With the depth and overall quality of this position improving over time, we can say this on a yearly basis: Wide receiver is packed with quality players. you’ll drop down to 40 in your fantasy receiver rankings and still find guys with viable paths to 100+ targets. Don’t be surprised if you’re in the late rounds (wr60 and up) and still run into several guys you like as featured players this season.
One of the key issues surrounding the wide receiver position this season is projecting players onto new teams.
Reading: Fantasy football mid round targets
[more position previews: quarterbacks | runners | receptors | tight ends]
Even a couple of years ago, it was common to hear fantasy analysts advising you to ditch wide receivers who switched teams in the offseason. if you plan to employ that strategy in 2022, good luck; you’ll be erasing most of the draft board.
The catchers’ tectonic plates shifted wildly this offseason with a variety of guys being traded or moving in free agency. we’re also talking about big names.
Three of the top 12 wide receivers in my rankings changed teams via trade: davante adams, a.j. brown and tyreek hill.
Several others have also moved in, including allen robinson, juju smith-schuster, marquise brown, amari cooper, robert woods and christian kirk. For the most part, adp would indicate that all of those guys are players he’s considering starting each week. at least for some of the latter, they will be in flexible consideration.
I didn’t even mention all the receivers who experienced changes at quarterback, even if they’re still on the same team from last season. If you include that group, 19 of the top 40 receivers on Yahoo ADP will play with a different quarterback this season. it’s wild.
QB to WR connections won’t be as reliable. entire ecosystems will not be so easy to project. drafting players with the same quarterback as last year is unrealistic. you will be severely limiting your group. that’s not an option, you’ll have to lean on the chaos.
With the rare tumult at the position, it will be more important than ever to bet on talent.
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That doesn’t mean we can or should completely avoid the offensive tendencies of play calls and projectable shared goals, of course. but betting on good proven players with quality résumés in the prime of their careers can help alleviate some of the risk. that player going to an ecosystem we know we can trust should also make us feel better. Robinson going to the Rams comes to mind. smith-schuster jumping to the bosses’ fees as a clear win. Even Adams with the Raiders largely feels like it should be a good vibe, even if Josh McDaniels is a somewhat unknown factor as a player he calls.
Talent and player roles have always been more important at wide receiver than any other position in fantasy football. that feels truer than ever after this off-season of movement.
If there’s a secondary issue at wide receiver this year, it’s Year 2 receivers. We know there are established guys like ja’marr chase and jaylen waddle, but the key figure this year is the potential standout players found in the middle rounds. Picking the right guys at those levels will help you unlock the rest of your comp.
Let’s go over some of my favorite lenses.
amon-ra street. brown — wr27 yahoo adp
Ignore the constant worry about who was in or out of the lineup when it experienced a big break at the end of last season. we know he’s not going to do what he did in the last month of last season. if we were projecting him for 11 goals per game, he would be in round 2. not so. so take the trusty floor and big slot archetype that we should want to buy anytime in round 5 and beyond.
rashod bateman — wr31 yahoo adp
the ravens aren’t going to throw the ball like crazy this year, but there will be enough volume to make mark andrews and rashod bateman reliable bets. that duo may own more than 50 percent of the target share in this offense, given the state of the rest of the depth chart. bateman is a true x receiving prospect who wins at every level. He is one of the biggest winners of the offseason after trading Marquise Brown.
elijah moore — wr36 yahoo adp
There are concerns about the quarterback, but if zach wilson, or whoever takes the plays if he loses time, is average this year, moore is going to blow up. The Jets have added a lot of bodies at the pass catcher position, but all offseason reports hold that Moore is No. 1 guy there. he deserves that distinction. he’s such a talented player that he breaks off at will and puts production on his resume in stretches as a rookie. this is a “bet on talent” proposal, but it’s one I’m willing to do.
honorable mention flyers: kadarius toney and nico collins
there is no doubt that there is risk with toney, but it is all built into his adp wr51. he has rare ability in the open field and was better hitting zones than he expected as a rookie. he is the heavy favorite to lead the giants into objectives.
Collins’ adp is disturbingly low industry-wide, routinely coming out of the top 200 picks. he could moonwalk 100 targets over the texans and davis mills seemed competent as a rookie passer. collins showed legit receptor x traits in 2021.
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ranking the top 12 positions
wr1 – cooper kupp: locked in a perfect and very specific role in an impressive offense.
wr2 – justin jefferson: is already a special player who can take another leap this year.
wr3 – ja’marr chase: don’t worry about the “by target” regression nonsense here.
wr4 – stefon diggs: locked on alpha target engagement, elite spreader, linked to big qb.
wr5 – ceedee lamb: could legitimately lead the nfl in goals and receiving yards.
wr6 – mike evans: don’t be surprised if he leads the nfl in touchdown receptions.
wr7 – davante adams: should still be a wr1 despite leaving rodgers and gb.
wr8 – tyreek hill: won’t have the same weekly ceiling but won’t fade it completely.
wr9 – michael pittman: looking forward to another level jump from a rising star with the qb update.
wr10 – tee higgins: the Bengals passing game has enough energy for two wr1s.
wr11 – deebo samuel: hitting it a bit, but not much, for the likely rise of brandon aiyuk.
wr12 – a.j. brown: we need more eagles to get through, but brown can do more with less.