Brady Podloski | April 22nd, 2020
The NFL draft is this week and for fantasy drafts and dynasty players, it is an incredibly important week. With it already being the end of April, it also means that fantasy drafts are right around the corner! To have a successful fantasy team, you need startable receivers.
However, wide receivers are among the most difficult positions to assess, as the position has a significant learning curve. In past years, players like Deebo Samuel, D.J. Moore, and A.J. Brown have exceeded early fantasy expectations and become viable weekly starters in PPR and non PPR formats. So I’ve selected three top prospects and two sleepers that all have translatable skills and can hit the ground running from this year’s NFL draft.
1. Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado
A trait that allows for immediate success in the NFL is run after the catch. Like Moore, Samuels, and Brown, each had gained a significant part of their yardage from running after the catch. This year’s draft has an absolute monster in Shenault, who has the vision to play running back and hands to play receiver. In Colorado’s system, he not only played the receiver position but also running back and led the wildcat formation. Shenault could play the same role as Samuel’s with the Niners, where if the team can manufacture touches for Shenault he’ll be successful.
Colorado WR Laviska Shenault
➕19.9 (Soph) BOA(66th-%ile)
➕42 career rush att (280yds & 7 TDs)
➕78th-%ile Speed Score
➖12.7 YPR (23rd %ile)
➖6.2% 📉 in target % from 2018👉2019
— Alex Johnson (@a_johnsonFF) April 21, 2020
Shenault’s lateral cutting ability, size, and long speed make him dangerous in the open field. Shenaults skillset put him in an opportunity to gain additional yards but also have carries for short yardage. This is important, as Shenault has experience as a goal-line back, and at 6’3”, 227 lbs he was very effective in college. He had 42 carries and came away with seven touchdowns.
Overall, If Shenault can stay healthy, he offers upside as a talented wide receiver, who has the potential to get five to 15 touches a game, some of those touches with touchdown upside. Since he’s listed at ‘wide receiver” and has multiple rushing touchdowns, he could be a steal. His draft capital is important as it will dictate how many targets and carries he gets. If he’s drafted in the first round, I’ll be all in, but outside the first and I will be more hesitant.
2. Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
One difficult transition from NCAA to NFL is route running and the small details that go into it. If a receiver can generate separation and understand and refine the small details of route running, they can find success in the NFL. For Jeudy, he is the most pro-ready receiver in this draft for that reason, route running. Jeudy’s been running elite routes for two years, some routes better than current NFL starters.
Thread on Jerry Jeudy pic.twitter.com/bt0zTEVKew
— NFL Film Review (@NFLFilmReview) April 14, 2020
Jeudy’s win with his quickness and ability to stop on a dime. As well, he has great body control to make adjustments to catches allowing him to make clutch catches to move the chains. Finally, his ability to make adjustments, read coverages and understand how to gain advantages when running routes, makes him a receiver that could have 60-75 receptions this year. Jeudy can be a WR2 in 2020, and be a valuable fantasy asset if drafted by the right team.
3. Jalen Reagor, TCU
Reagor is a playmaker, has explosiveness, and has run after the catchability. This past year, TCU’s quarterback Max Duggan didn’t support Reagor at all and it reflected in his stats. Deep balls were overthrown, intermediate and short passes weren’t in positions to allow him to get upfield, and he didn’t get enough screens. The point being, the offense didn’t do enough for Reagor to succeed. If Reagor becomes the focal point for a team, he has the potential to be a WR1 at some point in his career.
What does Reagor do well? Everything, he runs routes with shiftiness and misdirection, always keeping defenders guessing. He’s strong at the catch point and has improved his body control significantly on intermediate and deep balls, allowing him to secure more catches. His run after the catch ability is another element of his game. He has the agility to make highlight real lateral jump cuts and make defenders miss. The only part of Reagor’s game that is incomplete is his lack of focus, resulting in easy drops.
For Reagor, when he is drafted and the team he is drafted to, will be significant for his fantasy profile. I think Reagor has a chance to go first round and if he does, he’ll be an immediate contributor to any fantasy team. However, if he’s drafted in the second round, I may only consider him in dynasty leagues.
TCU WR Jalen Reagor :
• 5’11, 206 lbs
• 4.47 40 yard dash
• 42 in vertical
• Smooth athlete w/ blazing speed
• Electric w/ the ball in his hands
• Plays like a slashing RB in space
• Home-run potential in deep routes & return game
— GBP Daily (@GBPdaily) April 20, 2020
Devin Duvernay, Texas
Another run after the catch guy, who has the speed and hands to carve out a wide receiver three role for a team. His draft location will be really important.
Jeff Thomas, Miami
Thomas will likely be drafted in round six or later. He has some off the field issues which will drop him in the draft. He will be a steal for some team wanting a deep threat that is a bonus in the screen game.
Questions and comments?
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