Fantasy Football

2020 NFL Draft Wide Receiver Breakdown

on

A whopping 37 Wide Receivers went in the 2020 draft including a record-breaking 13 in the first two rounds. With so many potential fantasy football assets, our 2020 NFL Draft Wide Receiver Breakdown will examine each round to assess their respective rookie fantasy value.

Like any other draft, some WR studs will become the studs they are expected to be (like Mike Evans), others will fall short (Kevin White). Some late rounders will disappear from the NFL landscape while other late rounders will quickly lose their “sleeper” tag and become bonafide top ten receivers.

The success of wide receivers however often lay less in their control than say Quarterbacks or Running Backs. Skillset is huge, but if they are running routes for a quarterback who can’t hit the side of a barn it doesn’t make a difference. Yes, that’s a bit hyperbolic, but the point is a QB has far more control over his own destiny than a WR.

It goes beyond that. There’s also offensive system, coaching style, other talent on the team and so forth. But like our previous draft positional breakdowns, Quarterback and Running Back, we will look at some of the best options from each round and consider their potential for success.

Hopefully, we can help you find the T.J. Houshmandzadeh’s and avoid the Kevin White’s.

2020 NFL Draft Wide Receiver Breakdown

While draft spot does not dictate success, there is a strong correlation between earlier picks and fantasy success. Thus, I have broken the picks up by round, listing them sequentially within the round, as well as the team whom drafted them.

I opted not to list the players school. A few exceptions aside, it’s not so much where they have been, but where they are going. As stated earlier, landing spot is critical.

First Round

WRs Drafted: Henry Ruggs (LVR), Jerry Jeudy (DEN), CeeDee Lamb (DAL), Jalen Reagor (PHI), Justin Jefferson (MIN) Brandon Aiyuk (SFO)

Analysis

Would it be bold to say that none of these receivers will be busts? Dare I say that the “supreme six” have too much talent to fail? I’m saying it, but that does not necessarily mean they will be fantasy studs.

CeeDee Lamb for example was one of my favorite WRs coming into this draft. And I still love his long term prospects. Recall however that Dallas signed Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup for the next few years. That makes Lamb’s upside, barring injury, not even a Top 40 WR this year. He might not hit that mark for a few years.

Jeudy meanwhile was second on my list. And I absolutely love him this year. It could take some time for him to push aside DeSean Hamilton. Jeudy’s hands are not as good as Lamb’s. However, his route-running is so sharp that I expect Lock and Jeudy to connect for touchdown after touchdown.

Others in the industry will be willing to reach for him more than I. Regardless, he is definitely my top rookie fantasy WR this year.

Embed from Getty Images

Not that Ruggs should be swept aside. Like Raider WRs of the past, Ruggs is lightning fast. Ruggs should be able to burn past DBs and if Derek Carr can hit him in stride, the silver and black will be one of the hotter shows in Vegas.

Unfortunately, I am not convinced Carr can hit him in stride. Furthermore, we know Gruden loves to give the rock to Josh Jacobs. Ruggs is another WR whose long-term outlook is rosy, but I do question his short-term fantasy value compared to some other first rounders.

Jalen Reagor conversely steps into a perfect situation. With the very capable Carson Wentz at the helm, Reagor should have plenty of chances especially if the often injured Alshon Jeffrey is injured and the inconsistent DeSean Jackson remains inconsistent. It’s definitely a preferable situation to Brandon Aiyuk, who will be a WR2 at best in the run-heavy 49er offense. Aiyuk had core muscle surgery on April 7th but there’s a reason I liked him to go in the second 20 of picks.

Ahead of Aiyuk and Reagor though was Justin Jefferson who will be an absolute PPR fantasy beast. He immediately fills the role vacated by Stefon Diggs. Jefferson might even surpass Adam Thielan as the Vikes WR1 this year. I am 100% confident he will have a better year than anyone taken in the second round, which bring us to the second round.

Second Round

WRs drafted: Tee Higgins (CIN), Michael Pittman (IND) Laviska Shenault (JAX), KJ Hamler (DEN), Chase Claypool (PIT), Van Jefferson (LAR), Denzel Mims (NYJ)

Analysis

Here is where the WR class of 2020 will really set itself apart. This year’s second-round WR talent is much closer to what might be first-round talent in other years. It should be little surprise if every one of these WRs are Top 60 WR fantasy considerations next year. They are all extremely talented. Yet what I think will separate some of them from their fellow second-rounders this year is their situation. And that starts with Denzel Mims.

Breshad Perriman and Jamison Crowder were the Jets top two receiving options coming into the draft. Therefore many thought the Jets might grab a WR in the first round. The Jets grabbed OL Mekhi Becton instead, yet still got a WR late in the second that was still highly graded. I would not expect WR1 numbers from Mims just yet, but his floor this year is easily over 500 yards. There are few rookie WRs you can say that about, let alone one that plays for the Jets! You don’t need to watch many of the highlights below to see that Mims can not only separate but also make the necessary catches:

I also expect Michael Pittman to step in immediately behind TY Hilton who will remain the Colts WR1 after an injury-marred season. Zach Pascal led the Colts with 607 yards in 2019 but he averaged fewer than 40 receiving yards per game. Pittman’s situation might even be better than Mims!

I definitely like the talent in this round and I’ve give heavy consideration to nearly any of them in a dynasty league. But when looking at redraft leagues, consider Mims and Pittman first. But there are some definite redraft options that were drafted later.

Third Round

WRs Drafted: Antonio Gibson (WAS), Lynn Bowden (LVR), Bryan Edwards (LVR), Devan Duvernay (BAL)

Analysis:

I like the two WRs drafted later in the third over the two drafted earlier in the round.

Let’s start with Edwards, who might have had the catch of the year:

 



The Raiders love him as GM Mike Mayock as has indicated they had a high second-round grade on Edwards. Let’s assume that Henry Ruggs becomes the Raiders WR1. It doesn’t take a whole lot of imagination to see Edwards bypass Hunter Renfrow or Tyrell Williams to become the Raiders WR2 in the not too distant future.

Meanwhile, Duvernay will likely be the Ravens WR2 this year. Duvernay has been likened to Steve Smith–a little bit on the shorter side, but a toughness and competitive fire that helped fuel him to top five in the nation last year in both receptions (106) and yards (1386).

We now move beyond Day 2 of the 2020 Draft, but there are still wide receivers worthy of a fantasy investment.

Fourth Round

WRs drafted: Gabriel Davis (BUF), Antonio Gandy-Golden (WAS)

Analysis

Of the only two WRs taken in this round, I prefer Gandy-Golden to Davis for fantasy purposes. Buffalo has far more WR talent on its roster than Washington; Davis might not even be one of Buffalo’s top six WRs. Even if Davis makes the team, how much playing time do you think he will get with John Brown, Stefon Diggs, and Cole Beasley ahead of him?

Meanwhile, Gandy-Golden should become Washington’s WR3 at some point this year. He’s not going to challenge “Scary Terry” McLaurin who should be the Redskins WR1 for at least the next three years. But Gandy-Golden does have WR2 potential. His route-running definitely needs improvement. Yet Gandy-Golden’s length and ball skills could make him a fantasy asset sooner rather than later.

Fifth Round

WRs Drafted: Joe Reed (LAC), Tyler Johnson (TB), Collin Johnson (JAX), Quintez Cephus (Detroit), John Hightower (PHI), Isaiah Coulter (HOU), Darnell Mooney (CHI), KJ Osborn (MIN)

Analysis

In a word? Meh.

Most of these receivers have higher floors than those picked after them. However the ceilings on these pass catchers are limited, especially with their current teams. Tyler Johnson typifies the rest of the WRs in this round with his limited upside for the immediate future.Embed from Getty Images
Johnson is a big-bodied WR, similar to AJ Brown. Johnson was first team all conference in 2019 with 86 receptions, 1318 yards and 13 TDs. But with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and a cadre of tight ends, I just don’t see Tom Brady looking Johnson’s way very often.

Don’t get discouraged, because there are some high upside options that were drafted even later.

Sixth Round

WRs Drafted: Donovan Peoples-Jones (CLE), Quez Watkins (PHI), James Proche (BAL), Isaiah Hodgkins (BUF), Dezmon Patton (IND), Freddie Swain (SEA)

Analysis

This round is definitely light on talent, but two options stand out to me: Proche and Peoples-Jones. Let’s start with Proche.

Proche is under six feet and lacks the speed in the slot preferred by offensive coordinators. While Proche might have been one of the AAC conferences best WRs, the conference is a couple of tiers below the powerhouse conferences. But as TheDraftNetwork stated, “His experience in a wide-open passing offense will transition well to teams that space the field and look to push the ball vertically. Love his body control and ball skills — don’t sleep on this one.”

You can see for yourself

I don’t foresee Proche reaching the elite level, but he is enough of a sleeper that he could become a bye-week filler worthy of starting.

Meanwhile, there is the “mistake by the lake” that comes with the Browns having drafted Donovan Peoples-Jones. There is a long history of busts at the WR position in Cleveland. Let’s spare Browns fans the list. However, “DPJ” might be my favorite WR drafted outside the top 150. I was surprised he didn’t go in the third or even late in the fourth round.

Is he going to unseat OBJ or Jarvis Landry? Absolutely not. But he could be the Browns WR3 as early as this year. Even if he fails to secure that role, he could easily contribute as a punt returner. He has a big frame, which helps enable him break tackles. He could be a YAC (yards after the catch) monster, one of my favorite qualities for fantasy receivers.

2020 NFL Draft Wide Receiver Breakdown: Seventh Round

WRs Drafted: Jauan Jennings (SF),  KJ Hill (LAC), Malcolm Perry (MIA), Tyrie Cleveland (DEN)

Analysis

KJ Hill is not a top talent, but the all-time receptions leader at Ohio State (surpassing the likes of David Boston and Hall-of-Famer Chris Carter) should have been drafted before the 7th round. His glacial 4.6 40-time at the Combine surely did him no favors. I don’t see Hill playing a ton of snaps for the Chargers this year, but he could make the team as fourth or fifth WR.

Keenan Allen, however, is a free agent in 2021 and the Chargers have a club option on Mike Williams the same year. Hill could be a sneaky late-round dynasty stash, but even 16-team redraft owners can feel free to ignore him.

Malcolm Perry is like a poor man’s Taysom Hill with some quarterbacking experience. There’s some intrigue with Perry, but I’d stay away until I see the Dolphins (or someone else) use him like the Saints use Hill.

The rest of the WRs in this round can be forgotten.

 

Sign up for the Fantasy Six Pack Newsletter to receive email updates.


Feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@Mark Strausberg) and let me know if you agree or disagree with any of my 2020 NFL Draft Wide Receiver assessments.


Click here for more fantasy football content

About Mark Strausberg

Despite his youthful appearance, Mark has aged hundreds and hundreds of years due to soul-sucking and crushing near misses over his decades of both playing and writing fantasy sports.

Recommended for you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.