There is no doubt that WR is the deepest position in fantasy football. Because there are so many options at receiver, rookies tend to go way later than they should. This WR draft class was one of the best receiver classes in recent history, which allows us to find extremely talented players for cheap. There is no doubt the Ruggs, Lamb, and Jeudy will be drafted in most leagues. However, there are a few rookies besides the top three that I wanted to look into. In this article, I took a look at Jalen Reagor, Michael Pittman Jr, Justin Jefferson, Brandon Aiyuk, and Bryan Edwards.
- Jalen Reagor: Reagor is my personal favorite fantasy football receiver coming out of the 2020 draft. Selected in the first round by the Philadelphia Eagles, Reagor has arguably the most talented QB out of the rookie WRs and finds himself in the best place to succeed. The Eagles were devoid of wide receiver talent last year after Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson went down early in the season. Jeffery has shown an inability to stay healthy over his career, playing only three full seasons since 2012. Jackson has struggled since his last full season in 2016, and considering both receivers are dealing with Father Time as well, it isn’t unreasonable to see Reagor being the only receiver standing at the end of the season.
Even if Jeffery and Jackson stay healthy, Reagor should still see a healthy volume of targets. Throughout training camp Reagor has been lining up all over the field with the first string offense, and has been drawing rave reviews from coaches and beat reporters alike. Personally, I’ve always thought Reagor was underrated going into the draft. He played with the worst QB of the top-5 receivers and his numbers reflected that. That being said, he gained most of his yards against the top defenses in the Big-12, dominating cornerbacks with his speed and agility.
Currently being drafted below Lamb, Ruggs, and Jeudy, Reagor has a great shot at outperforming his draft position and exploding in fantasy football.
- Michael Pittman Jr.: Currently being drafted at WR 60, the Indianapolis Colts newest receiver finds himself in a great situation to have an impact his first season. Similar to Reagor, Pittman has been drawing a lot of positive attention from his training camp peers. Frank Reich stated after the draft that he thought Pittman may have been the best receiver in the draft, and has continued to praise him (minus a couple mental miscues in training camp). Pittman resembles a slightly taller/faster version of Mike Williams, who was one of Colt’s QB Philip Rivers’ favorite targets last season in LA. Rivers showed no fear throwing 50/50 passes to Williams last season and should continue the trend with Pittman Jr., who was one of the most successful receivers in contested situations last season.
With no real competition at the 2nd receiver position, Pittman Jr. is primed to find himself in a favorable position on a team that should put up points with the 13th-easiest passing schedule (according to PFF). If T.Y. Hilton’s injury struggles continue, Pittman Jr. may find himself as the #1 option on the Colts. With his size, he should find a decent amount of endzone work. At worst, Pittman Jr. becomes a touchdown dependent, low-end flex. However, he has the potential to become a lot more, and at WR 60, is a great end-of-draft dart throw.
- Justin Jefferson: With the trade of WR Stefon Diggs and departure of draft bust Laquon Treadwill, the Vikings are depending on Justin Jefferson to immediately step in and play a huge role. That being said, it doesn’t look like the receiver is going to have a huge role to start the season. In training camp, Bisi Johnson has been the #2 receiver with the first string. Jefferson has played most of his snaps out of the slot, and has been praised by OC Gary Kubiak and many defensive players for his quickness off the line. While he may be the starting slot receiver, the Vikings barely ran 1-1 (Three receiver sets) last season. There is no doubt Jefferson is a talented receiver, but his opportunity to shine might be extremely limited in the beginning of the year. He is currently being drafted at WR 48, which seems a bit high, especially with players like Curtis Samuel, Michael Pittman Jr., and Desean Jackson all going later.
- Brandon Aiyuk: The 49ers traded up for Aiyuk in a surprising move, drafting him 25th overall. Kyle Shanahan said that Aiyuk was the best receiver on his board and considered taking him at #13 if it wasn’t for DT Javon Kinlaw. When looking at Aiyuk’s tape, it’s easy to understand why Shanahan wanted him. Aiyuk is a dynamic runner with the ball in his hand and adds a lot of YAC, which fits perfectly with the core of Deebo Samuels and George Kittle. In training camp, Shanahan has been loving Aiyuk, constantly expressing his surprise with how mature of a receiver Aiyuk is. There is no doubt that Shanahan has plans for Brandon Aiyuk, but there are a couple issues.
Brandon Aiyuk has a clear path to a starting job with the injury to Deebo Samuels (even though Deebo will likely only miss a week or two). That being said, WR Dante Pettis has exploded back onto the scene, catching multiple touchdowns from Garoppolo and seemingly re-invigorated (remember he was a healthy scratch for the SuperBowl). One of Garoppolo’s favorite targets, Trent Taylor, is also healthy and balling out. Aiyuk also is dealing with a minor soft tissue injury that is keeping him out for the next week. If Aiyuk can show his worth while Deebo is absent, he could take over the #2 role on one of the highest scoring offenses in football. Admittedly the 49er’s offense is a hard one to predict, but a regression in defense/running the ball should lead to more passing, and hopefully the development of two fantasy-viable prospects in Deebo Samuels and Brandon Aiyuk.
- Bryan Edwards: If you ask someone who the Raiders drafted, they would probably say Henry Ruggs. However, the 81st overall pick, Bryan Edwards may prove to be the more fantasy relevant receiver. Multiple accounts of Henry Ruggs struggling in training camp have been circulating twitter. Bryan Edwards has been the talk of camp, and is looking more like a starter than Ruggs as of right now. That being said, the injury to Tyrell Williams opens up an opportunity for both of them to play a high percentage of snaps. With teams focusing on the speed of Waller and Ruggs, Edwards may be able to work underneath with Renfrow. With Hunter Renfrow, Henry Ruggs, and Darren Waller, Edwards may not gain enough looks against a tough fantasy schedule to be fantasy relevant. In Dynasty leagues, he is definitely worth a stash (as are all of these receivers), and is a good late round dart throw in deeper leagues.
Any other rookies you think should be taken? Let us know on Twitter @GeekSportsDFS. Like the content? Subscribe to our mailing list!