Welcome to the 2022 edition of the Fantasy Football Rookie Snapshot NFL draft series! In this space, fantasy football expert Liz Loza will analyze the incoming class of first-year stars and gauge their impact — be it immediate or latent — on our fake football game.
Next up, the wide receivers. Liz covered Treylon Burks here. Below, Ohio State standout, Garrett Wilson!
Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
Size: 6-feet-tall and 183 pounds
Age: 21-years-old (7/22/2000)
Bio: Born in Columbus, Wilson spent the first decade of his life in Ohio. But in 2011, the family moved to Texas, where Wilson’s athletic gifts were quickly noted. A three-sport athlete at Lake Travis High School, Wilson broke numerous receiving records while also earning Division I college basketball scholarship offers. It seemed, however, that Ohio — and the gridiron — were, truly, the heart of it all for Wilson.
Despite receiving 33 offers, the five-star recruit enrolled at Ohio State and exploded onto the Big 10 scene with 30 grabs and 5 scores as a true freshman. The Buckeyes’ 2020 season was limited to just eight games due to Covid. But Wilson started all of them and continued to impress, opening his sophomore campaign with four straight games over 100 yards. His most dominant effort came in 2021, wherein he managed 12 receiving scores over 11 starts and was named a finalist for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award.
Pros: Instant acceleration, incredible body control, creative after the catch
Cons: Thin frame, could use more muscle to improve success rate versus both press coverage and contested situations at the next level, potential concentration/body-catching issues (logged six drops over 103 looks in 2021)
The Big Picture
Contortionist. That’s the first word I wrote down while reviewing Wilson’s tape. Dude gives off Neo vibes with his incredible body control and ability to maneuver mid-air, reeling in acrobatic catches on the regular. While the grabs are often jaw-dropping, his acceleration and motions (double-moves and nasty head fakes) before as well as his elusiveness after are equally impressive. Wilson uses instantaneous burst to fly up AND out, making him a quarterback’s best friend and one of the most effective deep targets in the FBS.
Wilson’s explosiveness makes him an ace separator. Per PFF, he ranked in the 93rd percentile in separation against single coverage last season. At the next level, however, when coverages become more complex and defenders are more physical, Wilson might struggle. It’s not just that he’s lean … but what he brings in grace, he lacks in brute strength. This is always a balancing act with speedy wideouts, but I’m confident Wilson (along with the coaches on whichever team selects him) will aim to achieve a successful equilibrium.
The Fantasy Fit
Up until the Combine, Wilson and Treylon Burks were the consensus No. 1 and No. 2 ranked wideouts in this year’s class. However, after a stellar showing from Wilson (and a subpar outing from Burks), the Buckeye’s stock is trending up.
That means he’s likely to be picked first or second — which isn’t particularly awesome for fantasy.
Were the Jets to select Wilson, there’d be an obvious volume play for the rookie. However, given New York’s current roster, Drake London (whose rookie snapshot will go live on Friday, April 15th) feels like a better fit.
That means the Commanders are next in line. While Wilson working opposite (fellow Buckeye) Terry McLaurin would certainly help his efficiency (especially given the coverage issues explained above), I’m not thrilled about an offense that was bottom-12 in pass attempts last year and will be helmed by Carson Wentz (6.9 YPA, QB29 accuracy rating) this year. Adam Humphries, J.D. McKissic, and Antonio Gibson each barely cracked 40 grabs behind McLaurin’s 77 (out of 131 targets) in 2021.
The opportunity is certainly there for Wilson, but it’ll be a miracle if he records even 60 grabs if he indeed ends up in Washington.
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