The NFL Draft is right around the corner, which means it’s time to start analyzing the incoming rookie class for dynasty fantasy football purposes. Dynasty is one of my favorite formats for playing fantasy football as you get to see your young players go through their careers and watch them grow and evolve. In this article, I’ll offer my initial rankings of the incoming rookies in the 2022 NFL draft class.
I’ll drop the obvious caveat here that a lot of player value depends on the situation, perhaps even more than talent. For example, I had Terrace Marshall ranked ahead of Amon-Ra St. Brown in my big board last year, but I selected St. Brown over Marshall in my dynasty drafts due to perceived opportunity. You can be an incredible talent, but it won’t matter for fantasy football value if you’re not on the field.
This isn’t a class with an obvious number one in the rankings like Ja’Marr Chase was last year, and there’s not even really a Najee Harris or Jaylen Waddle-level dynasty prospect. That means there will be plenty of healthy debate about where the rankings will land, and I’ll likely be changing around these rankings as the offseason goes on, especially after the draft. For now, I’m basing it on my overall prospect rankings based on talent and production. Let’s dive in.
2022 NFL Rookie Dynasty Rankings
#1 – RB Breece Hall (Iowa State):
There seems to be a bit of prospect fatigue surrounding Breece Hall at the moment, but he’s still the top running back in this class for my money. Hall ran at a 5.7 YPC clip over the past two years at Iowa State with over 3,000 yards and 41 touchdowns over that span despite his offense never having elite blocking or a threatening passing element to keep defenses honest. Hall is as complete as it gets as a prospect and can play on all three downs right away with his balance and tackle-breaking ability translating as a runner or receiver.
#2 – RB Isaiah Spiller (Texas A&M):
Spiller won’t wow you with game-breaking speed or elusiveness, but he’s just as complete a prospect as Hall. The pass-protection and pass-catching translate well for Spiller, which is very important for most teams, and his feel for the game is excellent. My biggest complaint with Spiller stems from his tendency to be too patient behind the line of scrimmage and wait too long for plays to develop, but that’s pretty easily coachable. In all, with his versatility and two 1,000-yard seasons at A&M, I wouldn’t be shocked if Spiller ends up the first running back off the board in April.
#3 – WR Garrett Wilson (Ohio State):
Wilson’s tape is so much fun to watch with his elite acceleration and stop-start ability out of breaks as he puts defenders on skates. Detractors will point to his 6’0”, 192 lb frame as a problem, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a limiting factor – he’s likely relegated to a full-time slot role, at least in the beginning of his career as he’ll struggle against press coverage. However, he has the best hands in this draft class and is impressive in creating space with route-running and suddenness. If he can add some play strength, his ceiling is immense.
#4 – WR Drake London (USC):
At 6’5”, 210 lbs, London is pretty much the opposite of Wilson’s physical profile. It shows in his impressive ability to box out defenders and win at the catch point – he led college football in contested catches last year. However, London stands out from other contested-catch phenoms with his underrated smoothness as a route-runner. He’s not as fast as some of the other prospects in this class, but he’s much more than just a box-out wideout with his ability to force missed tackles. Assuming the medical report checks out (London broke his ankle in October), he’s a top-notch prospect at the position.
#5 – RB Kyren Williams (Notre Dame):
I usually shy away from making player comparisons, but the Austin Ekeler comp is just too easy for Kyren Williams. At 5’9”, 199 lbs, Williams isn’t built to handle 300 carries per season in the NFL, but like Ekeler, he’s an excellent receiver who defenses constantly have to account for. Williams has ideal field vision, great burst, and a nasty stiff-arm to boot. The pass-blocking aspect of his game ensures he’ll be on the field early and often at the next level, and his versatility will earn him a role in any team’s offense. With the NFL continually transitioning towards more of a finesse game, Williams fits right in.
#6 – WR Treylon Burks (Arkansas):
Fantasy managers will understandably fall in love with Burks’s remarkable play speed at 6’3”, 225 lbs – it’s why he’s drawn comparisons to D.K. Metcalf. They’re also going to fall in love with his versatility and physicality – it’s why he’s drawn comparisons to Deebo Samuel. However, Burks lacks experience against press coverage, is far from a complete route-runner, and largely took advantage of some weak defenses in the SEC. Against stiffer press coverage competition in the NFL, I have some concerns about his lack of technical refinement will translate. The landing spot will be significant here.
#7 – RB Kenneth Walker (Michigan State):
Even more so than wide receiver, production from the running back position is incredibly dependent on the landing spot. That’s especially true for Walker, who doesn’t exactly have a three-down skill set just yet. Walker’s lack of pass-catching and pass-protection is problematic. However, he has an incredibly complete game as a runner with explosiveness, elusiveness, and speed to boot. If Walker is going to be the type of bellcow in the NFL that he was in college, he has to work on his pass protection.
#8 – WR Jameson Williams (Alabama):
After transferring from Ohio State as a relative unknown, Williams took over in 2021 and averaged an incredible 20.0 yards per reception on 78 catches. To say Williams can take the top off the defense is a massive understatement – he’s a threat to score every time he steps on the field with game-changing speed and quickness. Speedsters like Williams typically aren’t 6’2”, and if he adds more muscle, he can become an even more complete receiver. The torn ACL is the biggest issue for Williams, and it will cause him to fall down the board both in the NFL draft and in dynasty drafts, with the 2022 season a question mark for him.
#9 – WR Chris Olave (Ohio State):
Olave isn’t going to be the most exciting prospect to break down, but his game has very few weaknesses. Sure, he never had 1,000 yards in a season, and he doesn’t really have a trump card like Drake Jackson’s contested-catch ability or Jameson Williams’s speed. However, Olave separates downfield at a high level, is a very polished route runner, and had one of the lowest drop rates in the country. He’s best served as a WR2 for an NFL team, but he’s very capable of making big plays and is a sure-fire first-round pick in April.
#10 – WR David Bell (Purdue):
Bell doesn’t stand out in an incredibly talented wide receiver class as his lack of elite speed and separation ability is likely to hold him back. Still, he will be very productive for whatever NFL team lands him. Even though defenses knew he was the only option at Purdue, he finished last season with 93 catches for 1,275 yards and six touchdowns. Bell is very polished in his processing, route-running, and feel for the game, and his strong lower body allows him to force missed tackles. He’ll be a solid WR2 in the NFL.
#11 – RB Dameon Pierce (Florida):
I was already excited about Dameon Pierce before I heard about how he throttled his opponents at the Senior Bowl, but now he has everyone’s attention. Pierce wasn’t a workhorse at Florida, but he averaged 5.7 YPC and scored 13 touchdowns on just 100 carries. At 5’10”, 215 lbs, his low center of gravity and immense strength are great traits in his projection as a power runner. The lack of workhorse production will scare some teams off, but the pass protection traits he showed at the Senior Bowl lend credence to the idea that he could be more than a timeshare runner in the NFL.
#12 – WR Skyy Moore (Western Michigan):
Moore may be just 5’10”, 195 lbs, but he never struggled to get off the line of scrimmage, even against more formidable opponents, with his unlikely physicality. Moore led the country in missed tackles forced last season, and he’s remarkably elusive – seriously, go watch MAC defenders try to tackle him last season. His route tree isn’t extensive by any stretch, but his movement skills will make him worthy of a Day 2 pick. It’s hard to know how to project him for dynasty just yet, but I’m very excited about his potential.