Recently, we posted our top ten running back list. Now we are turning to the wide receivers. Fantasy drafts are often dominated by running backs early, but wide receivers can be a league winner depending on the format, see Cooper Kupp or Ja’Marr Chase.
This offseason we saw a few star wide receivers on the move. Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins, AJ Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles, and Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders. Deebo Samuel was almost a Jet, Terry McLaurin is unhappy, and DK Metcalf wants a payday. Those last three are unsettled, and Terry as of this writing does not plan to attend camp. 1) Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams How can Cooper Kupp not be number one? A true league winner last year drafted in the middle rounds, Kupp went on to have a huge breakout year. The Super Bowl MVP saw 191 targets and caught 145 of them for 1,947 yards and 16 touchdowns. Those numbers will have him in the top 3-5 of every single fantasy draft. While he may not repeat them, he should be drafted as the WR1 this upcoming season. Matt Stafford is back, Robert Woods and Odell Beckham are gone, and Allen Robinson is now the WR2.
2) Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals Rookie wide receivers don’t usually come and have a major impact from day one. Ja’Marr Chase is the exception. Chase saw 128 targets, caught 81 passes for 1,455 yards, and scored 13 touchdowns. The Bengals improved their offensive line this offseason, which should allow more time for Joe Burrow to throw. Chase had a midseason stretch where he did not produce, but that is to be expected of a rookie. In week 17 last season, fantasy championship week, Chase went for 266 yards on 11 catches and three touchdowns. The upside is there this year to be a top 2 or 3 WR, and he is my second-rated wide receiver. Expect to see Chase go anywhere in the top ten picks of drafts.
3) Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings Justin Jefferson proved his rookie season was no fluke and got even better. A lot of lists may interchange Ja’Marr Chase and Jefferson two and three, and it is close. Jefferson saw 167 targets and caught 108 passes for 1,616 yards and ten touchdowns. Jefferson can go anywhere in drafts from the top five to the top ten. In PPR leagues especially, he should see a boost with the number of targets he has been seeing. 4) Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders The top tier of wide receivers this season is fantastic. Adams was the top wide receiver going into last season and did not disappoint. He saw 169 targets and caught 123 of them for 1,553 yards and 11 touchdowns. So why the dip from the top two? Adams was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders, reuniting him with his college quarterback, Derek Carr. Adams really shouldn’t miss a step since he already has chemistry with Carr.
Wide receivers going to new homes worry me a little with adapting to new environments, and I would expect a slight dip in his numbers. He has Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow who could take some of those 169 targets away. Regardless, expect to see Adams land in the top ten, or right at the first/second round turn.
5) Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills Stefon Diggs rounds out my top five. Catching passes from the projected top fantasy quarterback in 2022 is a nice boost also. In 2021, Diggs saw 164 targets, catching 103 passes for 1,225 yards and ten touchdowns. Diggs also recently signed a four-year extension for 104 million dollars. He isn’t going anywhere, and the chemistry he has with Josh Allen will continue to build. The Bills added Jamison Crowder this offseason, and have Gabriel Davis on the verge of a breakout. Diggs is rounding out the first/second round turn in fantasy drafts.
6) Ceedee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys Ceedee Lamb, not Deebo Samuel, is next. Last season, Lamb saw 120 targets, catching 79 of them for 1,102 yards and six touchdowns. While the catches and touchdowns don’t scream top tier, it should be noted Amari Cooper is no longer on the team, and Lamb now is the true WR1 there, not having to worry about Cooper taking away targets. Right now, Lamb is going mid-second round and is the ideal target for a team who went running back round one.
7) Deebo Samuel, San Fransisco 49ers Deebo Samuel was the story of the offseason as it was known he wanted out of San Fransisco. The rumor is he wanted to restrict his use in the running game and focus on being a pure wide receiver. Last season he saw 121 targets and caught 77 passes for 1,405 yards and six touchdowns. He added 59 rushes for 365 yards and eight touchdowns. Taking that element out reduces his value in fantasy in my opinion, but we’re talking top-tier status.
He still is an elite WR1 going at the start of the second round. Right now he’s attending camp, but not participating. During the NFL draft, he was subjected to trade talk, primarily around the New York Jets, but ended up not being traded. I would feel comfortable taking him early to mid-second round, but be aware the rushing attempts and touchdowns may be reduced.
8) Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins Tyreek Hill in a blockbuster was traded from the Kansas City Chiefs to the Miami Dolphins. Hill had the choice to be a New York Jet or a Dolphin and chose Miami. Hill is going from one of the best quarterbacks in the league to an upcoming quarterback who is still developing in Tua Tagovailoa.
Hill is a superstar and will still produce for fantasy. Last season he saw 159 targets, catching 111 passes for 1,239 yards and nine touchdowns. Expect a lot of shorter routes in Miami versus a deep passing game, but Hill is so dynamic that he will make plays happen out of anything.
9) Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tom Brady is back, and that should bring a smile to anyone who rosters Mike Evans. Last season he was targeted 114 times and caught 74 passes for 1,035 yards and 14 touchdowns. Chris Godwin tore his ACL in January and may begin the season on the PUP list with the timetable of a nine-month recovery. Mike Evans in this case becomes the unquestioned WR1 in Tampa Bay while Godwin is recovering, and Rob Gronkowski's "retirement" just adds to his target share. Mike Evans currently is going around the early third round and is a great value at that ADP.
10) Keenan Allen, Los Angles Chargers
Rounding out my top ten is Keenan Allen. Last season he was targeted 157 times and caught 106 passes for 1,138 yards and six touchdowns. With Justin Herbert breaking out, Allen benefitted greatly by having a great season. Allen is currently going right at the start of the third round of drafts and is a great value at that price. With Herbert entering year three, Allen has the potential to match, if not top 2021.