Brandon Aiyuk needs to get healthy to carve out a role for himself in San Francisco
Typically, rookie wide receivers can be great sleepers for fantasy football owners. However, in 2020, that may be more difficult because the players haven't had the same amount of time to connect with their new quarterback and learn their team's offense. More than any other players, they are at a bit of a disadvantage without a true preseason, and that may affect where the wide receivers are being taken on draft day. All of these receivers are in about the same place — the 13th round and later and around WR50.
CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys
The first rookie wide receiver taken in redraft leagues has been Lamb, as WR47. He's being drafted in the 13th round, and that may be a little low. He is set to make an impact for fantasy owners, but he does have Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup ahead of him on the Cowboys' depth chart. It is likely that he is able to carve himself a role in the Dallas offense, however, and fantasy owners should not expect great things in Week 1.
Jalen Reagor, Philadelphia Eagles
With Marquise Goodwin opting out and Alshon Jeffrey still recovering from foot surgery, Reagor's role in the Eagles' offense should be more than fantasy owners originally expected. He's still being drafted as WR50, which is about right, although he is expected to miss 3-4 weeks due to a shoulder injury. That means he's likely to miss the first couple of games, so his ADP will likely drop. However, Reagor doesn't have a lot of competition in Philadelphia, so he's still a worthy late-round target for someone willing to wait on his arrival a little longer.
Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos
Jeudy will suffer because of the lack of pre-season games, but he should take advantage of the fact that fellow rookie KJ Hamler has a hamstring injury that will keep him out about a month. This should give Jeudy time to establish himself in the offense, which will be good for fantasy owners. He is being drafted in the late rounds, and that's about right, but he should be one of the rookie wide receivers to own.
Henry Ruggs III, Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders drafted Ruggs in the first round, and many fantasy owners in dynasty leagues didn't hesitate to grab him to be on their rosters as well. He's still being drafted as WR55 in redraft leagues, but the luster may be wearing off a bit. There are reports of fellow rookie Bryan Edwards doing well, but it doesn't seem that Edwards would surpass Ruggs on the Raiders' depth chart. Ruggs should still be the one to draft but just wait until the later rounds.
Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings
Jefferson has big shoes to fill after Minnesota traded Stefon Diggs to the Bills, but Adam Thielen needs a new running mate out wide. When Jefferson is being drafted, it was assumed that he would start opposite Thielen. However, if Bisi Johnson gets that spot and Jefferson is No. 3 on the Vikings' depth chart, his fantasy value takes a hit. This may be a case of moving up the depth chart as the season goes on. He should be drafted in the late rounds.
Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers
The key for Aiyuk is how long Deebo Samuel is out. However, Aiyuk is dealing with a hamstring injury of his own and is trying to get healthy for Week 1. Samuel will likely miss the start of the season, but hopefully Aiyuk will be ready for the first week of the regular season. He has fantasy potential and should be drafted in the later rounds.
Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts
The Colts have been talking up Parris Campbell in training camp, but Pittman has a solid path to playing time. He reportedly has been working well with Philip Rivers and stepping up with T.Y. Hilton sidelined. Given Hilton's injury history (only playing 10 games last year) and the fact that he is starting this year with a hamstring injury already does not bode well for Hilton. However, this will help Pittman. He's worth a late-round draft pick.
Laviska Shenault Jr. (Jacksonville Jaguars) is someone to keep an eye on in deeper leagues. He seems to be impressive in Jacksonville but is still behind on the Jaguars' depth chart. Denzel Mims (New York Jets) could have potential but already has a hamstring injury, which is going to make it tough for fantasy owners to trust him. Tee Higgins (Cincinnati Bengals) is also dealing with a hamstring injury but is still practicing. He's low on the Bengals' depth chart at this point as well. Chase Claypool (Pittsburgh Steelers) is looking good, according to reports, but he may not make a fantasy impact this year. One guy to draft in later rounds may be Bryan Edwards (Las Vegas Raiders). There are some reports saying that he is getting reps ahead of Ruggs and that he has connected with Derek Carr.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.
(Top photo courtesy of 49ers.com)