Fantasy managers frequently look to rookies as instant-impact players. But what if the collective NFL isn’t as impressed with a rookie class? Should Fantasy managers take notice and not put much stock into them, or should they still draft them anyway?
In April’s draft, only two skill-position players, receivers Drake London and Garrett Wilson, went in the first 10 picks (neither made the top five). By the time Round 1 was done, six receivers, one quarterback and no running backs were selected. By the time the first 50 overall picks were through, two running backs and four more receivers were chosen.
Fine, 10 receivers in the first 50 picks aren’t so bad. But just two running backs and one quarterback?
The truth is that the 2022 class is solid, but imperfect. There isn’t a flawless player who managers can count on for big numbers right away. Not only is there no Najee Harris or Ja’Marr Chase, but there’s no Javonte Williams or Jaylen Waddle. It might be a stretch to say there’s one who could produce like Elijah Mitchell or Elijah Moore.
You’re about to learn that there isn’t anyone in the rookie class worth going crazy for. You won’t see any rookies in the top-25 picks in seasonal leagues and, if your draft is anything like the one you’ll see on our site, you won’t see any rookies in the top 45, either. And if you’re in a rookie-only draft for Dynasty leagues, you may determine that you’d rather trade out of this year’s picks to stock up on next year’s class, which already figures to be awesome.
Note: Players are listed in the order of Dave Richard’s 2022 PPR rankings. Players ages are as of Week 1.
Height: 6-3 5/8 | Weight: 246 | Age as of Week 1: 22
McBride hit the collegiate radar when he caught 90 passes for 1,121 yards last year for Colorado State. Even though he scored just once, and even though his prior stats weren’t anything special, the beastly pass-catcher with massive hands became the top tight end in the class. He has good speed considering his size but must refine his route-running technique if he’s going to become dominant. The Cardinals don’t have a need to rush him onto the field — they re-signed Zach Ertz to a long-term contract and can take a patient approach with their rookie.
2021 DRAFT OUTLOOK: Maybe in deep TE-premium leagues you’ll see McBride drafted, but he otherwise won’t get snagged.
ROOKIE-ONLY DRAFT OUTLOOK: McBride has theoretical upside based on his unique skill set, but the opportunity to be a high-volume target might take a while to arrive, if at all. He’s a Round 3 pick.
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Height: 6-4 | Weight: 243 | Age as of Week 1: 22
Blessed with good size, explosiveness and a great head of hair, Dulcich is much more of a receiving tight end than a do-everything type. He’s a long-armed athlete who has just enough speed and elusiveness to be a problem for most defenders, not to mention he’s a willing field-crosser. You might not care that he’s not a polished blocker, but his coaches might, and it could lead to a lack of playing time. Dulcich impressed early on in minicamps but then missed time with an undisclosed injury.
2021 DRAFT OUTLOOK: Rookie tight ends rarely contribute in Fantasy, and Dulcich should be no exception. He’s worth a late pick in TE-premium leagues, maybe.
ROOKIE-ONLY DRAFT OUTLOOK: Dulcich’s biggest obstacle to every-down reps is Albert Okwuegbunam, who is just under two years older than Dulcich. Dulcich is a terrific talent but he probably should have his downside baked into his draft value, which makes Round 3 a safe spot.