Rookie wide receivers rankings for Best Ball ADP: 1st round

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Drake London, Atlanta Falcons: Best Ball ADP- Underdog: 66 |  Draftkings- 80

– As the 1st receiver selected and going to an offense with a clear lack of weapons, Drake London rightfully has a strong Best Ball ADP. London immediately steps into the Falcons as the teams number 1 receiver and likely top overall target share leader. He is the only rookie with any reasonable chance to exceed 25% market share, and he’s got the size to be a quality Red zone weapon. The Falcons were middle of the pack in pass attempts last year (573), but could need to throw the ball more given the lack of a running game and poor defense.

The Falcons do have a major concern at QB play with Marcus Mariota the starter and rookie Desmond Ridder as his back-up. There will likely be efficiency questions and a cap on potential TD production for London in this offense. Still volume alone will likely ensure London produces numerous strong weeks. He’s being drafted in the low-end WR3/high-end WR4 territory and that is a good spot for him. He will likely have 1 or 2 spike WR1 type of weeks, but he will mainly produce as a low-end WR 2/high-end WR3. If he’s your 3rd or 4th WR you are taking I think he offers plenty of value in that role.

Related: Best Ball Rookie WR ADPs: 2nd round and later

Garrett Wilson, New York Jets: Best Ball ADP- Underdog: 102 | Draftkings: 115

– Wilson was generally thought of as the top WR in this class and the most well-rounded prospect. He was the 2nd WR taken in the 1st round and he lands in a spot with the Jets where he should be the team’s top receiver. Given that it’s surprising that his ADP isn’t higher, which could make him a sneaky good value in Best Ball drafts.

The Jets finished the season 13th with 603 pass attempts last season, but serious questions remain at QB. Zach Wilson‘s production was far below that of fellow Jets starters Mike White, Joe Flacco and Josh Johnson. He completed just 55.6% of his passes averaging just 6.1 yards per attempt. Wilson will hopefully improve in year two, but serious question marks remain. The other concern is that there could be a competition for targets. Last year rookie Elijah Moore led the team in targets (77), yards (538) and TDs (5) in just 11 games.

Also back are Corey Davis and Braxton Berrios a pair of receivers whom the team has invested some decent cap space in. Davis likely would have led the team in most receiving categories, but he played just 9 games. New York also was aggressive in adding TEs this offseason (significant cap to C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin, and a 3rd round pick for Jeremy Ruckert). They barely involved their tight ends last season, so this could be a change in philosophy.

Despite the questions Wilson is still in good overall situation for fantasy production at this ADP. None of the 1st round rookies went to elite landing spots, Wilson next to London has the best chance to lead his team in targets. Moore might push him for team market share, Wilson still is a strong bet to push for 20%+ of the team’s targets. Wilson also figures to be a more downfield threat which could lead to some spike Best Ball weeks. Wilson is going at a similar ADP of Chris Olave, and he has probably a cleaner path to value. I wouldn’t push his ADP up much, but I do think he offers potential access to a team’s number 1 receiver.

Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints: Best Ball ADP- Underdog: 100 | Draftkings: 103

– Olave was perhaps the highest floor rookie WR in this class, but he comes into the situation with the greatest unknowns. Last season the Saints finished with the 3rd fewest passing attempts (504) and tied for last in completion percentage (58.1%). Now starter Jameis Winston only played 6.5 games last season, but he averaged just 25.2 attempts per game which is lower than the full team’s average of 29.6. Winston just edged out the team’s 58.1% completion rate with a paltry 59%. Winston is expected to be ready by the start of the season and he does have a career track record of being more aggressive, but it is worth noting how limited this passing offense was last season, with and without Winston.

Part of the reason that the Saints were so limited in passing was due to a clear lack of weapons. With Michael Thomas missing the whole season, and no clear number 2 receiver Marquez Callaway led the team in targets (84), yards (698) and TDs (6). In addition to adding Olave the Saints signed Jarvis Landry as a free agent and are hopeful that Thomas will return. If that happens the Saints will have one of the strongest top 3 receiver groups in the league to go along with Alvin Kamara out of the backfield.

With those types of weapons it should be expected that the Saints throw the ball more this season. Now Thomas’ return and when it might happen is very much up in the air at this point. Kamara is facing a potential suspension which could open up some extra targets during that time. So a lot of uncertainty remains in this offense.

Given the massive amount of uncertainty in this situation Best Ball drafters need to make a stand here with Olave. He is probably too rich at this current ADP without more clarity about how this offense will look. Even if Thomas were to miss a considerable amount of time and Kamara gets suspended, how many targets would Olave get?

If the Saints bump their targets up to 550 range, and Olave earns a good 18% market share, that is 99 targets. Let’s say he catches 65% (this is higher than any Saints WR last year), and he averages 14 yards per catch, that gives him 65 catches 910 yards. Even with that production I think he would be a push at around a top 100 pick. The problem is that is probably the rosiest likely scenario for Olave. If those numbers come in below that at all, you are going to be paying an opportunity cost here vs the other players in the range. If Michael Thomas is back it will be nearly impossible for Olave to produce enough to warrant this ADP.

Jameson Williams, Detroit Lions: Best Ball ADP- Underdog: 121 | Draftkings: 138

– If not for a torn ACL in the National Championship game Williams would have been the first receiver off the board in the draft and a top 60ish player in Best Ball. Coming off the injury though Williams status for 2022 is a bit of an unknown. There is some thought that he may be able to return by the start of October, that is a pretty optimistic timeline. It’s more likely that Williams could start the season on the PUP list which would shut him down for the first 6 weeks of the season at least. It’s also possible that the recovery could extend even longer, leaving this a very open question.

Even when Williams is ready to return to the field, how ready will he be to make an impact? Unlike some veterans (Chris Godwin and Michael Gallup) coming off similar injury situations, Williams is a rookie who needs to learn the league, his new offense and timing with Jared Goff. It’s unlikely that he’s going to be a full-time starter as soon as he’s off the injury report. This is going to make it tough for him to produce enough for a Best Ball score in the first half or more of the season.

Given that risk his ADP on Underdog especially feels too risky despite his long term potential and upside. In the 120’s there are low-end TE1’s, RB3’s, and quality QB2’s in that range, that can all produce for the full season. Even some of the other receivers currently in that range (Gallup, Kenny Golladay, Tim Patrick, Jarvis Landry, Devante Parker, etc.) offer similar upside with generally less risk. On Draftkings some of the same risk remains, but given that it’s about 20 spots later, that nearly 2 round difference is enough to make it more worthwhile. Also Draftkings scoring is more friendly for receivers at full point PPR. A player like Williams with his big play ability could earn 100 yard bonuses on a more limited workload.

Jahan Dotson, Washington Commanders: Best Ball ADP- Underdog: 140  | Draftkings: 148

– Despite going in the top half of the 1st round, Dotson’s ADP is well below his fellow 1st round receivers and even multiple 2nd rounders as well. Dotson didn’t receive near as much pre-draft 1st round hype which is contributing to his Best Ball ADP fall. Add in a murky landing spot and it is keeping his ADP depressed to the point that this is a potential value spot for drafters.

Dotson isn’t the biggest or fastest receiver in this class, but he’s arguably the best route runner and possesses a excellent catch radius. He’s very NFL ready and is expected to be Washington’s number 2 starting receiver from Day 1. Just how strong will this role be in fantasy is a very open question.

The Commanders have a clear alpha receiver in Terry McLaurin, and Curtis Samuel and Dyami Brown figure to both push for targets in the number 3/4 role. Washington has also thrown to their backs at a pretty high rate the last two seasons, and it’s unclear if that will change with a stronger receiver group. They finished 21st in the league in passing attempts with 550 and they still figure to lean into the run a fair amount.

On the positive side for Dotson’s outlook is the addition of Carson Wentz at quarterback. Wentz is far from an elite QB, but he represents the best passing option Washington has had under center since Kirk Cousins left. He’s got a strong arm and is pretty accurate overall. This offense easily could produce more yards and points than it has over the past few seasons, which could allow for a second viable fantasy producer to emerge from the wide receivers. Dotson could produce a line similar to Brandon Aiyuk a year ago – 56 catches, 826 yards and 5 TDs.

If Dotson comes near that mark he’s a great option for Best Ball leagues, particularly at this ADP (Aiyuk is currently going 50+ spots higher). It won’t be easy to predict when Dotson has fantasy viable games, but they will be there if he’s producing on this level. Mainly he will be competing for your WR3 or Flex spots, and as a bye week replacement option. Despite that kind of upside you can easily land him as your 6th or 7th receiver. This potentially offers tremendous value for Best Ball players, and something they should jump on now before his Best Ball ADP moves up.

Treylon Burks, Tennessee Titans: Best Ball ADP- Underdog: 76 | Draftkings: 92

– Burks was the 6th receiver selected in the first round, but he comes in with the 2nd highest ADP among the rookies. He received a lot of pre-draft hype in some circles, leading many to believe he was going to be the 2nd or 3rd drafted receiver. Burks is also seeing his ADP stay this high as many are hoping he will slide right into to A.J. Brown‘s highly productive fantasy role. Overall this feels risky for Best Ball owners, as Burks ADP is fueled by more hype than substance at this point.

Burks does have legitimate big play ability, and his skill set was compared to players like Deebo Samuel and A.J. Brown. He also has probably the widest range between his ceiling and floor among the 1st round rookie receivers. He is probably the least NFL ready of the 1st round rookies (though still has enough of a tool set to produce), which could lead to some growing pains.

Burks does land with probably the most talented QB of the 1st round rookies in Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill won’t throw many pass attempts, but he gets the most of them with his efficiency. Tannehill’s high TD% and YPA numbers in 2019 and 2020, came back down to earth in 2021 to average levels. So there are some questions about how valuable this passing offense can be.

A.J. Brown was able to earn an alpha role in terms of per-game production relative to this offense these past three seasons, but will Burks be able to do that as a rookie? This seems like a tough ask for Best Ball drafters, given that Robert Woods could end up with the top production on this team. Burks can still put up solid production, but he’s currently being drafted with the expectation that he’s a WR3 or Flex option most weeks. This is too high of a value to pay given the other players likely on the board. If Burks slips into more of the 115-125 Best Ball ADP range then he may be worth targeting. Right now though this is a situation to avoid.

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