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Ranking the top 20 wide receivers in the NFL ahead of the 2022 season

Ranking the top 20 wide receivers in the NFL ahead of the 2022 season
Justin Jefferson
Jun 8, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) looks on during mandatory mini camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to get NFL fans to agree on things, especially when it comes to the best wide receivers in 2022.

There are so many elite receivers right now, that agreeing on the best wide receivers in the NFL today is almost impossible. After all, everyone has their own opinion when it comes to ranking the best players in the NFL this season, especially when it comes to deciding on the best wide receivers in 2022.

Best wide receivers 2022

Naturally, we decided to extend our preseason position rankings for the wide receivers to 20. Even then, it was tough to leave out a few of the best WRs in the NFL in 2022.

On top of that, ranking the top five or 10 of the best wide receiver in the NFL currently was also tough. That being said, we hope we have come up with a fair and accurate ranking of the best wide receivers for 2022.

20. Tee Higgins

Unfortunately for Tee Higgins, his strong sophomore season was overshadowed by a standout rookie in Cincinnati. However, two seasons into his career, he’s also done enough to be considered among the best receivers in the league.

Higgins has tallied exactly 1,999 receiving yards in 32 games while totaling 141 receptions. Even if he’s only the second-best receiver on the Bengals, Higgins has earned a spot on this list.

19. Tyler Lockett

Even with a quarterback situation in Seattle that’s far from ideal, Tyler Lockett is not someone to be overlooked.

He’s put together three straight seasons with over 1,000 receiving yards and has tallied 36 touchdowns over his last four seasons. Granted, Lockett hasn’t been to the Pro Bowl since 2015 and will turn 30 during the season, but he’s still a receiver opposing teams have to worry about.

18. CeeDee Lamb

After earning a Pro Bowl selection in his second season in the league, CeeDee Lamb is surely one of the rising stars among wide receivers in the NFL.

There was no sign of a sophomore slump from him, as Lamb racked up over 1,100 yards and six touchdowns. The challenge this year is taking his game to another level as the no. 1 receiver in Dallas. But by what we’ve seen so far, Lamb is up for the challenge.

17. D.J. Moore

Carolina’s lack of success in recent years has made it hard for D.J. Moore to get the credit he deserves, but the Panthers definitely have a bonafide playmaker on their team.

His touchdown numbers aren’t all that impressive because the Panthers have struggled to get him consistent quarterback play. But Moore has still racked up over 1,000 receiving yards in three straight seasons, making him one of the more overlooked receivers in the NFL heading into 2022.

16. Chris Godwin

Chris Godwin has had trouble playing a full season in recent years, although he appears to be fully healthy after the knee injury that ended his 2021 campaign. If he’s healthy, Godwin has the speed and ability to be a dangerous playmaker.

Even with the injuries, he’s averaging close to 1,100 yards and seven touchdowns per season over the last three years. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that he has Tom Brady throwing the ball to him when projecting what Godwin can contribute in 2022.

15. Amari Cooper

Amari Cooper is now with the third team of his career and is now with the Browns, who have a somewhat tenuous quarterback situation.

We also saw a little bit of a drop-off last year after three straight seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards. But Cooper still has the tools to be an impact receiver and perhaps return to the Pro Bowl for the first time since 2019.

14. Terry McLaurin

Surely, it’s not been easy for Terry McLaurin early in his career with questionable quarterback play in Washington. It’s not like he’s had a ton of great playmakers around him either, so McLaurin has often had teams game planning around him.

Nevertheless, he’s averaging over 1,000 yards per season over his first three seasons and should only get better with more consistent quarterback play and a better supporting cast around him.

13. Michael Thomas

It’s important not to forget about Michael Thomas even though he didn’t play at all in 2021 and only played in seven games in 2020.

The last time Thomas played a full season, he set an NFL record in 149 receptions and led the league in receiving while winning Offensive Player of the Year honors.

Obviously, nobody should expect those kinds of numbers, especially since Drew Brees is no longer the quarterback in New Orleans. But Thomas should still be in his prime and should have a bounce-back year in 2022 if he’s healthy.

12. Keenan Allen

At this point in his career, Keenan Allen might as well be called “Old Faithful.” After battling injuries for a couple of years earlier in his career, Allen has put together five straight Pro Bowl seasons, amassing over 1,100 yards in all but one of those seasons.

His touchdown numbers have been steady but unspectacular during that time, so he’s not going to reach the same category as the truly elite receiver in the NFL. But it’d be hard to find a more consistent receiver in the NFL right now.

11. DeAndre Hopkins

DeAndre Hopkins is a tough player to evaluate heading into 2022. He’s now 30 and only played 10 games last year due to injury. He’ll also miss the first six games of this season due to a suspension.

However, Hopkins has gone over 1,000 yards in six of his nine seasons with five Pro Bowl selections. His numbers may drop off a little this year with fewer games, but on his day, he’s still one of the most dangerous receivers in the league.

10. A.J. Brown

A.J. Brown might be going to a new team, but that doesn’t mean anything will change. Over the first three years of his career, Brown is averaging close to 1,000 yards per season while collecting 24 touchdown catches.

An injury hurt his numbers a little in 2021, although there’s every reason to expect him to come back strong and healthy in 2022 with one of the best seasons of his young career.

9. D.K. Metcalf

Over his first three seasons in the league, D.K. Metcalf has shown an impressive combination of speed and strength. Even with a slight drop-off last year from the numbers that sent him to the Pro Bowl in 2020, Metcalf has produced three seasons with over 900 receiving yards and a total of 29 touchdowns.

He’s a big-play receiver who has quickly become one of the most challenging receivers in the NFL for cornerbacks to defend one on one, and that isn’t going to change in 2022.

8. Deebo Samuel

The 49ers gave Deebo Samuel the extension he wanted before the season with that $73.5 million contract showing just how valuable he is. Samuel is almost a hybrid, racking up over 1,400 receiving yards and 365 rushing yards last season while being named a First-Team All-Pro.

He actually had more rushing touchdowns than receiving touchdowns, which shows just how versatile and dangerous he can be. Of course, Samuel still has to prove that he can put together those types of numbers in consecutive seasons.

7. Tyreek Hill

Only time will tell how a new team and a new quarterback will impact Tyreek Hill’s performance. But his speed still makes him one of the most dangerous playmakers in the NFL. He’s always been a threat on special teams, but the last two seasons have been his best as a receiver.

At age 28, Hill’s speed isn’t going to disappear just yet, so he’s going to remain among the league’s best receivers this year.

6. Ja’Marr Chase

It’s hard to put Ja’Marr Chase too high on this list after just one season. But he looks like the real deal after a record-breaking rookie season. Chase set the rookie record for receiving yards in a single season and receiving yards in the postseason, not to mention his 266-yard performance late in the season.

He still has a lot to prove compared to some of the other veteran wide receivers in the league. But there should be no doubt that he will be among the best wide receivers in 2022.

5. Mike Evans

Mike Evans might be the most consistent and reliable receiver in the NFL right now.

He’s had at least 1,000 receiving yards in all eight of his pro seasons while making the Pro Bowl in four of the last six years. During his last two seasons with Tom Brady at the helm, Evans has caught 27 touchdown passes, so in some ways, he’s only getting better with age.

4. Stefon Diggs

His move to Buffalo a few years ago has only brought out the best in Stefon Diggs, perhaps because he has a top-flight quarterback in Josh Allen giving him the ball.

Diggs has now gone over 1,000 yards receiving in four straight seasons, including the 2020 season when he led the league in receiving yards. Perhaps more importantly, he’s amassed over 100 catches in three of the last four years, going from a complementary receiver to a feature receiver.

With back-to-back Pro Bowl selections, there is every reason to think Diggs will be among the best wide receivers in 2022.

3. Justin Jefferson

It’s only taken two seasons for Justin Jefferson to put his name next to the best wide receivers in the NFL. His promising rookie season in 2020 turned out to be anything but a fluke when he improved upon his numbers last year.

Jefferson already has over 3,000 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns in 33 career games over two seasons. Those are serious numbers from a player who’s still only 23 years old. Granted, he’ll be a marked man in 2022, but there’s still every reason to believe that the best is yet to come from Jefferson.

2. Davante Adams

In theory, going to a new team shouldn’t have a huge impact on Davante Adams or stop him from being one of the top WRs in 2022. However, he has had it a little easier, catching passes from Aaron Rodgers during the first eight years of his career.

But with Rodgers or not, we’ve seen Adams rack up over 800 receiving yards in six straight seasons while catching at least 10 touchdown passes in five of the last six years. After racking up over 1,500 yards last year, Adams is surely in his prime and among the elite receivers in the game.

1. Cooper Kupp

There’s no way that anyone other than Cooper Kupp can be at the top of our list after the season he had last year.

Not only did he help the Rams win the Super Bowl with an NFL record 33 playoff receptions but Kupp also led the league in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns, racking up 1,947 yards in 17 regular-season games with 16 touchdowns on 145 receptions.

While he’s been a quality receiver for many years, the 2021 season was Kupp’s first time being a Pro Bowler. While he hasn’t been an elite receiver over the course of several seasons like some of the top wide receivers in the NFL below him on our list, his production last year has to make him the top receiver in the league heading into 2022.