The 2022 NFL draft has arrived, and Mike Clay is here to provide fantasy football reaction and projections for every skill-position player taken on the first two days (Rounds 1-3). Whether you play in season-long, keeper or dynasty leagues, this information will give you a leg up on the competition this season. What is the outlook for QB Malik Willis? Can top running backs Breece Hall and Kenneth Walker III make an immediate impact? Will early-round wide receivers Garrett Wilson, Drake London and Jameson Williams (among many others) step right in as fantasy starters? Does this class have a potential fantasy starter at tight end, like Kyle Pitts last year? Get our take on their short- and long-term fantasy values, including a first look at their 2022 projection.
2022 projection: 85 targets, 52 receptions, 700 yards, 5 TDs
The Packers needed a potential No. 1 wide receiver after trading away Davante Adams, and perhaps they’ve found one after trading up to draft Watson. The North Dakota State product was one of the biggest winners at the combine, measuring in at 6-foot-4 with 10 1/8-inch hands while showing well in every drill. The latter included a 4.36 40-yard dash and class-best 136-inch broad jump. Watson was used in a variety of ways during four seasons at NDSU. He was a vertical threat (career 20.5 YPR on 104 catches), ball carrier (49 rushes) and kick returner (27 attempts). He played at a “small” school and is older than most in this rookie class, but his outstanding combination of size, speed, physical ability and versatility makes him an intriguing prospect. He has a path to an every-down role in an elite Packers offense, as his top competition is oft-injured Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb and Sammy Watkins. Watson should be on your radar in the middle rounds.
2022 projection: 211 carries, 931 yards, 6 TDs; 40 targets, 31 receptions, 223 yards, 1 TD
2022 projection: 119 carries, 520 yards, 3 TDs; 28 targets, 21 receptions, 154 yards, 1 TD
The Seahawks have quite a few NFL-caliber running backs on their roster, but health concerns for Rashaad Penny and especially Chris Carson led them to spending a second-round pick on Walker. Following a pair of ho-hum seasons at Wake Forest, Walker exploded for a 263-1,636-18 rushing line in 12 games at Michigan State in 2021. He was extremely efficient, ranking third in this class in both YAC and FMT rate. Walker has a ways to go in the passing game (a 5% target share led to a 13-89-1 receiving line last season), but he’s young (21) and sports a terrific speed/power combo (4.38 40-yard dash). His 2022 value is a major question mark and will…