1.  
WR  LAR
Rec
107
Rec Yds
1412
Rec TD
10
Rec Avg
13.2
Rush Att
5
Rush Yds
31
Rush TD
0
Rush Avg
6.2
Kupp was the first receiver to catch 145 passes, the second to reach 1,900 yards, the fifth to win the triple crown and the eighth to win Super Bowl MVP. He did that in one season, breaking out at age 28, and after being a fourth/fifth-round pick in most fantasy leagues. The question now is whether he can live up to the new price in Round 1. The argument against him, apart from regression to the mean, centers around Kupp's pre-2021 profile (that of a good player, not a dominant one). While concerns about his 4.62 40 or small-school college career may be distant memories, Kupp's mediocre 2020 stat line isn't. A QB upgrade from Jared Goff to Matthew Stafford was a big part of the story in 2021, and a better year from the Rams' O-line helped as well, but Kupp himself took a huge step forward. His catch rate (75.9%) was a career high, and 10.2 YPT was his best mark for a full season by a full yard. To post those efficiency numbers while being targeted on 31.3 percent of routes (third-highest rate among WRs) is impressive, to say the least. Also impressive? Leading the league in YAC (894) whilst ranking second in completed air yards (1,051). Or, leading the league in yards from out routes (296) and also placing second on crossing routes (346) and third on posts (258). Even his PFF grade went off the charts, with Kupp leading all WRs after finishing 18th or lower in his first four seasons (his 93.0 grade was the highest PFF has given to a WR since Julio Jones in 2016). Kupp may not have the first-round pedigree, but he does have coach/QB stability, playing in a Sean McVay offense that annually ranks Top 10 (and usually Top 5) in neutral-situation pace and pass rate. If nothing else, Kupp is set up nicely for the second-best season of his career.
2.  
WR  CIN
Rec
90
Rec Yds
1402
Rec TD
10
Rec Avg
15.6
Rush Att
7
Rush Yds
40
Rush TD
0
Rush Avg
5.7
Chase enjoyed one of the best rookie seasons in NFL history, instantly proving worthy of the No. 5 pick. Reports from training camp about repeated drops became a distant memory before long... even though he ultimately committed a league-high 11 drops. The Bengals aren't complaining, in light of the damage Chase did on his 81 catches, finishing second in YPT and YPR and third in YAC (651). He used 4.34 speed to beat defenders over the top -- catching 15 of 34 deep targets for 576 yards and eight TDs -- but he wasn't overly reliant on go routes, also posting efficient stats on shorter throws (he caught 48 of 62 targets within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, and 18 of 27 in the 10-to-19-yard range). If you're looking for negatives, Chase does have serious competition for targets, namely from fellow wideout Tee Higgins, who technically got more looks per game than the rookie last year (7.8 to 7.5). But that also means defenses have two perimeter threats to worry about, making it all the harder to defend a monster like Chase. If anything, the Bengals offense might even take another step forward after Joe Burrow's 2021 breakout, with the team adding three new O-line starters in free agency (C/G Ted Karras, G Alex Cappa, RT La'El Collins). That doesn't mean Chase will totally avoid regression on some of his loftier averages (e.g. 11.7 YPT, 8.0 YAC), but it does put him in great position to remain among the league's most efficient wideouts per-target, with potential to add some more volume as well.
3.  
WR  MIN
Rec
102
Rec Yds
1458
Rec TD
9
Rec Avg
14.3
Rush Att
6
Rush Yds
31
Rush TD
0
Rush Avg
5.2
On a per-target basis, Jefferson's second NFL season (9.7 YPT) wasn't quite as dominant as his first (11.2). But that's nitpicking; the bigger picture shows he added 42 targets from the previous year and was still one of the most efficient wideouts in the league. Only 11 produced more yards per target, and that includes four who saw 70 or fewer passes. Jefferson finished fourth among WRs in targets and catches, second in receiving yards and t-6th in touchdowns. The 23-year-old often makes it look easy, seemingly playing both bigger and faster than his on-paper metrics suggest (6-1, 195, 4.43 40, 37.5-inch vert). From a fantasy standpoint, there's just as much to like, with Jefferson playing in an above-average offense that has enough weapons to keep defenses honest but nobody to challenge him as the go-to guy. Jefferson surpassed Adam Thielen for that honor mid-2020, and while the 31-year-old scored 10 touchdowns last year, he saw 2.5 fewer targets per game than his young running mate (9.8 to 7.3). If anything, the split could go even more in Jefferson's direction this year, though there is another variable with new head coach Kevin O'Connell coming over from the Rams. Other than that, stability is the story, with QB Kirk Cousins and RB Dalvin Cook joining Jefferson, Thielen and TE Irv Smith to form one of the league's more well-rounded group of skill-position players.
4.  
WR  SF
Rec
69
Rec Yds
968
Rec TD
6
Rec Avg
14.0
Rush Att
73
Rush Yds
395
Rush TD
3
Rush Avg
5.4
Kyle Shanahan has always taken advantage of Samuel's elusiveness and tackle-breaking, but it wasn't until last season that the Niners fully unleashed him. The 2019 second-round pick is merely average in terms of height (6-0) and timed speed (4.48 40), which is enough to get the job done given that he's 215 pounds with the ferocity of a running back and the route-running skills of a veteran wideout. While it's the rushing workload that makes him different, Samuel's biggest impact last year was chunk gains in the passing game, including five of 50-plus yards over the first two months. Shanahan was rewarded for diversifying Samuel's role, with the wideout's aDOT rising from a freakishly low 2.2 in 2020 to a normal-ish 8.4 in 2021. He still got screens and shovel passes, but with more opportunities in the intermediate and deep areas as well. Then, in the second half of the year, Samuel took RB snaps to help the team deal with injuries -- a role he handled so well that it continued even when Elijah Mitchell got healthy. There are some potential issues ahead, starting with Samuel's trade request amidst unproductive negotiations on a contract extension. He'll have a new offensive coordinator either way after Mike McDaniel left for Miami, but a trade would mean also separating from Shanahan, who helped Samuel average 10.6 YPT and 6.8 YPC over his first three years. A trade would make it extra difficult to avoid regression on the first-rate efficiency, though it might also lead to more targets.
5.  
WR  DAL
Rec
84
Rec Yds
1183
Rec TD
9
Rec Avg
14.1
Rush Att
16
Rush Yds
84
Rush TD
0
Rush Avg
5.3
The 17th overall pick from the 2020 Draft made progress between Years 1 and 2, but it wasn't the leap forward some expected as Lamb instead settled for incremental gains in a balanced Dallas offense. This year it's less crowded, after Amari Cooper was traded to Cleveland and Cedrick Wilson left for Miami. The Cowboys did add wideouts James Washington and Jalen Tolbert, and they kept both TE Dalton Schultz and WR Michael Gallup, but here's no longer any question about who's the No. 1 receiver. Lamb previously filled that role with aplomb at Oklahoma, progressing from 807 yards as a true freshman to 2,485 (and 25 TDs) between his sophomore and junior campaigns. He then put up mediocre numbers at the 2020 Combine, including a 4.50 40, and fell to Dallas in the middle of Round 1. He's no burner, to be sure, but makes up for it with agility, balance and precision. He's also a proverbial "plays bigger than he is" guy, having ranked second among WRs with 12 broken tackles last year. Versatility is another plus for Lamb, who has 19 career carries for 158 yards and a TD, not to mention his ability to play both the slot and perimeter. After taking more than 90 percent of his snaps in the slot as a rookie, Lamb dropped to 36 percent in 2021, with his aDOT rising modestly from 9.3 to 10.3. He should see even more work downfield this season, entering Year 3 as the clear No. 1 receiver in an offense that has quality QB and O-line play.
Want to see our full fantasy football rankings?

We rank hundreds of players, but only paid RotoWire subscribers have access to our full rankings. This is just one of many features you'll unlock to if you decide to subscribe.

Unlock Our Full Rankings Unlock Our Full Rankings