Rookie WRs fantasy football impact: Christian Watson, Alec Pierce, George Pickens, and more

On this episode of PFN's Premier Fantasy Football Podcast, Tommy Garrett and I discuss the fantasy values of Day 2 and some Day 3 rookie WRs.

On the accompanying episode of PFN’s Premier Fantasy Football Podcast, Tommy Garrett and I continued our discussion of the rookie WRs and their expected fantasy football impact in the 2022 season. Last week, we discussed the first-round wide receivers. This week, we went through the Day 2 guys as well as a couple of Day 3 receivers that piqued our interest.

Fantasy football outlook for rookie WRs

Christian Watson, Green Bay Packers

After trading Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders, the Green Bay Packers desperately needed a wide receiver. Thus, they took Christian Watson in the early part of the second round in the 2022 NFL Draft.

In Green Bay, Watson will have every opportunity to contribute right away. That is if he can earn the trust of Aaron Rodgers. However, I do have concerns that Watson will open the season behind Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins, and Randall Cobb.

Watson has a high weekly ceiling but will likely struggle with consistency as a rookie. Consider him a worthy late-round dart throw in 2022 fantasy football leagues.

Wan’Dale Robinson, New York Giants

The New York Giants lack a singular wide receiver poised to dominate targets, but they have a surprisingly crowded receiver group. Within that group, Wan’Dale Robinson will compete with Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, and Kadarius Toney for targets.

At 5’8″, Robinson projects as a slot receiver, which is where Toney should be playing. He also has a skill set that requires deliberate play design and an accurate quarterback. It’s possible he gets the former, but Daniel Jones will not provide the latter. Ultimately, Robinson is unlikely to be a fantasy-relevant player as a rookie.

John Metchie III, Houston Texans

The Houston Texans could certainly use more playmakers on offense. John Metchie III may provide them with a nice complement underneath to Brandin Cooks’ downfield ability.

However, Metchie is coming off a torn ACL and is unlikely to be ready for opening day. There is a plausible path to him becoming the Texans’ WR2 ahead of Nico Collins, but first, he needs to get healthy. Metchie could be a name to monitor over the second half of the 2022 season, but he’s not someone that should be drafted in 2022 redraft leagues.

Tyquan Thornton, New England Patriots

With 4.3 speed, Tyquan Thornton is really fast. However, he projects to be more of a special teams/gadget player. The New England Patriots could certainly use more playmakers. Their top two wide receivers are currently Jakobi Meyers and DeVante Parker.

With that said, it’s difficult to see Thornton making any sort of meaningful impact as a rookie. He’s a better real-life player than a fantasy one.

George Pickens, Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a great track record of drafting wide receivers. So, when they selected George Pickens in the second round, my ears perked up a bit. Pickens is already a more complete receiver than Chase Claypool, but he’s not going to send Claypool to the bench.

Nevertheless, I love Pickens’ talent. He has alpha outside receiver qualities. However, he opens the season behind Diontae Johnson, Claypool, Najee Harris, and Pat Freiermuth for targets. If Pickens does end up being fantasy-relevant as a rookie, it will likely be over the second half of the season.

Alec Pierce, Indianapolis Colts

I typically don’t hype up four-year college wide receivers without truly elite production profiles, but Alec Pierce is an exception. While I don’t expect anything special, Pierce walks into a tremendous opportunity.

The Indianapolis Colts got a significant quarterback upgrade going from Carson Wentz to Matt Ryan. Meanwhile, they have no clear WR2 opposite Michael Pittman Jr. This is still going to be a run-first offense, but Ryan can certainly support two fantasy-relevant wide receivers. In fact, I’d be stunned if Pittman ended up being the only fantasy-relevant pass catcher on this team. Pierce is worth a look as your final wide receiver in 2022 redraft leagues.

Skyy Moore, Kansas City Chiefs

Talent-wise, Skyy Moore is my favorite rookie WR of the second round. Any wide receiver that went to a small school but was good enough to declare early is someone I’m interested in. Opportunity-wise, I’m concerned.

With Tyreek Hill gone (as well as Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle), there may appear to be a very clear path to Moore starting right away. I just don’t see it happening. The Kansas City Chiefs will likely open the season with Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Mecole Hardman on the outside with JuJu Smith-Schuster in the slot.

With that said, we’ve seen plenty of rookie WRs do very little over the first half of the season before coming on strong over the second half. That may very well be Moore’s path. He’s certainly worth a late-round dart throw on the chance he starts right away. The more likely scenario is Moore emerges into someone you pick up at some point during the season.

Jason Katz is a Fantasy Analyst at Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter: @jasonkatz13 and find more of his work here.


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