Christian Watson fantasy outlook, ADP, and projection for 2022

What is Christian Watson's fantasy outlook and projection for 2022, and should you look to draft him at his current ADP?

One of the top rookie wide receivers in the NFL and fantasy football, Green Bay WR Christian Watson projects to be a mid-round pick as his 2022 fantasy outlook suggests he could be a breakout player in Year 1. With the NFL season and fantasy drafts closing in, what is Watson’s fantasy outlook in 2022, and could he prove to be a value at his current ADP in fantasy football drafts?

Christian Watson’s fantasy outlook for 2022

For a team that has produced consistent fantasy results like the Green Bay Packers, things are different in 2022. Thanks to offseason moves and new acquisitions, it’s hard to grasp how things will shake out. No player personifies this more than rookie wide receiver Christian Watson.

I’d love nothing more than to be able to sit here and tell you exactly how this wide receiver room will shake out. Yet I’m not sure anyone, especially myself, has the confidence to make strong statements. Watson unquestionably has the athleticism to take advantage of this role.

At 6’4 1/8″ and 208 pounds, Watson brings a rare blend of size, speed, and explosiveness. He was one of the biggest winners of the NFL Combine. Watson ran a 4.36 40-yard dash, had a top-five vertical jump at 38.5″, and posted a best-in-class broad jump at 136″. Add in his 10 1/8″ hands, and Watson checks all the boxes measurement-wise. His tape sets him apart, as it is littered with high-impact plays. It’s why the Packers selected Watson with the 34th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

We don’t have much reference data to know what Aaron Rodgers does with a rookie wide receiver. Green Bay has historically been against drafting the position highly. The most recent one we can look back on is Marquez Valdes-Scantling in 2018. In his first year with the Packers, he received 73 targets which could very well be Watson’s floor for the season — especially because Davante Adams isn’t around to lead the team with 169 targets as he did that year.

In Watson’s range of outcomes, he becomes a substantial value and leads the team in targets. It is also just as likely he is fourth in the pecking order. Especially after missing a decent chunk of training camp with a knee injury which placed him on the PUP list. This week-to-week volatility will make Watson difficult to trust. After a few games, barring injury, we will better understand how the Packers want to operate. If you’re a fantasy manager wanting a piece of the Packers’ passing game, Watson could be worth a flyer in your upcoming draft. However, I would advise not putting all your eggs in his basket due to the uncertainty surrounding his role.

How the Packers depth chart impacts Christian Watson’s fantasy projection for the season

The wide receiver depth chart, as we know, is very different in 2022. Adams is now in Las Vegas, and Valdes-Scantling is in Kansas City. Together, the duo averaged 138.75 receptions on 215.25 targets for 1,865.75 yards and 15 touchdowns since 2018, with Adams carrying the bulk of the load. He posted 1,350-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns in three of the four years.

That’s a significant chunk of Rodgers’ production needing to be replaced. No one can step in and fill the void left by Adams. Sure, vacated targets will be discussed, but unless the talent is equal, it doesn’t carry over one-to-one. It’s likely no one player stands above the rest as Rodgers distributes the ball around the field.

The likeliest “No. 1″ is Allen Lazard. Rodgers has had success with Lazard in the past and ended last season on fire. Over the final five weeks, Lazard was the WR8 in PPR scoring thanks to 21 receptions for 290 receiving yards and five touchdowns to close the year out. The 6’5” Lazard should be a threat in the red zone, given his size, but he needs to build chemistry with Rodgers.

Green Bay also has veterans Randall Cobb and Sammy Watkins on their roster. Both have had up-and-down careers, with Watkins plagued by injuries. He played in 16 games just once as a rookie in 2014 and has not recorded over 700 yards since 2015 in Buffalo.

Another name to watch is Romeo Doubs. A fourth-round pick from Nevada, Doubs was Carson Strong’s vertical threat. As a junior, Doubs saw his target share rise to 25.9% while boosting his reception percentage to 62.4%. Returning for the 2021 season, Doubs went on to add another 1,000+ yard season when he finished his senior year with 80 receptions for 1,109 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has been the standout rookie in camp, drawing both praise and criticism from Rodgers, who expects perfection. Based on Watson’s absence and Doubs’ strong camp, there is a very real chance he is the rookie many wished Watson to be in 2022.

Watson’s ADP for 2022

With an ADP of 172, Watson is coming off the boards as the WR63 in PPR formats at the moment, placing him towards the middle of the 14th round in 12-team fantasy leagues.

In PFN’s 2022 fantasy football redraft rankings, Watson is drastically lower as the WR88 and 224th ranked player overall. While PFN’s rankings are a consensus, I am slightly lower as Watson is my WR90 in my rankings and 226th player overall. Be sure to check back, as rankings will fluctuate between now and the start of the season.

Why the vast disparity compared to his ADP? It’s because ADP is notoriously slow to update to new information. When drafts started that go into the ADP, Doubs didn’t have the momentum he now has. That’s why in both PFN’s consensus and my own rankings, Doubs has passed Watson. He is the WR82 (207) in PFN’s and is all the way up to the WR66 in mine (184).

While Lazard is by far the primary receiver to draft (WR42), Doubs has the late-round upside you look for in a final pick. I would use his suppressed ADP to your advantage, but understand others in your league could have the same opinion. I would personally leave Watson on waivers until he is healthy and gets reps under his belt. Because if Rodgers doesn’t trust him to be in a particular spot at a specific time, he won’t see the ball at a reliable rate for fantasy.

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