NFL wide receiver rankings: Find out who the top wide receivers around the NFL are, including a new top target for Derek Carr in Las Vegas. We also love what youngster Justin Jefferson brings for the Minnesota Vikings while understanding full well that Deebo Samuel is an ace in the San Francisco 49ers’ pocket.
In a list that will be updated weekly throughout the 2022 season, we give you our second NFL wide receiver rankings of the regular season.
Ranking NFL’s best wide receivers: The young and underrated
15. CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys (last week: 14)
- CeeDee Lamb stats (2022): 9 receptions, 104 yards, 0 TD, 40.9% catch rate, 0 drops
Dallas was set to rely on Lamb to step up as an elite-level target for Dak Prescott after the team was forced to trade Amari Cooper in a cost-cutting move this past offseason. With Michael Gallup and James Washington sidelined to injury, that’s magnified further. Unforunately, Prescott’s injury will have a major impact here. He’s out at least six weeks, leaving Lamb in the unenviable position of havint to catch passes from Cooper Rush.
In Dallas’ ugly season-opening loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Lamb was among the most-disappointing players. He caught just two passes for 29 yard, averaging an ugly 2.6 yards per target. Lamb did rebound by catching 7-of-11 targets for 75 yards in a Week 2 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
14. Terry McLaurin, Washington Commanders (last week: 13)
- Terry McLaurin stats (2022): 6 catches, 133 yards, 1 TD, 50% catch rate, 1 drop
The only thing stopping McLaurin from ascending these rankings is questionable quarterback play in Washington. We never know what Carson Wentz is going to bring to the table after struggling with the Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts over the past two seasons. What we do know is that the recently-extended McLaurin was pretty darn good for an otherwise pedestrian squad a season ago.
Throughout his first three NFL seasons, the Ohio State product is averaging north of 1,000 receiving yards and has hauled in 16 touchdowns. He did, however, see his catch rate drop a season ago from 65% in 2020. In a Week 1 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, McLaurin helped initiate a Washington comeback with a touchdown catch from Wentz. He then caught 4-of-8 targets for 75 yards in Week 2.
13. Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions (last week: Unranked)
- Amon-Ra St. Brown stats (2022): 17 receptions, 180 yards, 3 TD, 70.8% catch rate, 3 drops
Fresh off a 116-yard performance in a win over the Washington Commanders St. Brown is in the NFL record books. The sophomore pass-catcher became tied the record for the most consecutive games with eight-plus catches. This USC product has been on an absolute tear since the Lions made him a fourth-round pick back in 2021.
During this eight-gam run, St. Brown has tallied 68 catches for 740 yards and eight touchdowns while hauling in 75% of his targets. The only thing holding St. Brown back is his high 12.5% drop rate through two games this season.
12. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (last week: 11)
- Mike Evans stats (2022): 8 receptions, 132 yards, 1 TD, 73% catch rate, 1 drop
How consistently good has Evans been throughout his eight-year career? He’s put up north of 1,000 yards each season, making him the first player NFL history to reach that plateau in eight consecutive years to open his career. It’s been even better for the 29-year-old Texas A&M product since Tom Brady joined the Bucs back in 2020.
- Mike Evans stats (2020-21): 144 receptions, 2,041 yards, 27 TD 65% catch rate
It’s the catch rate that stands out the most. In Jameis Winston’s final season with Tampa Bay, Evans caught just 57% of his targets. In fact, his catch rate stood at 60-plus percent just once in his first six seasons. He’s simply become a more well-rounded receiver in recent years. Unfortunately, Evans was suspended for Week 3 after getting into it with Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore this past Sunday.
11. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers (last week: 10)
- Keenan Allen stats (2022): 4 receptions, 66 yards, 0 TD, 100% catch rate
Speaking of consistency. This is what has Allen in the top 10 of our NFL wide receiver rankings heading into his 10th season with the Chargers. Here’s a dude who has tallied north of 1,000 yards all but once since the end of the 2016 season. That came back in 2020 when Allen put up 992 yards while catching 68% of his passes in 14 games.
Fresh off earning his fifth consecutive Pro Bowl appearance, Allen is set to work with stud young quarterback Justin Herbert once again in 2022. He put up a career-high 106 receptions in catching passes from Herbert a season ago. Unfortunately, Allen pulled up lame with a hamstring injury in Week 1 and is currently sidelined. That impacts him some in our most-recent NFL wide receiver rankings.
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10. DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals (last week: 9)
Suspended for the first six games of the 2022 season, Hopkins has not produced at the same level in Arizona as we saw with the Houston Texans earlier in his career. He put up just 572 yards in 10 games a season ago while dealing with a plethora of injuries. However, this doesn’t discount what he did with the Cardinals in his first season with the team back in 2020 (115 receptions, 1,507 yards, 72% catch rate).
Still locked in with Kyler Murray in the desert, there’s no reason to believe that Hopkins can’t emerge as one of the game’s best playmakers once he does return from suspension. During a six-year span from 2015-20, he averaged 103 receptions or 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns. That’s simply remarkable.
9. Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers (last week: 6)
- Deebo Samuel stats (2022): 7 receptions, 58 yards, 0 TD, 54% catch rate, 2 drops, 105 rushing yards
The 26-year-old Samuel is coming off one of the best all-around seasons for a playmaker in modern NFL history. It led to him signing a lucrative extension with San Francisco after initially requesting a trade early in the offseason. For San Francisco, Samuel’s return has to be seen as a huge thing given the presence of young quarterback Trey Lance under center.
Two things keeping Samuel from being higher in our NFL wide receiver rankings is the fact that he’s done it for just one season and the 10 drops he put up for San Francisco in 2021. He also struggled catching the ball from Lance in the first two games. The expectation is that will change with Jimmy Garoppolo now replacing the injury Lance.
8. Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins (last week: 12)
- Jaylen Waddle stats (2022): 15 catches, 240 yards, 3 TD, 63% catch rate, 1 drop
A first-round pick of the Dolphins back in 2021, Jaylen Waddle was electric in South Beach as a rookie. That included him hauling in an absurd 104 passes for 1,015 yards while catching six touchdowns. The former Alabama star also caught a resounding 74% of the passes thrown in his direction with a 5.7% drop rate.
From a target share perspective, Waddle has not been impacted by the presence of Tyreek Hill in South Beach. During Miami’s eye-opening comeback win over the Baltmore Ravens in Week 2, he caught 11-of-19 targets for 171 yards and two touchdowns. This obviously moves him up in our NFL wide receiver rankings heading into Week 3.
7. A.J. Brown, Philadelphia Eagles (last week: 8)
- A.J. Brown stats (2022): 15 receptions, 224 yards, 0 TD, 71% catch rate, 0 drops
Acquired from the Tennessee Titans in a blockbuster NFL Draft deal, Brown now joins DeVonta Smith as another elite-level weapon for Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia. Brown joined his former Mississippi teammate in DK Metcalf in proving skeptics wrong after being selected in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. What he’s done since is remarkable.
Over the course of his first two seasons, Brown averaged well north of 1,000 receiving yards while hauling in a total of 19 touchdowns. While his numbers took a hit last season with Ryan Tannehill struggling, a change of scenery and a huge new contract has done Brown well. His brilliant Week 1 performance is a prime example of this.
6. Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals (last week: 4)
- Ja’Marr Chase stats (2022): 15 receptions, 183 yards, 1 TD, 60% catch rate, 2 drops
Already No. 3 in our NFL wide receiver rankings after just one season, Chase is doing his thing with Joe Burrow once again. How good was the LSU product as a rookie? He caught 81 passes for 1,455 yards with 13 touchdowns while hauling in 63% of his targets. Chase, 22, performed even better in Cincinnati’s run to the Super Bowl a season ago.
- Ja’Marr Chase stats (2021 NFL Playoffs): 25 receptions, 368 yards, 71.4% catch rate
Talk about upping your game big time at the exact right moment. For Chase, the next step in his maturation process will be all about consistency. He dropped 11 passes as a rookie (8.6%) and saw Burrow intercepted six times when targeting him. Chase also opened the 2022 season with a drop against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 before struggling to an extent Week 2 against the Dallas Cowboys (54 yards on nine targets).
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5. Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins (last week: 7)
- Tyreek Hill stats (2022): 19 receptions, 284 yards, 2 TD, 76% catch rate, 2 drops
Dynamic. Electric. Whatever way we want to describe Hill and what he’s done since entering the NFL back in 2016, the wide receiver is simply “him.” Dude can take it to the house at any given time, is one of the top deep threats in the game and is a transcendent playmaker.
Last season with Patrick Mahomes tossing him th rock in Kansas City, Hill brought in 70% of his targets. He also put up a mere 4.4% drop rate on 159 targets. He’s been even better in South Beach to open the 2022 campaign, including a 190-yard Week 2 performance against the Baltimore Ravens. Hill heads into this week’s matchup against the Buffalo Bills leading the NFL in receiving yards.
4. Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings (last week: 2)
- Justin Jefferson stats (2022): 15 receptions, 232 yards, 2 TD, 65% catch rate
Some thought that Justin Jefferson was more a product of Joe Burrow during his time with the LSU Tigers. Boy, were those skeptics wrong. In just two seasons with the Vikings, Jefferson is already in the record books. That includes putting up the most receiving yards for a wide receiver in NFL history through his first two seasons.
As a sophomore in 2021, Jefferson hauled in 65% of his targets and posted a 4.2% drop rate. That came after he dropped a mere two passes as a rookie back in 2020. With that said, Jefferson drops down a bit in our most-recent NFL wide receiver rankings after a terrible Week 2 outing against the Philadelphia Eagles.
3. Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders (last week: 1)
- Davante Adams stats (2022): 12 receptions, 153 yards, 2 TD, 50% catch rate, 0 drops
No, Adams was not a product of Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. Sure it helps having one of the best quarterbacks of all-time. But Adams is also one of the reasons why Rodgers is coming off his second consecutive MVP season. Simply put, the Fresno State product is among the most dominating receivers of the modern era.
Over the course of the past two seasons, Adams has caught 238 passes for 2,927 yards and 29 touchdowns while hauling in 75% of his targets. That very same span has seen Adams drop just four passes. Acquired from Green Bay in a blockbuster trade this past spring, Adams is now on the receiving end of passes from his former college teammate, Derek Carr. It’s going to be all sorts of fun in Sin City as evidenced by his 10-catch debut in Week 1 before he hauled in just 2-of-7 targets against the Arizona Cardinals.
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2. Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams (last week: 3)
- Cooper Kupp stats (2022): 24 receptions, 236 yards, 3 TD, 83% catch rate, 0 drops
The reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year and Super Bowl MVP, Kupp opens the 2022 season No. 1 in Sportsnaut’s NFL wide receiver rankings. For good reason. The former third-round pick from Eastern Washington led the league in receptions, yards and receiving touchdowns a season ago. He was simply dominating in every possible way.
- Cooper Kupp stats (2021): 145 receptions, 1,947 yards, 16 TD, 76% catch rate
Talk about an epic performance catching passes from Matthew Stafford. There’s also no reason to believe that the 29-year-old Kupp is going to slow down any time soon. Without many other options in the passing game, Stafford has targeted Kupp 29 times in two games without a single drop.
1. Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills (last week: 5)
- Stefon Diggs stats (2022): 20 receptions, 270 yards, 4 TD, 87% catch rate, 0 drops
Several years after the fact, and it’s still surprising that Diggs fell to the Minnesota Vikings in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Pretty much from the get, he proved to be among the best pass-catchers in the game. That’s been taken to a whole new level in two seasons catching passes from Josh Allen with the Bills after he was surprisingly traded by Minnesota.
Back in 2020 with Buffalo, Diggs led the NFL in receptions (127) and receiving yards (1,535) while hauling in an otherworldly 77% of his targets and dropping a mere five passes. Diggs picked up where he left off with brilliant performances to open the 2022 season, including a three-touchdown outing against the Tennessee Titans in Week 2.
This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.