Each week of the 2022 NFL season, the Next Gen Stats analytics team will present a different Position Power Ranking meant to spotlight the top performances among a specific group of players. This week, we've assembled a list of the top 10 wide receivers heading into Week 15.
Before we dive in, though, a note on our methodology: To help create quantifiable rankings, we have devised a formula that yields a Next Gen Stats percentile score, which measures how a player is performing relative to his peers. The formula uses each individual's percentile score across a series of key metrics to create one composite score, indicating which players at that position performed best. We will lean on this formula to inform our rankings when applicable.
NOTE: The composite score for each player is based on a series of advanced receiving metrics, courtesy of Next Gen Stats. The score is calculated by scaling each metric to a percentile (from 0 to 100) relative to all wide receivers who have played at least 150 offensive snaps through Week 14 of the 2022 season.
- OVERALL SCORE: 96
Very few players in NFL history have immediately dominated the way Jefferson has since entering the league in 2020. Last month, the former LSU star surpassed another legendary Vikings receiver -- none other than Hall of Famer Randy Moss -- for the most receiving yards in a player's first three seasons, and he has only added to that total over the last couple weeks. Jefferson makes the improbable look routine, with six more receptions (24) than any other player this season on passes with less than a 50 percent completion probability. With defenses afraid to leave a corner on an island, the Vikings have faced the lowest rate of single-high coverages this season (45 percent). Even still, Jefferson leads the NFL in yards (869) against single-high coverages for the second straight season. Play man, get dusted. Try and press Jefferson to disrupt his route? Good luck.
- OVERALL SCORE: 95
After the Chiefs traded Hill in the offseason, he presented an ideal case study for how important an elite receiver can be to an offense. What would Hill's performance look like when he didn't have an out-of-this-world quarterback throwing to him? Instead of taking a step back, Hill has elevated an entire offense and been the key to third-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's breakout season. The "Cheetah" has put up historic efficiency numbers this season, gaining 3.7 yards for every route run. To put that in perspective, he is currently the only player in the Next Gen Stats era (since 2016) to average over 3.3 yards per route in a season (min. 300 routes run). Like Jefferson in Minnesota, Hill's presence forces defenses to become more predictable and one dimensional. Afraid of getting beat deep, defenses have played split-safety coverages at the highest rate against the Dolphins (51 percent) and man coverage at the lowest rate (17 percent). They really don't have a choice, as Hill's yards-per-route figure jumps to 4.2 against man coverage and 4.6 when left on an island against single-high coverages.
- OVERALL SCORE: 94
Speaking of top-end receivers who switched teams in the offseason, Adams presents another great case study in positional value. The Packers' offense has faltered for most of the season without Adams to create explosive plays. Meanwhile, the veteran wideout has scored a league-high eight touchdowns on deep targets for his new team, two more than any other player. Again, Adams' impact is felt beyond just the box score. The Raiders have faced Cover 6 at an outlier rate this season (17 percent, the only team over 13 percent), as defenses "cloud" Adams' side of the field, drawing a safety farther away from the ball. This makes fitting the run more difficult for defenses, helping Josh Jacobs run away with the rushing title (so far) this season.
- OVERALL SCORE: 93
Brown recently said he feels like he "won" the trade that sent him from Tennessee to Philadelphia during the 2022 NFL Draft, and it's hard to argue with him, based on the results. Brown has been dominant on tight-window throws this season, with a career-high 273 yards on such targets (second in the NFL behind George Pickens). In fact, with four games remaining on the schedule, Brown already has set the Next Gen Stats era (since 2016) single-season record with four touchdowns on deep, tight-window passes. The addition of Brown has helped Jalen Hurts and the Eagles' offense reach new heights, as Hurts has a league-high nine TD passes on go routes this season with Brown being responsible for an NFL-best five of them. Brown -- who is also the NFL's leader with 2,299 yards on in-breaking routes since being drafted in 2019 -- is among the biggest factors in Philly becoming the NFL’s first team to clinch a playoff spot this season.
- OVERALL SCORE: 93
Diggs went from good to great following his trade from Minnesota to Buffalo in 2020. Since joining Josh Allen and the Bills, Diggs leads the NFL with 2,953 receiving yards when aligned wide, and his 1,077 yards on hitch routes over that span are 370 more than the next-closest player (Tyler Lockett, 707). As it pertains to this season specifically, Diggs has not slowed down, leading the league with 10 receiving TDs when aligned wide. The Allen-Diggs connection leads all QB-receiver duos with +61.0 expected points added this season, helping the Bills surge to the top spot in the AFC entering Week 15 and giving both players plenty to be thankful for.
- OVERALL SCORE: 90
You can’t teach speed. And Waddle -- who was named our most likely first-time Pro Bowler back in November -- has displayed plenty of it this season. Waddle has reached 20+ mph on four offensive touches this season, tied for the third-most among all wide receivers (behind Christian Watson and teammate Tyreek Hill). That speed, paired with Mike McDaniel’s innovative play-calling, has led to Waddle’s success on downfield passes, where he ranks fourth in the NFL with 741 receiving yards (trailing Hill, Davante Adams and Justin Jefferson). The Hill-Waddle duo has been a handful for defenses all season long, and as a result, Miami has a chance to earn its first playoff berth since 2016.
- OVERALL SCORE: 88
Despite missing four games with a hip injury, Chase still manages to be all over the receiving leaderboards this season. Chase ranks in the top 10 in both receiving yards over expected (+157) and yards after catch over expected (+122), even though he’s only played in nine games. As was the case in his rookie season, Chase’s bread and butter has been passes thrown outside the numbers, where he ranks sixth in the NFL with 515 receiving yards this season. Since entering the league in 2021, Chase leads the NFL with +720 receiving yards over expected, as he has consistently been among the league’s best players at his position.
- OVERALL SCORE: 85
St. Brown has been a revelation for the Lions -- and his impact has played a big role in the team’s opportunity to end its five-year playoff drought. Jared Goff’s comeback season has been a lot prettier when St. Brown has been on the field -- he averages +0.22 EPA on those dropbacks, a number that would only trail Patrick Mahomes in the category this season. When St. Brown has been missing, Goff’s EPA per dropback becomes negative (-0.10). The second-year wideout has been the Lions’ focal point in high-leverage situations, gaining a first down on 15.2 percent of his routes on third and fourth down this season (third-highest rate, min. 100 routes). St. Brown has also provided a safety blanket for Goff when teams blitz (which they often do). He has been targeted on 39 percent of routes when defenses send the heat, trailing only the next receiver on this list, CeeDee Lamb.
- OVERALL SCORE: 81
The Cowboys are 6-1 with an NFL-leading average of 35.7 points per game since Dak Prescott returned from injury in Week 7. One major reason for that success has been Lamb’s consistency, as the third-year wideout has posted 70-plus receiving yards in five of those seven games. In particular, Lamb has been lethal when going in a shift or motion, leading the NFL with both 337 receiving yards and 4 receiving TDs on such snaps this season. With Amari Cooper off to Cleveland, and James Washington and Michael Gallup dealing with injuries this season, the window has been there for Lamb to step up, and he’s done so with flying colors to help Dallas to its 10-3 start.
- OVERALL SCORE: 78
Unfortunately, Kupp’s season was cut short by injury. He was on a torrid pace yet again when healthy. Kupp averaged nine receptions and 101.6 receiving yards per game in the eight contests he started and finished this season, providing a bright spot for a Rams offense that has struggled all year. He got off to a strong start to the season thanks to his dominance in the short game, as his 457 receiving yards on passes of fewer than 10 air yards from Weeks 1 to 9 were 68 more than any other player recorded in that span. The Rams are simply not the same team when Kupp is off the field.