Over the past few weeks, we’ve been diving into the 2020 rookie racers. These rookies turned out to be a pretty exciting bunch for the redraft and dynasty leagues. Fortunately, 2020 also provided us with 12-plus rookie wide receivers. In this first group, we break down the most productive rookie wide receivers of 2020 in terms of receiving yards. Since this class includes so many intriguing talents, we’ll break them down into at least two articles, looking at opportunity, productivity, and efficiency metrics. the stocks of all these rookies should continue to rise, even if some have questionable quarterback situations.
justin jefferson, minnesota vikings
ffpc 2020 announcement: 168.25
Reading: 2020 nfl rookie wide receivers
stefon diggs, who? jokes aside, justin jefferson showed that he is productive and efficient in this vikings offense. he has earned 113 quality goals (#17 among qualified wide receivers) and a goal share of 25.2 percent (#12). when you combine that with his 1,386 (No. 7) passing yards and 36.9 percent (No. 8) passing yards, it’s no surprise he leads 2020 rookie wide receivers with 1,267 (No. 7) receiving yards. he not only won a decent number of chances, but he also held no. 10 with 401 receiving yards, posting 16.5 (#11) fantasy points per game and seven (#17) total touchdowns.
2 touchdowns for ceedee lamb (208 total pts) and still no chance to catch justin jefferson (237) for the wr1 rookie title.
Greetings everyone. pic.twitter.com/y8jtw9oqbt
— the podfather (@fantasy_mansion) December 28, 2020
Along with numerous opportunities, Jefferson also ranks high in several efficiency metrics. he boasts a production bonus of +24.8 (#8) with 11.2 (#4) yards per target and averages 16.0 (#9) receiving yards. Furthermore, he demonstrates point efficiency with averages of 0.51 (#11) fantasy points per road race and 2.19 (#14) fantasy points per goal. Heading into 2021, he will demolish his previous 2020 announcement and likely classify as a high-end wr2 pushing wr1 territory. He made a strong argument as the best wide receiver in Minnesota and the best in this rookie class.
ceedee lamb, dallas cowboys
2020 ffpc advertising: 90
After a strong start to 2020, Ceedee Lamb faded after Week 5 in part due to Dak Prescott being injured. any time a backup quarterback comes in, we expect offensive production to drop, especially when it comes to an elite fantasy quarterback going down. For context, through Week 5, Lamb won 39 of his 102 (#27) total targets and 433 of his 892 (#23) total receiving yards. that’s 38.2 percent of his targets and 48.5 percent of his yards. however, for this article, we’ll look at his stats for the entire season to help us paint the full picture. his 892 yards have come on 69 (no. 23) receptions. he has had six (21st) touchdowns and is averaging 13.3 (33rd) fantasy points per game. Overall, it’s not terrible to get the produce, but one wonders if the upside-down lamb would come with healthy prescott.
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with a target share of 17.8% (#49), 965 (#35) passing yards and a passing yard share of 22.2% (#58) with a mark of Average distance to goal of 9.5 (#66), Lamb has performed as a Dallas WR2 behind Amari Cooper on several opportunity and productivity metrics. he has played a lot outside of the slot with 573 (#3) slot plays on a team that averages 42.0 (#1) team pass plays per game. based on opportunity and productivity statistics, it’s no surprise that he ranks poorly on efficiency metrics. has a +6.8 (#32) production bonus and averages 8.7 (#39) yards per target, 0.43 (#32) fantasy points per road run, and 1.96 (#30) points of fantasy by objective. Since he proved to be efficient in week 16, he slightly improved his efficiency metrics.
Comparing the adp data for lamb and justin jefferson, it’s clear that they both outperformed their adp, but jefferson outperformed it. That said, Lamb’s ADP for 2021 may drop a bit or stay the same, while Jefferson’s ADP will spike. On paper, the Cowboys have a charged wide receiver core, but Lamb proved to be one of the most productive rookie wide receivers of 2020 in terms of receiving yards. if prescott comes into 2021 healthy then he projects more as a backend wr2 in the ppr leagues. however, without prescott, he ranks more as a wr3 with a minimal touchdown lead.
tee higgins, cincinnati flares
2020 ffpc ad: 206.75
just like ceedee lamb, joe burrow’s injury negatively affected tee higgins’ production. Until Burrow’s wound, Higgins finished no. 15 or more in fantasy points among wide receivers in four of nine weeks. after the injury, he finished no better than wr25 in the next five games, outside of week 16, where he was ranked no. 12 against a weak Texan defense. like justin jefferson, higgins outproduced his adp and performed much better than expected. on the season, he had 106 (#21) targets and a 20.8 percent (#35) target share with 1,258 (#14) passing yards and a 30.1 percent (#30) yard share aerial. He has produced relatively well with these opportunities, posting 67 (25th) receptions for 908 (21st) receiving yards while averaging 13.9 (27th) fantasy points per game.
Unsurprisingly, Higgins struggled with efficiency as the entire Bengals offense generally thrived on volume. he has a production bonus of +3.5 (#38) with averages of 8.6 (#41) yards per target and 1.84 (#46) fantasy points per target. With AJ Green probably gone, Higgins proved that he deserved to earn more chances behind Tyler Boyd. That said, his ADP will increase in 2021 as he was among the most productive rookie wide receivers of 2020. He could be rated WR3 if Burrow suffers a setback or a WR2 backend with his healthy QB in 2021.
brandon aiyuk, san francisco 49ers
advertising 2020 ffpc: 171.75
Among the most explosive rookie wide receivers of 2020, Brandon Aiyuk entered the NFL with a burst score of 132.0 (92nd percentile) and a speed score of 98.6 (64th percentile). it also has a college dominance rating of 40.6 percent (82nd percentile) and a college target share of 26.9 percent (70th percentile). Heading into week 16, he has performed well in six straight games, but we’ll note that he missed time due to him landing on the reserve/covid-19 list during that period. he finished inside the top 15 in five of the six weeks, with two performances in the top 6.
aiyuk had a ton of targets and passing yards during that six-game span, recording 70 of his 97 (#32) targets and 621 of his 876 (#43) total passing yards. good for 72.2 percent of his overall targets and 73 percent of his total passing yards. Note that he probably benefited from the injuries of Deebo Samuel and George Kittle, who wasted time while Aiyuk exploded.
check out brandon aiyuk in playerprofiler’s new dynasty deluxe rankings:
For the season, aiyuk posted a 23.2 percent target share (#23) and a 31.1 percent passing yard share (#24). we’ll also note his average target distance mark of 9.0 (#72). By contrast, Samuel has gained 116 (#106) passing yards and a 7.4 percent share (#104) of passing yards with an average target distance mark of 2.6 (#106). both players have gained a ton of yards after the catch, but the 49ers have used aiyuk more on the field.
Through 12 games in 2020, aiyuk is averaging 15.4 (#17) fantasy points per game on 60 (#30) receptions, 748 (#35) receiving yards and seven (#17) ) total touchdowns with a touchdown rate of 10.6 percent. looking at the discrepancy in fantasy points per game and receiving production tells us that the high touchdown rate boosted his fantasy production. Imagine what his fantasy production would look like if he maintained a pace similar to his most productive stretch of six games for a full season.
Heading to mnf, brandon aiyuk led all receivers with 16 goals (35.5% share). with active aiyuk for the last 5 weeks (7, 8, 10, 13, 14), he ranks: ?5th with 0.73 wopr?7th with 509 passing yards?5th with 40% shared passing yards?5th with 30 Target participation % #fantasyfootball pic.twitter.com/lydjqbi1hk
— Corbin (@corbin_young21) December 14, 2020
Although Aiyuk doesn’t rank high in efficiency metrics, he controlled target volume and passing yards during his unreal stretch of six games. he currently has a -0.4 production premium (#46) with a dominator rating of 23.4 percent (#32) and averages of 0.43 (#31) fantasy points per route run and 1.90 ( #39) Fantasy Points Per Goal . Like the other 2020 rookie wide receivers on this list, Aiyuk will crush his 2021 ADP as he produced well in about half of his games played.
one question heading into 2021: what happens to the 49ers offense if all three get healthy weapons? will aiyuk win healthy target and air yards shares with samuel and kittle around? unfortunately aiyuk suffered a sprained upper ankle ending his first game of the season early and he also finished the season with a reception for 15 yards in week 16. he deserves and should get consistent opportunities in 2021.
chase claypool, pittsburgh steelers
2020 ffpc ad: 229.25
If we ranked this group of 2020 rookie wide receivers by athletics, Chase Claypool would easily rank near the top. He came into the NFL with a speed score of 129.8 (99th percentile) and a burst score of 131.9 (92nd percentile). he has displayed his elite athleticism and explosiveness in several games this season. Although he lacks a lot of targets, he has gained a decent amount of targets and a ton of passing yards. he has commanded 98 (No. 29) targets, a 16.1 percent goal share (No. 61), 1,221 (No. 17) passing yards and a 28.1 percent passing yard share (No. 17). 36). Before Week 8, he received inconsistent opportunities outside of a Week 5 game where he exploded for seven receptions, 110 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Fortunately, the Steelers average 41.7 (#4) team pass plays per game and spread the ball around with their high passing volume.
Most of claypool’s fantasy production came via his ten (#5) touchdowns, or a 14.9 percent touchdown rate which ranks close to nelson agholor and will be more complete . in terms of efficiency, it ranks no. 50 with a -2.7 production premium and 45 with a 22.1 percent dominator rating, meaning he has accounted for just under a quarter of the team’s total receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. a couple of other efficiency metrics to note, he averages 0.48 (#18) fantasy points per road race and 1.96 (#30) fantasy points per goal. for context, he has logged 404 (#49) routes driven and scored nearly half a fantasy point on each route.
although claypool stock should rise if juju smith-schuster leaves in 2021, what happens if ben roethlisberger decides to retire? Given that Roethlisberger struggled and relied on volume, not efficiency in 2020, we can’t forget the significant drops with the team’s current backup quarterbacks. will claypool have a competent quarterback in 2021? overall i doubt him a bit more when i compare the other most productive rookie wide receivers of 2020. while his adp is likely to increase, he is more of a boom/bust wr3 in 2021. however, like brandon aiyuk, should have more opportunities for 2021.