As we get closer and closer to training camp (which is less than two weeks away), I am continuing on with my positional rankings for the 2022 season. We’ve already done quarterbacks and running backs. Now, it’s time to take a look at the wide receiver position, one of the biggest and most important positions in today’s NFL.
I have ranked the top 20 NFL wide receivers right now. There were a lot of tough choices to make this week as there are so many talented, freak athletes at this position. Not to mention, there are typically two more wide receivers on the field than any other offensive position, making the talent pool that much deeper.
Honorable Mentions: Odell Beckham Jr. (FA) & Michael Thomas (New Orleans Saints)
Both players are coming off injuries and may still be on the shelf for weeks, if not months, to start the season. So, until we see them on the field again and performing at a high level, I cannot include them on this list.
20. D.J. Moore (Carolina Panthers)
19. Allen Robinson (Los Angeles Rams)
18. Adam Thielen (Minnesota Vikings)
17. Amari Cooper (Cleveland Browns)
16. Terry McLaurin (Washington Commanders)
15. CeeDee Lamb (Dallas Cowboys)
14. Tyler Lockett (Seattle Seahawks)
13. DK Metcalf (Seattle Seahawks)
12. Chris Godwin (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
11. A.J. Brown (Philadelphia Eagles)
10. Keenan Allen (Los Angeles Chargers)
Coming in at number 10 for me is Chargers WR Keenan Allen. I feel like Allen is one of the most underrated receivers in the league. When you think of the top WRs in the game, his name might not immediately pop into your head. He’s not one of the flashy, give-me-the-money receivers. But he is one of the most consistent wide receivers and one of the best route runners in the league.
Since coming into the NFL in 2013, Allen has put up 1,000+ yards in five out of his nine seasons. However, he did have 725 yards through eight games in 2015 before having season-ending surgery on a lacerated kidney. Then, he tore his ACL Week 1 of the 2016 season. And he also missed the 1,000-yard mark by only eight yards in 2020. So, really, he could’ve topped that feat eight out of nine times. Regardless, Allen has had at least 1,135 receiving yards and six TDs in three out of the last four seasons. With three years left on his $80.1 million contract, the 30-year old should continue to put up big numbers in a Justin Herbert-led offense.
9. Mike Evans (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Speaking of underrated, Mike Evans is another wide receiver who I think we sometimes forget just how good he really is. Evans has put up at least 1,000 yards each of his eight NFL seasons. He is the only player in NFL history to start his career with eight straight 1,000-yard seasons. (Randy Moss is second with six.) Beyond that, Evans has become one of Tom Brady’s favorite red-zone targets, racking up 27 receiving TDs over the last two years.
In his eight-year career, Evans has 606 receptions for 9,301 yards (15.3 yards per catch) and 75 TDs. I honestly wish I could put him higher on my list, but the other receivers I have ahead of him are just so dynamic and have some physical traits that just can’t be matched. So Evans is my ninth-best receiver heading into 2022.
8. Deebo Samuel (San Francisco 49ers)
Deebo Samuel is one of those players with a freak skillset and athletic abilities. He is pretty much changing how wide receivers are used, as the 49ers use him in a multitude of ways. Every team wants to find the next Deebo Samuel, that jack-of-all-trades receiver who can line up anywhere on offense and make the defense pay for it.
Samuel recorded his first 1,000-yard receiving season in 2021, as he caught 77 passes for 1,405 yards (18.3 ypc) and six TDs. He also had 365 rushing yards and eight TDs on 59 handoffs, finishing with 1,845 all-purpose yards and 14 TDs… and he was banged up last year too. (He only missed one game but it seemed like he was always dealing with an injury.) Before getting switched to the “wide-back” role for the last eight games of 2021, Deebo had 49 receptions for 882 yards. If he kept that up, he would’ve finished second in the league in receiving yards. (He was on pace for 98 receptions and 1,764 yards.)
7. DeAndre Hopkins (Arizona Cardinals)
DeAndre Hopkins is an interesting one here. Hopkins, just like Beckham Jr. and Thomas, is coming off a season-ending injury. He is also suspended for the first six games of the season for violating the league’s performance enhancing drug policy. But, when he is on the field and healthy, D-Hop is one of the best in the game. He is probably top five, if not top three. So I chose to not give him an honorable mention (I think he’s a tier above OBJ and Michael Thomas anyways), but he did drop a few spots.
Excluding last season, in which he only had 572 yards through 10 games before getting hurt, Hopkins put up at least 1,000 receiving yards in six out of eight seasons. His best receiving seasons came in 2015 (1,521 yards and 11 TDs), 2017 (1,378 yards and 13 TDs), and 2018 (1,572 yards and 11 TDs). Hopkins has also had four seasons with over 100 receptions, as he is usually at the top of all categories for receiving stats. We’ll see how the 30-year old responds this season once he returns to a WR room that now has Marquise Brown, A.J. Green and a rising Rondale Moore.
6. Ja’Marr Chase (Cincinnati Bengals)
Ja’Marr Chase took the league by storm in 2021. A top prospect coming out of LSU after finishing 2019 with 1,780 yards and 20 TDs, everyone loved that Joe Burrow got to reunite with his former top target. The only concern was that Chase wouldn’t be able to get the ball if the Bengals offensive line couldn’t protect Burrow. Well, he got the ball alright. Chase finished fourth in the league last year with 1,455 receiving yards, and third with 13 TDs. The Bengals weak offensive line play eventually caught up with them in the Super Bowl though. However, after revamping the offensive line this offseason, Burrow and Chase should be in for a huge second season together.
5. Justin Jefferson (Minnesota Vikings)
One of the most even trades in NFL history, the Vikings did not lose one step, drafting Justin Jefferson after trading away Stefon Diggs. Another top LSU product, Jefferson had 1,570 yards and 18 TDs with Joe Burrow and the Tigers in 2019. He then got to the NFL and put up 88 receptions, 1,400 yards and seven TDs as a rookie, and then followed that up with 108 receptions, 1,616 yards and 10 TDs in 2021. We’ll see what kind of numbers he will put up this year in Kevin O’Connell’s new offense.
4. Stefon Diggs (Buffalo Bills)
And now, the other half of that even trade… our guy Stefon Diggs. Diggs is the WR1 that the Bills sought out for years, and he came at a perfect time with Josh Allen breaking out in 2020. Yes, Allen improved all facets of his game, but Diggs played a huge part in that, giving him someone who he knew he could always throw to.
In Diggs’ first year in Buffalo, he led the league in receiving yards (1,535) and receptions (127). (He also had eight TDs.) In 2021, Diggs had 1,225 yards and 10 TDs on 103 receptions. Diggs was always solid in Minnesota – he had 1,000+ yards in two of his five seasons there as well as 30 TDs – but he never popped off like he did in Buffalo. The Bills are perfect for Diggs and Diggs is perfect for the Bills… It’s a match made in heaven. (Year three loading…)
3. Tyreek Hill (Miami Dolphins)
In my top three is Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill. After burning the Bills in the Divisional Game last year, it confirmed to me that there is no one like Cheetah. He is one of those wide receivers who has those physical attributes, like blazing speed, that cannot be matched. In six seasons with Kansas City, Hill had over 1,000 yards four times, was named a First Team All-Pro three times, and was a Pro Bowler each year. For his career, Hill has 479 receptions, 6,630 yards (13.8 ypc), and 56 TD.
Hill will be put to the test this year though as he went from Patrick Mahomes to Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback. Mahomes could just throw the ball anywhere on the field and Hill would run under it to make the catch. Tua doesn’t have the arm strength that Mahomes does, so expect a lot of crossing patterns, slant routes, and screen passes designed for Hill. We’ll see just how good he is and if he can still make his magic happen, or if defenses will finally be able to (somewhat) contain him.
2. Cooper Kupp (Los Angeles Rams)
At number two is Rams WR Cooper Kupp. Kupp absolutely exploded last season, leading the league in receptions (145), receiving yards (1,967), and receiving touchdowns (16). It was an insane year for the Super Bowl champ, who topped 1,000 yards for just the second time in his five-year career. Kupp was always a solid wide receiver in real life (and in fantasy), but last year was one of the best seasons we have ever seen.
I’m not sure if a lot of people know this, but Kupp dominated college football from 2013-2016. Playing at Eastern Washington, Kupp had at least 1,430 yards and 16 TDs in all four seasons. He has the most career receiving yards out of any college division with a whopping 6,464 yards. He also holds multiple FCS records, including 73 receiving TDs. Check out the rest of his crazy records here!
1. Davante Adams (Las Vegas Raiders)
And my number one wide receiver for the 2022 season is… Davante Adams. It’s incredible how easy Adams makes receiving look. He was one of my fantasy receivers last year and I knew that I could count on him every week to put up huge numbers. Like on Christmas Day against the Browns for example. I was rooting for Adams to get the ball every time the Packers were on offense, and he pretty much did. It was as simple as that. He finished the game with 10 receptions for 114 yards and two TDs, and most of those came in the first half.
What’s crazy to me though is that, as good as he is, he only has three 1,000-yard seasons. Adams finished two seasons with 997 yards, but still, he has finished over the landmark in just three out of eight seasons. He does, however, have five seasons with 10+ TDs. Adams is a five-time Pro Bowler and has been named a First Team All-Pro twice, all coming in the last five seasons.
He doesn’t have Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball anymore, but he does have Derek Carr, his former college QB. Adams put up a career high 1,553 yards last year (and 11 TDs), and I can see him putting up similar numbers this year.
I am planning on ranking another position next week, but am not sure which one I want to tackle. (Ha – get it?) Leave a comment either on here, BF Twitter, or BF Facebook and let me know which position you want me to rank next!