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2022 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings & Tiers

Will Desvallees Aug 12th 11:34 AM EDT.

Over the last week, we've gone through 2022 fantasy football tiers by position for a quarterback and running backs. Today, we'll take a look at the different wide receivers to target beginning with the top-five wideouts heading into 2022. This elite group of pass-catchers includes Davante Adams, Cooper Kupp, Ja'Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson, and Deebo Samuel

Each tier has a category of receivers that matches where they are expected to be selected in fantasy football drafts. Tier 2 has guys like Stefon Diggs and Mike Evans, who are top-10 receivers in the league but perhaps not top-five. In Tier 3, we'll take a look at some young wide receivers heading into their second or third year such as Tee Higgins and Micheal Pittman. Tier 4 will cover some seasoned veterans and Tier 5 will take a look at some pass-catchers who could have breakout years. The rest of the tiers (6-10) are dedicated to progressively late-round wideouts to target in 2022 fantasy drafts. Some of the guys in Tiers 8-10 might end up going undrafted and could be the top wide receivers to claim from free agency when the season begins. 

Let's take a look, tier-by-tier, at the best fantasy wide receivers to target for the 2022 fantasy football season.

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Tier 1: The Top-Five

  • Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders
  • Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
  • Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals
  • Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings
  • Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers

These five wide receivers should be drafted within the first two rounds of most fantasy football drafts. Each of these wideouts recorded at least 1,200+ receiving yards and 10 total touchdowns last season. Davante Adams had another stellar season with the Packers in 2021, producing 1,553 yards and 11 touchdowns. However, the best and most valuable fantasy receiver last season was Cooper Kupp. He finished the season with 145 receptions, just four catches short of tying Micheal Thomas’ 2019 single-season record of 149 catches. Kupp finished the 2021 campaign with nearly 2,000 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns. Deebo Samuel of the 49ers tallied 1,405 yards and six touchdown catches last season but pumped out numbers running the football as well. San Francisco used a lot of running plays for Samuel, which was highly effective. He finished the season with 365 rushing yards. Eight of his 59 rushing attempts ended in touchdowns last season. Samuel averaged a whopping 18.2 yards per catch last season, and somehow scored the majority of his 14 total touchdowns running the football into the end zone. 

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Finally, Justin Jefferson of the Vikings and Ja’Marr Chase of the Bengals are two incredibly athletic and young wide receivers who have quickly become top-10 and potentially top-five receivers in the NFL. In his first two seasons in Minnesota (2020 & 2021), Jefferson has recorded more than 3,000 receiving yards and 17 touchdown catches. This has dramatically impacted the role of Adam Thielen, who is now the team’s second-best wideout. For the Bengals, Ja’Marr Chase had a historical rookie season in 2021. With only 81 receptions in the regular season, Chase still produced 1,455 receiving yards, averaging 18.0 yards per catch as a rookie. 

These five receivers are the best in the league. In addition, they all are the top options at the position for their respective teams. Adams, Kupp, and Samuel are the three best receivers in the league. In turn, Jefferson and Chase are two receivers who are equally capable, but simply have less experience in the league. 

Tier 2: The Top-10

None of these guys should dip below the first three rounds of 2022 fantasy drafts. Ceedee Lamb is the hottest target on this list. Heading into his third year, he will be the Cowboys' top option at wide receiver, especially since Dallas opted to send Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns. Lamb is set up for a massive breakout season in his third NFL season. Last season, he produced more than 1,110 yards and six touchdowns. As a rookie in 2020, he still managed 935 yards and five touchdowns when Cooper was hands down the team’s best pass-catcher. With Cooper out of the way, Lamb will see significantly more targets, receptions, and yards. It would be shocking if he didn’t score at least 10 touchdowns in 2022, especially because he’s now their primary pass-catcher. Though he is expected to be drafted in the second round, he might drop to the third in certain leagues because of his numbers playing in Cooper’s shadow. He is the one standout candidate on this list who may be considered a top-tier receiver. 

The rest of the guys in the second tier are vets. Stefon Diggs has continued to put up great numbers for the Bills, serving as Josh Allen’s go-to target. In each of his first two seasons with the Bills, Diggs has produced at least 1,200 receiving yards and eight touchdown receptions. Likewise, Tyreek Hill has served that role in Kansas City for years and is now poised to be Tua Tagaviloa’s best weapon in Miami. He is likely the fastest wide receiver in football but won’t be getting targeted by Mahomes anymore. If Tua can be accurate, Tyreek Hill could have a career-season in 2022 for his new team. 

Mike Evans and Keenan Allen are two vets who are the best pass-catchers on their respective teams. Each wideout has produced approximately 1,000 yards receiving and a handful of touchdowns in each of the last five seasons. Mike Evans gets into the end zone more than Allen and produces slightly more yardage on average. He’s caught 27 touchdown passes over the last two seasons: 13 touchdowns in 2020, and 14 touchdowns last season. 

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Tier 3: Young and Dangerous

At 26 years of age, Terry McLaurin is the oldest wide receiver in Tier 3. He just signed a nice contract extension with the Washington Commanders after producing at least 1,000+ yards and a handful of touchdowns in each of the last two seasons. McLaurin didn’t get into the end zone as much as fantasy owners would have liked last season. Headed into his fourth NFL season, count on him to produce more touchdowns and receiving yards than he did last season. This is especially the case since the Washington Commanders upgraded at the quarterback position and signed Carson Wentz. Very similar to McLaurin is 25-year-old wideout D.J. Moore, of the Carolina Panthers. In each of the last two seasons, Moore produced at least 1,100 yards and four touchdowns. McLaurin and Moore are the best receivers for their respective teams. Each of them will be playing under better quarterbacks than they are used to. With Baker Mayfield taking over in Carolina and Carson Wentz ready to go in Washington, both McLaurin and Moore should have bigger numbers in 2022 than they did in 2021. 

A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf are also both headed into their fourth NFL season in 2022. This offseason, the Titans traded Brown away to the Philadelphia Eagles. He will take over as the team’s WR1, making DeVonta Smith the team’s second-best pass-catcher heading into 2022. DK Metcalf is one of the most athletic players at the position. Over the last two seasons, he’s produced a combined 2,270 receiving yards and 22 touchdown catches. However, Russell Wilson left the Seahawks to join the Denver Broncos, leaving Drew Lock and Geno Smith as the Seahawks’ best available signal-callers heading into 2022. As a result of the Seahawks’ downgrade at the position, Metcalf’s projection for 2022 is more unpredictable than it has been over the last two years. 

The youngest wide receiver in this tier is Tee Higgins of the Bengals who is the team’s second-best option at the position behind Ja’Marr Chase. Last season, Higgins tallied 1,091 yards and six touchdowns. Higgins tore the labrum of his left shoulder during Super Bowl LVI. As a result, the 23-year-old underwent reconstructive shoulder surgery in mid-April. At the moment, the Bengals and Higgins alike are hopeful that he will be ready to go by the end of the preseason. If this is the case, he should have another 1,000+ receiving yard season for the Bengals and a handful of touchdowns despite being the team’s second-best wideout. After all, Joe Burrow and the Bengals employ a very pass-heavy offensive scheme. Higgins should see plenty of opportunities in 2022.

These six receivers are expected to be drafted in the third or fourth rounds of most fantasy drafts. D.J. Moore is the only player in this group that could drop to the mid-fifth round. If this is the case, I encourage fantasy owners to pull the trigger on him. Especially with the Panthers’ upgrade at quarterback, the Panthers’ top wideout could turn heads and have a career-season in 2022. 

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Tier 4: The Reliable Veterans

  • Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans
  • Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
  • Allen Robinson, Los Angeles Rams
  • Amari Cooper, Cleveland Browns
  • Juju Smith-Schuster, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Deandre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals

All of these receivers have been in the NFL for at least five seasons, with Juju Smith-Schuster (25 years old.) and Chris Godwin (26 years old.) being the youngest of the group, each selected in the 2017 NFL Draft. Smith-Schuster only corralled 15 receptions through five games last season for the Steelers. Injuries held Juju back for the vast majority of an NFL season for the first time in his career. In addition, the Steelers have Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool, which pushed the team to send Smith-Schuster to the Kansas City Chiefs. Reports from training camp on Smith-Schuster have been very positive so far. At the moment, he is successfully competing to be the team’s top receiver, especially with Tyreek Hill out of the way. Juju’s best season was in 2018 when he blew up for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns. Injuries in 2019 and 2021 prevented him from reproducing such numbers. On his new team, Smith-Schuster has the opportunity to become the team’s best receiver. If this ends up being the case, he could be one of the most undervalued receivers as we approach 2022 fantasy football drafts. With Patrick Mahomes under center, we could be looking at a massive bounce-back campaign from Smith-Schuster in his first season in Kansas City.

Chris Godwin had his second 1,000+ receiving yard season, but only caught five touchdown passes last season. Between 2018 and 2020, Godwin produced a minimum of seven touchdowns in each season. What’s impressive about Godwin is how much his catch percentage has increased since his rookie season. In 2017, Godwin caught 61.8% of the passes thrown his way. In each of the last two seasons, Godwin caught 77% or more of the targets from Tom Brady. While the ageless quarterback’s accuracy definitely contributed to Godwin’s success over the last two seasons, the receiver is continuing to grow and play very well for the Bucs. 

Brandin Cooks, Adam Thielen, Allen Robinson, and Amari Cooper have been in the league much longer than Smith-Schuster or Godwin. Cooks and Cooper are the best options for their respective teams at wide receiver heading into 2022. Both are good receivers who have produced at least 1,000 receiving yards and five touchdowns in each of the last two seasons. Due to the Deshaun Watson situation in Cleveland, the quarterback position is somewhat up in the air for the Browns. If Watson doesn’t play in 2022 (which he shouldn’t…), Cooper will have a downgrade at quarterback in comparison to Dak Prescott who’s been his signal-caller since 2018. Instead, Cooper will be running routes for the less-than-mediocre Jacoby Brissett

For Allen Robinson and Adam Thielen, they are beginning to embrace being the second-best wideouts for their teams. Robinson missed the vast majority of last season for the Bears and was subsequently traded to the Rams. He will line up behind Cooper Kupp as Thielen continues to serve as Kirk Cousins’ WR2 behind Justin Jefferson.

Tier 5: Breakout Year Candidates

Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jaylen Waddle had great rookie seasons for their respective teams. While St. Brown will be the Lions’ top wideout in 2022, Waddle could be taking a backseat to Tyreek Hill this season. Both wideouts had comparable rookie seasons. Waddle produced approximately 100 more yards than St. Brown, and also finished the season with one more touchdown than him. Heading into 2022, however, Waddle won’t be the Dolphins’ top pass-catcher. In Detroit, the Lions have designated St. Brown as their top wide receiver heading into 2022, especially since rookie Jameson Williams will begin the season on the NFI list.  

Marquise Brown and Diontae Johnson are both headed into their fourth NFL seasons. As receivers, both players have improved since their rookie season in 2019. The Ravens sent Marquise Brown to the Arizona Cardinals this offseason. He will be competing with Deandre Hopkins for targets, though Hopkins will very likely be the team’s best option. However, Hopkins must serve a six-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy before he can suit up. This means that Brown will see a ton of targets from Kyler Murray early in the season. In contrast, Diontae Johnson will have either a rookie quarterback or a washed-up veteran throwing him the pigskin this season. That said, his growth with the Steelers gives him the edge over Chase Claypool who dealt with injuries last season. Johnson will still serve as the WR1 in Pittsburgh’s offense.

Tier 6: Late-Round Targets

Out in Denver, the Broncos have a new quarterback. Russell Wilson’s addition to the organization automatically improves their offensive unit. Notably, WRs Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy should have much better seasons in 2022. Sutton was healthy last season while Jeudy was not. As a result, Sutton played in all 17 games for the Broncos last season, finishing with 776 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Again, the Broncos had one of the worst offenses last season, and couldn’t find any consistent accuracy from the quarterback position. Sutton only getting two touchdowns sheds light on how bad their passing game is as opposed to suggesting the wide receiver couldn’t find the end zone last season. In his second season, Jeudy only got to play in 10 games and never found a rhythm. Both Sutton and Jeudy should have exponentially better seasons in 2022 with Wilson throwing them the football. In addition, Wilson’s departure from Seattle will impact Tyler Lockett’s production in 2022. Lockett had a fantastic season in 2021, producing a career-high 1,175 yards (16.1 yards per reception) and eight touchdowns. The downgrade from Wilson to Geno Smith or Drew Lock is a downgrade that will undoubtedly hurt Lockett’s numbers in 2022.

 

This offseason, the Chicago Bears and the Baltimore Ravens lost significant depth at receiver. The Ravens traded WR Marquise Brown to the Cardinals, leaving Lamar Jackson with Rashod Bateman as his best target (other than TE Mark Andrews) heading into this season. Likewise, the Bears dealt Allen Robinson to the Los Angeles Rams. Robinson missed most of last season, leaving second-year WR Darnell Mooney to be the team’s best pass-catcher last season. As a sophomore out of Tulane, Mooney had 81 receptions for 1,055 yards, averaging 13 yards per catch and 61.2 yards per game. With Justin Fields ready for his first full season with the Bears, Mooney should see a slight uptick in his numbers as opposed to last season. The Eagles bolstered up their receiving corps by adding AJ Brown to the mix. This will likely set DeVonta Smith back slightly in his second year. Jalen Hurts' No. 1 option heading into this season is the former member of the Tennessee Titans. Smith should still have a solid season, but fantasy owners need to be aware of how the Birds bringing AJ on board will impact the former Alabama wideout in his second year. In turn, Robert Woods will see more targets for the Titans in 2022 with Brown out of the way. Woods tore his ACL in a practice midseason and missed the rest of the year. The Rams sent him to the Titans this offseason. With the No. 18 overall pick in this year’s draft, the Titans selected WR Treylon Burks. While he could have an immediate impact for Tennessee, Woods will be Ryan Tannehill's top pass-catcher when the season begins.

 

This tier is filled with gifted receivers and some are getting the opportunity to be true WR1s for their respective teams. In addition, the teams they play for have made significant changes to their offense this offseason, either positively or negatively impacting the projection of the receivers in Tier 6 heading into this season. 

Tier 7: Booms or Busts

The receivers in Tier 7 are late draft picks. None of these guys should be drafted before the 10th round of fantasy football drafts or before the 90th overall selection off the board. Beginning with the New York Jets, their top wideout heading into this season is Elijah Moore. While the Jets used the No. 10 overall selection in this year’s draft to select WR Garrett Wilson out of Ohio State, Moore’s experience and growing chemistry with QB Zach Wilson should give him the edge over Wilson in his rookie season. Still, both receivers should get a fair amount of targets and are worth drafting this late. For the Giants, the receiver position has been an issue for multiple seasons now. Last season, Kenny Golladay was supposed to provide Daniel Jones with some depth at the position, but injuries kept him off the field for the majority of last season. As a result, Kadarius Toney is the team’s best option at wideout heading into this season. While he only produced 420 yards last season, the Giants are high on him in training camp. 

Rookie wideouts Drake London and Chris Olave should also have big seasons. London was selected by the Falcons with the No. 8 overall pick while the Saints picked up Chris Olave with the No. 11 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. Still, there is some unpredictability surrounding both wideouts despite how high they were drafted. Olave joins Michael Thomas, Deontae Harris, and Jarvis Landry in New Orleans. While he could be targeted a lot in their pass-heavy offense, the Saints’ depth at the position could be of concern to fantasy owners who are considering picking up Olave pretty early. Still, Olave is turning heads at the Saints training facility. Check out this scoring drive on CB CJ Gardner-Johnson from just a few days back.

The Falcons will be playing under new QB Desmond Ridder or Marcus Mariota with their main offensive weapon being their young tight end Kyle Pitts. While London is only really competing with Calvin Ridley for the top spot on the wide receiver depth chart (and Ridley is suspended for the 2022 season due to gambling), a new quarterback and the fact that the team's most prolific pass-catcher is a tight end could affect London’s numbers in his rookie season. The Falcons also are running a lot of passing plays through their hybrid running back, Cordarelle Patterson. Nonetheless, London and Olave are both worth drafting in the late rounds as backup WRs for your fantasy rosters.

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Tier 8: Unpredictable

The Jacksonville Jaguars signed veteran WR Christian Kirk this offseason. Heading into 2022, the Jaguars have one of the worst receiving corps in the league. Kirk and Marvin Jones will be splitting targets next season. While both WRs could have great seasons, Kirk is the new guy on the block while Jones has already had time to establish chemistry with Trevor Lawrence last season. Likewise, Michael Gallup of the Cowboys could step up as the team’s second-best wideout in 2022. Dallas shipped Amari Cooper to the Browns, formally promoting CeeDee Lamb as the team’s top wideout. Gallup was targeted less last season as a result of Lamb’s role on the team, and the quantity of targets Cooper still received. With Cooper out of the way, Gallup could put up numbers comparable to his 2020 season where he produced 843 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Finally, Kenny Golladay is a wild card for the Giants this upcoming season. The G-Men are focused on making Kadarius Toney their main pass-catcher and Golladay struggled with injuries last season. That said, he could bounce back this season if healthy, and open up the field for Daniel Jones. 

A combination of factors including injuries, trades, and suspensions make the three receivers in Tier 8 tough to count on. However, any of them could have a bounce-back season, turn heads, and end up being steals in the late rounds of fantasy football drafts.

Tier 9: Late-Round Sleepers & Waiver Wire Gems

There is a good chance that the guys in Tier 9 will go undrafted and will become the top wide receivers available to claim from on the waiver wire. Julio Jones, Jarvis Landry, Mecole Hardman, and Tyler Boyd are entering the 2022 season as the third-best pass-catching options for their respective teams. The Buccaneers acquired Julio Jones who will likely fill in for Antonio Brown as the team’s WR3. Reports from the Bucs’ training facility indicate that Julio is turning heads and dominating on the field as he did in 2019. If that is the case, Jones could be one of the biggest surprises at wideout, and perhaps the biggest comeback surprise of the upcoming season.

The Titans never found a way to incorporate him into their offense alongside AJ Brown last season. Still, Jones could either be one of the last receivers to be drafted in fantasy or end up on waivers. The same can be said about Jarvis Landry, who will be the Saints’ third option behind Micheal Thomas and Chris Olave. Landry should see some targets, but likely not anywhere close to what MT and Olave produce in 2022. Likewise, Tyler Boyd is playing behind Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins in Cincinnati. His numbers last season were adversely impacted by Chase’s monster rookie season.

Tier 10: Do Not Draft List

  • Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
  • AJ Green, Arizona Cardinals
  • DJ Chark, Detroit Lions

Now that WR Jameson Williams has been ruled out for the beginning of the 2022 NFL season, DJ Chark is the second-best wide receiver available for the Lions when the regular season kicks off. For that reason, Chark is included in this tier with veterans AJ Green of the Cardinals and Randall Cobb of the Green Bay Packers. Green and Cobb are leaders on their teams and veterans with experience. However, they are no longer fantasy football material in 2022. While Randall Cobb caught five touchdown passes last season, he only mustered 28 receptions for 375 yards in 2021. Likewise, Green is now 34 years old. Last season, he did have 848 receiving yards but only three touchdowns. With Marquise Brown now in Arizona, expect Green to produce significantly less than he did last season. 

Of the three WRs in Tier 10, Chark is the player worthy of the most consideration. He is still very young, and because of the news about Jameson Williams, Chark will likely see an elevated role early on with the Lions. At the very least, he should pump out some above-average numbers in the first few weeks of the regular season as Williams’ knee is evaluated each week until he is cleared by the Lions’ medical staff. In contrast, Green and Cobb are getting up there in age, and are now the third or fourth best pass-catchers on their respective teams heading into 2022.


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