Three Rookies to Draft in 2022
Fantasy football fans always get excited about the rookies. The shiny new toy that may be the next Jonathan Taylor or Ja’Marr Chase and lead you to a fantasy championship.
But choosing what rookie to target is always difficult. Some may not get the opportunity to shine. Others underperform and disappear into obscurity. But then there are the ones who explode onto the scene and never look back. Those are the guys you want to be right on in your fantasy drafts.
Here are the rankings for PPR leagues. I used this as a starting point to determine what rookies I wanted to take a closer look at. From there, you can also look at dynasty rookie rankings, although it won’t translate exactly to redraft leagues.
Let’s dive into the top three rookies that are the best chance of breaking out in 2022 and leading you to a fantasy football championship. Now of course Breece Hall is probably the biggest rookie target in 2022 drafts, but we are going to pass on him in this article because I believe there are more value picks to be made later in drafts.
ADPs come from our 12-team PPR ADP.
Rachaad White – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Rachaad White was drafted in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft but has all but been forgotten in redraft leagues. White is currently going in the 13 th round of PPR drafts, which seems a bit late for the number two Back on one of the best offenses in the NFL.
Starting Running Back Leonard Fournette is already making bad headlines after showing up to camp a bit heavy. He has had conditioning issues in the past, so this is a story to monitor although we expect Fournette will be fine by the start of the season. Also, Ronald Jones II left in the offseason and Ke’Shawn Vaughn doesn’t appear to be a threat to take a ton of work, leaving rookie Rachaad White in a prime position.
White is a big Running Back, coming in at 6’2” and 210 pounds. He is a bruising back who also has good hands, catching 43 passes in his last season for Arizona State.
So let’s quickly dive deeper into why I think White is a great pick this year. First off, Tampa lost Tight End Rob Gronkowski to retirement. That opens up a ton of targets already that most likely won’t all go to Cameron Brate. Second, Chris Godwin might not be ready to go to start the season, opening up even more targets. There is no way Fournette handles it all, so White already could see some increased playing time thanks to his receiving capabilities.
Tom Brady also is no stranger to throwing to his Running Backs. Fournette himself had 84 targets last season, so it’s pretty safe to say White will get plenty of work.
With a 13th-round draft capital, White is probably one of the best rookie sleepers in 2022. He is also one injury or one poor playing away from leading the backfield on one of the best offenses in the NFL.
Drake London – Atlanta Falcons
Ok, so the Atlanta Falcons are probably going to be bad…like really bad this season. They lost Quarterback Matt Ryan and replaced him with Marcus Mariota. Mariota’s best season was 3400 yards and 26 touchdowns. They also lost Wide Receiver, Calvin Ridley, to suspension and Russell Gage to free agency, leaving them with Olamide Zacchaeus and Bryan Edwards as their top two Receivers. Not very promising.
The Falcons did, however, add one of the best Wide Receiver prospects in the draft: Drake London. London was drafted eighth overall in the 2022 NFL draft and therefore will make an immediate impact. London is a big receiver, and at 6’4” he should tower over most Cornerbacks. He will be thrust into a starting role and has the chance to be the top Receiver alongside Tight End Kyle Pitts.
By far, London has one of the best landing spots for immediate opportunity, since other rookies will have to fight with veteran receivers for targets. That won’t be the case for London.
With a late 10th-round draft capital, London is a great late-round Receiver to grab with the hopes that he easily fills a WR3 or Flex spot in PPR leagues.
Isaiah Spiller – Los Angeles Chargers
Isaiah Spiller is the second rookie Running Back I’m looking at drafting this year. Spiller, a fourth-round draft pick in 2022, seems to be already slotted into the backup role behind Austin Ekeler. Joshua Kelley and Larry Rountree III don’t figure to be huge contributors, so Spiller could see a bit of work early.
Spiller is another big Running Back at 6’1”, and he did catch over 25 passes in each of his three collegiate seasons. He has a good opportunity to fight for rushing work early in the season since Ekeler doesn’t necessarily have the size to be an every-down back.
Ekeler has also been prone to injuries, although he did play the entirety of the 2021 season without missing time.
Spiller is on a high-powered offense and, like White, is one injury away from leading the backfield. He is probably one of the top handcuffs at this point, figuring he performs well in camp and holds a firm grasp on the backup role. As teams move away from workhorse backs, Spiller is in a prime position to get plenty of carries, a few targets, and a shot at the endzone in most games.
Spiller is currently a late 11th-round pick in PPR leagues, so he is worth a shot if you want the high upside.
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