2022 Fantasy Football Deep WR Targets

by Mark Strausberg
2022 Fantasy Football Deep WR Targets

I suppose the first thing we need to do when discussing the 2022 Fantasy Football Deep WR Targets is to define what is deep?

I decided to use our friends over at FantasyPros who compiled ADP based upon the average draft position at five different sites (ESPN, RT Sports, FanTrax, FF Calculator, and Sleeper). I set the line at anyone beyond WR60 as that would be a sixth WR in a 12-team league.

If any of these WRs have to be one of your top three WRs, that's a bad thing. Either you drafted poorly or your team got bit badly by the injury bug. However, that doesn't mean they won't be one of your top three WRs.

I am expecting all of them to beat their ADP and provide value. Maybe they provide you with a solid bye-week fill-in. Or perhaps you include them in a trade to net you that key addition to your team.

Who's to say? They are, after all, deep WR picks. But push them aside at your own risk.

Here is a six-pack of my favorite 2022 Fantasy Football Deep WR Targets.

2022 Fantasy Football Deep WR Targets

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Rondale Moore, Arizona Cardinals

I already discussed him in my Post Hype Sleepers article. The big reason for optimism with Moore will occur while DeAndre Hopkins is serving his suspension.

During Hopkins absence, Moore should be Arizona's WR2, at worst. Coach Kingbury already said a few months ago that Moore should be a bigger part of the offense:

And it bore itself out last year. Moore had 4.2 targets per game when Hopkins was on the field, but with Nuk out of the lineup, Moore saw his targets jump about 30% to 5.8 targets.

What I also like about Moore is that I would not be surprised to see the Cardinals use Moore similar to how the Falcons used Cordarelle Patterson this past season. The Cardinals handed Moore the rock 18 times as he rushed for 76 yards last season. That's an average of 4.2 yards per attempt, which is more than James Conner (3.7 YPA) had last year. And in college, his YPC was even higher.

Moore is a little lacking in size but makes up for it with his blazing speed and lateral quickness. It is part of what makes him what I call a "YAC monster". Amongst all WRs with at least 50 targets, he was third in yards after the catch per reception. Furthermore, Moore was 28th in "route win rate" and 30th in targets per snap.

The bottom line: I am expecting Moore to see a huge improvement this season.

Jalen Tolbert, Dallas Cowboys

The industry seems to be split on Tolbert. So let me go Smilin Jack Ross on you and say, "these are the facts and they are indisputable":

  • The Dallas Cowboys have had the most offensive yards in two of the last three seasons. They have passed no less than 58% of their plays each of those three years.
  • Amari Cooper is now a Cleveland Brown
  • Michael Gallup suffered an ACL tear in week 17 last season. Every report I have read has him as a question mark to play in Week 1
  • James Washington missed OTAs due to a foot issue. Even if he does start, he has no more than 30 catches or even 400 receiving yards over each of the last two seasons. He's never caught more than 44 passes in any season or even reached 750 receiving yards.
  • Jalen Tolbert was the Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Year. He was ranked sixth in the FBS with 1,474 receiving yards (18.0 per rec.).  Tolbert also set school career records with 178 receptions and 3,140 receiving yards.

You make your own decision.

Julio Jones, FA

This one could make me look really stupid, but I can't help but think someone signs him between now and Week 1.

His season last year was...um...not good. However, for six straight years, he caught between 83 and 136 passes, scored between three and eight TDs, and put up yardage totals between 1394 and 1871. But I do think he still has at least one good season in him.

Depending on who signs him, he could still be that team's WR1 and for most teams likely their WR2. He should see at least 100 targets this season. Let's assume he catches 70 of those. His career low yards per catch is 13.8. Multiply those two numbers, we get 966 yards. Let's knock it down to 850 just because he's another year older.

Even when he caught just 51 passes his last year in Atlanta, he still had three TDs. If he is signed and is playing by week 1, he should have at least that number again. 154 PPR points would have made him a borderline WR3 last year. That's too strong to ignore.

K.J. Osborn, Minnesota Vikings

I feel like a month from now that Osborn will be well inside the Top-50 WRs, especially in dynasty and best ball leagues. He did have 50 catches for 655 yards in 2021. That is particularly noteworthy given that he put those numbers up under Mike Zimmer's watch, who prefers to run the ball and let the defense win games.

In 2022 however, Kevin O'Connell will be directing the Vikes' offense. O'Connell has said he'll use 11 personnel, so there will be three receivers, a tight end, and a running back in Minnesota’s base formation, which means more opportunities. And Osborn takes advantage of his opportunities. Osborn notched lines of 3-83-1; 3-21; 3-50-1; and 1-21-1 in the four games that Adam Thielen was out. During that stretch, Osborn saw a respectable 18.5% target share.

But it wasn't just when Thielen was out. Osborn finished as a Top-36 WR (and better) seven times last season. Now entering his third year, I would expect Osborn to improve on his 50 catches and 655 yards from last season.

Jaelon Darden, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Darden comes with some slight hesitation on my part. Because if Chris Godwin plays this season then Darden will likely be an afterthought. But for now, let's assume that Godwin doesn't see meaningful snaps before Columbus Day. If so, I like Darden's chances to make a name for himself.

Darden was an All-American whose 19 TD receptions in 2020 were second only to Heisman winner Devonta Smith. However, he saw only six targets from Tom Brady all of last season. Darden should make the roster due to his return abilities, but that's not going to help us too much on the fantasy side.

And, know this: Darden wants to be an everyday receiver for the Bucs, not just their return man. He's undersized (only 5'8 174 pounds), but has blazing speed. He runs a 4.46 40-yard dash. With the 6'5 Evans on the other side, the Bucs will have a great balance of speed and size.

The Bucs OC, Byron Leftwich, is a coaching star on the rise, and many thought he would be hired this offseason before he withdrew his name for consideration. Expect Leftwich to maximize the tools at his disposal and that will include using the speedy Darden. The Buccaneers were atop the league last year in passing attempts, passing yards, and passing TDs.

Even if Darden can account for just 20% of the yards and TDs, that's more than 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns. That's easily Top-25 WR range. And with Rob Gronkowski's seven plus targets per game now available, the possibility for Darden to be a Top 25 WR is there.

James Proche, Baltimore Ravens

We are going really deep in the hole on this one, as he isn't even listed on FantasyPros Top 130 WRs. But unlike some of the previous options, that comes as little surprise. Proche only has average size and average speed. However, his ball skills are top-notch as evidenced by his co-leading the nation with 111 catches his final year at SMU.

With Marquise Brown now a Cardinal, Proche should see a lot more snaps for the Ravens this season, especially in the slot, where he is a natural fit. We could talk more about his ability to win 50/50 balls due to his above-average hand length and 20-rep bench press marks. But it comes down to what you do on the field, and I'm encouraged by what he did in his final game of the season against the Bengals. Despite playing just 27 snaps, he caught seven of eight passes for 76 yards.

He is definitely more of a deep PPR play rather than standard. However, given his ADP of well beyond 250, he is definitely someone we should be targeting late in deeper leagues.

That will do it for now for my 2022 Fantasy Football Deep WR Targets, but it is still only July. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me on Twitter (@MarkStrausberg) to see what other deep WR targets I like come August.

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