Tue Sep 6th 2022
Rookie Rankings Changes
It's Labor Day weekend, so I'm on the lake with my best friends and holding my late and final rookie draft. This group of friends comprises my Freek League, which started 25 years ago. It's one of my favorite weekends of the year.
While I prefer to hold rookie drafts right after the NFL draft, it's fun to have one super-late rookie draft, if only to see how the draft order changed since May. Every year there are quite a few changes. My rookie rankings changed as I headed into this weekend, and in this article, I will share which players' rankings changed the most and where they were drafted in my final rookie draft.
If you care to see every pick, I posted the entire draft at the end of this article.
Dameon Pierce - From 24th to 14th
- I mentioned Pierce as a riser in another article, but I've conceded and moved him up from 24th to 14th. Houston made it clear this week that he's their starting running back when they cut Marlon Mack this week and re-signed him to their practice squad. I still question Peirce's talent and long-term dynasty value on the Texans, who could quickly draft another running back next year unless Pierce blows them away. Still, I can't overlook the fact that he's going to be an NFL starter for this season and will have the opportunity to become the long-term starter for the Texans. I moved him up to 14th heading into this weekend's draft, and he was drafted 12th.
Zamir White - From 30th to 17th
- Zamir White got a lot of action in the preseason and looked poised to be the handcuff to Josh Jacobs, with Ameer Abdullah securing the passing downs roll. White did not blow me away with any of his preseason play like Pierce did, but he proved capable and has a ton of upside since he's the only running back on the roster drafted by the Raiders' new team coaching staff. I saw him as a third-round pick in May but now would draft him in the middle of the second round. I moved him up to 17th heading into this weekend's draft, and he was drafted 17th.
Romeo Doubs - From 26th to 19th
- Doubs arguably received the second most preseason hype behind Dameon Pierce this offseason. Practice reports and excellent play in preseason games warranted the talk and his rise in my rankings. I still think the Packers will start the season with three veteran starters; Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins, and Randall Cobb. Doubs will be next in line, though, and could push for more playing time if Rodgers deems him reliable. I mentioned in an article two weeks ago that I also saw a lot of improvement from Jordon Love in the preseason games, making me more hopeful for Doubs' long-term outlook. I moved him up to 19th heading into this weekend's draft, and he was drafted 23rd.
Malik Willis - From 28th to 23rd
- After preseason weeks one and two, I wrote about how Willis needs a gap year. I still believe that's true, but his third preseason game gave me more hope for what he can become in a year or two. He will be a viable fantasy quarterback just because of his running ability. If he can make Josh Allen-like improvements as a passer, he could become a superstar. I did not move him up too far in my one-quarterback rankings, but I would now like to draft him at the back of the second round instead of the middle of the third. I moved him up to 23rd heading into this weekend's draft, and he was drafted 29th.
Isiah Pacheco - From unranked to 24th
- Actually, I'm mistaken. I would call Pacheco the most-hyped player this preseason, even over Pierce and Doubs, because he came from among the unranked rookies. I'm still going to miss out on drafting Pacheco because I do not have him ranked as high as others, or at least as high as two or three managers in my leagues, but I did move him up from the unranked to the 24th. Despite rumors to the contrary, the Chiefs did not cut Ronald Jones. Pacheco will still have to compete with first and second-round picks ahead of him and Jerick McKinnon, who had several games stretches of excellence for the Chiefs last season. I moved him up to 24th heading into this weekend's draft, and he was drafted 26th.
Kyle Phillips - From 41st to 30th
- Phillips is a player I've drafted a lot, especially in drafts that were later into training camp because beat reporters could not stop talking about his quickness and route running. He's earned a starting slot role with the Titans and should get drafted in the third round now. Whereas in May rookie drafts, he often went undrafted. I picked him up off the waiver wire in one league and drafted him in two leagues already. I'm higher on him than most managers and analysts. I moved him up to 30th heading into this weekend's draft, and he was undrafted, but I picked him up on waivers after the draft!
Jaylen Warren - From 63rd to 40th
- Warren has gone from an undrafted free agent to the backup to Najee Harris, so he has moved up from 63rd to 40th in my rankings. Warren did not get drafted in a single one of my rookie drafts, but he was drafted in the two drafts held in August and September. I picked Warren up off the waiver wire in four leagues after his first preseason game, where he excelled. I'm thrilled that I jumped on him before others did. He'll never take the job away from Najee Harris, but he's a top-tier handcuff that I love to have on dynasty my rosters. I moved him up to 40th heading into this weekend's draft, and he was drafted 46th.
Isaiah Likely - From 53rd to 42nd
- Like Jaylen Warren, Isaiah Likely is not likely to surpass the fantasy stud on his team, Mark Andrews, but he made enough of an impact in the preseason to move up my dynasty rankings to the fourth round. He's way more essential to acquire in tight-end premium leagues, but he's even worth drafting late in all dynasty leagues. I'd add him to a roster in place of a lot of depth-tight ends that are not worthy of starting unless my starter is injured. His upside is much higher than many of the start-if-you-have-an-injury guys. They are a dime a dozen, so I'd rather hold Likely on a dynasty roster this year and see how he develops. I moved him up to 42nd heading into this weekend's draft, and he was drafted 32nd.
Isaiah Spiller - From 15th to 26th
- Spiller has been falling in my rankings since I started to scout this rookie class. He's failed at every measuring point, from the Combine to draft capital, to practice reports, to preseason games. First, Joshua Kelley reportedly beat him out for the RB-2 job, and now the Chargers added Sony Michel to the roster after Miami cut him. Clearly, the Chargers are displeased with their RB-2, and they've made that clear by adding Sony Michel. Spiller has fallen way down my rookie rankings. I moved him down to 25th heading into this weekend's draft, and he was drafted 24th.
Tyler Allgeier - From 18th to 27th
- I wrote about Allgeier's fall in my rankings last week, so I won't add too much more here but to say he's not moved up the depth charts in Atlanta, even though he had less superior competition ahead of him. I wrote about last week, wondering who the Falcons would cut. It turned out to be Qadree Ollison, though he looked just as good or better than Allgeier on tape during the preseason. The Falcons' new coaching staff chose to keep the player they drafted rather than the old regime, but that's likely the only reason why. I moved him down to 27th heading into this weekend's draft, and he was drafted 27th.
Freeks Rookie Draft
- Above I noted draft picks as if this was a 12-team league since most dynasty leagues are 12-team leagues, but this is a 10-team league.
- Breece Hall
- Ken Walker
- Drake London
- Chris Olave
- Jameson Williams
- Treylon Burks
- Garrett Wilson
- George Pickens ** My Pick
- Skyy Moore
- Dameon Pierce
- Jahan Dotson ** My Pick
- James Cook
- Brian Robinson
- Rachaad White
- Christian Watson
- Alec Pierce
- Zamir White
- Kenny Pickett
- Jalen Tolbert
- David Bell
- Wandale Robinson
- Trey McBride
- Romeo Doubs
- Isaiah Spiller
- Greg Dulcich
- Isiah Pacheco
- Tyler Allgeier
- Tyrion Davis-Price
- Malik Willis
- Khalil Shakir
- Kyren Williams
- Isaiah Likely
- Tyquan Thorton ** My Pick
- Hasaan Haskins
- Jelani Woods
- Pierre Strong ** My Pick
- John Metchie
- Jerome Ford
- Calvin Austin
- Desmond Ridder
- Keaontay Ingram
- Velus Jones
- Daniel Bellinger
- Jaylen Warren ** My Pick
- Jake Ferguson
- Ty Chandler
- Danny Gray
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