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  • Buy, Sell, or Keep – Four Dynasty Wide Receivers for 2022

    Jersey Giveaway
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    The offseason fantasy football dynasty leagues is a time to decide where you stand on current players. Let’s take a look at four Buy, Sell, or Keep wide receiver candidates for 2022.


    In dynasty leagues, managers want to make the right moves to improve their roster for the upcoming season. This includes acquiring the next breakout star, moving on from aging talent, or selling guys at peak value. For this article, we will look at some buy, sell, or keep wide receivers for 2022.

    BUY

    Michael Thomas, WR

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    The last time we saw Michael Thomas play in a live game was in 2020, where he played seven games. In 2019, Thomas put up historic numbers for a WR as he posted 149 receptions, 1,725 yards, and 9 touchdowns. From 2016 to 2018, he never finished worse than WR7. A lot has changed with Thomas and the Saints since he last played, which is what brings us to his dynasty value.

    Since Thomas came into the league in 2016, Drew Brees was under center for the Saints in 58 out of 64 of those regular-season games through 2019. (I did not include 2020 in this total due to Thomas missing time with injuries.)

    Getting to see Michael Thomas play with a quarterback not named Brees would have given fantasy managers a better gauge into Thomas’ future value. However, a lingering ankle injury kept him out for the entire 2021 season. The next time we watch Thomas play for the Saints, it will be without Brees playing QB.

    Thomas, to me, still should be able to provide solid production at the receiver position even after his prolonged absence. I still think we can see him return to a level close to his former self. No, I do not think we will have another WR1 type year out of Thomas. Too much has changed around him with the Saints for that to happen.

    Outlook

    Thomas is someone who can essentially be acquired at a reasonable discount. A lot of question marks surround the Saints, specifically at the quarterback position. I believe the dynasty price for the soon-to-be 29-year-old receiver is low enough that you can still get good value out of a deal.

    With the Saints moving on from offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, the New Orleans offense will look a bit different when it suits up in 2022. There are some solid QB options the Saints could bring that I would feel good about Michael Thomas’ situation. The former WR1 is someone I still think can help out dynasty rosters if he can be acquired at a discount.

    SELL

    Mike Williams, WR

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    Mike Williams is coming off a breakout year in the final year of his rookie contract. In previous seasons, the proof of his talent was there, however, the volume component was lacking. Williams never quite could piece together seasons of solid yardage and touchdown totals. Things came together in 2021 as the fifth-year wideout tallied 1,146 yards along with nine touchdowns.

    On the surface, there was a lot to like about Williams’ performance in 2021. He finished as the WR12 in half-point per reception scoring. However, on a weekly basis, consistency was not something Williams provided as you would expect from someone who finished with the 12th most fantasy points at wide receiver.

    Out of the gates, he looked really good for the first five weeks of the season. Prior to the Chargers’ Week 7 bye week, Williams was the WR3 in fantasy scoring, only behind Cooper Kupp and Tyreek Hill. A large part of this success was him being able to haul in six touchdowns over those first six games of the season.

    Williams’ early production would not be sustained over the course of the next 10 weeks. From Weeks 6-17, he was only the WR39. During his 10 game drought, there were only two games where Williams was able to secure a touchdown or surpass the 100-yard threshold.

    From an overall standpoint, fantasy managers were surely satisfied with the top 12 production from a season-long perspective. Down the stretch, Williams made it a tough decision on whether or not to start him on a weekly basis. This is where we can look at his value from a dynasty point of view.

    Outlook

    The biggest reason to monitor Williams this offseason is that he is currently an unrestricted free agent. I believe the Chargers might be willing to move on from him knowing they have Josh Palmer to take over. If Williams moves on from Los Angeles, is there a scenario where he takes on a primary target role? Williams certainly does have the tools to be a team’s lead WR.

    The next concern with Williams leaving Los Angeles is that he will no longer have Justin Herbert as his quarterback. Williams could end up on a team where he is the primary wide receiver for an offense, but the quarterback play may not be as effective.

    As for Williams’ dynasty outlook, I currently have him as a sell candidate based on two factors. First, his inconsistency in 2021 worries me. Second, the uncertainty of his future with Los Angeles means he could be in a different situation for 2022. His situation could theoretically improve, although, the risk associated with it is enough for me to try and capitalize on his overall numbers from 2021.

    Adam Thielen

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    Going into Week 13, the week Adam Thielen got injured, he was the WR7 in terms of fantasy scoring. He would essentially miss the remaining of the season when he re-aggravated his ankle injury in week 16 against the Rams. His final stat line for 2021 ended up being 726 yards and 10 touchdowns.

    Thielen was on pace for back-to-back top 10 WR seasons prior to injuring his ankle. Touchdown production had been the driving force behind this as he totaled 24 touchdowns since the start of 2020. Even playing alongside Justin Jefferson, Thielen was still a go-to target for Kirk Cousins in the red zone.

    In 2021, Cousins targeted Thielen on eight end zone throws, where seven of those were converted for a touchdown, per FTN Fantasy’s Advanced Receiving Stats. Thielen’s connection with Cousins around the goal line still provided Thielen with solid value while his overall target volume was decreasing.

    Justin Jefferson is considered one of the top young receivers in the NFL. Thielen will be 32 at the start of 2022. The injury to Thielen’s ankle toward the end of 2021 is cause for concern going forward. Will his touchdown production be enough to counter the reduction in volume? These are some of the concerns I assume fantasy managers already have with Thielen.

    Outlook

    I have Thielen labeled as a sell in this case heading into 2022. When you look at the combination of his age and recent injury history, I would say it is time to get some value back for Thielen while you can. This is a case of me wanting to move on from Thielen before it’s too late.

    As a Thielen manager myself in a dynasty league, I will be looking to see what offers I can include him in to get a reasonable return for the upcoming season. Reports of Thielen’s health in the offseason will also have a significant impact on how fantasy managers value him. If reports are looking positive, then I would not hesitate in trying to move him.

    KEEP

    Terry McLaurin, WR

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    I wanted to so badly label Terry McLaurin as a buy candidate in this article. However, I consider him someone to keep, hoping a few things play into his favor in 2022. McLaurin has still been able to put up solid numbers despite having below-average quarterback production.

    In 2021, McLaurin finished with 1,053 yards and five touchdowns. During his three seasons in the NFL, he has finished as the WR28, WR21, and WR25, respectively. McLaurin has consistently produced 1,000-yard seasons while adding four to six touchdowns, despite having sub-par quarterbacks.

    A boom or bust WR is what defined McLaurin for the 2021 fantasy season. For example, he finished as the WR7 or better in four of 17 weeks. On the other hand, for the remaining 13 weeks, he finished no better than WR35.

    McLaurin has the ability to put WR1 type numbers, but he is still just waiting for the Washington Football Team to provide him with more consistent quarterback production. Addressing their need at QB this offseason is going to be a top priority for the Washington front office. Whether they do that at the draft or through free agency, McLaurin’s future value could have a huge turning point in the near future.

    Outlook

    Deciding to classify McLaurin as someone to hold onto in dynasty is me saying Washington will bring in a more effective option at QB. Potential free agents include guys like Jameis Winston or Baker Mayfield. NFL mock drafts having Washington addressing the position by selecting guys like Kenny Pickett or Malik Willis.

    Regardless of how Washington handles the offseason, Terry McLaurin could see his production increase from years past if a more effective option is under center in 2022. Even if Washington’s plans flop and someone like Taylor Heinicke is back at QB, McLaurin is still considered a boom or bust WR2/Flex playing heading into 2022.


    Thank you for reading! Follow me on Twitter at @blakeponson and @IDPGuys. You can read more of my work on my IDP Guys author page. Check out other NFL Offensive articles for the fantasy football offseason. Stay tuned for more content!

    Blake Ponson

    I have been playing Fantasy Football since over 10 years ago. What started out as a competitive hobby with friends, has turned into a great passion of mine. Outside of teaching high school Mathematics, family time and sports are what I enjoy the most. I'm excited to be able to share my own personal thoughts on fantasy football with IDP Guys!
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