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Bust WR Candidates for 2022 Fantasy Football

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Outside of QBs, wideouts are usually the most predictable in fantasy football from year-to-year. Volume drives everything, and targets are fairly predictable and stable. All the other fantasy-relevant stats follow suit.

That’s why it hurts double when a WR flops. (I still have nightmares from drafting Allen Robinson in Round 3 last year.)

Let’s take a look at some of the top WR bust candidates for 2022.

 

(Check out more: QB Sleepers | QB Busts | RB Sleepers | RB Busts | WR Sleepers | TE Sleepers | TE Busts)

Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers

Deebo Samuel is a special player. Very, very special. But he was hyper-efficient in 2021, and that scares me for his 2022 cost-to-outlook ratio.

Over the second half of last season, Samuel didn’t lead the 49ers in targets. He wasn’t even second on the team in targets. Samuel (43 targets in that span) trailed George Kittle (59) and Brandon Aiyuk (55). He was third in targets, receptions, yards and receiving TDs.

Of course, Samuel made up for it on the ground. Week 9 is when he started serving as a fill-in RB, too, with between 5-8 carries per game Weeks 9-17. He scored a rushing TD in all but two of those games.

Samuel is obviously an elite fantasy WR with a huge ceiling, but no other top-five WR has these type of volume concerns.

Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins

Tyreek Hill’s move to Miami is bad for most of the big names involved: It’s bad for Hill, Patrick Mahomes and Jaylen Waddle. He’s still a fantasy WR1 in Miami — especially because he’s a good schematic fit — but he’s losing his biggest asset.

Hill’s biggest draw has always been the ceiling shot. Remember when he caught 3 TDs and had over 200 yards in the first quarter? Hill threatens the 200-yard, multi-TD mark multiple times a season, and that’s not happening in Miami. It’s just what happens when you downgrade from Patrick Mahomes to Tua Tagovailoa at QB.

Here’s what Jeff Ratcliffe wrote about Tagovailoa: “In 13 games as a starter last season, Tagovailoa averaged 7.4 air yards per throw. That was 36th among qualifiers. Only Daniel Jones (7.3), Ben Roethlisberger (7.1), and Jared Goff (6.8) averaged a lower depth of target.”

Woof. Not the company you want to keep.

 

DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals

DeAndre Hopkins missed the final few weeks of last season, but even when healthy through mid-December, Hopkins had become a lower-volume, TD-dependent fantasy player — something we had never seen from him before.

Hopkins reached double-digit targets only once last year, and he maxed out at 87 yards. The TD production was elite (8 in 10 games), but the volume and yardage were not. Hopkins turns 30 this summer, and it’s a legitimate time to wonder if last year was just a down year, or if it was the beginning of the end for Hopkins. (Think about how quickly his teammate, A.J. Green, fell off the cliff.)

Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks

The loss of Russell Wilson hurts Tyler Lockett the most. Lockett and Wilson had a disgustingly good deep-ball connection. 

Per FTN Data, Lockett’s 25 deep targets (20-plus yards downfield) were third int he league behind Justin Jefferson (29) and Ja’Marr Chase (26). Over 21% of his targets were deep — easily the highest rate of any WR with at least 40 total targets.

And Lockett was excellent with those looks. He caught 20 deep balls (most in the league) for 730 yards (most) and 6 TDs (second-most). 

Wilson attempted a deep ball on a league-high 19% of his passes. Drew Lock, Lockett’s new QB, was second in the league with an 18.9% deep-ball rate, but his completion rate on those balls was 10% lower than Wilson’s. 

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