Projecting the top fantasy rookies isn't easy. Not only are you looking for talented players who racked up the points in college, but you also have to account for the level of competition they played in college and the type of team they're going to in the NFL.
How's the offensive line and quarterback situation? Does the quarterback trust rookies? Does the coach? Are they going to a prolific passing team? Who's in front of them on the depth chart? You're drafting an unknown commodity, so you better be damn sure your player will see the field.
Who are the Best Fantasy Rookies in 2022?
When I'm looking at which rookies will produce in 2022, I'm looking for where opportunity + situation (team) meet talent + production (player). Unfortunately, few rookies will check all four boxes because the nature of the draft puts the best players on the worst teams. But there is one match made in heaven that is very similar to Ja'Marr Chase landing on the Cincinnati Bengals in 2021.
10) John Metchie
Alabama: 96 Receptions, 1142 Yards, 8 Touchdowns
This might be putting too much faith in the Houston Texans and Davis Mills, but I'm really high on Davis Mills! John Metchie's athleticism doesn't jump off the page, but he might be the best route runner in the class. He's a reliable pass catcher who racked up receptions at Alabama despite the level of talent on the field with him. There's a non-zero chance Bama's wide receiver group was better than the Texans last season, so it shouldn't be too hard for Metchie to carve out some playing time in Houston.
9) Jameson Williams
Alabama: 79 Receptions, 1572 Yards, 9 Touchdowns
I don't care if he's injured to start the season; Jameson Williams would've been number one if he wasn't. I still had him at six until I read he might be out until week seven, Williams has too much talent to pass on. Even if you only get him for the second half of the season, he'll rack up a ton of catches with the Detroit Lions. Jared Goff is the definition of an average quarterback, and the Lions showed real life on offense when Dan Campbell took over the play-calling duties.
If you have the means to do so, I would draft and stash Williams. Sit him on the bench, then reap the rewards when he's finally healthy.
8) Garret Wilson
Ohio State: 70 Receptions, 1058 Yards, 12 Touchdowns
Garret Wilson is possibly the most talented receiver in the class, following Jameson Williams. Wilson isn't injured, but he did get drafted by the New York Jets. The Jets as a team have an opportunity to exceed expectations, but I'm very concerned about Zach Wilson. During the second half of the season, when everybody was saying Zach Wilson really turned things around, he still only completed 54% of his passes. That's fucking brutal for any quarterback during this day and age. Hopefully, 'having that dog in ya' improves accuracy.
He also has a teammate who appears later on this list, and it's hard to imagine two rookies racking up tons of fantasy points on the same team. If the Wilson to Wilson connection does work out though, he'll be exciting as all hell to have on your team.
7) Kenneth Walker III
Michigan State: 263 Attempts, 1636 Yards, 18 Touchdowns |13 Receptions, 89 Yards, 1 Touchdown
If I thought Kenneth Walker was going to be the day one starter for the Seattle Seahawks, he'd be in the top three. Pete Carroll and the Seahawks love to run the ball, and they don't have a quarterback. Even their offensive line seems to be improving. Walker has proved he's a workhorse back that can carry the load on his own over the course of a season. He also proved he could win a game all by himself when he put on a Heisman-worthy performance against a good Michigan defense for 193 yards and five touchdowns. Kenneth Walker can be a top fantasy running back.
The issue is Rashaad Penny ran for 6.3 Yards per Carry in 2021; that's a ridiculous clip. If Walker were a better pass catcher, maybe he could jump Penny on the depth chart, but both running backs lack in that area.
6) Rachaad White
Arizona State: 182 Attempts, 1000 Yards, 15 Touchdowns | 43 Receptions, 456 Yards, 1 Touchdown
I had Rachaad White in the top three until I talked myself out of it. Still, White is an excellent fit with Tom Brady. Nobody makes better use of his running backs in the passing game than Brady. Leonard Fournette racked up 69 receptions playing on the Buccaneers last season. White is one of the better pass-catching running backs to come out of college in a while. He has stellar hands, runs clean routes, and picks up yards after the catch.
Similar to Walker, White has someone slotted ahead of him on the depth chart. Unlike Walker, White could be on the field at the same time as Fournette as a receiver, and that's why I have him slotted one spot ahead.
5) James Cook
Georgia: 113 Attempts, 728 Yards, 7 Touchdowns | 27 Receptions, 284 Yards, 4 Touchdowns
James Cook didn't have the overall production of Rachaad White or Kenneth Walker, but he's stepping into a way better situation. Going to the Buffalo Bills to compete with Devin Singletary should be a layup for Cook. Not only is Cook a superior pass catcher than Singletary, but he's also a superior pass blocker. That should ensure he stays on the field in the Bills pass happy offense.
Even on the ground, Cook is a much more explosive back than Singletary or Zack Moss. He's a bonafide home run hitter, which is something the Bills haven't had since LeSean McCoy. Cook gets a chance to compete for the number one running back job in the league's best offense, that will lead to a lot of points.
4) Drake London
USC: 88 Receptions, 1084 Yards, 7 Touchdowns
I'd feel better about Drake London if I knew Desmond Ridder was going to be starting for the Atlanta Falcons, as I'm not sure of Mariota's ability to push the ball downfield. In college, Mariota threw the ball all over the field as well as anyone in the nation; that hasn't translated in the NFL for whatever reason.
However, London's talent should be able to make up for any quarterback woes. He's a massive receiver with blazing speed, similar to Mike Evans. If you throw the ball within his vicinity, London will be the guy coming down with it. There's a reason he was able to grab 88 receptions for USC last season despite the questionable quarterback situation there.
3) Treylon Burks
Arkansas: 66 Receptions, 1104 Yards, 11 Touchdowns
Treylon Burks has the chance to step in as the number one from day one for the Tennessee Titans. Ryan Tannehill is an above-average quarterback, and the Titans are a big-play offense. With the departure of A.J. Brown to Philadelphia, that will leave a plethora of opportunities for Burks to feast, especially in a weak AFC South.
The only thing that concerns me: I'm very skeptical Derrick Henry will remain a productive running back in 2022. If teams aren't selling out for King Henry, is Tannehill still going to get the ball downfield?
2) Breece Hall
Iowa State: 253 Attempts, 1472 Yards, 20 Touchdowns | 36 Receptions, 302 Yards, 3 Touchdowns
Everybody else has Breece Hall at number one, and I can't blame anyone for thinking he will be the most productive rookie in fantasy. Beyond being the most well-rounded running back in the class, he won't be negatively affected by Zach Wilson being his quarterback. If anything, that fact might get him more touches. The Jets have a pretty good offensive line too, so I'm not worried about him getting swallowed up like Najee Harris in Pittsburgh.
My only concern about Hall is that Michael Carter proved to be a pretty good running back. So even though Hall can be a genuine bell cow back and is an exceptional pass catcher, Carter was too. I see them splitting carries more than others do.
1) Skyy Moore
Western Michigan: 95 Receptions, 1292 Yards, 10 Touchdowns
Skyy Moore racked up the receptions during his last season at Western Michigan. He's a fluid route runner, showed great burst, and has nasty top-end speed. He's also stepping into the best situation of any rookie in the league; Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs former number one receiver, left for aqua greener pastures. So Moore gets to compete for the number one receiver job on a team with Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback. Andy Reid also loves to throw the ball as much as any coach in league history.
If Skyy Moore isn't stacking fantasy points in this offense, something has gone terribly wrong. Moore should be able to eat in Kansas City, and if you have him on your fantasy team, it'll be you benefiting from his production.