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2022 Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Drafts: Wide Receiver Primer, Part One

We examine the top group of receivers who were chosen in the 2022 NFL Draft – who should you target with your rookie draft pick?

Garrett Wilson

This is a very deep wide receiver class that is very diverse. We are getting everything from big wide receivers who excel at getting yards after the catch to smaller slot receivers who can win with very good route running. This pool will beef up the overall talent at the position in fantasy. We should see some of these players yield results as early as their rookie season.

THE BIG THREE

The first tier of wide receivers can be categorized as “The Big Three” because they are the top guys in the class and dynasty gamers have different opinions on who should be the first receiver selected. If you comb through most of the rookie drafts, you would find these three wide receivers coming off the board starting at the 1.02-1.03 range of the draft with them being selected in different orders.

Drake London, ATL

The Atlanta Falcons selected London at eight overall in the draft, making him the first wide receiver drafted. The Falcons let us know that out of all the wide receivers who entered the draft, they think London is the best player on the board.

London broke out in 2020 during his age-19 season with a 26.2 percent market share. His true coming-out party came the following season when he posted 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns in eight games. Before suffering an ankle injury that prematurely ended his season, London was one of the most productive wide receivers in college football.

From a film perspective, London draws comps to Mike Evans, Brandon Lloyd, and Vincent Jackson. He’s a bigger wide receiver who excels at getting downfield and making plays. London moves well for his size and knows how to box out defenders at the catch point.

Garrett Wilson, NYJ

Wilson was the second wide receiver drafted. He will be paired with Zach Wilson who is the New York Jets’ young franchise quarterback. Wilson was another wide receiver who was ranked as one of the top wide receivers in the class during the pre-draft process. There were a lot of people who had him marked as the WR1.

We saw Wilson breakout during his second season in 2020 with a 34.43 percent market share while accumulating 3.21 yards per team pass attempt. While sharing the field with Chris Olave and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Wilson still managed to catch 70 passes for 1,058 yards and 12 in 11 games.

Just from gauging the film, it’s easy to see that Wilson has very good change of direction skills. His ability to climb the ladder at the catch point sets him apart from many wide receivers in this year’s class. Wilson’s ball skills combined with his strong hands make him tough to cover in contested catch situations.

Treylon Burks, TEN

The Tennessee Titans traded veteran wide receiver AJ Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles during the draft. To fill the void at wide receiver, they drafted Treylon Burks at 18th overall. Burks will be walking into an open depth chart with the chance to be the team’s main target hog as early as his rookie season.

He’s a 225-pound wide receiver who averaged 9.3 yards after the catch per reception last season. His best game last season came against Alabama when he caught eight passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns.

At the Scouting Combine, he ran a 4.55-second 40-yard dash which equated to an 86th-percentile size-adjusted speed score. When you take his size and combine it with his speed, you get an athlete that’s tough to bring down in the open field.

Burks was very productive during his time in Arkansas. In 2021, during his junior season, he averaged 3.52 yards per team pass attempt. He also owned a 41.15 percent market share of the team’s passing production. The Razorbacks used him as a key piece to the passing game as early as his freshman season.

THE LONE WOLF

Jameson Williams, DET

Williams’ collegiate career came to an abrupt end when he suffered a torn ACL in the National Championship Game against Georgia. The injury didn’t prevent the Detroit Lions from moving up the draft board to select him with the 12th overall pick. There wasn’t a mock draft predicting that Williams was going to get drafted by the Lions. He will add some much need speed to the passing game.

His collegiate career started slow due to him taking a back seat to Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson in Ohio State’s offense during his first two seasons. Then he transferred to Alabama for the 2021 season and the rest was history. At Alabama, he averaged 3.11 yards per route ran while also averaging 9.1 yards after the catch per reception. He also owned a 30.74 percent market share of the passing production while accumulating 2.75 yards per team pass attempt.

Williams is categorized as the lone wolf because he tends to get drafted right behind the big three wide receivers. There are times when he will get drafted ahead of one of the big three wide receivers. The reason why it’s not considered the “Big Four” with him mixed with the top receivers, is because he’s usually left out of the conversation. It’s the top three receivers, then Williams.

THE REST OF THE BEST

This tier is always jockeying for position in the mid to backend of the first round. Some of these wide receivers will fall to the second round of drafts. Opinions are hot and heavy around this group of receivers. Everyone has their preferences, and they can be vastly different depending on who you are talking to.

Chris Olave, NO

Olave was the third wide receiver selected in the draft at 11th overall. He was drafted right behind his teammate Garrett Wilson. The Saints needed to add some talent to their passing game. Olave projects to be a key contributor to the offense early in his career while sharing the field with former Buckeye wide receiver Michael Thomas.

We are looking at one of the most nuanced wide receivers in the draft. He is a very fluid athlete who does a very good job at getting in and out of his breaks. Justin Fields relied on him during key moments. Olave is a playmaker who could develop into a big-time asset for the Saints’ offense.

Some people have him ranked with the top wide receivers in the draft. On the flip side, other people are concerned with the Saints’ ability to provide a reliable option at quarterback for the long term. Depending on who you are drafting with, you could see Olave fly up the board in the first round or fall to the middle to late portion of the first round.

Olave is etched in stone in the middle of the first round of rookie drafts. Some of the wide receivers from this tier will get drafted ahead of him. Considering his draft capital and the lack of competition on New Orleans’ depth chart, it’s hard to imagine Olave busting on your dynasty team.

George Pickens, PIT

Pickens missed the majority of his 2021 season due to an ACL injury. During his freshman and sophomore seasons, he was considered one of the top wide receiver prospects in the nation. It’s hard to say where he wouldn’t have been valued in this year’s class if we had another season of decent production with incredible highlights. Some would say, Pickens has just as much upside as any wide in this year’s draft.

He was one of just three wide receivers to achieve a 20 percent or higher market of his team’s passing production at age 18. Pickens is a big play waiting to happen. He excels at getting downfield and tracking the ball to make the play. His physicality makes him tough to deal with. Defensive backs have to play strong against him or they are going to get bullied.

The Steelers drafted Kenny Pickett in the first round. They also have Mitchell Trubisky gatekeeping on the roster. This team is currently going through a major transition process at quarterback. The Steelers also have a Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool on the roster. The depth chart seems clogged, but if Pickens can lean into his potential, then he might develop into a key contributor in the offense sometime down the line.

Pickens is being drafted all over the place in rookie drafts. There are times you can catch him at the top of the second round. He has found his home in the middle to late portion of the first round of rookie drafts. If you are a dynasty gamer who loves to chase upside, then Pickens might be the wide receiver for you.

Christian Watson, GB

Nobody gained more steam this draft season than Watson. He excelled during the Senior Bowl and then capped things off by showcasing his athleticism at the combine. The Green Bay Packers drafted him in the second round. The fact that he will be running routes in one of the best passing games in the league elevates his draft stock. Even though he’s coming from FCS competition, the fact he has a Hall of Fame quarterback delivering the targets increases his upside.

His collegiate career was very tricky to analyze since he’s coming from the FCS level. He broke out at age-20 with a 25.15 percent market share of his team’s passing production. In 2021, we saw him dominate the competition, catching 43 balls for 801 yards and seven touchdowns. He owned a 35.35 percent market share while hitting 3.14 yards per team pass attempt. Combine his production with a 98th-percentile size-adjusted speed score and you have an interesting wide receiver prospect.

Watson has the speed to burn opposing defenses when he has the ball in his hands. He moves latterly very well. Although he’s raw in certain aspects of his game, his athletic ability should allow him to stand out compared to the other receivers on the Packers roster. Typically, it takes a year or two for a wide receiver to develop with Aaron Rodgers. Let’s see if Watson can take a major step forward during his rookie year. After all, Davante Adams is gone and somebody has to take over in the passing game.

Watson is being selected somewhere in the middle-to-late first round of rookie drafts. If he can build a rapport with Rodgers early in his career, we could see a jump in his production. He is not a risk-free asset. Watson is still in the developmental stages of his career as he tries to make a major leap from the FCS level to the NFL game.

Skyy Moore, KC

Moore was a major winner in this year’s draft. He was falling down the draft board in the second round until the Kansas City Chiefs stepped up and drafted him. This was one of the top destinations. Now we get to see him catch balls from Patrick Mahomes in a high-powered Chiefs offense.

He has one of the best metric profiles in the class. Moore broke out during his first season at age-19 with a 25.64 percent market share. In 2021, he averaged 3.40 yards per route run while owning a 39.19 percent market share of the team’s passing production. His 10.8 average depth of target indicates he was used a little bit more downfield during his junior season.

After watching the film the one thing you will notice is his ability to sell and break off routes. He’s very smooth and has excellent change of direction skills. Moore’s speed allows him to get behind the defense, making a dangerous weapon out of the slot. Considering he already operates with a nuanced route tree, there’s a good chance he transitions quickly to the Chiefs’ offense.

That argument for Moore to climb the draft board in rookie drafts is justified. Due to his situation alone, he could develop into one of the most productive receivers in this year’s class. The odds of him busting are very slim. He checks all the boxes and is in position to smash at the NFL level.

Jahan Dotson, WAS

The Washington Commanders selected Dotson as the fifth wide receiver off the board at 16 overall in the first round. He will be sharing the field with veteran wide receiver Terry McLaurin. The Commanders needed to beef up the passing game to smooth out the transition process for their newly acquired quarterback Carson Wentz.

Dotson had a very good career at Penn State. He broke out during his age-20 season in 2020 with a 38.37 percent market share and 2.88 yards per team pass attempt. Then during his final year, he racked up 91 receptions for 1,182 yards and 12 touchdowns while averaging 2.56 yards per route. His most impressive performance of the season came against Maryland when he caught 11 passes for 242 yards and three touchdowns.

When you check the tape, you see a wide receiver who has very sticky hands. Dotson is about as dependable as you can get. He makes big catches when the team needs it the most. His highlight-reel grab against Ohio State in 2020 still sticks out. He also has a good feel for attacking the defender’s leverage before breaking off his route.

Dynasty gamers can typically find Dotson somewhere around the bottom of the first round to the early part of the second round of rookie drafts. Compared to the rest of the receivers in this tier, he is being classified as one of the best values in rookie drafts. Dynasty gamers are getting a first-round wide receiver at a cheap price point.

Latest posts by Bruce Matson (see all)
2022 Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Drafts: Wide Receiver Primer, Part One
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Mike Wendland
4 months ago

“On the flip side, other people are concerned with the Saints’ ability to provide a reliable option at quarterback for the long term.”
Funny how this doesn’t seem to be a concern for WRs who will catch passes from Mariota, Goff or Zach Wilson. And others will downgrade London because of the fractured ankle, but have zero qualms about a torn ACL. This draft class will be fun to re-evaluate in 2-3 years.

mike fredrickson
4 months ago

we had our superflex ppr draft May 6th.
I drafted #3 Wilson, #4 London, #6 Pickett, #11 Watson, #13 Dotson
order went #1 hall, #2 walker, #3 wilson, #4 london, #5 burks, #6 pickett, #7 jameson, #8 olave, #9 skyy, #10 james cook, #11 watson, #12 pickens, #13 dotson, #14 metchie, #15 dameon pierce,

Gregory Massa
4 months ago

Listed Wilson as NYG not NYJ

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