Pick one fantasy football rookie WR: Alec Pierce or Christian Watson

Which rookie receiver would you prefer in fantasy football?

Two rookie receivers who may fly under the radar of casual fantasy football participants are the Indianapolis Colts’ Alec Pierce and Green Bay Packers wideout Christian Watson.

Despite not being highly touted prospects, both players are in situations that could lead to relatively outsized performances. But is one a smarter fantasy but than the other?

Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

The case for and against Alec Pierce

  • Standing 6-foot-3, 211 pounds, the Cincinnati product is a viable threat in the red zone.
  • Pierce ran a 4.41-second 40-yard dash, and he posted a 40 1/2-inch vertical jump at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine.
  • He boasts a large catch radius, adequate physicality, and the necessary toughness to make catches all over the field.
  • Fills a much-needed hole in the offense opposite Michael Pittman Jr.. Quarterback Matt Ryan lacks proven weaponry aside from the third-year USC alum, which paves the way for Pierce to compete for a starting role as a rookie. His vertical nature pleasantly contrasts that of the possession-minded Pittman.
  • Parris Campbell has struggled to stay off the trainer’s table throughout his young career, and he profiles similarly to Pierce. A healthy season from the veteran could push Pierce into an infrequent role, but it also cuts in the rook’s favor if Campbell yet again misses significant time.
  • Separation could be an issue for him at the next level. Pierce doesn’t offer great burst off the line and isn’t lethal out of his breaks.
  • Just how many passes will be available in this run-centric offense? The Colts are likely to send somewhere around 130-150 passes toward Pittman, and hybrid tight end Mo Alie-Cox returns for what could be a notable role following the retirement of TE Jack Doyle. Will Campbell and Ashton Dulin steal too many deep routes from Pierce?

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Credit: Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The case for and against Christian Watson

  • It never is a detriment to catch passes from the reigning, back-to-back NFL MVP. Aaron Rodgers lost his favorite target in Davante Adams this offseason, and the Packers cobbled together a cast of unheralded targets for the future Hall of Famer.
  • Watson brings a trifecta of size (6-foot-4, 208 pounds), speed (4.36-second 40), and blocking ability to Titletown. Wide receivers in this system are required to block, even if it’s just adequate effort over pristine form.
  • Has NFL bloodlines — the son of a former pro safety
  • Improved as a route-runner as his collegiate career went along
  • Exceptional work ethic and dedication — already drawing praise in OTAs from veteran receiver Randall Cobb, “He has the total package. Just being around him for the past week and seeing some of the things he can do, he has all the tools. He’s very gifted.”
  • However, Watson has battled a case of the drops while running with the first-team offense. It could be nerves or nothing to worry about, just as we saw with Cincinnati Bengals standout receiver Ja’Marr Chase a year ago.
  • Rodgers historically has not taken kindly to rookie wide receivers, and if Watson continues to struggle with drops, it stands to reason his quarterback won’t be eager to deliver extra passes his way.
  • Despite all of the question marks at the position, Watson still has to fend off several veterans, including Sammy Watkins, Cobb and Allen Lazard.

Fantasy football takeaway

This one really could go either way. Pierce is in a better situation in terms of a lack of proven competition for targets, although his offense’s design isn’t likely to send a wealth of passes the rookie’s direction, so he’ll need to be highly efficient. That also means he’s poised to be an inconsistent performer.

From Watson’s perspective, he’s already running with the No. 1s, and the Packers have a ridiculous 169 targets to fill from losing Adams based on last year’s results. Even if that number were to dip to, say, 145, that’s a lot of looks to be replaced by any standard. Watson’s hands need to be watched during the summer practice season, and as long as he rights that ship, there’s more upside for a stronger season from the former North Dakota Stater than Indy’s rookie Bearcat.

Both receivers profile as No. 4 options in fantasy football redraft leagues, and it while it’s rarely recommended to select a pair of rookie receivers to a single team, this could be one of the few exceptions where it’s a viable play.

Fantasy football pros and cons: Garrett Wilson vs. Chris Olave vs. Skyy Moore

Which of these three rookie receivers is the best fantasy option?

There was a time when it was deemed that wide receivers coming into the NFL learned the pro game as rookies, improved in their second year, and reached their full potential in their third season. That timeline has been sped up in recent years, and now the expectation is for a shorter learning curve as a rookie and hitting the ground running in the second year as the NFL becomes more pass-reliant.

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We take a look at the fantasy impact of three rookie receivers from the Class of 2022, their strengths and weaknesses and their potential to make an immediate impact – picks Nos. 10 and 11, respectively, in the draft Garrett Wilson (New York Jets) and Chris Olave (New Orleans Saints) as well as Skyy Moore (Kansas City Chiefs), taken with the pick No. 54.

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The case for and against Garrett Wilson

  • He is viewed as the best route-runner in a deep and talented 2022 wide receiver draft class and has a variety of release packages that allow him to get separation in different ways.
  • He had a breakout season as a junior at Ohio State last season, catching 70 passes for 1,058 yards and 12 touchdowns in a star-studded position room.
  • He is explosive in a short area with an incredible jab step and the ability to stack a defender.
  • He has a ton of natural athletic intangibles, including a big catch radius, the ability to run past defenders and exceptional body
  • Any expectations have to be tempered by the fact he is playing for the Jets, where Zach Wilson is still in the formative stages of his career and needs as many weapons as he can get.
  • Had too many concentration drops as he looked to make plays before securing the ball – a problem that can be solved with coaching, experience, and a commitment to mechanics.
  • He needs to be more physical, because he doesn’t consistently beat press coverage at the line.
Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The case for and against Chris Olave

  • A productive, four-year athlete, who caught 32 touchdown passes in 31 games over his last three seasons. He saved his best for last, catching 65 passes for 936 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior.
  • He’s a smart player who quickly picked up the Saints’ playbook and has looked the part from Day 1 of rookie minicamp by showing his football intelligence.
  • He has elite footwork, which creates routine separation from defenders that gives his quarterback open throwing windows.
  • Comes to an offense with a lot of firepower if the key component parts can stay healthy, with QB Jameis Winston, wide receivers Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry and do-it-all running back Alvin Kamara.
  • With Landry locked in as a slot receiver, Olave will likely draw a lot of single coverage on the outside if Thomas returns to form and demands added defensive attention that was required before he was slowed by injuries.
  • Olave struggled against physical coverage and will need to improve his core strength to become an elite receiver at the NFL level.
  • He is viewed by a lot of scouts as a player with a high floor and low ceiling, which has historically been the recipe for a long career but perhaps never being an elite receiver.
  • He doesn’t win enough 50/50 balls when in the red zone.
Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The case for and against Skyy Moore

  • In the post-Tyreek Hill era, Moore will be given an immediate opportunity to contribute as Patrick Mahomes deals with a completely revamped wide receiver corps.
  • Has an elite quarterback on his side
  • Moore has experience playing both inside and outside, which gives him an edge for playing more snaps because of his down-and-distance flexibility to line up anywhere.
  • He was the first freshman since 2014 to earn First-Team All-MAC honors and received such recognition twice in three years.
  • A prolific receiver who dominated lesser competition in 2021, catching 94 passes for 1,283 yards and 10 touchdowns.
  • He has a small frame and will likely need to add bulk to be optimally effective.
  • Moore didn’t run a full route tree at Western Michigan and hasn’t shown elite burst out of his cuts to achieve separation, which is a problem that will only be more pronounced in the NFL.
  • He is in a crowded receiver room with Mecole Hardman, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling likely starting training camp in front of him.

Fantasy football outlook

All three of the rookie receivers have the ability to make an immediate impact, but they are entering the league in very different situations.

Olave should have the opportunity to make the most immediate impact, because he plays in a division that is poor defensively, and he should step in to a significant role in the Saints offense early on. He is a borderline WR2 but more likely a WR3 with the chance to make the climb as the season progresses.

Wilson has the best chance to get the most reps of any of the three. The depth on the Jets at wide receiver is markedly less than the Saints and Chiefs, so he will get more snaps, which translate into more opportunities. The question is whether the Jets offense can consistently create enough big-play opportunities. He has solid WR3 potential, but in most leagues he will more than likely be a WR4 with strong upside.

Moore is the wild card of the group. He was the 13th wide receiver taken in the draft, so clearly other teams thought more highly of others than him. But, he has Mahomes throwing the ball, and he has made fantasy-relevant players out of a lot of receivers in his short career. Moore is making a big jump to the NFL from the MAC, so he will likely take more time than the others, making him an end-of-the-draft stash player on the back end of rosters in hopes of delivering early in the high-powered Chiefs offense.

Fantasy football: Veterans most affected by the NFL draft

Exploring how rookies may negatively impact veterans in fantasy football.

While one could stretch out the meaning of which veterans are affected by the 2022 NFL Draft in a multitude of ways, the focus here will be directly to playing time and/or utilization potential among conventional fantasy football assets.

Quarterbacks

Mitchell Trubisky, Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers spent their No. 18 overall choice on quarterback Kenny Pickett, which effectively closes the door on any realistic shot of Trubisky starting. There’s still a chance he could begin the year as the QB1, but Pickett is the future and the most NFL-ready rookie passer of this class. Trubisky’s only fantasy utility will come in DFS action if he manages to fend off the Pitt product during the early going.

Marcus Mariota, Atlanta Falcons: Much like with Trubisky, Mariota was a former first-rounder whose career was on the skids until spending time as a backup prior to being signed for an opportunity to start in Atlanta. Unfortunately for Mariota, the NFL draft brought rookie Desmond Ridder into the fold. The Cincinnati standout is widely praised for his maturity. Ridder certainly has a chance to win the job in the summer, and if he doesn’t, Mariota’s injury history suggests the rookie’s turn may not require much of a wait. A work-in-progress receiving corps, a run-first system, durability concerns, and a promising rookie challenger destroy the fantasy appeal of Mariota, should he even secure the job.

Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers: Darnold was far from being a trusted fantasy commodity, despite the talent around him adding a hint of promise to his otherwise lackluster outlook. Rookie newcomer Matt Corral will put up a scrappy fight in the offseason, though he is likely to open the year as a reserve. The wild card here is whether Panthers head coach Matt Rhule is truly on the hot seat this year. There’s also the injury factor as Darnold has earned a reputation for missing time. No one should be relying on Darnold as a fantasy option, outside of daily games and superflex.

“What if” scenarios

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans: Between contractual obligations and rookie third-rounder Malik Willis being a project, it likely will take an injury or massive failure on Tannehill’s behalf in order to see Willis play crucial snaps. However, if the former Miami Dolphin is to miss significant time, there may be no reason to get away from Willis. Tennessee can bail on Tannehill’s contract in 2023 for as little as $9.6 million in dead money.

Running backs

Michael Carter Jr., New York Jets: A 2021 fourth-round selection, Carter was one of the few bright spots of this offense last year. He showed versatility and manged to finish as RB28 in PPR over just 14 appearances. The Jets stole the draft’s opening round and then traded up to nab Breece Hall in the early second, adding the nation’s best back to the mix. Hall does everything well and could be a true three-down back, but it’s unlikely he’ll be thrust into such a role right away, if at all. Carter’s fantasy value takes a Mike Tyson punch to the gut. For now, he’s merely a handcuff to the Iowa State star.

Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks: Carson (neck) is attempting to return from a spinal fusion surgery that doesn’t seem to have a clear prognosis. The veteran saw Rashaad Penny steal the show down the stretch in 2021, and Seattle opted to re-sign the oft-injured, 2018 first-rounder. Penny is likely to be given the bulk of the touches if both veterans are on the field, but the selection of Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker III in Round 2 really works against Carson. There is no reason to hurry him back, and it’s not like Carson was a stranger to injury before the surgery. With the durability concerns for both primary backs, Walker really could emerge as the starter in short order. Carson becomes little better than a late-round gamble after tossing in the uncertainty at quarterback.

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Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons: While running back Mike Davis was the first casualty connected to rookie Tyler Allgeier, Patterson could be significantly impacted, but in a much different way. Davis was flat-out cut shortly after the draft, whereas Patterson’s role could be restricted to seeing mostly third-down work. He is more valuable to the team catching passes out of the backfield than being primarily utilized on early downs, which is a role ideally suited for Allgeier’s skill set. Patterson will remain relevant in PPR, but he’s not going to live up to last year’s RB10 finish. No chance. The selection of Allgeier, in addition to having a pair of running quarterbacks contending to be center, CP is barely a low-end No. 2.

“What if” scenarios

Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders: The Raiders declined Jacobs’ fifth-year option, effectively meaning this is his last year with the team. Now, that’s not to say he couldn’t be re-signed or franchise tagged with a true breakout year, but the selection of running back Zamir White could make it a moot point if the rookie is indeed the hand-picked replacement. They have similar enough styles where the overall offensive design will treat them interchangeably. Jacobs, in worst-case scenario, could lose his job to injury. He’s a low-tier RB2 but will be riskier than at any point in his NFL career.

Darrell Henderson Jr., Los Angeles Rams: Henderson also has proven to be no stranger to injuries, and the Rams drafted Kyren Williams as the presumed third back entering summer practices. The primary work belongs to Cam Akers, and the top backup job will remain in Henderson’s grasp so long as he’s not on the shelf. Should he suffer an injury of any moderate or worse seriousness, the 2023 unrestricted free agent could find himself without a role.

Wide receivers

Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs: Few receivers will have their opportunity threatened more than Hardman. KC traded away Tyreek Hill and chose Skyy Moore in Round 2 with clear intentions of him being the Cheetah’s direct replacement. The immediate question is whether Hardman will be presented an earnest chance play Hill’s role as Moore is brought along. Hardman’s career thus far has been inconsistent and underwhelming. In his defense, playing behind target hogs like Hill and Travis Kelce leaves only so many opportunities. He looked every bit the part of Hill’s long-term heir in Hardman’s 2019 rookie season, scoring six times on only 26 grabs and averaging a whopping 20.7 yards per catch. Each of the last two years, his volume increased but Hardman’s average went down and scoring frequency decreased. From a fantasy perspective, though, in PPR, Hardman has actually improved on a per-game rate each year. We’ll monitor this one with an extra watchful eye until its resolution.

Sammy Watkins, Green Bay Packers: Will Watkins even make the final roster? It certainly was up for debate prior to the selection of Christian Watson, and the Packers also spent a Round 4 pick on Romeo Doubs, another talented vertical weapon. Watkins could be cut if he doesn’t outplay the rooks during the summer, and we’re not talking about the model of health here, anyway. Early-summer drafters should shy away from Watkins as anything but a flier.

Curtis Samuel, Washington Commanders: Last year’s season was a total waste thanks to injuries, but the Washington receivers room grew with the first-round choice of Jahan Dotson. He and Samuel aren’t too similar in terms of their utilization, but the Penn State rookie will be granted every chance in the world to assert himself opposite Terry McLaurin. If nothing else, Samuel has been put on notice. His contract means he won’t be released until 2023, although his target share could be diminished into obscurity.

Kadarius Toney, New York Giants: Toney was on a short leash prior to the draft, even being shopped, according to some reports. Despite commentary to the contrary, there’s no question the Round 2 selection of Wan’Dale Robinson — earlier than expected, mind you — puts Toney on notice. This one still could play out with Toney remaining on New York’s roster, yet it’s tough to conceive any scenario in which Robinson’s addition is a positive for Toney’s 2022 fantasy worth.

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Nelson Agholor, New England Patriots: New England grabbed Baylor receiver Tyquan Thornton in Round 2, and the former track star is more than just a fast dude playing receiver. He’s poised to cost Agholor his job, and probably roster spot, with little more required than being competent this summer. Agholor’s fantasy offerings have been a roller coaster over the last few years, so luckily this one doesn’t have a much impact.

“What if” scenarios

Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers: Johnson enters the final year of his contract and will command elite money for the position’s standards. He’s looking at something in the neighborhood of $25 million per season in an extension. Sure, he could get a franchise tagging to kick the can down the road, or the Steelers may opt to let him walk into free agency in a bid to save money with rookie Calvin Austin III as the replacement. It won’t necessarily impact Johnson’s 2022 role or fantasy utility, but it’s something to keep an eye on for dynasty purposes.

Tight ends

Logan Thomas, Washington Commanders: Returning from a December knee reconstruction, the nearly 31-year-old Thomas has one productive season to his name. The Commanders selected the future in Cole Turner, but the 6-foot-6 1/2, 249-pounder could find himself in the starting lineup as soon as Week 1. He should be granted the opportunity to share first-team reps with world-beater John Bates in Thomas’ absence this summer. Thomas could cede way before he even gets a true chance for an on-field fight over his starting gig. He’s a TE2, at best, fantasy draft season.

“What if” scenarios

Ricky Seals-Jones, New York Giants: San Diego State tight end Daniel Bellinger has all of the traits needed to develop into a quality fantasy option. That said, rookie tight ends typically don’t offer much of anything for fake football action. Seals-Jones will get the first crack at starting, but he’s fragile. Backup Jordan Akins came over in the offseason from Houston and should be the primary backup. With those points established, Akins is 30 years old with a flimsy resume, and RSJ is a career journeyman. Bellinger’s upside is real, but the road to travel is a long one with plenty of twists and turns ahead. Seals-Jones is not worthy of a selection in conventional formats, despite this favorable system for positional success.

2022 NFL Draft: Day 3 fantasy football recap

Evaluating notable Day 3 selections from a fantasy football lens.

The 2022 NFL Draft’s final day is here, bringing us Rounds 4-7. We’ll examine any noteworthy selections who may have a role in fantasy football.

Be sure to check out our Day 1 and Day 2 coverage for a better feel of how these rookies all fit into fantasy plans for the upcoming year and beyond.

Day 3 fantasy football reaction

2022 NFL Draft: Day 2 fantasy football recap

Fantasy football reaction from Day 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft.

The 2022 NFL Draft brings us Day 2, comprising of the second and third rounds. It was a frenetic opening day, which included a host of swapped picks and a pair of traded receivers. Follow along on the second day for all notable fantasy football reactions of the night.

Round 2

2022 NFL Draft: Day 1 fantasy football recap

The 2022 NFL Draft is finally upon us, and prospects are now rookies with NFL cities to call home. Follow along for real-time analysis the NFL draft’s opening round’s impact on fantasy football plans for 2022. Fantasy draft season may not be close …

The 2022 NFL Draft is finally upon us, and prospects are now rookies with NFL cities to call home. Follow along for real-time analysis the NFL draft’s opening round’s impact on fantasy football plans for 2022.

Fantasy draft season may not be close to hitting its crescendo, but hardcore gamers have been selecting players prior to the conclusion of the collegiate bowl season. It’s time to let the real fun begin!

Round 1 fantasy football reaction

2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: WR Calvin Austin III, Memphis

Big things sometimes do come in small packages, and Austin is living proof.

Wide receiver Calvin Austin III is among the most exciting players entering the NFL via the upcoming draft. The Memphis, Tenn., native chose to stay home to play for the Tigers and also starred as a decorated track sprinter.

Austin redshirted in 2018 for Memphis but still appeared in 11 contests. In 2020, he erupted and was named to the All-AAC first-team offense, scoring 11 times through the air in as many games.

Height: 5-foot-7 3/4
Weight: 170 pounds
40 time: 4.32 seconds

Austin saved his best performance for 2021, logging 1,149 yards and eight aerial scores on 74 grabs, adding a 69-yard rushing touchdown on his way to another first-team all-conference selection.

His projected draft placement varies quite a bit, typically ranging from the third to the fifth round. It will be rather surprising if Austin falls into the fifth as at least one team figures to fall in love with his speed and big-play nature in this pass-happy league much earlier.

Table: Calvin Austin III NCAA stats (2018-21)

Year School Class Gm Receiving Rushing
Rec Yds Avg TD Att Yds Avg TD
*2018 Memphis FR 4 2 24 12.0 0 1 83 83.0 1
*2019 Memphis rSO 9 17 315 18.5 3 4 3 0.8 1
*2020 Memphis rJR 11 63 1,053 16.7 11 2 14 7.0 0
2021 Memphis rSR 12 74 1,149 15.5 8 1 69 69 1

*includes postseason/bowl games

Pros

  • Explosive athlete with elite speed who can house it from anywhere on the field
  • Skill set begs coaches to manufacture plays to get him in space — dangerous from all three levels of the passing tree
  • Improved technical nuances as a route runner in 2021
  • Quality hands, especially tracking down the field
  • Can play from inside and the slot without skipping a beat — actually played more than 90 percent of his snaps on the outside last year and shouldn’t be pegged as “just a slot receiver” because of his size
  • Plays bigger than his physical stature — comes with a degree of moxie that cannot be taught
  • Hard to jam at the line due to quick footwork and multiple releases
  • Elusive in the open field — exceptional agility, low center of gravity, and top-shelf body control make for a tough target to tackle
  • Ran an absurd 1.44-second 10-yard split in the 40, which ranks in the 99.8th percentile all time among combine WRs — instant gas pedal response and first-rate start-stop ability
  • Menacing special teams returner — a pair of touchdowns on 25 punt returns in the last two seasons
  • Understands how to work back to bail out a scrambling quarterback — shows a feel for exploiting soft spots in coverage

Also see: 2022 NFL Draft Central

Cons

  • Obvious size concerns will immediately create detractors
  • Isn’t a factor in closely contested situations — too frequently loses 50/50 jump-ball scenarios
  • Doesn’t shed many tackles once the defender gets a hand on him
  • Unlikely to develop into a true WR1 in the pros
  • Borderline useless as a blocker

Fantasy football outlook

A comparison often thrown around is Tyreek Hill, and that’s just not fair. Hill is much more powerfully built with a thicker frame and better functional strength. A more apt comp is Marquise Brown. Both are lightning in a bottle but don’t profile as a No. 1 and aren’t terribly hard to game plan against at the next level.

We’ll give a detailed outlook on Austin’s fantasy worth once the diminuative receiver finds an NFL home. He should become a weekly lineup consideration in short order, although Austin’s style of play is inherently inconsistent for fake football deployment. Expect a lot of all-or-nothing outputs, regardless of where he winds up.

2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: RB Tyler Badie, Missouri

Tyler Badie projects as a third-down back, but can he be more?

Tyler Badie is a four-year running back for the Tigers that became a difference-maker when he finally was made the primary rusher as a senior. He spent his first three seasons as a complement to Larry Rountree and was an SEC All-Freshman Team selection. When he took over in 2021, he ran for 1,604 yards and 14 touchdowns and upped his role as a receiver with 54 receptions. He set the new Missouri single-season record in rushing yards despite playing behind a below-average offensive line.

He was a highly effective rusher with a 6.0-yard average and was First Team All-SEC last year. He ranked third in the FBS in rushing yardage in his only starting season as one of the best running backs in college football.  He was also the SEC Scholar Athlete of the year in 2021. Last year, he turned in five games with over 200 rushing yards playing in the SEC.

Height: 5-8
Weight: 197 pounds
40 time: 4.42 seconds

Badie’s size already has him categorized as a third-down back, and history witnessed plenty of highly productive yet smaller backs fail to replicate their college success going against defenses full of ex-college all-stars. But the NFL continues to evolve the role of backfields, and Badie will find a team that can use his talents.

Also see: 2022 NFL Draft Central

Table: Tyler Badie NCAA stats (2018-21)

Year School Games Runs Yards Avg. TD Catch Yards TD
2018 Missouri 12 89 437 4.9 2 12 130 0
2019 Missouri 12 108 457 4.2 3 32 356 5
2020 Missouri 10 48 242 5.0 4 28 333 2
2021 Missouri 12 268 1604 6.0 14 54 330 4

Pros

  • Good open-field burst
  • Shifty runner
  • Quick feet with lateral moves
  • Outstanding route runner
  • Natural receiver that can do more than dump-off catches
  • Compact and runs hard with low center of gravity
  • Patient waiting for holes to develop
  • Good balance on sharp cuts
  • Only lost two fumbles in four years

Cons

  • Size an issue on short-yardage and inside runs
  • Could struggle on picking up blitz
  • Smaller catch radius needs accurate passes
  • Already pegged as a third-down complementary back

Fantasy outlook

The expectation is that Badie will be drafted on Day 2 and would become an early target for Round 4 if he fell that far. His only knock is his size – only 5-8 and 197 pounds usually gets pushed around as a runner in the NFL though that’s almost the same size as Michael Carter. He will be taken as a third-down back but he’ll have his chance to assert his role as a runner as a rookie. Most third-down types have only moderate rookie seasons as they learn the nuances of catching the ball and blocking in the NFL.

He’s a definite add to a fantasy dynasty team since he’ll develop for the first year or two before reaching whatever his optimal production will be. His fantasy stock as a rookie lies almost entirely on which team selects him and the opportunity that they will afford him in his first season.

Badie is worth a deeper pick in a fantasy draft regardless of where he lands. He has the tools to find success in the NFL, the only question being if he can continue to make a difference as a rusher. Offering a third-down role will keep him in the game plan and rack up reception points. It will also keep him in line for more work if he proves himself or if the team’s primary back is injured.

2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: RB D’Vonte Price, FIU

Price’s size-speed combination will offer serious TD potential in time.

D’Vonte Price is a physical specimen of a man, and he knows how to deliver a punishing blow to would-be tacklers. That said, the Florida International running back doesn’t do too much else exceptionally well with his touches. He’s a big body with impressive top-end speed for his size, yet the resume isn’t going to “wow” too many folks.

A three-star recruit from Punta Gorda, Florida, Price opted for FIU after receiving offers from South Florida and Kentucky. His true freshman season was exactly one for the record books, but the end of his stay at the university resulted in consecutive Conference USA honorable mentions.

Height: 6-foot-1 3/8
Weight: 210 pounds
40 time: 4.38 seconds

Price led FIU in rushing yards in 2021, a “super senior” season after the 2020 pandemic extension gave him another year of eligibility. He publicly discussed his struggle about deciding to return to school, ultimately choosing to take advantage of the extra year. If nothing else, it probably didn’t hurt him in the end, but he’s still likely a fifth-round pick or worse, unless a team’s brass is enamored with the size-speed combo for its specific situation.

Table: D’Vonte Price NCAA stats (2017-21)

Year School Class Gm Rushing Receiving
Att Yds Avg TD Rec Yds Avg TD
*2017 Florida International FR 7 15 131 8.7 0 5 45 9.0 0
*2018 Florida International SO 13 90 560 6.2 5 15 116 7.7 0
*2019 Florida International JR 12 50 249 5.0 0 10 49 4.9 0
2020 Florida International SR 5 85 581 6.8 4 5 14 2.8 1
2021 Florida International rSR 9 129 682 5.3 6 10 83 8.3 0

*includes postseason/bowl games

Pros

  • Pretty good vision for the timely cut-back
  • Tough runner who keeps his legs moving and fights for added yardage after contact
  • Functionally sound blocking skills and effort
  • Can break big plays with adequate blocking in front of him
  • Considerable size and enough speed to plow through people and keep going to the house from anywhere on the field — more of a galloping runner but is hard to catch from behind
  • Could be a reliable returner on kickoffs but will need more experience
  • Plenty of tread left on the tires

Also see: 2022 NFL Draft Central

Cons

  • Runs far too upright at times, costing extra yardage and opening him up to injury — he can’t change his height, but more emphasis on consistently lowering his pads needs to be seen
  • Isn’t particularly effective at creating yardage on his own
  • Limited experience catching passes out of the backfield
  • Build-up speed without quick access to a second gear — timed remarkably well at the combine but effectively doesn’t play as fast as a result of turbocharger lag
  • Doesn’t profile as more than a change-of-pace backup or special teams returner
  • Ball security could be an issue after four fumbles on only 414 offensive touches
  • Lacks lower-body flexibility and can get tight in the hips when trying to make multiple evasive maneuvers in a row

Fantasy football outlook

It will require the right system and personnel situation to put Price in an immediate situation to contribute. His game reminds of Cordarrelle Patterson, minus the proven receiving chops. That’s not to say Price doesn’t have such a dual-threat role in him. In some ways, this is a discount version of Darren McFadden.

Price is worth keeping an eye on and should have more value as a deep-bench stash in dynasty formats than a single-year selection. We’ll provide a more thorough prognostication during the upcoming NFL draft once he finds a home.

2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: WR Alec Pierce, Cincinnati

Alec Pierce looks to provide a speedy, possession role in the NFL.

Alec Pierce turned in his best season when he led the Cincinnati Bearcats with 52 receptions for 884 yards and eight scores in 2021, all coming from fellow draft-hopeful quarterback Desmond Ridder. Pierce’s resume may seem a bit lighter on production, but he played special teams as a freshman and missed games in 2020 with a knee injury during an already-shortened season due to COVID.

Pierce was a mismatch as a deep threat during Cincinnati’s fine 2021 season that ended in the Peach Bowl with a three-point loss to Georgia. He averaged over 17 yards in the three seasons that he played wideout on a team that didn’t throw much.

Height: 6-3
Weight: 211 pounds
40 time: 4.41 seconds

The physical receiver should have no problems landing on an NFL team as an aggressive big-body receiver that can play outside on either side. His performance at the NFL Combine boosted his stock further with a 4.41 40-time and a 40.5″ vertical jump.

Also see: 2022 NFL Draft Central

Table: Alec Pierce NCAA stats (2018-21)

Year School Games Catch Yards Avg. TD Runs Yards TD
2018 Cincinnati 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019 Cincinnati 12 37 652 17.6 2 0 0 0
2020 Cincinnati 6 17 315 18.5 3 0 0 0
2021 Cincinnati 14 52 884 17.0 8 0 0 0

Pros

  • Big frame with solid speed
  • Excellent at high-point catches over shorter defenders
  • Adept at finding holes in zone coverage
  • Tough enough to control the middle of the field
  • Speed adapts well to vertical routes
  • Will win 50/50 passes
  • Highly competitive
  • Sharp route runner
  • Solid blocker with size to help running game
  • Playmaker that delivers chunk plays

Cons

  • Lacks elite burst
  • Precise route running but lacks fluidity
  • Yards after catch could improve
  • Ran limited route tree in college
  • Will need to learn to defeat NFL jams at the line

Fantasy outlook

Pierce is a big receiver with better-than-average speed, which the NFL always likes. He’s a lock to play the outside and is likely to be a possession receiver than a deep threat. He’s been likened to Jordy Nelson by many scouts and he is roughly the same size and a tad bit faster.

The expectation is that he’ll need to continue his development in the NFL to become a complete receiver. He has the potential to turn into a No. 1 wideout and leading receiver for a team. He has good hands and knows how to get open and come down with the ball. But that will depend on where he lands and the opportunity he’ll get there. Pierce should be a Day 2 pick, and he’s another player that will send teams scrambling to trade up if he falls to the third.

His size and catch radius make him an attractive option in the end zone. He’s been a deep threat in college. Pierce just needs to prove himself in the NFL as an offensive weapon that can be relied on at all three levels of the defense. His best fantasy outcome is to land on an NFL team that has an elite quarterback and win the starting split end or flanker role. He has the potential to develop into a solid fantasy contributor if he translates into a possession receiver.