The 2022 Season is in the books. While there’s still some playoff football to help us see how players do in the clutch, for dynasty players it’s a time to sit back, take stock and see how players fared. Over the next six Stock Watch pieces and the next three weeks, I’ll be looking back at the 2022 and 2021 classes by position. I’ll be evaluating if their stock rose, remained the same, or dropped during the course of the season. Now could be the time to sell high, buy low or hold on to a winning hand. Today, I continue with the 2022 pass catchers, a deep and talented group.
Stock Up: Christian Watson, Green Bay Packers
About: Watson was a polarizing pick coming into rookie drafts. The Packers needed a star receiver. Watson was taken in the Second Round. It seemed like a good fit but the questions remained about whether he could adapt to the NFL game and find enough chemistry with Aaron Rodgers to be a star. After a slow start, from Week 10 on Watson picked it up. He finished with 41 receptions for 611 yards and seven touchdowns, looking like a weapon in the passing game. While there are questions about the Packers’ offense in 2023, Watson’s strong rookie year has him in a position to take off in year two.
Stock Up: Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints
About: Olave was one of the top receivers in rookie drafts after being taken in the First Round by the Saints. But he entered an unclear offense, figuring to be behind veterans Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry, as well as running back Alvin Kamara. Instead, Olave was the focal point of the Saints’ passing game. He saw 119 targets, catching 72 passes for 1,042 yards and four touchdowns. Landry wasn’t a big factor in 2022 and Thomas may not be with the team. There are plenty of questions about the Saints’ offense moving forward—including at the quarterback position—but Olave looks like the real deal and a focal point in the passing game.
Stock Up: Greg Dulcich, Denver Broncos
About: Dulcich, a Third Round Pick, figured to compete for targets in a crowded tight end room for the Broncos. Despite missing a large chunk of the early season with an injury, Dulcich thrived once he got a chance. Even in a low-volume passing offense, he made a splash. He appeared in 10 games, starting six, and saw 55 targets, an average of 5.5 per game. He caught 33 passes for 416 yards and two touchdowns. With the Broncos changing coaches there is the promise of an improved offense in 2023. Dulcich returns as a passing weapon who has already developed chemistry with Russell Wilson. I’m buying him as a TE1 going forward.
Stock Up: Chig Okonkwo, Tennessee Titans
About: The 2022 season for the Tennessee Titans was a disaster. The team will be seeking a new Offensive Coordinator and it’s unclear who will be the quarterback. There weren’t many bright spots but the one that stands out is rookie tight end Okonkwo. Taken in the Fourth Round, Okonkwo came on down the stretch, starting eight games. He saw 46 targets, catching 32 passes for 450 yards and three touchdowns. That included a big touchdown pass in the crucial Week 18 game against the Jaguars. That’s strong production for Okonkwo who is a buy if you can get him at a good price going into 2023.
Stock Neutral: Garrett Wilson, New York Jets
About: Wilson was a First-Round selection by the New York Jets and expected to be among the top rookie receivers. He fulfilled that role, having flashes of brilliance even in an uneven Jets passing offense. He appeared in all 17 games, seeing 147 targets and catching 83 passes for 1,103 yards and four touchdowns. The Jets are focused on improving the quarterback position for 2023, which means Wilson will only continue to rise. He’s living up to his value.
Stock Neutral: Drake London, Atlanta Falcons
About: London figured to be the receiver with the best path toward meaningful targets as a rookie given the receiver-depleted Falcons. That not only proved true but it was also solidified when the Falcons traded Calvin Ridley. London is WR1 and will be going into 2023. He competes for targets with tight end Kyle Pitts in a young Falcons’ offense. He saw 117 targets in 17 games, catching 72 passes for 866 yards and four touchdowns. It was a decent season and one London can build upon as the Falcons’ offense gets more efficient. That includes settling on a quarterback, possibly Desmond Ridder or a veteran.
Stock Neutral: George Pickens, Pittsburgh Steelers
About: Pickens is a talented player who had flashes as a rookie. It’s that talent and upside that led to him being a high pick in rookie drafts. The Steelers seemed to commit to a solid role for Pickens mid-season, trading Chase Claypool to the Bears. But he’s still competing for targets with veteran Diontae Johnson, running back Najee Harris, and tight end Pat Freiermuth in an offense that is still developing. Pickens saw 84 targets, catching 52 passes for 801 yards and four touchdowns. The big play ability is there but the Steelers’ offense under Kenny Pickett needs to be more consistent to feel good about Pickens as more than a flex play.
Stock Neutral: Jahan Dotson, Washington Commanders
About: Another First Round rookie receiver in an uncertain offense. Another rookie receiver whose quarterback situation in 2023 is unclear and who will be in a new system with a new Offensive Coordinator. That seems to be the biggest question mark for many pass catchers heading into year two. Dotson had flashes as a rookie but consistent target share was a problem. That was a question going into rookie drafts, something that was baked into his price. He struggled with injuries, appearing in only 12 games. He saw 61 targets, catching 35 passes for 523 yards and seven touchdowns. The big play ability is there, and if his consistent target share emerges in the new scheme, his draft capital can pay off bigger in 2023.
Stock Neutral: Romeo Doubs, Green Bay Packers
About: The Fourth-Round selection was the first of the Packers’ rookie receivers to make a splash. Some still see him as the better receiver but there’s no arguing Watson is the more explosive player. Doubs faded a bit down the stretch, ending the season with 42 receptions for 425 yards and three touchdowns. But he had only 12 receptions and no touchdowns from Week 9 on. He could grow in his second year, but it’s looking more like his position in rookie drafts was an accurate reflection of his value.
Stock Neutral: Trey McBride, Arizona Cardinals
About: Heading into the 2022 NFL Draft, McBride was viewed as the best tight end prospect. He was the first tight end off the board, drafted by the Cardinals in the Second Round. The problem was he got dropped into an offense loaded with passing weapons and short on volume. In fact, McBride was behind veteran Zach Ertz in his own tight end room. In the first nine weeks of the season, McBride had only three receptions. But when Ertz was lost for the season, he got his chance. He ended the season with 29 receptions for 265 yards and a touchdown. It’s not eye-popping, but it was solid. The Cardinals are facing a major turnover this off-season, with Kyler Murray unlikely to be ready to start and a new coach coming in. That leaves McBride poised to be a part of the offense moving forward as the Cardinals likely allow veteran players to move on and begin a bit of a rebuild. That could make him an appealing target this off-season for those who were frustrated by McBride’s rookie campaign volume.
Stock Down: Jameson Williams, Detroit Lions
About: Williams was among the top five rookie receivers taken in the 2022 Rookie Drafts. For some, he was the top selection. He’s a talented player going to a fun offense in the Lions. But his recovery from an ACL tear took time. He appeared in just six games, seeing nine targets and catching one pass for 41 yards, and taking one handoff for 40 yards. Despite being on a red-hot Lions offense to end the season, Williams was a relative non-factor. That he was slow coming back from injury wasn’t unexpected. Williams still has talent, and alongside Amon-Ra St. Brown and veteran quarterback Jared Goff, he has a bright future in 2023. But his rookie season left some to be desired and likely might leave those who snagged him high looking for an out. Now is the time to pick him up from a panicked owner and reap the rewards.
Stock Down: Treylon Burks, Tennessee Titans
About: Another of the top rookie receivers taken in drafts, Burks was trapped in a tough offense and struggled with injuries and inconsistency. He appeared in just 11 games, seeing 54 targets and catching 33 passes for 444 yards and a touchdown. It was a middling season that came despite a dearth of passing game options. There are more questions than answers for the Titans’ offense and one of them is whether Burks can be a star on par with what the Titans had in A.J. Brown. That’s likely a reason the team moved on from General Manager Jon Robinson. Burks is likely a hold because of a slip in value but I’m nervous about his future.
Stock Down: Skyy Moore, Kansas City Chiefs
About: This was the perfect marriage of a player rising up draft boards and seemingly landing in the perfect spot. But this isn’t the first time a player drafted by the Chiefs has seen their value soar without on-field evidence. That was the case for Moore, a high pick in many rookie drafts, who was an unplayable asset during the 2022 season. He appeared in 16 games, seeing just 33 targets and catching 22 passes for 250 yards. That has deflated Moore’s value—as did the Chiefs’ acquisition of Kadarius Toney. Still, there’s potential for growth in 2023 with Juju Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman as free agents. If you weathered the storm with Moore in 2022, I’m holding on to see if he finds more playing time moving forward.
Matthew Fox is a die-hard NFL fan and Broncos’ homer. He’s a member of the FSWA. You can find more from him on Twitter @knighthawk7734 or as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a part of the Campus2Canton Network.