We’re gonna cut right to the chase here. If you’ve been following my offseason process, you know what I look for when ranking prospects. If you are a first timer please check out this article explaining my general rationale.
Additionally, you can see the ascent and decline of various WRs since February with my pre-combine rankings and post-combine rankings.
There are some shakeups in the top 15 now that we know draft capital and landing spot. The tiers stayed mostly intact, but there was a lot of movement inside each.
|WR5||+3||Laviska Shenault Jr||2||Jaguars|
|WR8||-1||Henry Ruggs III||1||Raiders|
|WR11||-2||Michael Pittman Jr.||2||Colts|
Tier 1 – Safest and Best
I have my preferences, but you really can’t go wrong in this tier… enjoy!
WR1 – CeeDee Lamb
There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth (including myself) upon the announcement of Lamb to Dallas. Once the dust settled I realized that Amari Cooper has never finished a season as a fantasy WR1 by points per game. Many assume he’s an alpha but he has never played like it in the NFL. Michael Gallup takes a big hit here but not Lamb. He will have the best QB of all the rookie WRs on a team with a bad defense and I don’t think it is a foregone conclusion that CDL is destined to be a complimentary piece. He was an excellent prospect that brings outrageous skills to his new team. You won’t see me discounting him come draft season.
WR2 – Jalen Reagor
Reagor gets a bump within the top tier by landing in the best possible spot for immediate and sustained production. He has a good (maybe great) QB and a team begging for an alpha WR. Talent + opportunity meet in Philly, sometimes this isn’t that hard.
WR3 – Justin Jefferson
One of my favorite prospects drops one but is still an elite rookie pick to me. I love Jefferson’s high floor and he walks right in to an open role. While he is not the same type of WR as the departed Stefon Diggs, the Vikings presumably have a plan to utilize him. You can’t go wrong selecting a first round WR going to a team with 94 vacated targets.
WR4 – Jerry Jeudy
Many rankers’ WR1 continues his fall for me, finalizing his place at the bottom of tier 1. I viewed him as a strong secondary WR on a team with a dominant X and that’s what the scene looks like in Denver. Jeudy will be good, I have no doubts about that. However for fantasy, I am lukewarm and think his future may mimic Amari Cooper’s. A very good, very talented receiver that just doesn’t win fantasy leagues.
Tier 2 – Choose Your Fighter
The second tier has 5 WRs that each bring a unique style to their respective offenses.
WR5 – Laviska Shenault Jr
Now that we know Shenault secured 2nd round capital, he jumps back up closer to his original pre-combine ranking. The reason for his drop was concern that teams would be scared off following post combine surgery. But Jacksonville GM David Caldwell said ‘Viska was their WR1 after 2019, and the team had a first round grade on him. That’s enough for me to assume his medicals checked out and buy in for fantasy. Additionally, I love the fit. DJ Chark will keep defenses honest with his outside speed and Shenault can dominate the short/mid area of the field while also chipping in on gadget plays. I think he’ll be what we thought Dede Westbrook could be, but with muddin’ tires on. I see a week 1 role and immediate fantasy production.
WR6 – Denzel Mims
Fading draft capital for the second spot in a row, I have Mims in arguably the second best situation with the Jets. From the moment his name was called, he was the most exciting receiver Sam Darnold has. Like the Eagles, New York is desperate for a true WR1 and Mims appears to have the tools to deliver. Even if he’s still a little raw, he should be force fed targets out of the gate and I’ll gladly take that on my roster.
WR7 -Brandon Aiyuk
The rise has been steep and constant for Aiyuk, finishing 7 spots ahead of my original pre-combine ranking. Despite being a 4 year player, I have developed a bit of a crush on the former JUCO standout turned first round pick. His return skills should provide a path to immediate playing time and Kyle Shanahan said after the draft that Aiyuk was their top rated WR. Shanahan definitely has a type, and with Aiyuk’s yards-after-catch ability, it makes perfect sense. There is certainly competition for targets in the bay area, but I like his chances to see the field right away.
WR8 – Henry Ruggs III
My concerns about Ruggs’ fantasy value remain, but I have to respect the fact that Las Vegas selected him as the first WR off the board. However, I don’t like the fit with Derek Carr and I don’t feel comfortable projecting a guy who never led his own team in receiving as an elite fantasy scorer. I seriously doubt I will have any shares.
WR9 – Tee Higgins
Finishing off this tier is Higgins, who I have failed to get excited about. Cincinnati is not an ideal location for immediate targets, although by 2021 he could be their primary option if he lives up to the hype. I don’t like the reports that he plays smaller than his 6’4″ frame, which always feels like a major disappointment waiting to happen. Like Ruggs, this ranking means I will effectively be fading Higgins.
Tier 3 – Upside Galore
This is an exciting batch of day 2 picks that have the chance to outproduce expectations.
WR10 – Bryan Edwards
The first 3rd rounder listed makes it this high because of his credentials and a premium landing spot. Edwards checks almost every box for me as a prospect with a 17 year old breakout age, nearly 5 receptions per game in college and thankfully, day 2 draft capital. The major concern for me was that he would fall to the 4th or later due to a broken foot during the pre-draft process. Alas, he snuck in and just so happens to land in Vegas where they need any and all pass catchers to produce immediately. While Ruggs gets top billing, I can see Edwards with a more fantasy friendly role. For now, I am respecting the importance of draft capital with this ranking, but I implore you to get Edwards on every roster you can as his rise could be swift.
WR11 – Michael Pittman Jr
Pittman is another prospect I haven’t been enamored with but have conceded he deserved a raise throughout this process. He gets a friendly situation to see targets right away in Indianapolis, although even their quarterback wore a “run the damn ball” hat last year. TY Hilton isn’t getting any younger (or healthier) and Pittman makes for a nice rookie pick which underscores just how deep this class is.
WR12 – Antonio Gandy-Golden
Draft capital be damned, I am forcing AGG into the top 15. I initially had him a bit lower because he was a dreaded day 3 pick. But as I stared at the screen, I kept feeling that if I was drafting right now, I just prefer Gandy-Golden given the choices. Despite the negative draft capital, he thoroughly dominated in college and I love the opportunity in front of him. Only Terry McLaurin is a lock to be ahead of him on the depth chart by season’s end. Despite lacking a 2nd round pick, Washington got Dwayne Haskins 2 exciting new toys in RB/WR hybrid Antonio Gibson and AGG. If Haskins can take a step forward, this offense could be sneaky fun.
WR13 – Chase Claypool
After a disappointing college career in which he failed to do anything until his senior year, Claypool has probably been the biggest process riser culminating in a second round selection. I remain lukewarm, despite his eye popping measurables and new home in Pittsburgh. I am less and less influenced by combine times and his senior-only production at a school he was at for 4 years is a major red flag.
Tier 4 – The Dropoff
This is where I start getting less enthused about 2020 rookie receivers. But considering we’re at WR14, this is an incredible class!
WR14 – Devin Duvernay
Another senior-only producer, Duvernay brings awesome speed to Baltimore. His one big year was spectacular, catching 106 balls for the Longhorns. I am not sure how he will fit into the offense yet, but Lamar Jackson’s pecking order is fluid behind Mark Andrews.
WR15 – KJ Hamler
Second round capital saves Hamler from the 16-30 list, but he lands in Denver as the third receiving option at best. I envision him as a poor man’s Ruggs, as he may be able to keep defenses honest with elite speed. For fantasy, a high volume role feels unlikely.
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I’d be interested in seeing how these guys matched up with your benchmarks.
For example if you included columns for draft capital, BOA, and RPG.