16 Second-Year Wide Receivers: Rankings & Notes (2022 Fantasy Football)
While rookies are the hot topic this time of year, there are always plenty of second-year NFL players ready to either break out or continue the hot start to their professional career. Let’s take a look at notable second-year fantasy football players, including rankings and player notes for each.
Player rankings based on our redraft Expert Consensus Rankings for half-PPR leagues.
Notable Second-Year Fantasy Football Players: Wide Receivers
Ja’Marr Chase (CIN): WR3
Ja’Marr Chase broke Justin Jefferson‘s record for most receiving yards by a rookie, finishing 2021 as the WR5 in fantasy points per game and the WR22 in expected fantasy points per game. Only Deebo Samuel scored more fantasy points above expectation (+74.3) than Chase – a testament to his home-run hitting ability. Chase’s 18.0 yards per reception ranked second-best in the NFL behind only Samuel. The Bengals’ wide receivers’ dominance continued in the postseason with back-to-back 100-yard games in the first two rounds of the playoffs. Chase commanded a 27% target share when it mattered most during postseason play, a 5% increase from his regular-season target share.
Jaylen Waddle (MIA): WR15
Jaylen Waddle looked primed to make the leap into the top-12 conversation after a stellar rookie season. Along with breaking Anquan Boldin’s rookie reception record, Waddle commanded a 22% target share and 24% target rate per route run – 18th-best in the NFL. But with the expensive addition of veteran Tyreek Hill, it is less likely that Waddle is the clear-cut No. 1 receiver in Miami. Hill is coming off a season where he commanded the league’s seventh-highest target rate per route run (27%). The trade moves Waddle down from a fringe WR1 to mid-range fantasy WR2 after seeing almost zero target competition last season.
Rashod Bateman (BAL): WR29
The Baltimore Ravens traded Marquise Brown to the Arizona Cardinals this offseason, opening the WR1 role on offense. Bateman has the opportunity to step in and be the true No. 1 wide receiver for Lamar Jackson (QB – BAL) in 2022 and beyond. With Brown’s 23% target share departure, Bateman can seize a massive role for fantasy as a high-end WR2. 2022 is Shoddy B breakout SZN.
Elijah Moore (NYJ): WR30
Elijah Moore ranked as the fantasy WR2 over his last stretch of six games played. His 16.1 fantasy points per game would have ranked fifth had he continued the production the remainder of the season. Unfortunately, his season was cut short due to injuries and COVID-19 implications. The addition of Garrett Wilson makes Moore’s second-year ascension less certain as he did not have much target competition during his scorching finish outside of veteran Jamison Crowder.
Amon-Ra St. Brown (DET): WR31
Amon-Ra St. Brown‘s fantastic season-ending stretch was eye-popping, but it also needs context as we look forward to the 2022 season. St. Brown’s final six games were filled with insane volume ranking behind only Justin Jefferson in targets (67) and target share (33.5%) and sixth in weighted opportunity, but his efficiency was also elite. During that stretch, he was also 13th in yards per route run immediately behind Davante Adams and Micheal Pittman (minimum ten targets, per PFF). T.J. Hockenson was out, and D’Andre Swift was a part-time player as St. Brown turned in full legend mode performances. With their respective returns and the addition of D.J. Chark and Jameson Williams, the expectations for St. Brown need to be tempered this season.
DeVonta Smith (PHI): WR35
DeVonta Smith concluded his rookie campaign as the WR36 in weekly fantasy scoring. Smith was productive in yards per route run, ranking 30th (1.77) among all wideouts with 50 or more targets and third amongst rookies with 25 or more targets (per PFF). He surpassed fellow highly touted receivers Elijah Moore (1.75) and Jaylen Waddle (1.75) in this metric. With A.J. Brown in town, the Eagles could return to the pass-heavy ways from the beginning of 2021. If this happens, Smith’s low-end WR3 status from last season could be the floor if he can increase his touchdown output. Smith was the WR37 last year in receiving yards per game.
Kadarius Toney (NYG): WR48
Kadarius Toney is a wild card. With offseason rumblings that he could be dealt with and an offseason knee surgery to pile on top, Toney is a boom or bust type proposition for 2022. When Toney was on the field last year, there’s no denying that he flashed immense upside. In 2021 among all wide receivers with 100 or more routes, only Cooper Kupp, Davante Adams, A.J. Brown, Antonio Brown, and Toney finished with a 29% target per route run rate (or higher) and at least 2.20 yards per route run.
Rondale Moore (ARI): WR57
The target waters for Rondale Moore are muddy entering his second season. The bull case for Arizona’s slot Mighty Mouse is that he drew targets at a high rate when on the field in 2021, and he was successful in making plays with them. Moore was third among all wide receivers in yards after the catch per reception (minimum 50 targets, per PFF). He also ranked 28th in route win rate and 30th in targets per snap. This is a perfect time to buy the dip for a talented second-year wide receiver.
Nico Collins (HOU): WR73
Nico Collins commanded end-zone targets and high air-yard throws in 2021 but ultimately never put together a true breakout game. He finished behind Brandin Cooks in air yards and all other receiving categories. Still, he should open the 2022 season at worst as the de facto No. 2 option – if John Metchie is not fully back from his torn ACL – for up-and-coming second-year quarterback Davis Mills.
Josh Palmer (LAC): WR74
Mike Williams‘ return to the Chargers in free agency puts a slight damper on the sophomore breakout for Josh Palmer. But, there’s still fantasy appeal to rostering the No. 3 option in a Justin Herbert-led offense. As a rookie, Palmer averaged over seven targets per game and scored a touchdown in his three games with a 60% snap share. He was also extremely efficient in the end zone, catching three of his five total end-zone targets for TDs.
Terrace Marshall Jr. (CAR): WR84
Terrace Marshall’s outlook isn’t rosy, with a pitiful 0.50 yards per route run in his rookie season and a foot injury that landed him on the IR (per PFF). The glass-half-full view of the situation is that the foot injury suppressed his effectiveness throughout the season. In a small sample, Marshall was snatching opposing corners’ souls from their bodies in the preseason, securing 75% of his targets with 3.93 yards per route run (per PFF). The upside could be quite nice as a (nearly) free dice roll late. Robby Anderson looked like he was on his last legs in 2021. Marshall could supplant him as the Panthers’ third option behind D.J. Moore and Christian McCaffrey.
Other second-year wide receivers:
- Dyami Brown (WAS): WR105
- D’Wayne Eskridge (SEA): WR118
- Anthony Schwartz (CLE): WR24
- Amari Rodgers (GB): WR128
- Tutu Atwell (LAR): WR150
FantasyPros Staff Consensus 2022 Redraft Fantasy Football Rankings
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