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With Calvin Ridley suspended for the entire 2022 season, it was the NFL’s worst-kept secret that the Falcons might take a wide receiver with the eighth overall pick. The question, then, became which one they preferred. Would they opt for Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson, USC’s Drake London, or gamble on Alabama speedster Jameson Williams?

Atlanta wasted little time answering that question, as they made London the first pass catcher off the board on Thursday night. London immediately ascends to the top of a barren wide receiver depth chart and should challenge for the team lead in targets as a rookie. Let’s take a look at where he lands in the ETR projections now that we know his landing spot.

 

DRAKE LONDON

Projection: 65.1 catches on 104.9 targets for 806.8 yards and 5.0 touchdowns. WR34 on Underdog (67th overall).

  • A productive college receiver with top-10 draft capital and minimal target competition, it’s not hard to make an argument for London as an immediate contributor in fantasy. We have him as a top-36 wide receiver right off the bat, largely because his 19.1% target share is second among rookie receivers (behind Treylon Burks).
  • Part of the reason London ranks so highly in our rankings is that his ceiling target share is so high. If he ends up being a strong talent at the professional level, he has otherworldly potential considering the Falcons’ lack of receiving talent. Put simply, there is room for his target share to surpass the 19.1% base projection, and our rankings account for that upside.
  • London was Anthony Amico’s highest-ranked rookie pre-draft, and he figures to stay in that position after being drafted eighth overall. Amico writes that the USC product is the “[best] contested ball-catcher in the draft” and says his “Combine weigh-in at 219 vaults him up the board”. In combination with elite draft capital, Amico’s endorsement of his talent solidifies him as a strong option in Year 1.
  • With that being said, we project the Falcons for the second-fewest plays per game and firmly below-average passing volume. Marcus Mariota hasn’t inspired as a starting quarterback in the past, so the team-level environment prevents London from going any higher in our rankings despite the massive volume he’s in line for.
  • Still, London will rival Burks as the highest-drafted rookie wide receiver in fantasy. His combination of draft capital, landing spot, and a strong production profile at USC entrenches him in best ball WR3 territory as a rookie.

 

OTHER FALCONS PLAYERS

  • This was one where we didn’t alter much with other Falcons pass catchers because we had already baked in the odds of them adding another receiver. There was simply no way they rolled into 2022 with Olamide Zaccheaus as their WR1, so we didn’t have to change too much with the rest of the offense because it was just a question of which wideout they would take.