2022 Fantasy Football Seasonal Position Takeaways: Wide Receiver

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2022 Fantasy Football Seasonal Position Takeaways: Wide Receiver

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2022 Fantasy Football Seasonal Position Takeaways: Wide Receiver

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2022-2023 NFL Fantasy Wide Receiver Top 24 

  1. Justin Jefferson: 18.7 ppg in 16 games
  2. Cooper Kupp: 18.2 ppg in 9 games
  3. Tyreek Hill: 17.4 ppg in 16 games
  4. Davante Adams: 17.2 ppg in 16 games
  5. Stefon Diggs: 15.4 ppg in 16 games
  6. AJ Brown: 15.3 ppg in 16 games
  7. Ja’Marr Chase: 15.0 ppg in 12 games
  8. CeeDee Lamb: 14.7 ppg in 16 games
  9. Amon-Ra St. Brown: 13.8 ppg in 15 games
  10. Jaylen Waddle: 13.4 ppg in 16 games
  11. DeAndre Hopkins: 13.3 ppg in 9 games
  12. Tee Higgins: 13.2 ppg in 14 games
  13. Amari Cooper: 12.6 ppg in 16 games
  14. Mike Evans: 12.5 ppg in 15 games
  15. DeVonta Smith: 12.3 ppg in 16 games
  16. Tyer Lockett: 12.1 ppg in 15 games
  17. Chris Godwin: 11.7 ppg in 14 games
  18. Mike Williams: 11.7 ppg in 12 games
  19. Keenan Allen: 11.6 ppg in 9 games
  20. Deebo Samuel: 11.4 ppg in 12 games
  21. Christian Kirk: 11.3 ppg in 16 games
  22. Brandon Aiyuk: 11.3 ppg in 16 games
  23. DK Metcalf: 11.0 ppg in 16 games
  24. Terry McLaurin: 11.0 ppg in 16 games

Three Takeaways:

1. Quarterback-Wide Receiver chemistry is everything

This offseason saw a surge in pairing quarterbacks with elite playmakers with several major trades and free-agent moves. Four college teammate pairs also enjoyed great success. Ja’Marr Chase, Devonta Smith, Davante Adams, and Jaylen Waddle all finished as top-ten receivers (either total or per game). Jalen Hurts and AJ Brown both had career years after the blockbuster offseason trade. Christian Kirk was a legitimate fantasy star for much of the season thanks to Trevor Lawrence’s breakout. Meanwhile, talented receivers like Michael Pittman Jr, Courtland Sutton, and Diontae Johnson underperformed due to inconsistency at the quarterback position. Of the top 15 receivers by points per game, only Amari Cooper had below-average quarterback play for the majority of the season.

2. Lots of productive rookies but no top-24 finishers, fade weaker 2023 receiver class in redraft

Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, and Christian Watson headlined an intriguing rookie wide receiver class and finished top-36 in points per game. Wilson and Olave both crossed 1000 yards while Watson and Jahan Dotson led the class with seven touchdowns. After last season where Ja’Marr Chase and Jaylen Waddle had record-breaking seasons on their way to a top-five and top-20 finish respectively, those can feel slightly disappointing. Those two had historic rookie years and this year’s talented class proved that those numbers should not be the norm. The 2023 wide receiver is less exciting with three consensus first-round picks at the moment, Quentin Johnston, Jordan Addison, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba. All three of those players have immense upside but none are as highly regarded as prospects as even Wilson, Olave, and Drake London were. Temper your expectations for the rookie wideouts next year, but as always they can be well worth it as late-round fliers.

3. Attack year two breakouts

Ja’Marr Chase and Jaylen Waddle set the NFL on fire in their rookie years and followed them up with top-ten fantasy finishes as sophomores. Amon-Ra St. Brown and Devonta Smith joined them in the top-ten. Four second-year wide receivers in the top ten is unprecedented, but still presents promise for the 2022 class. Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson both feel primed to make a jump after productive rookie seasons. Treylon Burks, Drake London, George Pickens, Christian Watson, Jahan Dotson, and Alec Pierce all flashed at times throughout the season. Pickens will be a popular breakout candidate next season, and don’t forget about 12th overall pick Jameson Williams. Williams was a non-factor in his limited game action returning from injury in 2022 but has game-changing ability as a deep threat. Four top-ten finishers is unrealistic, but several members of this group are likely to find a place in the top-24 next year.

Player Highlights:

Amon-Ra St. Brown

After an amazing final three fantasy performances in his rookie season, Amon-Ra St. Brown completed his breakout with a top-ten points-per-game finish. St. Brown had a very up and down season with three top-three weekly finishes and multiple finishes outside the top-50. Still, he cemented himself as a household name in fantasy football. He was a target hog with 137 targets, the sixth most in the NFL. St. Brown was a key piece in the surprising Lions offense and built great chemistry with Jared Goff. He has a chance to cement himself as a star wide receiver with another great year in 2023.

Next Year Projection: Top 10

Devonta Smith

Devonta Smith was overshadowed by fellow top-ten selections Ja’Marr Chase and Jaylen Waddle in his rookie year, but quietly had a solid season. He grabbed 64 catches for 916 yards and five touchdowns, good enough for a top-36 fantasy finish. The entire Eagles passing offense broke out this season, and Smith saw a massive jump in production with 95 catches, 1196 yards, and seven touchdowns. That was good enough for a top-ten overall finish and top-15 points per game finish in fantasy. Smith was not as popular a breakout candidate as players like Amon-Ra St. Brown with an average draft position of just 91. He was one of the best bargain pickups of the year and should be drafted in the first five rounds next year. Can Smith repeat his production? Jalen Hurts proved he is capable of supporting multiple fantasy relevant pass catchers, but AJ Brown’s presence and a healthy Dallas Goedert limits Smith’s upside. He should be considered a safe wide receiver two.

Next Year Projection: Top 24

Michael Pittman Jr.

One of the most disappointing players of the season was Michael Pittman Jr. Pittman was drafted as the wide receiver 11 and finished as the wide receiver 30. The talent is obvious and he produced two top-ten weekly finishes. Ultimately, Pittman’s production was hindered by awful quarterback play from three different passers. Things can’t possibly get any worse for Indianapolis’ offense in 2023, can they? Pittman is one of my favorite bounceback candidates, especially if they add a quarterback like CJ Stroud.

Next Year Projection: Top 15

Way-Too-Early 2023 Top 12

  1. Justin Jefferson
  2. Ja’Marr Chase
  3. Stefon Diggs
  4. Cooper Kupp
  5. CeeDee Lamb
  6. Tyreek Hill
  7. AJ Brown
  8. Davante Adams
  9. Amon-Ra St. Brown
  10. DeAndre Hopkins
  11. Jaylen Waddle
  12. Tee Higgins



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