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Dynasty Rookies Who Will Disappoint in 2022 (Fantasy Football)

by Jason Kamlowsky | @JasonKamlowsky | Featured Writer
Apr 1, 2022

Drafting rookies in dynasty leagues is equal parts art form and crapshoot in 2022. There are no slam dunk quarterbacks, and we can’t hang our hats on Breece Hall (RB – FA) being an RB1 from his first day on the roster. While the hype is starting to pick up for players like Malik Willis (QB – FA), Drake London (WR – FA), and Garrett Wilson (WR – FA), we need to tread with caution on others. There are pitfalls in most rookie drafts, but I try to avoid getting caught up in the excitement built up by the combine and pro days. Every player has warts, and if you dig deep enough, you will find them. That doesn’t mean my process is perfect, but more often than not, I have been able to avoid players who are what I would call “Super Busts.”

I used a recent article by our very own Mike Fanelli that analyzed current rookie ADP in 1QB leagues. Through that, I was able to look at three players who I believe will disappoint in 2022. In the case of two of them (Kenny Pickett (QB – FA) and James Cook (RB – FA)), I am off the hype train entirely as I do not believe they will ever be more than roster depth on most fantasy teams. Pickett’s lone exception to that is in 2QB/Superflex leagues where he could provide value as a QB2. As for Christian Watson (WR – FA), I am willing to buy the measurables as a long-term investment but believe his 2022 season will be one that largely disappoints.

Andrew Erickson Mock Draft

Kenny Pickett (QB – Pittsburgh)
I’m not as hung up on Pickett’s hand size as some, although there are plenty of historical markers to suggest I should be. I’d instead focus on his shortcomings as a player to determine why an NFL team would consider him in the first round. Teams get desperate at the quarterback position, so the latter part of that statement is easier to discern. His shortcomings, however, can be just as easy to dissect.

Start with his college production, which was mediocre before his stellar senior season. His 42 touchdowns last fall jump off the page, especially considering Pickett had thrown just 39 total touchdowns in his first four years at Pitt. He set career highs in completion percentage (67%) and yards per attempt (9.7) while throwing 497 passes. His efficiency was off the charts, with only seven interceptions. Is this the case of a player who matured and everything started clicking, or is it simply that he caught lightning in a bottle?

For me, the answer is somewhere in between. For fantasy purposes, the ceiling here is probably closer to that of a mid-range QB2. While at Pitt, Pickett struggled reading defenses and often deferred to his first or second read, which led him to scramble out of the pocket rather than staying patient and checking down. Now, part of what makes Pickett an intriguing target is his ability to extend plays. He is dangerous outside the pocket, and some of his best throws were on the run last year. However, his average arm strength negates some of that upside. Additionally, Pickett had enough mobility to be a difference-maker with his legs in the ACC. Will that translate to the NFL? Maybe. Or maybe he will get run down by linebackers and safeties. We always look for rushing upside in quarterbacks, but Pickett is more in the mold of someone who can keep defenses honest with his legs than a genuine mobile threat.

While I think he carries some intrigue, I will not have Pickett on many dynasty rosters unless he free falls to the 3rd or 4th round. I’ll leave Pickett and his 2nd round ADP to someone who wants to roster the next Kirk Cousins (QB – MIN). I am willing to take Desmond Ridder (QB – FA) at what will likely be a lower ADP as he possesses more traits I want in my dynasty quarterbacks.

James Cook (RB – Georgia)
Running back is the most challenging position for me to evaluate this year. I will catch some heat for Cook being here, but I have concerns about him being this year’s Trey Sermon (RB – SF). I’m less interested in his name value (Dalvin Cook‘s (RB – MIN) brother) and more concerned with his inability to separate himself as the lead back for Georgia last fall. Cook split time with Zamir White (RB – FA), a player I believe has superior vision and physicality to Cook.

In 2022, we will need Cook on the field in early down situations to make a fantasy impact. He is a capable pass catcher, and if left alone in space on the outside, he can break a big play. Finding cutback lanes and running with authority on interior runs are not areas where Cook excels. That alone will make it nearly impossible for him to find any semblance of a three-down role. Until he can bulk up a bit and work on his pass protection, Cook may be best utilized as a third-down back in 2022. I prefer to take a shot on Cook’s college teammate (White) in the third round or wait on Tyler Badie (RB – FA), who I think has a complete skill set.

Christian Watson (WR – NDSU)
Physically speaking, there might not be a more gifted athlete at receiver in this draft. Watson is in the 98th percentile for speed score (4.36 40) and, at 6’4, has tremendous size. He made many splashy plays at North Dakota State, averaging over 18 yards per catch last season.

So, why is he listed here? When looking at players from the FCS, ideally, we want to see dominant stat lines. Not only was Watson not dominant, but he was pretty pedestrian. He never reached 1,000 yards in a season, and his career-best for catches was last year when he had 43. Marques Colston aside, there are not a lot of examples of receivers who failed to hit 1,000 yards at the FCS level, which ended up being productive in the NFL. There are also some concerns with Watson’s drops at the college level. While it can be fixed, it is another thing working against him as he uses his body to secure the ball far too often.

The other concern I have with Watson, particularly next season, is that he’s not an elite route runner and might be pigeonholed into strictly a downfield threat early in his career. While having a deep threat who can take the top off the defense is an excellent weapon, it would make for an inefficient target share. I struggle to see a scenario where Watson is more than a splash play waiting to happen in 2022. Draft him with caution and patience as he could develop and be a more significant contributor beyond his rookie season.

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Jason Kamlowsky is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Jason, check out his archive and follow him on Twitter @JasonKamlowsky.

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