On night one of the 2022 NFL Draft, we saw 16 defensive players and 9 offensive lineman drafted in Round 1. While 6 receivers did come off the board, we did not see a RB or TE selected in the first round. This in addition to just one QB taken in the first round, set up a night 2 where many skill position players came off the board.
For fantasy managers, these were the rounds to watch. There were high-powered offenses such as the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs who were clearly in the WR market. There were also many RB hungry teams looking to add Breece Hall or Kenneth Walker III to the squad.
The players selected here are crucial for dynasty formats, but also have potential to breakout as dependable options in re-draft leagues.
With this in mind, which of these skill position players taken on day 2 will be able to make an impact for your fantasy team on day 1?
Christian Watson WR (Round 2: Pick #34, selected by Green Bay Packers)
The Packers finally identified their WR early on night two by trading two 2nd round picks to move up to #34. Watson steps in as the de facto replacement for Davante Adams. It’s unfair to expect the same level of production immediately, but Watson has potential to be a 1,000+ yard receiver.
Adams was targeting 169 times in 2021. These targets are now vacant and can be taken over by either Watson or Allen Lazard. There is still possibility that the Packers add more WR’s through trade. But as of right now, Watson has a prime opportunity to step up and become Aaron Rodgers’ new favorite target.
While WR’s such as: Jameson Williams, Garrett Wilson, and Drake London were looked at as the better prospects. None of them will play with an QB as great as Aaron Rodgers in 2022. This sets up Watson as a legitimate WR2/Flex option heading into this season.
Breece Hall RB (Round 2: Pick #36, selected by New York Jets)
Another trade up, and one that may have been a bit puzzling at first. Last year, the Jets drafted Michael Carter in the 4th round and used him consistently throughout the year. Carter finished 29th for RB’s in PPR format, despite missing 3 games. This production was great for a 4th round rookie, but maybe not enough to lead the backfield going forward.
The Jets knew they had to get in front of a RB needy team in Houston, in order to grab the man lauded as the best RB in the draft. Despite Carter’s presence, it appears as if Hall will take on the bulk of the carries in NY.
Here’s a stat that should have fantasy players drooling, Breece Hall has had 41 touchdowns in his last 24 games. This was a record-breaker as he is the first player in NCAA history to score in 24 consecutive games.
He also featured back to back seasons of 1500+ yards from scrimmage. The production from Hall is unmatched in this class, and the Jets now have a more stable backfield because of it.
You could argue the Jets landed the best CB, the best WR, and the best RB in this year’s draft class. If these offensive picks can mesh well together, the Jets will be a spot with multiple high-caliber fantasy options this season.
George Pickens WR (Round 2: Pick #52, selected by Pittsburgh Steelers)
No team loves their mid round receivers quite like the Pittsburgh Steelers. We have seen players like Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, and Chase Claypool break out in the past decade for the Steel City. All of these guys share a bond in not being first round selections.
The Steelers went with George Pickens in hopes to continue this trend of drafting fantastic early to mid-round receivers. Pickens comes off an abbreviated season in which he only played the final 4 games due to tearing his ACL in March of 2021.
Pickens is a big body athlete who has blazing speed. His production does not jump off the page, but it’s important to note Georgia is a team that loves to run the football.
Pickens may have not had the opportunity to put up the big, splashy numbers you will see from other receivers. But he will have an opportunity to go play for a historic franchise that is known for getting the best out of their wide receivers.
James Cook RB (Round 2: Pick #63, selected by the Buffalo Bills)
Another big name running back finds his way to the AFC East. Dalvin’s little brother has the genetics to back up the production he put out at Georgia.
Cook shared the backfield with Zamir White in 2021, but that did not stop Cook from finishing with 1,012 yards from scrimmage and 11 total touchdowns. Cook is a dynamic pass catcher out of the backfield and will add a different element to the Bills’ aerial attack.
The senior from Georgia will now enter a Bills’ backfield that has tons of question marks. Cook has the opportunity to take over the starting job and contribute to one of the most dominant offensive attacks in the league.
David Bell WR (Round 3: Pick #99, selected by the Cleveland Browns)
This pick has a real chance to be the steal of the 3rd round. David Bell played in 29 games during his career at Purdue. Bell had 100+ yard games in 17 of those 29 games. This past season he was at his best against Iowa and Michigan State where he recorded 200+ yards in each of those games.
Bell is smooth, athletic receiver who will have the chance to contribute on the Browns’ new look passing attack. Amari Cooper was brought in, but Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry have moved on.
The debate for fantasy managers will be between Bell and Donovan Peoples-Jones who led the Browns ‘ WR room last season. Peoples-Jones is a great deep threat, but Bell provides value after the catch in open space.
The Browns have mixed in different skillsets for their receiving corps and it will be fun to watch this young group go to work with Deshaun Watson.
Which of these players will you be eyeing in dynasty leagues this year? How high will these players go in re-draft formats? Let me know on Twitter @James_Costanz.