As dynasty fantasy football managers look towards their rookie drafts as the next step in the offseason process, Ohio State WR Garrett Wilson is widely regarded as one of the top-ranked fantasy football wide receivers in 2022. Following a successful collegiate career, what are Wilson’s strengths, are there any concerns, and how does his landing spot impact his dynasty value in 2022 and beyond?
Garrett Wilson’s dynasty fantasy profile
It’s hard to overstate how absurdly good the Ohio State wide receiver room was last season. It had enough high-end talent and depth to make NFL teams blush. The fact Jameson Williams transferred away from Ohio State gives a bit of context to how special this unit was in 2021. Sitting on top was Wilson.
Coming into the season, I felt Ohio State’s Wilson was the No. 1 receiver on the squad despite the vocal love for Chris Olave, and I feel Wilson backed up that claim. While he did have his best season in 2021, it’s worth noting Wilson was able to produce in a meaningful way as a true freshman, which is difficult to do. In 13 games, Wilson posted 30 receptions on 42 targets for 432 yards and 5 TDs.
Then, in a COVID-shortened 2020 season with Justin Fields as his QB, Wilson accounted for 34% of OSU’s receiving yards (723) on 27.2% of the receptions (43) while recording a rather high 3.21 YPTPA (yards per team passing attempt).
2021 is when Garrett shined and truly ascended as one of the best wide receivers in the country while becoming a top-five pick in dynasty drafts. Despite lining up with Olave, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and Marvin Harrison Jr., Wilson recorded over 1,000 yards on 70 receptions for 12 touchdowns.
Wilson projects well for both the NFL and fantasy
At 6’0″ and roughly 190 pounds, Wilson has a similar frame and build to Jerry Jeudy, and he also shows some of the same strengths. I’m not saying Jeudy is his direct comparison, but it gives a bit of an idea of what kind of player we can expect at the next level.
I wouldn’t expect to see Wilson take on a Ja’Marr Chase or Justin Jefferson-style ascension as a rookie for fantasy managers. Those receivers broke the mold and ruined expectations for everyone else to come. However, in the right offense, Wilson has WR2 upside in his rookie year. He’s a player I project to have long-term fantasy value and deserves to be either the No. 1 or No. 2 receiver selected alongside USC’s Drake London.
There’s no way to begin a conversation discussing Wilson’s strengths and not mention separation. He has a varied release package, making him incredibly difficult to cover because defenders never know what’s coming.
He’s almost violent with his jab step. Wilson rarely slow plays a CB to lull them to sleep. He uses quick, piston-like short steps, then explodes. His ability to stack a defender is unquestioned.
Now, I want to point out that separation is more than just getting off the line. There are three critical areas, even though release gets the attention. Mid-route and catch-point separation are also important. The best of the best receivers in the NFL can do all three.
Can you generate separation at the line? If not, is a WR able to separate at the stem? And then at the catch, are they going vertical, deploying body control, or using their arms to increase the window? In the case of Wilson, he checks all three boxes.
Wilson showed a notable improvement with his body control in 2021 and turned it into a strength. He has the skills to also play above the rim, even if that’s not where he’s at his best.
Wilson’s route running showed polish, even though he didn’t traditionally run a ton of middle-of-the-field routes in the 10-15 aDOT (average depth of target) area. Add in the fact that he’s a weapon after the catch, and by the time you have watched the tape, you come away extremely impressed by Wilson and his future projection for fantasy in 2022 and beyond.
I’m not saying Wilson is a perfect prospect — far from it. For one, his tape had far too many concentration drops on it for a player of his caliber. These are easily avoidable, and I won’t question his hands.
There were also times, especially in 2021, when it seemed Wilson was trying to go almost too fast and ended up stumbling or needing to catch himself. This would then throw off the timing with C.J. Stroud. The game against Michigan in 2021 is a prime example. He had man coverage and lost his footing at the stem of a three-yard slant.
We also need to see Wilson become more consistent beating press coverage. Believe it or not, NFL defenses aren’t playing press the majority of the time. You need an elite CB who can win on an island, which is a rare commodity. This is why I’m not overly critical of this area of Wilson’s game.
Wilson’s injury history
While I never try to sit here and predict injuries or their propensity, it’s important to note them. Chronic soft tissue injuries can raise a red flag to NFL teams and fantasy managers sitting in their rookie dynasty drafts in 2022.
As for Wilson, he has a clean bill of health. He did miss two games in 2021, though. One was against Nebraska with concussion-like symptoms, and the other was their bowl game, where he opted to focus on the NFL Draft. I’m not knocking him for either of these.
New York Jets select Garrett Wilson
With Drake London off the board, the Jets have to be celebrating in their draft room. While the Jets selected Zach Wilson with the No. 2 overall pick a year ago, they opted not to significantly upgrade their receivers. Wilson at pick No. 10 most certainly is a significant upgrade.
This was not only a needed pick, but it is a smash hit. The argument can be made that Wilson is the safest receiver in this class. He is a complete receiver with hands as soft as Ben Simmons.
Now from a fantasy standpoint, I don’t want to suggest this is a perfect landing spot. For one, how bullish are you on Zach Wilson? For him to get the most out of his new target, Wilson needs to take significant steps forward. Also, this is a somewhat crowded room.
Not only do they have Elijah Moore, who I am very bullish on, but Corey Davis and Braxon Berrios are also on the team. Not to mention the Jets do like to incorporate their running backs in the attack. Plus, they upgraded their tight end by signing C.J. Uzomah in free agency.
In dynasty, you select the player’s talent more so the initial landing spot. Talent-wise, Wilson checks the boxes. It’s just the volume in year one, which is troublesome if Zach does not take a step forward in his progression. Still, the Jets did throw the ball the third most of any team last season at 63%, as they played from behind the majority of their games.
Even if Wilson is hovering around a 20% target share, he will be impactful. It all comes down to the quality of those targets. With that said, Wilson is still in the argument as the top receiver and should be selected in the top half of rookie drafts.