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2022 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Pre-draft rookie wide receiver rankings & tiers

Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Garrett Wilson (5) catches a touchdown pass during the first half of the NCAA football game against the Oregon Ducks at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. Oregon Ducks At Ohio State Buckeyes Football

Over the offseason, I have been digging into PFF College data sets, seeking new ways to help analyze the 2022 rookie class. The data set goes back to 2014, limiting our sample size for correlating complete prospect data sets against NFL fantasy football production. Yards per route run (YPRR) and explosive target rate have been integrated into the rookie wide receiver rankings, alongside several longtime favorites of the dynasty fantasy football community.

APPROACH

For the new data points, I only focused on FBS receivers with a complete career data set that would allow me to correlate to PPR points per game for at least two seasons (minimum 10 games played). Ideally, we would compare to three seasons, but that would mean cutting the college data off at 2019 instead of 2020, and my primary goal was to improve the college data sampled.

Data and metrics utilized:

  • Projected draft capital (Grinding the Mocks)
  • Career and best-season dominator
  • Career yards per route run (YPRR)
  • Rookie season age (at start of 2022 season)
  • Career explosive rate per target (15-plus yard reception)

Projected draft capital remains king and is the primary driver for my first pass at rookie rankings.

The career dominator adds a player's career yardage share and touchdown share and divides them by 2. Dominator is a critical component of breakout age analysis introduced by Frank DuPont and Shawn Siegele at RotoViz. Critical thresholds are 20% and 30% based on research done by RotoViz and Playerprofiler.com.

Career yards per route run and explosive target rate are new additions to my approach this season. It is essential to again note the limited sample size, but both of these metrics popped when analyzing a multitude of data points against future fantasy points per game.

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