Rookie Wide Receivers: Ideal Landing Spots
by Alan Seslowsky – Twitter: @Alanseslowsky
With a couple of weeks until the NFL draft, you can’t help but speculate where this deep class of wide receivers will land. We start to visualize the players in the team uniform, racking up points for our fantasy teams. Below are three rookie wide receivers along with realistic landing spots that RosterWatch would like to see in order to maximize their fantasy outputs.
WR Ja’Marr Chase to Cincinnati Bengals (Pick 5)
The reason Ja’Marr Chase is the consensus WR1 in this class was his 2019 season at LSU. Chase posted 84 receptions for 1,780 yards and an eye-popping 20 TDs. Chase out produced then-teammate Justin Jefferson. We saw how much of a fantasy football impact Jefferson was able to have during his rookie season. When the Bengals are on the clock, and if Chase is available it would send tingles down our spines to see him get paired up with his college QB, even though the most prudent pick from a “real football”-perspective would be to help Burrow via an offensive line addition like Penei Sewell. The Bengals already have a second round, year two, WR Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd on the team, but Chase’s talent, connection with Burrow, and draft pedigree would be optimal for his fantasy outlook.
WR Devonta Smith to New York Giants (Pick 11)
Smith is shaping up to be one of the most polarizing WR prospects this year. His size of 6’0″ and 170 lbs is light by modern-day WR1 standards. If Smith does succeed at the NFL level, he will be an outlier. The magnitude of college production in 2020 from DeVonta is jaw-dropping. Smith finished with 117 receptions for 1,856 yards and 23 TDs. Smith’s season was so dominant that he was the first WR in almost 50 years to win the Heisman Trophy.
The NY Giants are at a critical point with their third-year QB Daniel Jones. They need to find out if Jones is the future of the franchise or if they will move on from him. The best way to accurately evaluate Jones is to make sure he has rock-solid weapons. The Giants signed Kenny Golladay and will return veterans Sterling Sheppard, Evan Engram, and Darius Slayton. If the Giants can secure a pro-ready WR like DeVonta Smith at pick 11; there is little doubt Smith would immediately be a favorite target of Daniel Jones. Smith’s elite ability to separate and make plays all over the field with his 6’6″ wingspan; matches up well with Daniel Jones’ willingness to push the ball down the field and make throws in tight coverage. Smith would instantly be the most talented and likely the most targeted pass-catcher from day one.
WR Jaylen Waddle to Miami Dolphins (Pick 6)
Waddle to the Miami Dolphins would be a bit of an upset according to the Vegas odds. Any time we see recent college teammates get reunited where both players have high first-round draft capital, it signals there will be plenty of opportunities and a great chance for fantasy output. Waddle is a threat to take it to the house anytime he gets the ball in his hands. Prior to his ankle injury, this season Waddle had four straight 100 yard games. Waddle would likely be the favorite to lead the team in targets as he will hit the ground running with Tua. The Dolphins signed Will Fuller, who will miss the first game serving a suspension. Fuller’s playing style can only help Waddle, as defenses need to account for Fuller with a safety. Waddle landing in Miami would make him a strong candidate to be the fantasy WR2 in dynasty rookie drafts (depending on other landing spots), and a phenomenal mid-round best ball pick.