5 Wide Receivers To Target Outside the Top 50 (2022 Fantasy Football)
Few things in life are more satisfying than drafting a late-round player who ends up being a key contributor to your fantasy team. Drafting late-round gems can be the difference between a fantasy championship or missing the playoffs completely. So at the point in drafts where some fantasy managers sign off and rely on auto pick, the savvy fantasy manager will make every attempt to find the needle in the haystack.
Below you will find the top wide receivers (WRs) to target outside of the top 50 WRs in PPR formats. The list of targets contains a combination of players who have league-winning upside and players who are simply ranked too low and can fill in and contribute to starting lineups if needed.
In the past three seasons, there’s been an average of 6.3 rookies who finish inside the top 50 WRs in PPR formats. Currently, only three rookie WRs are ranked inside the top 50 at the position according to the FantasyPros expert consensus rankings (ECR). The 2022 draft class has been touted as a strong WR class, so if anything, we should expect more rookie WRs breaking into the top 50 than we have seen in other recent seasons. Simply put, the fantasy industry is too low on rookie WRs. Here are the three rookie WRs outside of the ECR top 50 who are most likely to outproduce their ADP.
Chris Olave (NO) – ECR 52
Olave enters the league about as pro-ready as a rookie WR can be coming from Ohio State, which has seemly become WR University in recent years. Olave is a polished route runner, with shades of Calvin Ridley to his game. He also has elite speed to take the top off of defenses, something that his teammates Jarvis Landry and Michael Thomas aren’t known for. Look for Olave to be an early producer as a rookie who should see enough targets to provide a respectable floor while also receiving one to two deep shots per game which give him plenty of upside as well.
Skyy Moore (KC) – ECR 58
Moore had a stellar three-year run at Western Michigan before becoming a second-round pick for the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2022 NFL Draft. Although highly regarded for his ability to play in the slot or out wide and an elite run-after-the-catch ability, Moore wasn’t considered to be quite in the same tier as the top five rookie WRs for most draft pundits. Moore is no doubt talented and a large reason why he could impress in 2022 is his opportunity to play with QB Patrick Mahomes in the Chiefs’ high-powered passing offense. With the departure of Tyreek Hill, Moore will compete for WR targets with JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdez-Scantling, and Mecole Hardman. If Moore can gain Mahomes trust and a starting role in his rookie season, then he could be a player who significantly outperforms his ADP and offers league-winning potential.
Jameson Williams (DET) – ECR 68
Williams struggled to find consistent playing time early on in his collegiate career in a crowded Ohio State WR room, but in 2021 he transferred to Alabama, established himself as the team’s alpha WR, and was named a First-Team All-American. If you’ve ever watched Williams play, it’s easy to recognize that he has top-end speed that few people on the planet can get to. He consistently beat and pulled away from SEC defenders to the tune of 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2021. However, Williams isn’t just a deep threat. He has an impressive change of direction ability, runs professional-level routes, and has reliable hands. Williams will likely miss early season games after tearing his ACL in the College Football Playoff National Championship game, but he has all the tools to make some noise in the second half of the season.
Jarvis Landry (NO) – ECR 53
Landry has been one of the most underappreciated players in fantasy football throughout his eight-year NFL career. He’s been as consistent as any WR since 2014, but he’s often overlooked by fantasy managers, likely because he isn’t a flashy big play player. Where Landry has won is with elite route running, reliable hands, and high target volumes.
In eight NFL seasons, Landry has finished as a WR1 three times and has finished no worse than a WR3 in seven of eight seasons. The one season where Landry finished outside of the top 36 was in 2021 when he was injured and only played in 12 games. In the games Landry was healthy he averaged 11.9 PPG, a number that ranked 36th (WR3 range) among WRs when limiting the sample to players who played in a minimum of eight games.
Early offseason reports have indicated that Landry has been “dominating” Saints’ practices. Landry isn’t likely to produce WR1 numbers in New Orleans’ low passing volume offense as he competes for targets with WRs Michael Thomas and Chris Olave, but he should be able to outperform his ADP and provide fantasy managers with starting caliber production in three WR leagues. Furthermore, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Saints increased their passing volume as they have greatly improved their WR room after having one of the most unimposing WR cores in the league over the past two seasons. Landry has a realistic shot at leading the team in receiving with Thomas having essentially not played in two seasons due to injury and Olave being a rookie who may need time to adjust to NFL-level competition. With Landry being so consistent and reliable, he is a great target for fantasy managers who have drafted high-risk high-reward WRs in the early rounds of fantasy drafts, as he should be a plug-and-play fill-in if needed.
Jamison Crowder (BUF) – ECR 67
Crowder isn’t likely going to be a name that excites fantasy managers as we approach the 2022 season, but he’s a player who has proven to be a valuable fantasy asset at various points in his seven-year NFL career. In his last three NFL seasons that he didn’t miss time due to injury, he finished no worse than a WR3 in PPR formats in any season while playing within some rather poor offenses. Early offseason reports indicated that Crowder is expected to be the Bills starting slot WR, a role that should be more fantasy-friendly than he’s had at any other point of his career. The Bills’ most recent starting slot WR, Cole Beasley, has had a very similar career path as Crowder. Both Beasley and Crowder played seven NFL seasons with their original teams before signing with the Bills in their eighth season. In Beasley’s first two years with Buffalo, he finished as a WR3 in both seasons after only accomplishing that feat once in the seven prior seasons. Crowder joins the Bills with a more accomplished track record than Beasley, having finished as a WR3 in three of seven seasons. Crowder is joining a pass-happy offense that can sustain drives and score points in bunches, a polar opposite situation than he has been involved with during his time with the Jets. Crowder has missed time during the Bills’ offseason program due to injury, but assuming he doesn’t miss too much training camp, he should be able to earn a regular role within the Bills’ offense alongside WRs Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis. Crowder isn’t likely going to win you your league, but he is more than capable of providing fantasy managers starting caliber production and being a screaming value at his current ADP of WR67.
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