I like to joke that the only OTA news or beat writer speculation we truly want to respond to is stuff that confirms our prior beliefs. And it's only kind of a joke -- we all love our confirmation bias. In looking at two risers in Tier 4 of my Dynasty wide receiver tiers, that's definitely evident with Jahan Dotson, but not so much with Mike Evans.
I was higher on Dotson immediately after the draft and so I've loved the glowing reports from OTAs. Beat writers, coaches, and even Dotson's quarterback Carson Wentz have raved about how good Dotson has looked. Speaking of Wentz, I'm not sure it should be discounted that Dotson is getting all these reps with Wentz, and impressing, while Terry McLaurin holds out for a new contract.
But more important are the things I liked about Dotson, before all this buzz. He has first-round draft capital, blazing speed (4.43 at the combine), an elite College Dominator score of 44.3%, and according to Matt Harmon, he has the best hands in the draft class.
At this point, you may be wondering why the consensus was ever lower than mine in the first place. I believe it's mostly because he didn't come out after his junior season. And that's an entirely fair criticism based on the recent history of first-round wide receivers. But I'm less moved by the argument considering what's gone on in the world over the past three years, especially when Dotson earned a 28% target share and averaged 17 yards per catch as a 21-year-old junior.
McLaurin receiving a new deal may be enough to drop Dotson one tier, but he'd still rank ahead of where he does now. And if somehow McLaurin gets dealt, Dotson could legitimately be the best rookie wide receiver in redraft leagues, which would jump him at least one more tier.
Mike Evans is oppositional to Dotson in almost every way. He's big, and Dotson is small. He's getting old (in football terms), and Dotson is still young. And I have not been a big fan of Evans for most of the offseason, mostly because he was being drafted as a borderline No. 1 wide receiver and he hadn't even cracked 1,100 yards since 2019. I was very concerned the targets would remain low but the touchdowns would regress.
It's hard to maintain that same stance with Rob Gronkowski retired and Chris Godwin looking more and more likely to get off to a slow start as he recovers from a torn ACL. In fact, I've let go of that stance altogether. The thing about Evans is that he is elite on a per-target basis and he has shown the ability to earn a high target share before. We just haven't seen it the past two years because the Buccaneers' offense has been so loaded with talent. Suddenly, that does not appear to be the case in 2022.
Evans will turn 29 before the start of the season, so his Dynasty value is very closely tied to how he can help contenders win now. With recent developments elevating him to WR8 in my redraft rankings, I believe he can very much help a team win now. I also believe he has WR1 overall upside if things go really poorly with Godwin's recovery. But outside of that, it's hard to see how Evans rises much past this tier in Dynasty, simply because he'll be 30 going into next season, which means Evans is still a sell for rebuilding teams, it just might be better to wait until his first big game to make the deal.
Here are my updated Dynasty wide receiver tiers: