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 look 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’m looking at the pass catchers from the class of 2021.

Stock Up: Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals

About: It’s hard to imagine Chase going higher. He was a Top 5 pick and had an explosive rookie year. He also had a fantastic sophomore season, catching 87 passes for 1,046 yards and nine touchdowns in just 12 games. He’s a lock to be a Top 3 dynasty wide receiver for the next few years, and you could even make a case, given his situation with Joe Burrow, he’s No. 1. If you drafted him, you’re sitting pretty. If you’re trying to acquire him, prepare to pay a premium.

Stock Up: DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles

About: Smith got some company in 2022 as the Eagles acquired veteran A.J. Brown. That, combined with questions about the volume of the Eagles’ pass offense with Jalen Hurts, had people wondering about Smith this season. Turns out, those worries were unfounded. His targets, receptions, yardage, and touchdowns all increased. The Eagles’ offense looks like one of the league’s best, and Smith is a solid weekly start in the offense. Smith finished as WR9 in 2022, even as Brown finished Top 10, showing there’s enough volume to go around for the Eagles.

Stock Up: Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins

About: Like Smith, there were questions about Waddle and his potential volume in the Dolphins’ offense after the team acquired Tyreek Hill. Like Smith, Waddle answered those questions in a passing attack that was one of the league’s best with Tua Tagovailoa in 2022. Waddle finished with fewer receptions at 75 but more yards with 1,356 yards and eight touchdowns. He finished as WR8, even as Hill was WR2. There’s a little bit of concern about whether Tagovailoa can return and what that might do to the offense, but there’s no doubt Waddle has the skills to thrive.

Stock Up: Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions

About: St. Brown, a Fourth Round pick a year ago, burst onto the scene as a rookie in an offense needing playmakers. With new receivers joining the team—including rookie First Round pick Jameson Williams—it was fair to wonder how St. Brown would fair. Turns out he has what it takes to be the top option in a good offense. He finished with 106 receptions, 1,161 yards, and six touchdowns, all improvements over his rookie year. And better still, the Lions improved to 9-8. St. Brown is a great option for fantasy players, finishing as WR7 in 2022.

Stock Up: Kadarius Toney, Kansas City Chiefs

About: This is about opportunity more than production. Toney, a First Round pick by the Giants, didn’t do much as a rookie. He didn’t start out strong for the Giants in year two, but he was traded mid-season to the Chiefs. Toney had 16 receptions for 141 yards and two touchdowns, which isn’t great production for a first-round pick. There are also still questions about his durability and ability to stay on the field. But it’s undeniable the Chiefs with Patrick Mahomes are a great offense. With Juju Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman as free agents and Marquez Valdes-Scantling seemingly a role player, Toney can see his role grow in 2023. This is the time to try and buy if you can find the right deal.

Stock Up: Nico Collins, Houston Texans

About: The Texans are a mess, and there are plenty of questions about 2023—from coach to quarterback to the rest of the offense. That presents an opportunity for Collins, who is solidly the No. 2 receiver behind Brandin Cooks. Collins has been fairly consistent in his two years, catching 37 passes for 481 yards and two touchdowns in 2022, a modest gain over his rookie year. But he’s shown flashes, and with Cooks no lock to return, there’s opportunity. He’s also a player that’s still somewhat under the radar, making it a decent buying opportunity this off-season.

Stock Neutral: Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers

About: Freiermuth entered the 2022 season as one of the Top 12 options at tight end. He lived up to the billing, seeing an increase in targets, receptions, and yardage in his second year. His touchdowns dropped as the Steelers went through some growing pains on offense with rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett, but Freiermuth’s place in the offense and skill as a receiver remains present. He is a solid bet in fantasy and a Top 10 option at a tough position in dynasty. He may be the best of the 2021 tight end class despite the hype for another player appearing on this list.

Stock Neutral: Josh Palmer, Los Angeles Chargers

About: Some eyebrows were raised when Palmer was selected in the Third Round, but he’s been a solid contributor to the Chargers. With a rash of injuries that sidelined starters Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, Palmer played a bigger role in year two. He saw 107 targets, catching 72 passes for 769 yards and three touchdowns. That’s a solid jump in year two, but with Allen and Williams likely back in 2023, Palmer’s path to targets is capped. He’s got value, but he lacks some of the upside of other options on this list.

Stock Down: Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

About: Pitts was viewed as a game-changing tight end when he came out, and being drafted in the Top 5 seemed to solidify that view. I remember him going in the top three picks of rookie drafts and seeing some vault him up as TE1 in dynasty. He had a solid rookie year, albeit one without touchdowns. But in a shaky Atlanta offense in 2022, Pitts struggled. He finished with 28 receptions for 356 yards and two touchdowns. Injuries limited him to ten games, which was part of the issue, but for those that took Pitts as a super weapon, they haven’t gotten a great return on investment. Is Pitts still a Top 12 TE? You’d have to pay that price, but it’s unclear if you’ll get that production. The team still has plenty of questions moving into 2023, including who will play quarterback. I’m not willing to pay a premium for potential alone, especially after these last two years with the Falcons.

Stock Down: Elijah Moore, New York Jets

About: No player on this list took as big a hit to their value in 2022 as Moore. He was a darling as a rookie, seemingly the best and most explosive receiver on the Jets. Then the team drafted Garrett Wilson, who looks like a WR1. Moore had a reduced role, to say the least, and even got benched due to his attitude. Will he be with the Jets in 2023? That’s a question, as is his role and the quarterback who will pass to him as the Jets employ a new offensive system with Nathaniel Hackett. Moore ended with 37 receptions for 446 yards and a touchdown. I still like the talent and the potential fit. I think the Jets will improve at quarterback, making Moore an appealing buy-low target for me. He’s not likely to be the WR1 for his team, but he could produce WR3/Flex numbers in the right role.

Stock Down: Rondale Moore, Arizona Cardinals

About: Moore made a splash when he was drafted, and over two years, we’ve seen some flashes. He finished his second season with 41 receptions for 414 yards and a touchdown, not far off his rookie season numbers. But his 2023 outlook is murky at best. The head coach and general manager who selected him are gone. Quarterback Kyler Murray is coming off an ACL injury that could well keep him out until November, leaving the quarterback situation and offense unsettled for the Cardinals. The team also has Marquise Brown and DeAndre Hopkins at receiver and Zach Ertz and Trey McBride at tight end, all competing for targets. Then there’s the issue of health, which limited Rondale to just eight games in 2022. All of that makes him a risky investment, at best, heading into 2023 and beyond.

Stock Down: Terrace Marshall, Jr., Carolina Panthers

About: Marshall might be the fetch of receivers in the Class of 2021. Some had him as high as WR5, and there seemed some appeal to his landing spot in Carolina. Through two seasons, it’s completely fizzled. He caught 28 passes for 490 yards and a touchdown as in 2022, seeming to often be an afterthought in a struggling offense. Now, the Panthers are headed into an off-season where they have massive questions all over the team, including who will be the coach and quarterback. That doesn’t bode well for a player that’s failed to make a splash in his first two years. I’m staying away from Marshall.

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.

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