Widescreen 2022 Fantasy Football receiver preview: projections, sleepovers, hacks, levels and more

Last week, when I wrote a file Play the preview againI wrote about the inner battle I was having over the number. 1 running backwards. Jonathan Taylor seemed safer, but Christian McCaffrey (and others) had a more positive attitude. Since that time I’ve moved to McCaffrey ahead of Taylor because I decided I didn’t want to use safety as a reason to take upwards of 300 touches in a row. 1 in general. Since then also, no. 1 wide receiver came into question.

You’ll be forgiven for wondering how there can be any discussion at all. Cooper Kupp is coming off a season in which he had 145 passes for 1947 yards and 16 touchdowns. He outperformed everyone outside of QB by no less than three PPR Fantasy points last year. Who can challenge him? The first answer is regression, the second is Justin Jefferson. We will work in reverse orders.

Jefferson is now 23 and has 196 catches, 3,016 yards and 17 touchdowns in his career. In case you were wondering, both catches and yards are record numbers during a 22-year-old season and the relegation ranks fourth behind Randy Moss, Rob Gronkowski and Larry Fitzgerald. To say he had a Hall of Fame start in his career would be an understatement. And we have good reason to believe that it will continue to improve.

The biggest reason, other than natural evolution, is his new head coach. Kevin O’Connell was actually Kupp’s offensive coordinator last year, and the buzz around Minnesota was constantly that this would be a more pass-swerving offense than it was in Jefferson’s first two seasons in Minnesota. Jefferson’s main contender for goals is 32-year-old Adam Thielen, so we should expect Jefferson to dominate this increase in goals.

However, there was a huge gap between Kupp and Jefferson (6.3 FPPG). Can a new coach and natural development bridge this gap? number. But we have no real reason to expect Cope to repeat what he did last year, or even come close.

Cobb’s second best year would be Jefferson’s third best year. And Sean McVeigh has a history of changing gears year after year. It used to be that rams had a fairly flat distribution. And remember Tyler Higby month? Or years Todd Gurley? More than just another coach, McVeigh continues to oppose defensive coordinators through philosophical changes. Now added Allen Robinson and Cam Akers back from injury. Who knows what the game plan will be this year?

The one thing I haven’t mentioned yet is the one thing that has prompted this conversation lately; Matthew Stafford’s elbow pain. The reason I’ve been waiting so long is because I don’t want to turn this into another debate (CUP) versus the downside (Jefferson). I’m not sure their benefits are different this year. But I agree with Stafford’s concerns about Cobb’s basement below Jefferson’s floor.

The choice ultimately goes back to a 29-year-old who has come out of a historic career year and the talent of a 23-year-old generation is still on the rise. Not sure you can go wrong. At the moment, I lean a little more towards Cobb in the expectations and a little more inclined to Jefferson in the ratings; Both are my top five picks for the full PPR.

Broad strategy project for the recipient

Let’s start with the easy part first: the wide receiver is not a priority in non-PPR-based patrols. Jefferson, Cobb and Jamar Chase should remain first-round picks, but there are only eight other receivers I would have for the first three rounds. In PPR, that number is 17. In non-PPR leagues, build a steady stream of racing runners and then find big receivers to play wide on good offenses.

In full PPR, the question becomes how many wide receivers you can start with. In most of our leagues, you are required to start three wide receivers and can start up to four. In this format, I’d be happy to craft the recipient with my first four choices, assuming my league gives me that option. If the draft goes down like this, I’m not likely to take another round even the two-digit rounds and won’t draft more than six in most formats.

If draft fuels early runs, stock up on a mix of young, high-level receivers and veterans. When I say steady veterans, I mean guys with target size locked in like Allen Lazard, Christian Kirk and Amary Cooper. Just make sure you lean on the upside. First- and second-year wide receivers in particular have a nice advantage in the current ADP, and a few of my favorites are listed in the sleeper picks below.

Here are some strategic anecdotes:

  • In half of the PPR, lean a little more towards no PPT than fullness. Everyone else will do the opposite early, but there will be plenty of receivers left late.
  • If you’re targeting late receivers, focus almost entirely on youth and upswing. It’s rare for a veteran receiver to fall in the two-digit rounds and appear as a starting option.
  • As always, Branden’s Chefs Project.

Now let’s move on to sleepovers, hacks, and spoilers. One quick note: ADP here is the current Fantasy Pros consensus ADP.

Projections powered by

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Numbers to know

265 The Chiefs have 265 goals to replace in a wide receiver in 2022, the most in the NFL.
71.2% – Nearly three-quarters of Josh Allen’s pass attempts have gone to wide receivers in the past year; Only ram receivers saw a higher rate.
8 – Deebo Samuel has had eight touchdowns in the last year. The incline and tendon lance should cut that at least in half.
17.9 – Average depth of Marquez Valdes-Scantling last year’s goal over the Packers. This could play well for Patrick Mahomes, but it makes it hard to anticipate him on many goals unless he goes down a lot. No player over 15 had even 100 goals last year.
11 Ja’Marr Chase led the NFL with 11 points last year, just in case you were wondering how important the little drops are.
12 CeeDee Lamb’s 12 broken attempts in 2021 are second only to Deebo Samuel.
3,525 – DJ Moore has had 3,525 receiving yards since the beginning of 2019. Only Cooper Cope, Davante Adams, Stevon Diggs, and Travis Kelsey have more.
29% Goals-per-track run for Kadarius Toney in 2021, who ranked fifth. If he can stay in the field, he’s a certain escape candidate.

Coordination is important

Most of this piece, including Layers and ADP, is based on PPR federations. We realize that many of you still play in non-PPR. Here is a list of players we expect to do significantly better and worse in non-PPR:

Best in Non-PPR: Debo Samuel, Mike Williams, AJ Brown, T. Higgins, Cortland Sutton, Trillon Burkes, Gabriel Davis, Brandon Ayuk

Worst in non-ppr: Kenan Allen, Michael Bateman, Deontay Johnson, Amon Ra Street. Brown, Christian Kirk, Amary Cooper, Jacoby Myers

levels

Expectations

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