I've ranked and tiered 25 receivers that you can feel comfortable making the wide receiver one on your fantasy football team. You don't have to lose sleep digging into the advanced stats, targets, or touchdowns cause I dug through that for you.
*The Following Top 25 Wide Receiver Rankings are based on a PPR league.
The 25 Best 2022 Fantasy Football Receivers
Fantasy Football success is predicated on opportunity and upside. There's no point in playing for second place - Only the winner gets the championship belt and money. As a wise man once said, "If you ain't first, you're last."
I shoveled through a lot of shit to settle on these 25 receivers. The stats I like most are obvious: Targets, Receptions, Target Share, and Yards per Target. For a receiver to be successful, the quarterback needs to give em the damn ball, to paraphrase Keyshawn Johnson. It helps if they're racking up a pile of yards while catching the ball - Big play ability is essential to their upside.
After that, I like receivers that have shown a trend of steady touchdowns and red zone targets. A pile of TDs is the quickest way to rack up fantasy football points. Lastly, an obvious bonus is a high-paced offense that throws the ball with reckless abandon. Every time the quarterback puts the ball in the air, it's coming down with more fantasy points.
Tier One: Fantasy Gods
These fantasy football receivers could be drafted with the first pick in any PPR league, and I wouldn't be mad at ya. Of course, you should still select Jonathan Taylor first, but if you don't, make sure it's one of these guys.
1) Justin Jefferson
As a Green Bay Packers fan, Justin Jefferson makes me sick to my stomach. The man says he wants to go for 2000 yards, and I think he can do it! I don't want any Minnesota Vikings to have success ever, but wouldn't 2000 yards be cool? I'm getting soft as I age.
The reasons for picking JJ are countless, we're not just drinking Kool-Aid here. Jefferson holds the record for most receptions and receiving yards through his first two seasons. In 2021 he racked up over 1600 yards on 108 receptions and pulled down ten touchdowns. Jefferson was also top ten in red zone targets and averaged 15 yards per reception. Those numbers will increase following Minnesota's coaching change.
The Los Angeles Rams, where new coach Kevin O'Connell comes from, called more passes and played at a faster pace than the Vikings. O'Connell is also a former QB, so I don't expect him to have the same affinity for running the ball as Mike Zimmer (or Sean McVay) did. Package all that together, and you got a wide receiver who's worthy of the number one pick.
2) Cooper Kupp
If winning the triple crown in 2021 isn't enough for you, know that last season wasn't an anomaly. Over the past three years, Cooper Kupp averages more targets, receptions, and yards per season than any other receiver. He also led the league in red zone receptions by a country mile.
On top of that, Mathew Stafford feeds the fuck outta his receivers. No need to worry about Kupp losing his target share to Allen Robinson. Calvin Johnson didn't break the single-season receiving yard record by accident.
Tier Two: Surefire First Round Receivers
Missed out on your favorite running backs and the top two receivers? No fear, this next tier of fantasy football receivers are all worthy of your first-round pick.
3) Davante Adams
I wanted to have the following guy number one, but it's hard to ignore Davante Adam's consistency - target share be damned. Hunter Renfrow can run routes as well as anybody... Except for Adams, and Tae is much more physically dominant, making him a better red zone target. That's why Davante averages over 11 touchdowns per season over the past three seasons compared to Renfrow's five.
So even if they average a similar number of targets and receptions between the 20s, Adams will be eating where the money is made.
4) Ja'Marr Chase
Ja'Marr Chase arrived in the NFL like a bat out of hell. His rookie numbers were jaw-dropping. He's electrifying. But most importantly, Chase is a fantasy football stud with the highest upside out of anyone on this list, including Jefferson. He's who winners pick, a home-run hitter.
Ja'Marr put up a ridiculous 18 yards per reception as a rookie and saw the end zone 13 times. He 'only' had 81 receptions and shares the field with two other talented receivers. But I don't care about any of that cause he has the highest upside. His week 17 performance (you'll recognize this date as your fantasy football championship) is something only a few receivers can even dream of.
5) Mike Evans
Touchdowns are worth an unbalanced amount of points in fantasy football, and Mike Evans averages more touchdowns than any receiver over the past three seasons. He put up 14 in 2021, and his running mate, Chris Godwin, is coming off a torn ACL. He's also matchup proof, watch the snuff film of him against Jalen Ramsey if you don't believe.
6) Stefon Diggs
Josh Allen loves him some Stefon Diggs, and the Buffalo Bills love throwing the football. Diggs has averaged 141 targets over the past three seasons at 13.3 yards per reception. The cherry on top is Buffalo's volume - The Bills were top five in pace and pass plays and sixth in total plays per game.
7) Deebo Samuel
Even with Jimmy G's inability to push the ball downfield, Deebo Samuel still averaged 18.2 yards per reception. The fun doesn't end there, though, cause Deebo doubles as a running back for the San Francisco 49ers offense. The '9ers still aren't set in the backfield, so expect Deebo's attempts on the ground to remain plentiful, nobody pays that kind of money on a shiny toy to park it in the garage. Especially Kyle Shanahan; see Robert Griffin's knee.
8) Keenan Allen
The NFL's unsung hero averages 151 receptions over the past three seasons. The Los Angeles Chargers are sure to get Keenan Allen the ball, especially in high leverage situations, like third down. Allen and the Chargers have a ton in common with Diggs, and the Bills, as the team also ranks in the top five in pass plays, pace, and total plays.
Tier Three: Wide Receiver Ones
I wouldn't love to burn a first-rounder on these guys, but they're all worthy of being your number one receiver.
9) CeeDee Lamb
CeeDee Lamb is now the man in Dallas. Amari Cooper moved on to Cleveland, one of the few teams with less playoff success than the Dallas Cowboys over the past 25 years. That leaves the Cowboys without a proven number two receiver.
Lamb only had 79 receptions on 116 targets last season, but I expect those numbers to go through the roof in 2022. For all of the Cowboys' faults, none of them can be attributed to CeeDee or Dak Prescott. The Cowboys led the league in yards in 2021, and a heavy percentage of that yard share will be allocated onto Lamb's shoulders.
10) Tyreek Hill
We're not playing to field a mediocre team, so Tyreek Hill's upside is still coveted. However, Hill averaged an impressive 13.2 yards per reception from 2019 to 2021. Jaylen Waddle averaged 9.8 yards per reception last season - Tua Tagovailoa doesn't push the ball downfield. Hill can take the ball to the house from the backfield or on a screen, but it'd be a real shame if he doesn't get to blow the top off of the defense in Miami.
11) Chris Godwin
Yes, he's coming off a torn ACL and already has a teammate on this list, but Tom Brady can't get enough of Chris Godwin. Godwin had 20 more receptions than Evans last season and averages about 13 more per season since '19. The Bucs also threw the ball 50 more times than any other team in 2021, so the opportunities are always there for Godwin. His only downside is he doesn't get the touchdown share.
12) Diontae Johnson
Don't let the Pittsburgh Steeler's disgusting 2021 offense scare you off of Diontae Johnson. Johnson was targeted a whopping 166 times last season. Unfortunately, he could only haul in 106 of them cause it was the bloated husk of Ben Roethlisberger throwing the ball. With a more cohesive offensive line and improved quarterback play (assuming Kenny Pickett gets the nod), Diontae Johnson should continue racking up unfathomable volume.
Tier Four: Wide Receiver Ones That I Like
I like these guys as much as the tier above, but other fantasy experts might strongly disagree.
13) D.J. Moore
You know what makes receivers better? Not having Sam Darnold or post-2018 Cam Newton as their quarterback. Has D.J. Moore ever had an average quarterback throw him the ball? Well, he has the world's most average QB throwing the ball now, and he'll be better for it. Moore gets a ton of volume and has since 2019, but almost no nose for the end zone, evidenced by his four TDs in 2021. However, he has 14.3 yards per reception for his career, so there's definite big play ability.
14) D.K. Metcalf
Mike Evans with a much shittier quarterback situation. Metcalf should be quarterback proof, but we have no idea how bad Geno Smith and Drew Lock will be. Like Evans, Metcalf is a hulking presence, nearly unguardable in the red zone. Unlike Evans, the Seahawks won't forego the run under Pete Carroll, so there's a considerable risk in taking Metcalf too early.
15) Terry McLaurin
There are very few instances where Carson Wentz will be an upgrade at quarterback, but the Washington Commanders are one of them. If Terry McLaurin had competent quarterback play, he'd be a tier-two receiver. Taylor Heinicke could not throw the ball downfield, so the Commanders couldn't take advantage of McLaurin's game-breaking speed. That won't be an issue with Wentz, who loves taking ill-advised shots all over the gridiron.
16) Tee Higgins
17) Mike Williams
Both Mike Williams and Tee Higgins should be higher on this list, but the fact that they're firmly the number two guys on their team scares me off a bit. Nevertheless, either guy makes a solid number one receiver - They get good looks, are mismatch nightmares, have great quarterbacks, and other guys taking all the attention. Definitely good enough to be the number one receiver most weeks.
18) Tyler Lockett
I don't know what Tyler Lockett has to do to get talked about as a top receiver, but he's consistently overlooked. Especially in fantasy. All he's done over the past three seasons is average 116 targets, 85 receptions, 1100 yards, and nine touchdowns. If you look up consistency in the dictionary, you get Lockett.
Tier Five: Fringe Ones
These guys can be your wide receiver one, but you'll want to draft your second receiver sooner rather than later.
19) A.J. Brown
With all the chatter coming out of Philadelphia Eagles camp, I'm excited to draft A.J. Brown. At his best, he falls into the D.K. Metcalf, Mike Evans mold of guys who go beast mode on defensive backs. Unfortunately, there have been consistency issues, as he only averaged 62 receptions a year. And I'm not sure having Jalen Hurts as his quarterback will alleviate those woes. But, he still managed to put up eight touchdowns a season on the run first Titans, and excitement around Hurts for 2022 is palpable.
20) Hunter Renfrow
I don't expect the Raiders to have much of a run game in 2022, so even with the arrival of Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow will still command a pile of targets. There's too much of a repertoire between Carr and Renfrow to think he won't be a highly active weapon on offense.
21) Brandin Cooks
Davis Mills is a good quarterback, and Brandin Cooks is the only guy on Houston worth throwing the ball to. Cooks has proven to be quarterback-proof throughout his career. No matter the team or the QB, he gets 100 targets, 1000 yards, and five touchdowns. The man's a clock.
22) Rashod Bateman
Don't look up his 2021 stats, they won't do you any good. Rashod Bateman is the biggest swing on this list, but the Ravens are putting him in a position to win big. After Mark Andrews, there's nobody else to throw to on the Ravens roster. And make no mistake, LaMar Jackson fucking loves to chuck the pigskin downfield. Look at the damage Hollywood Brown caused in Baltimore. Bateman should be a more complete receiver than Brown, and the Ravens will be better in 2022.
23) Jaylen Waddle
I like Jaylen Waddle, but I'm dubious of the Dolphins' offense. Waddle was targeted 138 times last season, how many of those looks will continue to go his way with the better version of him on the field too? If we knew Tua could throw anything other than crossers, I'd be much higher on both Hill and Waddle cause they wouldn't be doing the same thing all game.
24) Hollywood Brown
I'm not sure if people know this, but Hollywood Brown gets a ton of action. He averages 105 targets and seven touchdowns per season for his career. He's now gonna be catching balls from Kyler Murray, who is a much more accurate quarterback than LaMar. He'll also be the undisputed one in Arizona until Hopkins returns.
25) Michael Pittman Jr.
I expect a breakout campaign from Michael Pittman Jr. With teams stacking the box against Jonathan Taylor and competent quarterback play from Matt Ryan, Pittman should live up to his billing as a number one receiver. He managed over 1000 yards, 88 receptions, and six touchdowns, with the Colts' offense working against him. Seeing how he does in a more balanced ecosystem will be exciting.