Year in Review: Dynasty Wide Receivers

If you ever wondered what an NBA offseason would look like in the NFL welcome to 2022. No, seriously, this offseason has been absolute chaos and that doesn’t look like it’s slowing down leading up to the NFL draft. While this is supposed to be a dynasty year in review article (and it will be) it is hard to ignore what has happened in the last few weeks in the NFL just at the wide receiver position alone. That being said the four receivers we will cover today will be the four most affected by what has occurred in free agency. Let’s dive in.

Davante Adams

The 2021 season was another day at the office for Adams. Finishing with 169 targets, 123 receptions (career-high), 1553 yards (career-high), 11 touchdowns, and a 32% target share per playerprofiler. Finishing as WR2 in most formats thanks to Copper Kupp, Adams yet again provided his owners with an elite season. Fast forward to the return of Aaron Rodgers and dynasty managers everywhere can collectively rejoice at the reunion of the elite duo. Sike! Fast forward another week and Adams has joined the Las Vegas Raiders. If you like roller coasters, then buckle up the ride has just begun.

2022 Outlook: So, with Adams now being a member of the Raiders what is his outlook going forward? In 2021 Derek Carr had a career-high 626 pass attempts coming out to almost 37 attempts a game. Rodgers in one less game had 531 attempts coming out to about 33 attempts a game. I would expect Adams target share to travel with him so if we look at a 30% target share from Carr’s 2021 season we are looking at a career-high 187.8 targets. Kupp in 2021 had 191 targets and led receivers with the triple crown (receptions, yards, and Td’s). Is it realistic that Adams sees 187.8 targets? No not likely. Is it likely Carr doesn’t set a career-high in attempts again and Adams still carries his same target share with 160+ targets? Absolutely. With a brand new 5-year $140 million dollar contract, Adams should be treated as a top 5 receiver in 2022 and a top 8 dynasty receiver moving forward.

Tyreek Hill

The 2021 season was one of his more up and down seasons. With 7 games over 20 points (several of which were over 30 points) and 10 games under 15 points (5 games in single digits), it’s easy to say Hill’s season was very boom or bust. All of that said Hill still had 159 targets (career-high), 111 receptions (career-high), 1239 yards, 9 touchdowns, and a 24.9% target share per playerprofiler. Going into 2022 with a new contract in hand and another season with Mahomes under center… Gotcha, I told you the roller coaster was only just beginning, didn’t I? Hill did sign a new 4 year $120 million contract but it was not with the Chiefs. That contract was signed after he was traded to the Miami Dolphins.

2022 Outlook: Surprisingly Dolphins QBs in 2021 Attempted 613 passes at a 36 attempts a game clip. That comes out to only two fewer attempts a game than Mahomes in 2021. The real question now with Hill is will the deep targets exist and will the big plays continue? What if I told you that Mahomes last season led the NFL in attempts behind the line of scrimmage? What if I told you that Tua had the number one deep ball completion percentage in 2021 at 50% while also being number one in red zone completion percentage per player profiler? If you drop Hill down to a less than preferable 20% target share he still will warrant 122 targets based on the Dolphins' 2021 passing attempts. For reference Hill had 105 targets, 75 receptions, 1183 yards, 7 Td’s, and 20% target share with Alex Smith in 2017. He finished as PPR WR 8 that season. McDaniel has been on record stating that the Dolphins will use Hill in a Deebo Samuel type of role in 2022 adding to his numbers for fantasy. While the WR1 overall ceiling is probably gone Hill should still be treated as a top 10 redraft and a top 10 dynasty WR going forward.

Christian Kirk

4 YEARS $72 MILLION DOLLAR WITH INCENTIVES. That was the contract that Christian Kirk received with the Jaguars. The same Kirk who has never had more than 77 catches, 982 yards, or 6 Td’s in 4 seasons. While finally posting a career-high last season with Kyler Murray and the Cardinals he moves on to Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars to be cast as Lawrence’s number one option. What does that mean for Kirk in 2022?

2022 Outlook: Let’s start with where Kirk plays. Last season 78.65% of his routes came from the slot and 21.4% of them came out wide according to PFF. It seems easy to assume that Kirk will be playing the slot for The Jags this upcoming season. In 2017 Pederson’s most successful season with the Eagles, his leading receiver out of the slot was Nelson Agholor playing 86.4% of his snaps there according to PFF. That translated to 62 catches, 768 yards, and 8 TDs. So will the Jags miscast Kirk to the outside or play him in the slot? My money is on the slot with them drafting an outside receiver early in the 2nd round (hello Christian Watson). If I am a Kirk owner I am looking to sell Kirk to an owner that believes in him as much as The Jags do.

Juju Smith-Schuster

Sticking with the trend of roller coasters has there been a receiver with more of a roller-coaster career than Juju? Bursting onto the scene in year 2 and commenting himself as a top 5 dynasty WR it has been nothing short of a steep steep fall from grace ever since. Missing the majority of the 2021 season due to a season-ending shoulder injury he signed a 1-year deal with….. The Kansas City Chiefs.

2022 Outlook: Juju joins a Chiefs team that just saw Hill walk out the door vacating 159 Targets! If you have ever listened to me speak on vacated targets you know there is nothing more I despise than that concept. With that said last season Hill saw 52.9% of his snaps come from the slot per PFF and I would expect Juju to take over that role. Will that translate to fantasy points? Well, Juju got a 1 year $3.25 million dollar contract and Marquez Valdes-Scantling got a 3 year $30 million dollar contract so you be the judge. With the Chiefs likely addressing the WR position in the draft I am pretty out on Juju. In dynasty, the only receiver I want on this team is the one that takes the podium at the end of this month.

Well, thanks for sticking with me the entire way. I told you it would be a roller coaster of a ride. Please exit the vehicle on either side and enjoy the rest of your NFL offseason.