With the 2022 NFL season just around the corner, fantasy football managers should be finalizing their draft boards. The wide receiver position is an extremely important one in fantasy football, and it’s time to look at some breakout candidates..
Names such as Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp and NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Ja’Marr Chase will likely be selected high in drafts following their impressive 2021 seasons. But there are some players who don’t have as much attention, mostly because those players still have something to prove in the league.
However, don’t be surprised if some of them have impressive 2022 seasons and gain more attention in the future. With that being said, here are five breakout candidates at wide receiver for the 2022 fantasy football season.
5. Rondale Moore, Arizona Cardinals
Although he might not be not the Arizona Cardinals’ main target for the entire season, Rondale Moore has a great chance of producing quality numbers early in the campaign.
The team will be without DeAndre Hopkins for the first six games of the season due to violation of the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy. With Hopkins out, it opens the doors for an early breakout year to Moore.
As a rookie, Moore caught 54 passes for 435 yards and just one touchdown. He also rushed 18 times for 76 yards.
After what some could consider a down rookie year, Moore has the chance of starting 2022 strong and earning a larger role throughout the season. If he impresses the coaching staff, the second-year wideout will become an important option for Kyler Murray.
4. Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos
Things were rough for Jerry Jeudy in 2021. After a solid rookie year, he only appeared in 10 games due to a high ankle sprain.
In the limited time he had on the field, Jeudy recorded 38 receptions for 467 yards, but failed to score. However, the former Alabama Crimson Tide star has shown he can be a good offensive piece for the Denver Broncos. As a rookie, he started 14 out of 16 games, catching 52 passes for 856 yards and three touchdowns.
Now back from his injury, Jeudy will have Russell Wilson under center. The Super Bowl champion quarterback is a big improvement from Drew Lock, who was the starter in Jeudy’s first years in the league.
His numbers when healthy and the big jump at the quarterback position certainly make the wideout a player to keep an eye on.
3. Josh Palmer, Los Angeles Chargers
Considered one of the pleasant surprises of the Los Angeles Chargers’ summer, Josh Palmer will try to get a larger role on the team in 2022.
In his rookie year, Palmer had 33 catches for 353 yards and four touchdowns. Although he still needs to compete with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, the NFL world seems to be noticing the young wideout’s game.
ESPN named Palmer the No. 1 under-the-radar breakout player. Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said via the team’s website that the former Tennessee Volunteer is getting better and better, plus improving his confidence.
Even if his competition is tough for 2022, Palmer has already shown he can produce solid numbers. Now that the league is noticing his potential, perhaps Pro Bowl quarterback Justin Herbert will make Palmer a larger part of Los Angeles’ offense.
2. Gabriel Davis, Buffalo Bills
One player who surprised the NFL world in the playoffs was Gabriel Davis. The former UCF Knight went off and broke an NFL playoff record with four receiving touchdowns against the Kansas City Chiefs. He did that in a very efficient manner, catching eight of his 10 targets for 201 yards.
In the regular season, he had 35 receptions for 539 yards and six touchdowns. In the postseason alone, he had five scores.
For most of his first two years in the league, Davis competed for a larger role with multiple wide receivers. However, for 2022, the Buffalo Bills waived Cole Beasley and did not re-sign Emmanuel Sanders. Both players combined for 1,319 receiving yards in the regular season, and they were ahead of Davis in the depth chart.
Without Beasley and Sanders, Davis is now WR2, just behind Stefon Diggs. Although he will compete for targets with a Pro Bowl wideout, Davis should still produce many points in fantasy football.
He averaged 15.7 yards per catch, even with limited time on the field. So, now as a starter, Davis can get more targets, yards and touchdowns on a weekly basis.
1. Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens
If there is one wide receiver with high chances of having a breakout 2022 season, that is Rashod Bateman. The second-year player is now the Baltimore Ravens’ WR1 after they traded away Marquise Brown to the Arizona Cardinals.
As a rookie, Bateman started four of the 12 games he played. He had 46 catches for 515 yards, but only one touchdown. For comparison, Brown totaled 91 receptions for 1,008 yards and six scores. “Hollywood” Brown also had 23% of the team’s target share, which certainly limited Bateman’s opportunities.
With Brown out of the picture, Bateman should be quarterback Lamar Jackson’s primary option in the passing game. The Ravens’ first-round pick from 2021 will likely have a key role for the team’s future, and it will start in 2022.
Should Jackson be fully recovered from his injuries, Bateman will have an elite quarterback to throw to him. Even if they struggle in the beginning, the duo should be a threat by the end of the regular season. This makes Bateman No. 1 on the list of fantasy football breakout candidates at wide receiver in 2022.