Who is the Top Rookie Wide Receiver? (2020 Fantasy Football)
Last year, the 2019 rookie class brought a mixed bag for fantasy owners. There were some sparks throughout the year, a few disappointments, and several solid contributors for their teams. In our current expert consensus rankings, a few 2019 rookies are already inside the top 40 at the wide receiver position, including Marquise Brown (37), Deebo Samuel (34), Terry McLaurin (29), and D.K. Metcalf (23). There’s even one that’s cracked the top 20, as Tennessee Titans second-year wideout A.J. Brown is considered the WR15 in standard formats by our experts.
So what will the 2020 crop of rookie wide receivers bring? We’ll have to wait a few months to find out how they’d do on the field. In the meantime, we’ve asked our writers for their top rookie wide receiver of the 2020 NFL Draft class.
Q: Who is the top rookie wide receiver in the 2020 NFL Draft class?
Jerry Jeudy (WR – Alabama)
My favorite wide receiver in this draft class, Jeudy is a natural route-runner who can get open at any level on the field and has played against the highest level of competition. If there’s any criticism of his game, it’s that he will take plays off from time to time when he knows the ball isn’t coming his way. He creates an easy target for his quarterback with his elite start/stop ability but also knows how to twist a defensive back at the right time. He’s going to be a stud.
– Mike Tagliere (@MikeTagliereNFL)
This wide receiver draft class is so deep that everyone is splitting hairs between who is the best. It’s hard to discern how well someone will perform at the next level until we see their situation, but I think Jerry Jeudy is one of the special few who can succeed regardless of his landing spot. Jeudy is a physical wideout who can make contested catches and create yards after contact. He has great acceleration and can run any route in the playbook. His two consecutive seasons at Alabama with 1,000+ receiving yards and double-digit touchdowns give me confidence that he can perform well against stiff competition at the NFL level. Jeudy is a well-rounded wide receiver who has very few, if any, flaws in his game. I still love many of the other wide receivers in this draft, but Jeudy is as skilled as they come. As of now, he’s my top rookie wide receiver in the 2020 class.
– Dan Ambrosino (@AmbrosinoNFL)
Jeudy was one of the best receivers in college football in 2019, finishing the campaign with 77 receptions, 1,163 yards, and 10 touchdowns. This comes a season after finishing with 68 receptions, 1,315 yards, and 14 touchdowns. There is really no such thing as a safe NFL Draft pick, but Jeudy had back-to-back stellar campaigns for Alabama, and he comes from a school that has produced wide receivers like Julio Jones, Amari Cooper, and Calvin Ridley. He is arguably the best route runner in this class, and the NFL Combine should confirm he has both the size to be a red zone threat and the speed to beat teams over the top. My answer may change after the NFL Draft if he goes to an NFL team with a hopeless quarterback situation and Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb goes to one with a better signal-caller. It also may change after the NFL Combine and NFL Pro Days showcase the talents of a loaded wide receiver class. Pro Football Focus has 10 wide receivers in their top-40 overall rookie players, so there are plenty of wideouts that could have a fantasy impact this year. Where the players are selected in the NFL Draft is going to have a big impact on how they are ranked in 2020, but at this point in the offseason, I like Jeudy the best.
– Derek Lofland (@DerekLofland)
There’s just too much to like about Jeudy, who won the Biletnikoff Award in his sophomore year at Alabama and followed it up with a stellar 2019 season. He’s been the No. 1 college player at the position over the past two seasons and has been considered a can’t-miss draft pick since his freshman year at Alabama. He finished the 2019 season with a 75.5 percent catch rate while securing a team-high 25 percent target share, seeing almost double the targets fellow projected first-rounder Henry Ruggs III received (13 percent) in the same offense. Jeudy brings top-end speed and is arguably the best route-runner in the class, meaning his game should translate well to the NFL right away. When a player brings pedigree, sample size, and strong tape/measurables, it’s difficult to pick against him. I like Lamb as well and as others have stated, he could have the better rookie year depending on his quarterback situation, but I think Jeudy is the best receiver in this class when all other factors are equal.
– Daniel Comer (@DanComer404)
In his sophomore season at Alabama, Jerry Jeudy posted Biletnikoff Award-winning numbers: 68 receptions for 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns. A year later, Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb finished his junior year with nearly identical stats: 62 receptions for 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns. While Lamb did not win the Biletnikoff in 2019, his recognition as a finalist for the honor puts him in the same conversation as Jeudy. Do college-level awards mean anything in the NFL? No, they don’t. (Go look at some of the most recent Biletnikoff winners). I only mean to point out how razor-thin the separation is between these two players—both of whom are clearly at the top of their class—and that’s why choosing one over the other is so difficult. The difference, then, will likely be decided on Thursday, April 23, when we find out who goes where at the 2020 NFL Draft in Las Vegas. Which NFL team is built best for a talented young receiver? There are a handful, but here’s my bold prediction to seal the deal: Philip Rivers will sign with the Indianapolis Colts in the offseason, and when he does, the Colts will have one of the league’s best O-lines, a proven veteran under center, and all the reason in the world to draft a top-flight rookie wideout. That said, I could see the Raiders taking Lamb first and the Colts taking Jeudy second. In this instance, Lamb would be first rookie wideout drafted in the NFL, but Jeudy should be the first rookie wide receiver drafted in your fantasy league.
– Jim Colombo (@WideRightNBlue)
CeeDee Lamb (WR – Oklahoma)
I voted for CeeDee Lamb as pick 1.01 in dynasty rookie drafts, and he is my draft-crush to be the top rookie wide receiver of 2020. Lamb is NFL-ready right now and will be an immediate contributor to whichever lucky team acquires his services. He set all kinds of tackle-breaking records at Oklahoma despite not having the elite speed of Jerry Jeudy or Henry Ruggs III, and Lamb’s elusiveness will immediately translate to fantasy production. Lamb’s catch radius is ridiculous, and he often makes circus catches look routine – there is no such thing as an uncatchable pass for CeeDee Lamb. He will be rookie WR1 this year.
– Jarad Evans (@Jarad_Evans)
Lamb is not only the best prospect this year but one of the best in the last handful of years. Lamb started his Oklahoma career by delivering an impressive freshman season at age 18 with 807 yards and seven touchdowns while competing with Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews. Lamb then tallied almost 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns in his sophomore season with Hollywood Brown still on the roster, and in his final season at age 20, Lamb tallied over 1,300 yards and 14 scores while no other player on the team caught more than five touchdowns. Lamb absolutely dominated one of the nation’s signature passing offenses once first-round pick Marquise Brown was off the roster (and ran stride for stride with him at one year younger in 2018). Lamb also contributed on special teams, while Jerry Jeudy did not. While Lamb was clearly one of the Sooners’ most valuable weapons, he was still that good in the open field that they felt it necessary to use him as a special teamer. Lamb is the total package. And did I mention 21.4 yards per reception in his junior season??? A fantasy points gold mine.
– Mark Leipold (@LeipoldNFL)
It is the time of year when the top wide receiver prospects have been put out for all to see. As we head towards the 2020 NFL Combine, the statisticians, film grinders, and analytic guys start to chip away at the invincibles. Since the beginning, it has been a two-player battle between Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb with Jalen Reagor as the potential dark horse looking in. The problem with Reagor is his inconsistent college production and questionable hands. Jeudy also has his flaws. Jeudy’s college dominator is a red flag, falling under the preferred 50th-percentile. Some will come to his defense and say it was a spread offense at Alabama. That may be true, but Jeudy was outplayed by teammate DeVonta Smith just this past season. CeeDee Lamb broke out in his freshman year and has improved his production every season. In 2019, he was extremely dominant — 31.9% of his team’s receiving yards and 38.9% of his team’s receiving touchdowns. The only knock regarding Lamb is his 24.7 BMI which is under the preferred 26. The good news is many believe that Lamb is bigger than what is being currently reported which might eradicate his BMI concerns. Predicted to go in the first round, Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb is as close to a sure thing as you can get from a 2020 rookie wide receiver.
– Marc Mathyk (@masterjune70)