This group is one that good fantasy managers will know well. Wide Receivers 41-80 offer a mix of high-upside youngsters whose ceiling seems unlimited and old reliable veterans who provide a stable floor. The variance in predicting their future fantasy production is exacerbated by the fact that many of them are free agents, so we must evaluate them without team context, which can be a beneficial exercise. It is more pertinent to know the player than their situation. I like to get a mix of the high floor and ceiling players from this bunch, but I would rather have more ceiling than floor, a bad blueprint for a carpenter, but a good plan for a fantasy manager. My team design requires I take at least three players from this group at the draft. Whether that is WR 2 through 5 on my rosters, or 3 through 6 is relatively inconsequential to me. Let’s analyze this group player by player. But first, take a look at the top 40 wide receivers for 2022 dynasty fantasy football if you haven’t already!
41. Cordarrelle Patterson | 30 | Falcons – After Cordarrelle’s 2021 breakout season, he could and maybe should be in the top 40, but age and my reluctance to put faith in a late-career breakout pushed him to 41. Atlanta would be wise to utilize Patterson similarly in 2022, with perhaps a few fewer touches perhaps. They will have to sign him to contract first, but a reunion makes all the sense in the world for Patterson and the Falcons.
42. Christian Kirk | 25 | Cardinals – 2021 was the final season of his Cardinals contract, and Kirk had a career year as he tallied 77 receptions for 982 yards. A speedy player who is strong after the catch. It will be of great interest to watch where the former Cardinal lands in 2022. Kirk provided decent production (3,374 total yards) in his 4 years with Arizona. Christian could make for a great slot receiver in the right offense.
43. Russell Gage | 26 | Falcons – Took over as the top target towards the end of the 2021 season. After a couple of seasons getting acclimated to the NFL, Gage has put up solid production in 2020 and 2021 totaling 136 receptions, 1,556 yards, and 8 TDs in 20 games played. The former LSU Tiger will be a free agent in 2022. Atalanta currently has one WR under contract for 2022 (2021 6th round selection Frank Darby, he of the one career NFL reception for 14 yards) and they would be wise to maximize their development of Gage by signing him to a multi-year contract.
44. Robert Woods | 29 | Rams – Under contract with the Rams but will have Odll Beckham Jr. to contend with. He had a solid nine-year NFL career and he’s been good with the Rams (5,11 yards from scrimmage in five seasons). The Rams salary cap will undergo some finagling this offseason and I cannot guarantee where he plays in 2022.
45. Courtland Sutton | 26 | Broncos – 6′, 4″ 215lbs, Sutton has the size to reach over smaller defensive backs on jump ball passes. Injuries and inconsistent QB play have clouded the outlook on Courtland. He has two 700 yard seasons, a thousand-yard season and one season lost to injury. A high variance player who is worth the risk.
46. Juju Smith-Schuster | 25 | Steelers – A very intriguing free agent in 2022. He vacillated between the 2nd and 4th option through his first 5 NFL seasons in the Pittsburgh passing attack. Juju has said he wants to return to the steel city, but a move to a new offense and more opportunities might be best for Smith-Schuster.
47. Tyler Boyd | 28 | Bengals – He’s the third target in the Bengals passing attack, but it’s a formidable attack, so Boyd is relevant. He offers a different look than many NFL receivers at the slot position with his size 6′, 2″ 205lbs. He’s on the right team with the right QB and will benefit greatly. 3,743 yards receiving and 21 touchdowns over the past four seasons in Cincy. Under contract with the Bengals for the next two years expect 800+ yards receiving and 5-7 Touchdowns over that span.
48. Adam Thielen | 31 | Vikings– After back-to-back seasons with 10 or more touchdowns, Theilen’s got that touchdown feelin’. Minnesota has an embarrassment of riches at the receiver position Justin Jefferson, K.J Osborn, and Ihmir Smith-Marsette are younger, faster, and less costly (fantasy ADP and real-life cap cost) than the nine-year veteran Viking. Thielen’s contract has three years remaining and the dead cap space lessens over the length of the deal, So I would expect the Vikings will keep Adam in Minnesota for at least one more season. Expect another season of 700+ receiving yards and, for whatever reason, double-digit TDs. After that, it’s anyone’s guess.
49. D.J. Chark | 25 | Jaguars – It’s fascinating to see how many quality NFL receivers were coached by Mickey Joseph, former LSU, and current Nebraska WR coach. Joseph can lay claim to Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, Russell Gage, Torrace Marshall, and D.J. Chark. Mickey trained these guys well, and Chark has too much athletic ability to be irrelevant. 6′, 4′” 200lbs and ran 4.3 40-yard dash Chark has size and speed that few players can match. A healthy year would be a boon for his career and the fortunes of his fantasy managers. D.J. is a free agent in 2022 and could be a difference-maker if he lands in the right system with the right QB.
50. Michael Gallup | 25 | Cowboys – The aptly named Gallup and athletic speedster measuring in at 6, 1″ 200lbs. Michael is on a disappointing recent career trend going from 1,107 yards to 843, to 445. A free agent in 2022, a new team might bring a fresh start and more targets. The Cowboys have a crowded WR room it would be nice for the former Colorado State Ram to find wider pastures. A smooth athlete who is quick enough to play well in the slot position, but has enough size to play outside, as well. Huge bounce-back candidate.
51. Corey Davis | 27 | Jets – 6′, 3′, 2215 lbs. The top possession receiver in the room, with good health Corey, should see more than 100 targets in 2022. He had 59 targets in nine healthy games in 2021, and he was closing in on 500 yards receiving with 4 touchdowns already in the bank before the injuries. With that kind of volume, the former 1st round selection should be able to get Jets fans dancing in New York.
52. Rondale Moore | 21 | Cardinals – Rare NFL athlete 5′, 7″ 180lbs with quickness, strength, and speed. 54 catches and 18 carries for over 500 yards in his rookies season. Rondale had four fumbles in 2021 and ball security must improve, or trust will become an issue. Take a shot on this boom or bust dynamo.
53. Joshua Palmer | 22 | Chargers– Sitting in the Cat Bird’s seat. If Mike Williams leaves via free agency, the WR 2 spot in L.A. would be in Palmer’s hands. The former Tennessee Volunteer had an acceptable inaugural NFL season with 33 catches 49 targets 353 yards 4 TDs in 2021. For me, Mr. Palmer is simply irresistible in 2022.
54. Laviska Shenault Jr. | 23| Jaguars – A 6′, 1″ 225lbs sturdy athlete with great run after catch abilities. 100 targets and zero touchdowns in 2021 for Shenault Jr. on what was one of the most disfunction NFL teams in recent memory. I am inclined to give Jaguars players a pass in 2021. If used properly this player could be a dynamic weapon in the run and short-area passing game. Getting production out of the 42nd selection of the 2020 draft would be a step in the right direction for new Head Coach Doug Pederson.
55. Kendrick Bourne | 26 | Patriots – Had a breakout season in 2021 and looks like the best Patriots receiver to me. 800 yads on only 70 targets are tremendous production. I expect the Patriots to recognize that Bourne is a well that’s worth a return trip. If they get 800 yards out of 70 targets, why not try 100 targets in 2022? under contract for two more seasons in Foxboro.
56. Allen Lazard | 26 | Packers – The former Blue chip recruit appears to have finally put it all together. A 6′, 5″ 227lbs. restricted free agent in 2022, I expect Packers management will speak with Mr. Lazard before he hits the open market. The former Iowa State Cyclone has compiled 1,440 yards receiving, and 14 touchdowns over the past three seasons in Green Bay. Allen is due for a big leap in 2022.
57. Mecole Hardman | 23 | Chiefs – As fast as they come (4.3 40-yard dash) and regularly improving taking his receptions from 26 to 41 to 59 over his first three years in the NFL. If you take kick and punt return yardage into account, Hardman has totaled 3,308 yards and 14 touchdowns in his career, and it feels like he hasn’t even scratched the surface of his potential. The former Georgia Bulldog has one more season in Kansas City, and I’m anticipating a breakout in 2022.
58. Jakobi Meyers | 25 | Patriots – Steady and reliable, but not spectacular. 1,595 yards receiving and 142 receptions in his last two seasons (31 games) in New England. Jakobi Meyers is the anti-Adam Thielen. Jakobi racks up the yardage but fails to find the endzone. The former NC State Wildcat will be a restricted free agent in 2022, and I would expect him to keep it parked in Harvard Yard for one more season, if not more.
59. Tim Patrick | 28 | Broncos – I think he fits this team well, and I’m not convinced Courtland Sutton is that much better than Tim Patrick, if at all. 6′, 4″ 215lbs under contract with the Denver for three more seasons, the veteran wideout put up 1,476 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns over his last 31 games with the Broncos. This guy needs more targets, and if he gets them, he will pay off big for fantasy managers.
60. Jarvis Landry | 29 | Browns – Ol’ reliable has put together an accomplished 8 year NFL career amassing 7,598 yards receiving, 1,292 kick return yards, 867 punt return yards, 239 yards rushing, and even 146 yards passing! Landry’s contract is structured in a way that makes him likely to be released ($1.5 mil dead cap hit to save $15 mil) in the offseason. He’s a fun player to watch and a damn good baller. I think he will do well for whatever team signs him. Wouldn’t he make a great Kansas City Chief?
61. Kenny Golladay | 28 | Giants – I never liked this signing for Golladay or New York. He is better than Darius Slayton, but Slayton is a close enough approximation that I think the Giants could find a better use for that $72 million they used to sign the former Detroit Lion. That’s not to imply Golladay is a bum, he’s not. 6′, 4″215 lbs and he had back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons in 2018 and 2019. The Giants must get better production from Golladay in 2022 and they better figure it out because he has a long and expensive contract.
62. Van Jefferson | 25 | Rams – Field stretcher who averaged 16 yards per catch in 2021 opens opportunities for his teammates underneath by forcing defenses to keep a safety deep. Jefferson’s target moved on up from 31 in 2020 (rookie season) to 89 in 2021. The Rams are trying to develop Van by giving him more opportunities. The former Florida Gator currently lacks the consistency (6 dropped passes in 2021) to be a 1 or 2WR, but he is still young and could develop consistency with more experience.
63. Julio Jones | 33 | Titans – It hurts to rank Julio this low. Julio Jones has built a hall of fame career including 879 receptions 13, 330 receiving yards, 61 touchdowns. He remains under contract in Tennessee until 2024. He restructured his deal in 2021 to make himself more affordable for the Titans. I would love to see the 6th pick of the 2011 NFL draft (Atlanta traded five picks to get him) come back healthy and be the player he was, but even if he does, it won’t be for more than a year or two. Is there enough juice in this passing offense to make Julio relevant in fantasy football this season? I keep the former Bama wideout on the list out of respect and the hope he returns to form.
64. Nico Collins | 22 | Texans – Could be the second target in the 2022 Houston Texans passing game. Davis Mills showed promise at the end of the season (only two ints in his final four games). If Mills proves to be a solid NFL QB, Nico Collins stands to benefit greatly. Collins was under-utilized during his college career at Michigan – a run-first offense. He’s a big receiver measuring 6′ 4″, 215lbs, and a great complement to the smaller and quicker WR1 Brandin Cooks. Nico is a potential breakout player in 2022.
65. DeVante Parker | 29 | Dolphins – Parker still has the frame (6′, 3″ 219lbs) to be an outside WR in Miami. The 14th selection of the 2015 draft career with the Dolphins has not gone swimmingly. DeVante has reached the one-thousand-yard threshold only once in his seven-year career. The former Lousiville Cardinal is under contract for two more years in Miami.
66. K.J. Osborn | 24 | Vikings – Drafted by the Vikings in the 5th round of the 2020 draft coming off a season in which he led the Miami Hurricanes in receiving. That is a terrific feat unto itself, but to add context, he wasn’t even on the Miami Hurricanes the previous year. In 2018 K.J. was stampeding through MAC defenses with the Buffalo Bulls. Osborn isn’t one of those “Little Engine that Could” guys who made the most of his meager abilities at a lowly MAC school and then maximized at the big-time P-5 school. No, K.J. is nowhere near maximized. He rocked the combine in 2020 by running a 4.48 40, blasting out 18 bench reps, and leaping to a 37.5 inch vertical! K.J. posted 50 catches on 82 targets totaling 655 yards and seven touchdowns in 2021. The upside here is significant.
67. Donovan Peoples-Jones | 23 | Browns – His breakout seems so close. The talent and pedigree have always been there. He was the number 1 wide receiver recruit coming out of high school. Rated a 5-star .99 composite on 247 sports coming out of Detroit. DPJ put solid numbers at Michigan but didn’t fulfill the promise that a 5-star recruit brings (few do). Jones fell to the 6th round of the 2020 draft where the Browns scooped him up. Donovan’s weakness is getting open through press-man coverage. I have DPJ in a few leagues and I am hoping he has learned to use his size (6′,2″ 215lbs) and speed (4.4 forty-yard dash) to beat press-man coverage and finally live up to those 5-star expectations.
68. Bryan Edwards | 23 | Raiders – Training camp superstar the past two seasons getting daily reports of incredible leaping catches. Edwards was productive as the primary target for an overmatched South Carolina team against the rest of the SEC. The 6′, 3″ 215lbs wideout was selected by the Raiders in the 3rd round of the 2020 draft. He’s got a muscular athletic build and is great after the catch. Might remind long-time Raider fans of Jerry Porter. Bryan battled injuries during his rookie season. The former Gamecock’s reception and yardage totals significantly increased from 11 catches for 193 yards in 2020 to 34 receptions for 571 yards in 2022. Edwards is expected to be one of the starters at outside receiver for the Raider in 2022. This is an exciting player ready for a breakout.
69. Curtis Samuel | 25 | Commanders – Built like a 3rd down back, 5, 11″ 200lbs, can provide fantasy production in the run (5 career rushing TDs) and passing game (14 career TD receptions). Curtis is a player that can beat defenders on a deep route, or take a short pass and breakaway for a big gain. Head Coach Ron Rivera liked him so much when they were together in Carolina that he traded for Curtis Samuel after getting the job in Washington. The former Ohio State Buckeye will be a Commander for at least one more season. He and Ron Rivera plan to get the most out of 2022.
70. Terrace Marshall Jr. | 21 | Panthers – 6′, 2″ 200lbs possession receiver who gets the most out of his build. He was gaining traction in training camp before getting injured. Still young and still good and still a proud member of the LSU WR factory. Don’t overpay, but Marshall could be a late-round steal in 2022.
71. Sterling Shepard | 29 | Giants – Slot receiver and chain-mover can open in a short area passing game. Sterling has a six-year NFL career without a single 1,00 yard receiving season. The former Oklahoma Sooner offers a solid floor, but a limited ceiling for fantasy managers. Injuries have been an issue in the past, and I don’t expect them to dissipate as he ages. I’m unsure where Shepard plays in 2022, He is under contract in New York until 2024, but the Giants and Shepard have a potential way out of the contract this offseason, and separation might be best for all parties involved.
72. Will Fuller V | 27 | Dolphins – A 1st round pick in 2016 coming out of Notre Dame after running a blistering 40-yard dash of 4.32 seconds at the NFL combine. Fuller has not had more than 53 catches in a year, or a thousand yards receiving season in his six-year career. Rostering Will Fuller V is an endless chase of upside and speed. The former Texan remains the ultimate wildcard entering free agency in 2022 after an injury-riddled 2021 season; so what else is new?
73. Marquez Valdes-Scantling | 27 | Packers – An absolute burner (4.37 40-yard dash) with ideal size (6′, 4″ 205lbs), Valdes-Scantling has the physical gifts to be a top WR but has struggled with dropped passes throughout his career. The former NC State Wildcat has worked on the drops reducing his total from an untenable seven in 2020 to an ideal zero in 2021. Marquez. Valdes-Scantling is a sneaky good free agent this season and I will be interested to learn where he plays in 2022.
74. K.J. Hamler | 22 | Broncos – Dynamic waterbug (5′, 9″ 175lbs) receiver who has had troubles staying healthy. He’s only played 16 games in two NFL seasons. K.J. is an exciting player when he has the ball. He’s gotta get out of bounds when possible to avoid taking big hits. The former Penn State Nittany Lion’s slight built will not hold up to regular punishment from NFL defenders.
75. Marvin Jones Jr. | 31 | Jaguars – 496 receptions, 6,857 yards, and 55 TDs during his decade-long career. The former Lion and Bengal has decent size 6′, 2″ 200lbs, and is still quick enough to get open. He remains under contract in 2022 with Jacksonville and is by far their most experienced and reliable WR.
76. Robby Anderson | 28 | Panthers – Year two in Carolina blue didn’t fit Robby as well as year one. He went from 95 catches and 1,096 yards in 2020; to 53 catches and 519 yards in 2021. He’s a tall, lithe athlete (6′, 3″ 190lbs) with experience in Head Coach Matt Rhule’s system dating back to their time together at Temple University. Robby is under contract in Carolina for two more seasons but could be a cap casualty in the offseason. I think a return to the Panthers under a team-friendly contract would work well for both team and player.
77. Dyami Brown | 22 | Commanders – Dyami is an intriguing player for me. Washington will be looking for a new Quarterback this offseason and Head Coach Ron Rivera has stated they are looking at adding a QB through the draft or free agency (How enlightening, I know). If he chooses to go in the direction of the draft, Sam Howell is an option. Howell and Brown were dynamic together in college in North Carolina. 106 receptions for 2,133 yards and 20 TDs in their two years together at Chapel Hill. This would be reunion fantasy managers should celebrate. Hey, it worked for Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase…
78. Cole Beasley | 32 | Bills – Older slot receiver has been dependable throughout his career. Isiah McKenzie seems to be coming for his spot, but if Beasley is out there with Josh Allen, he is worth a play. The former SMU Mustang will be coming off back-to-back 82 reception seasons in Buffalo, and the feisty Texan will return for at least one more year in Orchard Park.
79. Quintez Cephus | 23 | Lions – Was the go-to guy in Detroit for the first five weeks of 2021. This former Wisconsin Badger is a strong player (23 bench reps at the combine in 2020, tops among all WR) who is a great run blocker. At 6, 1″ 220 lbs, Cephus can work on the outside. The burly wideout also had success as a red zone target in 2021 catching two TDs in only 5 games played. His 40-yard dash (4.73 seconds) at the 2020 combine was the slowest of all WR, but his 20-yard shuttle (4.33 seconds) was 9th out of 25, so he isn’t exactly a turtle out there. Cephus is a sneaky-good value late in fantasy drafts.
80. A.J. Green | 33 | Cardinals – Contract situations can be unpredictable, but it appears A.J. will remain in Arizona for the next two seasons. The 4th overall selection of the 2011 draft has put together an impressive 11-year career receiving for over 10,000 yards and totaling 68 touchdowns. Green’s lost some speed, but still stands 6′, 4″ tall, so he can compete on jump balls. 54 catches for 848 yards was a pretty good first year in the desert. He may have a few more years of similar fantasy production in the Cardinals’ high-flying offense.