9 Wide Receivers Experts Are Reaching For (2022 Fantasy Football)
While it’s key to have a great set of fantasy football draft rankings, it’s also important to know player’s average draft position. This allows you to see where a player is likely to be drafted versus where the experts have the player ranked. You can then ‘reach’ for a player that experts are higher on before they are usually selected by your leaguemates. Let’s take a look at players the experts think you should consider reaching for this fantasy football draft season.
Rankings noted using FantasyPros half-PPR Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) and Consensus ADP.
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9 Wide Receivers Experts Are Reaching For
There’s no denying D.J. Moore’s talent or elite usage for the Carolina Panthers. He was just one of 11 WRs to run a route on at least 90% of their team’s dropbacks to go along with a top-three air yards share (36%) and seventh-ranked target rate per route run (25%).
Most wideouts that own this usage are no-doubt top-12 fantasy options, but Moore’s abysmal quarterback play continues to hold him back. He only finished as the WR19 last season in half-point scoring, as his QB play was graded out as the stone worst in the NFL per PFF. The Panthers literally had the worst QB play last year across several metrics including EPA per dropback and success rate.
But with Baker Mayfield in Carolina, it’s an upgrade for all parties involved.
It’s not being discussed enough that before Mayfield separated his shoulder in Week 6 he ranked sixth in yards per attempt (8.5) and 7th in aDOT (9.6).
The Browns quarterback has shown the ability to support multiple fantasy weapons (not-named Odell Beckham Jr. when healthy) so Moore should be firmly at the top of the fantasy WR2 conversation during the fantasy football draft season. Jarvis Landry – as the Browns No. 1 – finished as WR19 and WR13 in half-point scoring in 2018/2019 with Mayfield at quarterback.
Mayfield also boasts the highest passing TD% of any QB Moore has ever played with, suggesting a career-high in touchdowns is well within reach for 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 Drew 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.
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Before Robert Woods hit the IR, he was the WR17 in half-PPR scoring per game. Van Jefferson saw elite usage playing on every down as the No. 3 receiver but didn’t follow up his playing time with any worthwhile production. Jefferson was WR35 overall on the season and outside the top 40 in points per game despite a top-tier 86% route participation.
Down the playoff stretch, Beckham Jr. averaged a 19% target share and 12.4 fantasy points per game from Week 12 through the divisional round (fantasy WR2).
Darnell Mooney is already a star in the making. The third-year receiver looks primed to cement himself as the Chicago Bears’ true No. 1 wide receiver. He already operated as the team’s No. 1 for most of the 2021 season, ranking as the WR27 in half-point fantasy scoring through 17 weeks. Mooney also finished the last four weeks of the season ninth in target share (27%) and fifth in route participation (95%).
With nobody worth much outside of third-year tight end Cole Kmet as legitimate competition, Mooney should build off his 8th-ranked 24% target share from last season.
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.
Jakobi Meyers (NE)
ECR WR40 | ADP WR43
Jakobi Meyers is easily the most slept on wide receiver in fantasy football. The former undrafted free agent has been the Patriots target leader for the past two seasons, with his most recent accomplishment finishing top-12 in target share (23%) in 2021.
The high-end target share also aligned with Meyer’s deployment in the Patriots passing attack, where Meyers was running a route on 92% of team dropbacks – the sixth-highest mark in the league.
New England’s No. 1 receiver just needs to cash-in on more touchdowns to unlock his fantasy ceiling. He has been extremely underused in that category; his 866 receiving yards resulting in two touchdowns were the lowest of any WR in 2021.
Other wide receivers the experts are reaching for:
- Brandon Aiyuk (KC): ECR WR36 | ADP WR38
- Drake London (ATL): ECR WR37 | ADP WR45
- Allen Lazard (GB): ECR WR40 | ADP WR43
FantasyPros Staff Consensus 2022 Redraft Fantasy Football Rankings
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant, which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.