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Early 2022 NFL Draft Top 10 Wide Receivers (Fantasy Football)

by Jeff Bell | @4WhomJBellTolls | Featured Writer
Jan 21, 2022
Garrett Wilson

Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave find themselves re-united on the top 10 2022 Draft WRs.

The wide receivers will be the fantasy superstars of this upcoming rookie crop. The 2021 draft saw 36 WRs selected, with five going in the first round. Variations in offense and multiple WR sets becoming commonplace drive a constant need to replenish the talent at this deep position. 2022 comes in with a group of four at the top that stands out in a tier and several others who could still look to land first-round draft capital.

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Garrett Wilson (WR – Ohio St,  6’0″ 192)

 The current hot fantasy debate of the 2022 rookie class will center on Wilson and Burks, with some throwing London and Williams into the mix.   Wilson leads off this list as the type of player who has dominated the top of fantasy WR scoring over the past couple of seasons. His primary strength is his versatility, a product of an Ohio St WR program that allows players to line up and take real reps at each of the X, Y, and Z positions. Wilson produced 70 receptions, 1,058 yards, and 12 TDs during this past season. He is a deceptive athlete, a glider who quickly gets to top speed. His quickness and versatility in formation draw comparisons to Justin Jefferson and why he sits on top of this list.

Treylon Burks (WR – Arkansas, 6’3″ 225)

Burks will rightfully sit on the top of many lists as a physically imposing WR that draws visions of A.J. Brown. Arkansas has used him like Deebo Samuel, lining him up in the slot and manufacturing YAC opportunities en route to totaling 1,216 yards and 12 TDs in 2021. He has flexed into the backfield, an ability that will send fantasy owners into a frenzy after the production Samuel displayed in a similar role this season. Despite his impressive YAC ability, he has struggled to separate at times and profile as a contested-catch player down the field. The potential need to manufacture touches is the primary reason he sits at number two in these ranks.   

Jameson Williams (WR – Alabama, 6’2″ 189)

Williams was the single most significant breakout at the position in 2021. Stuck behind the trio of Wilson, Olave, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Williams took advantage of the flexibility of the transfer portal to pair with eventual Heisman winner Bryce Young. Williams is an electric WR who likely would have threatened the low 4.3s in the 40 at the Combine if it was not for an ACL injury suffered in the National Championship. The injury could cost him draft capital and keep him out close to the 2021 season. Still, his 79 receptions, 1,572 yards, 15 TDs, and GPS tracking speed are more than enough to have a team willing to take him in the first round. Williams is still a raw prospect with one season of production, combined with potentially missing training camp, and there is a fair amount of risk in the projection.

Drake London (WR – USC,  6’5″ 225)

The top four WRs in this class create a clear tier, and anyone has the potential to find themselves at the top. London rounds out the group at the top of the class. London’s 6’5″ frame and contested catch-ability are going to draw comparisons to Mike Evans instantly. He has shown himself to be much more, however, as USC ran their offense through him for eight games on the way to an 88-1,084-7 line. The team worked him in the slot as a safety blanket through a rocky season in transitioning QBs from Kedon Slovis to Jaxson Dart. He contributed to the Trojans basketball team as a two-sport athlete his freshman season.

George Pickens (W.R. – Georgia, 6’3″ 200)

Pickens sits at the great unknown in the 2022 WR class. A torn ALC robbed him of most of 2021, though he made his presence felt in the National Championship victory with a 52-yard diving reception. Pickens potentially profiles as a contested-catch guy, but he was consistently able to win vertically against some of the best competition in college football and is slender in his frame. It’s aggressive, but you can see flashes of former Bulldog AJ Green if you squint. Pickens has consistently displayed the athleticism to create separation and make big plays. The ceiling projection of Pickens belongs in the conversation with the four at the top of this class. 

Chris Olave (WR – Ohio St, 6’1″ 189)

Nothing stands out about Olave except his ability to find ways to win consistently throughout the route tree. Like Wilson, he ran the entire tree in an Ohio St offense that closely mirrors NFL route concepts. Olave finished his Ohio St career third in school history in receptions (176), fifth in receiving yards (2,711), and the school’s leader in career touchdown catches (35). Olave has drawn positive buzz throughout the draft community and is trending towards late round 1 draft capital. That said, he could find himself as 2022’s answer to Kadarius Toney, a player who ended up towards the middle to end of many second-rounds in rookie drafts despite catching high capital. Olave’s versatility and high football IQ is the type of game that finds itself in high-value fantasy roles, and he would hope to replicate former teammate Terry McLaurin‘s path.

 Skyy Moore (WR – Western Michigan, 5’10” 195)

Moore starts a run of smaller, quicker WRs the NFL has favored early in the draft. Moore was a high school QB / DB who slipped through to Western Michigan as he transitioned to a new position. He instantly took to the switch and was a productive counterpart to current Seahawk D’Wayne Eskridge in 2020 before blossoming to a 94-1,283-10 line. Moore shows natural athleticism and could run the fastest 40 times at the Combine. College teams tend to recruit to a type, and Moore is similar to his former teammate Eskridge, though a better athlete, and should push to improve on his former teammate’s 2nd round capital.

Jahan Dotson (WR – Penn St, 5’11” 185)

Dotson draws easy comparisons to in-state counterpart Diontae Johnson. Dotson has excelled in all game areas, making athletic plays on the ball downfield and working well after the catch in concepts like tunnel screens. Dotson could push for low 4.3s in the 40 and eyes open if he hit those marks. As the primary driver for Penn St’s offense, Dotson finished with a 91-1,182-12 line. His placement speaks to the depth of this class, and he could mirror the production of Elijah Moore from a similar draft spot, the early 2nd round of rookie drafts.

 Wan’dale Robinson (WR – Kentucky, 5’11” 185)

Robinson stands out as a significant question mark within the class. There have been hints around the actual height, potentially setting the draft community up for a surprise similar to Rondale Moore, who saw a 5’7″ height change much of the narrative around his draft stock. Robinson profiles as more of a natural hybrid, seeing extensive time at running back early in his career at Nebraska. At Kentucky, his usage was more natural receiver; he handled the conversion with a line of 104-1,334-7. The hybrid utility is a buzz concept in the NFL, and an enterprising team could take a chance on Robinson playing a significant role via that route. Asking a sub 5’10” 185 lbs player to serve a similar role as a 5’11” 215 physical player like Samuel is something else. It stands as a fair question if smaller receivers can genuinely serve in that role.  

David Bell (WR – Purdue, 6’2″ 205)

Bell could wind up very similar to Rashod Bateman in this class.  6’2″ may be generous as he does not always play to that size; he should sit as a potential volume WR in an NFL offense. Purdue drove their offense through him, and he ended up with a 93-1,286-6 line and put him in the running for the Biletnikoff Award. Still, Bell runs on the small side; there is plenty of concern. He’s an excellent route runner but a limited athlete that could see himself settling into an NFL rotational role more similar to Tyler Boyd.

Dynasty rookie drafts and the actual NFL draft will again see themselves load up on the position. The 2022 WR class is very talented, with several players capable as fantasy WR1s through their careers. WRs that deserve mention include John Metchie, Jalen Tolbert, Romeo Doubs, Justyn Ross, Khalil Shakir, Jaivon Heiligh, Dontario Drummond, Alec Pierce, Emeka Emezie, and Christian Watson.  

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Jeff Bell is a featured writer at FantasyPros. To read more from Jeff, check out his archive and follow him @4WhomJBellTolls.

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