1) Justin Jefferson
Given his insane season last year, Jefferson is universally ranked as the #1 fantasy receiver among all formats, so picking him first among all receivers is a no-brainer.
Jefferson’s quickness and route-running is awe-inspiring, and his game reminds me of Chad Johnson/Ochocinco except with better run-after-the-catch ability.
Jefferson has the explosiveness to be a team’s top deep-threat, the route-running to be the go-to guy, and the leaping ability to win 50/50 balls the vast majority of the time. Check out this absolutely phenomenal one-handed catch by Jefferson to convert a wild 4th down:
This so the catch. Give Justin Jefferson the ESPY now. pic.twitter.com/y1GsKOriTF
— Matthew Berry (@MatthewBerryTMR) November 13, 2022
Forget fear – defenders are flat-out terrified of lining up against Jefferson, and with good reason considering last season he ranked (among WRs):
- 1st in total fantasy points
- 1st in receptions & targets with a whopping 184
- 1st in receiving yards with 1809
- Tied for 4th in receiving TDs
- 1st in catches for 20+ yards (per ESPN)
- 4th in YAC
- 1st in catches for 1st downs
- 2nd in total snaps (per FantasyPros)
Jefferson also had double-digit targets in the majority (65%) of his games while also going for over 100 yards in 59% of his games. The fewest targets he received in a single week? Five. There are plenty of WRs we all slotted into our lineups last year that would kill for that target floor.
— NFL (@NFL) September 11, 2022
Additionally, Jefferson dominates the Vikings passing attack in terms of looks from Kirk Cousins.
His share of the Vikings air yards is massive at a staggering 39% (5th-best) according to Next Gen Stats, and with Adam Thielen and Dalvin Cook constantly ageing before our eyes, Jefferson’s workload only figures to improve or maintain considering he’s in the prime of his career and the Vikings are looking to squeeze every remaining win they can out of their still intact offensive core.
The Vikings also throw the ball more and more every season, and in 2022 they threw the ball on 1st down the 7th-most of any team, were 2nd to only Mahomes and Kansas City in passing yards, and were 7th in scoring according to NFL.com.
Justin Jefferson gets the feet down for the TD ????
— NFL (@NFL) December 4, 2022
So even if Jefferson’s share of targets somehow drops off even a little, the Vikings overall passing volume and scoring should buoy the fantasy stock of 2022’s top receiver into the stratosphere once again in 2023.
2) Cooper Kupp
Even though he only played nine games, Kupp showed last season he’s as productive as any receiver in the league, and the 2023 receiving crown will likely come down to health between Kupp and Jefferson.
As a route-running genius with maybe the surest hands in the league, Cooper Kupp will be difficult if not impossible for defensive coordinators to stop once he returns to full health.
Cooper Kupp doing Cooper Kupp things ????♂️
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 6, 2022
Again, Kupp missed basically half the season but he did manage the following statistics among receivers:
- 1st in fantasy PPG (per ESPN)
- Tied for 6th in receiving TDs
- 3rd in YPG (per ESPN)
- 4th in snap % (per FantasyPros)
- 5th in catch % (per Next Gen Stats)
- 2nd in “Incredible YAC” (whatever that means, also per NextGen Stats)
- 25th in total YAC
— NFL (@NFL) September 9, 2022
Moreover, Cooper Kupp’s game-to-game splits are eye-popping and make anyone question whether he should actually be the first receiver off the board.
He averaged over 10 targets per game in the nine games he did play, he received double-digit targets in over half his weeks, and the fewest targets he received in any healthy week was six.
Kupp’s total yardage was insane too considering he had 95+ total yards in 75% of his healthy weeks, and 85 yards or more in all but one of his healthy weeks.
.@CooperKupp COULD. GO. ALL. THE. WAY.
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) October 9, 2022
His yardage floor was equally impressive, as the fewest total yards he ever had in a healthy week was 64.
While the younger, more explosive Justin Jefferson is easily the universal #1 receiver this year, if the Rams offensive line play can improve even a little (and if Stafford/Kupp remain healthy for the full season), Kupp will be pushing for fantasy’s WR1 in PRK by season’s end.
3) Ja’Marr Chase
Chase is one of the most fun players to watch and own in all of fantasy football, and he plays with one of the best young quarterbacks that the NFL has to offer.
Chase can rip 50/50 balls away from defenders, burn the fastest DBs in the league, and is a flat-out savant when it comes to his creativity and relentlessness after the catch.
Those skills showed up on the stat sheet as Chase still managed to break 1,000 yards and score nine touchdowns despite missing basically a quarter of the season and catching less than 90 balls.
While he only played 12 games, here’s how Chase ranked among WRs last season:
- 4th in fantasy PPG (per ESPN)
- 12th in receptions
- 16th in receiving yards
- 15th in targets with 134
- Tied for 4th in receiving TDs
- Tied for 11th in catches for 20+ yards
- 7th in receiving yards per game (per ESPN)
If you glance at Ja’Marr Chase’s game-by-game figures, you’ll probably be enticed to take him even higher than he’s ranked here.
Chase averaged a whopping 11.2 targets per game over the 12 games he played, received double-digit targets in 75% of his games, and the fewest receptions he ever totaled in a game was four (he still scored double-digit fantasy points in PPR leagues that week as he still had 80 yards).
Between accounting for almost a third of the Bengals’ Air Yards and ranking 5th among all receivers in average snap % (per FantasyPros), Chase will undoubtedly have top-10 volume regardless of the success of Tee Higgins, Joe Mixon, and/or Tyler Boyd.
It helps Chase’s case that he plays in one of the league’s most elite offenses with one of the NFL’s most-talented arms.
The Bengals finished 8th in scoring in 2022, tied for 2nd in total receiving TDs, 6th in total passing yards, and threw the ball on 1st down the 8th-most of any team (per NFL.com).
Chase is tough to pass up for any fantasy owner, and the reasons Jefferson and Kupp outrank him come down to volume and target share more than overall skill.
4) Tyreek Hill
Here’s the thing about Tyreek Hill: he had 1700, I repeat, 1700 receiving yards last season and he finished second to only Justin Jefferson in total fantasy points last season.
Hill is the fastest receiver (and likely the fastest player) in the entire NFL, and his moves with the ball in his hands are as good as any ball-carrier you’ll see period.
He also happens to play in an offense that throws the tits out of the ball, and his stats in his first season in Miami were absolutely insane.
THIS TYREEK HILL FUMBLE TD OMG????
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 12, 2022
Here’s how Hill’s rankings among receivers shook out last season:
- 2nd in receptions to only Justin Jefferson
- 3rd in targets with a whopping 170
- 2nd in yards to only Justin Jefferson
- Tied for 6th in receiving TDs
- 2nd in receptions for over 20 yards to only Jefferson
- 14th in YAC
- 3rd in catches for first downs
Again, part of what lifts Hill’s fantasy value (aside from the fact that he’s the most explosive receiver in the NFL), is the fact that the Dolphins throw the ball like Tua is Dan Marino.
— Sunday Night Football on NBC (@SNFonNBC) December 12, 2022
The 2022 Dolphins ranked, 4th in passing yards, 5th in passing touchdowns, 9th in total scoring, and passed on first down the 3rd-most of any team (per NFL.com).
Regardless of Tua’s health in 2023, Hill will put up big numbers again barring an extinction-level event.
5) Stefon Diggs
The route-running crown of the NFL has to go to either Kupp or Diggs, and fortunately for Diggs he plays in the Bill offense with Josh Allen instead of with Stafford and the Rams inept offensive line.
Diggs’ awareness and body control on sideline catches are both elite as well, and the strength of his hands surprises DBs and linebackers alike.
Diggs’ agility and acceleration is almost scary at times, as his penchant for breaking off routes and cutting on a dime keeps defensive coordinators up at night.
Among 2022 WRs, Diggs finished:
- 3rd in receptions
- 5th in targets
- 5th in yards
- Tied for 2nd in receiving TDs to only Davante Adams
- Tied for 8th in catches for 20+ yards
- 4th in receptions resulting in 1st downs (per ESPN)
- 4th in total fantasy points
Accounting for over a third (34.6%) of all of the Buffalo Bills’ Air Yards in 2022 (per Next Gen Stats – good for 11th-best), he’s far and away Josh Allen’s go-to guy in Buffalo.
Buffalo is also home to one of the league’s most pass-happy offenses. Last season, the Bills ranked 4th in total scoring, 9th in passing yards, and threw on first down the 4th-most of any team (per NFL.com).
Diggs averaged over nine targets per game last season, had 60+ yards in 82% of his games, and broke the 100-yard mark in seven games.
With Diggs and Josh Allen both in the prime of their careers, the sky is the limit for the Diggs and the Bills offense.
ALLEN. DIGGS. 53 YARD TOUCHDOWN ????#BillsMafia
— TWSN (@TWSN___) September 9, 2022
6) A.J. Brown
The story of A.J. Brown’s fantasy season lies in efficiency and the eye test.
For example, despite accruing about 20 fewer catches than Amon-Ra and CeeDee Lamb, A.J. Brown finished with at least 100 more receiving yards than either of them.
Brown plays like Calvin Johnson, with a ferociousness that matches his hulking frame. The reckless abandon he plays with combined with his ability to beat any coverage is a perfect fit for the Eagles offense.
A.J. BROWN IS HAVING A DAY. @1kalwaysopen_
— NFL (@NFL) December 4, 2022
Throw in one of most talented young QBs in the league who was an MVP candidate last season plus possibly the best offensive line in football, and you’ve got an unbelievable ceiling for A.J. Brown and the rest of the Eagles offense in 2023.
In addition to outscoring DeAndre Hopkins, St. Brown, Jaylen Waddle, and Keenan Allen in fantasy points per game (per ESPN), A.J. Brown achieved the following WR marks in 2023:
- 13th in receptions
- 10th in targets
- 4th in yards per reception (per ESPN)
- Tied for 2nd in TDs
- 5th in catches for 20+ yards
- 2nd to only Justin Jefferson in YAC
- 5th in YAC per catch (per Next Gen Stats)
- 10th in catches for 1st downs
- 11th in total snaps
- 5th in total fantasy points
Touchdown, A.J. Brown! @1kalwaysopen_
— NFL (@NFL) September 25, 2022
Once again the spectacular aspect of Brown’s 2022 season is productivity/efficiency considering despite finishing outside the top-5 WRs in volume (10th in targets and 13th in receptions), Brown finished inside the top-5 WRs in yards as he had the fourth-most receiving yards with 1,496.
Among receivers with 50 catches or more, Brown was second to only Jaylen Waddle in yards per reception. Among receivers with 80 catches or more, A.J. Brown led the league (per ESPN).
— NFL (@NFL) February 13, 2023
This signals that Brown’s fantasy numbers probably only have room to grow as Jalen Hurts continues his own growth as an NFL quarterback, and as the two develop more chemistry together – increasing Brown’s receptions.
As Hurts took a huge step forward in 2022, so did the Eagles offense. In fact, the Eagles finished 2022 with 8th-most passing yards, the 6th-highest rate of throwing on 1st down (per NFL.com), and ranked 2nd in total scoring to only Mahomes and the Chiefs.
A.J. BROWN. 41-yard TD against his former team! @1kalwaysopen_
— NFL (@NFL) December 4, 2022
Want one final mouth-watering A.J. Brown stat for your confirmation bias? He had a shocking 41% of all the Eagles’ 2022 Air Yards, good for third-most (trailing only D.J. Moore and Davante Adams).
7) Davante Adams
While my gut instinct is to rank St. Brown, Lamb, Waddle, or any number of younger, more freakish receivers over old man Davante Adams, his 2022 statistics were simply too monumental to ignore.
Moreover, his numbers in his first season in Las Vegas showed regardless of the team or quarterback, Davante Adams gets targeted like every reception awards the entire coaching staff and their families a billion dollars (the man had 180 motherfucking targets).
Davante Adams one-handed catch against Jalen Ramsey ????
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) December 9, 2022
Adams gets targeted like the oxygen his coaches breathe depends on his yardage total, and while my distain for Jimmy G has Adams out of the top-5, Adams’ stats in his first Raiders season give me confidence in his 2023 outlook.
Among 2022 receivers, Adams finished:
- 1st in TDs
- 2nd in targets to only Justin Jefferson
- 3rd in total fantasy points
- 7th in receptions
- 3rd in yardage
- 10th in yards per reception (per ESPN)
- Tied for 3rd in catches for 20+ yards
- Tied for 6th in YAC
- 6th in catches for 1st downs
DAVANTE ADAMS BREAKS FREE FOR A TD ON 4TH DOWN????
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 11, 2022
As you can see above, it is difficult for fantasy owners to consider Adams’ age a red flag considering he finished last season as fantasy’s WR3 in PRK and ranked among the top six receivers in virtually every major receiving statistic.
Adams’ workload doesn’t figure to reduce in 2023 considering Waller was just traded to the Giants, and considering Adams was on the field for 95% of the Raiders offensive snaps last season (3rd-most among receivers).
Additionally, per Next Gen Stats Davante Adams’ share of the Raiders’ 2022 Air Yards (41.8%) ranked second among WRs last season.
Finally, Adams also averaged over 10 targets a game and had 90+ yards in over half of his weeks.
Davante Adams. OT game winner. Enough said‼️
????: FOX pic.twitter.com/1n1icOBfwf
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) November 21, 2022
Adams being ranked outside on the top-5 on this list is merely a testament to the immense talent of the NFL’s current crop of receivers, and the discrepancy between Adams’ targets (180) and his receptions (100) is somewhat concerning.
8) CeeDee Lamb
Much like the player directly below him, 2022 was CeeDee Lamb’s breakout season as he accumulated numerous top-1o statistics en route to finishing within the top-10 in terms of PRK amongst fantasy receivers.
Like Justin Jefferson, CeeDee Lamb has exquisite, Ochocinco-like agility, acceleration, and route-running skills the likes of which terrify defenders if they’re in one-on-one coverage.
Last season, Lamb ranked (among WRs):
- 5th in total fantasy points
- 4th in receptions and targets
- 6th in yards
- Tied for 3rd in receiving TDs
- Tied for 3rd in catches for 20+ yards with 24
- 8th in YAC (per ESPN)
- 5th in catches for first downs
- 10th in total snaps (per FantasyPros)
Lamb also accounted for 35% of all the Cowboys’ Air Yards in 2022 (per Next Gen Stats) – the 9th-highest in the NFL.
Lamb had double-digit targets in just under half his games (47%), broke the 100-yard mark five times, and never received fewer than five targets in a game.
The Cowboys have also morphed from a ground-and-pound team to an air-raid offense over the last two seasons, and that play style is paying dividends for Lamb and the Dallas scoreboard.
Last season the Cowboys were 5th in total scoring, 9th in passing TDs, and threw the ball on first down 35% of the time (tied for 12th-most in the NFL, per NFL.com).
As a young player in the prime of his career coming off a season in which he was top-1o in virtually every receiving statistic, Lamb is one of the safest WR1s available and is becoming a more underrated option every year with the emergence of Chase, Jefferson, Kupp, Diggs, and alike.
9) Amon-Ra St. Brown
Amon-Ra St. Brown had his breakout season in 2022, and he made all the NFL GMs that passed on him during the first three rounds of the NFL draft look like they had hollow skulls filled with cotton candy rather than anything that resembles a human brain.
The speedy, sure-handed Brown runs with remarkable vision and anticipation in the open field, adding additional value to every target.
Likewise, the Lions often find themselves behind late in games, forcing them to throw and tilting the game script in St. Brown’s favor.
Jared Goff ➡️ Amon-Ra St. Brown. Touchdown @Lions!
— NFL (@NFL) December 4, 2022
With Jamaal Williams and Swift now gone, St. Brown’s touchdowns and receptions should only increase in 2023 considering they will no longer be vultured by the likes of Williams and Swift.
Among receivers last season, St. Brown ranked:
- 7th in total fantasy points (per ESPN)
- 5th in receptions
- 8th targets
- 10th in receiving yards
- 4th in YAC
- 4th in catches for 1st downs with 68
St. Brown’s weekly splits were healthy too, as he averaged over nine targets per game, had 60+ receiving yards in 75% of his games, and broke the 100-yard mark four times.
— Epic Highlights (@EpicHighlights_) December 19, 2021
After cracking the top-10 in fantasy points among receivers in just his second year at 23 years-old, Amon-Ra St. Brown is poised for liftoff in his junior NFL season coming off a year in which he accounted for just over 22% of all the Lions’ Air Yards last season (per Next Gen Stats).
That significant share of Air Yards actually means something now with Detroit’s offense, as it was surprisingly competent last season.
In 2022, the Lions finished 3rd in total scoring, trailing just the Chiefs and Eagles (per NFL.com), 8th in passing TDs, 10th in pass attempts, 6th in yards per attempt, and threw on 1st down the 2nd-most – trailing only the Chiefs.
Game in and game out, its blatantly obvious that the Lions are constantly wringing their hands trying to figure out how to get St. Brown the ball, using a variety of short routes, screens, and even utilizing Brown in the backfield:
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) January 2, 2022
Although, his value is somewhat capped by the Lions’ current up-in-the-air QB situation, which is why St. Brown finds himself ranked outside of the top-5 fantasy receivers in most formats.
10) Jaylen Waddle
Jaylen Waddle’s current role with the Dolphins is reminiscent of prime Jarvis Landry with more explosion. Given Tua’s lack of arm strength, Waddle hasn’t fully unleashed the burner role (was the NFL’s 6th fastest ball-carrier last season, per Next Gen Stats) he’s capable of and was often known for at Alabama; however, the Dolphins system still peppers Waddle with enough targets for the receiver’s talent to shine and accumulate massive YAC.
Much like A.J. Brown, Jalen Waddle’s fantasy season is impressive considering the differential between his targets/receptions and production.
The 1️⃣ to 1️⃣7️⃣ connection. ???? @AlabamaFTBL
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) November 6, 2022
In addition to finishing as fantasy’s 8th-highest scorer at the receiver position, Waddle finished 2022:
- 25th in targets
- 7th in receiving yards
- 1st in yards per catch (per ESPN)
- Tied for 5th in receiving TDs
- 6th in catches for 20+ yards
- 10th in YAC
- 9th in catches resulting in first downs
Waddle cracked the 100-yard mark in just over a third (35%) of his games, had at least 60 receiving yards in 65% of his games, and never received less than four targets in any given week.
Despite Tyreek Hill joining in the offseason and scaring away many Waddle enthusiasts from drafting him in 2022 fantasy drafts, Waddle still finished top-1o in WR scoring and accounted for over a quarter (27%) of all the Dolphins 2022 Air Yards (per Next Gen Stats).
Do your dance, @D1__JW ????
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) September 18, 2022
As long as Waddle doesn’t get injured in 2023, he should maintain top-1o WR fantasy production regardless of Tua’s own health, especially considering Waddle was second to only Deebo Samuel in YAC per reception (per Next Gen Stats).