The dust has settled from Round 1, but there are still two full days of the 2022 NFL Draft ahead! Round 2 and 3 are pivotal for teams trying to build on their first-round selection. Let’s take a look at the top fantasy football rookies that remain available heading into Day 2.
You can check out all of the first-round picks and draft grades for the initial round. We’ve also shared draft needs for every team as you look ahead to what each squad might do on Day 2.
After an impressive week at the Senior Bowl, the Liberty signal-caller did wonders to his draft stock. 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 robust downfield arm – fourth in PFF passing grade on throws of 20-plus air yards – is a recipe for fantasy football success.
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). Corral’s expected throw air time is the lowest in the class, which is a reflection of his quick release and imposing arm strength.
He also rushed for nearly 750 yards and 11 scores. It’s that exact dual-threat ability that fantasy football dynasty managers should be looking to invest in for years down the line.
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 was PFF’s 37th-graded passer (80.3) – 15th among his 2022 draft class.
Howell turned up the dial on his rushing production to compensate for the lack of passing efficiency. 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.
Howell was looking to create yards with his legs if the first read wasn’t there. 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.
Desmond Ridder made a strong push around NFL circles during his senior season, leading Cincinnati 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) and 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.
Running back, Breece Hall was my No.1-ranked rookie in normal and 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, slightly different from 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 tools to be a three-down running back who never leaves the field.
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.
Walker possesses the groundwork to be an effective rusher at the next level, 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. Breaking tackles and creating after contact in college translates to the pros exceptionally 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 after 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 the only major blemish on Walker’s prospect profile because his testing at the NFL scouting combine was also exceptional. He weighed 211 pounds and ran a 4.38 40-yard dash (96th percentile).
Age-adjusted production is a critical metric for dynasty managers, and no running back is better 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 not to run the 40-yard dash on Indy’s fast track and laid an egg in the jumping drills. The 7th percentile vertical jump and 22nd percentile broad jump will make it more challenging for him to demand high Day 2 draft capital.
Spiller reportedly went through drills with an injury, explaining the poor showing. Either way, he will get an opportunity to boost his numbers at Texas A&M’s pro day on March 22nd.
Spiller tested below average at the pro day with a 4.27-second short shuttle, 4.63 40-yard dash, 33-inch vertical, and a 9-foot-6 broad jump, rating in the 62nd, 44th, 42nd, and 34th percentiles, respectively. Not ideal for his long-term outlook that he possesses underwhelming athleticism.
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 fully healthy based on his testing at the NFL Combine. I will be drafting a lot of Pickens in my dynasty rookie drafts.
Skyy Moore first played wide receiver in college after playing quarterback and defensive back in high school. In hindsight, the transition couldn’t have worked out better, considering the Western Michigan Bronco has entered the Day 2 NFL Draft conversation after a highly 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 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.
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 ludicrous.
Combine that with his 38.5-inch vertical (84th percentile) and 136-inch broad jump (98th percentile), and all that’s left is calling the dude a certified stud who has likely earned top-50 draft capital.
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.
The UCLA tight end weighed in at 6-4 and 243 pounds at the NFL combine and tested exceptionally well — 122-inch broad jump (88th percentile), 4.69 40-time (70th percentile), 34-inch vertical (63rd percentile) and 7.05 three-cone (75th percentile).
Dulcich averaged 17.6 yards per reception over his four-year career at UCLA. In 2021, he ranked fourth in yards per reception (17.3).
It’s hard to watch Dulcich’s tape and not see hints of Dawson Knox. It will be fun to watch him streaking down the seam and catching passes from Aaron Rodgers.
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