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3 Rookies Who Can Eventually Be Lineup Locks for Your Fantasy Team



Chris Olave (WR - New Orleans Saints):

After trading up not once but twice in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Saints finally got their guy, Chris Olave. It’s obvious that the Saints have big plans for Olave as they used an unprecedented amount of draft capital to obtain the pick in which they still had the option of selecting Jameson Williams, WR out of Alabama. Reports out of Rookie minicamps, voluntary minicamps, and OTAs indicate that Olave is as skilled a prospect as advertised. His teammates have touted his route running with his QB Jameis Winston calling him “smooth as the other side of the pillow”.


He enters an offense that is now loaded with weapons seemingly out of nowhere. With Micheal Thomas finally slated to return and new addition Jarvis Landry being added to the wide receiver room, there is plenty of veteran leadership for Olave to learn from. It’s worth noting that both of these receivers have dealt with injury concerns over the last few seasons which could possibly lead to additional opportunity for Olave to produce. His athletic profile, the draft capital utilized to select him, and the opportunity within the offense he is being inserted to all will lead to Olave being a viable flex play, and possibly improve to WR2 level as he improves and his opportunity increases over the course of the season.

 

Christian Watson (WR - Green Bay Packers):

Watson is a very talented prospect, but his value is rooted in the opportunity that he is walking into this season. With Davante Adams and Marquez Valdez-Scantling departing the Green Bay Packers have the most vacated targets in the NFL this offseason. As of right now, Watson is the only notable pass-catching addition that Green Bay opted to add other than 8-year veteran Sammy Watkins.


This means that he can, and likely will soak up a large percentage of these vacated targets. While Aaron Jones and Allen Lazard stand to see major target increases, Watson can step into a unique high-value role both downfield using his 4.3 speed and in the red zone with his 6’5” frame. He has a great chance at being the best rookie receiver in fantasy and also could be a weekly flex or WR2 play as soon as week 1 depending on how the offense is schemed following the key departures.

 

Alec Pierce (WR - Indianapolis Colts):

Perhaps a lesser-known prospect by the average NFL or fantasy football fan, Alec Pierce landed in a perfect spot to maximize his talent and yield results early in his career. The Colts are in ‘win now’ mode trying to remain as competitive as possible within their division by making a trade for Matt Ryan, perhaps the best QB that they have had since Andrew Luck retired in 2019. Last season, their WR room was a one-man show led by rookie Micheal Pittman Jr as they opted to lean on Jonathan Taylor’s MVP-level production rather than relying on Wentz to execute through the air. Now with a more capable and experienced QB, the Colts are in a position to unlock their passing game and run a more balanced offense.


Pittman Jr. will remain the WR1 undoubtedly, but Pierce has already gained praise from teammates and coaches who are impressed with his displays on the field so far. Head Coach Frank Reich spoke on Pierce’s performance in minicamp saying “He’s done a good job—we’re definitely pushing him and want him to compete to get in the mix and on the field”. With 4.4 speed and route running skill he is a great compliment to Micheal Pittman Jr.’s physical, athletic style of receiver play. Pierce is a great late-round stash pick who could improve enough over the course of the season to become a lineup lock as a flex or low-end WR2 play.

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