Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Preview - Rookies To Target In Redraft
Adam Ronis breaks down the rookie wide receivers to target for your redraft leagues.
The 2020 wide receiver class was deemed very deep and one of the better classes in recent years. Unfortunately, that won't translate into instant fantasy success this season. The top receivers didn't land in the ideal spots for big target shares. There's also the absence of mini camps and OTAs due to COVID-19 that will make it difficult for wide receivers to develop a rapport with their quarterbacks. It's easier for rookie running backs to adjust to the NFL. Here's a look at some of the top receivers for redraft leagues among the rookies, but it's unlikely any finish in the Top 30 barring an injury in front of them.
Justin Jefferson (Minnesota Vikings)
Jefferson goes to a team that really needed a receiver. Stefon Diggs was traded to the Bills and he accounted for 30 percent of the Vikings' passing yards last season and had 94 targets in 15 games. After Adam Thielen , there aren't many good receivers on the roster. The Vikings did use a lot of two tight end sets last season and Jefferson had much of his production come from the slot last season. The key for Jefferson will be winning against press coverage if he has to play the outside, but there's plenty of targets for Jefferson, even in a run-first offense. Jefferson had 111 catches for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns last season for LSU.
CeeDee Lamb (Dallas Cowboys)
This isn't the ideal landing spot. Lamb wasn't expected to last to pick 17 and he wasn't on the Cowboys radar. They took the best player available and while Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup make things difficult for a path to targets for Lamb, it might not be that bad. Much depends on if the Cowboys pass as often as last season. Randall Cobb was the third wide receiver in the offense and had a 14.4 percent target share, getting 83 targets. He had 55 catches for 828 yards with three touchdowns in 15 games. The Cowboys have 190 vacated targets, which is the second most in the NFL and they didn't add any receivers besides Lamb in the draft. Lamb is one of the most talented to receivers to come out in recent years and it's possible he becomes more of a focal point than many think.
Jerry Jeudy (Denver Broncos)
Jeudy is right there with Lamb as one of the top receivers in this draft class. Jeudy should be assimilated into the offense quickly and get a target share in the 15-18 percent range as the complement to Courtland Sutton . Jeudy is an elite route runner and consistently finds himself open. In addition to Sutton, Jeudy will vie with tight end Noah Fant and rookie slot receiver KJ Hamler. The Broncos also have a solid running game with running backs Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay , whom both are adept at catching passes. Much of the Broncos success is also dependent on the development of second-year quarterback Drew Lock .
Henry Ruggs III (Oakland Raiders)
Ruggs was selected as the first wide receiver in the draft at 12th overall. While he's known for his speed with a 4.28 40-yard dash, he's not only a deep threat. He's a solid route runner and good after the catch. The Raiders have Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow at wide receiver and Darren Waller at tight end and he led the team last season with 117 targets. The Raiders also drafted receiver Bryan Edwards and Lynn Bowden, who could be used at running back and receiver. Ruggs should see targets, but Derek Carr needs to take more chances downfield to take advantage of Ruggs.
Jalen Reagor (Philadelphia Eagles)
The Eagles were in need of a wide receiver and more speed. Greg Ward and Robert Davis were their starting receivers in a playoff game. Injuries derailed the position for the Eagles last season with injuries to Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson hurting the offense. Reagor is an explosive athlete that ran a 4.47 40-yard dash. Reagor didn't put up great numbers last season due to poor quarterback play. The Eagles run a lot of two-tight end sets with Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert , so opportunities could be limited for Reagor if Jeffery and Jackson can stay on the field. That seems unlikely with Jackson playing three games last season and Jeffery missing nine games the last two seasons and coming off a Lisfranc injury, so Reagor could emerge quickly.
Michael Pittman Jr. (Indianapolis Colts)
The Colts took Pittman with the second pick of the second round. He will play outside opposite T.Y. Hilton with Parris Campbell likely in the slot. The Colts really needed another receiver, especially one with size and Pittman is 6-foot-4 and 223 pounds. Colts coach Frank Reich has been effusive in his praise of Pittman, so he might play a bigger role than we think. The Colts have a good offensive line and also moved up in the second round to draft running back Jonathan Taylor to pair with Marlon Mack . With Philip Rivers losing arm strength, they will likely ask him to manage the offense and lean on the run game.