Dynasty Report: An Early Look at Three 2022 Prospects (Fantasy Football)
Welcome to the first edition of this season’s Dynasty Report. If you are new to this series, this will be a weekly in-season article where I highlight some of the risers and fallers in the dynasty landscape. In addition, I will be previewing several college prospects to give dynasty managers an idea of what to expect from their 2022 rookie picks! Since the season is still a few weeks away, I will break down three prospects who are slated to be top picks at their position in next year’s NFL draft. Keep in mind, these assessments are based on their current college production and film. Therefore, their values could either improve or decline based on how they perform in their Junior season.
Let’s dive in!
Breece Hall – Iowa State, RB
If you are looking to reload at the running back position, Breece Hall out of Iowa State should already be on your radar. Coming in at 6’1” and 220 lbs, Hall has the size and athleticism to be a difference-maker at the next level. Because of his frame, Hall is not afraid to seek contact, often leveraging his size to break tackles and create several highlight-worthy plays. What will immediately catch your eye when you watch him is his big-play ability out of the backfield. If you give Hall even just a sliver of daylight, he has the top-end speed and endurance to outrun almost anyone on the field. Therefore, do not be surprised if Hall’s size-adjusted speed score comes in well above average at the NFL combine. Hall also provides plenty of versatility, as Iowa State uses him as a receiver in the slot and, occasionally, out wide. So far in his career, he has averaged 7% of the team’s receiving yards on a per-game basis, totaling 43 receptions and 432 receiving yards in two seasons. From the few games that I reviewed, his route tree was rather limited, but it was still encouraging to see him being relied upon as more than just a check-down option.
From a production standpoint, Hall checks nearly every box. He broke out early in his true freshman season, accumulating 1,149 total yards and 10 touchdowns. He finished his first season accounting for 79% of the team’s total running back production. Impressively, he would build on that in his Sophomore year, totaling 1,753 scrimmage yards and 23 touchdowns on a 43.5% team dominator rating. In other words, Hall operated as THE focal point of the Cyclone’s offense. The one aspect where he could still improve is his efficiency on a per-touch basis. His 5.68 career yards per touch is only slightly above the 5.3 college average. And while yards per touch might seem like a simple metric, there is a decent correlation (22.3%) to a player’s early career production in the NFL. Ideally, you want to see a running back exceed the college average by a decent margin. For reference, Najee Harris, Travis Etienne, and Javonte Williams all finished their careers with at least 6.0 yards per touch.
Outside of this, the reigning Big 12 Offensive Player of The Year has a truly impressive production profile. He has shown that he can handle the workload, operate as a receiver, and even block for his quarterback. For reference, using market share metrics, breakout age, and efficiency, above are a few RBs in my model who have very similar college profiles. Furthermore, if he is able to maintain his level of production for one more year, Hall would become one of only five drafted running backs since 2015 to enter the league with at least a 60% RB dominator rating, a 5% receiving yards market share, and an 18-year-old breakout age. The other four running backs are Saquon Barkley, Jonathan Taylor, Cam Akers, and Travis Etienne.
David Bell – Purdue, WR
When evaluating a wide receiver prospect, ideally you want to see them break out at a young age, operate as a lead receiver for multiple seasons, and truly dominate their competition. If they check those boxes, they usually declare early as they are likely projected as a top receiver for their class. While receivers such as George Pickens (Georgia) and Garrett Wilson (Ohio State) are both very intriguing options next year, David Bell out of Purdue is someone who fits that production mold perfectly. In fact, you might already be familiar with his name if you recently watched Rondale Moore’s 2020 tape, as both players were key pieces to the Boilermaker’s offense this past season.
When you watch Bell on the field, his playing style might not be the most flashy or athletic. However, he is a very efficient and smart route runner, using his savvy footwork to gain separation. And while Bell is certainly capable of the highlight-reel catches, what impressed me the most in his tape is his relentless effort both as a receiver and a blocker. Bell was frequently asked to block on screens and rush attempts, leveraging his frame (6’2” and 205 lbs) and physicality to successfully take a defender out of a play. Of course, blocks do not accumulate fantasy points; however, it does allow a receiver to stay on the field, eventually leading to more opportunities.
From a production standpoint, Bell has the early profile of a potentially elite wide receiver. First off, he broke out as a true freshman in 2019, totaling 1,035 receiving yards on a 28% market share. While his production only came after Rondale Moore suffered a season-ending hamstring injury, it is still impressive for an 18-year old receiver to lead his team in nearly every receiving metric. And while some were skeptical as to whether he could dominate with Moore healthy and in the lineup, Bell put those doubts to rest in 2020. In a shortened season due to the pandemic (6 games), Bell finished with 625 receiving yards (34% market share) and 8 receiving touchdowns (53% market share), while averaging an impressive 2.39 yards per team pass attempt. Even with Moore in the lineup (only 3 games), he still operated as the WR1 with 101.3 receiving yards and 1.3 touchdowns per game. If he can maintain this level of production in 2021, or potentially even exceed it, do not be surprised if Bell turns out to be a first-round wide receiver in the 2022 NFL draft.
David Bell – WR #Purdue
Bell has such an intriguing production profile through 2 seasons:
▫️18 y/o True Freshman Breakout
▫️26% Rec Dominator in Year 1
▫️44% Rec Dominator in Year 2
▫️2.13 Avg Rec Yds per Team PA
WRs drafted since 2010 w/ similar profiles in my model?👇🏼🔥 pic.twitter.com/YmlO90S3Sq
— Marvin Elequin (@FF_MarvinE) August 24, 2021
Jalen Wydermyer – Texas A&M, TE
While there might not be another Kyle Pitts in this upcoming class, there are a few 2022 tight-end prospects who could receive premium draft capital. One of those players is Texas A&M’s tight end: Jalen Wydermyer, who is entering his Junior year in 2021. While he is not the most athletic tight end, he boasts an impressive combination of size, speed, and physicality that allows him to dominate in nearly every facet of the game. Because of his versatile skill set, the Aggies used him as an in-line tight end, slot receiver, and even as an outside receiver. Despite the lack of elite acceleration, Wydermyer has enough athleticism to beat linebackers downfield for deep receptions. If he ever lines up against a quicker defensive back, his 6’5” and 255 lb frame generally presents a mismatch against the smaller corner. In fact, the Aggies frequently lined up him up as a receiver to take advantage of the mismatch, especially in the red zone. Combine his larger frame with his advanced route running, and you have a tight end who can win all over the field.
What impressed me the most in his film is his wide catch radius and reliability as a receiver. In the games that I reviewed, not once did he drop the ball. And while he does not always create multiple yards of separation, Wydermyer’s ball-tracking ability often led to some impressive contested catches. In other words, if the ball was thrown in his direction, expect Wydermyer to pursue the ball relentlessly. Where I do see opportunities for improvement is in his blocking, sometimes lacking the aggressiveness and quickness to consistently stay in front of the defender.
From a production standpoint, Wydermeyer has an extremely intriguing profile. Breaking out as an 18-year old true freshman, he was an immediate contributor for Texas A&M. While his raw stats of 447 receiving yards and 6 receiving touchdowns may not seem as impressive, that actually equated to a 24% receiving dominator rating in the Aggies offense. Furthermore, he was even more productive in 2020, setting career-highs in receptions (46) and receiving yards (506) on a 26% market share. In short, Wydermyer has been a consistent producer since his freshman year, which gives him an extremely well-rounded profile. As a result, my TE model has him currently graded in the 71st percentile, profiling very similar to Kyle Rudolph and Mark Andrews. Keep an eye on his Junior season, as he will have to acclimate to a new quarterback with Kellen Mond now in the NFL. Regardless, I expect Wydermyer to have another dominant year, potentially setting himself apart from the rest of the class.