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6 Mid-Round Wide Receivers to Target (2022 Fantasy Football)

Aug 11, 2022
Brandon Aiyuk

If Brandon Aiyuk can roll over his 2021 second-half production into 2022, he could end up as a smashing fantasy value.

Here are players going in the middle rounds that you should consider targeting this fantasy football draft season.

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Mid-Round Draft Picks to Target

Brandon Aiyuk (SF)

Fantasy managers are still trying to figure out what went wrong with Brandon Aiyuk during the first half of last season. He was hyped up after an impressive rookie campaign, but suffered a hamstring injury during training camp that made him unreliable in the starting offense. Through Weeks 1-7, Aiyuk had just one weekly finish inside the top-25. He also averaged an abysmal 0.63 yards per route run – a mark that ranked 98th out of 102 qualifying WRs. Woof.

But give credit to Aiyuk for turning his season around during the second half. His yards per route run increased substantially (2.16, 13th) and he averaged 13.1 PPR fantasy points per game as the WR24.

If Aiyuk can roll over his second-half production into 2022, he could end up as a smashing fantasy value in a similar way that Deebo Samuel was viewed in 2021.

JuJu Smith-Schuster (KC)

It always seemed more probable than not that JuJu Smith-Schuster would find his way to Kansas City in free agency. The Chiefs were interested in him last season, and the landing spot is perfect to revive Smith-Schuster’s fantasy football value. He’s just one year removed from a WR17 finish in PPR between two injury-plagued seasons.

Let’s not forget JuJu had an elite sophomore campaign – 1,400-plus receiving yards – and he is still just 25 years old. With the most vacated targets available in Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes his new quarterback, 2022 will be a return to form for Smith-Schuster.

He can operate from his natural position in the slot and benefit from the playmakers around him. After all, Smith-Schuster was at his best as a Pittsburgh Steeler during his first two seasons playing opposite of Antonio Brown.

Chase Claypool (PIT)

Chase Claypool‘s second-year breakout was inevitably halted by Ben Roethlisberger’s lack of downfield throwing ability: On throws with 20-plus air yards, Big Ben graded 31st out of 38 qualifying QBs.

Claypool commanded a 27% air yards share on the season and led the team in the metric over the final four weeks. Better days should be ahead of the Notre Dame product if Pittsburgh can get better downfield quarterback play from Kenny Pickett/Mitchell Trubisky.

Claypool is also due for positive touchdown regression after catching just one of his 12 end-zone targets last season. The 6-foot-5 monster is no stranger to hitting paydirt, after being one of eight wide receivers to score double-digit touchdowns as rookies since 1998.

However, Claypool’s range of outcomes is quite wide heading into his third season with 2022 second-round pick George Pickens, chomping at the bit to be the No. 2 on the offense behind Diontae Johnson.

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Drake London (ATL)

Drake London arrives in Atlanta to give Kyle Pitts a run for his money as the Falcons’ target leader in 2022. In his final season at USC, London gobbled up looks, averaging a mind-melting 14.8 targets, 11 receptions, and 135.5 receiving yards. He’s primed to vacuum up opportunities in his rookie season as a versatile wide receiver that ranked fifth in yards per route run among FBS wide receivers last year (minimum 50 targets per PFF). The rookie wide receiver explosion in recent years could easily continue with the London liftoff this season.

Kadarius Toney (NYG)

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.

Allen Lazard (GB)

Allen Lazard could be the leading wide receiver for the Packers this season. The chemistry with Lazard and Rodgers has been battle-tested. Lazard wins with regularity in the areas of the field where Rodgers likes to pepper targets. Over the last three seasons, Rodgers has ranked 13th, 8th, and 13th in pass attempts between 0-9 yards from the line of scrimmage (per PFF). Over that same timespan, Lazard has ranked seventh, first, and 25th in yards per route in this area of the field (minimum 20 short-area targets, per PFF). If Lazard assumes the lead role, he’ll be a massive value in all formats.

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