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Second-Year Scouting Report: Drake London

NFL Fantasy



Every year, rookie fever emerges, and the previous class gets pushed aside by the shiny new NFL toys. This usually results in a rookie surge of ADP, which opens up pockets of value, especially with players from the previous class who may not be as established as long-time veterans in the league. This happens even though most fantasy analysts (and players) understand the largest leap occurs from year 1 to year 2.


Throughout the summer, FTN will be releasing second-year scouting reports to keep these players fresh in fantasy managers’ minds. The series shifts today to second-year Flacons receiver Drake London. This article is a breakdown of London’s first season and what fantasy managers can expect from him in 2023 and beyond.

Drake London, WR, Atlanta Falcons

Drake London was drafted eighth overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2022 NFL Draft. The USC Trojan product entered college as a dual-sport athlete, playing football and basketball during his freshman season. London was a solid performer in his first two seasons (72 receptions for 1,069 yards and 10 touchdowns) but erupted in his junior year. During that season, London amassed 88 receptions for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns before suffering a broken ankle in the eighth game of the year.

London was still highly drafted despite the injury (and lack of athletic testing) and paid dividends. The rookie played all 17 games, producing 72 receptions (on 117 targets) for 866 yards and four touchdowns. Many fantasy managers are expecting him to leap in what will hopefully be a more balanced passing offense in 2023.

What Went Right

London recovered well from his broken ankle and immediately found his way into the starting lineup. The rookie receiver immediately produced, earning at least six targets in his first five games while competing with Kyle Pitts. However, London took off and finished strong once Pitts was lost for the season. Per the FTN Fantasy splits tool

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In Weeks 13-18, London averaged 9.6 targets, 6.2 receptions and 85.6 receiving yards. This overlaps with the period of time that 2022 rookie and projected 2023 Desmond Ridder was at quarterback and Pitts was out with an injury. While London struggled to find the end zone in Atlanta’s run-heavy offensive attack, he did flash the ability to get open and earn targets in the NFL. There is plenty of optimism about London in the NFL after his rookie season.

What Went Wrong

Unfortunately, bad quarterback play and a head coach who loves to run the ball meant a lack of high-level production compared to the other team’s top wide receivers. London had the fifth-highest target share in the NFL in his rookie season (29.4%) but finished as the WR30 with just 10.5 PPR points per game.

The Falcons had the second-fewest pass attempts per game in the NFL (24.2), fueled by subpar quarterback play from both Marcus Mariota and the rookie Ridder. Both quarterbacks struggled to complete passes down the field and truly utilize London’s best abilities as a contested-catch receiver. London averaged just 7.4 yards per target on the season behind a conservative passing attack.


2023 Outlook

Drake London’s outlook is an extremely complicated one due to his offense. On one hand, London flashed all the skills necessary to be an excellent outside receiver in the NFL. London finished his first season with a 10.7-yard aDOT and finished 11th among wide receivers with 2.40 yards per route run. However, a lot of his production came from his time playing without Kyle Pitts, who returns after another season playing more out wide than traditional tight ends.

Additionally, everything points to the Falcons once again being the lowest-volume passing offenses in the NFL. Atlanta returns almost all of the league’s best run-blocking offensive line with a second-round pick (Matthew Bergeron) added to the unit. Atlanta also spent a top-10 pick on Texas’s Bijan Robinson, the best running back in college after getting a 1,000-yard rushing season from 2022 rookie Tyler Allgeier. Even though the team threw the ball more in 2022 with Desmond Ridder at the helm, they still averaged 28.8 pass attempts per game with him as their starter. That figure would have finished 28th in the NFL, just ahead of the Baltimore Ravens.

If you believe in Desmond Ridder being the way to open up the passing offense, then Drake London is worth the gamble at his WR21 price tag in fantasy drafts. If you don’t have much faith in the growth of Atlanta’s passing volume, then he’s worth passing on in a low-volume passing attack competing with Kyle Pitts and Bijan Robinson.

Dynasty Outlook

There is much more optimism regarding London’s future in fantasy regardless of his 2023 situation. In the best-case scenario, Desmond Ridder developed enough during his rookie season to succeed in the NFL, which would lead to more passing volume now and in the future.

On the other hand, Ridder could be terrible this season, leading to another top-10 pick, which could lead to an upgrade in the form of 2024 quarterback prospects Caleb Williams or Drake Maye. A highly drafted quarterback would not only lead to more passing volume and the ability to spread the ball out to utilize all of Atlanta’s receiving options.

FTN’s ranking team currently ranks Drake London as the WR16 in dynasty, which makes sense regarding the questions behind the team’s long-term passing volume and the competition for targets. London is worth a gamble at that price considering that he can succeed long term by either Ridder being competent as a passer or the chance the team could upgrade at quarterback. At the very least, he’s shown the ability to draw targets in the NFL and produce at an NFL level at a young age.

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