We knew this draft class was all about the wide receivers. Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and Henry Ruggs III headlined was is considered to be one of the deepest wide receiver classes in recent NFL Draft history. And clearly, NFL teams agree.
13 wide receivers went in the first two rounds. Obviously fantasy wise, you love seeing this many receivers entering the NFL as it just means more fantasy talent out there for your team. But what can we expect from these rookies in 2020? Every one of these rookies can’t come in and have a A.J. Brown/Terry McLaurin impact in fantasy, can they?
I’ve gone through and given a letter grade for each rookie wide receiver so far as a way to show my excitement for their fantasy seasons. I want to reiterate that these grades are NOT draft grades, draft grades are silly in my opinion. These are fantasy grades, grading whether the situation they were drafted into and fantasy potential for redraft leagues in 2020. These grades are far from silly.
Now that I’ve instilled plenty of confidence in you, let’s begin!
Henry Ruggs to the Las Vegas Raiders
I love Ruggs and think he will have a great career in the NFL, but I’m not in love with this landing spot. I don’t think it’s a bad one—the Raiders have very little receiving talent to challenge Ruggs in terms of targets—I’m just worried that Ruggs’ downfield presence might not be fully utilized with a quarterback like Derek Carr who’s afraid to take risks deep. That being said, Ruggs could be the gadget player Jon Gruden has been looking for in his offense, which could add to his fantasy potential.
Jerry Jeudy to the Denver Broncos
If Jeudy had gone to the Raiders, I would’ve been all over him. With Denver, he’ll likely be playing second fiddle to Courtland Sutton who came on in a big way last year. I don’t hate that though as two wide receivers can certainly produce big fantasy numbers along side each other. My bigger worry is Drew Lock. While much of Denver seems to think he’s their future quarterback, I don’t know what really to expect from a guy who played well for five games last year. I hope I’m pleasantly surprised.
CeeDee Lamb to the Dallas Cowboys
Is this a great pick for the Cowboys from a real life football standpoint? You bet your sweet butt it is. Lamb is considered by many to be the best receiver in this draft and pairing him with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup (and can’t forget about Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield) just makes this offense all the more potent. However, in the fake game this pairing is absolutely terrible. TERRIBLE I SAY! Zeke and Cooper are going to get theirs and Gallup is coming off a season with 1,107 yards and six touchdowns. I’m not sure there’s room for Lamb to come in and post massive fantasy numbers. Literally any other team would’ve been better for Lamb.
Jalen Reagor to the Philadelphia Eagles
I was going to fall in love with whatever receiver the Eagles drafted simply because they needed receiving help so badly. But I’m even more excited about Reagor because of how well he fits within the Eagles offense. He has plenty of speed to get down the field and plays bigger than his frame, flashing the ability to win jump balls. He’s not perfect but he’s probably my favorite first round receiver in terms of 2020 fantasy.
Justin Jefferson to the Minnesota Vikings
I say Reagor is probably my favorite receiver because Jefferson is a close, close second. Jefferson was a monster at LSU, hauling in 111 catches and 18 touchdowns and now gets to step right into the WR2 role in Minnesota. I know the Vikings’ offense isn’t the most pass happy, but they have shown the ability to produce big fantasy stars. Both Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs have been big fantasy names playing alongside Kirk Cousins. I think Jefferson could have an immediate impact a la A.J. Brown in 2020.
Brandon Aiyuk to the San Fransisco 49ers
I trust Kyle Shanahan to be able to produce fantasy receivers out of nothing and Aiyuk is far from nothing. He’s similar to Deebo Samuel in that both receivers are terrific after the catch and can pick up huge YAC. While Aiyuk will certainly make plays in San Francisco, he does have competition in the offense. We know the 49ers love to run and Aiyuk will likely be the third option behind George Kittle and Samuel at best.
Tee Higgins to the Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals opened up the 2nd round surrounding new QB Joe Burrow with even more talent. Higgins is a 6-foot-4 receiver who can make plays down the field and win most every 50/50 ball thrown his way. Basically he’s A.J. Green. So makes sense for them to be teammates. Fantasy wise though, again, he’s joining an offense with Green, Tyler Boyd, John Ross, and last year’s breakout Auden Tate. That’s a lot of receivers for Higgins to compete with for targets. Don’t love the landing spot.
Michael Pittman Jr. to the Indianapolis Colts
Another 6-foot-4 receiver, the Colts seem to be hoping Pittman could be what they wanted Devin Funchess to be when they signed him last year (he then promptly missed all last year). Outside of T.Y Hilton, the Colts need receiver help so Pittman enters an offense in which he could quickly work his way to WR2 status. Plus, the last time Philip Rivers had a 6-foot-4 receiver, he more or less force fed him the ball in the red zone. This might be my favorite landing spot of the second round.
Lavinia Shenault Jr. to the Jacksonville Jaguars
I’ve been fully on the Shenault train throughout the draft and landing in Jacksonville puts him in an offense with plenty of targets to go around. D.J. Chark broke out in a big way last year, but outside of him, there’s not a clear WR2 in Jacksonville (especially after cutting Marqise Lee). Shenault is a YAC receiver who will be involved in bubble screens and quick passes, and let his raw athleticism do the rest. He’s not a polished route runner which could hinder his ability to challenge the rest of the receivers in the class to be the best fantasy name. Still, this is a great spot for him.
KJ Hamler to the Denver Broncos
I love what the Broncos are doing in this draft, stockpiling on offensive weapons to put Drew Luck in the best position to succeed. Hamler is a speed threat down the field but has had issues with drops. With plenty of offensive talent likely ahead of him in the pecking order, I don’t really expect Hamler to do too much of anything fantasy wise.
Chase Claypool to the Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers, the team that seems to be able to pull productive young wide receivers out of a hat, just drafted a 6-foot-4, 230 pound wide receiver who ran a 4.42 40. I am way too in on this pick and will be a bajillion percent targeting Claypool in every dynasty league I’m in. There’s a lot up in the air behind JuJu Smith-Schuster which is good news.
Van Jefferson to the Los Angeles Rams
The Rams get their Brandin Cooks replacement who’s not a Brandin Cooks replacement at all but that’s totally fine. Jefferson isn’t a speed threat down the field, but rather a polished route runner who did most of his damage out of the slot at Florida. I’m not sure where he fits in this offense, but he’ll have a chance with Josh Reynolds to battle for that third receiver spot in Sean McVay’s offense.
Denzel Mims to the New York Jets
How Mims managed to be the 13th wide receiver taken is beyond me. People, like myself, will tell you to stay away from any offensive weapon under Adam Gase’s control, but damn it’s hard to pass up on a talent like Mims in an offense needing a number one receiver. Yes Jamison Crowder is there but Mims has the ability to be a legit threat all over the field and be Sam Darnold’s favorite target. I really hope this works out because there is a TON of potential here.