13 Redraft Winners & Losers from the NFL Draft

May 05, 2022
13 Redraft Winners & Losers from the NFL Draft

Fantasy footballers of the best ball variety have been drafting and analyzing player values for a couple of months already, but for the well-adjusted, post-NFL Draft is the time to start thinking about each player’s fantasy value. With landing spots mostly set, we can examine who benefited from the Draft and which players might suffer because of it in redraft leagues this season.

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NFL Draft Fantasy Winners

QB Jalen Hurts, Eagles

The Eagles only drafted one offensive skill player this year, and that wasn’t until the sixth round, but it’s tough to argue that any player came out of Draft weekend with a bigger boon to his fantasy value than Jalen Hurts. Philadelphia leveraged its Draft capital to land A.J. Brown, forming one of the better pass-catching corps in the league along with Devonta Smith and Dallas Goedert.

Hurts finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback last year, but 44% of his fantasy points came on the ground, by far the highest rate for any quarterback with at least 200 attempts. For reference, Lamar Jackson accumulated 36% of his fantasy points via the rush last season. Speaking of Jackson, his 2019 campaign embodies the type of year that is possible for Hurts with Brown now in Philly. Don’t expect Hurts to make a Josh Allen-like skill leap but Hurts and his receivers could strike lightning with an uber-efficient touchdown rate a la 2019 Jackson.

In the days since the Draft, Hurts is being drafted as the QB8 in Underdog leagues, but he now has the overall QB1 well within his range.

QB Zach Wilson, Jets

The Jets were one of six teams to spend a first-round pick on a wide receiver, and Garrett Wilson will join a suddenly intriguing receiver group that already includes Elijah Moore, Corey Davis, and Braxton Berrios. Don’t expect any projections to have the Jets' passing attack near the top of the league but the addition of one of the best receivers in this Draft improves the top-end of New York’s outcome range.

Wilson isn’t even being drafted as a top-20 fantasy quarterback right now and probably won’t sniff the top 15 all summer, but he will have some streaming viability during the season, and this entire offense will be easy and affordable to stack in best ball leagues.

QB Jameis Winston, Saints

One pick after the Jets selected Wilson, the Saints grabbed Wilson’s college teammate Chris Olave, arguably the best wide receiver in this class. The hope for New Orleans and Jameis Winston is that Michael Thomas returns to form in 2022 to create one of the best route-running combos in the league alongside Olave.

Winston’s fantasy upside is well-documented, but this could be the type of wide receiver duo that helps Winston provide the consistency that has largely been absent from his game for most of his career. He gets an added boost with the addition of first-round tackle Trevor Penning.

In addition to uncertainty about Thomas’ level of play when he returns, former Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael will take over as the play-caller in 2022. The departure of Sean Payton should give everyone some pause about blindly extrapolating Winston’s 2021 early-season success into 2022 projections.

RB James Conner, Cardinals

There weren’t many teams going into this year’s Draft with a huge need at running back, but there were quite a few teams that could create an RB1 battle with an early-round selection of the position. James Conner avoided any potential training camp competition and now has a clear path to starter touches with Chase Edmonds in Miami.

Arizona’s backfield accumulated the seventh-most half-PPR points in 2021, and while you are unlikely to see anyone projecting Conner to replicate his RB5 finish from last year, another top-12 campaign is within reach. Conner will be one of the better fantasy values this summer if his current RB18 ADP holds steady.

WR Christian Watson, Packers

Six wide receivers were drafted ahead of Christian Watson, but Watson finds himself in a situation where he could easily be the top-scoring rookie receiver in 2022 redraft leagues. After trading away Davante Adams, the Packers have positioned Watson to be the top target-getter from one of the most efficient quarterbacks in history.

Without a consensus rookie WR1 for fantasy purposes, it will be important to keep an eye on size/speed freak Watson’s ADP, which will be egregiously low if it stays anywhere near the current WR54 price.

WR Skyy Moore, Chiefs

Skyy Moore isn’t walking into the wide-open target share that Watson is, but Moore has a chance to be a primary target for one of the best passing offenses in the league in Kansas City. Everyone wonders how the Chiefs will replace Tyreek Hill this season, but the most likely answer is that they don’t and instead focus on other strengths besides trying to stretch the field as much as possible. Moore could help facilitate that change as the Chiefs’ primary slot receiver—he’s a Golden Tate look-alike with a skill set that could also be compared to D.J. Moore. Travis Kelce is the top dog in KC, but Moore could reasonably be playing starter snaps come Week 1.

WR Rashod Bateman, Ravens

Baltimore made one of the biggest splashes during the Draft by trading Marquise Brown to the Cardinals. They then ignored offensive skill players in the Draft until the 128th pick, only adding two tight ends and a sixth-round running back. With Brown in Arizona, 43% of the Ravens' targets are up for grabs, the sixth-most of any offense.

Following a rookie season where he averaged nearly six targets per game, Bateman should be locked in as Lamar Jackson’s second option after Mark Andrews and could approach the 146 total targets given to Brown last year.

NFL Draft Fantasy Losers

QB Justin Fields, Bears

After drafting Fields 11th overall last season, two of Chicago’s biggest draft needs were offensive line and wide receiver. Naturally, they built around their quarterback investment by spending their first two picks on defense. They threw Fields a bone by adding wide receiver Velus Jones in Round 3 and tackle Braxton Jones in Round 5, but that’s like asking for a pair of Jordans for Christmas and getting a pair of Shaqs. Fields will likely still project as a fringe-QB1 because of his rushing upside, but it’s hard to expect much of a passing ceiling.

Teammates of Round 2 Running Backs

No running backs went in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, but three went off the board in Round 2, and they all step into situations that could now be committees this season.

Buffalo kicked off their Day 2 by selecting James Cook, an elite pass-catcher who could immediately relegate Devin Singletary to early-down work. Outside of Singletary’s strong finish to 2021, it’s been nearly impossible to find any reliability from a running back in a Josh Allen offense, and we may be back to that in 2022.

Michael Carter was an industry favorite after the Jets selected him in the fourth round of the 2021 Draft, and he was decent as a rookie, finishing as the RB27 in half-PPR leagues. Unfortunately for Carter believers, New York turned around and spent second-round capital on Breece Hall in this year’s Draft. If Hall comes anywhere close to his Jonathan Taylor comp, expect Carter to be almost useless in fantasy in an offense that is most likely at least a year away from being good.

Kenneth Walker III was also selected in the second round and made an ugly situation in Seattle even worse. Rashaad Penny racked up a position-leading 107.7 half-PPR points over the last five games of 2021 but was probably still going to cede some work to Chris Carson in a Drew Lock-led offense. With Walker in the mix, all three backs could see relevant snaps while Pete Carroll does his best to position this offense as the worst in football.

WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, Lions

Most of the early-round wide receivers complement their veteran positional mates quite well, but Jameson Williams to the Lions at 12 is an immediate blow to late-season star Amon-Ra St. Brown. No one was expecting St. Brown to replicate his final six weeks of 2021, where he was half-PPR’s WR2, but many were hoping he could parlay that momentum into a meaningful 2022 fantasy campaign.

With Williams now in the mix, it might be hard for St. Brown to be in the top three in targets on his own team when you also consider the presence of T.J. Hockenson and D’Andre Swift. None of this even accounts for the probable offensive inefficiency when Jared Goff is throwing the ball.

WR Mecole Hardman, Chiefs

It’s tough not to get excited for the next man up for Patrick Mahomes, and for the last two offseasons, fantasy managers have hoped that man would be Mecole Hardman. After trading away Tyreek Hill, though, the Chiefs added JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. While neither of those players are true number ones, they are good enough to keep Hardman off the field in three-receiver sets if Skyy Moore comes along quickly.

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