For the second edition of my top ten fantasy football rankings, I give you my top ten wide receivers for this upcoming season. These rankings are not the order I would draft these players in despite how high they might be on the list. The list is merely a ranking of where I think the wide receivers finish by season’s end.
10- D.J. Moore
D.J. Moore comes into 2022 after the best season in his four-year career. In 2021 he was the sixth most targeted player catching 93 of his 163 targets for 1,157 yards and four touchdowns. His four touchdowns are one of his biggest question marks coming into this season and the main reason why he only finished as the wide receiver 18 last season. In fact, he has never had more than four touchdowns in a season in his career.
The second concern for Moore is his questionable quarterback play. Former number one overall pick, Baker Mayfield enters as the Carolina Panthers’ week one starter after an unsuccessful tenure with the Cleveland Browns. He’s a below-par quarterback but he’s arguably the best quarterback D.J. Moore has had over the course of his career. Moore had Cam Newton in his rookie year which was before he became a reliable aspect of the Carolina offense. In the three years after his rookie year, he was able to eclipse 1,200 yards from scrimmage with Kyle Allen, Teddy Bridgewater, and Sam Darnold respectively. If Mayfield can keep his job throughout a 17-game season, then Moore should have no worries in his receiving categories. Additionally, with Mayfield, Moore should increase his touchdowns. I expect about eight touchdowns for him this season on top of his regular target share. Adding just four touchdowns to his stat line last year would have slotted him in the top 10, and he comes into 2022 in my 10th spot as well.
This player is the only wide receiver with over 1,200 scrimmage yards in each of the past three seasons…
Yet he’s never finished in the top 10 at his position in fantasy 🤨
Will he finally breakout in 2022?
— Aidan Maher (@Aidan_Maher17) August 15, 2022
9- Tyreek Hill
Tyreek Hill gets to rock some new colors as he opens his first season with the Miami Dolphins after being traded from the Kansas City Chiefs. The only question mark with Hill is whether or not he can replicate the production he had with Patrick Mahomes with Tua Tagovailoa. Hill will be used like he was in Kansas City given that the Dolphins gave up five draft picks and made him the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL.
In Kansas City, Hill was able to open up the field for Miami on top of being a speedy deep threat. Tyreek Hill will be near the top of the league in targets but the one drawback for why he sits at nine for me instead of into the elite wide receiver category is the big downgrade in quarterback play from Mahomes to Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa can throw deep as he ranked second in yards per attempt at 18.1 last season. However, where he lacks is in his accuracy. Despite Hill naming Tagovailoa as “the most accurate quarterback in the NFL”, he ranks 19th in completion percentage since he was drafted. However, these high praises by his top wide receiver as well as some improvements as a passer can put Hill much higher in my rankings. Until then, he lands himself at number nine.
8- Tee Higgins
Tee Higgins has been getting better and better and he’s only about to enter his third year in the league. He’s been super productive for the Cincinnati Bengals already and he still has so much more room to grow. In Higgins’ rookie season, he was just shy of 1,000 yards with 908 yards off of 108 targets. In 2021, while playing two fewer games, Higgins had 1,091 receiving yards off of 110 targets. Higgins’ performance increased by over one target and about 20 receiving yards per game between his last two seasons despite the addition and emergence of Ja’Marr Chase.
Coming Into 2022, Higgins can be even better than he was last season. With how much the Bengals throw in each game he should see close to 135 targets next season. The main category that can jump Higgins’ point total for this season is his touchdowns. In both 2020 and 2021, his touchdowns were the same amount of mediocrity at six in both years. I think this is finally the year he takes that jump in touchdowns. Not drastically, but I expect around nine. With these stats, Higgins gets slotted right at eight for my top 10 fantasy football wide receivers.
7- Michael Pittman Jr.
Michael Pittman Jr. had an extremely promising sophomore season, but I think this year he makes a statement that he’s an elite NFL wide receiver. Last season, Pittman Jr. finished as the wide receiver 17 eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark with six touchdowns. 2021 was the season for him to let the Indianapolis Colts know he can be a reliable wide receiver for them. Now in 2022, Pittman Jr. has already cemented his role and he’s looking for more work, especially in the red zone.
I expect the Colts to pass more than they did last season which includes the utilization of Jonathan Taylor. Last season, when Carson Wentz was the quarterback, the Colts were a bottom 10 team in pass attempts. Now led by Matt Ryan, who has averaged over 35 passing attempts per game over his 14-year career, the Colts will rely on passing a lot more. I expect all of Pittman’s stats to skyrocket next season. I think he can get close to 150 targets, reach past 1,400 yards, and add on 11 touchdowns. These stats will land him safely in the top 10 and I have him finishing seventh in 2022.
6- Ja’Marr Chase
Chase had a historic rookie season that led him to eclipse 1,455 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns. However, these stats were big play reliant which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Eight out of Chase’s 13 touchdowns came from receptions of 30 or more yards. In fact, he was top four in receptions of over 20 yards and over 40 yards. A couple of months ago, Joe Burrow said that they will be forced to limit their explosive plays because they’ll face more two-high looks. With less explosive plays, the question becomes how Chase’s game can follow suit of opposing defenses. We’ll probably see a small decline in touchdowns with approximately the same amount of yards.
Chase will still get those big plays and the touchdowns will still come but there will be a small regression. With the Bengals heavy pass volume, he will still see a high target share however the way Chase will be forced to come down with the ball is going to look a lot different next season. He’ll be more consistent next year, and I have him finishing just outside my top five for wide receivers.
5- Stefon Diggs
It is very difficult not to put Stefon Diggs any higher because he’s a guy in an offense that can easily put him as the wide receiver one in fantasy. With Josh Allen at quarterback, Diggs was able to finally find success where he was the wide receiver three in fantasy in his first year with the Buffalo Bills. In his second year with the Bills, he still played phenomenally but he fell to finishing as the seventh-best wide receiver in fantasy.
Diggs didn’t have much competition for targets last season and he still won’t this season. He comes in as the clear number one option with the best options behind him being an unproven Gabriel Davis and tight end Dawson Knox who recently resurrected his career. Diggs has been extremely consistent in Buffalo and he will continue that into 2022 and remain an elite wide receiver.
I think that Gabriel Davis will break out this season but his breakout will not take away from Stefon Diggs’ season. I think Diggs has approximately the same season he had last year where he finished as the wide receiver seven. Diggs safely lands in my top five for this fantasy football season.
4- Davante Adams
Recently Davante Adams called Derek Carr a Hall of Famer. While I wouldn’t go that far, Carr will not hold Adams back from the same stats he had last season. In 2021, he posted 123 catches for 1,553 yards and 11 touchdowns, landing him at a top two finish in fantasy football last season. Adams has consistently been atop the league at the wide receiver position where he had finished in the top 10 six years in a row and finished as a top two wide receiver in three of his last four seasons.
This Las Vegas Raiders offense is going to throw more with a top wide receiver, a top tight end, and a top slot receiver in the league. This receiving core is going to open the field for each prospective receiver and all are on my 2022 draft board. One of these players will see single coverage during parts of the game which can lead to big plays by Adams.
While going from Aaron Rodgers to Derek Carr at quarterback is a downgrade, Carr has still been one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the league. With a revamped receiving core, Carr could see more respect by this season’s end. With a revamped Carr, Davante Adams can still see elite production and I have him slotted just inside my top five for fantasy football this season.
3- CeeDee Lamb
CeeDee Lamb might be the biggest surprise on this list, but his situation is extremely compelling to reach my high expectations. Last season, Lamb had a mediocre season after high expectations in the fantasy community. He was the wide receiver 19 after reaching over 1,100 yards on 79 catches along with six touchdowns. He had a 23% target share and I think this will hit close to 28-30% this season. Behind Lamb to start the year, the Dallas Cowboys only have the rookie Jalen Tolbert and tight end Dalton Schultz as competition. He will be a target hog and a third-year breakout season is coming to put him as an elite wide receiver.
This is the year that CeeDee Lamb can finally shine as he emerges as the team’s clear-cut top weapon without Amari Cooper on the team. The Cowboys’ offense needs to be strong and productive if they want to make the playoffs and this drive will help increase Lamb’s upside even more. I expect him to be reliable every game and produce consistently at a high level making him a top three option.
2- Cooper Kupp
Cooper Kupp had a spectacular and record-breaking 2021 season after finding and connecting with Matthew Stafford and winning a Super Bowl. And here I have him as my number two wide receiver in 2022. Kupp led the league and won the “Triple Crown” of receiving categories after leading the league in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns with 145, 1,947, and 16 respectively.
With all those league-leading stats, you are probably wondering why he lands at number two for me. Kupp is due for a regression especially in the touchdown department after having the ninth highest overproduction rate for touchdowns. This was in large part due to Matthew Stafford being extremely efficient in the red zone.
Kupp also had almost 200 targets which will be included in his regression. He’s going to have a lot of targets and still be near the top of the lead, however, with Allen Robinson coming in as the Los Angeles Rams wide receiver two, he’ll demand a higher target share which will drop Kupp’s a bit. I expect Kupp to still get north of 160 targets but his 191 from last year will regress. Given these aspects of regression facing Kupp as well as the fact that players rarely repeat as the top player in their positions in fantasy, Kupp becomes my wide receiver two for next season.
1- Justin Jefferson
Justin Jefferson has quickly become the consensus wide receiver one and is my wide receiver one as well. This is all for good reason as he finished as the fourth-best wide receiver in fantasy last season and I don’t even think he hit his peak after a 1,616 yard and 10 touchdown season off of 108 receptions. Cooper Kupp broke records last season and I think Jefferson can be up near Kupp’s statistics. It is always hard to compare players who haven’t reached that level to players that have already shown that they can do it, but Jefferson has a real shot.
Jefferson was extremely consistent as well with the eighth best consistency rating of 0.412. This consistency while also producing at an extremely high level makes Jefferson as safe as you can get for a wide receiver while also keeping up with a huge amount of upside.
Throughout Kirk Cousins’ career with the Minnesota Vikings, he’s been strung into a run-first offense. He’s been forced into more of a game manager role. But now with Kevin O’Connell being brought in as the head coach, Cousins will now throw more which can add to Jefferson’s already extremely high target share. The only drawback is can he also add more in the touchdown department after 10 touchdowns which is on the lower level for the elite wide receivers last season. Jefferson is the only wide receiver that I would take as a top five player in fantasy. He comes in as my third-best overall player and my wide receiver one in 2022.