The first day of the NFL draft was a fun one for fantasy purposes as we saw the snow globe of the wide receiver position continue to shake this offseason. We had six wide receivers selected in the first round on Thursday, with another two young stars changing teams as part of the evening.
With that, we are going to walk through the fantasy-centric selections and trades of the opening night.
Chris Olave posted 840 yards and 12 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2019 and sustained his per-game production throughout the remainder of his Ohio State career. A touchdown machine, Olave closed his four-year career with 35 touchdown grabs, a school record. 20% of his career collegiate receptions went for scores, the highest rate in this draft class.
Olave was second in this class in 2021 in converting 62.5% of his contested catches while not being reliant on them making up a large sample of his targets (15.7%) in large part due to his straight line speed and the Ohio State scheme.
Olave is almost a clone of Wilson physically (6’0”, 187) while he surprised by running a 4.39 40-yard dash at the combine.
After being rumored to have a second-round grade a year ago at draft time, Olave bet on himself increasing that stock and it paid off.
The Saints received back-end production from their wideouts in 2021, ranking 29th in the league in targets (15.4) and yardage (125.9 yards) per game from their wide receivers.
The team really asked Jameis Winston to operate a short-area offense a year ago when he was under center, but that was with Alvin Kamara leading the team with 34 targets from Winston followed by Marquez Callaway at 29, and then no other player over 16 targets. With the return of Michael Thomas paired with Olave, the Saints should expand things for Winston.
Unfortunately, Olave still carries more dynasty appeal than short-term 2022 appeal in a vacuum due to Thomas commanding such a large target share in the intermediate game and in terms of “fantasy-friendly” targets.
That said, Winston is not scared to press the football down the field and found success with Deonte Harty a year ago. Winston and Harty connected on 12-of-16 targets (75%) for 236 yards (14.8 yards per target) with a 130.2 rating.
Olave is a bench receiver and token “better in a best ball” fantasy option for 2022.