Can Justin Jefferson take the crown from Cooper Kupp?

August 26, 2022

Over the past a number of seasons, I’ve mentioned the “three pillars” a participant should have of their outlook as a way to turn out to be the fantasy WR1 general. Cooper Kupp ended up surprising the world in turning into that participant final 12 months however he completely checked all three packing containers. It is a win for the speculation even when the fantasy business did not correctly rank him as such.

These three pillars are:

1 – Should personal a dominant goal share of their offense

2 – Have to be tethered to an environment friendly quarterback/offense

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3 – Have to be verifiably nice at soccer

Time to spin ahead. So, utilizing these pillars, let’s check out my Prime-13 ranked receivers to look at how clear their path is to doubtlessly push for the WR1 general title in 2022.

Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams

Goal share pillar: Sure

Kupp maintained an absurd 32 % goal share within the 2022 Rams’ offense and he’s poised to strategy that quantity once more this season. Whereas Allen Robinson was an enormous addition to this passing recreation, they don’t have many different threats past the highest two receivers to siphon seems to be away from Kupp.

Environment friendly offense/QB pillar: Sure

It is a clear affirmative so long as Matthew Stafford’s elbow scenario doesn’t strategy nightmare territory. The Stafford-to-Kupp connection was some of the deadly within the recreation final 12 months.

Verifiably nice at soccer pillar: Sure

You don’t win the NFL’s Triple Crown should you aren’t a baller. Kupp has lengthy been one of many NFL’s most original large receivers and supreme zone-beaters.

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

Goal share pillar: Sure

Jefferson was third within the NFL with a 28% goal share final 12 months. There’s the concept that he’s getting a Kupp-type position within the new Vikings offense with Kevin O’Connell taking up as head coach. That’s gravy however he doesn’t actually need it to earn a excessive goal complete.

Environment friendly offense/QB pillar: Sure

Say what you need about Kirk Cousins, he can get his good gamers the ball. Cousins ought to clear 600 cross makes an attempt for the primary time since 2018 and he’s ranked tenth, 2nd and seventh in yards per try the final three years. He’s greater than adequate.

Verifiably nice at soccer pillar: Sure

Jefferson is already a really elite participant. He beats all types of protection and wins at each degree of the sphere. It could not be a shock in any respect if we’re speaking about him as the very best receiver within the league by the tip of the 12 months.

Justin Jefferson #18 of the Minnesota Vikings is already a fantasy star

Justin Jefferson has all of the instruments to be fantasy’s No. 1 WR. (Photograph by David Berding/Getty Pictures)

Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals

Goal share pillar: Sure

Chase is slightly bit extra sophisticated than the opposite guys forward and behind him on this listing. He maintained a 23% goal share as a rookie, the identical as teammate Tee Higgins. I’m projecting a slight bump to 24.4% for Chase; virtually 1 / 4 of the Bengals’ passing recreation is greater than sufficient.

Environment friendly offense/QB pillar: Sure

Burrow confirmed final 12 months when he ranked third in landing fee and first in yards per try. This duo goes to be superior for years to return.

Verifiably nice at soccer pillar: Sure

Chase simply had a top-three all-time rookie season. He doesn’t have any holes in his recreation and will even take one other step in areas he’s already sturdy. I cherished the best way they used him on extra layup targets on the finish of the season.

Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Payments

Goal share pillar: Sure

The fantasy neighborhood has spent all offseason debating the gamers behind Diggs on this passing recreation however the man himself could lead on the NFL in goal share this season. He’s had back-to-back seasons of 160-plus targets and there’s no purpose to anticipate that to cease.

Environment friendly offense/QB pillar: Sure

The Payments throw the ball at one of many highest charges within the NFL and Josh Allen is likely one of the recreation’s premier quarterbacks.

Verifiably nice at soccer pillar: Sure

Diggs is an elite large receiver. He’s certainly one of, if not THE, greatest route runners in soccer and is a maven within the contested-catch recreation. He’ll have extra spike weeks in 2022.

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CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys

Goal share pillar: Sure

My god, sure. Lamb may simply lead the NFL in targets this 12 months. The truth that the Cowboys/Dak Prescott hasn’t produced a high-target large receiver the final three years is irrelevant as a result of they’ve by no means had a large receiver that’s deserved it and the competitors for targets has been dramatically totally different than the weak group Dallas will roll out this 12 months.

Environment friendly offense/QB pillar: Sure

Prescott is an excellent quarterback who’s able to being a high-end distributor. He was on hearth earlier than a calf harm derailed his 2021 comeback season. He’s greater than adequate for Lamb to smash.

Verifiably nice at soccer pillar: Sure

I strongly imagine that when seen in isolation, Lamb is clearly extraordinarily good on the recreation. He’ll be an improve in Amari Cooper’s vacated flanker position. The Cowboys must do extra to let him shine after the catch.

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Goal share pillar: Possibly leaning sure

The Bucs added a handful of men to the equation in Russell Gage and Julio Jones however don’t neglect they misplaced two big-time goal earners in Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski. These two can change their roles whereas additionally offering insurance coverage for Chris Godwin as he comes again from an ACL tear. Evans ought to nonetheless be the dominant goal chief on this offense. I’ve acquired him down for 22% which is … near what we wish.

Environment friendly offense/QB pillar: Sure

Tom Brady confirmed no indicators of decline final 12 months and was extra aggressive as a vertical passer than ever. I’ll imagine he’s cooked after I see it.

Verifiably nice at soccer pillar: Sure

Someway, Evans nonetheless feels comparatively underrated. He’s developed into a wonderful route runner who separates virtually in addition to he wins leap balls. He could lead on the NFL in receiving touchdowns this 12 months.

Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders

Goal share pillar: Possibly leaning sure

Adams maintained a 31% goal share in Inexperienced Bay’s offense final 12 months. I’d be shocked if he comes near that in Las Vegas. I’m nonetheless projecting him to steer the staff in targets by a wholesome bit however Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller will push for close to 20% shares themselves.

Environment friendly offense/QB pillar: Sure

Derek Carr performed fairly effectively in an unfavorable scenario final 12 months. He’s greater than adequate to push this passing recreation to the subsequent degree with the very best set of pass-catchers he’s performed with in years.

Verifiably nice at soccer pillar: Sure

Adams is the very best large receiver in soccer.

Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins

Goal share pillar: Sure

It’s tough to make the mathematics work for each Jaylen Waddle and Hill however I’m anticipating the latter to steer the staff in seems to be. I like Waddle however Hill has proven to be an elite-level participant. I’ve acquired him at 24% this 12 months.

Environment friendly offense/QB pillar: Possibly leaning no

There are excellent questions on each the construction of Miami’s offense with a brand new teaching workers on the town and the way good Tua Tagovailoa might be as a quarterback. We will’t utterly rule out that he’s that man but however should you’re saying it’s something greater than a possibly, you’re being disingenuous. I feel Tua ranges off as an early-career Andy Dalton-degree participant — however I am able to be confirmed incorrect.

Verifiably nice at soccer pillar: Sure

Even when seen in isolation, Hill continues to be an amazing receiver. He had an superior season with Alex Smith again in 2017.

Michael Pittman, Indianapolis Colts

Goal share pillar: Sure

Pittman maintained a 25% goal share in Indianapolis final 12 months and there’s no purpose to suppose anybody siphons a lot of that away. Now we have questions on all the opposite surrounding cross catchers, even when I’m optimistic about a few of them. Both means, targets are earned and Pittman is an ascending participant who will proceed to ascend.

Environment friendly offense/QB pillar: Possibly

I strongly imagine Matt Ryan is a giant quarterback improve over Carson Wentz. Pittman is a reasonably misunderstood participant. He’s not only a jump-ball receiver and is a pristine separator on digs, slants and curls. These are nice Ryan routes. I do suppose, nonetheless, that we have to bake within the actuality of the chance with Ryan’s age at this level although.

Verifiably nice at soccer pillar: Possibly leaning sure

Based mostly on my work, I confidently believe that the reply goes to be a tough “sure.” Nonetheless, I’ll give it a possibly for the “nNeed to see it first” crowd.

Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals

Goal share pillar: No

Higgins is a good participant. I’m drafting him. He’s simply not going to out-target Chase.

Environment friendly offense/QB pillar: Sure

As I mentioned within the Chase part, Burrow is sort of good.

Verifiably nice at soccer pillar: Sure

Higgins could be a step down from Chase however he’s a really glorious large receiver. He’s a greater route runner than credited and has a trump-card trait in his potential to win balls in tight protection. I feel he’s a 1B kind of receiver to Chase, not a real WR2.

Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers

Goal share pillar: No

Samuel maintained a 26% share final 12 months and that was with Brandon Aiyuk within the doghouse for nearly half the season. That’s not taking place once more and George Kittle continues to be within the combine. I don’t see a viable situation for Deebo to dominate targets right here with Aiyuk destined to make the leap this 12 months.

Environment friendly offense/QB pillar: Possibly

I’m a Trey Lance believer however can admit this one would possibly go both means. There’s undoubtedly a query to be requested about how effectively the types of Samuel and Lance overlap. Nonetheless, if Lance is sweet, he’ll elevate this complete offense from a efficiency standpoint.

Verifiably nice at soccer pillar: Sure

Samuel is implausible and one of many actually distinctive gamers within the NFL. Even when a few of his receiving work dips, he’ll nonetheless be concerned as a rusher. That helps salvage his fantasy ceiling.

DJ Moore, Carolina Panthers

Goal share pillar: Sure

Moore quietly ranked fourth within the NFL with a 28% goal share. I’m projecting him in the identical vary once more. If Christian McCaffrey performs extra video games this 12 months, he may eat into that quantity however the lack of different nice receivers or tight ends ought to preserve Moore within the 150 to 160 neighborhood.

DJ Moore #2 of the Carolina Panthers

DJ Moore has been capable of keep a heavy goal share. (Photograph by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Pictures)

Environment friendly offense/QB pillar: Possibly leaning no

Baker Mayfield is a median starter within the NFL. That’s a giant improve for the Panthers and on anybody Moore has performed with recently. Mayfield continues to be unlikely to be adequate to provide Moore a WR1 general season. We’re extra so asking him to push Moore into the 6-8 landing vary.

Verifiably nice at soccer pillar: Possibly leaning sure

Moore has been a gentle participant for years now. I feel he’s a top-flight participant. I want the Panthers would use him extra creatively than simply rolling him out virtually completely because the X-receiver.

A.J. Brown, Philadelphia Eagles

Goal share pillar: Possibly leaning sure

All the stories out of Philadelphia’s coaching camps point out the Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown connection is one hearth. I’m shopping for them. Even when it comes on the expense of excellent gamers like DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert. Brown definitely deserves an alpha-level goal share.

Environment friendly offense/QB pillar: Possibly

Hurts has gotten higher every of his final 4 seasons. His adjusted yards per try jumped from a 9.5 common in Alabama to 12.2 in his 2019 season at Oklahoma. He improved from his 6.8 adjusted yards per try as a rookie to 7.1 in 2021. I feel it’s nonetheless greatest to go away this as a “possibly,” although, and see what occurs.

Verifiably nice at soccer pillar: Sure

Brown obliterates press and man protection, wins tough catches and is a terror within the open area. He checks each field. He has top-five large receiver expertise within the league and it sounds just like the Eagles wish to absolutely unleash that this 12 months.

Later-ranked darkish horses

Terry McLaurin, Washington Commanders: The quarterback pillar is a tough “no,” however McLaurin is totally, verifiably nice at soccer and will see a 24% goal share at a naked minimal. Wentz must play effectively above his anticipated degree to get McLaurin there however, however the receiver may do it in a greater scenario.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kansas Metropolis Chiefs: He has the quarterback to do it and carries a 2021 Cooper Kupp-like resume this season. He’s unlikely to get the dominant goal share wanted with Travis Kelce nonetheless round and is extra of a powerful complementary receiver and never a legit WR1.

Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos: We all know he acquired the large quarterback improve and now that Tim Patrick is out for the 12 months and nobody else has stepped up at tight finish or WR3, the targets are going to be fairly concentrated between Sutton and Jerry Jeudy. Sutton may inch north of 25% of the Broncos targets. I simply want he was coming off his greatest particular person season, even when you may make an harm excuse.

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