5 Wide Receiver Breakout Candidates (2022 Fantasy Football)
Breakouts. Correctly predicting and projecting them before the start of the season can be the difference between winning your fantasy football league and getting a tattoo for coming in last place. They come in different shapes and sizes every year, but there are often signs that they’re coming. Sometimes it’s a rookie in a good landing spot. Other times it’s a veteran who has the potential to see a larger role or is one injury away from becoming a high-volume starter.
Let’s take a look at a few breakout candidates for the 2022 fantasy football season.
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5 Wide Receiver Breakout Candidates
It remains to be seen how the Giants new coaching staff is viewing Kadarius Toney heading into Year 2. They were rumored to trade the polarizing wide receiver before the NFL Draft, and the selection of Wan’Dale Robinson early in Round 2 isn’t a vote of confidence that is going to see an ultra-expanded role in Year 2.
However, what is clear with Toney is the talent. He flashed future target-magnet potential after commanding a 25% target rate per route run in 2021 – tied for 7th best in the NFL in 2021.
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 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.
Gabriel Davis averaged 19.8 fantasy points per game (PPR) and 16.0 expected fantasy points per game in his last six games while running a route on 88% of dropbacks as the Bills finally emphasized his playing time in the offense.
As a strong bet to earn the No. 2 wide receiver job come opening day, Davis has a legitimate shot to be a reliable fantasy option in a Josh Allen-led offense in 2022.
Entering Year 3, it looked like Courtland Sutton was on the cusp of true elite fantasy WR1 production, but his 2020 season was lost due to a torn ACL in Week 2. It was unclear how productive Sutton would be returning from the devastating knee injury.
But to start the 2021 season, the Broncos wide receiver looked like his old self. He averaged 13.8 fantasy points per game (17th) and had a 27% target share in Weeks 2-7 during the regular season.
It wasn’t until Jerry Jeudy‘s return from injury that Sutton – and the rest of the Broncos pass catchers – became obsolete in a crowded, run-heavy offense led by a combination of Lock/Teddy Bridgewater. Nevertheless, Sutton finished the season as the fantasy WR46.
Sutton has a real chance to recapture his elite form another year removed from his ACL injury. It also helps substantially that he has received an ultra upgrade at the quarterback position with Denver’s trade for Russell Wilson.
Wilson has always been an elite downfield passer – he had the sixth-highest passer rating on throws of 20-plus air yards last season – which plays heavily into Sutton’s strengths as a vertical threat.