We finally made it to the NFL’s first big event since Super Bowl LVI, and there’s plenty of fallout from this year’s Draft. The 2022 rookie class is obviously getting most of the spotlight, but this year’s freshmen will also have a huge impact on their new teammates for the upcoming season. Let’s dive in to see which veteran players are looking better and which veteran players are looking worse for fantasy for the 2022 season based on the results of the NFL Draft.
Players whom we’re feeling more optimistic about based on the selections and trades coming out of the 2022 Draft.
Kyler Murray (Ari) — The Cardinals haven’t yet paid Murray, and he’ll be looking for his just recompense in due time, but the guess here is that he’ll be happy with how things went down in the first round of the NFL Draft anyway. Arizona was often mocked to draft a WR with the 23rd overall pick but instead took some projection out of the whole event — they dealt the pick to Baltimore in exchange for WR Hollywood Brown and a third-round pick, who quietly requested a trade following the 2021 season. Brown is now reunited with his college QB in Murray, and the Cardinals certainly have seen plenty of Brown tape — when they evaluated Murray prior to the 2019 Draft at Oklahoma, Brown was his top receiver. He’s essentially replacing Christian Kirk in this offense, and Brown has been a more productive version of that player throughout his career, while he gives the Cardinals a viable option to line up alongside DeAndre Hopkins. Oh, by the way, did I mention that Murray was one of the best deep-ball throwers in football last season? The Cardinals then added the Draft’s top TE in Trey McBride with the 55th overall pick to give Kyler yet another weapon. (Joe Dolan)
Most Accurate Deep Ball Passers— SIS_Football (@football_sis) January 4, 2022
1. Joe Burrow - 66%
2. Kyler Murray - 65%
3. Russell Wilson - 60%
4. Dak Prescott, Aaron Rodgers - 59%
> On-Target% Leaders (min 50 deep ball att) pic.twitter.com/GtoYAWkN2F
Jalen Hurts (Phi) — Let’s put it this way: the Eagles will certainly be able to get a fair evaluation of Hurts in 2022. Following Philadelphia’s blockbuster trade — and subsequent extension — for star WR AJ Brown, Hurts now has a special trio of pass catchers (Brown, DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert) and one of the best offensive lines in the entire NFL. While Hurts’ running ability is what makes him special for fantasy, it’s blatantly obvious that the Eagles want to throw the ball more than they did last season. It’s fair to criticize Hurts’ ability to do that, but his pass-catching group just never was the kind that would support a pass-heavy offense, even if he was a more advanced passer. Philadelphia is clearly going to work this off-season to throw the ball more in 2022. And Hurts is going to have to prove he can work in that system, or the Eagles will use their two first-round picks in 2023 to find someone who can. For now, Hurts’ fantasy ceiling is sky-high. (JD)
Matt Ryan (Ind) — The Colts had three major offensive holes at wide receiver, tight end, and offensive tackle, and they addressed those needs with their first three picks of the Draft on Day 2. They selected WR Alec Pierce, TE Jelani Woods, and OT Bernhard Raimann in a 25-pick span on the second day of the Draft. Indy’s offensive cupboard was a little bare heading into the Draft but GM Chris Ballard did a good job of quickly remedying the situation. The Colts’ offense is still going to run through Jonathan Taylor but Ryan is in a much better spot to succeed with some additional targets added behind #1 WR Michael Pittman. (TB)
Zach Wilson (NYJ) — The Jets and GM Joe Douglas crushed the Draft for the second straight year by landing consensus top-15 picks Sauce Gardner, Garrett Wilson, and Jermaine Johnson in the first round. Zach Wilson is still the biggest question mark from their 2021 Draft haul after averaging 6.1 YPA with just nine TDs to 11 INTs in 13 games, but his loaded supporting cast should help take big steps in 2022. Our Greg Cosell compared Garrett Wilson to Stefon Diggs with his ability to work both outside and inside while also possessing the route-running and after-the-catch skills to win at all three levels of the field. Zach Wilson is suddenly flush with talent around him between Garrett Wilson, Elijah Moore, Corey Davis, Braxton Berrios, C.J. Uzomah, and Tyler Conklin. Zach Wilson has no excuses for not improving in his second season, and he’ll start gaining some mid-QB2 buzz after the Draft. (Tom Brolley)
Jameis Winston (NO) — The Saints could’ve gone a number of different paths with their pair of first-round picks, including selecting the first quarterback off the board, which would’ve signaled the eventual end to the Winston era in New Orleans. The Saints instead elected to trade up to give Winston a much-needed weapon by selecting Chris Olave with the 11th pick before later giving him protection by selecting Trevor Penning with the 19th pick. Olave is coming off a decorated career at Ohio State in which he broke David Boston’s school record with 35 receiving touchdowns, and he’ll settle in as the team’s #2 WR if Michael Thomas actually plays this season. Now Winston just needs new play-caller Pete Carmichael to be more aggressive than Sean Payton was last season after the Saints finished with the league’s second-lowest pass rate at 51%. Winston averaged just 167.1 passing yards per game in his first season with the Saints before tearing his ACL, but there’s at least some hope the Saints will be more multi-dimensional this season with Thomas and Olave paired at receiver. Winston is still just a low-end QB2 option in best-ball drafts, but his cast improved on Day 1 of the Draft and his replacement wasn’t selected. (TB)
J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards (Bal) — Dobbins’ fantasy value nearly plummeted in early April when the Ravens kicked the tires on Melvin Gordon. Baltimore ended up letting the veteran back leave the Charm City without a contract, and the positive news for Dobbins and Edwards continued in the Draft. The Ravens opted to pass on drafting running backs with their 11 selections, and the organization signaled a shift toward a heavy ground game in 2022. They traded away Marquise Brown on Day 1 and they used their extra first-round pick to draft top center Tyler Linderbaum. They then added OT Daniel Faalele and TEs Charlie Kolar and Isaiah Likely in the fourth round, which means the Ravens could use more bigger personnel this season. Both Dobbins and Edwards must be in good health coming off their ACL injuries from last summer since the Ravens had plenty of chances to add to their RB room in the Draft. Dobbins (RB20, 40 ADP) and Edwards (RB51, 153) are two of the biggest winners at the position, and they’ll see their ADPs rise this summer. (TB)
Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon (GB) — It seems like Green Bay’s current plan is to hand or pass the rock to Jones or Dillon on every play this season after the franchise once again bypassed drafting a receiver in the first round, despite owning two selections in the first 28 picks. They certainly had the draft capital to make a significant move to acquire a receiver with four picks inside the first 60 picks after trading Davante Adams this off-season. The Packers instead watched their NFC counterparts in the Eagles (A.J. Brown), Cardinals (Marquise Brown), Saints (Chris Olave), and Lions (Jameson Williams) make trades to improve their receiving corps. The Packers finally did something to fill the 224 vacated targets and the 14 touchdowns left behind by Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling when they drafted Christian Watson with the 34th pick. Jones and Dillon should still have even bigger roles than they had last year when they finished as the RB13 and the RB34, respectively. Jones (RB15, 28.3 ADP) and Dillion (RB26, 67.6) should see their ADPs rise a bit in the coming months with the Packers unable to find suitable replacements for Davante and MVS. (TB)
Cordarrelle Patterson (Atl) — The Falcons had one of the worst RB rooms heading into the Draft, and they still have one of the worst RB rooms leaving the Draft. Atlanta failed to use a pick at the position in the first two days of the event before eventually selecting a RB in the fifth round in Tyler Allgeier. HC Arthur Smith said before the Draft that Patterson is going to “move around at a lot of spots” this season, which makes sense since the Falcons are severely lacking in receiver talent. Patterson is unlikely to match his career-high 153 carries in 16 games last season, but he should have a chance to exceed his career-best receiving numbers (52/548/5) from last season. Early Best Ball 10 drafters are skeptical that Patterson can remain fantasy-relevant in 2022 as the RB36 with an ADP of 95, but he should see more love leaving the Draft. (TB)
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS
Rashod Bateman and Mark Andrews (Bal) — Welp, so much for the notion that I was going to be overweight on Bateman in drafts based on his cost. The second-year WR carried an 8th-round ADP in Underdog best ball drafts heading into the NFL Draft, but that’s likely to rise by 30-40 picks given the shocking trade of Hollywood Brown to Arizona. Meanwhile, Andrews might not rise much from his 2nd/3rd-round ADP, but the TE1 from 2021 is actually a solid bet to repeat his feat. Like both Travis Kelce (Tyreek Hill) and Kyle Pitts (Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage) before him this off-season, he’s now lost his top target competition from the season previous. Expect Andrews to be Lamar Jackson’s favorite target yet again. (JD)
Marquise Brown (Ari) — Brown was apparently unhappy with the run-heavy Ravens offense, a point that he reiterated to QB Lamar Jackson multiple times. That unhappiness came to a head on Day 1 of the NFL Draft, when the Ravens shipped Brown and a 3rd-round pick to Arizona for the 23rd overall pick in the first round (the Ravens, in true Ravens fashion, then used that pick to trade down two spots and take a readymade starter in C Tyler Linderbaum). Meanwhile, Brown is reunited with his college teammate Kyler Murray in a pass-heavy offense where he is unlikely to be miscast as a top perimeter option, presuming DeAndre Hopkins can get back to full health. That could well lead to multiple blowup games for Hollywood, but it could also make his fantasy output more inconsistent than we’ve seen in recent years. It will take some time for his ADP to shake out post-draft, but it’s fair to acknowledge his situation has improved while also noting the frustrations that may come with that. (JD)
Lamar Jackson acted surprised that Hollywood Brown was traded. Jackson shouldn't have been. Brown had told Jackson multiple times that Brown wanted out. https://t.co/mG06owGNhs— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) April 29, 2022
Robert Woods (Ten) — The Titans are surely hoping for a quick recovery from Woods’ ACL tear, because he’s their only veteran pass-catcher worth a damn right now, following the deal of AJ Brown to Philadelphia. The Titans took a big step towards immediately replacing Brown by using the 18th overall pick acquired for him to take Arkansas stud Treylon Burks (whom our Greg Cosell compared to Brown), but that’s obviously a projection at this point. We do know that the Titans will employ a run-heavy offense. Given how perilously thin they are at receiver beyond Woods and Burks, that was always going to be the case (heck, it was going to be the case before they traded Brown). Woods’ 7th-round Underdog ADP prior to the Brown trade was wholly unappetizing to me, and if it rises based on a perceived increase in role, I will be fully out. But there’s no doubt his fantasy outlook from a production standpoint has improved. (JD)
JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (KC) — JuJu and MVS are staring at large roles in a Patrick Mahomes-led offense, and their situations improved after Day 1 of the Draft. The Chiefs were widely expected to add receiving help with one of their two first-round selections, but they instead attacked their defense by trading up to pick Trent McDuffie before later selecting George Karlaftis. They eventually added Skyy Moore with the 54th pick, and he figures to challenge for Mecole Hardman’s role immediately. Tyreek Hill left behind 159 targets and nine receiving touchdowns from last season, and JuJu and MVS figure to step into most of that vacated production. JuJu averaged a miserable 8.6 YPA the last two seasons playing with noodle-armed Ben Roethlisberger while MVS never averaged more than five targets in any of his four seasons with the Packers. JuJu is looking at potentially his best fantasy season since 2018 and MVS should be fantasy relevant on a weekly basis for the first time in his career. JuJu (WR34, 74 ADP) and MVS (WR60, 152.7) are candidates to see their ADPs rise after the Draft. (TB)
Darnell Mooney (Chi) — The Bears have epically failed to improve Justin Fields’ weapons for the 2022 season, which is bad news for the Bears’ offense but good news for Mooney’s potential target share. Byron Pringle and Equanimeous St. Brown were their big receiver additions in Chicago this off-season before they reached for a 25-year-old WR prospect in the third round when they selected Velus Jones with the 71st pick. Mooney owned a 27.0% target share last season even with Allen Robinson in the fold so he could realistically push for a 30% share with the jabronis he’s playing with this season. Mooney has been drafted as the WR30 with an ADP of 68 in BB10s in April, but he should start to sneak into the fifth round this summer. (TB)
Allen Lazard (GB) — Lazard was somehow still the best receiver on the Packers’ roster more than six weeks after the Green Bay traded Davante Adams to the Raiders. That finally changed on Day 2 of the Draft when the Packers selected Christian Watson with the 34th pick, who our Greg Cosell compared to former Packer Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Outside of signing the washed-up Sammy Watkins and drafting Watson, the Packers have done next to nothing to fill the 224 vacated targets and the 14 touchdowns left behind by Adams and MVS. Best-ball drafters have been slow to come around on Lazard with an ADP of 156 in BB10s in April, but that is bound to change after the Draft with the Packers failing to significantly improve Aaron Rodgers’ receiving corps. (TB)
Players whom we’re feeling less optimistic about based on the selections and trades coming out of the 2022 Draft.
Patrick Mahomes (KC) — The Chiefs created a major void in their passing attack when they traded one of the league’s best WRs in Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins in late March. They were widely expected to add receiving help with one of their two first-round selections, but they instead attacked their defense by trading up to pick Trent McDuffie before later selecting George Karlaftis. They eventually added Skyy Moore with the 54th pick, and he figures to challenge for Mecole Hardman’s role immediately. Kansas City signed Marquez Valdes-Scantling and JuJu Smith-Schuster in free agency to help fill the void left behind by Tyreek, but neither player is a #1 WR who can take over a game for Mahomes. Travis Kelce is still among the best TEs in the league, but he showed his first signs of slowing down at 33 years old last season. The Chiefs should still have one of the league’s better passing attacks but early Best Ball 10 drafters need to lower their expectations a bit with Mahomes owning an ADP of 53 as the QB2 behind Josh Allen. (TB)
Aaron Rodgers (GB) — The Packers are seemingly pushing their franchise quarterback into an early retirement ever since the parties agreed to his three-year extension this off-season. The Packers traded away his dynamic partner Davante Adams to the Raiders in mid-March and their big moves since then have been the additions of the washed-up Sammy Watkins and second-round receiver Christian Watson. Rodgers’ massive $151 million extension has certainly handcuffed the franchise to an extent, but their passivity in the first round could come back to bite them in the butt if Watson isn’t ready to make significant contributions in 2022. The Packers had the draft capital to make a significant move to acquire a receiver with four picks inside the first 60 picks, but they instead watched their NFC counterparts in the Eagles (A.J. Brown), Cardinals (Marquise Brown), Saints (Chris Olave), and Lions (Jameson Williams) make trades to improve their receiving corps. It’s clear Rodgers isn’t going to have the same level of weaponry he enjoyed in his back-to-back MVP seasons when he finished as fantasy’s QB3 in 2020 and QB6 in 2021. (TB)
Lamar Jackson (Bal) — While the trade of Hollywood Brown has been in the works for a while — a point Brown and the Ravens had discussed with Jackson — that didn’t stop the Baltimore QB from taking to social media in frustration following his top receiver’s move to Arizona. As of now, Jackson has stud TE Mark Andrews and the talented but unproven Rashod Bateman as his top targets, while the Ravens are hoping for a step forward from either Devin Duvernay and/or Tylan Wallace to help bolster Jackson’s receiving group. On the positive side for Lamar, the pick the Ravens made using the compensation for Brown was Iowa C Tyler Linderbaum, regarded as a plug-and-play Week 1 starter at the position, which was one of the needs for Jackson. The Ravens made out exceptionally well in the trade, but it does make an already run-heavy offense potentially run-heavier. (JD)
Justin Fields (Chi) — The Bears seem allergic to giving Fields weapons and protection for the 2022 season. Byron Pringle and Equanimeous St. Brown were their big receiver additions this off-season, and they reached for a 25-year-old WR prospect in the third round when they selected Velus Jones with the 71st pick. They also failed to land an offensive line prospect through the first three rounds so it’s looking like the Bears will have one of the worst offenses in the league. Early best-ball drafters were optimistic that Fields could break out with his ADP sitting at 117 in BB10s in the month of April, but that enthusiasm will be curbed coming out of the Draft with Fields’ pathetic collection of WRs behind Darnell Mooney. (TB)
Ryan Tannehill (Ten) — Tannehill had a Draft to forget, and his time in Nashville could be coming to an end after 2022. They drafted his potential replacement when they selected Malik Willis in the third round, and the first day of the Draft wasn’t much better. They dealt away his superstar WR, AJ Brown, and are looking to replace Brown’s production with a 30-year-old WR coming off an ACL tear (Robert Woods) and a talented but obviously unproven rookie (Treylon Burks). Beyond those two, the Titans’ WR depth chart is horrendous. The Titans were always going to go as Derrick Henry goes, but the run-heaviness of this offense has now become hilariously outsized. Tannehill was for most of his Titans tenure an underrated and productive fantasy quarterback, but it appears that dam has burst dramatically. Expect his 12th-round best ball ADP to fall by multiple rounds, especially after the Titans drafted his potential replacement. (JD)
Antonio Gibson (Was) — It wasn’t a good sign for Gibson when the Commanders hosted visits with Breece Hall, Kenneth Walker, and Brian Robinson among other RBs before the Draft. The Commanders then added one of those backs, Robinson, with the 98th overall pick to potentially make this Washington backfield a three-man attack. Our Greg Cosell believes Robinson has feature-back size and traits, and he’s a sneaky good receiver despite his big frame (6’2”, 225 pounds). Gibson is still likely to lead the backfield in carries, but he’s going to lose passing-down work to McKissic and his leash is much shorter heading into 2022 with Robinson behind him. Gibson was severely overdrafted in BB10s during April with his ADP sitting at 23 (RB12), and he figures to fall by multiple rounds after Robinson’s selection. (TB)
Rashaad Penny (Sea) — Our crew joked on the Day 2 Livestream that Pete Carroll and the Seahawks would select Kenneth Walker…and that’s exactly what happened early in the second round. Our Greg Cosell believes Walker can be a volume, feature back, which is exactly what he did at Michigan State last season when he led the NCAA with 136.2 rushing yards per game. He’ll compete with Penny to be the lead back next season, and Walker has the early leg up considering the draft capital they used on the Doak Walker winner. Seattle is also likely looking to maximize Penny’s availability after he failed to reach 120+ carries in each of his first four seasons, and using him as a change-of-pace back with his game-breaking speed is the most logical setup for this backfield. Penny owned an ADP of 85 (RB33) in BB10s in April, but he’s likely to slip outside the top-100 picks in the weeks after the Draft. (TB)
Michael Carter (NYJ) — GM Joe Douglas has collected high-end talent to surround Zach Wilson in the last two drafts, and he completed the job by trading up to the 36th spot to select Breece Hall. Our Greg Cosell called Hall the “total package” with his three-down skill set and he believed the Iowa State prospect was the top running back in this year’s class. Carter will fall down to the #2 spot on the depth chart and Hall could potentially become the team’s bellcow back this season. Carter will battle Hall to keep a role in passing situations, and it’s a situation to monitor once training camp starts. Carter is the biggest loser among veteran RBs following this year’s Draft, and his current ADP (RB25, 59) should plummet this summer. (TB)
Devin Singletary (Buf) — Buffalo was a popular destination for Breece Hall in mocks before the Draft, but they elected to fill a more pressing need at cornerback by selecting Kaiir Elam. They didn’t wait long to attack the position by using their second pick on James Cook, who is the brother of Dalvin Cook. Our Greg Cosell believes Cook has a similar game to an Alvin Kamara as a runner and receiver but in a much smaller package at 5’11, 199 pounds. The Bills banished Zack Moss to the bench and they used Singletary as a bellcow back at the end of last season, but Singletary is back to working in committee after the team drafted Cook. Singletary is the favorite to lead the Bills in carries but Cook will be Josh Allen’s primary receiving back. It’s also not out of the range of outcomes that he challenges Singletary for the most carries. Best-ball drafters were skeptical about Singletary’s role this season with his ADP sitting at 83 (RB32) in BB10s in April, and his ADP figures to slip by a few rounds after the Draft. (TB)
Elijah Mitchell and Trey Sermon (SF) — HC Kyle Shanahan is always looking to add new blood to his backfields and the 2022 Draft was no different with the selection of Tyrion Davis-Price in the third round. He joins a crowded 49ers’ backfield that already has Mitchell, Sermon, Jeff Wilson, and JaMycal Hasty, but our Greg Cosell believes Davis-Price has the running traits to be a foundation back who can handle volume. Sermon is officially off the radar for now unless he makes some waves this summer. Mitchell averaged 18.8 carries and 87.5 rushing yards per game as a rookie, but best-ball drafters have been cautious with Mitchell with his ADP sitting at 50 (RB23) in BB10s in April. Mitchell is the favorite to lead this backfield in carries this season, but it’s best to proceed with caution in any Shanahan backfield. (TB)
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS
Elijah Moore and Corey Davis (NYJ) —The Jets landed arguably the best WR in Garrett Wilson with the 10th overall pick, which spells fierce competition for targets for Moore and Davis. New York already added C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin this off-season, which means fewer snaps could be up for grabs for Jets WRs this season since they’ll be using more two-TE sets. The Jets at least owned the third-highest pass rate at 63% because they trailed so often last season. However, that rate dipped to a slightly below average 55% rate in one-score games, and New York’s defense should be improved after landing consensus top-15 picks Sauce Gardner and Jermaine Johnson. Zach Wilson will need to make a gigantic leap in his second season to make this offensive environment more conducive for multiple wide receivers to be fantasy relevant, which seems like a bit of a reach after he averaged an ugly 6.1 YPA with nine TDs in 13 games. Moore was being drafted as a low-end WR2 in the fifth round while Davis was being selected around 150 picks in Best Ball 10 drafts in April. They both figure to fall in future drafts with Moore likely battling Wilson for the team lead in target share in a middling passing attack, at best. (TB)
A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert (Phi) — The Eagles’ stunning trade for Brown marked the end of a seemingly decades-long search for a true, alpha dog X receiver they’ve lacked since Terrell Owens. And it now gives them one of the best trios of pass-catchers in the entire NFL with Brown, Smith, and Goedert. But it also hasn’t changed the fact that Jalen Hurts is throwing the footballs, and the Eagles had to change their offense completely early in the 2021 season to accommodate that fact. If Hurts doesn’t make noted improvements as a passer, Brown, Smith, and Goedert will be expensive tires on a Camry. For Brown, that might not be the fantasy dip you fear, given he was already producing big numbers in Tennessee’s run-heavy attack. But for Smith and Goedert, it’s potentially a big blow to their production. The good news? Brown and Hurts are very good friends, and this is a move Brown welcomed. But the Eagles and coach Nick Sirianni clearly want to throw the football more. If Hurts can’t do it, they’ll use their draft capital next year to improve that spot. (JD)
How close are Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown?— Jeff Kerr (@JeffKerrCBS) April 29, 2022
Hurts was present at Brown's draft party in 2019 when #Titans drafted him.
Hurts was also at a birthday party for Brown's daughter this month -- when Brown was catching passes from Hurts.
Friends are reunited in Philly. #Eagles
Kadarius Toney and Sterling Shepard (NYG) — Toney was already on thin ice with the new Giants’ front office after he no-showed the beginning of voluntary workouts in late April. And GM Joe Schoen signaled that Toney might not have much of a future with the Giants if he doesn’t get his act together after they drafted Wan’Dale Robinson with the 43rd pick. Schoen said the team wasn’t shopping Toney after selecting Robinson in the second round, but it’s clear the new staff is going to make Kadarius earn playing time this season, which is problematic since Toney has had issues being available for practice time. The Giants have a hodgepodge of receivers between Robinson, Toney, Shepard, Kenny Golladay, and Darius Slayton heading into the season. Shepard will be in a race to be ready for the start of the season anyway after tearing his Achilles in Week 15 last season, and Robinson will see significant snaps out of the slot as Brian Daboll’s new Isaiah McKenzie. (TB)
Chase Claypool (Pit) — The Steelers have had plenty of success drafting WRs on the second day of the Draft, and another potential gem fell into their laps at 52nd overall where they selected George Pickens. Our Greg Cosell believes Pickens could develop into the top WR in this year’s class, but he fell to the end of the second round because of maturity questions and a torn ACL in the spring of 2021. The Steelers should go out of their way to keep their top three WRs on the field most of the time, but Claypool could get stuck in a rotation with George Pickens if they elect to keep Diontae Johnson, Claypool, and Pickens primarily on the perimeter. The Steelers have flirted with playing Claypool in the slot more but they haven’t followed through with it through two seasons — he ran 19.5% of his routes from the slot in 2021. Pittsburgh wasn’t exactly flush with great slot options until they selected Calvin Austin in the fourth round, who likely projects to primarily play inside at 5’8”, 170 pounds. Pittsburgh’s slot position will be a storyline to follow this summer, but Claypool’s ADP (WR43, 98) should take a hit in the meantime. (TB)
Zach Ertz (Ari) — The Cardinals handed Ertz a three-year, $31.7 million contract this off-season, but they still drafted his eventual replacement on Day 2 of the Draft. The Cardinals selected the class’ consensus top TE in Trey McBride with the 55th overall pick, which puts Ertz in a familiar spot. The Eagles drafted his eventual replacement in Dallas Goedert with the 49th overall pick in the 2018 Draft. Ertz got a new lease on his career when the Cardinals traded for him last October, posting 56/574/3 receiving on 81 targets (21.4% share) while playing 81% of the snaps in 11 games with the Cardinals. He ranked as the TE5 with 12.0 FPG starting in Week 7 when he played his first game with Arizona. Ertz is going to have much competition for targets and snaps this season with McBride and Maxx Williams in the mix heading into 2022. Ertz was being drafted as a low-end TE1 (TE10, 108) before the Draft, but McBride’s presence should slide him down into the high-end TE2 range moving forward. (TB)
Rondale Moore (Ari) — Following the Cardinals’ trade for Hollywood Brown, it’s becoming difficult to envision a scenario in which Moore gets peppered with a ton of targets. And given it appeared they struggled to utilize him last year, Moore seems hard-pressed to pay off his current 10th-round best ball ADP. Of course, the deal could well take pressure off of Moore to produce, and he can focus on doing what he does best — making plays with the ball in his hands. It’s just a matter of how much that will actually happen and having faith in Kliff Kingsbury to execute that. Consider me skeptical. (JD)
D.J. Chark (Det) — The Lions didn’t appear to be in play for one of the Draft’s top WRs after picking Aidan Hutchinson with the second overall pick. They made it happen by flipping the 32nd, 34th, and 66th overall selections to the Vikings for the 12th and 46th picks, and they used Minnesota’s first-round pick to draft the fast-rising Jameson Williams. The Alabama product is armed with electric vertical speed and explosiveness after the catch that makes him the most dangerous receiver in this year’s class. He’ll replace Chark as the team’s top perimeter threat, but Chark isn’t completely buried since Williams could miss at least the first month of the season as he recovers from his ACL injury. The rookie isn’t expected to miss too long though, with reports that his rehab is going well, and this is going to be a tough offense to get consistently fed with Amon-Ra St. Brown, T.J. Hockenson, Williams, and D’Andre Swift fighting with him for targets. Jared Goff was also one of the most reluctant deep passers as he attempted a league-low 9.1% of his passes 20+ yards downfield. Chark should be mostly ignored moving forward after sporting an ADP of 135 in Best Ball 10 drafts in April. (TB)
Curtis Samuel (Was) — The Commanders signed Samuel to a three-year, $34.5 million contract last off-season to be the team’s #2 WR behind Terry McLaurin. The move didn’t exactly pan out with Samuel playing just 84 snaps over five games because of a lingering groin and hamstring injuries. Washington wasn’t going to wait around to see if he could stay healthy this season, especially after trading for Carson Wentz this off-season, as they selected Penn State’s Jahan Dotson with the 16th overall pick. Samuel will be left to compete with Logan Thomas to be the third option in a passing attack led by a struggling Wentz, who averaged 213.2 passing yards and 1.5 passing TDs per game over the last two seasons. Samuel is mostly off the fantasy radar now after owning an ADP of 182 in Best Ball 10 drafts in April before Dotson’s selection. (TB)
FantasyPoints.com writers Tom Brolley (TB) and Joe Dolan (JD) compiled this report.