2022 NFL Fantasy Board: Wide Receivers

2022 nfl fantasy football wr

The NFL Preseason is in the books, cut day has come and gone, and fantasy players are gearing up for their drafts.

The Professor is here to get you ready with BeerLife’s Fantasy Preview. This article concludes our draft boards for quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends, and tomorrow we will cap the series with a merged draft board and final thoughts on strategy. Along the way, we will look at attractive player prop bets available on DraftKings.

Before we get started, be sure to sign up to get the Oracle’s picks this season if you haven’t done so already! The Oracle hammered the NFL in 2021 (Up +65 units), so you’ll want to get his picks texted directly to your phone starting Week 1!

Quarterback and tight end have some similarities as far as the distribution of the position’s players go. There are a few standouts who provide value relative to the rest of the field and a solid pool of starters to go around, though you could run into real trouble if an injury forces you to dive into the back half of the backup pool.

The wide receiver position has taken over fantasy football; not only are the elite receivers in contention to go first overall, but the depth of the position allows you to build your roster almost exclusively around strengths at the position. With that in mind, let’s jump into our tiers.

Wide Receiver Board

Tier 1

PlayerTeamPosWR RankRecRecYdsRecTDHalf PPR Avg
Justin JeffersonMINWR1102.51485.610.515.76
Cooper KuppLARWR2111.61317.310.815.58
Ja’Marr ChaseCINWR397.71465.11015.34

Median ADP: 2.0

It’s a bit surprising to me that Ja’Marr Chase isn’t right in the discussion with reigning Triple Crown Winner Cooper Kupp and Vikings phenom Justin Jefferson; while folks are excited about what new Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell’s arrival could mean for Jefferson, the Bengals were already finding fresh ways to get Chase down the ball down the stretch last season. This desire to get him touches showed up in all sorts of ways, including using Chase on carries where he lined up as the back (as opposed to getting the ball on a jet sweep).

All three players will have a strong number two behind them, but this trio is on a different level. They are all strong Round 1 selections.

Tier 2

PlayerTeamPosWR RankRecRecYdsRecTDHalf PPR Avg
CeeDee LambDALWR41061378.58.214.58

Median ADP: 4.0

It was a bit of a surprise when I started sorting through the model results and found that Cowboys receiver CeeDee Lamb came closer to fitting in with the Tier One receivers than a pack of players I would have put ahead of him off the top of my head, including all four Tier 3 receivers.

On reflection, it makes more sense. Lamb has a clear field in Dallas as far as target share is concerned, he offers inside/outside versatility and can line up in the backfield, and even if the Cowboys’ offense is not an elite unit, it’s doubtful that they aren’t competitive with Dak Prescott at quarterback.

More importantly, Lamb is a blue-chip talent who has done plenty to justify a dominant role heading into his third season. His body control stands out as an elite trait; some of the contested catches Lamb has made in his first two seasons are simply absurd. I’ll bet on the rising young player to break out as the clear-cut top target in his offense.

Tier 3

PlayerTeamPosWR RankRecRecYdsRecTDHalf PPR Avg
Deebo SamuelSFWR579.51304.26.413.58
Stefon DiggsBUFWR699.61195.19.213.19
Mike EvansTBWR785.21176.49.812.88
Davante AdamsLVRWR8100.212087.612.74

Median ADP: 6.5

The four receivers in Tier 3 are in the opposite situation of Lamb; Deebo Samuel, Stefon Diggs, Mike Evans, and Davante Adams all play with at least two other high-end receivers, which caps their target share projections a bit lower than the Tier 1 and 2 group.

San Francisco should have better running back depth this season with Jeff Wilson Jr. healthy entering the season and rookie Tyrion Davis-Price added in the third round, so Samuel’s rushing projection isn’t what it was pacing to be in last year’s NFL playoffs, but there is still a hidden 125 rushing yards to boost his projection. Samuel may not want to handle a significant volume of carries, but given the contract they just signed him to, the 49ers should be able to convince him to sprinkle some looks in to make life harder on defenses.

Stefon Diggs and Mike Evans are in similar situations for the third straight season. Diggs did not see the mammoth target share he saw during his first season in Buffalo last year, and with a rising star in Gabriel Davis across from him, a quality receiving tight end in Dawson Knox, and two options in the slot, it seems more likely Diggs will remain on the pace he set in 2021. Evans should continue to be a Tom Brady favorite in the red zone; Julio Jones and Russell Gage will compete for targets as Chris Godwin returns from a knee injury, but Evans will be the lead dog in the meantime.

Davante Adams drops from the lofty draft status he had as a Packer due to a drop in quarterback play and increased competition for targets. Adams is still a route-running maven, and he should have a strong campaign, but the Raiders aren’t going to ignore Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow the way the Packers ignored the list of complementary receivers they had around Adams.

Tier 4

PlayerTeamPosWR RankRecRecYdsRecTDHalf PPR Avg
A.J. BrownPHIWR976.61138.76.812.68
Tee HigginsCINWR1085.51196.59.212.81
Keenan AllenLACWR11104.31147.27.412.44
Terry McLaurinWSHWR12951287.25.312.23
Michael Pittman Jr.INDWR1393.71152.5612.2
Mike WilliamsLACWR1478.211458.512.05

Median ADP: 11.5

Tier 4 features three number ones (A.J. Brown, Terry McLaurin, and Michael Pittman Jr.), a stud number two (Tee Higgins), and both of Justin Herbert’s top receivers (Keenan Allen and Mike Williams). Brown once again lands in a run-heavy attack in Philly, but the run-after-catch monster should still post big numbers. McLaurin should benefit from Carson Wentz’s big arm after a year in a pop-gun offense, and Pittman Jr., who blossomed during his season with Wentz, should add the week-in-week-out consistency he needs to become one of the NFL’s better receivers in Year Three.

Higgins is a particularly valuable player in Best Ball; because Chase is the focal point of the offense, there are some games where Higgins is quiet, but he also went for over 100 yards in four of his last six games, and nearly topped 200 yards against the Ravens late in the season. Look for him to continue to do work as quarterback Joe Burrow solidifies his standing among the NFL’s elite quarterbacks.

Allen and Williams are a contrast in consistency and volatility. Allen has put up numbers for five straight years, missing three games in that time, and there’s no reason to think he won’t continue to dominate defenses underneath. The flip side is that until he hurt his knee last season, Williams was the focal point of the Chargers’ attack, and the Chargers aren’t paying him $20 million a year to be an afterthought. Williams is a more explosive player who can attack downfield; if you want to swing big, you can jump on him ahead of his ADP of 16.

Tier 5

PlayerTeamPosWR RankRecRecYdsRecTDHalf PPR Avg
Brandin CooksHOUWR1591.81138.26.412.04
Courtland SuttonDENWR1678.91152.17.511.75
Darnell MooneyCHIWR1780.81131.36.211.61
Jerry JeudyDENWR1881.51034.67.511.55
Adam ThielenMINWR1983.91032.48.311.46
Amari CooperCLEWR2083.81080.86.411.45
DJ MooreCARWR2189.61120.34.811.41
Rashod BatemanBALWR2281.71061.57.811.38
Allen Robinson IILARWR23849988.511.35

Median ADP: 19

Tier 5 is largely composed of number one receivers in average or below-average situations. The exceptions are Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy, the Denver duo set to be on the receiving end as quarterback Russell Wilson justifies his contract extension, and a pair of number two receivers: Adam Thielen and Allen Robinson.

Brandin Cooks showed a strong rapport with Davis Mills in the quarterback’s rookie season, and while Cooks may not see the absurdly high target shares he saw early last season, the Houston offense should be more productive as a whole, which will help to offset that. Darnell Mooney is not in a great spot in Chicago, but he is by far their best receiver, and the smooth-moving speedster is going to get himself open regardless of the attention defenses pay to him.

DJ Moore is one of my favorite players to watch, but I’m a bit surprised how high folks are on a player who has scored 4 touchdowns for three straight seasons. That’s not on Moore – he’s a stud – it’s a reflection of the sort of touchdown production the Panthers have put up, and that’s not likely to change in particularly dramatic fashion. Amari Cooper will look to capitalize off the play-action game until Deshaun Watson’s return, and Rashod Bateman’s only competition for targets seems to come from tight ends, though one of them (Mark Andrews) is a pretty darn good one.

Sutton and Jeudy could see their fantasy prospects transformed overnight, as former Broncos Demaryius Thomas (RIP) and Eric Decker once did when Peyton Manning arrived in town. In retrospect, it seems comical that some thought Manning would avoid Denver because of their “questionable” receiving talent; the talent had been there, but the quarterback hadn’t, and Thomas and Decker took off in Manning’s first season. Sutton and Jeudy both have the juice to do the same.

Adam Thielen and Allen Robinson round out the group; Thielen has struggled with some nagging injuries but has remained productive when active, and Robinson is coming off a down year but should get new life with a move from the Bears to the Rams.

DraftKings Prop: Allen Robinson, Over 825.5 Receiving Yards, -140. The -140 price is not a surprise; Van Jefferson posted 802 receiving yards as the Rams’ second-leading receiver last season. Yes, you read that right. The model has Robinson at 998 projected yards, which is consistent with the -140 price.

Tier 6

PlayerTeamPosWR RankRecRecYdsRecTDHalf PPR Avg
Tyreek HillMIAWR2479.41083.15.311.05
DK MetcalfSEAWR2573.51057.57.410.98
Hunter RenfrowLVRWR2687.81021.45.310.77
Marquise BrownARIWR2783.81048.25.610.6
Gabriel DavisBUFWR2867.11039.96.910.51
Amon-Ra St. BrownDETWR2987.5874.65.510.08
Allen LazardGBWR3070.2912.66.89.84
Diontae JohnsonPITWR3176.1837.36.39.8
Tyler LockettSEAWR3272.8976.25.49.79
Jaylen WaddleMIAWR3384.48955.39.63

Median ADP: 28.5

Gabriel Davis bordered on Tier 5; his upside is enticing enough to jump on him first in this group, but the concern is the number of mouths they have to feed in a Buffalo offense stacked at running back, tight end, and receiver. Still, Davis’s talent may demand a borderline number one target share.

Tyreek Hill comes in way below his ADP because of his quarterback; Tua Tagovailoa is rated poorly in the model, and the Miami offense is not projected to be particularly productive. With Jaylen Waddle, who was arguably a top 15-20 receiver as a rookie despite his quarterback’s inability to hit him downfield, in the fold, Hill also won’t be the only priority in the target share.

DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are in a similar boat – Geno Smith drags them down. The flip side is Allen Lazard, whose projection is pulled up because he plays with two-time reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers.

Hunter Renfrow and Amon-Ra St. Brown should continue to dominate the short areas and rack up catches moving the sticks for their respective offense. Marquise Brown will be the number one in Arizona for the first six games – whether the offense drops off in that period is a fair question. Diontae Johnson rounds out the group; this is well below his ADP, but between Pittsburgh’s horrific offensive line and questions about whether Johnson will be prioritized as much without Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback drag him down. As good as Johnson is, the Steelers have three receivers and a tight end to feed, and we’ll have to wait and see who Mitchell Trubisky/Kenny Pickett is most comfortable with.

DraftKings Prop: Tyreek Hill, Under 8.5 Touchdowns, -130. The -130 price on 8.5 is interesting in the context of Hill’s draft position; his receiving yards over/under is more or less in line with the model, but his 5.3 projected touchdowns is well beneath the 8.5 line.

DraftKings Prop: Allen Lazard, Over 750.5 Receiving Yards, -115. Lazard had 513 receiving yards in an offense dedicated to Davante Adams last season; the model has him at 912.6 projected receiving yards, which would clear this total with plenty of room to spare.

Tier 7

PlayerTeamPosWR RankRecRecYdsRecTDHalf PPR Avg
DeAndre HopkinsARIWR3467.3908.35.114.11
Chris GodwinTBWR3577.7971.16.913.21
Michael ThomasNOWR3676.6827.35.49.02

Median ADP: 35

This is the suspended/injured tier. Hopkins will miss the first six games but would be in Tier 2 if not for that. Godwin is currently working back from his ACL injury; it appears he will miss some early games, though he is not on PUP, but it’s tough to take that gamble with so many other interesting options given that he is at full speed yet.

Michael Thomas is neither suspended nor (severely) injured, but he hasn’t played in two years, and whether his play justifies the monster target shares he once saw is up in the air. That said, the upside is through the roof if he and Jameis Winston click.

Tier 8

PlayerTeamPosWR RankRecRecYdsRecTDHalf PPR Avg
Robert WoodsTENWR3774.7903.65.19.32
Kadarius ToneyNYGWR3880840.24.89.3
Brandon AiyukSFWR3965.5904.15.69.22
Jahan DotsonWSHWR4065.5871.43.88.76
Christian KirkJAXWR4171.7875.14.18.69
Jakobi MeyersNEWR4275.78963.38.66
Romeo DoubsGBWR4360.5805.16.18.66
Russell GageTBWR4468.1708.16.58.57
DeVonta SmithPHIWR4561.6853.44.68.44
JuJu Smith-SchusterKCWR4665.6761.25.68.39
Michael GallupDALWR4747.5703.44.29.19

Median ADP: 42

Tier 8 brings notably more risk than some of the earlier tiers. A few players stick out: Green Bay’s Romeo Doubs has been extremely impressive. The rookie gets open at all levels on a variety of routes, has a knack for creating separation, and shows strong body control adjusting to misplaced balls. Doubs is a more dynamic route runner than Allen Lazard and could emerge as the team’s number one partway through the season.

Brandon Aiyuk should have a strong year, but the lack of passing volume in San Francisco’s offense hurts his outlook. DeVonta Smith is in a similar spot; both players are impressive talents, but they play behind a clear-cut number one and alongside a quality receiving tight end, which cuts their opportunities.

Robert Woods could be Ryan Tannehill’s lone quality option if he is healthy coming off his ACL; Kadarius Toney showed freaky twitch for a man with his length, but that film was limited to one or two games. He could blow up if he fits in the Giants’ offense and Daniel Jones gets going. Jahan Dotson will get an opportunity to be the number two in Washington, while Russell Gage will fight to maintain the role he appeared to have before the Bucs signed Julio Jones.

JuJu Smith-Schuster is the first Chiefs receiver on the list, but several others will follow in what should be a committee approach. Michael Gallup, who is working back from an ACL injury, rounds out the list; he is not on PUP but is set to miss at least Week One.

DraftKings Prop: Christian Kirk, Under 5.5 Touchdowns, -120. Kirk got paid a premium to join the Jaguars, but that doesn’t make him an elite receiver. Kirk is more likely to be part of a “by committee” approach for a Jacksonville offense that should be improved but that is far from a juggernaut. The model projects him at 4.1 touchdowns, so the under is the play.

Tier 9

PlayerTeamPosWR RankRecRecYdsRecTDHalf PPR Avg
George PickensPITWR4857.68354.68.22
DeVante ParkerNEWR4959.9817.43.77.88
Chase ClaypoolPITWR5054.6764.54.67.72
Tyler BoydCINWR5160.1721.24.87.7
Robbie AndersonCARWR5258.7792.23.77.7
Drake LondonATLWR5360.4754.54.17.65
Mecole HardmanKCWR5455.7657.44.97.64
Elijah MooreNYJWR5561.4611.15.17.62
Marvin Jones Jr.JAXWR5660.8741.94.17.58
Chris OlaveNOWR5751.1755.94.17.4
Jarvis LandryNOWR5862682.24.47.38
Marquez Valdes-ScantlingKCWR5943.2713.44.97.18
DJ Chark Jr.DETWR6048.3710.24.27.08
Skyy MooreKCWR6153.2638.64.97.04
Julio JonesTBWR6251.6610.75.47.02
Alec PierceINDWR6351.9633.34.66.87

Median ADP: 55.5

Tier 9 gets into the crapshoot; Chris Olave and Alec Pierce stick out as a pair with some upside. If Olave is an over-the-top threat and Jameis Winston gets going, he could have a monster season, while Pierce has reportedly impressed in his battle to win the number two spot in Indianapolis behind Michael Pittman Jr.

Tier 10

PlayerTeamPosWR RankRecRecYdsRecTDHalf PPR Avg
Zay JonesJAXWR6457.46343.66.69
Christian WatsonGBWR6527.9391.134.2
Garrett WilsonNYJWR6649.1638.13.36.35
Jameson WilliamsDETWR6733.2454.42.46.34
Treylon BurksTENWR6847.5617.33.46.23
Joshua PalmerLACWR6951.95534.16.22
Isaiah McKenzieBUFWR7046.6512.53.86.01

Median ADP: 67

Tier 10’s big upside targets are Christian Watson and Jameson Williams, but both NFC North rookies are working back from knee injuries. Watson should be ready for the season, though he has work to do to make up for missed times; Williams will start on the PUP list and may miss half the season, but he will be featured once he returns given that the Lions moved to the top half of the first round to draft him.

Garrett Wilson is dragged down by the quarterback situation with the Jets, while fellow rookie Treylon Burks is dragged down by the questions around his conditioning and overall transition to the NFL. Zay Jones, Josh Palmer, and Isaiah McKenzie are all third options in their respective attacks, though Palmer could take on a bigger role if Keenan Allen or Mike Williams went down.

Tier 11

PlayerTeamPosWR RankRecRecYdsRecTDHalf PPR Avg
Donovan Peoples-JonesCLEWR7135.3583.31.95.14
Jalen TolbertDALWR7245.6524.33.85.77
Nico CollinsHOUWR7340.5522.43.35.43
Kenny GolladayNYGWR7441634.72.95.95
K.J. OsbornMINWR7540.25114.55.78
Velus Jones Jr.CHIWR7641.7500.22.85.14
Wan’Dale RobinsonNYGWR7742.4508.32.95.25
Parris CampbellINDWR7843.6567.22.95.64
Van JeffersonLARWR7933.4539.63.95.52
Sammy WatkinsGBWR8027.9374.434.1

Median ADP: 75.5

Other Names to Keep An Eye On: Danny Gray, SF; Sterling Shepard, NYG; Corey Davis, NYJ; Braxton Berrios, NYJ; A.J. Green, ARI; Rondale Moore, ARI;

This is the last group of receivers I am legitimately intrigued to add to my roster. Perhaps Kenny Golladay is the exception, as reports on him have been horrible, but the rest of this group has young receivers who could carve out consistent target shares this season. Parris Campbell and Sammy Watkins don’t quite fit the young label, but the injury-prone vets are in the same boat as players who could end up filling a useful role this season.

What’s next?

As a reminder, the DraftKings prop bets from this article were…

  • Tyreek Hill, Under 8.5 Touchdowns, -130
  • Allen Robinson, Over 825.5 Receiving Yards, -140
  • Christian Kirk, Under 5.5 Touchdowns, -120
  • Allen Lazard, Over 750.5 Receiving Yards, -115

For more NFL content, out for The Professor’s quarterback, running back, and tight end boards, and read up on his division previews at BeerLife Sports!

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Steven Clinton, better known as "The Professor", is a former D-1 Quality Control Assistant (Northwestern, Toledo) who holds a B.A. in Economics and M.S. in Predictive Analytics from Northwestern University. He maintains an end-to-end NFL game projection model and is a film junkie who breaks down the tape of every NFL game.