Beginners are tricky when it comes to rewriting leagues. We don’t have a professional history to draw from, nor do we have any idea how a team will use it. It’s just a guessing game. However, it seems easier to determine whether a beginner is overdone or not. After all, claiming that a player will be a league winner is a lot riskier than claiming that one is just fine. Below are some of the ones that should be just “ok” but are meant to be a lot more than that.
Kenneth Walker (RB-SEA)
Current ADP: RB36
We’ve seen this story before: The Seattle Seahawks take a running back pretty high up in the draft and it becomes a highly touted pick in rookie draft and redraft leagues. How did that – draft by Rashaad Penny – work out? During Penny’s four-year career, he had a total of 280 broadcasts. For comparison, one of last year’s first-round running backs, Najee Harris, totaled 307 carries in his rookie season alone (the other first-round back, Travis Etienne, missed the entire season).
Getting back to Penny and the Seahawks, it’s not like he has a proven track record of being unable to produce in the NFL. He has a career average of 5.6 yards per carry and has averaged more than six yards per carry in the last year alone. But Seattle doesn’t like to put all their eggs in one basket, which is why Kenneth Walker is too high.
Walker, checking in as a low-end RB3, still has to beat both Penny (who was strong into late 2021) and veteran Chris Carson, who held off the last Seattle-drafted rookie (Penny). All three will be vying for carries, and both Carson and Penny bring positive records to the running backs room. Walker doesn’t have that luxury and will have to hope for an injury or other means of opportunity.
Speaking of injuries, all three are dealing with them this offseason. Both Walker and Penny have struggled with hamstring problems while Carson is still healing from a serious neck injury. If and only if Penny and Carson can’t start the season, taking Walker so early is justified. Otherwise, take another plane.
Treylon Burks (WR – TEN)
Current ADP: WR37
Corresponding FantasyPros consensus ADP tool, Titans receiver Treylon Burks is the tallest rookie receiver. But how he got there is a mystery. He wasn’t the first recipient to be included in the actual draft. Or the second. Or the third. He was him sixth receiver taken, from the Titans at 18. Maybe it’s the situation he’s in that makes him the best receiver? That can’t be, considering the Titans’ offense and its impact on pass catchers. Tennessee was only 26th in passing attempts last season. Of the five receivers who passed Burks in the first round of the draft proper, only one (Chris Olave) was on a team that had underperformed the previous season.
All of this was known before training camp, where we learned that Burks has asthma, which caused some breathing problems. Putting it all together, it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that Burks should be A) the first rookie off the board in your fantasy drafts, or B) be considered a WR3 for your team, which is a flexible point for most leagues. Some will see him as a plug and play replacement for former Titans / now Eagles receiver AJ Brown. But it’s not that easy.
Kenny Pickett (QB-PIT)
Current ADP: QB25
When you look at Pittsburgh rookie Kenny Pickett’s rankings as the 25th quarterback to be taken off the board, you might think you’re looking at the Dynasty rankings. But no, this is Pickett’s current ADP for the 2022 rewrite of leagues. Why is that crazy? Because Pickett isn’t even the best quarterback on his team. Right now, veteran Mitchell Trubisky is well ahead of the rookie start to Pittsburgh. Still, Trubisky currently ranks 31st when it comes to ADP.
To be clear, neither quarterback is good nor should they start in your 1-QB fantasy leagues. But to rank Pickett as high and higher than Trubisky is wrong. There were many concerns that Pickett would enter the draft, including the infamous hand size. He was also “only” attracted to the 20th pick, suggesting he doesn’t have the elite skills that a top-five pick would have. It pains me to say this, but I’d rather pick some quarterbacks who are currently behind Pickett at ADP — Jared Goff or Daniel Jones, for example.
Isaiah Spiller (RB – LAC)
Current ADP: RB39
Perhaps a more outrageous rookie running back the ADP rankings than Kenneth Walker is Chargers running back Isaiah Spiller. He is only three spots behind Kenneth Walker despite being selected in the fourth round of this year’s draft. Unlike Walker, the veteran ahead of him on the depth chart — Austin Ekeler — is uninjured (at the moment) and coming off a 16-game season.
So how did we get here? Spiller admittedly plays with one of the best offenses in the league, led by one of the best quarterbacks in Justin Herbert. He also has passing chops, meaning he’s not just one-dimensional. Still, due to a 4.63-40 pre-draft time, he only has partial fourth-round draft capital. It’s also concerning that Spiller has fallen this far in a fairly weak draft, especially when it comes to running backs. Like Walker, injuring the incumbent is the only way Spiller can justify his current ADP.
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Michael Moore is a featured author at FantasyPros. For more from Michael see his archive and follow him @DLF_Moore.