Skip to main content

Fantasy Football 2022: Best Landing Spots for Rookie Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

Jameson Williams, Alabama Crimson Tide Football

If former Alabama big-play weapon Jameson Williams were to land in either Green Bay or Kansas City, his fantasy stock would skyrocket

With the 2022 NFL Draft ready to get going on Thursday, the attention will be on where these former college standouts will play professionally. There's also a fantasy angle to this as well, as oftentimes the team that drafts these prospects is as much of a factor as the player's own skill set.

So with that in mind let's take a look at some of the wide receivers and tight ends in this year's draft class and potential landing spots that could maximize their fantasy appeal.

Related: Best Fantasy Landing Spots for Rookie Quarterbacks and Running Backs

Just keep in mind that this is a fluid situation, especially if you consider how chaotic this offseason has already been when it comes to big-name wide receivers changing teams. While many of us considered the possibility that Davante Adams would not stay in Green Bay, the same cannot be said for Tyreek Hill leaving Kansas City, and yet here we are.

Speaking of surprises, I think we might look back at this draft in a few years and say it was underrated. As the kids used to say, many are throwing shade on this class as a whole. Anywhere you go, you can see folks claiming this is one of the weaker classes. But that is not the case at wide receiver. I don't think this WR draft class will be like the 2014 class, but it could be pretty close to the 1991 crop. 

That class featured a ton of reliable starters, including four Pro Bowlers. Herman Moore for example won't be a Hall of Famer but he owned every Lion major receiving record when he retired. And he likely still would if it wasn't for Calvin Johnson, who many consider the best at his position in the last 20 years. 

The bottom line is this draft class is pretty good for WRs. What will separate those in this class will likely be their landing spot. So here are some of my favorite landing spots for WRs along with a few for tight ends.

Best Landing Spot for Rookie WRs: Green Bay Packers

Many have the Washington Commanders (wow typing that feels weird!) taking the first wide receiver off of the board when the team picks at No. 11. While the initial extra greenbacks would be nice, if I'm a rookie WR, in the long run, I'd rather fall all the way to the Packers at 22. (In case you forgot already, this is the pick they got from Las Vegas as part of the Adams trade.)

Who would you rather receive passes from  twice-traded already QB Carson Wentz or future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers? Yes, that is a trick question. Furthermore, Washington currently has a WR1 in Terry McLaurin. Meanwhile, does Green Bay even have a strong WR2? If you were a top rookie WR, would you be intimidated by Sammy Watkins, Randall Cobb, or Allen Lazard standing in your way?

My guess is that Green Bay's division rivals try to address some of their secondary needs. But the NFC North did not feature even one team in the top 10 in preventing fantasy points to opposing WRs. And that includes Minnesota, who gave up more fantasy points to opposing WRs (42+ points per game) than any other team.

This is clearly the best landing spot for a rookie WR.

Potential "Perfect Fit": I originally thought George Pickens (Georgia) might be the perfect Adams replacement. But I think there are enough red flags there that Green Bay management is looking for other options. If Jameson Williams (Alabama) falls to the Packers, I can see the Packers sprinting up to the podium with their draft card with Williams name on it. However, I don't think that opportunity will present itself as he will be picked long before the Packers are scheduled to go on the clock at No. 22. But Treylon Burks (Arkansas) might be available.

Teams are a little concerned about his 40 time, which is 4.55. That is actually .01 faster than Adams' time when he was going through the pre-draft process in 2014. Both Burks and Adams had official weights of 225 pounds and Burks is actually an inch taller. More importantly, he has shown very reliable hands. That is critical in earning Rodgers' trust. Should he land in Green Bay, he will be the Packers' WR1 by midseason.

Other Potentially Strong Landing Spots for Rookie WRs: Indianapolis Colts and Kansas City Chiefs:

Jonathan Taylor is a stud at running back and opposing teams will have to do everything they can to try and stop him. That means likely eight or nine players in the box, which means Colts WRs will rarely ever see double coverage. And with Michael Pittman as the WR1, there will be less pressure on a rookie to come in and produce.

But recall that Matt Ryan is now in Indianapolis. Matty Ice is getting up there in years, but look what he did for Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. Indianapolis does not pick until 42nd overall, but Skyy Moore (Western Michigan) or John Metchie III (Alabama) could fall right into their laps. Neither is taller than six feet, but the speed of either one would be a perfect complement to the taller (6-4) Pittman.

Another great landing spot of course would be Kansas City. Hill has taken his talents to South Beach. In his place is JuJu Smith-Schuster, who hasn't seen a 1K-yard season since 2018. Behind him are two WRs who have yet to put up 700 yards in a season, Mecole Hardman and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. With Patrick Maholmes at the helm, any rookie WR would be excited to play for KC. With two late first-round picks, I would be shocked if the Chiefs didn't take at least one receiver. They could even trade up to ensure they get their guy.

But assuming the Chiefs stand pat, it's tough to say how the first 28 picks will fall out, but a potential option could be Jahan Dotson (Penn State). Dotson could have put up even bigger numbers last season than his 91 catches, 1,182 yards and 12 touchdowns, if his quarterback was someone other than Sean Clifford, who isn't showing up on many draft boards as it relates to 2023. I don't even need to tell you that Mahomes would be a QB upgrade for Dotson, do I?

Dotson could land lots of places, but if he lands in Kansas City, I will be the coachman driving that bandwagon.

Best Landing Spot for Rookie TEs: Indianapolis Colts

This draft, even proportionally given the ratio of wide receivers to tight ends, is not anywhere as deep at TE as it is at WR. But most teams have pretty good options at the position atop their depth chart already. Therefore, that handful of teams that do not are very soft landing spots for the top options in this draft like Trey McBride (Colorado State). Indianapolis might not grab McBride or another TE until late on Day 2. But don't let that distract you from this potential goldmine. Mark Andrews and Travis Kelce were both drafted in the third round while other top TEs like George Kittle and Darren Waller didn't hear their names called until Day 3.

But getting back to Indianapolis, the best option the Colts currently have there is Mo Alie-Cox, who has 70 catches for 936 yards and eight TDs. That's an amazing fantasy season for a TE, but those are Alie-Cox's total for his career (four seasons). And if you're worried about Ryan becoming Indinapolis' new quarterback, just remember that last year's top rookie TE was former teammate Kyle Pitts. See where I'm going here?

Potential "Perfect Fit": There is no need to make this complicated. If McBride lands in Indy, he will become an instant starter. He will likely be a top-15 pick in dynasty rookie drafts should the Colts grab him. However, I also like Greg Dulcich (UCLA), who is almost the exact same size as McBride. McBride is a slightly better blocker than Dulcich, but for fantasy purposes, Dulcich is right there with him when it comes to pass-catching skills. Given UCLA's tendency to produce quality TEs, don't sleep on Dulcich if he ends up on the Colts.

Other Potentially Strong Landing Spots for Rookies TEs: New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers

With Evan Engram now in Jacksonville, the top tight end for the Giants is Ricky Seals-Jones. When RSJ was on the Cardinals a few years ago, I had high expectations for him. But now after being in the league for five years, he has totaled 90 catches and 10 touchdowns. That is "meh" at best. But we know Daniel Jones often throws short, supported by his falling in the middle of the rankings in intended air yards. That's not great news if you are a Giants WR, but very good news if you are a rookie TE. I will be watching the Giants very closely to see who they pick.

I also will be watching to see if Tampa Bay takes a tight end. Tom Brady is back but Rob Gronkowski is still deciding whether he will join him (again). Even without Gronk, we know Brady likes to target his TEs. Cameron Brate is currently holding down the fort for the Buccaneers, but he only has two years left on his contract. Tampa Bay might not be a "strong" landing spot for TEs, but it is definitely a spot to keep in mind.

— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.