Who is the next big thing in fantasy football? It’s a question that each fantasy manager thinks they have an answer for every year. Who is your answer for 2022? There are plenty of viable candidates — and certain to be some players who emerge to shock all of us with a sudden breakout.
For this list, we’re keeping it simple: Here are the top 10 fantasy football rookies this year. ADP numbers provided by FantasyPros in standard leagues
Top 10 fantasy football rookies
1. Drake London, WR, Atlanta Falcons, ADP: 96
A ready-made, red-zone target without much competition for targets, London has shown in camp that he can couple his size with true separation ability. Will Marcus Mariota torpedo this offense? That’s the big concern. London could have a fantastic first year if his quarterback is merely serviceable.
2. Dameon Pierce, RB, Houston Texans, ADP: 113
He won’t be the second rookie player — or even rookie running back — drafted in your league, but if you want the first-year player with the best chance at being a productive, early-down back this year, here he is. Pierce should be at the top of Houston’s RB depth chart in short order, with only Marlon Mack in his way. QB Davis Mills displayed competency last season, and the Texans’ offensive line is probably a little better than you think. He never dominated in college, but he never really got the opportunity necessary.
3. Breece Hall, RB, New York Jets, ADP: 38
On pure talent, Hall should be No. 1 on this list. He’s got all of the physical tools to be the best rookie RB and a three-down producer. But there are red flags here. For one, Michael Carter is not some also-ran player. Although he dealt with numerous injuries in his rookie year, he runs with toughness and has shown decent receiving chops. The loss of tackle Mekhi Becton is a massive blow for any RB looking to succeed here. And are we sure Zach Wilson is going to make a leap in his sophomore campaign? If not, this entire offense could once again become hands-off in fantasy.
4. Brian Robinson, RB, Washington Commanders, ADP: 125
Am I biting into the hype too hard here? Possibly. But it’s difficult to ignore what is going on with the Commanders’ backfield. Antonio Gibson continues to literally fumble away opportunities, and although he’s more talented than Robinson, Gibson’s leash has to be getting short. Robinson has more shiftiness than your typical big-body RB and should be a natural near the goal line. He’s also a proficient receiver and pass protector, although he will likely lose those downs to J.D. McKissic.
5. George Pickens, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers, ADP: 136
Pickens fell in the 2022 Draft due to injury and on-field concerns, but he has been a bright light in Steelers camp. Pittsburgh’s passing offense, no matter who is under center, should be improved without any further appearances from Ben Roethlisberger’s dead arm. Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool block his path to targets right now, and Pickens and Claypool are both vertical WRs, Pickens is a better all-around wideout and could very well leap him in the pecking order early on this year.
6. Chris Olave, WR, New Orleans Saints, ADP: 104
This 2022 Saints offense or quarterback Jameis Winston won’t be as aggressive throwing downfield as they were in years gone by. But when the Saints do want to push the ball deep, the speedy Olave should be a frequent target. With Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry drawing a lot of coverage in the short- and medium-depth ranges, Olave should find himself in single coverage as he takes off down the field. He will be inconsistent, but his boom weeks are inevitable and will be massive.
7. Ken Walker III, RB, Seattle Seahawks, ADP: 88
Walker would be higher on this list if not for the hernia injury that will sideline him until the start of the regular season. In general, the preseason is overrated for fantasy purposes, but those missed reps are crucial for a rookie looking to make an impact right away. And Walker could with the injury-prone Rashaad Penny serving as his top competition for touches. The Seahawks’ offense should be run-heavy, and Walker was one of the best running backs in college last year. A word of warning: This offense also has a chance of being absolutely abysmal with Geno Smith and/or Drew Lock under center.
8. Skyy Moore, WR, Kansas City Chiefs, ADP: 129
When Moore was drafted, many viewed him as the Tyreek Hill replacement. Let’s pump the breaks just a bit. While it’s great that he is attached to this offense and will undoubtedly have a role as a big-play threat, it’s a little disconcerting that he’s been nicked up throughout the preseason with lower-body ailments. Plus, the target breakdown here is pretty nebulous once you get past Travis Kelce and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Could Moore be the No. 3 weapon in this passing game right away? Yeah. Could he also be No. 5, behind Mecole Hardman, Marquez Valdes-Scantling? Uh-huh. The range of outcomes here is vast.
9. Treylon Burks, WR, Tennessee Titans, ADP: 99
Burks has the look of an alpha wideout in the NFL. But can he actually do it? It’s inconclusive right now as he has not had glowing reviews in training camp. However, understand that things can change quickly, especially in a receiving corps that is headed by 30-year-old Robert Woods coming off an ACL tear, and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine. At his current ADP, Burks is being overdrafted. But don’t write him off yet. Burks is too talented to cast aside given Tennessee’s thin group of WRs.
10. James Cook, RB, Buffalo Bills, ADP: 108
It’s probably not wise to gauge Cook by his standard-league ADP since most of his impact will be made in the passing game. A fantastic receiver, Dalvin’s brother should be on the field whenever the Bills want to throw, which has been most of the time in recent seasons. We’ll see how the offense changes with a new offensive coordinator, but Cook should be involved consistently.