In this article, we will break down the impact rookie quarterbacks have on the wide receiver position. If you haven’t read part one on running backs, click here to learn some additional background on the question, “Do rookie quarterbacks have a negative impact on skill position players for fantasy football”?

We reviewed the last five years of NFL passing data and found there were 16 rookie quarterbacks who attempted at least 250 passes in their rookie season. We then reviewed the production of the wide receivers with rookie quarterbacks to see how many top six, 12, 24 and 36 PPR PPG fantasy seasons they produced.

Finally, we will touch on where the wide receivers are going in ADP for the three teams (Colts, Panthers and Texans) expected to start a rookie in 2023. The first chart shows the finishes of the top wide receiver on each team that had a rookie quarterback. The second chart shows how many top six, 12, 24, and 36 PPR PPG finishes the WR2 had in those offenses that season. 


Wide Receiver (WR1)
PPR PPG Finish Total %
Top 6 1 6%
Top 12 1 6%
Top 24 3 19%
Top 36 8 50%


Wide Receiver (WR2)
PPR PPG Finish Total %
Top 6 0 0%
Top 12 0 0%
Top 24 0 0%
Top 36 1 6%

*Charts above are based on 16 rookie quarterbacks

It is quite shocking how much of an impact rookie quarterbacks have on the wide receiver position. Of the 16 quarterbacks in our sample, only one produced a top-12 wide receiver for fantasy football in PPR PPG. That rookie quarterback was Justin Herbert, who helped Keenan Allen finish as the WR6 in PPR PPG back in 2020.

What is even more discouraging is the impact that these rookies had on the WR2s in their offenses. Since 2018, only one WR2 cracked the top 36 in PPR PPG with a rookie quarterback. That team was the New York Giants, who produced two wide receivers (Golden Tate/Sterling Shepard) in the top 30 with rookie Daniel Jones. It is important to note that both Tate and Shepard missed at least five games that season. 

Buy = Solid pick at ADP
Sell = Pass on that player at their current cost
Must-Have = Steal at current cost, and could be selected higher if needed

Team: Indianapolis Colts
WRs: Michael Pittman/Alec Pierce/Josh Downs
Current Positional ADP: 24/68
Draft Recommendation: Sell


Michael Pittman is a clear sell at his current ADP, as the likelihood of him returning value at his price point is under 20%. This, coupled with the fact that rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson is expected to feature his legs, makes Pittman very unlikely to be a top 24 wide receiver in PPR PPG in 2023.

Alec Pierce’s current ADP is so low that you could argue that he’s not a sell. There doesn’t seem to be much upside in drafting him if he’s unable to return even top 36 value in 2023. Deeper names that could prove to be in better situations this season include the Giants’ wide receivers and the Rams’ wide receivers not named Cooper Kupp.

Team: Houston Texans
WRs: Nico Collins/John Metchie/Robert Woods
Current Positional ADP: 61/79
Draft Recommendation: Buy


Current ADP shows that no Houston Texans wide receiver is being valued as even a WR4. This could open a buying opportunity. History tells us there is a 50/50 chance that C.J. Stroud can produce a top 36 wide receiver for fantasy football this season. Early reports have suggested that Nico Collins is building a connection with the rookie, which makes his WR61 ADP a potential buy this off-season.


Team: Carolina Panthers
WRs: Adam Thielen/Jonathan Mingo/D.J. Chark
Current Positional ADP: 58/66
Draft Recommendation: Buy


The Carolina Panthers are in a very similar situation to the Texans, as they currently don’t have a wide receiver being drafted in the top 50 in ADP. Early ADP has Adam Thielen as the frontrunner to lead the Panthers in receiving at his WR58 price point. However, both Jonathan Mingo and D.J. Chark are not far behind at WR66/67, respectively. We recommend monitoring camp reports this off-season to see who emerges as the top option for Bryce Young, as they could be a sleeper in 2023!

Sources: Razzball.com, PFF.com, FFToday, Pro Football Reference, Ourlads, and Spotrac