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Fantasy Football: Quantifying the biggest rookie winners and losers of the 2022 NFL Draft

Georgia running back James Cook (4) runs the ball during an SEC football homecoming game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Georgia Bulldogs in Neyland Stadium in Knoxville on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. Tennesseegeorgia1113 1160

We’ve had a week to digest the 2022 NFL Draft on a theoretical level, but I like to live in the cold, hard data. Luckily, there are best-ball fantasy drafts taking place throughout the offseason, and I’m combing the data for insights from every pick in every draft at best-ball provider FFPC

You might think you know who the biggest winners and losers were in the fantasy football world based on the effects of the draft, and I’m here to give you the verdicts from those currently betting some money on what will happen in the 2022 season. In this piece, I’m going to go through the rookies, with an article later this week on the biggest riser and faller among veterans.

The method here is fairly simple: I calculated the pre- and post-draft average draft positions (ADPs) for every rookie based on their average ADP in the week leading up to the NFL draft and the week following the draft. Each player visualized below was taken in at least five best-ball drafts in both periods. Some rookies skyrocket based on higher than expected draft positions and ideal landing spots, others fell with the opposite concerns. The rush to react to the news can create pockets of value in either direction, and fantasy managers can exploit those pockets in upcoming dynasty rookie drafts and in their own best-ball leagues.

ROOKIE RUNNING BACKS

Every rookie running back with significant pre- and post-draft ADPs is on the plot above — players further to the right have higher ADPs pre-draft, and those further up have risen post-draft. The simplest way to think about the orientation of the graph is that any player above the dashed line has appreciated in value from the draft while those below have decreased in value.

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