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Fantasy Football 2022 rookie receiver recap: Jets' Garrett Wilson among 2023 risers, plus fallers to know based on key usage metrics

Get updated on everything you need to know about what went down in 2022 from one of the nation's top Fantasy experts
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We were treated to another spectacular influx of talented pass-catchers in 2022, as the rookie class flashed a wide array of skill sets. From deadly deep threats like Chris Olave and Christian Watson, to versatile catch-and-run threats at the tight end position like Chigoziem Okonkwo and Isaiah Likely, to all-around studs like Drake London and Garrett Wilson, the 2022 rookie class offered a bit of everything.

While the 2022 rookie class offered flashes of brilliance in abundance, there was not much clarity to be found outside of the top-end performers like Wilson and Olave. We just didn't have a large enough sample size of routes run for Watson, Okonkwo, Likely, Jelani Woods, Treylon Burks, Rashid Shaheed, or Wan'Dale Robinson to believe in the impressive signs from their rookie campaigns. Players such as Drake London, Jahan Dotson, George Pickens, and Alec Pierce earned regular playing time, but the circumstances surrounding their rookie season data makes a deeper contextual dive necessary to feel any level of confidence in understanding their production or forming expectations for them moving forward.

Let's dive in, then!

Every bit of context that I can provide on the 2022 rookie pass-catchers can be found in this article for free. If you find this type of analysis valuable, then be sure to follow me on Twitter and treat yourself to a SportsLine subscription. I have an entire offseason's worth of interesting and insightful data to present on the incoming 2023 rookie class as well as several data points contextualizing what went down during the 2022 NFL season in more detail.

I study each rookie class extensively before they arrive at the NFL level to give myself the best possible understanding of how their games might translate, and I find myself endlessly fascinated with that translation's illustration in their early-career NFL data. Later-career developments are noteworthy too, of course (read about updates on veterans such as Chris Godwin, Terry McLaurin, and Davante Adams here), but I find the new information on early-career players to be the most compelling.

Alignment -- where did everyone line up from during their rookie season?

Alignment data is where we will focus first. Displayed below, you will see what percentage of each player's snaps came from the slot, perimeter, backfield, or in-line at the tight end position.

Rookie slot rates:

67% -- David Bell, Cleveland Browns
54% -- Isaiah Likely, Baltimore Ravens
48% -- Skyy Moore, Kansas City Chiefs
46% -- Greg Dulcich, Denver Broncos
34% -- Garrett Wilson, New York Jets
33% -- Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints
30% -- Christian Watson, Green Bay Packers
28% -- Jahan Dotson, Washington Commanders
28% -- Jelani Woods, Indianapolis Colts
25% -- Rashid Shaheed, New Orleans Saints
25% -- Trey McBride, Arizona Cardinals
25% -- Tyquan Thornton, New England Patriots
21% -- Chigoziem Okonkwo, Tennessee Titans
19% -- Romeo Doubs, Green Bay Packers
18% -- Daniel Bellinger, New York Giants
17% -- Treylon Burks, Tennessee Titans
16% -- George Pickens, Pittsburgh Steelers
15% -- Drake London, Atlanta Falcons
5% -- Alec Pierce, Indianapolis Colts

Rookie backfield rates:

12% -- Chigoziem Okonkwo
11% -- Trey McBride
3% -- Isaiah Likely
2% -- Daniel Bellinger
1% -- Skyy Mooore, Romeo Doubs, Rashid Shaheed

Rookie in-line (TE) snap rates:

69% -- Daniel Bellinger
59% -- Jelani Woods
58% -- Chigoziem Okonkwo
56% -- Trey McBride
48% -- Greg Dulcich
26% -- Isaiah Likely

Rookie perimeter (WR) snap rates:

95% -- Alec Pierce
85% -- Drake London
84% -- George Pickens
83% -- Treylon Burks
80% -- Romeo Doubs
75% -- Tyquan Thornton
75% -- Rashid Shaheed
72% -- Jahan Dotson
68% -- Christian Watson
67% -- Chris Olave
65% -- Garrett Wilson
49% -- Skyy Moore
33% -- David Bell
17% -- Isaiah Likely
13% -- Jelani Woods
11% -- Daniel Bellinger

Alignment data takeaways:

Garrett Wilson was dominant when Ohio State got the ball in his hands on short routes. His yard per route run rate rose by 54% when aligned in the slot at the CFB level. As a rookie with the Jets, Wilson's yard per route run rate rose from 1.72 on the perimeter to 2.09 from the slot. Again, he proved dangerous with the ball in his hands from the slot -- Wilson's yardage after the catch (YAC) per reception rate was 17% above the league average from the slot, compared to a rate 21% below the league average from the perimeter.

Wilson is a dynamic playmaker who can win in all areas of the field. It appeared as if New York preferred for him to line up as a traditional WR1 from the perimeter, though -- Wilson's slot rate sat at 52% through his first seven pro games, but he did not register a slot rate above 29% in a game from Week 8 on.

Still, it is exciting that Wilson's playmaking ability at the CFB level translated as a pro. Another rookie who showcased decent yardage after the catch creation from the slot was Skyy Moore. Moore only ran 167 routes as a rookie, so any splits referenced for him come on untrustworthy sample sizes. For what it's worth, Moore's YAC/reception was 49% above the NFL average from the slot, and he was far more efficient with his slot routes.

During his first two seasons at USC, Drake London was stuck in a limited role from the slot while sharing the field with Michael Pittman and Amon Ra-St. Brown. In 2021, with both former teammates moved on into the NFL, London only ran 13% of his routes from the slot. The perimeter role is where London's massive breakout came from. so I was really curious to see how he would be used in an Atlanta offense that could easily get him involved from the slot. The Falcons showed no such inclination, as Alec Pierce was the only rookie who ran a higher percentage of his routes from the perimeter than London (85%) in 2022.

For what it's worth, London had the second-highest target per route run rate (30%) and ninth-highest yard per route run rate (2.60) from the slot among players with at least 90 slot routes. Those rates were up from 27.6% and 1.94 when running from the perimeter.

Similar to Drake London, Treylon Burks was curiously stuck in a slot role at the collegiate level even though his skillset felt like one that would translate well in a downfield role. His CFB data backed that notion up -- Burks was way more efficient with his perimeter routes than his slot opportunities. Unlike London, Burks never got the chance to shine in a full-time perimeter role.

In his first season with the Titans, Burks had the fourth-highest perimeter route rate (83%) among the rookie class and showed exciting potential as a downfield route runner. Burks drastically outproduced his WR teammates on perimeter routes but stood no chance of matching his rookie teammate Chigoziem Okonkwo. In this thread about how misused Jakobi Meyers was during his time with the Patriots, you'll notice Okonkwo's name among the likes of A.J. Brown, Stefon Diggs, and Amon-Ra St. Brown as the NFL's most efficient producers from the perimeter. The Titans were creative in how they got the ball into their rookie playmaking tight end's hands in 2022, and the underlying data from his rookie season is extremely exciting. He'll be among the players who I have the most exposure to in best ball in 2023, and Okonkwo is an excellent player to target in Dynasty formats.

In a similar vein, Isaiah Likely's team made it a priority to get their rookie tight end involved as a route-runner from the slot and perimeter. Likely looked unstoppable during preseason action and then posted strong per-route rates as a rookie. There were two games in which Likely received an opportunity to run more than 25 routes, and the rookie posted receiving lines of 6-77-1 and 8-103 in those instances. Likely is a very intriguing Dynasty asset -- even though he's eligible at the ever-impossible-to-fill Fantasy TE position, only 26% of his routes came lined up at TE as a rookie.

Route tree data

What types of routes were the rookie receivers running?

The next piece in understanding how these rookies were used comes in the form of route frequency data. 

For even more background data on the 2022 rookie class, check out the research that I compiled on how their college teams utilized them and which of the 2022 rookie wide receivers thrived on NFL-level routes at the collegiate level.

Displayed below are the players who stood out as having especially high or low route frequencies at the most frequently utilized NFL routes in 2022.

Short routes

Screen route rates:
(NFL average: 2%)

7% -- Rashid Shaheed
5% -- Skyy Moore, Chigoziem Okonkwo, Romeo Doubs
4% -- Treylon Burks

Slant route rates:
(NFL average: 6%)

14% -- Romeo Doubs
10% -- Drake London, Tyquan Thornton
9% -- Alec Pierce, Treylon Burks
8% -- Garrett Wilson

In/Out/Hitch route rates:
(NFL average: 41%)

54% -- David Bell
46% -- Chris Olave
44% -- Drake London
43% -- Rashid Shaheed

Drake London really was not used very often on downfield routes. His 14.5% go route rate was well below the league average, while he ran slant and in/out/hitch routes all at an above average rate. This shortened route tree led to a high target per route run rate; I do wonder, though, if London's yardage efficiency may be limited if he doesn't earn more downfield route running opportunities going forward.

Chris Olave, on the other hand, registered a 28% go route rate and ranked near the top of the NFL in both average route depth and average depth of target in 2022. We already knew that Olave was a competent downfield route runner coming into the 2022 season, so it was exciting to see him get an extended look as a short-yardage route runner as well. He was elite with his in/out/hitch opportunities, drawing a target on an eye-popping 39% of those routes and averaging 3.58 yards per route run. Among qualified players, only Tyreek Hill (3.77) and Amon-Ra St. Brown (3.64) were more efficient with their short opportunities in 2022.

The Packers did a lot to scheme Romeo Doubs touches after his strong preseason showing. His 14% slant rate was the highest in the NFL and nearly mirrored Davante Adams' league-high 13.3% rate from 2021 (Davante Adams registered just a 6.6% slant rate in his first season away from Green Bay). Generally speaking, the top slant rates belong to some of the NFL's top wideouts, with a few schematic-based standouts like the Packers.

Displayed below are the top-five slant rates from the 2022 season:

14.0% -- Romeo Doubs
13.2% -- Ja'Marr Chase
12.5% -- Allen Lazard
12.5% -- A.J. Brown
11.8% -- Amari Cooper

Green Bay's other rookie wide receiver, Christian Watson, did not receive such favorable treatment (7% slant rate). Doubs ran a slant, screen, in, out, or hitch on 45% of his routes -- that rate was just 31% for Watson.

I highlight these short-breaking routes because players are significantly more likely to be targeted on them. In 2022, the average target per route run rate at the WR position was 28.1% on such routes, compare that to a 14% rate on all other routes. These routes are important, and the Packers gave them to Doubs as a rookie. What's more -- Doubs posted a target per route run rate of 38% on these routes, up significantly (+35%) from the WR average.

If Allen Lazard indeed moves on from Green Bay this offseason, we could see Watson used more on slants and other short-breaking routes in Year 2. That would be a really exciting development for a player who put up elite efficiency metrics as a rookie while filling such a downfield-oriented route tree.

Deep route data

Go route rates:
(NFL average: 22%)

38% -- George Pickens
30% -- Treylon Burks
28% -- Chris Olave, Romeo Doubs
27% -- Jahan Dotson
26% -- Christian Watson

Corner/Post route rates:
(NFL average: 11%)

16% -- Christian Watson
15% -- Tyquan Thornton
13% -- Jahan Dotson, Drake London, George Pickens

Average depth of target data

How deep downfield were the rookies drawing targets?

14.8 yards -- George Pickens (10th among 125 qualified receivers)
14.2 -- Tyquan Thornton (11th)
14.2 -- Chris Olave (12th)
14.0 -- Jahan Dotson (15th)
13.8 -- Christian Watson (17th)
11.8 -- Rashid Shaheed (48th)
11.7 -- Alec Pierce (50th)
11.6 -- Treylon Burks (51st)
10.5 -- Garrett Wilson (68th)
10.4 -- Drake London (70th)
9.4 -- Romeo Doubs (85th)
7.9 -- Skyy Moore (105th)
7.1 -- David Bell (112th)

11.4 yards -- Greg Dulcich (3rd among 55 qualified tight ends)
10.0 -- Jelani Woods (4th)
7.6 -- Chigoziem Okonkwo (18th)
6.8 -- Isaiah Likely (27th)
6.1 -- Trey McBride (37th)
4.0 -- Daniel Bellinger (48th)

Kyle Pitts (13.8 yards) and Darren Waller (13.4) were the only tight ends with a higher aDOT than Greg Dulcich in 2022. Denver's rookie tight end almost matched downfield perimeter threats Alec Pierce and Treylon Burks in average depth of target. There's massive Fantasy upside available to a tight end with such a downfield oriented route tree, and understanding the types of routes that Dulcich was running helps to contextualize some inconsistency shown during his debut season. I'm more than willing to excuse any bumps in the road for a 22-year-old tight end filling this type of a role in a dysfunctional offense -- Dulcich's year-end per route rates were a bit underwhelming, but I would encourage exercising as much patience as possible if you roster him in Dynasty.

Treylon Burks had just a 9.6-yard aDOT at Arkansas in 2021, but the Titans used their rookie in a more traditional role from the perimeter. All the research that I did on Burks entering the 2022 season showed that he is capable of thriving as a downfield route runner, so this is an exciting development.

Target data

Which receivers flashed an ability to draw targets at a high rate as rookies?

2022 rookie target per route run rate leaders
PlayerRoutesTPRR
Drake London (WR - ATL)41528.20%
Chris Olave (WR - NO)42927.70%
Chigoziem Okonkwo (TE - TEN)17126.90%
Garrett Wilson (WR - NYJ)59524.70%
Christian Watson (WR - GB)26924.50%
Isaiah Likely (TE - BAL)26522.60%
Romeo Doubs (WR - GB)30921.70%
Treylon Burks (WR - TEN)25421.30%
Skyy Moore (WR - KC)16719.80%
Jelani Woods (TE - IND)20719.30%
Rashid Shaheed (WR - NO)18818.10%
Greg Dulcich (TE - DEN)31517.50%
Alec Pierce (WR - IND)47716.40%
Jahan Dotson (WR - WAS)37616.20%
George Pickens (WR - PIT)57814.50%
Tyquan Thornton (WR - NE)32513.80%
Daniel Bellinger (TE - NYG)27712.60%
Trey McBride (TE - ARI)31512.40%
David Bell (WR - CLE)30311.60%

I prefaced target data with average target depth data to illustrate why Skyy Moore's 20% target per route run rate is not necessarily more valuable than a 15-16% rate for players such as Jahan Dotson and George Pickens. In the same vein, rates of 28% and 25% for Chris Olave and Christian Watson should really stand out given their respective aDOTs.

Volume hog rates
PlayerTarget Hog RateAir yardage hog rate
Drake London34.1%36.0%
Chris Olave31.8%47.2%
Chigoziem Okonkwo31.3%35.0%
Wan'Dale Robinson29.2%25.2%
Garrett Wilson28.7%36.4%
Christian Watson28.4%44.9%
Isaiah Likely26.0%22.1%
Treylon Burks24.5%38.8%
Romeo Doubs23.8%31.7%
Jelani Woods22.6%32.1%
Skyy Moore22.0%28.1%
Greg Dulcich21.0%26.9%
Rashid Shaheed20.7%27.2%
Jahan Dotson19.4%31.3%
Alec Pierce19.2%35.7%
George Pickens17.0%29.9%

Target and air yardage hog rates are stats that I created -- I also refer to them as a player's "true" target or air yardage share. These metrics represent the percentage of targets and air yardage that a player accounts for on only the plays they were on the field for. I find this representation of target and air yardage shares to be especially helpful when evaluating rookies who often are not trusted with a full-time role until deep into the season. Volume hog rates are also useful for evaluating players who missed time due to injury or suspension.

Again, the rates for Olave and Watson jump off of the page.

Some other volume hog rate notes:

  • Garrett Wilson's rates rise to 30.2% and 43.6% when Zach Wilson was not on the field. Please, get Garrett Wilson anyone but a bust at QB. Anyone else, please. Anyone.
  • Isaiah Likely's rates sat at an elite 30.4% and 36.5% on routes run with Mark Andrews off of the field. Take note, Dynasty managers.
  • George Pickens posted rates of 18% and 34% on routes run without Chase Claypool on the field. Those are still not great. Both Alec Pierce and Jahan Dotson had better rates in 2022.
  • Drake London's rates fell to 30% and 30% while sharing the field with Kyle Pitts. A 30% target hog rate is still elite, but it is worth noting that his season-end rates were inflated by time spent without Pitts. On 218 routes run without Pitts on the field, London accounted for a behemoth 38% target hog rate and 42% air yardage hog rate.

Yard per route run data

Few stats correlate as strongly with Fantasy points as yards per route run at the wide receiver position. In the Twitter thread below, I compared the 2022 yard per route run performances from the league's youngest receivers to the best seasons recorded over the past 10 years.

Red zone and end zone target data

Showing an ability to win the trust of a quarterback and offensive play-caller as a rookie pass-catcher is a rare feat. Which rookie receivers and tight ends saw the most involvement when in scoring distance in 2022?

Displayed below, you'll find the percentage of red zone and end zone targets that each player accounted for during the plays they were on the field for.

PlayerRed zone target hog rateEnd zone target hog rate
Jahan Dotson22.6%47.1%
Garrett Wilson33.3%44.8%
Drake London38.1%41.7%
Christian Watson41.9%38.9%
Jelani Woods23.1%35.7%
Treylon Burks18.2%33.3%
Chigoziem Okonkwo21.4%30.8%
Chris Olave21.7%25.0%
Isaiah Likely28.2%23.8%
Alec Pierce15.8%22.2%
Romeo Doubs24.2%20.0%
George Pickens12.2%19.4%
Greg Dulcich11.8%15.8%

When on the field, Jahan Dotson accounted for nearly half of Washington's end zone targets.

Red zone and end zone target data provide yet another insane data point for Garrett Wilson, Drake London, and Christian Watson. Those are not just high rates for rookies, the red zone and end zone target hog rates that those three put up are among the highest of any wide receivers who played in 2022.

Chris Olave usually finds his name atop the leaderboard with that trio, but this is one area of his game that did not stand out as elite during his rookie season. I was also disappointed to find such low rates for big-bodied targets Alec Pierce, George Pickens, and Greg Dulcich. I wouldn't overreact to this data; sometimes it just takes time for rookies to earn the trust of quarterbacks and offensive play-callers when in scoring distance. This reality makes it all the more impressive to see such stellar rates for Wilson, London, Watson, and Dotson.

Hey, that's pretty good!

Man and press coverage data

A wide receiver's early-career performance when facing man and press coverage can be an important indicator of future success. 

2022 WR vs. man coverage analysis

Garrett WilsonChris OlaveDrake London, and Treylon Burks all ranked top-30 in yards per route run vs. man coverage as rookies. That group of youngsters were more efficient with their opportunities vs. man coverage than the likes of Cooper Kupp, Davante Adams, Terry McLaurin, and Keenan Allen in 2022. Olave is the name among that group that jumps out the most to me -- Andy Dalton stands out historically as one of the least aggressive quarterbacks when facing man coverage. Overall, Derek Carr might not present a significant upgrade over the QB play that Olave had in 2022. He absolutely could help Olave elevate to league-best performance vs. man coverage, though. Carr is among the most efficient passers when facing man coverage over the past three seasons, and no quarterback has been more aggressive in pushing the ball down the field vs. man than Carr.

Christian Watson did not have enough routes run vs. man coverage to qualify, but his splits on the routes that he did run vs. man coverage are insane.

2022 WR vs. press coverage analysis

George Pickens dominated press coverage at the collegiate level, and that ability immediately translated to the pro game. One of the few players who was better than Pickens when facing press coverage in 2022 was Garrett Wilson -- no receiver with 150+ routes run vs. press coverage drew targets at a higher per-route rate.

Performance vs. press coverage is one area where Wilson clearly stands ahead of Olave and London -- both saw their per-route rates drop rather dramatically when facing press coverage.

Most rookies struggle adjusting to the physicality of the NFL game; Alec Pierce did not. Pierce posted better per-route data against press coverage than both Olave and London.

Off-target data

Rookie receivers who were selected early in the NFL Draft often begin their career with poor QB play. Which of the rookie wideouts had it worse in 2022?

PlayerOff Target Rate
Drake London18.8%
Christian Watson16.7%
Jahan Dotson16.4%
Garrett Wilson16.3%
Skyy Moore15.2%
Isaiah Likely15.0%
Treylon Burks14.8%
Greg Dulcich14.5%
George Pickens14.3%
Alec Pierce12.8%
Jelani Woods12.5%
Chris Olave11.8%
Romeo Doubs9.0%
Chigoziem Okonkwo8.7%
Wan'Dale Robinson6.5%
Rashid Shaheed2.9%

Again, the difference in the 2022 circumstances for Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs jump off of the page. Outside of short-yardage catch-and-run types, no rookie had a lower off-target rate than Doubs. Watson's rate comes in almost twice as high.

Drake London endured the NFL's seventh-highest off-target rate in 2022. Among players with at least 300 routes run, only D.J. Moore (21.2%) had a higher rate.

First down target data

Targets coming on first  down are worth the most Fantasy points. Which rookies became a focal point for their offense in 2022? 

First down targets are money. For real-life NFL purposes, passing on first down is a winning proposition. Seven teams posted a pass rate of 50% or higher on situation-neutral (score within six points) first downs in 2022 -- the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings, and Philadelphia Eagles -- all seven made the playoffs.

For Fantasy purposes, first down targets were worth 19% more PPR points than targets coming on all other downs in 2022.

I believe that the explanation for this phenomenon is two-fold -- defenses are less prepared to defend the pass on first downs, and teams target their best players on first downs. Both theories are backed by data. On average, defenses had five or more defensive backs on the field 80% of the time on non-first-down plays. On first downs, that rate fell to 64%.

Not only are first down targets worth more Fantasy points, but they offer an indication of a team's intentionality in getting a player involved in the offense.

Player1D Routes1D TPRR
Drake London (WR - ATL)13034.6%
Chris Olave (WR - NO)16628.9%
Chigoziem Okonkwo (TE - TEN)6328.6%
Rashid Shaheed (WR - NO)5827.6%
Treylon Burks (WR - TEN)7526.7%
Christian Watson (WR - GB)9925.3%
Jelani Woods (TE - IND)6524.6%
Romeo Doubs (WR - GB)11424.6%
Garrett Wilson (WR - NYJ)19123.0%
Isaiah Likely (TE - BAL)7122.5%
Skyy Moore (WR - KC)7919.0%
Jahan Dotson (WR - WAS)12718.9%
David Bell (WR - CLE)8417.9%
Greg Dulcich (TE - DEN)11317.7%
Tyquan Thornton (WR - NE)11516.5%
Alec Pierce (WR - IND)16216.0%
Daniel Bellinger (TE - NYG)10312.6%
George Pickens (WR - PIT)19711.7%
Trey McBride (TE - ARI)10410.6%

First down targets are yet another data point that show just how little the Steelers did to help George Pickens succeed in 2022. The more that I consider the context surrounding his rookie campaign, the more impressed I become that he was able to put several Fantasy-relevant games on the board. Anything that Pickens got as a rookie, he earned.

How about a wild 35% rate from Drake London? My goodness.

2022 Rookie WR/TE Group 1 -- Risers:

Chris Olave, WR, New Orleans Saints

Positive rookie season takeaways:
+ Unprecedented per-route rates (27.7% TPRR and 2.43 YPRR)
+ Remarkable consistency (40+ receiving yards in all 15 games) for a rookie running such deep routes in a low-volume pass offense
+ Super strong data vs. man coverage even while playing with a QB who is afraid to throw the ball down the field against man coverage

Negative rookie season takeaways:
- Struggled a bit vs. press coverage
- Wasn't very involved when in scoring distance

The only two negative takeaways from Olave's rookie season are both quite common for rookie receivers. As a whole, his rookie campaign was extremely encouraging. He, Garrett Wilson, and Drake London are neck and neck in my Dynasty rankings after each flashed true Fantasy WR1 ability as rookies.

Dynasty rank:
WR8  

Garrett Wilson, WR, New York Jets

Positive rookie season takeaways:
+ 147 targets and 1,103 receiving yards as a rookie in a totally dysfunctional offense
+ Excellent per-route data (24.7% TPRR and 1.85 YPRR) elevated to elite levels (28.2% and 1.97) on 341 routes run with any QB other than Zach Wilson on the field
+ League-high target per route run rate vs. press coverage
+ Unprecedented end zone target share for a rookie

Negative rookie season takeaways:
- Remains a member of the New York Jets

Garrett Wilson immediately supplanted Elijah Moore as the undisputed WR1 as a rookie and went on to post one of the best rookie seasons in recent memory. His strong baseline numbers are backed by exciting underlying data, and the only blemish on Wilson's Dynasty outlook is the inherent volatility that comes with being attached to the Jets franchise. I have a difficult time ranking Wilson ahead of Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase, CeeDee Lamb, A.J. Brown, Jaylen Waddle, or Amon-Ra St. Brown with the ridiculous data that that group has accumulated, but he very well may surpass some of those names in 2023. 

Dynasty rank:
WR7

Christian Watson, WR, Green Bay Packers

Positive rookie season takeaways:
+ Elite rates vs. man coverage
+ Elite target rates when in scoring distance
+ Excellent per-route data (24.5% TPRR and 2.27 YPRR) even while dealing with a high off-target rate and filling a route tree that did him no favors (check out the route data if you skimmed -- it is pretty insane that Watson posted this type of target rate while occupying the route tree that he did in Year 1)

Negative rookie season takeaways:
- All of this data came on just a 269-route sample size

Christian Watson's rookie season could not have gone much better considering the circumstances. If we had a larger sample size, he would push for a top-10 spot in my Dynasty WR rankings. If his data came on a larger sample size and Watson were the same age as Drake London (21) and not 23 years old, he would push for a top-five ranking. The data that he accumulated as a rookie is that impressive.

Dynasty rank:
WR15

Drake London, WR, Atlanta Falcons

Positive rookie season takeaways:
+ Endured atrocious QB play (check out the off-target data if you skimmed) and still finished with a really impressive 2.09 YPRR rate.
+ Drew targets at an elite level (28.2% TPRR)
+ Historically unprecedented first down target rates for a rookie
+ Excellent data against man coverage

Negative rookie season takeaways:
- Atlanta feels like one of the most misguided franchises in the NFL
- The early-career data that we have on Kyle Pitts is nearly as unprecedented. London's rookie season rates were inflated by time spent with Pitts sidelined.
- Struggled a bit against press coverage

The circumstances in Atlanta are atrocious, but everything we learned about London as a player in Year 1 was super exciting. In a better offensive environment, London could legitimately finish as the WR1 in Fantasy -- the target rates that he has over the past two seasons are that good.

Dynasty rank:
WR9

Isaiah Likely, TE, Baltimore Ravens

Positive rookie season takeaways:
+ 8-103 receiving line on 13 targets to cap off an impressive rookie campaign
+ 6-77-1 receiving line in his other opportunity (Week 8) at an expanded role
+ Great per-route data (22.6% TPRR and 1.41 YPRR) on a 265-route sample
+ Absurd preseason data (41.4% TPRR and 4.97 YPRR on 29 routes)

Negative rookie season takeaways:
- Mark Andrews remains a roadblock
- Rather gimmicky usage (5.4-yard average route depth and 6.8-yard aDOT) as a rookie

It's worth noting that Likely's aDOT in the Weeks 8 and 18 games referenced above sat at healthier 9.1 and 8.9-yard rates, respectively. I think it is entirely possible that he would fill the Mark Andrews role at 80-90% of the efficiency that Baltimore's star TE has recorded, which would make Likely a top-five Fantasy TE. He doesn't have a clear path to playing time, yet, but it is coming if what we saw from Baltimore's Round 4 pick in Year 1 was not a fluke.

Likely's CFB data was excellent, and I am inclined to believe in what he showed us in 2022. Ranking him as a top-10 Dynasty TE may feel like a reach, but I want to be aggressive in targeting upside at the Fantasy TE position.

Dynasty rank:
TE10

Chigoziem Okonkwo, TE, Tennessee Titans

Positive rookie season takeaways:
+ Unbelievable per-route data (26.9% TPRR and 2.63 YPRR). Unbelievable.

Negative rookie season takeaways:
- Struggled to claim the starring role that it felt he deserved, even on an offense totally devoid of playmaking pass-catchers.
- Per-route rates came on a super small sample size (171 routes)

Tennessee's Round 4 pick flashed elite Fantasy TE potential as a rookie and appears poised to take on a much larger role in Year 2. At a position where Fantasy upside is rare, Okonkwo feels worth running the risk of overvaluing in reaction to such spectacular rookie per-route data.

Dynasty rank:
TE9

2022 Rookie WR/TE Group 2 -- There's call for cautious optimism:

Treylon Burks, WR, Tennessee Titans

Positive rookie season takeaways:
+ Was freed from the ridiculous gadgety role that Arkansas pigeon-holed him into
+ Posted strong data against man and press coverage (limited sample size)
+ Super exciting per-route rates (21.3% TPRR and 1.75 YPRR)
+ Looked unstoppable against Green Bay in Week 11 (7-111 receiving line, drew 8 targets on just 21 routes)
+ Drew 6+ targets in 6 of 8 healthy games

Negative rookie season takeaways:
- Struggled to stay on the field (just 254 routes)
- Remains attached to one of the most anemic passing offenses

I was really excited to see Treylon Burks operate in a more downfield-oriented role, as his CFB data when allowed to run NFL-level routes was the best in a stacked WR draft class. Unfortunately, we weren't treated to a very large sample size in 2022, but what we saw was encouraging.

Already bullish on Burks prior to 2022, I feel comfortable ranking him as a top-20 Dynasty WR. There's certainly risk with that type of evaluation, but there's plenty of room to grow as well.

Dynasty rank:
WR20

Jahan Dotson, WR, Washington Commanders

Positive rookie season takeaways:
+ Contested catch ability immediately translated -- Dotson drew dominant target rates when in scoring distance
+ Finished the season really strong. Returned in Week 10, was eased back in for three games, and was awesome from that point on. Topped 70 yards in three of five games to close the season after finishing with yardage totals of 40, 59, 10, and 43 in four healthy games to begin 2022.
+ Decent year-end per-route rates (16.2% TPRR and 1.39 YPRR) that rose to 22.2% and 2.18 on a non-insignificant 158-route sample size over his final five games.

Negative rookie season takeaways:
- Ran wind sprints (high average route depth with extremely low target rates) and was mostly touchdown dependent to start the year, which was the low-end of his range of outcomes as a prospect. What we saw to close the season was encouraging, but it's important to keep in mind the fact that we're dealing with a relatively small sample size.

Overall, it was a really exciting rookie debut for Dotson. He looked awesome on contested catch opportunities and flashed surprisingly strong target drawing ability for a field stretcher to close out 2022. Coming into the 2022 season, I had Dotson grouped with high range of outcome field-stretching prospects such as George Pickens, Alec Pierce, and Jalen Tolbert (oof). After one season, he appears to have clearly separated himself from that bunch.

Dynasty rank:
WR28

Alec Pierce, WR, Indianapolis Colts

Positive rookie season takeaways:
+ Found the field (477 routes) and was reasonably productive (593 receiving yards) in a bad offense
+ Accounted for 36% of the air yardage when on the field. That rate is among the best of any rookies, right in line with Garrett Wilson (37%) and Drake London (35%).

Negative rookie season takeaways:
- 1.24 yard per route run rate leaves something to be desired. Of course, the offensive environment was really bad, but so was Pittsburgh's, and George Pickens posted a 1.39 rate. Tyquan Thornton and David Bell were the only qualified rookie receivers with a lower rate than Pierce.
- Finished with fewer than 40 receiving yards in eight games
- Posted three catchless games

Here's where I landed on Pierce after researching him fully leading up to the 2022 NFL Draft:

"Alec Pierce's strong route data was carried by exceptional rates on go routes. 26 percent of his career routes were go routes -- compared to just an 18 percent CFB average. Pierce averaged 3.43 yards per route run on go's, up from just 1.75 on all other routes.

The Colts ranked 31st in go route frequency in 2021. The only team that ran go routes less often than Indianapolis was the Atlanta Falcons. A 37-year-old Matt Ryan may not be suited to deliver the ball downfield to Pierce."

Indianapolis just was not a good fit for Pierce. You can read about what stood out from Pierce's CFB data here.

Hopefully his circumstances improve going forward. I believe that Pierce is good enough to be a productive Fantasy WR in the right scenario, but it takes a truly special player to transcend the incompatibility of Pierce's current fit within his offense.

Dynasty rank:
WR46

Greg Dulcich, TE, Denver Broncos

Positive rookie season takeaways:
+ Super-high aDOT for a tight end provides hypothetical upside
+ Finished with 8+ targets in 4 of 10 games
+ Decent per-route rates (17.5% TPRR and 1.30 YPRR)

Negative rookie season takeaways:
- Was not a factor in the red zone
- Finished with 11 receiving yards in 3 of 10 games
- Finished with 51 or fewer yards in 7 of 10 games

Inconsistency is going to be a problem for a young tight end occupying a deeper-than-usual route tree in a bad offense -- even Kyle Pitts has not been immune. With that reality in mind, Dulcich's rookie season can be viewed as a clear success. There's a decent chance that he rewards patient Dynasty managers with exciting production in the not-so-distant future.

Dynasty rank:
TE8

Jelani Woods, TE, Indianapolis Colts

Positive rookie season takeaways:
+ Super solid per-route rates (19.3% TPRR and 1.51 YPRR) for a rookie TE
+ Flashed Fantasy relevancy with an 8-98 line on 9 targets in Week 12
+ Filled a downfield-oriented route tree that offers significant Fantasy upside

Negative rookie season takeaways:
- His per-route data comes on just a 207-route sample size, as Woods wasn't able to seperate himself from Mo Alie-Cox and Kylen Granson. Granson, Indy's Round 4 selection from 2021, played ahead of Woods when both were healthy.

When given an opportunity to play, Jelani Woods looked like a baller. He's an intriguing player to stash in Dynasty formats, but playing time competition remains an issue and I feel no confidence in Indy's offensive environment.

Dynasty rank:
TE16

Jameson Williams, WR, Detroit Lions

Positive rookie season takeaways:
+ Found his way onto the field eventually and flashed some explosive play ability in his limited opportunity.

Negative rookie season takeaways:
- We didn't really learn anything about Williams, as he wasn't allowed to reach double-digit routes run in a single game.

Dynasty rank:
WR24

Rashid Shaheed, WR, New Orleans Saints

Positive rookie season takeaways:
+ Insanely efficient yardage creation (2.6 YPRR) on a limited sample size (188 routes)
+ Earned a regular role by the end of the season. In six games with 20+ routes run, Shaheed topped 70 yards three times.
+ Showed signs of being able to win at different levels of the field

Negative rookie season takeaways:
- No draft capital and only 188 routes to his name. Shaheed could disappear as if his exciting 2022 per-route rates never happened if the Saints add to their WR room in a significant way this offseason.

Shaheed's first NFL touch was a 44-yard touchdown rush. He followed that up with a 53-yard touchdown reception the next week. Shaheed was an explosive play waiting to happen as a rookie, and it will be really interesting to see what happens if he gets any extended opportunity.

Dynasty rank:
WR56

2022 Rookie WR/TE Group 3 -- Don't count them out yet, but questions remain that need answering in Year 2:

George Pickens, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Positive rookie season takeaways:
+ Excellent data vs. press coverage (you can read more about press coverage data's importance here)
+ Excellent data on deep routes
+ Flashed some productive games:

6-102 in Week 4
6-83 in Week 5
6-61-1 in Week 7
4-83-1 in Week 11
5-57-1 in Week 16
3-72-1 in Week 18

+ Among the most efficient producers on non "target-boosting" routes

Negative rookie season takeaways:
- Really troubling per-route rates (14.5% TPRR and 1.39 YPRR)
- Ignored when in the red zone

George Pickens' rookie season data was every bit as contentious as his CFB data was, with flashes of brilliance mixed into a product that was disappointing as a whole. Overall, I was encouraged by a deeper delve into his rookie season data.

The Steelers did Pickens absolutely no favors. He filled one of the most bland route trees in the NFL -- no player had a higher 'go' route rate than Pickens (38%). 59% of his routes were either go or hitch routes, notably higher than the NFL average of 39%. The Steelers basically said, "go post up or go clear space for Diontae Johnson," so it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Pickens was not targeted at a high rate.

He showed an ability to win in certain situations, which is a great start for a rookie receiver. If Pickens can add to what he offers in Year 2 and beyond, he could turn into a stud Fantasy WR. If not, he appears doomed for the Marquez Valdes-Scantling career track.

Dynasty rank:
WR31

Skyy Moore, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

Positive rookie season takeaways:
+ Decent enough per-route rates (19.8% TPRR and 1.50 YPRR) for a rookie
+ It came on a small sample size, but his yardage after the catch creation seemed to translate at the NFL level (6.7 YAC/reception tied Christian Watson for the lead among rookie WRs)

Negative rookie season takeaways:
- Moore suited up for 22 games between the preseason, regular season, and playoffs. He topped 40 receiving yards one time (63 yards vs. the Chargers in Week 11)
- Unable to beat out Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Justin Watson for playing time

Skyy Moore's rookie season was massively underwhelming. There is no way around it.

Here's where I landed on Moore after researching him fully leading up to the 2022 NFL Draft:

"On the surface level, Moore checks all of the analytical boxes -- he boasts a young breakout age, an excellent dominator rating, elite yard per route run and explosive play efficiency, and dominant target shares. However, a deeper dive into his route data and splits vs. different coverage types suggest that the NFL game might be a bit too big for Moore."

You can read about what stood out from Moore's CFB data here.

I ranked Moore as the WR33 for Dynasty purposes after he was selected in Round 2 by Kansas City, but he has fallen all the way to WR50 following his rookie campaign. Not only did Year 1 offer a sobering reminder of the warning signs that presented themselves in his CFB data, but it also included his team trading a Round 3 and Round 6 pick to acquire another young catch-and-run threat in Kadarius Toney. 2022 was far from a promising start for Moore.

Moore is a former defensive back who was converted to WR and does not have the same type of experience playing the position as the rest of the rookie class. He could simply have a longer learning curve to overcome before he is able to produce at the NFL level. How the Chiefs handle their WR room this offseason could offer us some signal of how confident in their 2022 Round 2 selection they feel after spending a year together.

Dynasty rank:
WR50

Wan'Dale Robinson, WR, New York Giants

Positive rookie season takeaways:
+ Super solid per-route data (24% TPRR and 1.76 YPRR) backed up his Round 2 draft status and unbelievable rates at Kentucky in 2021
+ 9-100 receiving line on 13 targets in Week 11. Robinson joined Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave as the only rookies to reach 13 targets in a game.

Negative rookie season takeaways:
- Struggled to stay on the field (only 129 routes and a season-ending ACL tear)
- If his 6.2-yard average depth of target sticks, then Robinson is going to be reliant on outlier rates as a target drawer and a yardage after the catch creator to produce for Fantasy

Dynasty rank:
WR48

Romeo Doubs, WR, Green Bay Packers

Positive rookie season takeaways:
+ 21.7% TPRR was definitely a pleasant surprise. Doubs was not targeted at a high rate in college.
+ The team seemed invested in him (check out the Route Tree Data section if you skimmed over it)

Negative rookie season takeaways:
- Only turned 67 targets into 425 receiving yards.
- Topped out at 73 yards and finished with fewer than 50 yards in 6 of 9 healthy games.

A metric that I put a lot of value into is yards per route run relative to teammates at the same position. I'll publish an article detailing which receivers stood out with the biggest discrepancies later this offseason. This metric does not shine a positive light on Romeo Doubs.

From an analytical perspective, nothing about Doubs' CFB data stood out. His most-likely outcome was a league average field-stretcher who could potentially be useful in Fantasy in an ideal situation. Nothing from his rookie season changed his seemingly middling Fantasy outlook.

Dynasty rank:
WR55

2022 Rookie WR/TE Group 4 -- Fallers:

David Bell, WR, Cleveland Browns

Positive rookie season takeaways:
+ Earned reulgar playing time (305 routes)

Negative rookie season takeaways:
- Topped out at 35 receiving yards
- Only one game with 40+ air yards
- Only one game with 30+ receiving yards
- Putrid per-route rates. The corpse of A.J. Green (0.65) was the only player with a lower YPRR rate (0.71). No WR had a lower TPRR (11.3%)

Bell flashed target hog ability at Purdue and Cleveland selected him in Round 3 to replace Jarvis Landry in the slot, but he showed no signs of such ability in Year 1. There is almost no precedent for a rookie receiver posting such atrocious per-route data and going on to be a productive NFL player. It's tough to feel enthused about a 16-game season that yielded 214 receiving yards.

Dynasty rank:
WR68

Kyle Philips, WR, Tennessee Titans

Positive rookie season takeaways:
+ Teased us with a 6-66 line on 9 targets in Week 1 after a hyped-up training camp and a preseason in which he drew targets at a high rate

Negative rookie season takeaways:
- Couldn't stay healthy, finished with just 48 routes run
- Did not finish with more than 1 catch or 10 receiving yards in a game after Week 1

Tennessee's fifth-round slot man did not profile as a particularly exciting prospect and failed to make much of an impact in Year 1. He could play his way into a larger role with better health in Year 2, but Philips is mostly off of the Dynasty radar until he shows us something.

Dynasty rank:
WR91

Trey McBride, TE, Arizona Cardinals

Positive rookie season takeaways:
+ Entrusted with a full-time role after Zach Ertz's injury
+ Flashed one productive (7-78-1 on 10 targets vs. ATL in Week 17) performance

Negative rookie season takeaways:
- Did absolutely nothing (12.4% TPRR and 0.84 YPRR) with those opportunities

McBride boasted some of the most impressive CFB data of any TE in recent memory, but what he put on paper in 2022 could not have been a more stark contrast. After drawing targets at a truly elite rate in college, McBride was invisible as a rookie. He drew just two targets on 36 preseason routes and then posted a TPRR of 12.4% during the regular season. Yikes.

Dynasty rank:
TE17

Tyquan Thornton, WR, New England Patriots

Positive rookie season takeaways:
+ Found his way onto the field for 325 routes, even after missing the first five weeks

Negative rookie season takeaways:
- Only one game with 40+ receiving yards, topped out at just 60 yards
- Really troubling per-route rates (13.8% TPRR and 0.76 YPRR)

Thornton was a head-scratching Round 2 selection by the Patriots and did nothing to dispel concerning CFB data in his first NFL season. He flashed some exciting signs during the preseason; overall, though, it was a highly disappointing rookie campaign.

Dynasty rank:
WR71

Jalen Tolbert, WR, Dallas Cowboys

Positive rookie season takeaways:
(none)

Negative rookie season takeaways:
- Could not find the field for a Cowboys team that desperately needed help at the WR position

Tolbert's CFB data was awesome, but he opened the season a healthy scratch and never made an impact. His rookie season could not have gone much worse.

Dynasty rank:
WR86

Khalil Shakir, WR, Buffalo Bills

Positive rookie season takeaways:
+ Caught all 8 preseason targets for 8-151 line (3.51 YPRR)
+ Finished with a 3-75-1 line in one opportunity at an expanded role
+ Ran double-digit routes in both playoff games, drew 7 targets on 30 routes (23.3% TPRR) and caught 5 for 91 yards (3.03 YPRR)

Negative rookie season takeaways:
- Only 141 routes
- Unimpressive rates on those routes (14.2% TPRR and 1.14 YPRR)

Khalil Shakir's CFB data was great, as was his landing spot in Buffalo. I hoped that he showed enough during the preseason to earn regular playing time, but he actually required injuries to both Isaiah McKenzie and Jamison Crowder to find his way onto the field. When he did get to play, Shakir showed flashes. He could move up my Dynasty WR rankings into the 50-60 range if the Bills don't do much to address the WR position this offseason.

Dynasty rank:
WR69

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Jacob GibbsDFS Guru

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