4 NFL Rookies to Consider for Your 2022 Fantasy Draft

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by Mike Noblin | Published: May 4, 2022

The festivities have wrapped in Vegas. After one of the most exciting draft weekends of all time, teams and fans alike are keying into the impact their new rookies will have.

Traditional fantasy players will be looking for the first-year stud while dynasty players may look for a couple of valuable stashes. Here are 4 NFL rookies to consider for your 2022 fantasy draft.

First Rounders

The first round of the 2022 NFL Draft had its fair share of surprises, especially with the Titans dealing A.J. Brown to the Eagles. Nevertheless, the following two players found perfect homes and both should be able to contribute very early in the season.

Chris Olave

New Orleans paid a hefty price to move up for the second receiver from Ohio State (picks 16, 98, and 120 for pick 11). The move reflects just how big of an impact they think he can have in their offense from the start. Their passing offense was limited by multiple injuries in 2021 (Jameis Winston and Michael Thomas) and should receive a boost from their returns, but they also face the challenge of overcoming Sean Payton’s departure.

Olave will step in as the second-best receiver on the team, and one of the best ball-catchers in the league. He lacks after-the-catch ability but is sure-handed and knows how to play in the middle 50 and in the red zone. Look for Olave to carry value in PPR leagues this season and higher upside in dynasty leagues as Michael Thomas’ time in New Orleans may be winding down.

Kenny Pickett

Unlike the above, Pittsburgh was able to sit back and see their favorite talent fall to number 20. Local favorite Kenny Pickett stays in town as the successor to franchise legend Ben Roethlisberger. The fortunate aspect for the team from a non-fantasy perspective is that Mitch Trubisky can start Week 1 if Pickett needs time to adjust.

The fortunate aspect for dynasty players is that Pickett is the guy long-term, and the Steelers are a team that prioritizes stability. Overstated concerns about Pickett’s hand size should be settled as he will play in the same city where he shined as a senior. Surrounded by an arsenal of both proven (Najee Harris, Diontae Johnson) and promising (George Pickens, Calvin Austin) weapons, Pickett will have a supportive system around him – it may just take longer for him to adjust as a rookie than it would a receiver or back.

Late-Round Picks

Though the first round gets all of the hype, rosters are built by finding solid players later in the draft. The following two players probably won't play much to start the 2022 season, but both have the potential to be fantasy sleepers late in your draft.

Tyler Badie

Baltimore continues to remain committed to the run following the trade which sent Hollywood Brown to Arizona and returned Tyler Linderbaum. The Ravens faced a remarkable level of injury to their backfield last year, leaving Badie in a crowded room with JK Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill. However, Badie plays as a possible dynasty option thanks to his versatility and short-yardage potential.

Badie thrived in his one season as the feature back at Missouri with nearly 2,000 yards from scrimmage and more than 54 receptions in 12 games. He won’t play as a feature back starting Week 1, but he’s a valuable asset in an offense built around running the ball.

Dameon Pierce

Houston has a strong candidate for this year’s sleeper rookie star. Pierce joins a team that needs help out of the backfield. Marlon Mack is listed as the feature back but lacks much explosiveness following his Achilles injury.

The team needs support for Davis Mills and after securing Kenyon Green to improve the interior line, Pierce faces little competition in becoming the big name. He offers good size and was a productive runner all four years at Florida with a 68.75% TD rate inside of the opponent's 10 last season.

Mike Noblin

Mike has been involved with sports betting and fantasy sports for more than two decades. He played baseball in college while earning a degree in sports psychology. Follow him on Twitter at @MikeNoblin.

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