Thursday, May 26, 2022

Fantasy Football: Robust 2022 wide receiver draft class lacks only sure things

Fantasy Football: Robust 2022 wide receiver draft class lacks only sure things

How often does a wideout dominate as an NFL rookie? These seven have potential

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Last year’s rookie receiver class had Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith. The year before there was Justin Jefferson, CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy and Tee Higgins. And the year before then, Marquise Brown, DK Metcalf, A.J. Brown, Deebo Samuel, Terry McLaurin and Diontae Johnson were well-known names. 

I’m not even mentioning others who still have meaningful breakout potential. 

To put it bluntly, we’ve been spoiled little Fantasy brats when it comes to receivers. Colleges have done a great job refining and producing wide receivers, and NFL play callers are implementing them in ways similar to how they were used in school. There’s also an added premium on receivers who can make plays after the catch with physicality (like Deebo) on top of the always-coveted trait of speed. 

This year’s class does not have a perfect prospect like Chase was in 2021. Every single one of them has at least one significant concern that holds them back from being a “can’t miss.” However, they all have the potential to be quality Fantasy contributors as soon as Week 1 presuming they land in the right spot. 

I’ve ranked the receivers in this year’s class and offered a best- and worst-case Fantasy scenario for each. You can also access a deeper report on each player with Dynasty ramifications by clicking on their names. That way you’ll have an idea of what the Fantasy implications are for everybody no matter what team they’re with. 

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1. Garrett Wilson, Ohio State

  • Age as of Week 1: 22 | Height: 5-11 3/4 | Weight: 183 | 40-time: 4.38
  • 2021 stat line (11 games): 70-1058-12 on 102 targets
  • The low-down: Shifty, speedy, small. Extremely fluid athlete who got open with speed, footwork and technique. Awesome agility. Very good burst and acceleration – will outrun most NFL cornerbacks. Very good at adjusting to off-target throws. A zero when it comes to physicality.
  • Best-case Fantasy scenario: A West Coast offense that needs a No. 1 receiver capable of making plays at all three levels. 
  • Worst-case Fantasy scenario: A run-minded offense with a questionable long-term quarterback situation and a big-play receiver already on the roster. 

2. Chris Olave, Ohio State

  • Age as of Week 1: 22 | Height: 6-0 3/8 | Weight: 187 | 40-time: 4.39
  • 2021 stat line (12 games): 65-936-13 on 101 targets
  • The low-down: Instant-accelerating route-runner with modest size. Has incredible agility with room to add even more technique to his game. Experienced, savvy hands with very good awareness. Lean and not physical at all (two missed tackles forced in 2021). 
  • Best-case Fantasy scenario: A pass-heavy offense including a coach with a history of either unlocking a receiver’s physicality or successfully working around a receiver’s slight frame. 
  • Worst-case Fantasy scenario: An offense thin on receivers and with quarterback issues, potentially leading to a big role in a bad situation. 

3. Jameson Williams, Alabama

  • Age as of Week 1: 21 | Height: 6-1 1/2 | Weight: 179 | 40-time: n/a
  • 2021 stat line (15 games): 79-1572-15 on 115 targets
  • The low-down: Tall and slender with jaw-dropping, game-breaking speed. Zone-coverage dominator as cornerbacks feared his speed, making underneath throws easy. Not afraid of contact, but lean build kept him from getting physical. Too many throws were just out of his reach or caught at the hip, which was weird. Reports say a torn ACL suffered in January isn’t a major concern. 
  • Best-case Fantasy scenario: Any offense that frequently uses him the right way — slants, posts, corners and go routes — and has a strong-armed, accurate quarterback. 
  • Worst-case Fantasy scenario: Any offense that wants him for his speed not only on receptions, but to force safeties back so they can run more effectively. Also, any offense with question-marks at quarterback. 

4. Treylon Burks, Arkansas

  • Age as of Week 1: 22 | Height: 6-2 | Weight: 225 | 40-time: 4.55
  • 2021 stat line (12 games): 66-1104-11 on 88 targets
  • The low-down: Big, physical and faster-than-you-think receiver with room to round out his game. Caught an absurd number of short passes which led to plenty of yards after catch, but also displayed very good tracking and hands on deeper throws. Burst, acceleration and speed varied – sometimes it felt like he was lumbering, sometimes he was a massive NASA rocket. There’s room for improvement in terms of technique, route-running and concentration.   
  • Best-case Fantasy scenario: An offense where he can get coached up quickly and brought along in an RPO-style scheme, especially with an accurate short-area passer and without much competition for red-zone targets. 
  • Worst-case Fantasy scenario: A run-first offense that will ask Burks to block and either limit his early-season reps or force him into a full-time outside role right away. 

5. Drake London, USC

  • Age as of Week 1: 21 | Height: 6-3 7/8 | Weight: 219 | 40-time: n/a
  • 2021 stat line (8 games): 88-1084-7 on 119 targets
  • The low-down: A power forward on the football field. Size and strength made him a contested-catch beast. Knows how to use his body to win on off-target throws and has very good balance to stay on his feet. Still has route-running skills to master and a lack of burst and acceleration may limit explosive plays. Fractured right ankle kept him from being ready for prospect drills. 
  • Best-case Fantasy scenario: Any offense that lacks big bodies AND red-zone options — not just receivers. 
  • Worst-case Fantasy scenario: A team already stocked with big players, a strong run game and a conservative play-caller. 

6. Christian Watson

  • Age as of Week 1: 23 | Height: 6-4-1/8 | Weight: 208 | 40-time: 4.36
  • 2021 stat line (12 games): 43-801-7 on 58 targets
  • The low-down: Intoxicating blend of speed and height with potential to become a complete receiver. Smooth acceleration helped him speed past FCS-level competition. Long, gangly arms contributed to excellent catch radius. Does have concerns regarding his focus, hands and play-strength, plus missed time with hamstring issues last year. 
  • Best-case Fantasy scenario: He develops much quicker than anticipated and becomes a key component to an offense that needs size. A good coaching staff is key. 
  • Worst-case Fantasy scenario: He develops slower than anticipated and becomes a part-time contributor. 

7. Jahan Dotson

  • Age as of Week 1: 22 | Height: 5-10 5/8 | Weight: 178 | 40-time: 4.43
  • 2021 stat line (12 games): 91-1182-12 on 137 targets
  • The low-down: Sudden, twitchy receiver in a small package. Very good footwork meshed well with good burst, acceleration and speed to create separation. Real good hands with a catch radius beyond his size. Not shy about contact but not physical and figures to struggle with physicality in the pros. 
  • Best-case Fantasy scenario: A clever, aggressive offense with an already-established physical receiver that needs a speed element play after play. Might be best for Fantasy in the slot. 
  • Worst-case Fantasy scenario: Any offense that is conservative or has a question-mark at quarterback. 

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