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Third-year wide receiver sleepers to watch for fantasy football in 2022

Early in my fantasy football profession, a wide receiver’s third season was when he sometimes broke out. In more moderen years, it’s been a receiver’s second season the place that leap happens. As a end result, third-year wide receivers typically get missed. Here are a few sleeper wide receivers coming into their third NFL season value maintaining a tally of.

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It’s a little bit of a problem to discover third-year WR sleepers. This is generally as a result of this wide receiver class was so good.

Of the primary eight wide receivers chosen in the 2020 NFL Draft, solely one among them might be thought-about a sleeper. The good: Justin Jefferson, CeeDee Lamb, Michael Pittman Jr., and Tee Higgins all go inside the first three rounds of fantasy football drafts. Jerry Jeudy goes too early as effectively and completely nobody is sleeping on fourth-rounder Gabriel Davis this season. Even fifth-rounder Darnell Mooney is simply too good to name a sleeper.

The not-so-good: Jalen Reagor goes undrafted, and I don’t need to even point out the man who wound up being the primary wide receiver chosen.

Even with so many gifted receivers not qualifying as sleepers, this class was deep sufficient that we nonetheless have choices.

Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers

Brandon Aiyuk is the “least sleeper-y” of the names on this listing. He broke out as a rookie in 2020, averaging 15.4 PPR fantasy factors per recreation. His ADP coming into the 2022 season plummeted due to his lackluster 2021 season the place he averaged simply 10 ppg.

With the 49ers shifting to Trey Lance, their passing quantity is probably going to lower much more. Fantasy managers are rightly involved about whether or not Lance can run 8-10 instances a recreation and likewise help three fantasy-relevant cross catchers. Deebo Samuel and George Kittle should not about to see their goal shares lower. Thus, if Lance is throwing lower than Jimmy Garoppolo, it is going to doubtless come at Aiyuk’s expense.

With that stated, Aiyuk is sweet at football. He was ready to command a 24.5% goal share as a rookie. Although that fell to 18.5% final season, Aiyuk wasn’t actually a full-time participant till Week 8 after beginning the season in Kyle Shanahan’s “dog house.”

Aiyuk enters the 2022 season with none baggage and can begin reverse Samuel instantly. He averaged 13.2 ppg over his last 11 video games. If fantasy managers can get these numbers from a man they don’t have to draft high 36 on the place, that will be a superb worth.

Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers

I’m together with Chase Claypool right here as a result of he qualifies — not as a result of I essentially agree with drafting him.

After posting a powerful 13.4 ppg as a rookie, Claypool seemingly regressed to 11.1 ppg as a sophomore. He actually didn’t, although. Claypool simply scored seven fewer touchdowns. His output was practically equivalent, catching three fewer passes for 13 fewer yards.

The downside with Claypool’s consistency from Year 1 to Year 2 is that’s not what we wish from a younger participant. We need to see progress, enchancment, development, and so forth. Instead, we obtained stagnation.

The motive Claypool remains to be thought-about a third-year sleeper on the wide receiver place is his ADP. Last yr, Claypool was a fifth or sixth-round decide. Whereas, this yr, you may get him in the ninth round or later.

If you’re a believer in Claypool’s expertise, maybe the transfer to Mitch Trubisky or Kenny Pickett — each of whom can’t probably be worse downfield passers than 2021 Ben Roethlisberger — will unlock Claypool’s upside. At a WR4 worth, Claypool is all upside.

Devin Duvernay, Baltimore Ravens

Given the Ravens’ gaping gap at WR2, I’ve to embrace Devin Duvernay. But I’m not blissful about it. We sometimes need rookie wide receivers to surpass 500 receiving yards as a harbinger of future success. Duvernay nonetheless doesn’t have 500 receiving yards whole.

With that stated, there’s an opportunity he opens the season as Baltimore’s beginning WR2 reverse Rashod Bateman. If that occurs, there’s not less than an opportunity he can command targets from Lamar Jackson. I wouldn’t financial institution on it, although.

Even with an ADP of free (he goes undrafted in standard-sized leagues), there are higher darts to throw at than Duvernay. Nevertheless, his standing as a possible NFL starter in two-receiver units for an elite quarterback renders him a possible third-year wide receiver sleeper.

Okay.J. Osborn, Minnesota Vikings

In phrases of being a real third-year WR sleeper, Okay.J. Osborn suits the standards the most effective. He’s additionally my favourite one.

Osborn received the Vikings’ WR3 job in 2021. He averaged 9.3 PPR fantasy factors per recreation, ending as a fantasy WR4. But he flashed way more upside than that. Osborn recorded seven video games of not less than 14 fantasy factors. After Adam Thielen went down in Week 13, Osborn averaged 13.8 fantasy factors over the rest of the fantasy season.

It’s a coin flip as to whether or not Osborn will even be drafted in standard-sized leagues. You can have him as the ultimate wide receiver in your roster. This a participant that ought to have standalone WR4 worth with professional WR2 upside ought to one thing occur to Thielen once more (or, and I don’t need to even put this on the market, Justin Jefferson).

With a brand new head coach in Kevin O’Connell doubtless to implement a extra pass-heavy assault, Kirk Cousins ought to have the ability to help three fantasy-relevant receivers. Osborn is one among my favourite last-round sleeper picks at wide receiver.

Some different third-year wide receivers to file away

Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars

Like many, I’ve written Laviska Shenault Jr. off, however there’s not less than a puncher’s likelihood a brand new teaching workers can unlock some untapped potential.

Bryan Edwards, Atlanta Falcons

Analytics Twitter’s favourite wide receiver couldn’t discover a approach to matter on a barren Raiders’ depth chart final season. Bryan Edwards now finds himself on an equally barren Falcons’ depth chart. Maybe? But in all probability not.

Van Jefferson, Los Angeles Rams

Van Jefferson could have moments of fantasy relevance so long as this knee injury isn’t something critical…nevertheless it appears like it’s.

Donovan Peoples-Jones, Cleveland Browns

With Deshaun Watson solely lacking six video games, Cleveland’s ancillary receivers are all of the sudden extra fascinating. But another person can have DPJ, as I simply don’t see him as something greater than a deep risk.

James Proche, Baltimore Ravens

If not Duvernay, then perhaps James Proche?

KJ Hamler, Denver Broncos

Tim Patrick’s damage opens the door for KJ Hamler to begin in three-receiver units.

Jason Katz is a Fantasy Analyst at Pro Football Network. You can observe him on Twitter: @jasonkatz13 and discover extra of his work right here.

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