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2022 Fantasy Football rookies: Analyzing the running back class, including 2022 and rookie draft outlooks

Fantasy directors often view novices as players of instant impact. But what if the NFL Collegiate isn’t a fan of the junior class? Should Fantasy managers pay attention to them and not put too much stock in them, or should they still craft it anyway?

In the April draft, only two skill center players, Drake London and Garrett Wilson, went in the first 10 picks (neither of them made the top five). By the time the first round was completed, six receivers had been selected, one quarterback and no backs had been selected. By the time the first 50 overall picks were made, two rears and four other receivers had been selected.

Well, 10 receivers in the first 50 picks aren’t too bad. But only two fullbacks running and one quarterback?

The truth is, the 2022 class is strong but imperfect. There is no flawless player that managers can count on to get big numbers right away. Not only is there no Survivor Harris or Ja’Marr Chase, but there is no Javonte Williams or Jaylen Waddle. It would be an exaggeration to say that there is someone out there who can produce like Elijah Mitchell or Elijah Moore.

You’re about to find out that no one in the novice class deserves to go crazy. You won’t see any starters in the top 25 picks in the seasonal leagues, and if your draft is similar to the one you’ll see on our site, you won’t see any starters in the top 45 either. And if you’re in a beginner-only draft for the Dynasty tournaments, you might decide you’d rather check out this year’s picks to stock up on next year’s class, which is already pretty cool.

Note: Players are listed in Dave Richard’s 2022 PPR Rankings. Players ages start from the first week.

  • More rookies: RB | WR (Wednesday) | QB (Thursday) | TE (Friday)

Press Hall, New York Jets

Height 5-11 1/4 | Weight: 217 | 21 years old

Hall is a powerful three-cylinder quarterback who conquers with incredible vision, balance and lateral agility. He has the patience to thrive in the zone scheme operating system (like planes) and shift to avoid incoming attackers. And while he doesn’t have elite pace and isn’t considered an accurate runner or blocker, Hall still averaged 146.9 total yards per game over the last two seasons in Iowa with 46 total touchdowns in 24 games. If it wasn’t just in the Jets – they already had a youngster running in the back in Michael Carter, a coaching staff who strongly believes in using multiple lunges and a young quarterback with a multi-year track record of not relying on his back. In a scrolling game. Additionally, the Jets have not had a back-ranking higher than 12 in Fantasy Points per game (PPR) since 2009.

Draft Outlook for 2022: Hall can be safely counted as a fantasy No. 2 running backwards on the spot, but his path to becoming a top 12 man will depend largely on how quickly he can convince his coaches to aim and put him on the field with enough 20 touches per game. Even if he had a number of highlights before the start of the season, it would look like he made it to the third round.

Draft ROOKIE-ONLY OUTLOOK: In the first and second QB formats, Hall is a default lock-in for overall ranking simply because there is no other player with some kind of short- and long-term ascent in any position.

Kenneth Walker, Seattle Seahawks

Height 5-9 1/4 | Weight: 211 | 21 years old

Walker is a stocky, strong-legged guy who runs backwards with excellent lateral agility, very good patience and a blast. He also has super speed to help him finish his rounds. This was on display in 2021 when he ran for 136.3 yards per game and fell for 18 touchdowns in 12 games at Michigan State. According to Pro Football Focus, Walker’s 89 forced tackles and 1,168 after-contact yards were the best in college football in 2021. Walker wasn’t asked to do much as a college future but looked pretty natural when he saw short goals. Being banned might be his least attractive trait because he has work to do there. However, Walker’s hasty style fits right in with the Seattle Heavy offensive, putting him in a position to start the year alongside Rashad Penny but inevitably taking the helm as the Seahawks return.

Draft Outlook for 2022: If we believed in the Seattle offense, Walker would be a better rookie ahead of Hall. But the Seahawks lack a quarterback and have been very reluctant to engage their backs in the passing game for so long. He covers his upside, which is why the range that allows him to recast is round 6.

Draft ROOKIE-ONLY OUTLOOK: Walker’s long-term vision seems rather rosy when you consider that he’s the only quality Seattle back in Seattle on contract in 2023 and that crime around him has nowhere to go but to rise. Even a change in coaches can increase Walker’s potential. He deserves to take second place overall in all junior drafts.

Tyler Allgear, Atlanta Falcons

Height 5-10 3/4 | Weight: 224 | Age: 22 years old

In the mold of treadmills like James Conner and David Montgomery, Allgeier welcomes the body but also uses his patience as a way to find space and win on the ground. He’s used that power (and some occasional speed) to beat defenders on his way to 113.8 dash yards per game and 36 laps over the past two seasons (24 games). It can even be used in a scrolling game (28 times in 2021). Where it lacks speed and consistent dribbling, plus it needs blocking action. With the competition restricted to veterans like Cordarrelle Patterson and Damien Williams, Allgeier should be in line for a good dose of touches in Atlanta with the upside to getting a distinct role.

Draft Outlook for 2022: It’s hard to get excited about an Allgeier knowing that it will take time to find a significant workload. It’s even more difficult when you consider the uncertainty surrounding a hawk attack. That’s why it’s much safer in terms of solid seat depth with a height of about 100 overall. Obviously, a strong start to the season will get him into the sixth round.

Draft ROOKIE-ONLY OUTLOOK: Appears like Allgeier have a shorter shelf life than other appearances. This prevents him from being anything more than a very late pick in the first round.

James Cook, Buffalo Bills

Height 5-11 | Weight: 199 | Age: 22 years old

Cook’s skill set as an elusive solo runner and accurate road runner instantly puts him in a part-time role with the Bills. Not that he’s not a good traditional sprinter behind, but he doesn’t seem to have the natural build or strength to handle the rigors of indoor running on a professional level. That should mean more in the way Cook receives as well as outside running, which immediately limits his tactile capabilities. The cook averaged at least 6.1 yards per carry in each of Georgia’s four seasons, but he didn’t even have 120 gigs in one season. He’ll spend 2022 seeing fewer touches per game than Devin Singletary.

Draft Outlook for 2022: Cook secures a pick in the 100th overall in the PPR tournaments, but could drop to 120th overall in the non-PPR leagues because his ability for a lot of yards and touchdowns looks as low as a Novice.

Draft ROOKIE-ONLY OUTLOOK: Because of the slender nature of running, the chef could get 11th place in some junior drafts. This is not wrong if you need a runner in the PPR scoring system, but the value will seem fairer if he gets three or more points later.

Damon Pierce, Houston Texas

Height 5-9 5/8 | Weight: 218 | Age: 22 years old

Pierce is neither snappy nor quick but he has excellent balancing and cutting ability to help him find space for good yardage. It’s also better than your typical newbie in terms of receiving and blocking. His stats show none of that, though: In his four years in Florida, he had very few big plays, had no more than 574 yards in a season and had more than 15 touches twice in 50 games. There were former freshmen who had limited college experience and went on to strong fantasy jobs, but were not selected in the fourth round like Pierce was. Texans will probably be thrilled just to have some youngsters in the running — Marlon Mack (26) and Rex Burkhead (32) are Pierce’s contender for playing time this pre-season. That may mean that Pierce will start on a committee, but he could lead the task by October.

Draft Outlook for 2022: Without the promised opportunities in the already shady Texas offense, Pierce should be framed as a bench running back with a strong upside. Once it’s the eighth round, it’s fair game.

Draft ROOKIE-ONLY OUTLOOK: Once the upper back and wide receivers are gone, Pierce will get attention. That should start at 11 overall and not last long after that.

Isaiah Spiler, Los Angeles Chargers

Height 6-0 3/8 | Weight: 217 | 21 years old

Unlike others in the draft category, the Spiller is a very good combination of power and speed. He has the power to push piles, blow through lower body tackles, and blast fast to dodge defenders. He also has potential as a three-point player thanks to his competitive pick-up skill set and more than just a quick interest in blocking. He doesn’t have high speed and his determination comes and goes, but that’s about the extent of his downsides. You might also like to know that he hasn’t missed a game in three years. Unfortunately, Spiller is stuck behind Austin Ekeler in Los Angeles, so it’s very likely that he won’t be useful in Fantasy unless Ekeler loses significant playing time.

Draft Outlook for 2022: Spiller is an attractive late game for those managers who take Ekeler into the first round. It also fits the bill as a lottery ticket on the bench for anyone else in the league, but you might get impatient after a couple of weeks.

Draft ROOKIE-ONLY OUTLOOK: Ekeler is 27 years old with two more years on his current contract. That may be as long as the Spiller waits for an advantage opportunity with chargers. He’s almost certainly going to be an early pick for the second round in all of the rookie drafts.

Rashad White, The Pirates of Tampa Bay

Height 6-0 3/8 | Weight: 214 | Age: 23 years old

After much anonymity, White broke out with a big year in Arizona, rumbling for over 1,400 total yards and 16 total hits with 43 receptions. He got the job done thanks to his quick feet, easy hands and good vision. His footwork is fantastic, playing his role not only in terms of lateral agility and making defenders miss him when cutting, but also in his trajectory. While it’s a good size, it’s not consistently strong, nor does it have top speed to escape defenders. He is good at passing but needs help as a pass blocker. The good news is that White will not be pushed into action this year as he will almost certainly play behind Leonard Fournette.

Draft Outlook for 2022: There are only faint hopes that white will fly on the ground or through the air; Strong preparation would help him. But remember who the Bucs quarterback is – that’s who shoots who’s playing when running. Until White earns Tom Brady’s trust, he is unlikely to touch the ball much and is at best an insurance policy for those who take Fortnite by picking early.

Draft ROOKIE-ONLY OUTLOOK: White’s skill set and trial capital are proof enough that he hasn’t promised anything in the long run. So even though he’s an impressive passer and has some great feet, he should quickly develop into a meaningful role after 2022. We expect him to be an early pick for the second round in the junior drafts only.

Zamir White, Raiders of Las Vegas

Height 5-11 3/4 | Weight: 214 | Age: 22 years old

White is a plump, punchy package that works again with a quick and patient blast. He’s a good fit for the DT as a two-level full-back but doesn’t have much in terms of dribbling. He also has a lot to learn about blocking passes and catching the ball (17 receptions in three seasons). He also tore up both of his ACLs (right in November 2017; one left in August 2018). There was already talk this season of the Whites eventually becoming the Raiders team, and not just at the start of the 2023 season.

Draft Outlook for 2022: White will be a late traveler, as an insurance policy for Josh Jacobs but also as a low-key lottery ticket. The concern is that Jacobs is starting his season in good shape, relegating White to the waiver wire.

Draft ROOKIE-ONLY OUTLOOK: Don’t forget this guy! White’s long-term upside is very strong, especially since Jacobs’ contract expires after the 2022 season. It looks just like the kind of decline that McDaniels used previously in New England. Great deal at the start of the second round of drafts for beginners only.


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