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5 Value Wide Receiver to Target (2022 Fantasy Football)

by Matt Barbato | @realmattbarbato | Featured Writer
Jul 1, 2022
Hunter Renfrow

The wide receiver position is deep. Maybe that’s an understatement. Let me use a pizza analogy. While running back is a crispy, thin-crust pie, wide receiver is a Chicago-style deep dish.

With the NFL transitioning into more of a passing league, many teams frequently utilize three and even four-receiver sets. And the result is more fantasy-relevant players on a week-t0-week basis. Last season, 42 receivers played at least seven games and averaged at least nine fantasy points per game in half-PPR formats.

There’s no harm in snagging one of the top eight to 10 receivers at the top of your draft, as those players are the safest bets for a high volume of targets. However, you aren’t stuck if you miss out on those studs. Using our Expert Consensus Rankings, here are some WR2s and WR3s who could deliver great value in 2022.

Fantasy Football Redraft Draft Kit

Terry McLaurin (WR – WSH): ECR WR16

Terry McLaurin has posted at least 900 yards in his first three seasons, finishing as the WR28, WR21 and WR25, respectively. The big breakout hasn’t happened yet. However, McLaurin has been riddled with quarterback play ranging from mediocre to downright awful. He’s caught passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick, Taylor Heinicke, Alex Smith, Dwayne Haskins, Kyle Allen, Case Keenum and Colt McCoy. Finishing as a top-30 receiver is quite an accomplishment considering that context.

I’m not saying Carson Wentz will turn McLaurin into a 2,000-yard receiver. But he did help Michael Pittman reach WR15 last season, and I’d argue McLaurin is a better separator than Pittman.

McLaurin’s 130 targets ranked 15th in the league last season, yet his 59.2% catch rate ranked 169th. But with only five drops, it’s clear that McLaurin wasn’t to blame for his underwhelming production. With slightly better quarterback play and some red zone luck, McLaurin could finally crack WR1 status.

Rashod Bateman (WR – BAL): ECR WR31

Bateman’s ranking doesn’t make much sense to me, as he’s one of my choices for a year two breakout in Baltimore. However, I understand the knocks against him: Baltimore’s receiving depth chart is barren beyond him, and the Ravens could revert to their run-heavy ways in 2022.

But a barren depth chart could lead to a massive target share, and the Ravens still have Mark Andrews to help take some attention away from Bateman on the outside. Plus, no team in the NFL is truly “run-heavy” anymore. Quarterback Lamar Jackson also might be out to prove his worth in what could turn out to be a contract season. And with Marquise Brown now out of town, the opportunity is Bateman’s to take up those available targets.

With an entire offseason and training camp and a healthy Jackson, I expect Bateman to improve as a route runner and separator, using his height and length to get past stronger cornerbacks. I’d rather take a shot on his upside than guys like Jerry Jeudy, Chris Godwin and Gabriel Davis.

JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR – KC): ECR WR33

The more articles I write, the more excited I get about Smith-Schuster. It’s easy to forget that Smith-Schuster caught 111 and 97 balls in his two full seasons with the Steelers. It’s also easy to forget that he’s just 25 years old.

What’s not easy to forget is that Smith-Schuster is going to enjoy a significant upgrade at quarterback in Kansas City. Sure, the offense will likely still run through Travis Kelce. And his dominance as an intermediate, middle-of-the-field target overlaps a bit with what Smith-Schuster does best out of the slot. But without much-proven production on Kansas City’s depth chart, there should be plenty of opportunities for JuJu to outperform this ranking. As a result, he’s one of my favorite WR3s to target in 2022 drafts.

Hunter Renfrow (WR – LV): ECR WR41

I’m cheating a bit here, as Renfrow is technically ranked as a WR4. But that begs the question: How is Hunter Renfrow not even ranked as a WR3?

I get it; Davante Adams is now a Raider. And he and Derek Carr can rekindle their chemistry from their college days at Fresno State, skip down the Las Vegas strip on their off days, and sip margaritas by the pool. That’s all wonderful, and I’m happy for them.

But a WR41 ranking implies Renfrow will go from the WR11 to not having a role in the Raiders offense. Are rankers just assuming Adams will make such a dent in Renfrow’s target share that he’ll be rendered irrelevant? I find that hard to believe.

Sure, Adams will demand 120+ targets, which will eat into Renfrow’s production a bit. But part of the allure of Renfrow is that he’s a highly efficient short-yardage safety valve for a quarterback who’s notoriously afraid to chuck the ball deep. So maybe he doesn’t catch 103 balls and nine touchdowns. But a 90-catch, 1,000-yard and six touchdown season would make him last year’s WR20, which far exceeds this ranking.

2021 might’ve been Renfrow’s peak, but this ranking goes too far.

Chris Olave (WR – NO): ECR WR49

Again, I know I’m cheating. But I’d regret not throwing Olave’s name in here as a rookie I’m keeping my eye on this summer. Olave is one of those guys who I watched in college and was consistently impressed by. Olave might not be the most well-rounded receiving prospect right now. But he will serve as the field stretcher that New Orleans desperately needs.

While Drake London and fellow Ohio State Buckeye Garrett Wilson will probably get drafted before him, I’m content waiting a little later and snagging Olave toward the tail end of drafts.

CTAs

 

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