XYZ WRs - Preseason Week 1

Training camp and preseason is the best time to track X, Y and Z receiver depth charts and target pecking orders. Don't want to read weeks worth of camp rotation notes? I got you. 32 teams, 32 sleeper WRs.

2022 XYZ DEPTH CHART

Arizona Cardinals

Rondale Moore

ADP - 14th round

  • Someone besides Marquise Brown will need to step up during DeAndre Hopkins' six-week suspension. Rondale Moore runs a 4.2 40 in an air-raid offense, and his middle name is DaSean. If that's not incentive enough, idk what else to tell you. Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said in March as well as June that Moore's role is going to expand and people are going to see a different Rondale Moore. Previous slot/backfield YAC guys Christian Kirk and Chase Edmonds are gone. This YAC monster is the third WR from AZ that I want.

Atlanta Falcons

Bryan Edwards

ADP - 28th round

  • It appears Terrell Owens Randy Moss Bryan Edwards is going to start ahead of training camp walking highlight reel Auden Tate. In the slot is Olamide Zaccheaus. Most analysts say to ignore Falcons WRs not named Drake London. I know Kyle Pitts and Cordarrelle Patterson are basically WRs, but Edwards is a #2 WR on a bad team that is going to pass a lot. Zachheaus is cheap as well. Of course, Big Z doesn't have Jon Gruden's stamp of approval. At least have these guys on your radar.

Baltimore Ravens

James Proche

ADP - 30th round

  • The departure of Marquise Brown has opened up a #2 WR spot in Baltimore. Unlike Atlanta, the Ravens do not target RBs frequently, so the #2 WR should be third in the target pecking order behind Rashod Bateman and Mark Andrews. While Devin Duvernay received more playing time in 2021, he's missing reps with a thigh bruise. My favorite sleeper in Baltimore is James Proche, who is having a stellar training camp and will start in the slot. If he gets flanker reps over Duvernay as well, watch out. L-Jax just dropped a 70 yard bomb to him on Thursday. Proche was the most targeted WR in college football a couple years ago. 459 college targets and just 9 drops throughout his college career. I'm targeting Proche, a potential #2 WR, in all drafts.

Buffalo Bills

Isaiah McKenzie

ADP - 20th round

  • The talk of the offseason has been Gabriel Davis, but the talk of training camp has definitely been Isaiah McKenzie. The stud kick returner has opened camp as the starting slot receiver, a role that Cole Beasley has held down for the past few seasons. Beasley is gone, and most assumed Jamison Crowder would fill in nicely. I even theorized that fifth-rounder Khalil Shakir could start in the slot. But it's been McKenzie who has been starting in the slot during camp, while Crowder and Shakir have been working with the backups. While analysts knock McKenzie's seasonal stats, Bills HC Sean McDermott has stated that McKenzie will have a full-time role at WR this season. He's electric with the ball in his hands, and may provide even more juice than Beasley has in years past. With the division on the line last season, when Beasley and Davis were out, Lil Dirty had 11 catches for 125 yards and 1 TD. He followed that up with 6 catches for 65 yards and 2 TDs versus Miami. His ADP is climbing and surely will rise more, but he's still very much worth a draft pick in a passing offense with an elite QB throwing to him.

Carolina Panthers

C.J. Saunders

ADP - Undrafted

  • Who the f%&k is C.J. Saunders?! Rarely is there a potential starting NFL WR that I've never heard of. This training camp is the year it's happened. Saunders was buried in the depth chart on the Ohio State football team for five seasons before being denied a sixth year of eligibility. Instead of taking time off or playing for the USFL or XFL, he became a graduate assistant coach for Ohio State in 2020 before joining the Panthers in 2021. He's now receiving first-team reps in the slot ahead of Terrace Marshall, who was one of Reception Perception's worst WRs in history. T-Marsh was in a battle with Josh Gordon for the worst starting WR in 2021. I have zero faith Marshall will become a fantasy contributor. The passing game should be improved with Baker Mayfield. Saunders doesn't even have a top 400 ADP. But if he can keep at it and earn a spot in the rotation, he should be drafted. Let your league mates ask who the f%&k C.J. Saunders is, and give him a chance to prove the doubters wrong.

Chicago Bears

Equanimeous St. Brown

ADP - 18th round

  • Darnell Mooney is going to be a target hog, and Byron Pringle was expected to be the #2 WR. But nipping at Pringle's can is Equanimeous St. Brown. The 6'5" former Packers WR has been tearing it up at Bears camp. He was drafted in 2018, and in three games of his rookie year with five targets, he had 89, 53, and 94 yards. He missed all of 2019, four games of 2020, and was then buried behind Allen Lazard and Marques Valdez-Scantling on the depth chart. But he's now on the Packers rival team, and is pissed. I love this article's headline: Equanimeous St. Brown is furious the Packers cut him and it's showing. Oh, and his brother is Amon-Ra St. Brown. Love seeing NFL family ties.

Cincinnati Bengals

Stanley Morgan Jr.

ADP - Undrafted

  • The first stable starting WR trio of this article, there's obviously no bench WR who could compete for a starting spot. However, Tee Higgins is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. In case that lingers, Tyler Boyd would move outside to flanker in two-WR formations. But in three-WR sets, there's a battle between veteran WR Mike Thomas and Stanley Morgan Jr. Despite the same name and junior in his name, Morgan Jr. is not related to the former Patriots WR. However, Morgan Jr. made the most catches of anyone on the first day of camp, and on day three he caught two TDs, including a couple highlight reel worth catches. He's regarded as the best run blocker and special teamer amongst Bengals WRs, so his roster status is safe, and he could be the one to fill in if Higgins suffers a setback. He's not worth drafting, but worth a throw in your watch list in case something happens to the top three Bengals WRs.

Cleveland Browns

David Bell

ADP - 23rd round

Dallas Cowboys

Noah Brown

ADP - Undrafted

  • James Washington was projected to be the slot WR, but he suffered a Jones fracture and will miss most of the season. The new projected slot WR in Dallas isn't a WR at all, it's RB Tony Pollard, who's been lining up in the slot in training camp. And there's rumors of a Cole Beasley reunion. However, Pollard lines up in the backfield too. When he does, the current #3 WR in Dallas is Noah Brown. Brown is having a great camp. He and Lamb are the only active Cowboys WRs with a catch last season. Amari Cooper is in Cleveland, Cedrick Wilson Jr. is in Miami, Michael Gallup is at least out in Week 1 and is a potential PUP candidate. Brown could potentially offer flex value. Jalen Tolbert should be drafted in all leagues, and offers starting flex value until Gallup returns. And Brown is worthy of late-round consideration.

Denver Broncos

Montrell Washington

ADP - Undrafted

Detroit Lions

Josh Reynolds

ADP - 29th round

  • D.J. Chark's vertical style doesn't mesh with Jared Goff, who only threw deep balls when Brandin Cooks was on the Rams. Perhaps that will change, but I'm not holding my breath on that to change. So I'm out on Jameson Williams too, who will likely miss at least the first six weeks of the season. Perhaps he'll blow up when healthy, but I like to draft WRs I'm confident in. The potential #2 WR in Detroit is Josh Reynolds, who had 50+ receiving yards in five of his six healthy games in 2021.

Green Bay Packers

Romeo Doubs

ADP - 21st round

  • Every single #1 WR Aaron Rodgers has played with in 18 years produced at least WR2 fantasy stats. Rodgers has stated many times that Allen Lazard is the #1 in Green Bay. But if you're nervous about his seasonal stats, the most talked about GB WR in camp is not 2nd round rookie Christian Watson (who I love but has been injured), it's 4th round rookie Romeo Doubs. Rodgers said he's made at least one "wow" play every day, and the ones who made as many wow plays as Doubs wound up being in the top ten Packers in receiving history. Davante, Jordy, Jennings, Cobb, is elite company. Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst says Doubs has had a "great start" to camp. He's a deep threat specialist who has burned 4.2 40 and elite on-field speed CB Eric Stokes. QB Jordan Love says he's making the tough catches "look easy", thanks in part to his HUGE 10 1/8" mitts (third largest hands among the top 18 rookies). Unless Watson returns with a vengeance, or Sammy Watkins returns to fantasy relevance from SIX SEASONS AGO (we old y'all), it appears that Doubs is going to start at the X receiver position. His ADP on the rise at pick 250. It wouldn't surprise me if he's going in the top 150 by September. Draft Doubs and smoke your competition. (It's actually pronounced dubs, so pick up dubs with Doubs.)

Houston Texans

Nico Collins

ADP - 21st round

  • Nico Collins had a disappointing season to some. He had 446 receiving yards and just one TD. That might sound like a failure of a rookie year. He did suffer a shoulder injury, missed three games, also played with a foot injury and a hip strain. Thankfully, Reception Perception gives us the chance to see beyond the box score. Collins was better at getting open than Jerry Jeudy, Gabriel Davis, Amari Cooper, Courtland Sutton, Chase Claypool, and others. He has great body control with his contested catches. His speed is underrated, 4.42 40 time at 6'4", with 19.7 yards per catch as a junior at Michigan. Here are some Davis Mills quotes: "Obviously his talent is off the charts, we've just got to find ways to get him the ball." "I don't think there's many people out there who can stop him." It's worth noting that Mills was first in passer rating of throws 20+ yards downfield. Collins has the momentum of a sophomore breakout, future #1 WR, and the future could be now.

Indianapolis Colts

Parris Campbell

ADP - 24th round

  • Michael Pittman Jr. is the most underrated WR in football. He was the sixth best WR at getting open, even better than triple crown king Cooper Kupp, rookie receiving record holder Ja'Marr Chase, and others. He's not just a big body. He's a true #1. With his limitless potential and a clear upgrade in passing accuracy with Matt Ryan, I genuinely believe he has WR1 overall within his range of outcomes. But someone else has to catch passes. Parris Campbell is having a helluva camp. His acceleration in and out of his routes is elite. He has a long list of injuries, but unlike KJ Hamler, these aren't injuries that should affect his speed this season. An accurate QB and YAC guy is like peanut butter and jelly.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Marvin Jones

ADP - 18th round

  • It's odd to say that a former 1,000 yard WR in his eleventh season is undervalued, but isn't that what Marvin Jones is every season? Jones led Jags in all receiving stats. Yes, Christian Kirk will likely be the #1 WR. But Zay Jones and Laviska Shenault have not lived up to their 2nd round status. It's worth reminding that Urban Meyer was likely the worst head coach in NFL history. With an improved offense and a "generational" QB in Trevor Lawrence, Marvin Jones could return to his 1,000 yard status.

Kansas City Chiefs

Skyy Moore

ADP - 12th round

Las Vegas Raiders

Keelan Cole

ADP - Undrafted

  • Whoever is the #3 WR in Vegas will probably not be a flex option. Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, and Darren Waller are taking the majority of targets. But there's a battle for starting status, and the leader on the unofficial depth chart is Keelan Cole. The former Jags and Jets WR has five games with at least 100 yards receiving in five seasons. Demarcus Robinson has just one game with at least 100 yards in six seasons. Mack Hollins has never had a 100 yard game. Tyron Johnson is intriguing. No 100 yard games, but 4 of his 20 catches went for at least 50 yards in 2020. Out of this uninspiring group, I'm most confident in Cole.

Los Angeles Chargers

Josh Palmer

ADP - 19th round

  • Josh Palmer took over as WR3 ahead of Jaylen Guyton over the last five weeks of 2021, out-snapping him 66% to 33%, out-targeting him 27 to 16, and out-catching him 18 to 13 during that span. He's been running with the starters in camp. With Justin Herbert throwing the ball, and the Chargers running three-WR sets 64% of the time, Palmer is potentially a flex-worthy WR even without a Keenan Allen or Mike Williams injury. And is the 30 year old Allen starting to decline? Reception Perception, Allen dropped from the 16th best WR at getting open in 2020, to the 24th best WR at getting open in 2021. Allen will still be steady, but it's possible that his days of being a WR1 is over. Herbert said, "it's a different Josh Palmer out there" this offseason. Palmer had the third highest PFF grade on rookie WR contested catches. Another underrated sophomore breakout candidate.

Los Angeles Rams

Tutu Atwell

ADP - 19th round

  • It's difficult to find a sleeper WR with the Rams who inspires confidence. I called Van Jefferson the best handcuff WR, but he just had a knee cleanup procedure. If he's not ready for Week 1, my prediction is Tutu Atwell will be the backup Rams WR to roster in fantasy. The second round pick had a disastrous debut season. 8 games, 10 offensive snaps, zero targets. But Cooper Kupp says he sees positive growth in Atwell's second year, and he's "flying around, making some tough plays." Ben Skowronek played more on offense last year, but he's a bigger body WR. And Jefferson, like Atwell, is a deep threat flanker. Matthew Stafford has one of the best deep balls in the league, and with Kupp and Allen Robinson gobbling up targets, I'm chasing the long TDs. It's boom or bust for Atwell, but he's put together an encouraging string of nice practices. Stafford launched a deep pass to him on Thursday. with 4.32 40 speed, and a late round ADP, I'm okay with taking Atwell as a low-risk, high-upside pick.

Miami Dolphins

Cedrick Wilson Jr.

ADP - 25th round

  • Cedrick Wilson Jr. is another elite handcuff WR option. If you draft Tyreek Hill or Jaylen Waddle, it's not a bad idea to have Wilson Jr. holding it down on your last roster spot. Wilson will start in the slot (although he's battling TE/WR hybrid Mike Gesicki for slot snaps). Wilson was ninth in the NFL in receiving yards from the slot, fourth in TDs from the slot. He caught 73.8% of his targets, and had 9.9 yards per target, both ninth in the NFL among all receiver positions. He has just five career drops in four seasons. He's a highly underrated WR with sneaky speed who could save your lineup from disaster if Hill or Waddle gets injured.

New England Patriots

Kendrick Bourne

ADP - 21st round

New Orleans Saints

Chris Olave

ADP - 10th round

  • Chris Olave has one of the cleanest Reception Perception rookie profiles in history, getting open at an above average rate on every kind of route except digs. His deep speed matches Jameis Winston's big arm. Michael Thomas should be ready for Week 1. But if he isn't, Olave is a must-start player. And if MT is ready, Olave is still a flex option. The last time Winston started and finished a season, Chris Godwin was the WR2 and Mike Evans was the WR5 in points per game. Olave reminds me of Godwin. Jarvis Landry is going to do the dirty work with short catches, YAC and run blocking. That's fine. Olave will feast on big time plays. He's as high of a double digit upside pick as there is.

New York Giants

Kadarius Toney

ADP - 10th round

  • One of my favorite tweets of the offseason: "Scholars maintain that Kadarius Toney has never lost a game of tag." If this clip doesn't show how dangerous Toney is with the ball in his hands, nothing will. Toney was one of just six WRs to average 2.2+ yards per route and a 30+ percent target share when active in 2021. Kenny Golladay looked washed up in 2021. Sterling Shepard tore his achilles in December. I'll be surprised if he plays this season. Wan'Dale Robinson is in the slot, which means Toney will be playing outside more. More outside WR reps means more deep balls. And new Giants HC Brian Daboll comes from the Bills offense, where Stefon Diggs thrived. No, I'm not suggesting Toney is Diggs, or Daniel Jones is Josh Allen. I'm just saying that as the #1 option in Big Blue, Toney will outperform his ADP.

New York Jets

Elijah Moore

ADP - 8th round

  • The first WR on this list with a single digit ADP, I could not resist featuring Elijah Moore. He's a sure-fire fantasy starter being drafted as a bench player. Shame. Via Reception Perception, Moore was the tenth best WR at getting open in 2021. Better than Ja'Marr Chase, A.J. Brown, DK Metcalf, Mike Evans, and Deebo Samuel. He was injured in Week 13. Moore was the WR4 from Week 7 to Week 13. The only WRs to put up more points in that span was Samuel, Cooper Kupp and Justin Jefferson. Every report from camp indicates that Moore is the #1 WR in Gang Green. He's going to have a monster season.

Philadelphia Eagles

Quez Watkins

ADP - 28th round

  • A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith is the most underrated receiving duo in the league. They're going to dominate targets, with Dallas Goedert taking targets too. Quez Watkins is not a flex option, but he's someone to consider as a handcuff WR at the end of your bench. According to DraftSharks, DeVonta Smith has an 89% chance of injury. He's suffered a hamstring strain, knee strain and MCL sprain. A.J. Brown has a 50% chance of injury in 2022. Brown had two knee strains, a hamstring strain, and a calf pull in 2021. Smith is currently out with a groin injury. While it's not serious, soft-tissue injuries tend to linger into the regular season. Watkins believes he's the fastest man in the NFL, which might be an exaggeration, but he did reach 21.62 MPH on a 91-yard catch, 14th-highest mark in 2021. He's firmly entrenched as the starting slot WR in Philly, and is worth rostering if you have Brown or Smith.

Pittsburgh Steelers

George Pickens

ADP - 16th round

  • I massively underestimated George Pickens. He didn't test well and his stats at Georgia were underwhelming. I assumed that his acrobatic catches would be a lot more difficult in the NFL. Nope, Pickens makes it look just as easy. The star of the Steelers training camp, there are highlight reel catches galore in July and August. Safe to say, Pickens has got that dawg in him. Never a burner or shifty receiver, we'll see if he gets clamped or nah in September. But Chase Claypool simply was terrible last season, 50th of 56 WRs at getting open last season. I predicted in April that fellow rookie Calvin Austin could overtake Claypool's slot role by the end of the season. Pickens should be second in line for targets in Pittsburgh, and his acrobatic skills and sure hands make him a double digit TD candidate.

Seattle Seahawks

Bo Melton

ADP - Undrafted

San Francisco 49ers

Brandon Aiyuk

ADP - 9th round

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Russell Gage

ADP - 10th round

  • The Tom Brady effect makes it feel like 8 or 9 WRs could be fantasy relevant this season. I'm gonna believe in the WR that Tom Brady convinced to sign with Tampa Bay on the first day of free agency, Russell Gage. Gage had back-to-back 700+ yard seasons, and was 33rd in PPG in 2021. He goes from Atlanta, 26th in team PPG, to the second-highest scoring team in Tampa Bay. His scoring opportunities should increase. We know that Brady loves his slot options. We know that Chris Godwin tore his ACL and MCL last December. I'm not concerned about 33 year old Julio Jones and his NINE hamstring strains in the past two seasons. A fairy tale ending of Julio making a big play in the Super Bowl and walking off into the sunset with a championship, seems almost too perfect. But expecting him to play 17 games is just unrealistic. Gage is still the preferred flex option in TB. They had THREE TOP 12 WRs and the TE3 in PPG last season. Rob Gronkowski is retired, and Antonio Brown is doing whatever this is. Gage is still one of the best flex options available as a double digit pick.

Tennessee Titans

Kyle Philips

ADP - 33rd round

  • Kyle Philips is a 5th round rookie who's been getting first-team reps in the slot. A first-team Pac-12 WR, he's an underestimated WR who has been carving up Titans DBs in one-on ones. Robert Woods is still recovering from a November ACL tear. Treylon Burks could be the best rookie WR in the NFL, but he's performed better out wide rather than in the slot. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine is a solid backup, but he had the #2 WR duties last season with Julio Jones out for most of the season and had just two games with over 53 receiving yards. In his two games as the #1 WR with A.J. Brown and Jones out, he had 29 and 25 yards. Philips might be a "scrappy gym rat, bring your lunch pail" kind of guy, but he's putting up nice routes and putting NFL DBs on skates. I'm not gonna compare him to other white WRs because that's just lazy and one of my pet peeves. I'm just gonna say that he's someone who will contribute Week 1 and should be drafted.

Washington Commanders

Jahan Dotson

ADP - 15th round