FIVE Wide Receivers to Avoid in 2022

by Jason Allwine · Best Ball Plays & Strategy

If you’re reading this I’m sure you’ve had a disappointing season from one of your fantasy players that you either drafted early or paid handsomely for in a trade. For me, after not being able to get my hands on Christian McCaffrey for three years, I finally received the 1.01 in one of my redraft leagues in 2020. Of course, once I finally got him he battled injuries all year and only played in three games. Another disappointing player would be Calvin Ridley. He was averaging 14.2 fantasy points per game in five games before sitting out the rest of the year with mental health issues. Dynasty owners were surprised when he was suspended indefinitely for gambling. This year fantasy gamers should be on the lookout for wide receivers who show signs of disappointing in 2022. In no particular order, here are five wide receivers to avoid in 2022.

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A.J. Brown

ADP: 14.38

2021 Season Rank (PPR): WR32

2022 Dynasty Ranking: WR7

A.J. Brown is a great prospect and has had solid production so far in his career. In three seasons he has had 185 catches, 2995 yards and 24 TDs. Now he is heading to the Philadelphia Eagles to presumably be the new WR1 ahead of Devonta Smith. However, his value has taken a hit as result. His lifetime value has dropped 26.4 points and for good reason. One reason being his injury history the past two seasons as he’s missed two games in 2020 and four in 2021. He’s injured his knee twice, his chest, his hamstrings, and his ankle already.

Another reason being that Jalen Hurts and Smith already have a strong connection and a year of repertoire together. Not to mention, the Eagles averaged only 29.1 team pass plays per game, which is No. 29 in the league. Over a full a 17 game stretch, Smith only received 103 targets whereas Brown received 105 targets in the 13 games he was healthy. Smith was also more productive than Brown with two fewer targets. Smith took his 103 targets for 64 catches, 916 yards and five touchdowns. Brown took his 105 targets for 63 catches, 869 yards, and five touchdowns. Even if Hurts does take a significant step forward, it’s hard to see Brown produce much more than Smith. Smith’s ADP is 74.3 and his dynasty ranking is WR30. This is a former Heisman winner and 2021 1st-round wide receiver we’re talking about who will now likely see CB2 coverage- Smith is the true value in this wide receiver corps.

Tee Higgins

ADP: 16.92

2021 Season Rank (PPR): WR24

2022 Dynasty Ranking: WR3

Here’s the deal with Tee Higgins– he’s been very productive and is a fantastic WR2, but he is not the No. 3 best wide receiver in the league plain and simple. Valuing him this highly ignores that Higgins averaged more targets per game than Ja’Marr Chase. Chase by the way was the No. 17 most targeted wide receiver last season. Not only that, he had a lower target share and redzone target share than Higgins. It makes sense as he was a rookie, but now Chase is going into year two where he should be targeted more than he was in 2021. That points to Higgins being utilized less. I’m not saying Higgins will be bad, but I am saying he won’t be a top five wide receiver.

Higgins was consistent and did have some great games in 2021. He averaged the No. 12 most PPG with 15.7 which is good, and he finished as WR24 despite missing two games. If he stays healthy, he will probably finish around the same spot in 2022. There are also some stats that are concerning from 2021. Higgins had a 25-percent contested catch rate. He also finished No. 31 in target separation, No. 72 in average cushion, and No. 18 in fantasy points per target. Just because a player has a great season, it doesn’t always mean the following year will be better. Higgins has solidified himself as a solid WR2 but hasn’t and won’t perform consistently as a WR1 unless Chase is shut down or injured.

Davante Adams

ADP: 18.92

2021 Season Rank (PPR): WR2

2022 Dynasty Ranking: WR14

Davante Adams will be 30 next season in a brand new offense where he will no longer be the only target. He’s going to Oakland where he will now be competing with Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow for targets. Last year Adams had a 31.6-percent target share and a 25.9-percent redzone target share. Renfrow had a 21.7-percent target share and a 30.8-percent target share in the redzone. Waller had a 24.2-percent target share and a 25.9-percent redzone target share. Like Higgins, Adams probably won’t be able to consistently get the targets needed to be a top three or even top five fantasy wide receiver in 2022. His dynasty value is fair and his ADP has eight wide receivers going before him which is also fair. However, it’s also possible to find the same value later in drafts or even in trades.

If you want a hand in the Raiders offense, then Renfrow and Waller present better value. They will likely have a similar target share in the same offense. Josh McDaniels is the new Raiders head coach and he heavily utilized slot receivers and tight ends as the offensive coordinator. It seems forgotten that Renfrow was WR10 last season as his ADP is 96.14 and his dynasty ranking is WR61. Adams and Derek Carr played together in college, so their connection will be easy to rekindle. Renfrow and Waller have been reliable targets for the past three seasons. It doesn’t make much sense for Carr to completely abandon them and hone in on Adams like Aaron Rodgers did.

Diontae Johnson

ADP: 30.71

2021 Season Rank (PPR): WR8

2022 Dynasty Ranking: WR10

Ben Roethlisberger finished No. 30 in yards per attempt in 2021 amongst qualified quarterbacks and the primary benefactor was Diontae Johnson. Johnson finished 2021 with the No. 76 highest average target distance while also being the No. 2 most targeted wide receiver. His role is solidified in the Steelers offense, but it’s a role that is likely diminished with a new and younger quarterback. Chase Claypool wasn’t able to be utilized as a deep target, and the Steelers also drafted George Pickens in the 2nd round. There’s also tight end Pat Freiermuth whose target share nearly doubled in the redzone last season. Johnson’s 28.5-percent target share in 2021 will probably go down in 2022.

Wide Receiver is such a deep position that spending your 3rd round pick on Johnson may not be worth it. Some wide receivers that should be available later and have a higher lifetime value are Michael Pittman, Terry McLaurin, Rashod Bateman, Mike Evans, Keenan Allen, etc. The Steelers offense in general isn’t one to be desired either. They were No. 21 in points for and No. 23 in yards. Mitchell Trubisky and Kenny Pickett are both project quarterbacks, so it’s reasonable to assume the offense doesn’t get much better. There’s no telling what the offense will look like in 2022 and there are plenty of wide receivers out there who present similar upside with less shakiness surrounding the offense. He’s also not showing up OTAs which may not be a big deal, but it would be nice to see him work on his connection with the two new quarterbacks.

Tyreek Hill

ADP: 23.15

2021 Season Rank (PPR): WR6

2022 Dynasty Ranking: WR19

Tyreek Hill of course presents one of the highest ceilings in the NFL because his explosiveness is elite. However, he’s now in Miami with a quarterback that had 2,300 less air yards than Patrick Mahomes did last season. Tua Tagovailoa is not Mahomes and that limits Hill’s potential. Hill’s competition is also Jaylen Waddle who has a very similar profile. With an ADP of 35.3, Waddle is cheaper and presents the same upside. Hill will be boom or bust. The booms won’t be as high and he likely won’t put up 30-40 points as frequently as he has. One week it’ll be Waddle. One week it’ll be Hill. Another week it’ll be Mike Gesicki.

Like A.J. Brown, Hill is going to a team where there is already a well established connection. Waddle and Tua played together in college and performed well together last season. Tagovailoa will more than likely continue to look Waddle’s way first. Hill also carries a medium level injury risk on both of his thighs and his left shoulder while also having a nagging hamstring injury throughout 2019 and 2020. Hill will definitely have some good weeks and he is one of the best receivers in the league, but his volatility may be too much to stomach in 2022.