As the 2022 NFL season rapidly approaches and fantasy football drafts are in full-swing, we are witnessing an interesting draft trend regarding wide receivers.
Though running backs continue to dominate the first round, the next five rounds are seeing a massive uptick in the number of receivers being drafted. Looking at recent fantasy football ADP, we are seeing an average of 32 wide receivers drafted within the first six rounds of 12-team leagues, with just 24 running backs, and a combined 16 quarterbacks and tight ends.
This trend has seemingly made it more difficult to land upper-tier wideouts if you prefer to draft running backs early, but it has also unearthed a few mid-to-late round sleeper receivers you will want to draft.
If you find yourself in need of a strong wide receiver in the middle rounds, take a look at Christian Kirk of the Jaguars. His current ADP has him just inside the top 100, which makes him a fantastic bargain.
As the team’s new No. 1 receiver, Kirk has bonded well with Trevor Lawrence and had a strong camp. Most overlook Kirk simply because he plays for Jacksonville, but with new head coach Doug Pederson implementing a proven and successful offense, these will not be the same old Jaguars. Looking back, at every stop as head coach or offensive coordinator, Pederson’s top wideout saw at least 120 targets and, when healthy, posted a 1,000-yard season.
If you need to dig deeper, then draft Isaiah McKenzie of the Bills in the 13th round. We all know Stefon Diggs is the man in Buffalo, but though most people assume a breakout season for Gabriel Davis, McKenzie is the guy no one sees coming. Last season, Emmanuel Sanders had the most snaps as the Bills No. 2 receiver, but it was actually slot receiver Cole Beasley who received the second-most targets. The Bills used an 11-personnel package 70 percent of the time last year, and with that unlikely to change, McKenzie should be on the field often. With Josh Allen’s penchant for hitting his slot receiver more, McKenzie becomes an intriguing target.
The receiver position is plenty deep, so if you see them coming off your draft board in a hurry, don’t panic. There is some quality depth still to be had at the position. If you can come away with one or two strong receivers in your first six rounds, you won’t miss a beat adding these late picks.
Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy sports advice, player projections and average draft positions.