rookie season round disappoint

Hit or Miss: Rookie Wide Receivers

What’s up Rush Nation? I’m back with the 3rd instalment of my Hit or Miss rookies series.  In this article i’ll be looking at which Wideouts from the 2022 rookie class will be relevant this season. As before taking into consideration their landing spot and what competition they face inhouse. If you missed the last in this series, you can check it out here.

I’ll be basing this article on a 12 team PPR league. 

USC’s Drake London was the first skill position player selected in the 2022 draft. A record breaking SIX wide receivers were selected in the top 20 overall. Following London(8th overall) was Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave and Jameson Williams at 10, 11 and 12 respectively. Jahan Dotson was the surprise selection of the bunch going at 16 to the Commanders. Highly touted Arkansas prospect Treylon Burks, rounded off the group at pick 18 to the Titans who traded AJ Brown to Philadelphia for the pick. But, let’s take a look at day 2 onwards and see who i think will HIT, MISS or who i’m firmly sitting on the fence with. 

HIT!!! 

Alec Pierce, Indianapolis Colts.

Coming in off the back of a stellar Cincinnati Bearcats run to the College Football Playoffs, Alec Pierce was Quarterback Desmond Ridder’s favourite toy in Ohio. Posting 884 yards off of 52 catches. Taking 8 of those to the house. Selected 53rd overall by Chris Ballard, Frank Reich and co. Indianapolis welcomes a real downfield threat for the 2022 season. 

2021 was a real breakout year for Pierce. At 6ft 3ins and running a 4.41sec 40 yard dash.  phenomenal speed for his size. He shows it on tape too and has no issue getting up over DBs to make a play. The Illinois native earned 2nd team All-AAC honours for his efforts in 2021. A natural X option with huge upside will be fun to watch on Sundays at Lucas Oil Stadium. 

Giddyup Indiana.

Seemingly an age ago now, the Colts traded for former MVP Quarterback Matt Ryan. A significant upgrade at the position to help any pass catcher on the team become fantasy relevant. Matty Ice has only 4 overall PPR finishes outside of a QB1 in his 14 seasons so far. An extremely disciplined veteran signal caller, who can support multiple targets efficiently. 

Pierce comes into the fold with Zach Pascal and TY Hilton heading out the door. 3rd year receiver Michael Pittman Jr, coming off his first 1000+ yard year, will be Ryan’s main target in Indy but Pierce will slot straight in as his 2nd option. MPJ has legitimate WR1 upside for 2022. On a run first offense, Frank Reich will have designed plays to suit Pierce whilst Pittman is likely to be in double coverage. The former Bearcat led the FBS in receptions and yards on go routes since 2019 and you better believe Matt Ryan will hit him. 

Currently being drafted as the WR73, according to FantasyPros, Alec Pierce is basically free to draft. With an ADP of 189.5 you can pick him up round 15 onwards or he may even fall to waivers in some leagues where there’s a Kicker and DST. I’d much rather take a punt on Pierce then vets such as Mecole Hardman(ADP 166.5) who has been underwhelming for Fantasy Football and the 4th option on the Chiefs and Van Jefferson(ADP 193.5) who’s already the 3rd or 4th option for the Rams who have got the cap space to bring back OBJ for 2022. 

MISS!!!

George Pickens, Pittsburgh Steelers.

Talent wise George Pickens is up there with the best Wide Receivers in the 2022 class. Chosen one pick ahead of the aforementioned Alec Pierce by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pickens slide to day 2 won’t come as a shock though, after missing most of his junior year with a torn ACL. Before returning towards the end of the season and helping Georgia to the National Championship with a 52 yard reception vs Alabama in the final. 

Let’s go back a bit further. Pickens was selected for the Under Armour All-American game in 2019 after a standout senior high school year. Originally committing to Auburn and staying close to home, Pickens opted to go and play his college ball in Georgia. The 5 star recruit from Hoover High School saw immediate playing time for the Bulldogs scoring 8 times as a freshman. Until his injury, he was a star for the team even through the covid hit 2020 season where he scored another 8 Touchdowns in just 8 games. 

All change, Pittsburgh.

The end of an era came for the Steelers as Big Ben Roethlisberger retired a Pittsburgh legend. In the first round of the draft Mike Tomlin got his franchise Quarterback of the future in the form of Pitt’s Kenny Pickett. JuJu Smith-Schuster also left the Black and Yellow in free agency, signing for Kansas City. How will the Steelers changes impact their FF studs?

Diontae Johnson is still the bonafide WR1 on the team and will be Pickett’s main target in 2022. Chase Claypool will look to bounce back after he regressed as a sophomore. Tight End Pat Freiermuth could also be a reliable short game option for the rookie Quarterback. Pat finished as the TE13 in PPR last year, catching 3 of every 4 targets. Even with JuJu walking away Pickens is the clear 4th option for the rookie under center. That’s without factoring in stud Running Back Najee Harris catching passes out of the backfield. 

No matter how talented George Pickens is, his 2022 season looks like a quiet one to me. He’s incredibly cheap to draft and that comes with good reason. With an ADP of 173.5 I find there’s better options at wideout at a similar point in the draft more likely to pay back that ADP. Jamison Crowder(ADP 195.8) will be a much more reliable option for your fantasy teams, with his new team Buffalo and elite Quarterback, Josh Allen. 

ON THE FENCE!!!

Skyy Moore, Kansas City Chiefs.

Unlike Pickens, Skyy Moore was late to the party. But, in 2021 he really got people talking with an outstanding season for the Western Michigan Broncos. 95 receptions in his 12 games for 1200+ yards and double figure Touchdowns was enough to make Skyy declare for the 2022 draft. Not bad for someone who had only played the position for 3 years! 

In 2019 as a Freshman, Moore attained First Team All-MAC honours and repeated the feat in 2021. He was among the accolades in 2020 as well where he was a Second Team All-MAC selection. He was the 13th Wide Receiver selected in the draft this year by Kansas City. As the look to fill the void left by Tyreek Hill after being traded to Miami prior to the NFL Draft.

The Skyy’s the limit.

The upside for Skyy Moore in an Andy Reid offense is astronomical. Let’s not forget he’s a relatively new Wide Receiver which is one of the reasons I’m dubious about his fantasy value for 2022. The additions of JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling aren’t as good as they sound at first. JuJu and MVS both missed time last season but only averaged 7 and 7.9 points per game.

Although JuJu gets a boost from his new Quarterback being Patrick Mahomes, MVS hasn’t delivered in any season even with one of the best in Aaron Rodgers. Travis Kelce is still in town and his rapport with Mahomes will be front and centre for all to see again in 2022. Smith-Schuster will eat into some of the work Cheetah has left behind but can Skyy Moore get a piece of the pie too?

Mecole Hardman is still there too but like MVS has had a below average fantasy football career. Justyn Ross out of Clemson was picked up after going undrafted and it is unknown how his injury history will hinder his chances in quite a packed pass catching group. Notoriously the WR2 in an Andy Reid offense has never really got much volume. With Tyreek and Travis both being one of the best at their respective positions.

Conclusion. 

Skyy Moore is being drafted earlier than both Alec Pierce and George Pickens. He has the best Quarterback of the three by far and I love the potential he has. With an ADP of 144.8 I feel it could be a tad early. Although, I’d probably be happy drafting him as the 5th or 6th Wide Receiver on my team. It’ll be interesting to see how it pans out in Kansas City. Picking Skyy up in round 13 and later could work out to be a steal. 

As always i’d love your feedback so please hit me up on Twitter- @lvenes1 

 

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