Jose St.)

55. Chigoziem Okonkwo (TE – Maryland)

56. Makai Polk (WR – Mississippi St.)

57. Cade Otton (TE – WAS)

58. Danny Gray (WR – SMU)

59. Romeo Doubs (WR – Nevada)

60. Bailey Zappe (QB – Western Kentucky)

61. Daniel Bellinger (TE – SDSU)

62. Velus Jones Jr. (WR – TEN)

63. Jack Coan (QB – ND)

64. Keontay Ingram (RB – USC)

65. Tyrion Davis-Price (RB – LSU)

66. Isaiah Pacheco (RB – Rutgers)

67. CJ Verdell (RB – Oregon)

68. Devon Williams (WR – Oregon)

69. Bo Melton (WR – Rutgers)

70. Jelani Woods (TE – Virginia)

71. Erik Ezukanma (WR – Texas Tech)

72. Isaiah Weston (WR – UNI)

73. Ty Fryfogle (WR – IND)

74. Jaivon Heiligh (WR – Coastal Carolina)

75. James Mitchell (TE – VT)

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