In seasonal fantasy football leagues, wide receivers are the lifeblood of your roster. There are a number of different strategies fantasy managers can use which determine when and how frequently you will draft WRs, and it’s no different in best ball. Whether you’re going Robust RB, Zero RB, Hero RB, or something in between, you’re going to be taking more wide receivers than running backs on your best ball roster. Let’s take a look at some WRs to target in early fantasy football best ball drafts.
Top 5 Best Ball fantasy football WR targets
There’s a consensus top three wide receivers entering the 2022 fantasy football season. Cooper Kupp, Justin Jefferson, and Ja’Marr Chase are in a tier by themselves. For me, they’re in that order as well. You don’t need me or anyone else to tell you that drafting one of these guys is a fantastic idea. But who are some WRs going later in drafts that fantasy managers should target in their best ball leagues?
Mike Evans | Tampa Bay Buccaneers, WR11 (30 overall)
I did not target Mike Evans in 2021 due to an inability to justify taking him in the fourth round when Antonio Brown was providing the same production in the eighth. In 2022, it’s a whole different ball game.
Despite Evans getting up there in age (now 29 years old), his ability has not fallen off at all. For years, Evans has been a sure thing in fantasy. He’s recorded an NFL-record eight consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. In fantasy, he’s been a WR2 or better every year of his career. In his worst season, he still averaged 13.4 PPR fantasy points per game.
The main knock on Evans over the years has been the lack of a true ceiling. His best year was 2016 when he averaged 18.8 ppg. Don’t get me wrong, those are great numbers, but he’s never been one to threaten reaching 20 ppg. And for the most part, he’s been in the 13-16.5 range.
That all changes in 2022. I really believe Evans is poised to have the best season of his career. Tom Brady is back. But more importantly, the Bucs are likely to have a more consolidated target share. Chris Godwin is almost certain to open the season either on the PUP list or IR due to his late-season ACL tear. Rob Gronkowski seems likely to retire. AB is gone. This passing attack is going to be Evans, Leonard Fournette, and Russell Gage. That’s it.
Evans has averaged just a 17% target share during his two seasons with Brady. He’s scored fantasy points based on efficiency, particularly in the touchdown department (27 over the past two seasons). This season, he has a great chance at hitting a 25% target share. If Evans gets there, his WR11 ADP will look like one of the biggest steals of the early rounds of 2022 fantasy football best ball drafts.
DK Metcalf | Seattle Seahawks, WR15 (41 overall)
I get it. Russell Wilson is gone, and Pete Carroll runs an offense straight out of the 1970s. DK Metcalf is coming off a really bad season where he averaged just 14.4 ppg. There’s no way Metcalf has the same top-five ceiling.
While that’s all true, the hate has gone too far. Metcalf actually averaged more points per game with Geno Smith (17.2) than with Wilson (13.9). Whether it’s Smith or Drew Lock, Metcalf is the clear WR1 and his skill set is more favorable to a lesser quarterback than Tyler Lockett’s.
All this is to say Metcalf is going to be fine. The man had 75 receptions for 967 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. While he may not score 12 TDs again, I’ll bet on Metcalf to sail over 1,000 receiving yards.
At WR15, we’re essentially drafting a 24-year-old stud wide receiver talent at his floor. I like Metcalf plenty in seasonal redraft, but in best ball, he’s even better because you know the splash plays are coming. Metcalf will have enough spike weeks to justify his ADP. And he still has a mid-WR1 ceiling regardless of who plays quarterback.
Mike Williams | Los Angeles Chargers, WR23 (55 overall)
Last season, Mike Williams was maddening to roster in seasonal leagues. Williams averaged 23.2 ppg over the first five weeks of the season, but just 11.9 ppg the rest of the way. During that time, he mostly posted duds with the occasional spike week. It was impossible to figure out when to play him.
In best ball formats, you don’t have to worry about when the spike weeks occur because they’ll be in your lineup. Williams had six games over 20 points, and two of those were over 30. He’s an ideal best ball target because you know you’re getting a handful of big games even if you don’t know when they are.
Marquise Brown | Arizona Cardinals, WR29 (67 overall)
Even before the DeAndre Hopkins suspension news, Marquise Brown was looking like quite the value. Now, he’s almost a must-draft.
Brown’s 2021 was a tale of two halves. From Weeks 1-9, he averaged 18.8 ppg but just 10 ppg from Weeks 10-17. The difference? He stopped scoring touchdowns. Every one of Brown’s six touchdowns came in the first seven weeks of the season.
What we do know is Brown has an extremely high weekly ceiling. Although he didn’t get there much over the second half of the 2021 season, he did post over 19 fantasy points in six of his first eight games.
This season, for the first six games, Brown will be Kyler Murray’s WR1 in a pass-heavy offense. Afterwards, he’ll still be the stretch Z. Brown is going to catch a couple of long touchdowns and have a number of WR1 weeks. He won’t be consistent, but that matters less in best ball, making him a fantastic WR target in 2022 fantasy football drafts.
Christian Watson | Green Bay Packers, WR62 (157 overall)
Let me preface this by saying I’m not big on Christian Watson. He really just looks like a slightly better Marquez Valdes-Scantling. With that said, this Packers depth chart is barren, and Watson is going to play.
I don’t expect any consistency from Watson, and he’s not someone I’d be excited to start in weekly redraft leagues. However, in best ball, Watson is far more appealing because he is going to catch a couple of long touchdowns.
You can grab Watson as your WR5 or WR6, at least right now. Things could change in training camp and the preseason, but Watson sure looks well-positioned to step into a starting role in three-receiver sets immediately. With Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback, you can certainly do worse at wide receiver than Watson in the latter rounds of your 2022 fantasy football best ball draft.