Who will be this year’s breakout rookie receiver in fantasy? Over the past year, Elijah Moore and Amon-Ra St. Brown have captured the hearts of fantasy executives. The year before Justin Jefferson finished the race as “WR1”. While everyone’s focus this year is on Drake London and Treylon Burks, there are some second-round wideouts to keep an eye on. I’ve already dived the London v. Burks debate. Today, let’s look at Packers wide receiver Christian Watson and Chiefs wide receiver Skyy Moore.
The Packers traded up, picking #34 to make Watson the first receiver picked on Day 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft while the Chiefs drafted Moore seven receivers later. As with London and Burks, Watson and Moore have been grouped closely together in fantasy leaderboards and large boards. The fantasy community seems to favor Watson, although not by much.
But between Watson and Moore, who should you draft first? To determine this, we will look at four crucial factors before making a final judgement:
- New Offenses
- Possible odds in their offenses
The key to figuring out which player to pick is in possibility, and outside of naivety. Put simply, we cannot assume that we know how each player will perform. The aim of this article is to look at past trends and data and project a range of potential outcomes for each player. I don’t predict which player will have a better season. Instead, we determine which player has a better chance of reaching a higher ceiling and avoiding a lower floor.
That starts with assessing the current value of Watson and Moore. Let’s look at their ADPs (Average Draft Position). I used FantasyPros’ consensus ADP tool, which combines a player’s ADP from multiple sites, and Underdog Fantasy’s ADP, which reflects more recent trends and players’ best ball stats.
Christian Watson ADP
Fantasy Pros: WR58
Underdog Fantasy: WR47
Skyy Moore ADP
Fantasy Pros: WR65
Underdog Fantasy: WR39
Watson: Don’t twist it, the Packers are not a passing team. That seems like a common misconception since they have this Aaron Rodgers guy. Instead, Green Bay has been just below average on passplay rates since head coach Matt LaFleur took over. Establishing the run is a crucial aspect of LaFleur’s offense. Could that be why the Packers haven’t backed any fantasy-related receivers outside of Davante Adams under LaFleur? It can be a factor, but it shouldn’t be considered the main reason. There just weren’t enough targets to go to other receivers because Adams rightfully stole most of them. With Adams out the door, we should expect Green Bay to run the ball a little more, but not enough to make them one of the busiest teams in football. Watson can still fill the role of Adams on the outside as Rodgers’ favorite target. However, that role could go to wide receiver Allen Lazard instead. When Rodgers funnels match a main receiver, it can be a great offense for the team’s top wideout. It can still be good if Rodgers doesn’t find his next target, but it would exceed Watson’s ceiling.
Moore: Kansas City is a great place for receivers to thrive. Only four teams have had a higher passplay rate than the Chiefs over the past two seasons. They also fielded 11 staffers (one tight end, three wide receivers) at the seventh-highest rate last season. Translation: They want a piece of their receiving core. Since quarterback Patrick Mahomes became the starter in 2018, only one player whose name isn’t Travis Kelce or Tyreek Hill has averaged six or more goals per game: Sammy Watkins in 2019. Simply put, Kelce and Hill were the Chiefs’ passing attackers . With Hill going to Miami, there’s no telling how goals will be distributed on offense. Much like Adams and Green Bay, we have yet to see Kansas City support fantasy-relevant wide receivers outside of Hill. While Travis Kelce continues to act as a larger wideout, this offense is designed to support a fantasy-relevant wide receiver due to its high pass rate.
Kansas City’s system is much friendlier to wide receivers and their fantasy impact.
Watson: Oh, it’s there. Between the departures of Adams and the Marquez Valdes scantling, Green Bay has nearly 15.6 goals cleared per game. Again, unless the Packers find their next Davante Adams, I expect a little fewer passes this season. But we can’t wait. Adams was the only packer to see more than 65 goals with a whopping 169 last season. No soul on Green Bay’s roster has proven capable of even remotely approaching that type of usage. There’s a chance that Watson is simply the most talented wide receiver on the Packers’ roster, but Lazard could also embrace that designation, especially given how well he ended the 2021 regular season. In the last five games he has scored five times. Randall Cobb and Amari Rodgers will be fighting for the starting spot, but do we really expect them to lead this offense? Watson’s main rival for goals could come from Lazard, although it’s possible the pair will split the work.
Moore: As with Watson, there’s a chance Moore is the most talented wide receiver in the Chiefs’ roster. Kansas City brought in JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling to make up for losses suffered by Hill, Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson. The trio combined scored 15.3 goals per game in 2021, so there are plenty of opportunities for the new boys to make a difference. Of course, Hill and Kelce were the only chiefs to see more than 83 targets. Moore is best suited for an inside role that comes into direct conflict with Smith-Schuster. It’s no secret that I love Moore, but he has yet to parry targets from Kelce, Smith-Schuster, Valdes-Scantling, and Mecole Hardman. While Moore isn’t strictly limited to an inside role, that’s where he’ll likely start, and the Chiefs’ willingness to move their skillful players around the field opens up more opportunities for Moore, who has experience playing outside in Western Michigan.
Watson has a slight advantage as he has less competition for targets to worry about.
Watson: Watson gets the treatment from Davante Adams.
Remember that a best-case scenario is meant to be extreme. Will Watson regularly see 10+ goals per game? That’s unlikely, but still possible. Watson would need to adjust to the NFL immediately, which is certainly on the horizon. This would also depend on Rodgers and Lazard. Lazard would also just have to be a different guy, simply put. Fifth-year recipients don’t break out often, but hey, it’s possible. As for Rodgers, he’s been the executive director of The Davante Adams Show for the past three seasons. If he’s comfortable with Watson, watch out. From the very best – emphasis on very – Watson sees 150+ goals from one of football’s best quarterbacks. He also has experience as a big slot receiver, although that probably won’t be his calling card in the NFL.
Moore: Moore leads the team in goals.
Moore isn’t treated like Tyreek Hill because they’re two different players, and I couldn’t even count the number of receivers on my hand that match Hill’s speed and explosiveness. However, it’s still possible for Moore to trump the Chiefs’ veterans. In this scenario, Moore establishes himself as the team’s top receiver, which could result in 9+ goals per game. As I said, navigating the Chiefs’ receiving room is more difficult for Moore than it is for Watson with the Packers’ receivers. However, should Moore prove to be Kansas City’s best wide receiver, he can line up for a hefty target share from Mahomes. Unfortunately for Moore, there’s a slim chance he’ll outperform Kelce in any scenario.
Both have high ceilings, but Watson is better suited to achieve a higher ceiling than Moore.
Watson: Watson does not outplay Lazard and Watkins.
There are plenty of unproven reception options in Green Bay. That includes Watson because he has yet to play an NFL game. In this scenario, Lazard builds on his promising ending from last season and takes on the role of Adams. Watkins would also need to prove reliable enough to start Watson over. Maybe Cobb will find his feet again. Plus, the Packers aren’t afraid to restrict their freshmen until they’re “ready.” Luckily for Watson, Green Bay implemented a three-receiver set 70% of the time, so even if Watson falls behind the veterans, there’s still room for impact as the team’s third wideout.
Moore: Moore remains behind the veterans on the depth chart.
As with all rookies, we just don’t know how they translate to the NFL. Moore must fend off Smith-Schuster, Valdes-Scantling, Hardman and maybe even Josh Gordon and Justyn Ross…all for the right to play second fiddle to Kelce. When you play fantasy football, it’s easy to get distracted by prejudice about other possible outcomes. As much as I loved Moore as a prospect, we just don’t know if he can outperform the other wide receivers. I’d like to think he can and will, but ultimately we have to consider the idea that he doesn’t. Outside of Hill and Kelce, the Chiefs have done a good job sharing the remaining wealth with the other recipients. So Moore can still see the field as “WR4” although his influence would obviously be mitigated. Moore’s versatility and the Chiefs’ offensive creativity also carry his word.
The depth chart and draft capital favors more game time for Watson than Moore, even if he doesn’t earn a starting job.
Final verdict: Draft Christian Watson on Skyy Moore
Alongside Treylon Burks and Drake London, these are the two rookie receivers you should aim for. Both have the talent and potential opportunities to far exceed their ADPs. While Moore is on a fantasy-friendly offense, Watson comes out on top in all other aspects. With their current values, one should put a little more emphasis on their upper limits. They’re both good gambles as your “WR3” and great picks for anything beyond that, especially when you already have two established producers in place.