Ranking the NFL's best wide receivers for the 2022 season from 1-30 | Sporting News (2024)

When it comes to the red-hot passing games in the modern NFL, top wide receivers now get equal billing on the marquee with the finest quarterbacks. Big numbers and explosive plays are part of the ideal profile, but so are confidence and commanding the ball in the most important moments.

One wide receiver dominated the league to shake off past injuries and rise above the rest of an elite crowd last season. Not far behind him are a couple field-stretching young superstars and a player who has helped redefine the position with his hybrid skill set.

Based on recent past performance but with more of an an eye for their pass-catching upside in 2022, here's Sporting News' latest, updated rankings of the NFL's 30 best wide receivers:

MORE NFL RANKINGS: QBs | RBs | Coaches | Defense

NFL wide receiver rankings 2022

Ranking the NFL's best wide receivers for the 2022 season from 1-30 | Sporting News (1)

1. Cooper Kupp, Rams (6-2, 208)

Kupp was technically sound as a route runner with great hands and red zone mentality before the arrival of Matthew Stafford. With his torn ACL in 2018 well in the rearview, Kupp exploded for a historic season by stretching the field with a stronger-armed QB and tapping a lot more into his big-play ability after the catch. At 29, he should have at least a couple more great seasons in his prime.

2021 stats: 145 receptions on 191 targets, 1,947 yards, 16 TDs, 13.4 yards per catch

2. Davante Adams, Raiders (6-1, 215 pounds)

Adams drops only one notch to behind Kupp following his final season in Green Bay and heading into his first year in Las Vegas. He does lose the chemistry with Aaron Rodgers, but he also rekindles the connection with Derek Carr just in time to deliver in a more dynamic Raiders passing game under Josh McDaniels.

2021 stats (with Packers): 123 receptions on 169 targets, 1,553 yards, 11 TDs, 12.6 yards per catch

3. Justin Jefferson, Vikings (6-1, 202 pounds)

It's time to do "The Griddy" as it's hard not to be giddy about Jefferson's two amazing seasons so far in the league. He's proved to be a complete dangerous receiver, difficult for anyone to cover anywhere on the field. Randy Moss did some legendary things early in Minnesota; Jefferson is right on the same track as a No. 1.

2021 stats:108 receptions on 167 targets, 1,616 yards, 10 TDs, 15.0 yards per catch

4. Ja'Marr Chase, Bengals (6-0, 201 pounds)

Make that "Griddy" times two out of LSU. Chase went in hot pursuit of Jefferson's rookie numbers in reuniting with Joe Burrow. Chase combined flat-out downfield speed with smooth route-running to burn anyone whether he was short, intermediate or deep. What's scary is that his catch rate and red zone work can improve in Year 2.

2021 stats: 81 receptions on 128 targets, 1,455 yards, 13 TDs, 18.0 yards per catch

5. Deebo Samuel, 49ers (5-11, 214 pounds)

Samuel is a dazzling way to round out the top five and given his supplemental rushing production, he could have also made Sporting News' running back rankings with a different position designation. Samuel overcame his past durability issues to deliver as a special kind of dual-threat workhorse and will remain the centerpiece of the 49ers' offense with Trey Lance.

2021 stats:77 receptions on 121 targets, 1,406 yards, 6 TDs, 18.2 yards per catch, 59 rushes, 365 yards, 8 TDs, 6.2 yards per carry

Ranking the NFL's best wide receivers for the 2022 season from 1-30 | Sporting News (2)

6. Stefon Diggs, Bills (6-0, 191 pounds)

Diggs' incredible initial numbers working with new bestie Josh Allen came down to earth just a little during his second season in Buffalo. He's made the transition to seasoned No. 1 with his quickness and sharp route running. Diggs also has been the key to opening up the rest of the Bills' aggressive passing game.

2021 stats: 103 receptions on 164 targets, 1,225 yards, 10 TDs, 11.9 yards per catch

7. A.J. Brown, Eagles (6-0, 226 pounds)

Brown got his big contract away from Tennessee and becomes the clear No. 1 to complement 2021 first-rounder DeVonta Smith in Philadelphia. Beyond his strong and imposing frame, he's got a nice blend of speed and quickness. The Eagles want to be a more efficient and dedicated passing team with Jalen Hurts and Brown raises his personal upside from the run-heavy Titans.

2021 stats (with Titans): 63 receptions on 105 targets, 869 yards, 5 TDs, 13.8 yards per catch

NFL POWER RANKINGS: Bills look Super Bowl-serious at top; 49ers, Broncos, Eagles on the rise

8. CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys (6-2, 198 pounds)

Lamb has gone from luxury first-rounder in Dallas to the new high-volume No. 1 with Amari Cooper traded and injuries putting a strain on the team's remixed depth. Lamb uses his lanky frame well when route running and has great alignment versatility. His hands will continue to look smoother as the chemistry grows with Dak Prescott.

2021 stats: 79 receptions on 120 targets, 1,102 yards, 6 TDs, 13.9 yards per catch

9. Tyreek Hill, Dolphins (5-10, 185 pounds)

Hill isn't slowing down by any means, but there are questions about whether his blinding speed and quickness will be deployed as well transitioning from Patrick Mahomes. Even though he's still only 28 and can help Tua Tagovailoa well as a unique No. 1, the signature big-play quotient is bound to take a little hit.

2021 stats (with Chiefs):111 receptions on 159 targets, 1,329 yards, 9TDs, 11.2 yards per catch

10. Mike Evans, Buccaneers (6-5, 231 pounds)

Evans is a master of consistency with all of his eight seasons producing 1,000 yards or more. His catch rate isn't as high as others, but he's buried questions about his hands as he continues to use his size and speed to produce the big plays and red zone scores as expected. Tom Brady will once again help raise his game in those capacities.

2021 stats: 74 receptions on 114 targets, 1,035 yards, 14 TDs, 14.0 yards per catch

Ranking the NFL's best wide receivers for the 2022 season from 1-30 | Sporting News (3)

11. Keenan Allen, Chargers (6-2, 211 pounds)

Allen is the ultimate technician and has made a strong case to get into Canton as an elite possession receiver. He has great outside-inside versatility for his size and gets himself open wherever Justin Herbert needs him. He's also been rejuvenated post Philip Rivers in a more prolific and wide-open attack.

2021 stats: 106 receptions on 157 targets, 1,138 yards, 6 TDs, 10.7 yards per catch

12. Mike Williams, Chargers (6-4, 218 pounds)

The Chargers now have one of the most electric duos with Williams no longer having durability issues as a big-play threat and living up to his first round pedigree. He also positions his body well on routes all the way through the red zone. He's the AFC version of Evans, complementing Allen's game to a tee.

2021 stats:76 receptions on 129 targets, 1,146 yards, 9 TDs, 15.1 yards per catch

13. Tee Higgins, Bengals (6-4, 219 pounds)

The Bengals check in with their special pair, too. Higgins operated more like a co-No. 1 with Chase in getting key outside or inside looks from Burrow. He can stretch the field in favorable coverage when needed but also can position himself well as a top possession option. Higgins is the AFC North version of Allen.

2021 stats:74 receptions on 110 targets, 1,091 yards, 6 TDs, 14.7 yards per catch

14. Michael Pittman Jr., Colts (6-4, 233 pounds)

Pittman is even more proof that having a height advantage is huge when you can get into mismatches with smaller cover men inside and out with size and quickness. Pittman's profile suggests he will thrive getting open on intermediate routes for Matt Ryan, playing off some more big-play support from Parris Campbell and speedy rookie Alec Pierce.

2021 stats:88 receptions on 129 targets, 1,082 yards, 6 TDs, 12.3 yards per catch

15. Terry McLaurin, Washington (6-0, 210 pounds)

Call him "Scary Terry". Call him "F1 McLaurin." Just call him one of the smoothest all-around receivers in the game. getting it done despite shaky quarterback play and heavy coverage attention. The Commanders rewarded him with a contract worthy of a top No. 1 and getting Carson Wentz and rookie first-rounder Jahan Dotson was the right kind of help for him.

2021 stats:77receptions on 130 targets, 1,053 yards, 5 TDs, 13.7 yards per catch

Ranking the NFL's best wide receivers for the 2022 season from 1-30 | Sporting News (4)

16. DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals (6-1, 212 pounds)

Hopkins hit a rare durability snag last season, stamped by a late knee injury. Now he needs to deal with missing six games this season following a PED suspension. At 30, Hopkins is facing a natural fade with his speed and quickness, but his hands, route-running savvy are still all critical to Kyler Murray when he returns.

2021 stats: 42 receptions on 64 targets, 571 yards, 8 TDs, 13.6 yards per catch

17. Diontae Johnson, Steelers (5-10, 183 pounds)

File Johnson under the bunch of receivers who got deserved pricey new contracts this offseason. He's lived up to expectations as Pittsburgh's latest Antonio Brown/Emmanuel Sanders-style receiver on the field with his precise route-running and quick cuts, now with fewer questions about his hands. Johnson will be key in raising the explosion of the passing game post-Ben Roethlisberger.

2021 stats: 107receptions on 169 targets, 1,169 yards, 8 TDs, 10.9 yards per catch

18. DK Metcalf, Seahawks (6-4, 229 pounds)

Metcalf's catch rate and big-play results were more limited last season, keeping him from the millennium mark despite maintaining double-digit scoring. He has a big adjustment to make with his big contract minus the overall efficiency of Russell Wilson, especially as he tries to restore his deep-ball prowess with Drew Lock and/or Geno Smith.

2021 stats: 75 receptions on 129 targets, 967 yards, 12 TDs, 12.9 yards per catch

19. Chris Godwin, Buccaneers (6-1, 209 pounds)

The Bucs get on the board with their terrific twosome. Godwin would have been higher as Brady's great-hands slot ace, but there is some concern about when he can get to full speed and route-running efficiency this season while coming off a late torn ACL.

2021 stats:98 receptions on 127 targets, 1,103 yards, 5 TDs, 11.3 yards per catch

20. Tyler Lockett, Seahawks (5-10, 182 pounds)

Lockett and Metcalf went through an unintentional role reversal in the final season with Wilson. Lockett was the one who returned to be the lead big playmaker, stretching the field from wherever he was aligned. But he had such an uncanny downfield chemistry with Wilson to think a bad QB situation won't contain his dynamic diminutive skills. It's also notable he will turn 30 in late September.

2021 stats:73 receptions on 107 targets, 1,175 yards, 8 TDs, 16.1 yards per catch

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21. Allen Robinson, Rams (6-2, 220 pounds)

It was no secret that Robinson was disinterested in playing for Matt Nagy and Chicago last season, especially in a shaky QB transition involving Andy Dalton and Justin Fields. He should feel liberated on his third team, stepping into a ideal complementary role to Kupp as an upgrade over both Robert Woods and Odell Beckham Jr. Look for a big scoring year on top of restoring his top possession skills with Stafford.

2021 stats (with Bears): 38receptions on 66 targets, 410 yards, TD, 10.8 yards per catch

22. Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins (5-10, 182 pounds)

Waddle was known for big plays at Alabama but became Miami's new version of Jarvis Landry for Tagovailoa, racking up numbers off short-area passes as strong "extensions of the running game." Hill's presence should help open up more intermediate-to-downfield opportunities in Year 2.

2021 stats (with Bears): 104 receptions on 140 targets, 1,015 yards, 6 TDs, 9.8 yards per catch

23. Elijah Moore, Jets (5-10, 178 pounds)

Moore has veteran Corey Davis and rookie first-rounder Garrett Wilson now flanking him on the outside for Zach Wilson, and his flashy stretches as a rookie has continued with an eye-popping training camp. Moore is the Jets' developing version of Hill, flying downfield while rising and diving to catch balls.

2021 stats: 43 receptions on 77 targets, 538 yards, 6TDs, 12.5 yards per catch

24. Darnell Mooney, Bears (5-11, 173 pounds)

Mooney took advantage of Robinson not wanting to be the Bears' No. 1 anymore to become Fields' clear go-to wideout of choice. He plays bigger than his smaller frame and can raise his field-stretching potential in the new Packers-like offense under Luke Gentry. He still is developing the technical aspects of his game.

2021 stats: 81receptions on 140 targets, 1,055 yards, 5 TDs, 13.0 yards per catch

25. D.J. Moore, Panthers (6-0, 210 pounds)

Moore isn't the most efficient receiver and isn't the most punchy scorer, but he gets the job done with short-to-intermediate catches with the occasional home-run flair. He could use better help from quarterback consistency, either with Baker Mayfield or Sam Darnold.

2021 stats: 93 receptions on 163 targets, 1,157 yards, 4 TDs, 12.4 yards per catch

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26. Brandin Cooks, Texans (5-10, 183 pounds)

All Cooks does is produce, no matter what team for which he's playing. His fourth club hasn't provided the ideal QB situation moving from Deshaun Watson to Davis Mills, but he's still managed two more consistent 1,000-yard seasons. At 28, he might be the most underrated veteran given what he keeps doing with several QBs in several schemes.

2021 stats: 90receptions on 134 targets, 1,037 yards, 6TDs, 11.5 yards per catch

27. Hunter Renfrow, Raiders (5-10, 185 pounds)

Renfrow was clutch at Clemson for a reason. He knows how to get open for his QB in key situations, standing out on third down and the red zone. He has proved he can handle a high volume and can expand to contribute away from the slot when needed, which will be key opposite Adams.

2021 stats: 103 receptions on 128 targets, 1,038 yards, 9 TDs, 10.1 yards per catch

28. Gabriel Davis, Bills (6-2, 210 pounds)

Davis had a modest second season until exploding in the playoffs for 10 catches for 242 yards and 5 TDs on only 13 targets. That was the perfect set up for him to be promoted to the regular big-play outside No. 2 to complement Diggs. Allen's big arm will get the most of his downfield skills.

2021 stats: 35 receptions on 63 targets, 549 yards, 6TDs, 15.7 yards per catch

29. Michael Thomas, Saints (6-3, 212 pounds)

Thomas is facing a critical Age-29 season after not playing at all last season and missing most of 2020. From all reports, he looks more like his healthy former self in camp and should be boosted by better complementary downfield weapons in what should be a more aggressive passing game with Jameis Winston.

2020 stats: 40receptions on 55 targets, 438 yards, zeroTDs, 11.0yards per catch

Ranking the NFL's best wide receivers for the 2022 season from 1-30 | Sporting News (7)

30. Amari Cooper, Browns (6-1, 210 pounds)

At 28, Cooper is trying to restore his veteran No. 1 status in a passing game that needs that kind of stability. Unfortunately, he will need to wait to play with Deshaun Watson to maintain the same kind of QB level he had with Dak Prescott. He can still be solid but the spectacular is likely behind him.

2020 stats (with Cowboys): 68receptions on 104 targets, 865 yards, 8 TDs, 12.7 yards per catch

Ranking the NFL's best wide receivers for the 2022 season from 1-30 | Sporting News (2024)
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