Rookie Wide Receivers Writers Battle Tier One

Boom. Here we are again with a two-part, yes two-part, rookie Wide Receiver writers battle. We had to do two not only because the Wide Receivers in this draft are so deep but because we knew you needed more from the last battle. Here the writers will battle out the top four drafted Wide Receivers.

Henry Ruggs III – Las Vegas Raiders

Ruggs was the first WR taken in the 2020 draft. The Raiders used their 1st round pick to take him 12th overall. After last season’s debacle for the Raiders, Gruden needed to get back on track with a fast wideout who can catch.

Boy is Ruggs fast. His 40 time at the combine was 4.27s, which is the 4th fastest time recorded at the combine since they started recording the time electronically in 1999.

After getting his guy, Gruden is going to do everything in his power to make sure Ruggs is the man. He won’t want to have another year where his star wideout ends up a bust. Because of this, expect Ruggs to be targeted a boatload to make sure he becomes the man.

College ball.

His college career was slightly shadowed by having to play behind Jerry Jeudy. But that didn’t let it stop him having 2 seasons of over 700 receiving yards and 10 or more TDs in both seasons. In fact, over the course of Ruggs being at Alabama, he Averaged 17.5 receiving yards per catch over 3 years. That’s a better average than Jeudy.

Not only was he more efficient than Jeudy on a per catch basis but his after the catch ability is crazy. It’s all about his speed. Give him some room and he’s gone. Yards after catch are a big part of his game and as I said Gruden is going to make sure he has that opportunity.

In the 5 Yard Rush Fantasy Football Playbook, Stocks wrote about him as part of his rookie WR article and he gave him 3 big Pros.
Next level speed.
Great hands and natural catcher of the ball.
Breaks lots of tackles.

The Raiders.

Ruggs fits this offence nicely. There is some competition but that’s only going to help Ruggs. You may also have worries about Carr not being able to throw as far as Ruggs can run. Fear not, another reminder that he went 12th overall in this year’s draft means Gruden has to use him and make it work.

He will get the volume, which means you will be able to just plug him into your line up and have tremendous upside.

ADP bonus.

Right now you can get Ruggs all the way down at 138th overall and as the 56th WR off the board. Compare that value to a couple of the others in this battle and you can get Ruggs a few picks later making his value increase.

Lamb is coming off the board as the 117th overall pick and 47th WR. Whilst Jeudy comes off the board as the 123rd pick overall and as the 49th WR.

Using all of this information, coupled up with knowing he’s walking into a great situation to be the Number 1 WR in the Raiders team, makes him a perfect candidate to be most relevant in the 2020 season and win this writer’s battle.

Pittsy – @PittsyNFL

Justin Jefferson – Minnesota Vikings

As one door closes in Minnesota, another one opens. The departure of former Vikings wide receiver, Stefon Diggs (Buffalo Bills), left a hole in an offence that has been one of the most potent in the NFL in recent years. Fortunately for Minnesota, they were able to fill that hole. With the 22nd pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, Minnesota selected Justin Jefferson of LSU.

If you followed the countless Mock Drafts and analytical rankings, Justin Jefferson should not have been here. Many predicted he would be off the board no later than #21, and it’s not difficult to see why.

At 6”1 and 202lbs, Justin Jefferson could draw comparisons to his predecessor Stefon Diggs. Both share similar size, traits and attributes. Jefferson also boasts a tremendous route tree, he’s right there with fellow receiving prospect Jerry Juedy in that regard.

In 2019, Jefferson enjoyed his best College Football season to date. He promptly became one of Joe Burrow’s favourite targets, a partnership that resulted in 18 touchdowns combined with 1540 receiving yards. Even more impressive than this is the fact Jefferson caught 111 of his 122 targets, which equates to a huge 91% catch rate! This was a massive leap for Jefferson, who also accumulated 875 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns in his 2018 college campaign.

Like a Glove!

The timing of Diggs’ departure could not have been better for Justin Jefferson. He will instantly contribute as his teams WR2 and will see plenty work early on in his Minnesota career.

Kirk Cousins has had a great partnership with Adam Thielen in recent seasons. However, 2019 saw Theilen miss 6 regular-season games through injury, as well as missing significant time in others. The Vikings also tend to lean heavily on their star Running Back, Dalvin Cook, who is also a key contributor in the Vikings passing game. Outside of this, Jefferson doesn’t really have competition for place or workload. Minnesota is thin at receiver, with only Tajae Sharpe and Bisi Johnson behind Theilen and Jefferson on the depth chart.

The Second Coming

It is quite obvious to me why Justin Jefferson was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings. They see many similarities with the recently departed Stefon Diggs in terms of offensive fit, at a fraction of the price. The LSU receiver was too good a talent to pass up when he fell to them in the first round, especially when you consider that most mock drafts had him off the board at that point.

Despite the Vikings offence being very focused around Dalvin Cook and the run in 2019, Jefferson will absolutely see his share of opportunities in this offence. He has that deceptive speed as we saw at the NFL combine, where he ran a 4.43 40-time. Couple this with small precise movements and faints, ideal size and length, and the fact Jefferson is able to catch almost anything in open play or in traffic. It is difficult to see anything but a productive receiver who is ready to have an immediate impact in Minnesota from year 1 onwards. Let’s face it, this offence needs a receiver. For me, they are getting the perfect rookie replacement for the recently departed Stefon Diggs.

Kirk Cousins isn’t Joe Burrow, but he is a competent and accurate enough Quarterback to ensure the ball finds its way into Jefferson’s hands. When this happens, Jefferson makes plays. Period.

Nick Owen – @nickofwigan

Jerry Jeudy – Denver Broncos

The stars aligned for John Elway in the 2020 NFL Draft. Jerry Jeudy isn’t just the best rookie receiver in a historically deep draft class. He landed in the perfect spot in Denver with the 15th overall pick.

The Broncos were 28th in the NFL in total offence in 2019. Confusion under centre and having just the one reliable receiver target really hurt them. This year, expect that to change. Former Alabama wideout Jerry Jeudy will be the cornerstone of the new and improved Denver offence.

Jeudy’s route running is superior to his peers entering the NFL, and they’ll be much appreciated in Denver. Jeudy managed 1,163 yards in an electrifying Alabama offence alongside Devonta Smith. He’s well prepared to play a similar role beside Courtland Sutton next year.

The perfect fit

The Broncos relied too heavily on Sutton in 2019. Losing Emmanuel Sanders to San Francisco increased Sutton’s load as the year wore on. He was targeted 124 times last year, which ranked #15 in the NFL. His sophomore year resulted in an impressive 1,112 yards. However, a catch success rate of just 58% suggests that defences were able to stifle him. Despite his impressive yardage, he scored just 6 touchdowns. The Denver offence needs more weapons surrounding Drew Lock if it is to succeed next year.

This is where Jeudy fits in perfectly. Rookie Tight End, Noah Fant was second in receiving in 2019 with just 562 yards. Jeudy’s proficiency on intermediate routes will result in a significant amount of targets in his first year. His ability to gain yards after the catch only adds to his value in PPR leagues. On the most entertaining offence in college football last year, he had 1,163 yards and 10 touchdowns. He can be used in a variety of ways next season which may see his numbers rocket. Don’t expect Jeudy to fall to you in a dynasty rookie draft if you’re picking in the back of the first round. His projected numbers in 2020 and beyond means a top-six pick or trade up to get Jeudy makes perfect sense.

You know it makes sense

The Broncos needed a high-ceiling WR2 to support Drew Lock and take the pressure off Courtland Sutton. They’ve not only got that but a future WR1. Across his college career, Jeudy averaged 16.1 yards per catch. His tight route running, quick feet and impressive speed will be used to good effect next year and beyond.

Jeudy’s immediate rivals will face hurdles in their rookie years that he will not. Henry Ruggs will be used less frequently but on deeper throws. This will make him a boom and bust guy on your fantasy roster. With Amari Cooper and Ezekiel Elliot in Dallas, expect CeeDee Lamb to see less of the ball. The same can be said of Justin Jefferson in Minnesota, with Adam Thielen out wide and Dalvin Cook in the backfield.

If you want points this year and beyond, Jerry Jeudy is the guy to get them.

Tom Scott @downthemannyrd

CeeDee Lamb – Dallas Cowboys

What if I told you there was a 6ft + Wide Receiver who ran a 4.5 40 yard dash and was selected in the 1st round of the NFL draft. A receiver so polished he already draws Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson comparisons despite not yet playing an NFL snap. A wideout boasting reflexes so fast, he grabbed a burner phone from his hapless girlfriend in mere seconds. But, this prospect was falling to the mid-to-late 1st round in rookie drafts. Ladies and gentleman, please welcome CeeDee Lamb.

Many have taken a single glance at Lamb’s landing spot and decided the Oklahoma graduate is not worth the price tag. Take advantage of their short-sightedness and grab the best receiver in this class.

A Good Landing Spot?

Granted the landing spot appears shaky, but look closer and there is a ton of upside. Lamb is guaranteed a starting spot alongside Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. Rather than having the pressure of carrying an organisation, he can develop in a high-powered offence. The former Sooner will enjoy a top 5 Quarterback, a top 3 Running Back, a strong offensive line and a division light on elite Cornerbacks. Looks pretty good to me.

A common complaint when drafting the rookie concerns his role in the offence. Lamb replaces the departed Randall Cobb as the 3rd receiver in Dallas. On paper, this role may appear insignificant. Yet Cobb’s 2019 numbers were better than you remember.

Cobb recorded 83 targets, 828 yards and 3 touchdowns, scoring 127.4 fantasy points in standard leagues. During his year in Dallas, Cobb had his best fantasy finish since 2015. We can consider that the floor for Lamb. No disrespect to Randall Cobb, but imagine what the uber-talented 1st rounder can do with 83 targets. Things suddenly seem a little more enticing.

Silence of the Lamb

Lamb completed his college career with 1347 yards and 15 touchdowns, the pedigree which sent him rocketing up draft boards. Some analysts even had him going as high as 9th to Jacksonville.

In the Running Back favoured world of dynasty, it can be easy to forget the hype around Lamb. Wide Receiver needy teams were selling the farm earlier this year, with Lamb expected to disappear with one of the first two picks. Although the slide is somewhat expected with the dearth of top-level bell cow Running Backs, Lamb is a steal at his current ADP.

Don’t be distracted by the Drew Lock hype. Don’t reach for a rookie Eagle forced to become the alpha receiver. Lamb can aid your team instantly while becoming a true superstar in the long term. Grab him while you can.

-Dre @lil_carat

The first of a two-part writer’s battle is complete. Now we need your help. Who do you think won? Has a writer managed to change your mind? Please vote who you think won round this round, and get in touch on Twitter too. And don’t worry, of course, there’s going to be more rookie  battles. We wouldn’t do that to you. So stay tuned and watch out for the second part! And as always Rush Nation, Keep Rushing.



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