Now that the 2022 NFL season is over and we’re well into the playoffs, I figured it was time to analyze some NFL rookies. I’m ranking the wide receivers who just completed their rookie season. I’ll look at how they did, what to expect in the future, and how I’d rank them after the 2022 season. This can help in many ways, like giving you names to buy low on potentially or guys you should sell now. These dynasty rankings are meant to help you figure out what to do with these rookie wide receivers.
Rookie receivers are expected to perform usually first-year in. When one doesn’t play at all, that decreases their value greatly. When one over-performs, their value can skyrocket. However, there’s always a prime opportunity to get in on a wide receiver that does just enough in their rookie year to showcase their potential. In future articles, I’ll look at the wide receiver positions. So, let’s start by analyzing how to value these rookie running backs properly and what the crystal ball tells us for their future. Some potential future studs listed below can be had extremely cheap right now. Be sure to take advantage of the price discount! All scoring will be based on Superflex PPR, 6-point touchdown leagues.
Stats come from Fantasy Data and Pro Football Reference. There are a lot of surprises. Be sure to comment on Twitter, and I’ll answer any questions! I can’t wait to see how these wide receivers look a year from now. Check out my prior all three of my prior rookie dynasty rankings.
Wide Receiver Rookie Dynasty Rankings
1. Garrett Wilson, New York Jets
Who else could be number one in my rookie dynasty rankings other than the Offensive Rookie Player of the Year for the NFL? He was pure dominance despite a lackluster passing attack on the Jets. I can’t wait for him to get a big-time quarterback, or even just Derek Carr, since he would be a top-12 wide receiver with better quarterback play. After all, Wilson was the WR21 despite playing with Zach Wilson, Joe Flacco, and Mike White. He had an excellent True Catch Rate of 84.5 and ran 2.13 yards per route. Both of these stats showcase a growing elite talent that just needs more and better targets. He broke a rookie-high ten tackles showing how elusive and hard to bring down he is. I would’ve liked more than his 1.62 points per target, but that’s still really good, considering the offense he was in.
Wilson played in all 17 games and saw 77% of the snaps with a 23.2% target share. That was the third highest among rookies. He did lead rookies in receptions (83), yards (1,103), red zone targets (18), targets (147), and was tied for second in touchdowns (4). The fact that he saw 147 targets points to him being by far the number one rookie in these dynasty rankings or in general. With better targets, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him surpass his 13.3 yards per reception (Y/R) and lower his five drops.
I would be buying Wilson above any 2023 rookie wide receiver. I’d do it if you have someone high on the 23’Draft and can deal a mid-first and late-first round pick from this draft. Wilson’s that legit and proven. You’re hoping Jordan Addison, Quentin Johnston, or another becomes what Wilson is. Buy Wilson if you can, or HOLD him if you have him. He’s an absolute stud.
2. Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints
We knew that Olave was an elite route runner with a ton of speed and good hands entering the season. However, I don’t think anyone expected him to explode as he did in his rookie season. Besides Wilson, he was the only other rookie wideout to reach over 1,000 yards (1,042) and was tied for second among rookies in receptions (72). He averaged a superb 14.5 Y/R and had 11 red zone targets. Having wide receivers that get red zone targets on your dynasty roster is a must. Olave was second in targets (119) and team target share (25.6%). Olave led all rookies in air yards (832), drops (7), yards per route (2.62), and PPG (13.2) over his 15 games. He finished as the WR25, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him never finish that low over the next five years, assuming he’s healthy.
Olave needs to work on the drops, but the rest of those stats are beautiful. He’s the definition of an elite young wide receiver that’s a deep threat for your dynasty roster. If you have him and Wilson on your team, you’re the envy of the league, similar to how dynasty owners got Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson in the same draft after the 2020 draft. Olave was easily my number two in my rookie dynasty rankings, although London made it close. Chris is a great player to hold in a dynasty or acquire in a rebuild. As the Saints get better quarterback play, Olave is a threat to finish top-12, especially if he improves upon his already-strong 1.72 fantasy points per target.
3. Drake London, Atlanta Falcons
The giant wide receiver proved why he’s an alpha wide receiver for the Falcons after his Week 18 game when he had six catches for 120 yards. That was just part of his impressive rookie season despite playing on a stagnant rushing-oriented offense. He had 72 receptions for 866 yards, 12 Y/R, four touchdowns, and 117 targets. He led all rookies in snap share as well, with 79.6%, and in target share at 29.3%. That’s nearly a third of the offense’s targets! London will be a monster in the NFL as the Falcons’ quarterback situation improves. If they remember Pitts is still alive, that will open up route lanes for London to get higher-quality targets.
London finished as the WR31 on the season, and I don’t see him finishing lower than WR26 next year. He’s my number one rookie wide receiver to acquire if you’re rebuilding. He’s got elite size, good hands, and consistently runs deep routes, evident by his 2.19 yards per route. If you’re rebuilding, try to acquire him. If you’re looking to get younger at the wide receiver spot by dealing a veteran, focus on London. He’s a future fantasy football star.
4. Christian Watson, Green Bay Packers
Watson surpassed many expectations this season, including mine, with his strong chemistry and play with Aaron Rodgers. If only he could’ve stayed healthy, as I’d have loved to see how many touchdowns he could’ve scored over an entire 17-game season instead of his 14 games. Still, Watson had solid numbers with 41 catches on 66 targets for 611 yards, 14.9 Y/R, seven touchdowns, and 80 rushing yards on seven attempts with two touchdowns. Despite an average 56% snap share and 14.4% team target share, Watson still put up massive analytic numbers such as a 106.1 True Catch Rate, 2.32 yards per route, and 2.69 points per target.
I love those numbers since it shows that Watson’s a reliable target despite a normal 1.62 target separation. He makes catches on all types of throws. That’s a quarterback’s dream. Combine that with the high amount of deep routes that lead to big plays, and there’s plenty of upside to love. Watson’s deeper targets and routes can lead to more fantasy points, and impact plays. That’s something you want on your dynasty roster. If/when A-Rod leaves Green Bay, see if you can buy Watson. The hype will die down for him with the switch to Jordan Love. He’s young and talented, with the potential to be a high-end WR2 in the future. He already averaged 11.7 ppg, which would’ve placed him much higher than his WR40 finish. Buy Watson now.
5. Jahan Dotson, Washington Commanders
He’s higher than most other dynasty rankings, but I believe in the upside for Dotson. He seems most capable of proving this dynasty ranking right with how his part-time rookie season went. Despite multiple injuries and appearing in only 12 games, he had seven touchdowns and a high 14.9 Y/R. He saw 61 targets and caught 35 of them for 523 yards, surpassing the 500-yard threshold for rookies. He saw a strong eight red zone targets showcasing his dangerous touchdown potential for the future.
Dotson had a notable 1.9 target separation but a lackluster 1.36 yards per route. He did see 75.5% of the snaps, which is important since it means he’s on the field a lot during games. The way to score fantasy points is by having players who are on the field. Dotson does that and performs when healthy. Perhaps the biggest indicator for his future rise up these dynasty rankings is the fact that he scored 2.27 points per target. That’s significant. Yet, there’s very little hype for Dotson. See if you can’t buy low on him for multiple seconds or as a multi-player package. I think he’s yet to come close to his potential or future floor.
6. George Pickens, Pittsburgh Steelers
Pickens is a player that will be much higher after a full starter’s workload next year in my dynasty rankings. He had a great rookie season despite playing behind Chase Claypool and with multiple quarterbacks and in an awful offensive system. Pickens’ rookie season, he had 52 receptions on 84 targets for 801 yards and four touchdowns. He saw a solid 15.3% of the targets and played on a decent 77.8% snap share. He even had 24 rushing yards and a touchdown as well. Pickens had a terrific 1.94 points per target plus an average of 1.48 yards per route. That latter stat surprised me, considering he had an average Y/R of 15.4, but it does show that Pickens didn’t always run deep routes.
These stats, combined with the fact he’s one of the few rookies to play in all 17 games, give me a ton of hope for his dynasty future. He finished as the WR39 this year. I bet that’s the lowest he’ll finish for the next five years. His value is high in dynasty, so you’ll have to pay up to get the potential WR2. I’d hold if I had him on my squad. His price will just go up, and there are zero reasons to sell now. He and Pickett have solid chemistry to be another great wide receiver/quarterback fantasy duo.
7. Jameson Williams, Detroit Lions
We got robbed of a highlight reel rookie season of Williams when he tore his ACL in the College Football Championship last year. Luckily, he returned to where he played in six games in his rookie year. Despite that, he barely saw the ball due to a variety of factors, such as timing with Goff, protecting him, and getting him into their evolving offense. I’d expect a massive year for Williams next year, though, through the air and the ground. Williams had two highlight plays this year, both for touchdowns. He caught a 41-yard touchdown pass as his only reception on nine targets. Then, he ran in a touchdown rush of 40 yards. Buy the hype for Williams, especially if someone’s selling low on him.
8. Treylon Burks, Tennessee Titans
Burks was extremely tough to rank because he produced but failed to play in many games or reach the 500-yard threshold. Ultimately, I gave him the benefit of the doubt that he would’ve gone much more than 500 yards had he been healthy and not missed six games. His final numbers were 33 receptions on 54 targets for 444 yards and a touchdown, plus 47 yards on the ground over four attempts. He had a strong 13.5 Y/R and a good 16.1% of the team targets. He was more than a catch-and-drop guy as well, with nearly 200 yards after the catch.
Burks was excellent in contested catches with a rate of 66.7 and ran an excellent 2.16 yards per route. One last good analytic to back up Burks’ good dynasty future is that he had 1.94 points per target. That’s good, considering he played with quarterbacks like Malik Willis and Josh Dobbs. Buy Burks as a cheap young wide receiver, or go after him in a rebuild. With better quarterback play, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Burks break out next year. His health will determine how far he goes.
9. Romeo Doubs, Green Bay Packers
Doubs dealt with multiple injuries throughout his rookie season, which prevented him from hitting the all-important 500-yardage mark for rookies. However, I had zero doubt that he would’ve hit that mark, considering he had 42 receptions for 425 yards on 67 targets over 13 games. He led the Packers wideouts in target share with 16.2% and a healthy 65.8% snap share. Doubs had a terrific True Catch Rate of 92.9 and a good 1.55 yards per route.
If he hadn’t been injured, we might’ve seen Doubs finish with a higher, but still good, 1.58 points per target. Regardless, there is one thing to worry about, and that’s his nine drops. If the Packers bring in another receiver, Doubs will have to shore his hands up, but still, see if you can’t buy him. Acquiring him for a second-round pick or so sounds reasonable to me if you’re a believer in Jordan Love or Doubs.
10. Wan’Dale Robinson, New York Giants
It wasn’t very good to see Robinson suffer a torn ACL right when he was starting to get more work as the potential WR1 of the Giants. I put him tenth in my dynasty rankings solely because he’ll have a job next year in a growing passing attack and due to his upside. Players return far better than they used to from torn ACLs. I’ll buy the upside despite Big Blue bringing in at least one new wide receiver. Robinson had a strong 2.02 yards per route in addition to his 23 catches on 31 targets for 227 yards and a touchdown. He saw 19.6% of the team targets during the games he played. If he can return as the same player he was, he can become a WR2/3 in dynasty.
11. Rasheed Shaheed, New Orleans Saints
Shaheed emerged out of nowhere to become the Saints’ elite deep ball threat. He was extremely strong to finish the season and has risen far up my dynasty rankings. Hopefully, he will get a more significant workload next year with a new quarterback. Otherwise, he’ll be a lucky flex-play in dynasty if he repeats his rookie season of 28 catches on 34 targets for 488 yards and a 17.4 Y/R. He had 57 rushing yards on four attempts for a touchdown as well.
Shaheed was the best deep threat among all rookies. He ran a rookie-high 2.97 yards per route and had 3.31 points per target. I’m willing to overlook the barely missed 500-yard threshold and say he’s a buy right now. Shaheed could easily continue climbing the dynasty rankings if he continues at this pace and gets more work next year with his hands and fantastic speed.
12. Alec Pierce, Indianapolis Colts
Pierce reached the big rookie cut-off receiving yardage mark of 500 with 593 yards on 41 catches over 78 targets. There’s a lot of belief and evidence that when a rookie wideout doesn’t reach 500 or more receiving yards, then he won’t ever be a name to have in the dynasty. Pierce reached that despite playing with three mediocre quarterbacks. He averaged a healthy 14.5 Y/R and had 13.9% of the team targets. He had a healthy 1.48 points per target and played on over 65% of the snaps. I’d do it if you can get Pierce for a third-round pick or as a throw-in. He should be far better next year with whichever rookie quarterback Indy brings in.
13. David Bell, Cleveland Browns
I was never a big believer in Bell, but he showed some potential with Watson at quarterback. The Browns will throw more with Watson, which gives Bell a slight edge over Skyy. That and the fact he was on the field more with a 49.7% snap share. Bell had 24 catches for 214 yards, 8.9 Y/R, 35 targets, and three drops. If you can sell Bell, I would. He played in 16 games but failed to do much and had a horrible 0.82 yards per route. I want guys that can get deeper into the field on every route for a better chance of raking in the fantasy points. Bell is a short-depth target that isn’t getting fed the ball. Plus, he failed to hit the crucial 500-yardage marker as a rookie.
14. Skyy Moore, Kansas City Chiefs
Oh, Skyy Moore, how times have changed. You were one of the fantasy community’s favorite prospects entering the draft and season. Now, you’re one of the best buy-lows in dynasty after a rough rookie year. Moore never got into a groove on the field or the rotation with the Chiefs. However, he did show how he could be an impact player in the Super Bowl with the Chiefs. With a lot of uncertainties in the Chiefs’ wideout room, I’d buy Moore as a throw-in piece despite a rookie year with 22 catches for 250 yards on 33 targets. He had some good numbers to give me hope for the future, such as a 90.5 True Catch Rate, 2.24 Target separation, and an ability to run the ball.
15. Khalil Shakir, Buffalo Bills
Shakir saw his role grow as the season went on to the point that perhaps you could see him have a future as the WR3 of the Buffalo Bills. I wouldn’t be buying into that idea, though. He had only ten catches on 20 targets for 161 yards and a touchdown. There wasn’t much to get excited about Shakir other than the fact we’ve seen other Bills wide receivers blossom after a year or two of mediocre results. He’s a pure stash and drop if you need the space guy in dynasty.
16. John Metchie III, Houston Texans
It was devastating to hear that Metchie would miss his entire rookie year due to cancer. The good news is that he’s doing really well and should be back for next season. The fact that he didn’t play at all, and it wasn’t due to a physical injury, helps secure his dynasty value. The Texans have far bigger needs than wide receiver and will look to have a new rookie quarterback next year. This gives a lot of upside to Metchie going into next year. Stash him on your dynasty rosters, or see if you can’t acquire him really cheaply. It’s all upside from here.
17. Tyquan Thorton, New England Patriots
This player shocked many NFL fans when the Patriots took him on Day Two of the NFL Draft. I can’t say anyone expected him to be taken so high, and he didn’t prove worthy of it, either. After recovering from a preseason broken collarbone, he played in 13 games but only had 22 receptions on 45 targets for 247 yards. This was despite the fact he saw a large cushion rate of 5.01 yards. He had five drops and only 11% of the team targets. One last miserable analytic is that he averaged only 0.73 yards per route. That’s horrific. Sell him for anything you can get.
18. Kyle Philips, Tennessee Titans
Philips was a preseason darling but failed to make much of an impact in the four games he played before suffering a season-ending injury. He had eight catches on 13 targets for 78 yards. The good news is he ran an analytic-favoring 1.81 yards per route and saw 13.4% of the team targets in his four games. He’s worth stashing on the bottom of your dynasty roster if the Titans can pass more next year, but he’s one of my first guys to drop if you need space.
19. Velus Jones, Chicago Bears
Jones made no sense in being picked as high as he was by the Bears. He certainly didn’t prove worthy of being picked on Day 2. He was effective in the return game with 607 yards and as a wide receiver rusher. He saw 103 yards on nine carries and a touchdown. That’s near as many yards as he had through the air with 107 yards on seven catches over 14 targets. Jones is destined to be a reliable WR4/5 and return specialist in the NFL, but nothing more than that. In Dynasty, he belongs on the waiver wire.
20. Jalen Tolbert, Dallas Cowboys
Tolbert was a major letdown. He was a total non-factor on a Cowboys team that needs help at wide receiver. He had his chance, too, when Michael Gallup and James Washington both missed time to start the season. Instead, Tolbert saw three targets on the year, with two catches for 12 yards. His dynasty stock is waiver fodder.
Let me know your thoughts on my rookie wide receiver dynasty rankings! Be sure to check my author page for more dynasty analysis articles!
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