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Fantasy football 2022: Second-year wide receivers with breakout potential

Wide receivers often take a big step forward in year two.

Cornerback M.J. Stewart #36 of the Cleveland Browns tries to tackle wide receiver Rashod Bateman #12 of the Baltimore Ravens during the first half at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 12, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Wide receiver is one of the deepest positions when it comes to NFL drafts as well as fantasy football drafts. Last year’s rookie of the year was wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase of the Cincinnati Bengals, who had 81 receptions for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns. He overshadowed a talented draft class that included Rashod Bateman, Tylan Wallace, Elijah Moore, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith. The latter two have already made a statement in the NFL, but a few second-year wideouts are poised for a breakout this season.

Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens

Bateman likely has the most improved opportunity among second-year wide receivers. The Ravens made the surprising decision to trade former receiver Marquise Brown to the Arizona Cardinals, leaving them a little short-staffed at the position. Even though the Ravens aren’t known for their passing game, Bateman enters the season as their number one wide receiver and a top-two receiving option. After finishing as the overall WR73 in half-point PPR scoring, he is poised for a breakout in year two.

Amon-Ra. St Brown, Detroit Lions

St. Brown finally caught fire toward the end of the season after being a role player to begin the year. He finished with 90 receptions and 912 yards with five touchdowns, but 51 receptions, 560 yards and all five touchdowns came in the final six games of the season. With another offseason to work with quarterback Jared Goff, St. Brown enters the new year listed as the top wide receiver in this offense. He finished as the WR21 last season, but if the late-season trend continues, he could finish as a WR1 this year.

Elijah Moore, New York Jets

Moore was drafted in the second round a year ago and played in 11 games his rookie season. He worked with fellow rookie Zach Wilson and caught 43 of 77 targets for 538 yards and five touchdowns. Moore now has another offseason to continue working with Wilson, and training camp reports say it is clear he took a step forward. While preseason reports are usually taken with a grain of salt, if Moore has indeed improved heading into year two, he has a great chance to break out in the Jets offense.