The 2022 NFL Draft class lacks an elite fantasy football gem

The 2022 NFL Draft class will try to make their impact felt on the field in just a few months, but fantasy football players must temper expectations.

Year after year, there always seem to be a few can’t miss prospects that fantasy football players can lean on when selecting high in both re-draft and dynasty FF leagues. In 2021, Najee Harris couldn’t have been an easier selection as the first player taken in rookie drafts or the top rookie off the board in standard leagues.

The year before that, running back Jonathan Taylor landed in a perfect situation behind a talented Colts offensive line. Sadly, fantasy football players probably won’t be getting a gem from the 2022 NFL Draft class — at least not in year one.

There is no Ezekiel Elliott or Chritian McCaffrey-type player at the running back position. The cream of the crop this year for fantasy is at wide receiver. However, it’s hard to gauge which receiver will carve out the biggest role from the gate.

Drake London is a decent bet to do so, but that isn’t guaranteed to make him a high-end fantasy contributor. The Atlanta Falcons are severely lacking talent all around their roster at the moment. They will have a new quarterback at the helm in Marcus Mariota, and Kyle Pitts will no doubt eat the biggest piece of the pie in that offense.

Wide receivers Garrett Wilson, Treylon Burks, and Chris Olave are in similar situations. In fact, the rookie receiver production is so hard to predict this year that you might be just as well off taking one a bit later in your fantasy league. In addition to the names already mentioned, it’s possible that someone like Skyy Moore, Jahan Dotson, Jameson Williams, Christian Watson, or even George Pickens lead this crowded group in fantasy points.

Who is the best fantasy option from the 2022 NFL Draft class?

While there may not be a knock-it-out-of-the-park rookie set to enter the fantasy world, there is one player who seems like a fairly safe pick with the top selection in fantasy leagues: New York Jets running back, Breece Hall.

Most talent evaluators viewed Hall as a first or second-round pick, but the former Iowa State running back certainly possesses some impressive traits. Though he can be a bit stiff in the hips, Hall has a beautiful blend of power and quickness to hit the hole.

What makes him particularly interesting is his top-end speed. At the NFL Combine this past March, Hall blazed a trail with a 4.39 40-yard dash. At 5’11” and 217 pounds, Hall measured in a bit smaller than expected, but this is still excellent speed and ideal size for an NFL running back.

Hall does have a bit of an adjustment to make going from gashing Big 12 defenses to joining a bottom-dwelling NFL team. There will be a learning curve for sure.

It’s also worth considering that the Jets have other young skill players who can carve out roles early, so Hall might not necessarily be handed 15-22 touches per game. One of those players is second-year running back Michael Carter, who graded out pretty well during his first season in 2021. Carter rushed for 639 yards on 4.3 yards per carry and stands to have a quality role moving forward.

Still, running backs own the fantasy football game. Breece Hall might not be an elite fantasy gem, but he’s a pretty safe bet in standard formats and he’s even more valuable in dynasty leagues.