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Top rookie wide receivers to target for 2022 fantasy football

We take a look at the best wideouts heading into draft week after preseason.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens catches a pass for a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks during the first quarter at Acrisure Stadium.  Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL preseason is almost over and we’ve finally made it to draft week 2022. If you’re in any type of fantasy football league, that means you’re likely drafting this week. If that’s the case, you’ll be doing most of your research and we’ve got you covered at DraftKings Nation. In this piece, we’ll take a look at some rookie wide receivers who are worth a look in all formats.

Top fantasy football rookie wide receivers

George Pickens, Pittsburgh Steelers

Pickens is getting a lot of hype this preseason after being taken in the second round in 2022 out of the reigning champion Georgia Bulldogs. He tore his ACL in March of 2021 and missed all of last season for the Bulldogs. Despite that, Pickens had a great showing at the NFL Draft Combine and it was enough to instill confidence in GMs. He’s a big wideout who has WR1 upside. Pickens showed enough in training camp and preseason, and should slot in as the WR3 for Pittsburgh.

The issue is at QB. Mitch Trubisky will likely be the starter and that could hurt the offense overall. Trubisky could also be decent given the change of scenery. The AFC North should be competitive and the Steelers will need to keep up with the Bengals, Ravens and Browns. Pickens has upside in redraft leagues as Pittsburgh’s WR3. He has big-play ability, which should come in handy. In keeper and dynasty formats, Pickens is also a great option with the chance Chase Claypool may be traded or leave in a season or two.

Drake London, Atlanta Falcons

London is dealing with a knee injury from preseason, so monitor that. Otherwise, he’s been the most targeted rookie wideout this offseason. The Falcons don’t have WR Calvin Ridley due to suspension and Russell Gage left for the Bucs. So London could be the Falcons WR1 by default. Certainly being selected at No. 8 in the first round means Atlanta has no plans of not playing London early and often.

The issue with London is, again, at QB. Marcus Mariota will likely be the starter. He’s got a career passer rating of 89.5 and has played in 18 total games the past three seasons. Mariota also hasn’t thrown for more than 3,426 yards in a season in the NFL. So the ceiling for the Falcons offense is very capped. That could impact London’s upside but he should get targets as the second receiving option behind TE Kyle Pitts.

Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints

Olave is another high draft pick (No. 11) from the first round out of Ohio State. The Saints have a lot of question marks in the offense and wide receiver was one area they needed to address. Michael Thomas is back after missing 2021 due to an ankle injury. He’s dealing with injuries already during camp/preseason. Behind Thomas, it’s basically Olave. Oh, there’s Jarvis Landry, too. So behind Thomas and Landry, it’s Olave. He’ll have a clear shot at being WR3 in the offense and could easily be the second option behind Thomas. Should the veterans struggle/get re-injured, Olave has even more upside. Jameis Winston can sling it with the best of them, so QB isn’t much of a worry. New Orleans should be in plenty of high-scoring games as well.