When it comes to buying a wide receiver in this fantasy football racket, it’s pretty straightforward. You get what you pay for. You can find a useful player in the later rounds, but it’s almost impossible to win the league. The denial wire is good for extra help, but you’re not likely to break the game with free loot.
In the fourth and final installment of our Exit Interview series, let’s delve into the downsides and see where the gains have been. We will use a common grading system for green, yellow, and red; the green pick is the one you were excited about, the yellow pick brought in average returns, and the red player kicked you in the shin. I’m also going to split the players into ADP levels by 10 so you can see how big items controlled this position in 2022.
If you want to go to the takeaway, they are grouped at the bottom. We see you TL;DR mob.
(Editor’s note: Since the easiest way to work with this data is with a full PPR score, I used it for the final WR finishes. I also included all 18 weeks. Sportzshala’s default setting is half a PPR score, so part of your mileage will vary. Ratings on end of the year will be slightly different, but nothing significant.)
[Complete Exit Interview series: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs]
Top-10 Wideouts by ADP (six greens, one yellow, three reds)
We would like to see Justin Jefferson be a little more dynamic with touchdowns, but he was drafted as a WR1 and never finished. He ran off the field with targets, catches and yards. If you’re looking for cons in this guy who just finished his 23 year season, you’re trying too hard.
When big names change teams, it doesn’t really matter – at least it didn’t happen in 2022. Tyreke Hill (WR2 is probably the most consistent receiver in the league) Davante Adams (WR3, leads the league in touchdowns) and AJ Brown (WR6, finally sweet volume) gave us what we wanted.
We have developed Stephon Diggs wanting him to maintain his set level. He did. We have developed CD Lamb expecting a blow forward. He passed.
Ja’Marr Chase lone yellow. Injuries and one life-changing canceled game put him down to WR11 in total, but he was WR4 in scoring per game. I know some who will target Chase as the first player to be eliminated next season, and that makes sense.
cooper coup was great before injury and still finished as a WR23 despite missing two months. But because of the opportunity cost, it turns red. Debo SamueI also suffered from an injury – and the Nine also has a crowded tree, albeit with a strong attack – and Michael Pittman was crash-landed by the Colts.
Bottom line: It was a lucrative pocket for the draft. Most strong WR teams did well if you didn’t take Kupp in the first round.
Wideouts 11-20 (one green, four yellow, five red)
Would it be fair to call this a quasi-dead zone? The NFL had amazing quarterback problems in the league, and that pool felt the sting.
I gave Mike Evans a red label because he went 11 consecutive games without a touchdown and then posted the best WR game of the season after his managers were likely eliminated. His year-end ranking (WR17) is misleading and he didn’t match his ADP (WR11) anyway.
Gabriel Davis The four-touchdown blast in last year’s playoffs turned into a false window. It wasn’t terrible, but the finish of the WR36 was disappointing.
dj moore had to deal with bad QB play. Courtland Sutton Dealt with injuries and Russell Wilson. Everything went wrong for Allen Robinsonand it was sad to watch.
I gave Mike Williams and Keenan Allen yellow marks, but they could easily have been red—both were injured, and the Chargers offense struggled to push the ball further down the field. Their production was steady but not impressive when they were healthy. Dionte Johnson didn’t reach his ADP (or famously didn’t score a touchdown), but the volume made him somewhat relevant on the WR28. Ty Higgins also didn’t reach its ADP but stayed in the WR2 bucket.
The only player in this pocket who broke his summer tag was Jaylen Waddle (drawn as WR19, finished as WR8). Tua Tagovailoa led the league in passer rating, playing well when he didn’t get a concussion. Head coach Mike McDaniel looks like a successful mercenary.
Wideouts 21-30 (two green, four yellow, four red)
If you were looking in the preseason for Jeno Smith and Jared Goff to be okay, you probably came up with ADP shots from Amon-Ra Saint Brown and DK Metcalfe. These are your two green lights here.
Some will argue Chris Godwin (billed as WR30, completed WR19) deserves a green tag, but I haven’t seen enough weekly growth. His rank is more like survivor bias. He also took advantage of Tom Brady’s burning desire to throw the ball as soon as possible – to do everything to avoid being hit.
Jerry Judy slightly beaten by his ADP (summer WR25, finish WR22), a marvel in the Denver mess. For once I want to see Terry McLaurin play with a plus quarterback. Juju Smith-Shuster was ok, but not great, despite Patrick Mahomes posting an MVP season.
Reds mainly due to injuries – Marchioness Brown, Rashod Bateman and Darnell Mooney. Brandin Cooks finally held back by a mediocre supporting cast.
Wideouts 31-40 (four greens, three yellows, three reds)
The four green winners in this pocket have outperformed their summer ADPs by over 20 recipient slots. Christian Kirk Benefited from good practice, a rising quarterback, and a narrow goal tree. Amari Cooper there was another shift team that did a great job. Brandon Aiyuk there was a gain for the “last year’s dip” corner (buy at a discount), and DeVonta Smith spread its wings in year 2, which is part of one of the purest and most explosive assaults in fantasy.
Adam Thielen and Allen Lazard most often you could play for the guys from WR3 / flex, but they lacked the positive aspects. DeAndre Hopkins after his return he was good-not-great and lacked landing equity (not entirely his fault).
Michael Thomas may end up as a viable NFL player. Hunter Renfroe turned into a pumpkin after breaking out in 2021, though injuries didn’t help. Elijah Moore clashed with the New York Jets coaching staff and gave way to a rookie Garrett Wilson.
Winners outside the top 40
When it comes to receivers, you’re not likely to make big profits with late picks or ditching wires. Tyler Lockett (WR45 ADP, WR13 finish) was the only deep peak to make it into the top 20.
Many beginners made an impression, especially if you waited for them to gain experience. Garrett Wilson (WR21) and Chris Olav (WR25) were good all year. Drake London (WR31), George Pickens (BP40), Christian Watson (WR41) and Jahan Dotson (WR51) emphasized the importance of acquiring new receivers in the middle of the year, keeping in mind that the light can come on at any time.
Zai Jones (WR26) and Jacob Meyers (WR29) were comfortable if not seismic well suited to their respective teams. Curtis Samuel (WR33), Josh Palmer (WR37), Tyler Boyd (WR39) and Donovan Peoples-Jones (WR39) subject to low ceiling depth.
Takeaway, take me away
• There will always be visionary managers who want to play cheap quarterback or tight end, and Zero RB is also relevant. But if you try to make Zero WR work, you are doomed to failure. It’s unrealistic to expect you to be hot enough in the middle rounds to catch up, and a denial wire rarely gets you a home run. When you just find a single or double on the wire, you want to start hugging strangers.
• We used to get very upset when recipients changed teams. (To be honest, sometimes it was due to the player jumping over the depth of importance). Tyreke Hill, Davante Adams and AJ Brown were the three most correct answers of the summer, and others completed them (Christian Kirk, Amari Cooper). Only Allen Robinson and Marchioness Brown fell out of this subset.
• Almost everyone in this position, even the top 10 guys, reported several weeks off work. The variance is high with wide outs. I’m not going to look for reasons to blame Jefferson or Adams, because in some games they didn’t achieve much. You can say that about 95% of the positions, and even the guys who mostly beat this trend in 2022 (Hill, for example, was remarkably consistent) are not guaranteed to evade it next year.
• Some newbies jump right in, especially Garrett Wilson and Chris Olav. State of Ohio, you know exactly how to recruit mobsters. But try to be patient if your preferred beginner doesn’t do much in the beginning; perhaps it will happen in the second half. Christian Watson, Jahan Dotson, George Pickens and Drake London published some great games. This is intuitive; a young player may need time to adjust, but may be ready for the Circle of Trust after Halloween or perhaps Thanksgiving.