The first week after the Super Bowl is generally when I release my way-too-early projections, and if you're wondering why I used that phrasing in both the headline and the first sentence of the article, it's because it is --in fact-- way too early. At the same time, it's kind of fun, and a lot of these projections will closely resemble what they look like in July.
Note that for the most part, I did not project unrestricted free agents. They are in my rankings, just not in the projections because I build those from a team-based approach and I don't know where to stick them. That's why free agency and the NFL Draft will have such a big impact on these projections in the coming months.
One free agent I did project on his current team is Davante Adams. That's because my current expectation is that the Packers will do everything they can to keep Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, which likely means tagging Adams or signing him to an extension. Of course, you know if Adams is in Green Bay with Rodgers, he's a top-two wide receiver. We've seen plenty of proof. What's more interesting is two younger guys in the top five, Justin Jefferson and Ja'Marr Chase.
Jefferson was the bigger surprise to me, because he came out ahead of Tyreek Hill and within a point per game of Adams. The biggest reason he's so far ahead of Chase in the projections is volume. In Jefferson's two seasons in Minnesota, the Vikings have averaged 33.9 pass attempts per game. Kevin O'Connell's offenses over the past two years have averaged 36.3 attempts in Los Angeles. By comparison, the Bengals threw 32.6 passes per game last year.
Early projections for 2022: QB | RB | WR | TE | Towers' rankings
Of course, it's not just about total pass attempts. Both Jefferson and Chase should command a lion's share of the targets, but Chase's competition for targets is much stiffer, especially if the Vikings move on from Adam Thielen. Jefferson averaged 11 targets per game in his final nine games of 2021. Chase had two games all season with that many targets.
None of this is meant to disparage Chase because he's still my No. 1 wide receiver in Dynasty and top-five in 2022. But volume alone should make Jefferson the better option this year.
Here is the first look at my 2022 wide receiver projections: