Yahoo Sports’ Matt Harmon and Scott Pianowski explain why the Seahawks’ Kenneth Walker III and the Saints’ Chris Olave are their picks for fantasy rookie of the year in 2022.
MATT HARMON: Let's move on to our next serious award here, Fantasy Rookie of the Year. And, Scott, there are a lot of guys you could potentially consider here. Which way did you end up going?
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: You know, I think it was a really deep rookie year, but I don't think anybody absolutely destroyed the game, smashed the game the way we have seen in some other seasons. But I ultimately went with Kenneth Walker, who took over the job early in the season with the injury to Penny.
And I know he was maybe more valuable in fantasy than he was to the Seahawks. He's more of a boom-or-bust runner. Didn't have the highest success rate. Doesn't always have that much proactive use in the passing game. But bottom line is if you had Walker once he got that job, you played him every week, and he generally gave you a reasonable score at the end of the week.
A late push from Tyler Allgeier, who looks really good. And a lot of the secondary metrics really like Allgeier. If Atlanta can get a quarterback we like-- I don't think Ridder is really a long-term solution. We'll see if they draft somebody or what they do, if they try to trade for somebody or sign somebody. But a lot of offensive pieces there I like.
And of course, there's so many good receivers. Wilson was great. Olave was great. I'll talk about some of the other guys who popped maybe in the second half of the year. I think this is a class that's going to age well. I think we're going to look back and say, oh, man, we got a lot of influx of talent in the 2022 season.
A lot of these guys were impactful the first year, but the best is yet to come. The arrow is pointed up for so many of these guys. Again, I don't see one player who dominated. And I think even the real-life Offensive Rookie of the Year is going to be interesting vote.
MATT HARMON: Yeah.
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: I went with Walker, but I could have easily gone with three or four different guys.
MATT HARMON: Yeah, Walker, like you mentioned, was a little bit boom or bust. Wasn't that rookie that just took over fantasy football. Walker did finish really strong from week 16 to 18. He ran over 100 yards in all three of those games. He wasn't the running back that took over the league, like we usually see. I'm also glad you mentioned Allgeier. He should be a really fun player to debate in the offseason.
Well, you know me, Scott. I got to advocate for big receiver here. And I did really, really struggle between picking Chris Olave or Garrett Wilson who, at the end-of-season rankings, these guys ended up being right back to back with each other. Chris Olave, wide receiver 23. Garrett Wilson, wide receiver 24.
And Garrett Wilson, I think, gave you more monster weeks than Chris Olave. He also finished with a lot more targets. I think this is funny, right, when people compare the raw stats between these two guys. Because, again, I think these two players-- it might end up going to Kenneth Walker just because he's a running back. Receivers typically really struggled to win the Rookie of the Year award in real life.
But when we talk about these two guys, and you look at their stats, yeah, they're very, very similar. Chris Olave, 72 catches. Garrett Wilson, 74 catches. 1,042 for Olave. 1,014 for Garrett Wilson. Four touchdowns for both of these guys. The Jets threw the ball way, way more than Garrett Wilson-- or than the Saints.
And also, I get it that the first thing you say is, well, look at the quarterbacks that old Garrett Wilson played with all year. Well, I mean, are we all on board with PFF's love for Andy Dalton in the year 2022? Or is that a bit of an outlier? I don't know. So I ended up giving it to Chris Olave. Very tough decision there. But, yeah, Chris Olave, my Fantasy Rookie of the Year this year.
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Yeah, and you mentioned the quarterback play. That's a common theme of the rookie receivers, right? I mean, obviously, Wilson was saddled with some bad play. You can decide how you feel about Dalton. Pickens and Pickett were the story in Pittsburgh. They only threw, I think, what, 12 touchdown passes was it.
Jahan Dotson had a lot of good moments in Washington. They did not have good quarterback play. So these are receivers-- a lot of these guys ended up with like four touchdown catches on the year. I think that's where Pickett-- Pickens, sorry, wound up. So, again, this is going to be a group that ages well.