Blue Rated Wideouts Week 1 2022

By KC Joyner
KC Joyner

The volatile scoring nature of the wide receiver position may cause more start-sit headaches for fantasy managers than any other position, but when things go well wide receivers can post point totals capable of winning fantasy games.

How does one know which wide receivers are capable of posting those game-winning point totals? My player grading system (a full version of which can be found at aims to identify these players via an overall/upside/downside approach. A player's overall grade measures his likely performance, the downside the grade indicates how a player is apt to fare if things go poorly for him that week, and the upside grade measures the scoring ceiling of a player if things go well in a given contest.

This grading system also uses five color-coded categories: blue (indicating someone who can post elite point totals), green (a strong starter), yellow (a solid backup or a potential starter in bye weeks or deep leagues), orange (a desperation play), and red (someone who should not be started).

This means fantasy managers who are looking for big scoring potential at wide receiver should aim for someone who has a blue-rated upside grade (which is 90-100 in my system). This weekly article series will identify all the blue-rated upside wideouts in a given week and then provide details on a few of the unexpected candidates on this board.

Week 1 wide receivers with blue-rated upside

Wide receiver Team Opponent Upside grade
Deebo Samuel SAN Chicago Bears 100
Tyreek Hill MIA New England Patriots 100
Davante Adams LAV Los Angeles Chargers 100
A.J. Brown PHI Detroit Lions 100
Ja'Marr Chase CIN Pittsburgh Steelers 99.3
JuJu Smith-Schuster KC Arizona Cardinals 97
CeeDee Lamb DAL Tampa Bay Buccaneers 96.3
Keenan Allen LCH Las Vegas Raiders 96
Justin Jefferson MIN Green Bay Packers 95.3
Jaylen Waddle MIA New England Patriots 94.9
Marquise Brown ARI Kansas City Chiefs 94.6
Hunter Renfrow LAV Los Angeles Chargers 93.5
Mike Evans TB Dallas Cowboys 93.2
DJ Moore CAR Cleveland Browns 92.8
Amon-Ra St. Brown DET Philadelphia Eagles 92.8
Michael Pittman Jr. IND Houston Texans 92.7
Amari Cooper CLE Carolina Panthers 92.4
Terry McLaurin WSH Jacksonville Jaguars 91.3
Jerry Jeudy DEN Seattle Seahawks 90.8


JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kansas City

The Chiefs-Cardinals matchup has the potential to be one of the highest scoring games in Week 1. Smith-Schuster was tied for ninth in the league in red zone targets with Pittsburgh in 2020 and Tyreek Hill vacated 23 red zone targets from the Chiefs offense when he went to Miami, so Smith-Schuster has the capacity to take the bulk of those. Add that to Smith-Schuster's workhorse wideout track record (97+ receptions in two separate seasons with the Steelers) and Kansas City wanting to get him out to a strong start and Smith-Schuster has huge upside potential this week.


Marquise Brown, Arizona

Brown is on the other side of that potential Chiefs-Cardinals shootout. His Hollywood nickname illustrates Brown's vertical receiving skills, but don't forget that he saw 146 targets last year in Baltimore. Arizona will look to utilize that talent by making Brown a 10+ target per game option while DeAndre Hopkins is out for the first six weeks due to a PED suspension. Combine those factors and Brown has a very high scoring ceiling.


Hunter Renfrow, Las Vegas

Renfrow's ADP indicates that the fantasy world thinks he will be phased out of this offense now that Davante Adams has arrived but reports out of camp say that Josh McDaniels used Adams primarily as a perimeter receiver and thus is saving the slot role for Renfrow. That is Renfrow's specialty, and it led to him ranking sixth in PPR PPG and fourth in red zone receptions among wide receivers last season. Put that caliber of pass catcher in the high scoring Raiders-Chargers matchup and it offers blue-rated upside.


Jerry Jeudy, Denver

Jeudy was 13th in receiving yards at the stretch vertical depth level (20+ air yards) in 2020. This indicates he can be the DK Metcalf or Tyler Lockett of the Broncos offense. Jeudy also led the Broncos in short pass YPT last year, so he also can provide impact plays on dink and dunk throws. Russell Wilson will be incredibly motivated to showcase his passing skills against a Seattle team that wouldn't let him cook as much as he wanted to, so expect Jeudy to be highly featured in this compelling Monday Night Football matchup.