Rookie Wide Receiver Rankings & Player 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 redraft-relevant 2022 rookies, including rankings and player notes.
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Player rankings based on our redraft Expert Consensus Rankings for half-PPR leagues.
Rookie Wide Receiver Rankings & Player Notes
Drake London (ATL): WR37
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.
Treylon Burks (TEN): WR43
Treylon Burks finished first in his class in yards per route run (3.57) while also ranking No. 1 in yards per route run when lined up outside (6.08) among all receivers. It’s an encouraging sign that a size-speed specimen delivered when aligned on the perimeter, as he spent 77% of his career in the slot. The rookie’s 8.5 yards after the catch rank 14th among 169 qualifying wide receivers (92nd percentile) over the past two seasons. His elite college production and top-notch 32% dominator rating speak for themselves. And the best part is, he should produce from Day 1 after being drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the 1st round of the NFL Draft. There’s hardly any competition for targets outside of Robert Woods), who is coming off a torn ACL. And with a similar YAC-ability to A.J. Brown, Burks should be able to step on the field on day one and offer immediate fantasy football appeal as a top-30 fantasy option.
Garrett Wilson (NYJ): WR49
After enjoying a breakout sophomore campaign in 2020 that saw Garrett Wilson earn a 34% dominator rating – which considers the number of touchdowns and receiving yards a player commands within their offense – at 20 years old, the Ohio State product ran it back in impressive fashion in 2021. The Buckeye scored 12 receiving touchdowns, compiled over 1,000 receiving yards, and generated the FBS’ 12th-highest passer rating when targeted (141.7). He also proved to NFL teams that he was more than just a shifty slot receiver, averaging 3.00 yards per route run despite operating on the outside on 83% of his routes run, which nearly matched his same yards per route run average from 2020 when he spent most of his time inside. And although Wilson’s 2021 24% dominator rating was less than his sophomore campaign, that’s really due to Ohio State’s talent in the wide receiver room. He was competing for targets with senior Chris Olave and sophomore standout Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who led the nation in PFF receiving grade (91.7). Going beyond the box score reveals that Wilson is a versatile route runner who can align anywhere on the field and still win. He was selected by the New York Jets 10th overall and joins a somewhat crowded WR room. And nobody can be sure Zach Wilson can support one or multiple fantasy assets. There are definitely question marks. However, Wilson is worth betting on because he’s shown the ability at Ohio State to command targets and produce in an offense littered with other elite talents. Doesn’t hurt his chance that he was deemed open on 84% of his targets last season.
Chris Olave (NO): WR48
The Saints aggressively moved up for a player they have faith in with Chris Olave. If Michael Thomas isn’t fully healthy, Olave could be pressed into number one wide receiver duties as Jarvis Landry is merely a complementary piece at this stage of his career. Olave is a polished prospect who finished 11th or better in yards per route run in two of the last three seasons (minimum 50 targets per PFF). Olave is a WR4 with massive upside if Thomas isn’t ready to rock.
Skyy Moore (KC): WR52
Western Michigan WR Skyy Moore is being undervalued versus other Round 1 rookie WRs because he was a second-round pick as the 13th wide receiver selected in the draft. But Moore has a chance to hit the ground running in the post-Tyreek Hill era, competing for targets with fellow newcomers Juju Smith Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. His impressive YAC ability – tied for first with 26 forced missed tackles in 2021 – and ability to play both inside/outside helps him stand out from the other Chiefs’ WRs. With Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback, Moore could smash his current ECR into the stratosphere. It’s not that outlandish to think a second-rounder can make an immediate impact considering six of the 12 highest-scoring Round 1 & 2 rookie WRs selected since 2017 were second-rounders.
Jahan Dotson (WAS): WR60
Jahan Dotson should immediately start in two wide receiver sets opposite Terry McLaurin. Dotson’s 90th percentile college dominator and 95th percentile target share while at Penn State illuminate the caliber of player he is. The Commanders’ passing rate could cap Dotson’s ceiling this year if the coaching staff comes to the same realization that the Colts did. That Carson Wentz is nothing more than a glorified game manager at this point in his career. As erratic as Wentz is, Dotson should enjoy an upgrade over the collegiate quarterback play he suffered through. The lone bright spot for Wentz is if Dotson can use his speed to get loose deep, Wentz should be able to hit him in stride. Wentz was fourth in deep-ball accuracy last season.
]Jameson Williams (DET): WR63
Jameson Williams‘ early-season status is still up in the air, but one thing that’s for certain is that once he hits the NFL field, he’s a big play waiting to happen. Williams’ electrifying speed helped him finish 13th in yards per route run (minimum 50 targets, per PFF) with the fifth-most deep receiving yards in the nation last year. Outside of his health, Williams’ biggest obstacle to a monster rookie season is Jared Goff, who was ninth in catchable pass rate but sadly 24th in deep accuracy.
George Pickens (PIT): WR71
The Steelers selected George Pickens at pick No. 52 in the 2022 NFL Draft, with WR3 an area of need and Diontae Johnson (slated for free agency in 2023. I absolutely love the fit for Pickens here with the Steelers, who seem to never miss selecting wideouts on Day 2. Injuries and off-field issues plagued Pickens’ draft stock, but he looks fully healthy based on his testing at the NFL Combine. And Pittsburgh seems like the right spot for him to get his head on straight. I already can’t wait for the heated training camp fights between him and Chase Claypool as the gloves come off – well not really – for target supremacy. Pickens’ college profile screams that of a true alpha, so I’d be looking to stash him across the board before he is fully unleashed. The Georgia Bulldog WR broke out as a true 18-year-old freshman, finishing 2019 as PFF’s the 17th-highest-graded receiver in the nation (88.0) – ahead of future NFL wideouts like Jerry Jeudy, Justin Jefferson, DeVonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle.
Christian Watson (GB): WR75
Combine hype hero Christian Watson lands in Green Bay with the opportunity to become Aaron Rodgers‘ new bae. The athleticism is a known commodity for Watson as he is sporting a 98th percentile speed score and 95th percentile burst score. Marrying Watson’s immediate YAC ability with Rodgers will be a nice pairing. Watson has finished 12th, seventh, and 17th in the last three seasons in YAC per reception (among FCS and FBS wide receivers, minimum 50 targets per PFF).
Wan’Dale Robinson (NYG): WR79
Wan’Dale Robinson concluded his career at Kentucky with a 98th percentile college target share and 95th percentile breakout age (per Playerprofiler.com). Last year he was 18th in yards per route run and 13th in receiving yards from the slot (minimum 20 slot targets, per PFF). He’ll compete for targets in year one for targets against Kadarius Toney, dusty Kenny Golladay, and Sterling Shepard, who is recovering from an Achilles tendon rupture. It doesn’t take a wild imagination to envision Robinson taking over the slot role and leading the team in targets this season. He’s an upside later-round flier in all formats.
David Bell (CLE): WR81
David Bell might be my favorite WR to draft from Day 3 of the real NFL draft. He has an awesome landing spot with the Cleveland Browns and quarterback Deshaun Watson . The Browns understand his limitations as an athlete, but his strengths as an underneath wide receiver can help him produce after the catch. Bell finished third in the FBS in receiving yards on the outside (1,097), second in total forced missed tackles (25), and 10th in PFF receiving grade (86.9) among his draft class. He’s a perfect fit alongside prototypical No. 1 WR Amari Cooper and the speedy duo of Donovan Peoples-Jones/Anthony Schwartz.
Jalen Tolbert (DAL): WR86
With Michael Gallup‘s health questions and underwhelming effectiveness and the departure of Amari Cooper, Jalen Tolbert can compete for the number two role behind CeeDee Lamb immediately with Dalton Schultz. Tolbert dominated at South Alabama with a 96th percentile college dominator and 95th percentile target share (33.4%). Over the last two seasons, he was seventh and sixth in receiving yards among all FBS wideouts. If he seizes the number two spot, he’ll be a screaming value in fantasy football.
Alec Pierce (IND): WR88
Alec Pierce earned solid Day 2 draft capital with the Indianapolis Colts, but I’d be hard-pressed to admit I like the landing spot with Matt Ryan. Pierce figures to slide into that vertical field-stretching role for the Colts vacated by veteran T.Y. Hilton based on the rookie’s speed and vertical profile from his college career at Cincinnati. But how valuable of a role is that with the team committed to both Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman Jr. as the clear touch hogs of the offense. Not to mention, Ryan’s deep ball rate (9.1%) ranked 32nd out of 38 qualifying quarterbacks in 2021.
Other 2022 rookie wide receivers:
- Khalil Shakir (BUF)
- Tyquan Thornton (NE)
- Romeo Doubs (GB)
- Calvin Austin III (PIT)
- Justyn Ross (KC)
- Danny Gray (SF)
- Velus Jones Jr. (CHI)
- Kyle Philips (TEN)
FantasyPros Staff Consensus 2022 Redraft Fantasy Football Rankings
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