Nick’s Top 10 Rookie Wide Receivers Post Draft

1. Ja’Marr Chase

No doubt about it, Chase is easily the most talented WR from this draft class, and has all the tools to be a valuable fantasy asset. In his sophomore season at LSU, he had 21.2 yards per reception over 84 catches for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns. Chase joins an already good Cincinnati receiving core with Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, and his former college QB Joe Burrow. Chase’s big-play ability and good chemistry with Burrow should translate into lots of fantasy points.

Now you might be thinking, how can Burrow support 3 relevant fantasy receivers? Look no further than the 2020 Dallas Cowboys as a blueprint for the 2021 Bengals. In 2020 both teams had a similar passing percentage at ~60% and before his injury Burrow led the league in drop backs, so he should be able to spread the ball around evenly. Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd finished as WR 28 and 29 respectively, I would expect Chase to edge out the two of them and finish at roughly WR 20.

2. Devonta Smith, PHI

Coming out of Alabama as the reigning Heisman champ, Smith had a great final college season, and should continue to produce in the NFL. Just like Chase, Smith also reunites with his college QB Jalen Hurts, so there should be chemistry there. In his last year at Alabama, he had 1,856 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns leading all of college football. Smith is one of the few rookie receivers that should instantly be WR1 on his team, due to the best competition in the Eagle’s WR room being Travis Fulgham and Greg Ward the WR 62 and 63. You should expect similar production from Smith as DJ Moore and Chase Claypool with roughly 10 PPG.

3. Rashod Bateman, BAL

Lamar finally got a true WR1 with Bateman out of Minnesota. The Ravens wide receivers from last season were not relevant from a fantasy perspective, with their best receiver being Marquise Brown at WR 32. This can also be attributed to Lamar Jackson’s passing ability, only throwing for 2,757 yards and 26 touchdowns, the most amount going to Brown at 8. Bateman should still thrive in the Raven’s run-first offense as they look to balance their offense more in 2021. Similar to Smith, Bateman can also overtake Marquise Brown and be the WR1 for his team. If Baltimore increases their pass volume Bateman should benefit next season and for the foreseeable future.

4. Rondale Moore, AZ

Moore Joins a somewhat deep receiving corps in Arizona with Kyler Murray at the helm. The Cardinals are likely to be a pass-first offense in 2021 due to the lack of a good run game. Moore should easily beat out Christian Kirk for the role of WR 2 in their offense and be a great compliment to DHop. Moore can be viewed at the same level as a player like DJ Chark, and be a good WR2 in all league formats. As Arizona’s primary slot receiver and short-area playmaker, he should see the field early. Kyler Murray ranked in the top 10 on throws with a target depth of 9.0 yards or less last season, so volume should be abundant for the 5-foot-7 wideout.

5. Jalen Waddle, MIA

Although Waddle was the 2nd WR off the board he may not have a big role in the dolphin’s offense his rookie year. The Dolphins have a deep receiving core consisting of Preston Williams, Devante Parker, Mike Gesicki, and the newly acquired Will Fuller. Waddle has all of the talents to continue producing in the NFL and reunites with his former college QB, Tua. I would value Waddle more in dynasty or keeper formats because I don’t think he’ll have much production in his rookie year. Eventually, he should be receiving enough targets to be a solid WR2, but he’s a boom or bust player for now.

6. Elijah Moore, NYJ

Moore landed has a decent landing spot in New York, with the potential to take over the slot receiver role from Jamison Crowder. The former Ole Miss WR currently has to compete with Crowder, who is entering the last year of his contract. Moore will be the next star slot receiver with his great route-running, speed, and hands. If the Jets cut Crowder and move forward with Moore in the starting role next season he should be a decent fantasy option depending on how Zach Wilson performs. 

7. Nico Collins, HOU

Assuming Deshaun Watson plays in 2021, Collins could easily be the WR2 in Houston across from Brandin Cooks. Collins is a speedy, deep threat receiver that averaged 19.7 YAC in 2019. Houston has 194 vacated targets from offseason departures, so Collins could easily get 100+ targets in his rookie year. If Deshaun Watson plays, Collins would easily be put in the WR2 range.

8. Terrance Marshall Jr, CAR

Marshall landed in a great spot in Carolina, due to OC Joe Brady. Last year, the Panthers were able to produce 3 fantasy-relevant receivers in Curtis Samuel, DJ Moore, and Robby Anderson despite Teddy Bridgewater playing subpar. With a slight upgrade at QB and Marshall essentially replacing Samuel, Marshall will likely have a fantasy-relevant rookie season. Don’t expect him to be putting up DK Metcalf numbers, temper your expectations to the level of the former Panther Curtis Samuel.

9. Amari Rodgers, GB

Rodgers landed in a good spot, with one of the best quarterbacks in the league throwing to him, Rodgers. Rodgers should be a good compliment to Davante Adams and should overtake Allen Lazard on the depth chart. In college, he had 613 yards after the catch last season, second among all wide receivers behind DeVonta Smith. He should make an impact in his rookie year, assuming Rodgers stays in Green Bay. 

10. Amon Ra St. Brown, DET

St. Brown enters the league into one of the most barren receiving cores in the NFL. Breshad Perriman and Tyrell Williams are at the top of the depth chart, who for the most part have been WR2 or 3 on their former teams. The Lions also have arguably one of the worst offenses in the NFL, which doesn’t bode well for the former Trojan. However, on the positive side, Lions quarterback Jared Goff loves throwing to his slot receiver, where St. Brown took 75% of his snaps from last year. The Sun God should be viewed as a potential sleeper pick in later rounds of your draft.

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