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Dynasty Rookie Mock Draft: 1QB, 10-Team (2022 Fantasy Football)

by Jason Kamlowsky | Featured Writer
May 5, 2022
George Pickens

George Pickens is a first-round talent who slipped due to off-field concerns, but Pittsburgh is the perfect landing spot for the former Georgia product.

With the NFL Draft in the books, dynasty rookie drafts should be starting up. However, I’ve always believed it is better to wait to do rookie drafts because a landing spot can shift ADP by one round or more for some rookies. Takes James Cook this year, for example. He was probably a fringy second-round pick, but now he won’t make it out of the top-10 in most drafts.

This year’s rookie class is probably one of the more shallow groups I’ve seen in the last five or six years. There is no slam dunk option at quarterback, and the running backs have a lot of question marks. There will inevitably be a couple of guys selected in the second or third round who end up popping, but there is a lot of guesswork to determine who that is. If you are picking outside of the top-six this year, trying to trade that pick for a first-round selection in 2023 or 2024 might be the better move.

For this article, I used the mock draft simulator to do a rookie mock draft with these settings:

  • 10 Teams
  • 1 QB/No Superflex
  • PPR

I was pleased with how things shook out here, although I am skeptical that my first-round pick in Drake London would be there at the 1.04. He should vie for the 1.01 in PPR leagues even over Breece Hall, whose helium is coming from a place I can’t quite understand. The Jets still have Michael Carter, and their QB situation is shaky. I don’t see that offense taking a massive step forward this year, and Hall isn’t a slam dunk to be anything more than a timeshare back. On the other hand, fantasy Twitter seems to love him, so take that for it’s worth.

Another guy who has a lot of steam right now is James Cook, who went 1.03 in this mock Cook has never had more than 113 carries in a college season, so expecting him to have this massive touch share in Buffalo is probably unrealistic. Maybe they like him more than Devin Singletary, but the Bills are one of the most pass-heavy offenses in the league. Cook will have to prove he can be effective in pass protection if he wants to see the field, but I’m skeptical.

So for my picks, here we go:

Round 1 (1.04) – Drake London (WR – ATL)

Treylon Burks, Breece Hall, and James Cook were off the board, leaving me with plenty of options here. Seeing Cook go third overall was a surprise, but he wouldn’t have been on my radar with the 1.04 anyway.

As for the pick of Drake London, I think he has the potential to be the best receiver in this year’s draft class. London is in the 85th percentile for height, weight, and arm length for receivers, checking all the boxes physically. The dearth of other receivers in Atlanta means he should be the top option in the passing game, pairing nicely with Kyle Pitts. This year, his best-case scenario is to be a WR2, although the Falcons’ quarterback situation may keep him from getting there. However, I am more than willing to bet on the combination of volume and talent.

Round 2 (2.04) – George Pickens (WR – PIT)

Outgoing Pittsburgh GM Kevin Colbert has a well-documented history of finding receivers in the second round. Pickens might be his latest gem.

Pickens is a first-round talent who slipped due to off-field concerns, but Pittsburgh is the perfect landing spot for the former Georgia product. He is tremendous in contested catch situations, an area where the Steelers have a significant need. In addition, he can stretch the field (17.5 yards per catch in college), giving the Steelers a potential deep threat they have been sorely lacking. While he will have plenty of competition for targets, Pickens is more of a long-term dynasty investment. I’d prefer him to Jahan Dotson, John Metchie or Wan’Dale Robinson at this stage of a rookie draft.

The risk of going WR-WR is evident in that I miss on adding a running back, but I’d prefer to avoid that position early. Neither of the two top backs (Breece Hall, Kenneth Walker) went to great situations, and James Cook is too much of an unknown for me this early. I’ll stack receivers and address running back later.

Round 3 (3.04) – Malik Willis (QB – CAR)

Despite this being a 1QB mock, I could only let Willis continue to slide so far. If you’re going to draft a quarterback this year, he is the upside play. Like Pickens, Willis is a long-term investment but one that could pay off in two to three years. This pick, for most people, comes down to roster construction. If your team is in a win-now position, Willis isn’t for you. If you are rebuilding, this is the perfect pick; however, as Willis has the rushing upside, we covet at the position.

So what is the range of outcomes here? Let’s start with the worst-case scenario that Willis could bust. He is going to an organization that prioritizes running the football, so while Willis won’t be asked to win games, his ceiling might not be more than that of a high-end QB2. There is also a chance that Ryan Tannehill stonewalls him in the film room and doesn’t provide any mentoring. While that won’t make or break him, it isn’t ideal for a guy who needs a year or two of seasoning. The silver lining to this scenario is that getting Willis in the third round is more or less taking a flyer, so if he turns out to be nothing more than a fantasy backup, you’re not out significant draft capital.

Now, let’s look at the best case. Willis sits for a year or two but makes significant strides in learning how to read defenses. He works on his accuracy and pocket presence. Willis becomes a passer who is a threat to run when the play breaks down as opposed to one who looks to run after he misses his first read. He leans on the Tennessee running game while getting his own feet under him but eventually blossoms into the offense’s leader. Under this scenario, Willis is a potential QB1 with the upside to be a top-10 player at the position. Drafting Willis in any format will be an exercise in risk management, but, as I said, it could pay off big in two to three years.

Round 4 (4.04) – Kyren Williams (RB – LAR)

Williams got dinged by his slow 40-time at the Combine, but he could get a lot of third-down work for the Rams this year. Why is that? For starters, he’s one of the best at blitz pickup in the entire running back class. Add in his 77 receptions last year at Notre Dame the last two seasons (which is more than Los Angeles incumbents Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson have combined during that same stretch), and the Rams now have a legitimate passing game threat at running back.

Williams may not end up being much more than a PPR flex, but he is worth the flyer in the fourth round.

Round 5 (5.04) – Cade Otton (TE – TB)

Now for my favorite late-round target in rookie drafts.

In the fourth round, Cade Otton was drafted by the Buccaneers and has only Cameron Brate on the depth chart to compete with. Even if Tampa Bay convinces Rob Gronkowski to come back, Otton should have plenty of opportunities to catch passes from Tom Brady.

Otton caught 91 passes in his career at Washington despite playing just 12 games his last two seasons there. He’s a capable blocker, so there is a decent chance that Otton is playing the majority of the snaps by mid-season. In one of the thinnest rookie classes in almost a decade, I will be targeting Otton in the fifth round exclusively.

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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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