For rookie wide receivers, opportunities are a top priority in league remakes. The most talented may not be the most beneficial in their first year unless they experience the same usage as some of their peers. While there’s probably no Ja’Marr Chase in this class, spotting another Amon-Ra St. Brown has its perks. Here’s a breakdown of the rookie WRs positioned to have the biggest impact on fantasy in 2022. Click here to see the Rookie RBs Analysis.
Tier 1 – WR3s with Upside
Drake London (WR – ATL)
High draft capital and minimal target competition is a good recipe for rookie season production. With Calvin Ridley suspended for the season and Russell Gage no longer with the team, Atlanta lacks capable pass catchers. That leaves London as the Falcons’ best true wide receiver, and he’ll be one of the top targets on offense alongside TE Kyle Pitts. London was the first wide receiver off the board in the draft and was drafted 8th overall. The USC product is a large 6-foot-4, 219-pound receiver with rare elusiveness and mobility for its size. Despite playing just eight games in 2021, he finished with 88 catches for 1,004 yards and 7 TDs, forcing the sixth-most missed tackles in FBS. While overwhelming quarterback space can hurt London’s near-term prospects, he has an easy route to a massive rookie target share.
Treylon Burks (WR – TEN)
The Titans threw one of the biggest curveballs in the draft and traded alpha wide receiver AJ Brown to the Eagles. The team then used the 18th overall win to select Burks as his replacement. Burks is a big, powerful receiver with tremendous speed and competitive catching ability. His only notable target competitor is Robert Woods, who is 30 and has left his cruciate ligament. Burks will turn heads on this offense and will likely fight London for top rookie wide receiver in Fantasy this season. Tempering expectations for Burks is a moderately challenging schedule amid low-volume receivers and the Titans’ passing game.
Skyy Moore (WR – KC)
It’s not a bad idea to snag a piece of the Chiefs’ high-octane offense, led by one of football’s best distributors in Patrick Mahomes. With Tyreek Hill traded to the Miami Dolphins, the depth chart of Kansas City receivers is wide open. Skyy Moore could immediately fight JuJu Smith-Schuster for the top spot as JuJu excels better as a second receiver option than as an alpha. Moore can play both from the outside and from the inside. In 2021, he ranked ninth in the FBS with 95 receptions for a team-high 1,292 yards (13.6 per rec) and ten points in 12 starts in Western Michigan.
Stage 2 – WR 4s/Flex options
Garrett Wilson (WR-NYJ)
Wilson, considered by draft pundits to be the top receiver of 2022, would be ranked higher had he not ended up in what can be described as fantasy purgatory. The New York Jets haven’t made the playoffs since 2010, finishing in the bottom five in the league last season while their rookie QB suffered from growing pains. Things are looking up after the team’s splash in the draft, picking playmakers on both sides of the ball and strengthening their offensive line. Boasting his 10th overall pick, Garrett joins a young and promising offensive line that includes Breece Hall, Michael Carter, Corey Davis and Elijah Moore. While there is no shortage of pass catchers on the team, Wilson produced 1,058 receiving yards and 12 TDs in his final season at Ohio State despite their crowded WR room. If Zach Wilson can make great strides in his sophomore year, it shouldn’t be long before Garrett shows his skills.
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) June 1, 2022
Jahan Dotson (WR – WHAT)
The Commanders added a wide receiver to pair with Terry McLaurin and selected Dotson 16th overall. He has elite speed and offers a vertical threat to QB Carson Wentz. At 5-foot-10 and 178 pounds, Dotson lacks a bit of physicality, but he can burn from defenders and bring it indoors. In 2021, Dotson finished his career at Penn State with a high of 91-1181-12. Dotson gets plenty of reps at OTAs and is already developing a relationship with Wentz, while McLaurin sits outside while he works to secure a new deal. The only obstacle for Dotson to secure second place is Curtis Samuel, who has been a fantastic disappointment since joining the league in 2017.
Chris Olave (WR – NO)
Adding a much-needed threat from downfield, the Saints moved up the draft to pick Olave 11th overall. He has to battle for goals with Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry, but Thomas hasn’t been himself in the last two years and Landry will mostly focus on the short range work. While at Ohio State, Olave ran an outside route 81% of the time, averaging 15.4 yards per reception. That makes him a good fit for QB Jameis Winston, who has a strong arm and loves to fling the ball around the field. While Winston has struggled with accuracy, he has shown improvements over the past season. Olave was considered one of the most ready receivers in the class and could be pushed into #1 duties if Thomas ends up being a shell of himself.
Stage 3 – dart throws/depth options
Christian Watson (WR – UK)
In the post-Davante Adams era, Watson was able to take off for the Packers. Green Bay has put together a stunning reception room consisting of Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Sammy Watkins and fellow rookie Romeo Doubs. Watson is a big threat with explosive blasts and acceleration that ran roughshod at FCS levels in college. Bringing Watson up to speed and gaining the trust of QB Aaron Rodgers are keys to unlocking his first year production.
George Pickens (WR – PIT)
The Pittsburgh Steelers are known for spotting wide receiver talent outside of the first round. Since 2000, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert has unearthed gems like Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Mike Wallace and Diontae Johnson. Could Pickens, picked in the second round with 52 overall, be next in line? He should contribute immediately alongside Johnson and Chase Claypool and could quickly climb the depth chart if Claypool remains fickle. At 6ft 3 and 195lbs, Pickens has the ideal size, speed and large catch radius with excellent hands. He has first-round talent, but injuries and off-field problems have seen his stocks plummet. It’s possible he’s underrated for league redesigns as well. After all, the odds when betting on a Steelers wide receiver are usually cheap.
Jameson Williams (WR – DET)
Due to an ACL tear in late 2021, Williams’ status is up in the air. The injury is unlikely to change his game but could be a factor initially as he needs to develop a level of comfort with his new QB Jared Goff. However, Williams fills a huge hole in position for the Lions and is arguably the most explosive deep threat in the class. That sits well with his teammates Amon-Ra St. Brown and TE TJ Hockenson as both mostly work the short sections of the field. Unfortunately, Goff struggles with the deep ball, but Williams should put up huge yards from the catch. After moving to Alabama in 2021, he made his mark running past SEC defenders for 1,561 yards and 15 TDs. If fantasy managers remain patient with Williams, he could pay dividends in the second half of the year, a la St. Brown in 2021.
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Bonnie Robinson is a Featured Writer for FantasyPros. You can find more of Bonnie at her profile and follow her on Twitter @FantasyQueenB.