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Competitive NFL Receiving Corps to Avoid in 2022 Fantasy Football Drafts

amon-ra st. brown fantasy football rankings NFL DFS lineup picks

There is fantasy value on every NFL team. I can't name a single team where I would fade the whole team no matter what.

But there are teams that are trickier than others to figure out. Maybe it's because there are too many cooks in the kitchen. Maybe it's because those cooks aren't very good at cooking. Maybe it's because the executive chef (the head coach in this metaphor) of the restaurant (team) is really bad at delegating responsibilities and ignores half of his sous chefs for some reason.

Anyway, today we're going to talk about some receiving corps to avoid this year. For the most part, I mean receiving corps where there's maybe one guy who is a step ahead of the others, and then after that, it's such a mess that you don't know where to look. A good example of this is the first team we'll look at: the Lions. Amon-Ra St. Brown is good. After that...IDK!

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Detroit Lions Receivers - Fantasy Outlooks

Amon-Ra St. Brown is the best receiver on this Lions team. At some point, a healthy Jameson Williams will push him for that role and Detroit will be all the better for it.

But with Williams expected to miss much of his rookie season, the Lions will have to make do with St. Brown plus a host of other guys.

D.J. Chark will have the first shot at the No. 2 role, but Chark's per-game numbers have slipped each of the last two seasons. In four NFL campaigns, Chark has had one good season and one "ehh, it's fine" season.

Beyond Chark, there are some solid depth pieces like Quintez Cephus, Josh Reynolds, and last season's No. 2 receiver, Kalif Raymond. Lot of mouths to feed, which will lead to only St. Brown having consistent fantasy value.

 

Buffalo Bills Receivers - Fantasy Outlooks

Yeah, lots of people are all in on Gabriel Davis this year. But I think that beyond Stefon Diggs, there are three solid receivers fighting for snaps on this team, which is going to sap the value from the non-Diggs guys.

Last year, Stefon Diggs had full control of this receiving unit, with 164 targets, 25% of the team's total targets.

Cole Beasley was second with 112 targets, then Emmanuel Sanders had 72. Gabriel Davis saw 63 targets. Isaiah McKenzie 26.

Beasley and Sanders are gone, but the team signed Jamison Crowder, who'll compete with Davis and McKenzie for snaps. Someone here will emerge in the Beasley role, but that role only accounted for 693 yards last year. Someone can be the other outside receiver across from Diggs, but that role accounted for 626 yards.

The non-Diggs guys are going to cannibalize each other's value again this season.

 

New England Patriots Receivers - Fantasy Outlooks

For most of these teams, there's one clear top guy and then question marks. For the Patriots, there are two guys who might be the No. 1 guy, then some talent behind them that will also be fighting for snaps.

The problem for the Patriots is usage patterns. Jakobi Meyers led the team with 126 targets last year, but despite ranking 20th among all receivers in targets, he had just 13 targets in the red zone, with two touchdowns. Mac Jones looked other directions in the place on the field where receivers can earn more fantasy points.

The team signed DeVante Parker this offseason, who spent the last seven seasons with the Dolphins and has two seasons with over 100 targets. He'll pilfer some of those chances away from Meyers, which really will just leave both players with fewer targets than you'd need to feel comfortable with them in fantasy.

Then there's Kendrick Bourne, Nelson Agholor, and second-round pick Tyquan Thornton, who'll all also be part of the equation. And that's not to mention that the Pats have historically liked to target tight end and running back. Per FantasyPros, the Patriots targeted wide receiver at the eighth-lowest rate last year.

 

Baltimore Ravens Receivers - Fantasy Outlooks

We know the Ravens like to run. We also know the Ravens like to throw to tight end Mark Andrews. The team targeted tight end 172 times last year, the second-most in the league behind the Dolphins.

Because the team didn't target running backs much, there were still 337 targets available last year for the wide receivers, with 146 of those going to Marquise Brown. So, 43.3% of the WR targets went to one player.

That player is gone, but Rashod Bateman should step up in his absence to take on this role as the primary wideout. And that leaves limited opportunities for the rest of this receiving corps. Devin Duvernay, James Proche II, and Tylan Wallace should all rotate in and out of the lineup, making it tough to find receiver value here beyond Bateman.

 

Chicago Bears Receivers - Fantasy Outlooks

The Bears probably should have devoted this offseason to getting some real weapons for Justin Fields.

Instead, he enters 2022 with Darnell Mooney as his top target, which is theoretically okay...if there was a receiver who was close to Mooney's talent on the roster to pair with him.

But the Bears receiving corps right now looks like this: Equanimeous St. Brown, Byron Pringle, N'Keal Harry, Dante Pettis, Tajae Sharpe, and rookie Velus Jones Jr.

That's a lot of guys whose NFL careers have largely been disappointing and who come to Chicago after failed tenures elsewhere. Guys like Pettis and Sharpe probably won't make the final roster, but enough of these veteran retreads will that it will cloud the playing time picture for Jones, who probably is the second-most talented receiver on this team.

 

Atlanta Falcons Receivers - Fantasy Outlooks

With Calvin Ridley suspended and Russell Gage now in Tampa Bay, the Falcons have a lot of holes in their receiving corps.

Thankfully for the team, Drake London was on the board when the team made its first-round draft pick, as they're going to wind up asking a lot of London.

But beyond London, there's not much to like here. Tight end Kyle Pitts and "running back" Cordarrelle Patterson will eat up a lot of targets, leaving a questionable crew fighting for leftovers. Can you trust Bryan Edwards or Olamide Zaccheaus in fantasy? Are they really better than the backups like Auden Tate and Damiere Byrd?

 

Dallas Cowboys* Receivers - Fantasy Outlooks

There's an asterisk here because at some point this season, the Cowboys receiving corps will settle in with CeeDee Lamb as the main guy and Michael Gallup as the clear No. 2.

But that won't be until Gallup returns from his ACL tear. We don't know exactly when that will be, so for at least the first few weeks of the season, you'll want to avoid wide receivers on this team who aren't Lamb.

It looks like Jalen Tolbert should start the season as the No. 2 receiver, but he's a third-round rookie. Will he be effective from the jump?

And if he isn't, is there really a world where we trust Noah Brown or Simi Fehoko in fantasy?

I don't think so.



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