Impact Rookie Wide Receivers for Redraft Leagues (2022 Fantasy Football)
Opportunity reigns supreme for rookie wide receivers regarding redraft leagues. The most talented may not be the most conducive in Year 1 if they don’t receive the same usage as some of their counterparts. While there likely isn’t a Ja’Marr Chase in this class, discovering another Amon-Ra St. Brown has its perks. Here is a breakdown of the rookie WRs positioned to make the most significant impact for fantasy in 2022. Click here for the analysis of the rookie RBs.
Tier 1 – WR3s with Upside
Drake London (WR – ATL)
High draft capital and minimal target competition make a good recipe for rookie season production. With Calvin Ridley suspended for the season and Russell Gage no longer with the team, Atlanta lacks capable pass-catchers. That leaves London as the Falcons’ best true wide receiver, and he’ll be one of the top targets in the offense alongside TE Kyle Pitts. London was the first wide receiver off the board in the draft, selected 8th overall. The USC product is a big receiver at 6-foot-4 and 219 pounds, with rare elusiveness and mobility for his size. Despite only playing eight games in 2021, he finished with 88 catches for 1,004 yards and 7 TDs and forced the sixth-most missed tackles in the FBS. While an underwhelming quarterback room may hinder London’s short-term prospects, he has an easy road to a massive rookie target share.
Treylon Burks (WR – TEN)
The Titans threw one of the biggest curveballs in the draft, trading alpha wide receiver A.J. Brown to the Eagles. The team then used the 18th overall pick to select Burks as his replacement. Burks is a big, strong receiver with tremendous speed and contested-catch ability. His only notable target competition is Robert Woods, who is 30 years old and coming off an ACL. Burks will get a lot of looks in this offense and likely battle London for the top rookie wide receiver in fantasy this season. Tempering expectations for Burks is a moderately challenging schedule among receivers and the Titans’ low-volume passing game.
Skyy Moore (WR – KC)
Grabbing a piece of the Chiefs’ high-octane offense led by one of the best distributors of the football in Patrick Mahomes isn’t a bad idea. With Tyreek Hill traded to the Miami Dolphins, the receiver depth chart in Kansas City is wide open. Skyy Moore could immediately battle JuJu Smith-Schuster for the top spot as JuJu better excels as a second receiver option than an alpha. Moore can play from both outside/inside. In 2021, he tied for ninth in the FBS with 95 receptions for a team-high 1,292 yards (13.6 per rec) and 10 scores in 12 starts at Western Michigan.
Tier 2 – WR 4s/Flex Options
Garrett Wilson (WR – NYJ)
Regarded by draft pundits as the best receiver prospect of 2022, Wilson would be ranked higher if he hadn’t ended up in what one can describe as fantasy purgatory. The New York Jets haven’t made the playoffs since 2010 and finished in the bottom five in league scoring last season while their rookie QB suffered growing pains. Things are pointing up after the team’s splash in the draft, selecting playmakers on both sides of the ball, and bolstering their offensive line. Taken with the 10th overall pick, Garrett joins a young and promising offense that includes Breece Hall, Michael Carter, Corey Davis and Elijah Moore. While there’s no shortage of pass-catchers on the team, Wilson produced 1,058 receiving yards and 12 TDs in his last season at Ohio State, despite their crowded WR room. If Zach Wilson can make great strides in his second year, it shouldn’t be long before Garrett shows off his chops.
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) June 1, 2022
Jahan Dotson (WR – WAS)
The Commanders added a wide receiver to pair with Terry McLaurin, selecting Dotson 16th overall. He has elite speed and provides QB Carson Wentz with a vertical threat. At 5-foot-10 and 178 pounds, Dotson lacks a little physicality but can burn by defenders and take it to the house. In 2021, Dotson finished his Penn State career on a high note with 91-1181-12. Dotson is getting a lot of reps at OTAs, already establishing a rapport with Wentz with McLaurin sitting out as he works on obtaining a new deal. The only obstacle for Dotson securing the No. 2 spot is Curtis Samuel, who has been a fantasy disappointment since entering the league in 2017.
Chris Olave (WR – NO)
The Saints added a much-needed downfield threat, moving up in the draft to select Olave at 11th overall. He’ll have to compete for targets with Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry, but Thomas hasn’t been himself for the last two years, and Landry will mainly handle the short area work. While at Ohio State, Olave ran a route from the outside 81% of the time and averaged 15.4 yards per reception. That makes him a good fit with QB Jameis Winston, who has a strong arm and loves slinging the ball down the field. While Winston struggles with accuracy, he showed improvement last season. Olave was deemed one of the most pro-ready receivers in the class and could be pressed into No. 1 duties if Thomas ends up as a shell of himself.
Tier 3 – Dart Throws/Depth Options
Christian Watson (WR – GB)
In the post-Davante Adams era, Watson could hit the ground running for the Packers. Green Bay has an underwhelming receiving room behind him, consisting of Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Sammy Watkins, and fellow rookie Romeo Doubs. Watson is a big-play threat with explosive burst and acceleration that ran by corners in college at the FCS level. Getting Watson up to speed and gaining QB Aaron Rodgers’ trust are the keys to unlocking his first-year production.
Alec Pierce (WR – IND)
The Indianapolis Colts are pushing Pierce to compete for playing time. His vertical abilities and skill set fit well with what the Colts want to do on offense. He will compete for the No. 2 job behind Michael Pittman with Ashton Dulin and oft-injured Parris Campbell. Pierce will likely fill the field-stretching role vacated by veteran Ty Hilton. A concern for the rookie is QB Matt Ryan’s deep-ball rate of 9.1% ranked 32nd among qualifying quarterbacks in 2021, but Ryan will be playing behind a much more potent offensive line this season.
George Pickens (WR – PIT)
The Pittsburgh Steelers are renowned for discovering wide receiver talent outside the first round. Since 2000, Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert has unearthed gems such as Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Mike Wallace and Diontae Johnson. Selected in the second round at 52 overall, could Pickens be next in the line of succession? He should contribute right away alongside Johnson and Chase Claypool and could quickly climb the depth chart if Claypool remains inconsistent. At 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, Pickens has the ideal size, speed, and a wide catch radius with excellent hands. He has first-round talent, but injuries and off-the-field issues caused his stock to plummet. It’s possible he’s being undervalued for redraft leagues, too. After all, the odds are usually favorable when betting on a Steelers wide receiver.
Treylon Burks (WR – TEN)
Due to a late 2021 ACL tear, Williams’ status is up in the air. The injury is unlikely to change his game but could be a factor initially as he needs to develop a comfort level with his new QB Jared Goff. However, Williams fills a big hole at the position for the Lions and is arguably the most explosive deep threat in the class. That pairs him well with teammates Amon-Ra St. Brown and TE T.J. Hockenson, as both primarily work the short areas of the field. Unfortunately, Goff struggles with the deep ball, but Williams should put up huge yards after the catch. After transferring to Alabama in 2021, he put himself on the map, running past SEC defenders for 1,561 receiving yards and 15 TDs. If fantasy managers remain patient with Williams, he could pay dividends in the second half of the season, a la St. Brown in 2021.