Contrary to popular belief, the most important part about a rookie's landing spot isn't what they can do to help their offense right away.
It isn't about how they can play a role that is best for that team. It isn't even about how they might help that team win. It's about how they can help your future fantasy team lead you to a fantasy football title in 2020.
Jokes aside, in May, I highlighted which running backs landed in the best spots to rack up big fantasy points during their first year in the league. Now, we're doing the same with wide receivers.
Taking talent and path to playing time into account, these are the top five rookie receivers you should target early in your fantasy drafts.
Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos
Jerry Jeudy will likely be the top choice in most fantasy football drafts when it comes to the first rookie receiver off the board due to the type of player he is. With his precise route running, he can create his own separation against experienced defensive backs; separation is always a key to getting volume.
Though Jeudy will be WR2 in the Broncos' offense, he should garner certain types of slot targets specifically generated for what he does well. The ceiling is capped a bit with Courtland Sutton being the top dog and red-zone target, but you're likely not picking rookies to be your WR1. Jeudy should rack up steady points all season.
Jalen Reagor, Philadelphia Eagles
Jeudy will be at the top of most power rankings, but there will likely be some good variation for who might come after him. I want to introduce Jalen Reagor first because of the path he can have to a lot of success.
As it stands, Reagor might not see the ball much. Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson are in front of him on the Eagles’ depth chart. There’s also tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, who see plenty of targets, and receivers Marquise Goodwin and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside could sneak in snaps as well. It's a pretty crowded passing attack.
But Reagor, like Jeudy, brings a skill set not found anywhere else on the roster. He has the speed and the quickness to be precise in routes to help on short passes, and the deep speed and explosiveness to get deep down the field. Reagor can be that quick-hit, home-run potential kind of player early on. If Jackson or Jeffery were to miss time, Reagor could step in right away to stretch the field.
It will take some shuffling to find playing time, but there are many ways that could happen.
Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts
Michael Pittman Jr. has the chance to be the kind of player many Colts fans (and T.Y. Hilton fantasy owners) have been hoping for: a competent complement.
For as long as many of us can remember, it has been Hilton or bust when it came to Indianapolis' passing attack between the 20s. Pittman presents big-bodied, above-average athleticism and can be deployed effectively anywhere on the field due to his football background and savviness.
With Philip Rivers now the starting signal-caller, look for Pittman to emerge as WR2.
CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys
CeeDee Lamb is joining a receiver group that already features the heavily emphasized Amari Cooper and the talented, emerging Michael Gallup. But this is CeeDee Lamb we're talking about.
If you're in a dynasty league, Lamb is likely your No. 2 pass-catcher, but even if you're not picking for a dynasty league, you can project Lamb will get into the lineup one way or another. Both Gallup and Cooper saw more than 100 targets in 2019, and Randall Cobb even saw 83. There will be plenty of passes to go around.
Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings
Out with the old and in the with new?
For years Stefon Diggs has been a hot commodity in the fantasy football word due to how precise he could run his routes, and how often that led to big usage throughout the year. With Diggs gone, there is a major hole to fill in Minnesota’s offense; one the Vikings hoped they filled by drafting LSU's Justin Jefferson in the first round.
Jefferson is fantastic from the slot, and that should garner good targets in Year 1. He won't be the top option; the Vikings are returning another great route runner in Adam Thielen. But knowing that Jefferson had one of the highest Pro Football Focus slot grades last season, along with one of the best contested-catch rates in the country, you figure he'll be a player they go to throughout the year, even if it happens to be a slower start.
Minnesota needs a second reliable receiver to make things work, and because of that Jefferson will get his targets.
- Jun 28, 2022
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