The 2022 NFL Season is charging ahead, with free agency launching on March 14. Since that time, we have seen a bevy of moves, including trades and signings, that have shifted the balance of power in the NFL. That makes this an excellent time to stop and take stock. And that’s just what the stock watch is all about.
With the first wave of free agency behind us and the draft rapidly approaching, it’s time to see whose stock improved and whose stock dropped. I’ll be looking at three who have improved and three who’ve slipped at each position—QB, RB, WR, and TE. It’s time to see where we stand as the NFL Draft Approaches. Today I continue with a look at wide receivers.
Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos
About: Jeudy was a First-Round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, which came with a lot of promise. After an uneven rookie year, Jeudy was something like the forgotten man in 2021. He was limited to 10 games due to injury and saw only 56 targets, catching 38 passes for 467 yards and no touchdowns. Thankfully, the Broncos brought in Russell Wilson this off-season. While it should benefit fellow receivers Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick, too, the hope for those that took Jeudy early in rookie drafts is that having stability at the quarterback position—and a new offensive scheme—will help him produce at a level that makes him worthy of being in the starting lineup once again. Those that held on to him are on the cusp of getting a return, and those that bought low earlier this off-season should be thrilled.
Michael Pittman, Jr., Indianapolis Colts
About: Pittman elicited a lot of excitement when he was drafted in 2020 and had flashes in his rookie year. In 2021, as the lead target, he had 129 targets, catching 88 passes for 1,082 yards and six touchdowns. Now, he has Matt Ryan under center. In addition, Pittman has become the clear-cut top option—and just about the only option for the Colts. That likely means good things judging by Ryan’s track record. While 2021 was a tough season in Atlanta, Ryan is used to helping his top targets produce great numbers. In 2020, Calvin Ridley was WR5. In 2019, Julio Jones was WR3, while he was WR4 in 2018. All that means good things for Pittman as he’s poised to take another step forward in 2022.
Allen Robinson, Los Angeles Rams
About: Oh, Allen Robinson. The receiver’s talent has never been questioned, but his on-field situations have been dour. He began his career in Jacksonville before moving to Chicago. Last year, the hope was that the combination of Andy Dalton and Justin Fields would provide the best options Robinson had yet had. Instead, it was a horrendous season. Robinson appeared in 12 games, seeing 66 targets and catching 38 passes for 410 yards and a touchdown. This off-season, he landed in Los Angeles, playing with Matthew Stafford, opposite Cooper Kupp and in a system run by Sean McVay. Finally! With the Rams moving Robert Woods, it’s clear Robinson will be the No. 2 option, which is great for those that have him rostered. Even with Kupp exploding, the system has proven strong enough to produce two Top 15 receivers in fantasy. In 2019, Kupp was WR4 while Woods was still WR14, with Jared Goff. Last season, while Kupp was setting receiving records, Odell Beckham, Jr., still managed to see 48 targets, catching 27 passes for 305 yards and five touchdowns in just eight games. And that was after coming over mid-season. In short, it should be wheels up for Robinson.
Cole Beasley, UFA
About: Beasley was a huge piece of the passing game for the Buffalo Bills and Josh Allen the past three seasons. He saw more than 100 targets a season, catching 231 passes and 11 touchdowns. He was given permission to seek a trade earlier this off-season and, finding none, was released by the Bills, who are going in a different direction. Beasley has been in the league for ten years and remains unsigned. He figures to land somewhere, but it seems more than likely his peak fantasy value has passed. It might be time to cut your losses.
Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins
About: Hill entered the off-season as the No. 1 receiver for one of the league’s best offenses in the Kansas City Chiefs. While he secured a big long-term contract, a trade to the Dolphins doesn’t seem to be as promising, especially for fantasy. New Dolphins’ head coach Mike McDaniel was the offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers last season. The 49ers, while a strong running game, threw the ball 514 times. The Chiefs threw the ball 675 times. Not only does the scheme figure to be less pass-friendly, but Hill also joins a team with Jaylen Waddle, DeVante Parker, and Cedric Wilson at receiver, Mike Gesicki at tight end, and now Chase Edmonds, a pass-catching specialist, at running back. Hill could be used as a gadget player in the run game, but it remains to be seen how the targets will be split in this new offense. That makes Hill far from a lock to finish as a WR1, especially since Waddle had 140 targets playing alongside Tua Tagovailoa last season.
Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons
About: Ridley was simply outstanding in 2020. He saw 143 targets, catching 90 passes for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns. Last season, limited to five games before he stepped away to work on his mental health, he had 31 receptions for 281 yards and two touchdowns. Now, he’s been suspended for the entire 2022 season. Heading into last year, many saw Ridley as a Top 3 option in fantasy. Now, it’s unclear what kind of player we’ll see if he returns to the field in 2023 and where he’ll ply his talent. For those who roster him, it’s probably time to hold as much as it hurts. His value has fallen off a cliff, but that 2020 season is a reminder of his potential.
Matthew Fox is a member of the FSWA. He’s a die-hard NFL fan and Broncos’ homer. You can find more from him on Twitter @knighthawk7734 or as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, part of the Campus2Canton Network.