Draft capital means something. If a team invests a first-round or even an early-round pick on a player, there are expectations. These expectations often result in opportunities, as teams want to help their top picks flourish into successful investments.
While draft capital means something, it doesn’t mean everything. That’s certainly been the case at the skill positions, including wide receiver. Since 2005, we’ve seen several first-round busts at the position, with a few top-10 picks failing to return value (Darrius Heyward-Bey, Charles Rogers, Troy Williamson, Justin Blackmon, etc.). On the flip side, we’ve seen a few late-round WRs that have become All-Pros at the position, including Joe Horn (fifth round), Antonio Brown (sixth round), and Marques Colston (seventh round).
With all that, we’ve asked our writers to identify the wide receiver they expect to be the top fantasy asset from this draft class when we look back three years from now.
Three years from now, who will be the top WR fantasy asset from this class?
D.K. Metcalf (Ole Miss)
“I’m sticking with Metcalf here, though it’s worth noting that this answer could very well change once we find out the landing spot for all prospects in the NFL Draft. I don’t even know if Metcalf would be my top choice for production in 2019, as he’s somewhat limited in his route tree and will take some time to develop. But he’s my top guy because the ceiling is endless. You don’t draft Metcalf to run underneath routes, but rather for his freakish size/speed combo that forces a defense to change how they approach your offense. If someone who’s 6-foot-4 and 228 pounds can blow by you, you’re going to be giving him a cushion underneath.”
– Mike Tagliere (@MikeTagliereNFL)
“Metcalf should be the clear choice here. I’ve argued plenty of times that A.J. Brown will have the most productive rookie season of any of these guys because of his polished route-running, strength, and ability to make plays after the catch. The fact is, he’s just simply not as talented or athletic as Metcalf. At 6’4/228, Metcalf is a huge player who possesses elite speed and hops making him a red zone nightmare and a big play waiting to happen. While still raw entering the league, he’ll develop his skill set significantly by year three to become quality NFL wideout and the best of the bunch from his rookie class.”
– Zak Hanshew (@ZaktheMonster)
A.J. Brown (Ole Miss)
“I don’t especially love any of these top wideouts this year. Don’t get me wrong, they are quality players, but note alpha dog #1s. Among the top tier in this year’s class, Brown seems to be the most likely to be a reliable contributor from a fantasy perspective. He will more than likely pencil into the slot as a big possession receiver similar to what we’ve seen from Larry Fitzgerald over the last few years. While there is more upside from D.J. Metcalf, N’Keal Harry, and a few others, you can bank on Brown becoming a similar fantasy asset to what Robert Woods has become in L.A.”
– Bobby Sylvester (@bobbyfantasypro)
“The player that will likely have the most dynasty value three years from now is A.J. Brown. The Ole Miss product presents the best combination of upside and floor in this class. There are several players in this class with more overall upside, but Brown is the safest best to become an annual 100 reception receiver. Often compared to JuJu Smith-Schuster, Brown is more athletic and 11 pounds heavier than the Steelers wideout. Like JuJu, Brown can win both on the inside and the outside, but can truly thrive if used heavily the slot.”
– Raju Byfield (@FantasyContext)
Kelvin Harmon (NC State)
“I would be more comfortable answering this question after the draft since it is so dependant on team destination, but I am going to stick with Kelvin Harmon. On paper, his athletic testing and collegiate production aren’t as impressive as other receivers in this year’s class but his game film outshines his testing. Harmon produced at every level of the field, was extremely reliable, was one of the collegiate leaders in contested target completion rate, and shows versatility – dependable outside as X receiver or can bring him inside as the Y reciever. Harmon has flown under the radar due to average combine testing and his older rookie season age but three years from now he will be the coveted fantasy asset.”
– Chuck Gioffre (@cgioffre34)