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Cooper Kupp vs. Justin Jefferson: Fantasy football showdown

We go over the fantasy football outlooks of Cooper Kupp and Justin Jefferson and pick who we’d draft first.

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

There is no better feeling than having an elite receiver on your fantasy roster that presents a huge matchup advantage each week. Heading into the 2022 fantasy season you may have a shot at drafting two elite options in Cooper Kupp and Justin Jefferson. Both receivers are coming off impressive 2021 campaigns with numbers that present a dream scenario for fantasy owners. Each brings their respective strengths and warrants consideration as your WR1.

Kupp has the benefit of team chemistry on his side with the reigning Super Bowl champions running it back for 2022. Jefferson may present the better upside with a new head coach that can take the Minnesota Vikings’ offense to another level. We’re looking ahead to what each receiver brings to your fantasy team and make the final call on who you should draft between the two.

Cooper Kupp, LA Rams

The reigning Super Bowl MVP had a monster 2021 season where he led all receivers with 145 receptions, 1,947 receiving yards, and 16 touchdowns. The Rams receiver earned the illustrious “triple crown” in leading all receivers in the categories above while setting a new NFL record in yards from scrimmage for a wideout. With an absurd 114.5 receiving yards per game last year, Pro Football Focus had Kupp ranked as their second best receiver in the league, behind only Davante Adams.

Will Kupp be able to duplicate another historic season for 2022? That may be too tall of a task, but he undoubtedly remains the engine of the Rams' offense which ranked eighth in scoring with 27.1 points per game. Los Angeles added Allen Robinson to line up on the opposite side and he may command a good amount of targets, but by no means will Matthew Stafford suddenly shun his go-to guy. Kupp led all receivers with 191 targets in 2021 for a reason: he’s the Rams' best offensive threat. Period.

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

Jefferson finished second among all wideouts last season with 1,616 receiving yards, and he ranked top-five in receptions (108), targets (167), and receiving yards per game (95.1). Heading into 2022 Jefferson boldly claimed that by season’s end the rest of the league will regard him as the best receiver in football. Given that Jefferson has already proven to be elite against press-man coverage, can you really argue against him on this one?

Per Pro Football Focus, Jefferson’s 3.55 yards per-route run ranked second among receivers, and his grade against press-man coverage since 2020 is only behind Adams. There is a chance that Jefferson will take another leap with new head coach Kevin O’Connell joining from the Rams. O’Connell has previous experience as Kirk Cousins’ quarterback coach and if the synergy is there then Cousins should have no fear in continuing to throw deep. Jefferson was already tied for first in receptions of 15 or more yards and could easily become the top deep threat in the league if O’Connell takes this offense to another level.

Fantasy football verdict

Jefferson may become the league’s best receiver in the future but fantasy managers want the top wideout of today when choosing their WR1. I’m still taking Kupp over Jefferson if given the opportunity. O’Connell could very well take the Vikings’ offense to the next level but there will still be an adjustment period regardless.

Sean McVay’s offensive methodology speaks for itself and he’s coming off a Super Bowl-winning season with chemistry in his back pocket. Sure, Robinson may eat away at some targets from Kupp but there’s no denying who is Stafford’s reliable go-to threat. I’m placing my faith in the reigning Super Bowl MVP.