4 Rookies To Avoid in Redraft Leagues (2022 Fantasy Football)
Everyone has seen the Family Guy episode of Peter turning down the boat for a mystery box. That video is surprisingly important when it comes to the fantasy football world.
Taking a certain thing is sometimes the better option. The mystery box has all the appeal of the unknown. However, we fail to realize that it could turn into a massive disappointment just as easily, if not more likely, than a great reward.
When drafting rookies in your redraft leagues, keep that in mind. While everyone is excited about the rookie class from their dynasty startup or rookie drafts, most players fail to play a consistent fantasy role as rookies.
The 2021 rookie class was one of the better classes in recent memory. While Najee Harris, Ja’Marr Chase, and Kyle Pitts finished as top-12 players at their positions, only 11 members of the rookie class finished as top-30 players at their positions in PPR scoring. Furthermore, despite a star-studded 2021 class, only one rookie quarterback had a top-20 finish last year.
Now that doesn’t mean you should avoid rookies in your drafts. That would simply be silly. Instead, have tempered expectations. Do not expect Drake London or Garrett Wilson to have a Chase or Jaylen Waddle-like rookie year. However, you should avoid drafting these four rookies this season.
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Christian Watson (WR – GB): ADP 154.1 | WR55
Watson was a popular pick in rookie drafts after the Packers traded up during the NFL Draft to secure the former North Dakota State receiver. However, his first year in the NFL hasn’t gotten off to an ideal start. He struggled with drops during OTAs. More importantly, he started training camp on the PUP after having knee surgery in June. Meanwhile, Romeo Doubs has turned into the star of training camp for Green Bay.
The fourth-round rookie has repeatedly received praise from Aaron Rodgers and the media. Many believe Doubs is on track to earn a starting role opposite of Allen Lazard in Week 1 at Watson’s expense. Unless he can come off PUP soon, the second-round rookie will likely lose any chance of starting early in the year. Given the history of rookie wide receivers struggling in Green Bay, Watson isn’t worth drafting in standard-size leagues.
Tyrion Davis-Price (RB – SF): ADP 173.5 | RB59
Last year, the 49ers’ backfield turned out completely different than anyone expected in the preseason. Raheem Mostert was the likely starter, while third-round rookie Trey Sermon was the popular guy to draft. However, Mostert got hurt in Week 1 and missed the rest of the year. Meanwhile, Sermon was a complete bust, averaging 4.1 yards per rushing attempt and only 3.1 PPR fantasy points per game. Instead, sixth-round rookie Elijah Mitchell stole the show in San Francisco. He ended the year as the RB13 on a points-per-game basis among running backs with at least nine games played.
The Kyle Shanahan-led 49ers have a history of rolling with the hot hand or switching up their lead back without notice. However, Davis-Price will not be this year’s version of Mitchell. The former LSU back was a surprising third-round selection and left many draft analysts confused. More importantly, Mitchell has been impressive during training camp. Meanwhile, Davis-Price is listed as a fourth-stringer on the team’s depth chart. Instead of drafting Davis-Price hoping he becomes the next Mitchell, target Isiah Pacheco instead.
Jameson Williams (WR – DET): ADP 177.1 | WR63
Before tearing his ACL in the College Football National Championship game, Williams was on track to be the first wide receiver picked in the 2022 NFL Draft and a possible top-five selection. Unfortunately, the torn ACL landed Williams on the non-football injury (NFI) list to start training camp. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that Williams will likely start the year on the NFI list, which would keep him out at least the first four games. Furthermore, Pelissero added Williams’ most likely timeline is in November.
Even once Williams is ready to get on the field, the Detroit receiving core is drastically different than it was a year ago. The Lions re-signed Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond, both of whom had strong moments last season. They then signed DJ Chark to a one-year deal worth $10 million, and he has reportedly flashed in training camp. Most important of all is the trio of Amon-Ra St. Brown, T.J. Hockenson, and D’Andre Swift. Those three combined for 49.7% of the targets last season. Williams will be a superstar one day, but given his injury and situation, you should avoid drafting him this year.
The Entire Quarterback Class
What a difference a year makes. The 2021 draft class had five first-round quarterbacks: Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Justin Fields, and Mac Jones. By comparison, the 2022 draft class had only one first-round quarterback, and the fifth quarterback didn’t get drafted till the fourth round. All five first-round quarterbacks from last year and third-rounder Davis Mills started at least two games as rookies. Furthermore, Lawrence, Wilson, and Jones all started Week 1. Despite their first-round draft pedigree, Jones was the only rookie to finish as a top-20 quarterback last year.
Meanwhile, Kenny Pickett has struggled in training camp and is currently listed as the third quarterback on the team’s depth chart. Desmond Ridder has already lost the starting quarterback battle with Marcus Mariota, and Malik Willis and Matt Corral seem like long-shots to see the field this year, barring injury. All four have an ADP outside the top-30 quarterbacks and shouldn’t get drafted in 1QB leagues. Even in superflex leagues, Willis and Corral shouldn’t get drafted.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant, which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.