Top 5 Wide Receiver Bounceback Candidates for 2022

by Jason Allwine · Best Ball Plays & Strategy

One of the most exciting things in fantasy football year in and year out is seeing which players bounce back into form. These players could be returning from injury, going to a new team, getting a new coach, or just flat out produce better after having a below average year. In 2020, we saw Cooper Kupp go from WR4 in 2019 to WR26. Then in 2021, with the arrival of Matthew Stafford, Kupp returned to form and was the best receiver in football. Just like any other year, 2022 should have some players bounce back from a poor season in 2021. Let’s take a look at five potential wide receiver bounceback candidates for 2022.

No. 5) Kenny Golladay

ADP: 122.5

2021 Season Rank (PPR): WR79

2022 Dynasty Ranking: WR58

Kenny Golladay finished the 2019 season as the WR9. He averaged 13.2 Fantasy Points Per Game in 2020 before a hip injury ended his season. Then in 2021, he found himself on the New York Giants and ended the year as the WR79. It’s no surprise as the Giants finished No. 31 in both Points For and Total Yards. A bad offense leads to bad fantasy performance. Across the 14 games Golladay played, he only caught 37 of his 74 targets and took those for 521 yards and zero (yes, zero) touchdowns.

The Giants have brought in former Bills Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll to replace Joe Judge. Expectations are that the offense will improve under the new head coach, and that Daniel Jones will finally tap into his potential. If that happens, Golladay should definitely improve and at least average double-digit FPPG like he has three times before in his career. This is a guy who scored 11 TDs in 2019, and it would be a surprise if he doesn’t at least get one in 2022.

No. 4) Jerry Jeudy

ADP: 50.7

2021 Season Rank (PPR): WR85

2022 Dynasty Ranking: WR42

Jerry Jeudy was the second WR taken in the 2020 draft. In college, He had two 1,000-plus yard seasons for Alabama. He was a highly productive receiver in college, but he hasn’t quite performed at the same level in the pros. In his defense, he has also only had Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater throwing him the ball. Now Russell Wilson is heading to Denver alongside new head coach Nathaniel Hackett. Wilson is a massive upgrade in the quarterback department, and Hackett was the Packers’ offensive coordinator for the last three seasons, including 2020 where the Packers had the best scoring offense in the NFL. The Broncos offense should take a massive leap forward this season, hopefully leading to better production for Jeudy.

2021 was supposed to be Jeudy’s breakout campaign after a solid rookie season. Unfortunately, he suffered a high ankle sprain Week 1 after putting up 13.2 in PPR. While he did return in Week 8, he never looked himself. With an ADP of 50.7, most are expecting him to at least bounce back to his rookie levels. Some are even hoping he will dominate like he did in college. In 2020, he had 965 (No. 2 among qualified wide receivers) Unrealized Air Yards from Drew Lock. Wilson should tighten that up and Jeudy should be a better receiver than he was two years ago. Assuming the recent legal troubles don’t eat into playing time next year, look for a good season from the third-year WR.

No. 3) Michael Thomas

ADP: 57.2

2021 Season Rank (PPR): N/A

2022 Dynasty Ranking: WR41

If Michael Thomas plays this season, he is immediately expected to go back to his fantasy dominance and consistency. Take a look at where he has finished in every full season. In 2017 he finished as WR6, in 2018 he finished as WR6, and in 2019 he finished as WR1. In his five seasons, Thomas has put up 5,950 yards and 32 TDs. He’s undeniably talented, and if he stays healthy he will be a great fantasy asset. Even in 2020, when Thomas was playing through his injuries, he still was on pace for 1,000-plus yards.

Thomas hasn’t played football in over a year, and is reportedly still dealing with an ankle injury suffered in 2020. Because of this, the Saints drafted another Buckeye WR in Chris Olave and signed Jarvis Landry to a contract. At this point in time, Thomas is still expected to play football but we don’t for sure when. Plus, head coach Sean Payton retired, and Jameis Winston is the QB instead of Drew Brees. These are all reasons why he is only No. 3 on this list.

No. 2) JuJu Smith-Schuster

ADP: 57.1

2021 Season Rank (PPR): WR133

2022 Dynasty Ranking: WR39

JuJu Smith-Schuster has only had one WR1 finish in his career so far, but when healthy he can provide really solid WR2 value. Smith-Schuster even had two seasons where he led the league in routes run (2018 and 2020). In 2018, he had 111 catches, 1,426 yards, and 7 TDs and led the league in Yards After Catch. Now he’s heading to one of the most pass-happy offenses in the NFL. And that pass-happy offense traded away their top WR in Tyreek Hill. Smith-Schuster has found himself on an excellent offense with high potential. Patrick Mahomes averages nearly 40 pass attempts a game. Even if the Chiefs receiver room is crowded, there’s plenty of targets to go around.

Smith-Schuster missed 12 games last year because of a shoulder injury, but he did return for the playoffs. He’s only 25 years old and already has five years of NFL experience. Now he’s moving on from Ben Roethlisberger to Mahomes. It’s hard not to like the situation. He will mainly be competing with 32 year old Travis Kelce for targets since Skyy Moore and Marquez Valdes-Scantling will likely be utilized differently. The opportunity is there, and unless Mahomes production drops significantly, Smith-Schuster should finish the year as at least a top 24 WR.

No. 1) Allen Robinson

ADP: 54.5

2021 Season Rank (PPR): WR81

2022 Dynasty Ranking: WR35

As of right now, Odell Beckham still hasn’t re-signed with the Rams, or anywhere for that matter. As a result, Allen Robinson looks more and more likely to be the WR2 on the defending Super Bowl Champion Rams. Robert Woods was averaging nearly 8.0 targets per game before tearing his ACL. Beckham was reviving his career in the same role before tearing his ACL. Robinson will look to do the same after having a career low season with the Justin Fields-led Bears in 2021.

Robinson has had Blake Bortles, Chad Henne, Mitchell Trubisky, and Justin Fields as his quarterbacks and still, he’s had two top 10 seasons under his belt. Robinson has had four years with over 150 targets, an amount possible, but unlikely to get next year. Matthew Stafford threw the ball 601 times, and I don’t see why he’d throw the ball less next season. In fact, Stafford’s production could very well go up in Year 2 with the Rams as he is now fully adjusted to the system. Assuming he stays healthy and Beckham doesn’t return to LA, 2022 should be a great bounceback season for Robinson.