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With Davante Adams being traded to Las Vegas this offseason, there's no real question who the No. 1 wide receiver taken in Fantasy Football leagues will be in 2022. Coming off his historic 2021, Kupp enters the season at the top of the wide receiver rankings. Is there any case to be made for someone else as the first wide receiver off the board?

I think you can quite easily make the case for how the likes of Davante Adams, Justin Jefferson, or Ja'Marr Chase could end up being the No. 1 WR by the end of the season. In Adams' case, he's moving from a team that was 15th in pass attempts in 2021 to one that was seventh; if the Raiders funnel 30% of their targets to Adams the way the Packers did, that could help make up for whatever loss in quality of target he might face from the transition from Aaron Rodgers to Derek Carr

The case for Jefferson and Chase is similar and pretty obvious: They're historically productive young receivers with another year under their belt. If their teams decide to go more pass-heavy and they can retain their outrageous efficiency with more targets, you can see how either could be the No. 1 WR. It's a bet on elite talent with two guys who are still in their early 20s. 

The problem is, that both Jefferson and Chase play on teams that aren't necessarily pass-first, and while we hope that might change, we haven't seen it for long enough from either squad to expect it. Jefferson did at least earn the kind of true Alpha No. 1 WR target share that you want to see from a No. 1 contender last season, with 27.5% of the team's targets going his way; if he could bump that up to 30% and supplant Adam Thielen as the team's top touchdown scorer, it's not hard to see Jefferson being the No. 1 guy.

Chase probably requires a bit more projecting to get there, to be honest. He was outrageously good as a rookie, averaging 18.0 yards per catch, 11.4 per target, and a touchdown rate over 10%. However, he had just 128 targets and arguably wasn't even the No. 1 target on his own team; Tee Higgins was on pace for more targets but missed three games, though Chase did out-target him, 35-30, in the playoffs. If Chase can sustain his outlier efficiency while bumping up to the 150-target range, he could challenge for that No. 1 spot, too, but that's asking a lot. 

Any of those wide receivers, as well as Stefon Diggs, CeeDee Lamb, and perhaps some other dark horse – nobody thought Kupp would be the top player in Fantasy this time last year, after all – could finish as the No. 1 option. However, despite the fact that Kupp has only done it once and is near the age where wide receivers tend to go over the hill, he seems like the obvious choice for the top wide receiver to draft this season. 

Here's my updated top 48 wide receivers for 2022 re-draft leagues:

  1. Cooper Kupp
  2. Davante Adams
  3. Justin Jefferson
  4. Ja'Marr Chase
  5. Stefon Diggs
  6. Mike Evans
  7. CeeDee Lamb
  8. Tee Higgins
  9. Diontae Johnson
  10. Tyreek Hill
  11. Deebo Samuel
  12. A.J. Brown
  13. Amari Cooper
  14. D.J. Moore
  15. Keenan Allen
  16. Brandin Cooks
  17. Michael Pittman Jr.
  18. Marquise Brown
  19. Mike Williams
  20. Chris Godwin
  21. JuJu Smith-Schuster
  22. Robert Woods
  23. Jaylen Waddle
  24. Rashod Bateman
  25. D.K. Metcalf
  26. Darnell Mooney
  27. Terry McLaurin
  28. Adam Thielen
  29. Jerry Jeudy
  30. Allen Robinson
  31. Drake London
  32. Michael Thomas
  33. Kadarius Toney
  34. Amon-Ra St. Brown
  35. Tyler Lockett
  36. Russell Gage
  37. Elijah Moore
  38. Hunter Renfrow
  39. Chris Olave
  40. Garrett Wilson
  41. DeVante Parker
  42. Tyler Boyd
  43. DeVonta Smith
  44. Gabe Davis
  45. Allen Lazard
  46. Courtland Sutton
  47. Corey Davis
  48. Christian Kirk

And here are my thoughts on some of the key players for 2022:

  • If you're wondering where the tiers drop off, I would say there's a tier between No. 1 and 2 and then No. 4 and 5. Any one of Kupp, Adams, Jefferson, or Chase finishing as the No. 1 WR wouldn't particularly surprise me as I said up top. After that group, you have to squint a bit to get there – Diggs would probably need to top his 2020 to get there and Evans would probably need to lead the league in touchdowns to even have a chance. Neither is out of the question, but a lot more needs to go right for them to get there.
  • Higgins vs. Lamb is an interesting comparison. Higgins was better last season, averaging 15.7 PPR points per game (WR13), compared to 14.5 for Lamb (WR23). Of course, Lamb was playing alongside Amari Cooper last season, and with Cooper in Cleveland, he could finally have that huge breakout we've been hoping for. Dallas has been content to spread the ball around a ton over the Dak Prescott era, but with Michael Gallup questionable for the start of the season while recovering from a torn ACL, Lamb's primary competition for targets could come from James Washington, Jalen Tolbert, and Dalton Schultz. If he doesn't start earning a legitimate No. 1 WR target share this season – he was at 21% last season – it's fair to think it may never happen. But there's a path for Lamb to make a leap to the 150-target range, and a 100-catch, 1,400-yard season is within his range of potential outcomes. Higgins probably has a similar upside, but it might require Cincinnati to become more pass-heavy than they've shown a willingness to be.
  • Of course, an injury to Chase could also potentially open that path for Higgins, and it's important to keep that upside in mind when considering his value. While it might be a bit bull-ish to project him as a top-eight WR, if his likeliest outcome is a repeat of a borderline top-12 season and he has that huge upside if something happens to Chase, I think it's worth bumping him up a few spots – especially since there are some real questions about the next crop of players in the rankings below him. 
  • Starting with Diontae Johnson, who very well could have a QB upgrade waiting for him; I don't think Mitchell Trubisky or Kenny Pickett is likely to be an above-average starting QB, but even the 17th-best QB in the NFL would be better than what Ben Roethlisberger was giving the Steelers. The problem there is, that Johnson's high-volume role in Pittsburgh's offense seemed to me to be at least as much about Roethlisberger's limitations – his weak arm and unwillingness to sit in the pocket to let deeper routes develop – as it was about Johnson being a target hog. That being said, it's hard to argue I'm underselling Johnson at this ranking.
  • Hill might be getting undervalued as well, given his track record and singular abilities. Yes, the downgrade from Patrick Mahomes to Tua Tagovailoa could be a significant one, but Hill still had 1,183 yards and seven touchdowns on just 105 targets from Alex Smith back in 2017. Tagovailoa doesn't have Mahomes' arm, but Hill isn't just a Desean Jackson-esque one-trick pony – he had 1,239 yards and nine touchdowns despite a significant decrease in his average depth of target last season, to a career-low 10.4 yards per attempt. He should still be a WR1, if not the WR1. 
  • Samuel might be the player I'm most scared of ranking this season. If we're talking about just talent and scheme, I think he's a top-five Fantasy WR, and if the 49ers had opted to run things back with the same crew as last season, that's where he'd rank. However, the introduction of Trey Lance as the starter changes so much about how the 49ers offense figures to operate. They've never been a high-volume pass offense, but with Lance's rushing ability, they could be one of the least pass-friendly offenses in the league. If Lance is great right away, it might not matter, but if Lance struggles – which should be the expectation even if you like him – things can get pretty dicey. Especially if reports about Samuel being unhappy with his usage in the running game are legitimate. That helped save his value in the second half of the season, but if he doesn't have that to fall back on, he might be more like a WR2. 
  • Amari Cooper has a reputation for being an inconsistent player, but my bigger concern this season is around Deshaun Watson's status. I'm still expecting a suspension for Watson as the NFL continues to investigate 23 allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Drafting Cooper as a WR2 when he might have a disgruntled Baker Mayfield or a thoroughly underwhelming Jacoby Brissett throwing his passes for much of the season is not a particularly enticing prospect. 
  • Brown is another player I'm worried I might be too low on. I think the fact that the Eagles traded for him signals an intent to pass more often, and I could see this being a similar scenario to when Diggs went to Buffalo and ended up drafted lower than he should have been over concerns about the quality and quantity of the targets he would see. Brown is going to earn a high share, and I'll bet on Philadelphia moving more to the NFL average in pass attempts, so it's possible the move is an upgrade for him. Coming off a down season, Brown might be one of the better early-round values out there. I could talk myself into moving him into the top eight before draft season.