Looking ahead to the 2022 fantasy football season, there are a few WRs to be wary of come draft day. Cutting straight to the chase, in this article we will take a dive on Tyreek Hill, Hunter Renfrow, Russel Gage, and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Below you will find a table outlining the aforementioned WRs ‘receiving shares’ from 2019-2021. It highlights each player’s total fantasy points scored, percent of fantasy points scored amongst WR/TEs on their team (point share), and the percent of receptions they held amongst WR/TEs on their team (reception share).
Let’s break down the players.
Tyreek Hill pulled in a large percentage of targets in the past three seasons and put up an outstanding amount of points in this time, which netted to be 30% of the points scored by Chiefs receivers in this time. At first glance, it appears that Hill’s new squad will be a great fit for him as the Dolphins’ returning receiving corps only grabbed 28% of receptions–this, however, is before we factor in Devante Parker, who grabbed 18% of the receptions during this time while battling through injuries. What we can take away from this is that the Dolphins love to spread the ball out. A dominant WR1 like Tyreek Hill may not perform as well as he typically does in a Dolphins offense in which he may not take 28% of the receptions, especially when competing with Jaylen Waddle, who will only become more of a popular target for Tua as time progresses. Hill will also be dealing with a serious QB change–while it may be trite to criticize Tua for his weak arm, there is no question that a switch away from one of the best QBs to ever play the game might have a negative impact on the deep threat receiver.
Next, let’s take a look at Hunter Renfrow. Renfrow has pulled in quite a large percentage of the receptions for the Raiders in the past three seasons, but his fantasy performance is slightly lacking, as he has only put up 507 points despite his high usage rate. With the addition of superstar Davante Adams, there is much less room for Renfrow to succeed. Adams accounted for 38% of the receptions in the past three years in Green Bay, and will likely continue to haul in the majority of the load in Vegas. As Renfrow now stands in the shadows of both Waller and Adams, we can expect his fantasy output to be lower than expected.
Russel Gage had a breakout season in 2021 with the Falcons and seemed to have the potential of becoming a star fantasy receiver–this was, of course, before he was moved to Tampa Bay. Last year, in the absence of Calvin Ridley, Gage was able to pull in a large number of targets and account for a good amount of the receiving core’s fantasy points. Now, behind star receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, who have scored a combined 47% of Bucs receivers’ fantasy points the past 3 years, it is going to be difficult for Gage to produce enough volume to be used as much more than FLEX option in 2022.
Last, and likely least, we have JuJu Smith-Schuster who was moved to the Chiefs this offseason. I can’t argue that there isn’t any upside to his new position, as he will have Patrick Mahomes slinging him the ball as a WR1 in his new threads. However, Smith-Schuster has had trouble pulling in receptions when facing intra-squad competition, as we have seen with his 15% reception share on the Steelers (competing with Dionte Johnson and Chase Claypool). Now, lining up next to Kelce, a ball-hawking TE1, JuJu might have trouble finding targets, especially as Hardman and Valdes-Scantling will likely look to fill Hill’s role as a deep threat next season.