Jerry Jeudy's Fantasy value is on the rise, and he's headed for a breakout campaign this year. He's someone you can draft as a No. 2 receiver in all leagues as early as Round 5. Consider him a sophomore sensation.
Many Fantasy managers viewed Jeudy as the best rookie receiver prior to last year. But he wasn't nearly as good as Justin Jefferson, who is the gem of the 2020 class of receivers. CeeDee Lamb is getting plenty of hype this year, and rightfully so. And there's a lot to like about Brandon Aiyuk, Tee Higgins and Chase Claypool since all of them showed promise as rookies and have plenty of potential for this year.
But what about Jeudy? We all know his rookie season in 2020 didn't go as planned after the Broncos made him the No. 15 overall selection in the NFL Draft. The positives were he had 110 targets, and he finished with 52 catches for 856 yards and three touchdowns. But he also had 12 drops, which were second to only Diontae Johnson (14) in 2020.
Jeudy must improve in that category, but I'm not concerned. Bridgewater should help Jeudy with better throws in his direction, and he should be the focal point in the passing game, even with Courtland Sutton (knee) back.
Noah Fant and K.J. Hamler will also compete for targets, but Jeudy is still going to get plenty of footballs thrown his way. Our CBS Sports projections have him for 67 catches, 1,023 yards and four touchdowns on 146 targets. I like the targets, but I'm hopeful for more in the other categories.
Jeudy is one of my favorite players this year. I'm hopeful that his sophomore season goes better than his rookie campaign, and he should help Fantasy managers in a big way. That's why he's the highlight of Breakouts 3.0.
Now, let's examine some of my other favorite breakouts for this season.
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Jalen Hurts QB
PHI Philadelphia • #1
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Hurts has the chance to be the next great Fantasy quarterback. He's had a strong training camp, and everything around him should be better when it comes to his offensive line and weapons, including first-round rookie receiver DeVonta Smith. Hurts looked the part of a Fantasy star last year when he scored 20, 43 and 19 Fantasy points in his first three starts against New Orleans, Arizona and Dallas, and he was on pace for 4,517 passing yards, 27 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, as well as 1,269 rushing yards and five touchdowns over 16 games. That's likely not realistic, but his rushing potential gives him a huge advantage over most quarterbacks. Hurts has the chance to be special this year, and he's someone you can draft with a mid-round pick in all leagues. I wouldn't be surprised if Hurts finished as a top-five quarterback this year.
Najee Harris RB
PIT Pittsburgh • #22
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
There's reason to be concerned about investing heavily in Harris because of Pittsburgh's rebuilt offensive line, but that's not stopping me from drafting him early in the second round of all leagues. The Steelers have a tremendous history of leaning on one running back under coach Mike Tomlin, and Harris should be that guy. He's a dual threat after what he accomplished at Alabama in 2020 with 251 carries for 1,466 yards and 26 touchdowns, along with 43 receptions for 425 yards and four touchdowns. We've seen glimpses of his upside in the preseason, including a 46-yard reception in his lone outing with Ben Roethlisberger under center. And while the offensive line could struggle, it could also be a surprise with new faces performing better than last year's group. I can see Harris finishing the season as a top 10 Fantasy running back this year, and he should be the prize of this rookie class -- at all positions.
WAS Washington • #24
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Gibson has put himself in position to be a borderline first-round pick in all leagues, and there's a reason the Washington Football Team coaches are comparing him to Christian McCaffrey. Coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner worked with McCaffrey with the Panthers, and they are excited about Gibson in his sophomore campaign. Now, it would be nice if J.D. McKissic wasn't around to work in obvious passing situations, but Gibson will still get plenty of receptions this year. Last season, he scored at least 12 PPR points in eight of his first 11 games. A toe injury in Week 13 slowed him down over the final five games of the season, but he's fine now. And in terms of his role in the passing game, Gibson is a converted receiver from Memphis and had 36 receptions on 44 targets as a rookie. The Washington offense should improve with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, and Gibson will be the focal point. I'm excited about his potential this year.
Myles Gaskin RB
MIA Miami • #37
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
It was a little troubling to see Gaskin play behind Malcolm Brown in Miami's first preseason game against Chicago. But then came Week 2 against Atlanta, and Gaskin was a star with six carries for 27 yards and a touchdown, along with four catches for 44 yards and a touchdown. That's the caliber of player we saw in 2020 when he had at least 19 total touches in five of his final seven games. Gaskin had 142 carries for 548 yards and three touchdowns in the 10 games he appeared in 2020, as well as 41 receptions for 388 yards and two touchdowns on 47 targets. Over 16 games, that would have been 227 carries for 877 yards and five touchdowns, along with 66 catches for 621 yards and three scores. To put that in perspective, the only running back with over 800 rushing yards and 600 receiving yards last season was Alvin Kamara. Being in the same conversation as Kamara is fantastic, and we'll see if Gaskin can do that over a full season. He's someone to target as early as Round 4, and you shouldn't be too concerned about Brown or Salvon Ahmed taking Gaskin off the field for any significant amount of time.
NE New England • #37
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
We all know it's risky to trust a New England running back, but the Patriots tried to give us more clarity on their backfield by trading away Sony Michel to the Rams this week. That puts Harris in better standing for Fantasy managers. Now, James White is going to play on passing downs, and Rhamondre Stevenson and potentially J.J. Taylor will take away some carries on the ground. And let's not forget about Cam Newton and his rushing prowess. Sounds great so far for Harris, right? Last year, Harris had six games with at least 14 carries, and he had either 95 total yards or a touchdown in four of them. And Harris is going to be the leader of this group based on his usage in the preseason. The offensive line in New England is better this season, and the Patriots figure to be among the most run-heavy teams in the NFL. I expect Harris to lead the team in carries, and hopefully he can hold off Newton for some rushing touchdowns. He's a borderline starter in PPR and a quality No. 2 running back in non-PPR leagues. But if things click as I expect, Harris could finish as a top 20 running back in all formats. He's someone to target as early as Round 5.
ARI Arizona • #2
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Edmonds has the chance to be the lead running back for the Cardinals, and hopefully he's in that role all season. He has to hold off James Conner for the job, but there's a lot to like about Edmonds this season. In 2020, Edmonds played behind Kenyan Drake, but Edmonds still managed six games with at least 12 PPR points. He had two games with double digits in carries last season, and he averaged 12.5 PPR points over that span. He'll need to improve on that number to be a breakout candidate, but he should excel as a receiver after catching 51 passes on 71 targets in 2020. And he averaged 4.6 yards per carry last season, which will hopefully remain the same with a bigger workload. The Cardinals offense should be explosive, and Drake scored 10 rushing touchdowns last season. It would be great if the bulk of those go to Edmonds, but that's probably where Conner has an edge at finding the end zone. Still, I like Edmonds as a flex play in non-PPR leagues and a starting option in PPR. He has the chance for a big season as the likely lead running back in Arizona.
WAS Washington • #17
Age: 26 • Experience: 3 yrs.
McLaurin could be a top-five Fantasy receiver this year with the addition of Fitzpatrick. Since 2010, in stops with the Bills, Titans, Texans, Jets and Dolphins, Fitzpatrick has eight seasons with at least nine starts. Over that span, his No. 1 receiver -- Steve Johnson (three times), Kendall Wright, Andre Johnson, Brandon Marshall (twice) and DeVante Parker -- had at least 128 targets on the year. There were seven times where the No. 1 receiver had at least 72 catches, six times where the No. 1 receiver had at least 1,000 yards and three times where the No. 1 receiver had at least 10 touchdowns. McLaurin was solid as a rookie with 58 catches for 919 yards and seven touchdowns on 93 targets in 14 games in 2019. In 2020, he had 87 catches for 1,118 yards and four touchdowns on 134 targets in 15 games. I'm expecting this to be his best season yet, and he's worth drafting as early as Round 3 in all leagues.
CeeDee Lamb WR
DAL Dallas • #88
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Lamb getting a full season of Dak Prescott (ankle) should make him a star Fantasy option, and Lamb was on his way toward making that happen as a rookie before Prescott was injured in Week 5. In his first five games, Lamb averaged 16.2 PPR points per game, and he averaged eight targets per game over that span. Only once without Prescott did Lamb top 16.0 PPR points per game for the rest of the year, and it will be fun to see Lamb improving in his second season with better quarterback play. Amari Cooper will still have a prominent role in the passing game, and the Cowboys are loaded with talent with Michael Gallup, Ezekiel Elliott and Blake Jarwin also needing the football. But Lamb should end up as a weekly Fantasy starter in all leagues, and he's worth drafting as early as Round 4.
D.J. Moore WR
CAR Carolina • #2
Age: 24 • Experience: 4 yrs.
I thought Moore was going to take a step forward in 2020, which was his third season in the NFL. Instead, he regressed, going from 15.3 PPR points per game in 2019 to 14.1 last year. He still posted respectable stats last season with 66 catches for 1,193 yards and four touchdowns, but I know Moore has more to offer. And with Curtis Samuel gone, I hope the Panthers use Moore in the slot, which should help his reception total. We also could see Sam Darnold do more for the Panthers receivers than Teddy Bridgewater, which bodes well for Moore, Robby Anderson and rookie Terrace Marshall. The touchdowns are once again the key for Moore being a breakout receiver, and he only has 10 total touchdowns for his career and has yet to top four in a season. If that stat improves in 2021 then we could be looking at a top 10 Fantasy receiver in all leagues, and he's someone to target in Round 4 on Draft Day this year.
MIA Miami • #17
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Waddle has benefitted in a big way in training camp and the preseason with Will Fuller and DeVante Parker battling injuries. That has allowed Waddle to solidify his rapport with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, even though the two played together at Alabama. Waddle had three catches for 21 yards on four targets in Miami's second preseason game against Atlanta, and I expect him to be the Dolphins' No. 1 receiver this year. It seems like Miami will move Waddle around, and he's an explosive receiver with the ball in his hands. You're going to draft Waddle as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in the majority of leagues, but he could become a weekly starter. I expect Tagovailoa to improve in his second year, and Waddle should be his primary target. It wouldn't be a huge surprise if Waddle is the best rookie receiver in 2021, even better than Ja'Marr Chase and DeVonta Smith.
DET Detroit • #88
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Hockenson is expected to be fine after dealing with a shoulder injury in training camp, and he should be ready for Week 1. The Lions need him, and he should be the best pass catcher in Detroit, which has a receiving corps that features Tyrell Williams, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Breshad Perriman. Jared Goff should lean on Hockenson quite a bit, and hopefully we get similar production from him like Goff got from Tyler Higbee to close 2019 for the Rams when Higbee had five games in a row with at least eight targets, seven catches and 84 yards, along with two touchdowns. Last season with Matthew Stafford, Hockenson had 11 games with at least five targets, and he scored at least 13 PPR points in seven of them. While Hockenson still has plenty to prove to justify drafting him as a top five tight end in all leagues, the potential is there given his role in this offense. He's worth drafting as early as Round 5.
So which sleepers, breakouts and busts should you target and fade? And which QB shocks the NFL with a top-five performance? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy cheat sheets for every single position, all from the model that called Josh Allen's huge season, and find out.