Most of the Fantasy attention over the past month has gone to the 2020 rookie class. I suppose that makes sense since we're still less than a month removed from the NFL Draft. But the further removed we get, the easier it is to see that Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb and the rest of this class aren't near likely to have the impact the 2019 class did. At least not this year.
Last year's rookie class placed six receivers in the top 40 of PPR rankings at the end of the year and that didn't include the first two drafted (Marquise Brown and N'Keal Harry). It was a remarkable year, but there's reason to hope for even more this season. Before we get to the actual projections, here are my quick thoughts on them, in order of their 2019 finish.
The only question with A.J. Brown is whether his volume can rise fast enough to make up for the inevitable regression in efficiency. I have him has a low-end No. 2 once again in PPR because I think they may cancel each other out. If A.J. Brown gets 120 targets, he could be a top-12 receiver, but that's going to require a huge increase in the Titans' pass volume.
Terry McLaurin was actually better on a per-game basis than A.J. Brown. McLaurin should be the clear No. 1 in Washington, and this team should throw a lot more with Bill Callahan gone. The biggest concern for McLaurin is how much Dwayne Haskins improves. He's a high-end No. 3 with top-12 upside.
DK Metcalf came on strong in the second half, but like Brown he needs his team to undergo a philosophical change to reach his true potential. He's proven enough to work into a 1A situation with Tyler Lockett, and he has the best quarterback of this group. He's just a No. 3 for me in PPR, and unless Lockett gets hurt, his upside remains lower than that of Brown or McLaurin.
I hate to sound like a broken record, but yes Deebo Samuel is also in a run-first offense and probably won't get enough targets this year to massively improve. A huge chunk of Samuel's production last year came in two games George Kittle missed. That combined with the team's first-round selection of Brandon Aiyuk drops Samuel a tier below Brown, McLaurin and Metcalf. I'd rather have Marquise Brown, too.
Darius Slayton and Diontae Johnson both benefitted from injuries to their team's top targets and figure to be worse in 2020, not better. But I still like their skillsets a lot and will be targeting them as midseason buy-lows in Dynasty.
But even after that first six, we're not done with this class. Marquise Brown and Preston Williams are in my top 45 receivers, and Mecole Hardman isn't far behind. Harry shouldn't be forgotten either, at least not in Dynasty leagues. The 2019 receiver class looks poised to improve on their rookie performances, and that makes receiver as deep as it's ever been.
Here are my updated wide receiver projections: