10 Rookies That Will Win Fantasy Football Leagues in 2022

Nov 20, 2021; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Iowa State Cyclones running back Breece Hall (28) warms up before the game against the Oklahoma Sooners at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 20, 2021; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Iowa State Cyclones running back Breece Hall (28) warms up before the game against the Oklahoma Sooners at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /
3 of 4
2022 NFL Draft, Dameon Pierce
Florida Gators running back Dameon Pierce (27) runs up field. The Gators lead 10-9 over the Central Florida Knights at the half in the Gasparilla Bowl Thursday, December 23, 2021, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. [Doug Engle/Ocala Star-Banner]2021Oca 122324 Ufvsucfgasbowl /

Dameon Pierce, Houston Texans

There are going to be hundreds and hundreds of posts telling you to stay far away from the Houston Texans offense. Do not listen to them. Right now, the Texans running back room consists of journeymen veterans. Marlon Mack, Rex Burkhead, and Royce Freeman are not exactly stiff competition. With Davis Mills entering a pivotal second season under center, it will be crucial for Houston to send out a running back capable of easing the load.

This is where former Florida Gator, Dameon Pierce, can thrive. Like most stars at the position, Pierce is a shifty dual-threat running back. He doesn’t shy away from contact, and is built to withstand the toll of a full NFL slate. While he was never fully given the reins at Florida, it didn’t stop him from showcasing his talent. Pierce averaged 5.7 yards per carry, and found the end zone on 13 occasions as a runner. He caught 19 passes, and tallied three more touchdowns through the air.

The worries aren’t unwarranted when it comes to drafting a Texans player in 2022. I will say though, their offensive line added a massive upgrade when they selected Kenyon Green in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Wide receiver John Metchie lll is another rookie that will help to elevate the unit. Don’t be surprised to hear that Dameon Pierce beat out the veterans ahead of him to earn the starting gig week one. I’d almost be surprised if he didn’t at this point. You should take him a little earlier than his current ADP (RB46) and laugh at your league mates.

Rachaad White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers appear on this list yet again. After highlighting the amount of targets up for grabs earlier in the post, it’s easy to see how a running back with White’s skillset could gobble those up. Tampa Bay ranked fourth in the NFL in running back targets, and every Tom Brady led offense for the past decade has ranked near the top in this statistic. James White (no relation) was the biggest benefactor when Brady played for the Patriots. Even though they share no blood, Rachaad reminds me a lot of James in terms of their style of play.

At Arizona State, Rachaad White became the full-time starter at running back in 2021. He recorded exactly 1000 yards on the ground (5.5 ypc) and caught 43 passes in 11 games. He found the end zone 15 times on the ground, but only took one of his 43 catches to the house. Still, he proved that he can handle being a lead back. The Buccaneers return Leonard Fournette to the squad, but the No. 2 spot on the depth chart is wide open.

If Fournette remains healthy all season, there’s still FLEX upside for White due to his proficiency as a pass catcher. He will have to sturdy up in pass protection, but he’s got the frame to be able to do that. In the event that Fournette goes down with an injury (something that’s happened every season of his career), we are talking league winner status with White. His ADP has White going as the 50th running back off the board.

Breece Hall, New York Jets

The former Iowa State Cyclone checks in next on the list. The New York Jets selected the bellcow running back No. 36 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft, capping off an incredible start to the event for the Gang Green. The team ranked dead last in rushing attempts in 2021, and without a true every down back, I love the pairing. Michael Carter played well in limited time as a rookie, and will serve as an ideal one-two punch for the Jets. Not to worry, fantasy managers, Breece Hall will be front of the line for early down carries.

Hall ran for 50 rushing touchdowns during his three-year stint at Iowa State. He posted a strong 5.5 yards per carry in his collegiate career, and caught 82 passes to boot. If you’re not convinced yet, let’s look at his NFL Scouting Combine performance. The 217 pound workhorse blazed a 4.39 40-yard dash in Indianapolis. His 126” broad jump placed third among running backs and his 40” vertical leap was fourth among ALL positions. See the vision now?

The New York Jets and their young quarterback Zach Wilson are poised to make a jump this season. They knocked the draft out the park, and beefed up the offensive line even more. They may not win a ton of games this year, but I expect to see them battling more times than not. This bodes well for Hall, because in tight games or with a big lead, offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur will lean on the rookie. If they’re attempting a comeback, Hall will consume lots of receptions, something that makes PPR managers smile. He doesn’t come at the same discount as the others on this list, currently going as the RB24 in redrafts.

James Cook, Buffalo Bills

Alright, let’s go ahead and get this out of the way because it always seem to come up: yes, James Cook is Dalvin Cook’s brother. Cook spent his college years in Athens, Georgia under the tutelage of Bulldog head coach Kirby Smart. He hardly saw the field prior to the 2021 season, but that changed rather quickly. For the first time and only time at Georgia, Cook toted the rock for 100+ times, which resulted in a mind-boggling 6.4 yards per carry. He caught 27 passes and recorded a total of 11 touchdowns as a senior.

The Buffalo Bills ranked middle of the pack in rushing last year, but we have to keep in mind that 723 of those yards came from their quarterback, Josh Allen. His ability to run is what makes him special, but as he gets older, he won’t be able to subject his body to the brutal hits he takes now. A major way to ease that burden is to establish a strong running game. Devin Singletary and Zack Moss are decent at best, and downright unplayable at worst. James Cook adds a dynamic that the backfield currently lacks.

Cook is capable of taking a screen or an inside draw all the way to the end zone on any given play. He is that electric of an athlete. The Bills have a strong defense that will only get stronger after the addition of Von Miller and rookie Kaiir Elam. Allen can handle himself through the air. He’s proven that he can put the team on his back and carry. But what if he didn’t have to do that all the time? James Cook is the solution. Take the chance on him at his current ADP of RB40.