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All-Undrafted Team (2022 Fantasy Football)

by Josh Shepardson | @BChad50 | Featured Writer
Aug 8, 2022
Jerick McKinnon

Jerick McKinnon was better than Kansas City’s incumbent starting running back when they were last on the gridiron.

In 12-team leagues that use a kicker, a defense and have 15 roster spots, 154 players who aren’t kickers or defensive units are drafted — if everyone drafts a kicker and defense. As a result, the following players have an average draft position (ADP) after 154 in point-per-reception (PPR) formats. However, unless your league drafts days before the season, it’s wise to pass on a kicker, defense or both to have an extra stash option or two. Ultimately, the stashes can be dumped for those positions before Week 1.

Beyond our fantasy football content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you prepare for your draft this season. From our free mock Draft Simulator – which allows you to mock draft against realistic opponents – to our Draft Assistant – that optimizes your picks with expert advice – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football draft season.

Quarterback

Trevor Lawrence (JAC): 159.8 ADP, QB19/145 ECR, QB18

Lawrence’s rookie season was objectively terrible. However, he also played for arguably the most incompetent head coach in NFL history. The Jaguars were a dumpster fire with Urban Meyer “leading” them. Thus, it would be foolish to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Give Lawrence a mulligan.

Draft pundits widely regarded Lawrence as an elite quarterback prospect in the mold of generational prospects, such as John Elway and Andrew Luck. Head coach Doug Pederson is a massive improvement at head coach. The Jaguars also invested heavily — even if the players they added were questionable choices — on offense in free agency, adding Christian Kirk, Zay Jones and Evan Engram. The environment is markedly better for Lawrence in his second season.

Additionally, he has the rushing ability that’s desirable from a late-round dart at quarterback. According to StatHead, out of 91 rookie quarterbacks who played at least six games since 2000, Lawrence’s 19.6 rushing yards per game were 22nd, a pinch below Daniel Jones (21.5). Jones is an interesting comp because Big Blue’s signal-caller’s measurables aren’t dissimilar to Lawrence’s. Jones has since gone on to average 28.84 rushing yards per game in his second and third seasons. So, gamers who wait until QB10 or later to snatch their first quarterback are encouraged to double dip and gamble on a sophomore surge from Lawrence as their second quarterback.

Running Back

Kenneth Gainwell (PHI): 166.7 ADP, RB52/126 ECR, RB46

Gainwell isn’t a bell-cow back. However, the second-year back’s pass-catching chops are tailor-made for PPR formats. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), out of 51 backs targeted at least 30 times, including the postseason, Gainwell’s 1.53 Yards Per Route Run (Y/RR) mark was 11th, sandwiched between Austin Ekeler‘s 1.55 Y/RR and Nyheim Hines‘s and Aaron Jones‘s 1.52 Y/RR.

Obviously, being in a similar range with Ekeler, Hines and Jones is excellent. Further, according to the targets and routes data at PFF, Gainwell shined as a rookie, as you’ll see in the following table.

Gainwell is also an asset as a pass blocker, earning PFF's seventh-highest pass-blocking grade and drawing positive reviews in that facet of his game in training camp. Thus, Gainwell is likely to be Philadelphia's primary passing-down back, a role that could allow him to outperform his ADP. Finally, Gainwell can chip in on the ground as a change-of-pace complement to Miles Sanders.

Jerick McKinnon (KC): 225.3 ADP, RB63/242 ECR, RB71

McKinnon spent a few months waiting to join a team, ultimately rejoining the Chiefs in June on a one-year deal. The timing of the signing was interesting. It's not ideal that the team didn't prioritize re-signing McKinnon. Still, they brought him back even after signing two-down banger Ronald Jones and drafting Isiah Pacheco in the seventh round.

Jet isn't guaranteed a roster spot. However, neither is Jones on a one-year contract worth $1.5 million with only $750k guaranteed. Meanwhile, Pacheco might increase his value to the Chiefs, opening the preseason as the starting kick returner. At the same time, Kansas City's willingness to use him on returns can be inferred as a sign he's behind the others on the running back depth chart.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the likely lead back, but he's hardly shined in that role to date. In fact, McKinnon usurped him on the depth chart down the stretch in 2021. The forthcoming table shows their head-to-head stats in the playoffs, courtesy of the data at PFF.

McKinnon was better than Kansas City's incumbent starting running back when they were last on the gridiron. The situation is unsettled. So, that's good enough to invest a last-round pick in a talented pass-catching back in an offense attached to Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes.

Wide Receiver

Mecole Hardman (KC): 156.3 ADP, WR58/162 ECR, WR63

The Chiefs used a second-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft on Hardman, and the speedy wideout has chiefly served as a gadget and ancillary option. However, he's the only notable holdover in a revamped receiver room. Hardman is also coming off his best season as a pro, albeit averaging just 3.5 receptions and 40.8 receiving yards per game with a career-low two touchdowns.

Are those numbers exciting? No. Of course, they aren't. But, again, casting a dart in the direction of a skill-position player on the Chiefs for cheap in an unsettled situation is attractive. Moreover, Hardman did tease some potential as a rookie without Tyreek Hill.

Hardman has played four games in his career without Hill and with Mahomes starting at quarterback. The four-game stretch was from Week 2 through Week 4 in 2019. According to PFF, out of 91 receivers with at least 10 targets in the timespan, Hardman was tied with Odell Beckham for 36th in their receiving grade. Additionally, Hardman was tied for 24th with 2.02 Y/RR. And, again, he did that as a rookie.

The breakout hasn't happened for Hardman yet. Frankly, it probably won't happen. Nevertheless, the cost is low for chasing significant upside, and gamers should be swinging for the fences with late picks.

Rondale Moore (ARI): 173.7 ADP, WR62/127 ECR, WR53

Moore was featured prominently in the Wide Receiver Intended Air Yards Analysis piece in late July. The case for a change in usage from a gadget player who caught passes behind the line of scrimmage to a vertical threat, replacing Kirk in the slot, was discussed in-depth there. Instead of rehashing the same points, I suggest checking out the linked piece. Finally, it's worth pointing out the massive gap in ADP and expert consensus ranking (ECR), which also supports rolling the dice on Moore ahead of his draft position.

Jahan Dotson (WSH): 182.5 ADP, WR65/165 ECR, WR65

The arrogance of pundits and drafters is reflected in Dotson's ADP. Did the Commanders reach on Dotson? Probably. Does it make sense to ignore Washington using the 16th pick to select him? No.

Instead of diving into Dotson's scouting reports, let's look at historical data for rookie wide receivers selected between pick 10 and 32 since 2012 and played at least six games as a rookie. According to StatHead, 26 wideouts satisfied the presented requirements.

Laquon Treadwell was the worst in fantasy leagues of the 26, averaging 0.28 PPR points per game. OBJ was the best, erupting for 24.58 PPR points per game. The median of D.J. Moore's 9.85 in 13th and Corey Coleman's 9.33 in 14th was 9.57 PPR points per game.

Let's add context using last year's PPR scoring per game for wide receivers during the 2021 fantasy season (Week 1 through Week 17). Among receivers who played at least seven games, 9.57 PPR points per game would have ranked tied for WR57 after rounding up to 9.6. The median outcome based on recent history is a small win against ADP, but the ceiling outcome smashes Dotson's draft cost.

Finally, JJ Zachariason did an elite job analyzing the impact of rookie receivers on Episode 647 of the Late-Round Fantasy Football Podcast, Rookie Wide Receivers in Season-Long Leagues. In short, rookie receivers are worthwhile investments. Readers are encouraged to listen to the linked episode since Zachariason's analysis is outstanding, and the episode is a quick listen, clocking in at only 14 minutes and two seconds.

Tight End

Albert Okwuegbunam (DEN): 179.2 ADP, TE19/143 ECR, TE17

Okwuegbunam stood out in Y/RR and was discussed thoroughly in the Tight End Yard Per Route Run Analysis piece. He's an excellent upside selection whose path to targets was boosted by an unfortunate season-ending injury to wideout Tim Patrick.

Flex

Jalen Tolbert (DAL): 204.3 ADP, WR68/231 ECR, WR85

In late May, Tolbert was included among the must-have receivers. However, since then, James Washington has suffered a fractured foot that will sideline him for 6-10 weeks. The Cowboys could add a receiver to the fold, but Jerry Jones said there isn't an "urgency" to add a veteran receiver. Obviously, that could be a smoke screen, or Jones could change his mind. Regardless, the runway is currently clear for Tolbert to start in Week 1 with Washington injured and Michael Gallup likely out until at least the end of September.

Thankfully, Tolbert isn't merely falling upwards. Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has offered high praise for Tolbert's ability and work ethic. In addition, PFF had Tolbert 54th on their big board and said he can "immediately add a deep threat to any offense." They also acknowledged he's raw, but the tools and role are available for Tolbert to hit the ground running as a boom-or-bust big-play receiver. There's a great chance his ADP will climb, but he presently meets the requirement for inclusion in this piece.

CTAs


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Josh Shepardson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @BChad50.

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