Reception Perception Perceived
ReceptionPerception.com is the most underrated tool in fantasy. They see how often WRs are open on each route. I've analyzed what routes and coverages matter by X, Y, and Z position to predict who's the next star WRs, and included XYZ depth charts, because no one else has.
If you haven't signed up for RP, click the link and sign up because they will help you win championships. It is subscription based, $19.99 a year for a basic membership, $29.99 for premium, $99.99 for VIP, totally worth it. I see far too many analysts post RP player charts without giving credit to RP. I have too much respect for Matt Harmon and James Koh to share their data, but I will be diving deeper into their process.
Split End, Slot and Flanker Explained
There are three main positions at WR - split end (X), slot (Y, sometimes H), and flanker (Z).
X is on the line of scrimmage, not going in motion, they're typically (but not always) the team's best receiver, because they face the most man coverage, press coverage and double teams. X examples include Davante Adams, Mike Evans, and Ja'Marr Chase.
Y is the slot receiver, between the offensive tackle and outside WR. It's the toughest receiver, because they're sifting through the middle of the field, running shorter, high risk routes with big hitters coming at them. Y examples include Cooper Kupp, Keenan Allen and Hunter Renfrow.
Z is typically more of a speed receiver. Unlike X, the Z's are often off the line of scrimmage, so they're allowed to motion away from their CB and find soft spots in the zone. Because they're usually off the LOS, they get a couple yards to build up speed before getting walled by a CB. Z examples include Deebo Samuel, Tyler Lockett, and Marquise Brown.
2022 XYZ Depth Charts
Note - This depth chart is accounting for injuries and suspensions.
XYZ Position Changes
Most receivers will be playing the same position next season. I predicted a couple position changes:
What Routes and Coverages Matter?
I tracked what routes and coverages the top ten X, Y, and Z receivers faced at above average rates.
X - nine (go route), dig (in route), corner, comeback, man coverage, zone coverage, press coverage, double team coverage
Y - flat, screen, curl, slant, out, other (option routes, etc), zone coverage
Z - out, flat, comeback, slant, screen, zone coverage
Rookie outside receiver score (based on X/Z routes and coverages)
Rookie slot receiver score (based on Y routes and coverages)
Michael Pittman Jr. could become a top five WR next season with Matt Ryan throwing him more accurate passes.
Tyreek Hill could lead WRs in points since he's moving back outside. Outside receivers = higher average depth of target, more chunk plays.
Elijah Moore stays underrated, even outside against press, he dominates.
Courtland Sutton should be better now that he's fully healthy.
Allen Lazard really might get outplayed by *gulp* Sammy Watkins.
JuJu Smith-Schuster is an excellent slot receiver, who is got an alpha outside receiver, but is being undervalued by many analysts, including me.
Kadarius Toney could be the Giants best WR.
Terrace Marshall is one of the worst WRs in RP history and is undraftable.
Diontae Johnson is one of the best WRs in football and, judging by Big Ben last season, QB proof.
DeVonta Smith is going to be great for a long time.
Jaylen Waddle might lose targets, but his ADOT should increase, as should his receiving yards.
CeeDee Lamb could lead WRs is points if he takes over Amari Cooper's Z role.
Van Jefferson is cheap in drafts, is underrated on RP, and is a great handcuff if you draft Kupp in the first round.
Chris Olave, like DeVonta Smith, is going to be great for a long time. He's cheap in drafts, going to be a great #2 in N.O. if Michael Thomas is healthy. If MT isn't healthy, look out fantasy world.
Jalen Tolbert could surpass Michael Gallup at X when Gallup is healthy, or potentially move into the slot.
Drake London is not just a big body. He's a smooth route runner who knows how to get open.
Christian Watson is someone I've been vouching for all offseason. I still believe he will lead the Packers in receiving.
Jameson Williams is overrated. He could be on the PUP list and miss the first six games, and is a bad fit with Jared Goff.
George Pickens is overrated. A square peg in a round hole with Diontae Johnson having played X, Claypool having played Z and likely moving to the slot, and Calvin Austin around to slide into the slot as well.
Wan'Dale Robinson is overrated, both in the slot and outside.
Garrett Wilson could light it up in the slot.
Kyle Philips had my curiosity by turning heads in training camp. Now, he has my attention.
Calvin Austin could take the slot role in Pittsburgh by midseason.
Treylon Burks has the physical tools, and target opportunity, but his RP is concerning.
John Metchie didn't perform well in routes designed specifically for slot WRs.
Justyn Ross is undraftable.
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