The NFL draft is now over, and it provided yet another exciting note in this off-season packed with surprises. Premier young Wide Receivers like AJ Brown and Marquise Brown have found new homes, while the new crop of rookies are also settling into their new teams as well. Wide Receivers were a hot commodity in round one of the draft with six going off the board in the top 18 selections. The opposite held true for the 2022 Quarterback class as the bulk fell much further than expected. Thus proving yet again that any analysis and rankings provided before the draft is just a guessing game. No one truly knows which prospect NFL teams are coveting. Rankings before the NFL draft and after are drastically different every single year. In this two part series, I will look at some of the rookies who have risen and fallen after the draft this past weekend. These changes can be attributed to draft capital, team fit, or a combination of both. Particularly if you are doing a rookie draft in the coming week, it is important to take note, and adjust your rankings accordingly. To begin we will highlight some of the biggest post-draft risers.
Pickett is a riser by default in this 2022 QB class. He is the only QB to be taken in the first two rounds of the NFL, let alone the top 20. Most analysts weren’t enamored with this Quarterback class, but no one could have predicted this large of a fall. Pickett is now the only Quarterback worth drafting in the first round of Superflex drafts this Summer. Although he lacks upside, Quarterbacks are king in Superflex leagues, and they hold value very well. He is an older prospect, but much like Joe Burrow had an outstanding final collegiate season. I’m willing to take a chance on Pickett in the mid-first round of Superflex drafts in hopes that he can provide QB2 value in the near future.
One of my favorite prospects before the draft, Cook landed in an ideal spot in Buffalo. Singletary will provide completion for touches, and Allen will certainly vulture a fair amount of touchdowns. However, no one was expecting Cook to be a bell cow RB1 coming into the draft. When looking for running back production, a great place to start is a great offense. The Buffalo offense will be on the field plenty in 2022, and will provide plenty of scoring opportunities. Cook should step into the lead receiving role right away for the Bills, and has a chance to overtake Singletary on some early down work as well. At the end of the first round of rookie drafts, I prefer Cook to similarly rated prospects like Pickens and Dotson. Although the risk is higher, Cook has a much better chance of making a difference on your fantasy team in the near future.
Pierce is a bruising Running Back, who is one of the hardest players to tackle in the class. He plays without fear, and is already one of the more physically imposing backs in football coming into the league. His size and ability to make tacklers miss reminds me of a slightly larger Clyde Edwards-Helaire (albeit he is nowhere near the receiving prospect). What is most exciting about Pierce though is his landing spot with the Houston Texans. Marlon Mack and Rex Burkhead are currently his two biggest obstacles toward playing time. Neither of these backs has proven to have any kind of consistency at this stage of their careers, and Houston will likely want to see what they have in their young player. When Running Back injuries pile up at the end of the season, you could do worse than a player who could find himself in a starting role sooner rather than later .
Moore landed in a dream scenario with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. With Tyreek Hill gone, there is no clear number two option in the passing game after Travis Kelce. Nobody will confuse Moore’s speed with Hill’s, but he is fast in his own right, and could help fill Hill’s role as a deep threat down field. He was also productive in every season at Western Michigan, and is a great route runner. Criticisms of his game include his lack of size, and that he sometimes doesn’t play up to his 4.41 40 yard dash time at the combine. Draft capital and team fit was going to be big for Moore, and he was one of the biggest risers in the draft this past weekend. Although I prefer most of the first round wide receivers due to natural talent, Moore is an exciting prospect at the end of the first round of rookie drafts.
The other big receiver riser, Watson was drafted into a completely wide open Green Bay receiving depth chart. His biggest completion for targets will come from Allen Lazard, Robert Tonyan, Sammy Watkins, and Amari Rodgers. None of these are exciting options, and Watson could immediately become one of the top options in the Packer’s offense. Although Watson comes from a smaller school, he had an outstanding career at North Dakota State, and is one of the most physically gifted prospects in this class. Developing chemistry with Rodgers will be key, but I’m ranking him as my rookie WR6 due to team fit. If he were to become the top option in the passing attack, this is a player who has top 15 upside at the position in dynasty.
I don’t love the landing spot for Dotson, but I do love the draft capital he was given. Dotson was selected much higher than most expected going 16th overall to the Washington Commanders. Dotson was someone before the draft for me that could go as high as the mid first round, or fall to the end of the second round of rookie drafts depending on the landing spot. Being the fifth Wide Receiver drafted solidifies him as a solid prospect at the end of the first/early second round for fantasy managers. The landing spot isn’t fantastic as he is paired with Carson Wentz and is set to compete with Terry McLaurin for target volume. However, the serious draft capital invested shows the Commanders plan on him being heavily involved in the offense. He’s currently my rookie WR8 after the rest of the first round rookies, Sky Moore, and Christian Watson.
This is a prospect I wasn’t terribly familiar with before his selection in the second round by the New England Patriots. Nonetheless, the significant draft capital invested in him makes him a big riser in the rookie draft rankings. He was the leading receiver for the Baylor Bears last season, and ran a blazing 4.28 40 yard dash at the combine. The Patriots aren’t usually ones to chase athletic profiles, but this draft proved the Patriots march to the beat of their own drum. I do prefer some of the receivers selected after him like Alec Pierce and David Bell. However, Thornton moves from a long shot 4th-5th round selection, to a high upside pick in the third round of rookie drafts. Look for him in drafts this week before preloaded ADP adjusts.
Thank you for reading and happy drafting everyone. If you like this article shoot me a follow on Twitter @Dynasty_Analyst. Keep your eyes peeled for more articles from our great Dynasty team, coming soon. Remember to tune into the 5 Yard Dynasty livestream every Tuesday at 8 pm (GMT).