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2022 NFL Draft Winners/Losers: Day 1 (Fantasy Football)

2022 NFL Draft Winners/Losers: Day 1 (Fantasy Football)

And just like that, the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft is complete. It was a wild night highlighted by an insane flurry of trades that included veterans like A.J. Brown and Marquise Brown with a few (Cole) Strange selections thrown into the mix. That’s par for the course with the NFL Draft – nobody knows what is going to happen. RIP my final mock draft.

What we do know is that 32 players have new homes in the NFL, which creates massive implications for fantasy football. Let’s dive into the fantasy fallout to wrap a bow on all the action by identifying the biggest winners and losers from Thursday night.


Treylon Burks (WR – TEN)
The Titans traded disgruntled wide receiver A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles for picks 18 and 101. With the 18th pick, the Tennessee Titans replaced Brown with a similar-type player in Treylon Burks.

And it’s an ideal redraft spot for the rookie. There’s no competition for targets outside of Robert Woods, who is coming off a torn ACL. And with a similar YAC-ability to Brown, Burks should be able to step on the field on day one and offer immediate fantasy football appeal as a top-30 fantasy option.

The Razorbacks’ 8.5 yards after the catch rank 14th among 169 qualifying wide receivers (92nd percentile) over the past two seasons. The run-heavy nature of the offense and limitations of Ryan Tannehill at quarterback will likely hinder Burks’ fantasy ceiling, but he has a path to opportunities that not many other rookie wide receivers will see from the get-go as a favorite to be the team’s WR1.

This transaction also has slight fantasy implications relating to A.J. Brown, who inked a 4-year, $100M extension as part of the trade.

The veteran has never played in a pass-happy offense, and that doesn’t project to change too drastically if the Philadelphia Eagles run back their operation ground and pound from a season ago. Still, Brown’s talent has yet to hold him back amid a poor situation – WR5 in fantasy points per game in 2019 – and that shouldn’t stop in Philly.

He will be the alpha dog for the Eagles and remain a WR1 in both redraft and dynasty.

Brown’s arrival knocks second-year wide receiver DeVonta Smith back down into low-end WR3 range and also spells the end of the Jalen Reagor experiment in the City of Brotherly Love. “Shocked” the Titans didn’t want him as part of the trade deal.

Rashod Bateman (WR – BAL) & Marquise Brown (WR – ARI)
The Baltimore Ravens traded Marquise Brown to the Arizona Cardinals reuniting Brown with his old college quarterback Kyler Murray. The duo played two years together at Oklahoma, lighting up Big 12 defenses.

The trade is a win-win for both parties involved.

Rashod Bateman can step in and be the true No. 1 wide receiver for Lamar Jackson. He was more productive than Brown down the stretch despite seeing a much smaller target share from Weeks 14-18. With Brown’s 23% target share departure, Bateman can step into a massive role for fantasy as WR2. 2022 is Shoddy B breakout SZN.

Meanwhile, Mark Andrews has solidified himself as clear TE1 with a still unproven second-year wideout as his main competition for targets. The Baltimore Ravens fourth-year TE led the position with a 25 percent target share, 28 percent air yard share, and 17.0 expected fantasy points per game. He ran a route on 84 percent of offensive dropbacks, which also ranked first.

As for Brown, he gets the opportunity to play in an offense that caters much better to his skill set. He can operate as a true No. 2 behind DeAndre Hopkins while delivering vertical plays downfield and from the slot. The offense will also likely throw more than was in the case in Baltimore, further bolstering the case to move Brown up the 2022 rankings.

Zach Wilson (QB – NYJ)
The Jets have spent the better part of this offseason trying to upgrade the wide receiver position. They finally did so by drafting my pre-draft No. 1 rookie WR, Garrett Wilson, with the 10th overall pick. This is the second year in a row the Jets have drafted a rookie crush of mine (Elijah Moore), but I have mixed feelings about the landing spot for Wilson.

It’s obviously a big win for the Jets second-year quarterback, who has much more to work with than in years past.

But it’s hard to parse between the two talents as to which will be the better fantasy commodity and better value per ADP. Because both guys can get open at will and demand targets at a high rate.

Moore’s 24 percent target rate per route run ranked 13th-best in the NFL last season.

I’ll rank Wilson ahead of Moore in my 2022 wide receiver rankings because he’s shown the ability to command targets and produce in an offense littered with other elite talent.

But that hardly means I’ll be out on Moore should the market totally write him off. He proved a lot as a rookie and could easily be the 1B to Wilson’s 1A in Gang Green’s passing attack. I’d envision Wilson operating as a true possession receiver on the outside with Moore playing more of a slot vertical role. Wilson will be more consistent week-to-week, but Moore will deliver splash weeks like he did as a rookie.

Wilson’s addition does spell the end for old-timer Corey Davis, who has a potential out in his contract in 2023.

Jalen Hurts (QB – PHI)
Jalen Hurts is easily the biggest winner as A.J. Brown’s absurd efficiency and YAC-ability in Tennessee was a primary driving force behind Ryan Tannehill’s fantasy success as a Titan. Hurts is an easy top-eight fantasy quarterback next season with top-five status well within reach.

The Eagles ranked second in screen rate a season ago, so anticipate plenty of plays where Hurts just dumps the ball off to AJB for massive chunk gains.

Kenny Pickett (QB – PIT)
Kenny Pickett isn’t leaving Pittsburgh anytime soon. The prolific college passer was selected by the Steelers 20th overall as the first quarterback drafted in the 2022 NFL Draft.

As the most pro-ready quarterback in the class, Pickett has a strong chance to earn the day one starting job against veteran quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Trubisky offers more standalone value as a fantasy asset due to his rushing ability, but Pickett under center might be a slight upgrade from what Trubisky was slated to offer for the Steelers main skill players.

Pickett finished third in PFF passing grade from a clean pocket (94.3) and first in his class in adjusted completion percentage (79%) in 2021. His accuracy and deep ball bode well for the likes of Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool.

He does tend 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).

But it does mean that he is willing to hold onto the ball to let his receivers get downfield for more big plays. Total opposite of Ben Roethlisberger, whose average time to throw in 2021 was 2.25 seconds.

Drake London (WR – ATL)
Drake London was selected by the Atlanta Falcons eighth overall as the first wide receiver off the board in the 2022 NFL Draft. He enters a Falcons offense that he should easily command targets in, with Kyle Pitts, the only other pass catcher of note who is worthy of a strong target share.

Having Marcus Mariota at quarterback isn’t ideal, but we’ve seen the ex-Titans quarterback be capable of fueling fantasy relevance out of guys like Delaine Walker, Rishard Matthews, and Corey Davis.

And after all, the last time the fantasy football world wrote off a rookie wide receiver that would catch passes from Mariota – they got burned. A.J. Brown thrived because of his talent, and London should perform similarly as a stalwart piece of the Falcons passing attack.

He commanded a 38 percent target share and led all wide receivers in contested catches (19) in 2021.

London’s also been a force ever since he first stepped onto USC’s campus, as he hauled in five touchdowns and 567 receiving yards as a true freshman while sharing the field with future NFL wide receivers Michael Pittman Jr., Amon-Ra St. Brown, and Tyler Vaughns. It’s utterly impressive considering London was just 18 years old at the time.

Simply put: London is going to see a boatload of opportunities in Atlanta, and has the requisite skill set to turn his opportunities into immediate fantasy production. Sounds like an intriguing offer.

Jahan Dotson (WR – WAS)
The fact that Washington was so dead-set on taking a wide receiver in this draft should tell you something about how they feel about their current room. Terry McLaurin is in the midst of a contract dispute, Curtis Samuel has struggled to stay healthy, and 2021 third-rounder Dyami Brown failed to fire as a rookie.

The team also elected not to re-sign slot WR Adam Humphries, which tells me that Jahan Dotson will be taking over starting slot duties from Day 1.

Dotson’s sure hands – he had a 94th percentile career drop rate of two percent – will help him vacuum up targets from Carson Wentz and make him the favorite to be the right behind McLaurin in the target pecking order.

Daniel Jones (QB – NYG)
The Giants drafted the best tackle in the draft with the selection of Evan Neal at No. 7 overall. It provides Daniel Jones the protection he desperately needs as he looks to prove to the New York organization that he is worthy of being the long-term answer at quarterback.

With the Giants upgrading their entire offensive line through free agency and the draft, Jones is back on the fantasy QB2 radar in Superflex formats. Recall that last season, he was playing behind PFF’s third-worst graded offensive line.

Drew Lock (QB – SEA)
The Seahawks drafted future franchise tackle Charles Cross at No. 9 overall and didn’t draft a quarterback in Round 1. Drew Lock-truthers are safe for one more day until Seattle drafts Desmond Ridder or Malik Willis in Round 2. Godspeed.


Patrick Mahomes (QB – KC) & Aaron Rodgers (QB – GB)
Jalen Hurts, Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston, Zach Wilson, and Carson Wentz all got more help on offense in Round 1 than either Patrick Mahomes or Aaron Rodgers. Both the Chiefs and Packers failed to add any WR despite the glaring need at the position on both rosters.

Each has two 2nd-round picks to address the WR issue, but there’s no telling if those players – George Pickens, Skyy Moore, or Christian Watson – will have the same impact as their Round 1 counterparts.

I’d estimate the rationale is because Rodgers/Mahomes are so elite that they can get more out of the later picks.

At least that’s what Chiefs and Packers fans can tell themselves while they lie awake in agony.

Jameson Williams (WR – DET) & Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR – DET)
I absolutely love the player Jameson Williams, but am not overly convinced about his landing spot with the Detroit Lions for the year 2022. The Alabama wide receiver is most likely going to start the year on the PUP, and the rebuilding Lions have no reason to rush their prized-first rounder back from his torn ACL.

Williams may not hit the field until October, making him a tough guy to stash in redraft formats. Furthermore, Williams’ vertical ability cannot be capitalized with Jared Goff under center.

Goff’s average depth of throw has decreased over the last four seasons, with his most recent 2021 mark (6.8) ranking dead last among 38th qualifying quarterbacks. He has also averaged just 13 completions of 20-plus air yards the last two seasons. Williams finished top-seven among all college wide receivers in receiving yards on 20-plus air yard throws in 2021.

However, Williams does also possess top-tier YAC-ability so he should be able to salvage some production when he returns from injury. Goff also probably isn’t the Lions’ long-term answer at quarterback, meaning Williams could be in for a major upgrade in 2023 or 2024.

I’d be hesitant to be overly bullish on Williams in redraft formats, but maintain a high ranking on him in dynasty leagues. Nobody will be shocked to see him out-produce the combination of Amon-Ra St. Brown and T.J. Hockenson once he is fully acclimated into the offense. I’ll also take the draft day discount on Williams, knowing that I am betting on the talent long-term.

ASB on the other hand, takes a massive hit with another receiver added into the fold. Remember St. Brown was the WR3 in PPR/points per game -33% target share – without competition in the lineup to close out the season.

Before that, he was a non-factor outside a stretch from Weeks 4-6 where he commanded a 22% target share.

Williams’ addition also makes D.J. Chark somebody I can’t see myself rostering in any format. He took a one-year flier deal to prove his worth, but it now looks like he’s just insurance while Williams returns from injury.

Chris Olave (WR – NO)
Even with Michael Thomas back in the fold, there was still a gaping hole at the wide receiver position in the Big Easy. Long-time general manager Mickey Loomis has had zero issues spending high-end draft capital on WRs in the past, so it’s not surprising the Saints traded up to draft Chris Olave at No. 11.

The former Buckeye doesn’t offer the same skill set as Thomas, but he can separate from defenders at an elite level downfield. Olave 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.

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

Olave draws parallels to Calvin Ridley with his route running ability. But like Ridley coming out of school, Olave doesn’t offer much after the catch.

His forced broken and missed tackle rate ranked 43rd among 43 qualifying wide receivers in the class. His yards after the catch per reception (4.2) ranked 37th.

Without much YAC-ability and a firm seat in the WR2 chair behind Thomas, I have trouble getting overly excited for Olave in New Orleans.

New Orleans did their best to reel back Jameis Winston from his turnover-prone Tampa Bay Buccaneers days, and I’m afraid that might result in more of a rushing attack than aerial assault.

Olave can be good in New Orleans – but maybe not great enough to move the needle in fantasy. With rhetoric certain to swirl that he will see a boatload of targets after New Orleans traded up for him, he is likely going to be a massive riser in dynasty rookie drafts post-draft. I’ll likely be lower on him than the consensus.

The Titans traded disgruntled wide receiver A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles for picks 18 and 101. With the 18th pick, the Tennessee Titans replaced Brown with a similar-type player in Treylon Burks.

Ryan Tannehill (QB – TEN)
A.J. Brown’s loss is a major hit for Ryan Tannehill, who will now be ranked well outside my top-20 quarterbacks ahead of the 2022 season. A rookie wide receiver with some question marks and Robert Woods coming off a torn ACL is not a recipe for fantasy success.

New England Patriots
This has nothing to do with fantasy but cannot be ignored. The New England Patriots’ selection of Cole Strange was outright egregious. Drafting a projected late-Round 2 or early Round 3 pick at the back of the 1st Round is a horrible process.


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