The talk of the Fantasy Football world has been the Julio Jones trade, and what it means for Calvin Ridley and A.J. Brown. While that's really important for redraft, and the trade did impact my Dynasty Quarterback Rankings, the impact was not felt amongst the receivers as much in this format. Ridley did bump up a spot, and Jones fell a couple, but everyone is till in the same ballpark. One group of receivers that seems to be in a constant state of change is the class of 2020.
Last year's rookie class was simply phenomenal. Justin Jefferson had a historic campaign, CeeDee Lamb and Tee Higgins both topped 900 receiving yards, while Chase Claypool and Brandon Aiyuk both flashed elite upside for a stretch. Notably missing from this paragraph are the first two receivers taken last year.
Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy both failed to live up to the hype as rookies, and the production of Jefferson and the rest of the rookie breakouts only amplified that failure. But the two did so in different ways, and you shouldn't be giving up on either.
Ruggs' main problem was that he just didn't get the ball. He never saw more than five targets in a game and he averaged barely more than three. When he did get targeted, he was pretty fantastic, averaging 10.4 yards per target. It's worth saying that earning targets is a skill, and it's a ding on Ruggs that he didn't earn more looks as a rookie. But also, earning targets in this offense has been a problem for most receivers in Oakland. Last year they were the only team in football who threw fewer than half of their passes to receivers. In 2019, only the Eagles and Ravens threw fewer passes to wide receivers.
Is that going to change in 2021? Probably not. Which is why Ruggs is nothing more than a late-round dart throw in redraft leagues. But he's still just 22 years old, he still has elite speed and pedigree. That's what makes him one of my favorite buy lows in Dynasty right now. Ruggs is ranked right between Rondale Moore and Rashod Bateman in the rankings below and I'd be thrilled to trade a Round 2 rookie pick for him.
Jeudy, on the other hand, had no trouble earning targets. He saw double-digit targets three different times and eight or more targets in half of his games. The problem was two-fold, his quarterback and his concentration. Nearly 40% of Jeudy's targets were uncatchable and then he dropped far too many passes that were catchable. The result was a putrid 46% catch rate and a below-average 7.6 yards per target.
The thing is, neither of those problems should persist. Drops, as a rule, are not predictive. And we're talking about eight-to-10 drops in a rookie season, I frankly don't care as long as the Broncos don't bench him for it. As for the quarterback play, Jeudy has the security of Teddy Bridgewater in case Drew Lock doesn't improve and there's still an outside shot the team is able to trade for Aaron Rodgers.
The truth of the matter is, with Ruggs, Jeudy, and even the rookies who were good last year, we just need more information. Even a full 16-game season is not enough to tell us exactly what type of Fantasy asset a receiver is. That makes these receivers extremely volatile Dynasty assets. I wouldn't blame anyone for wanting to sell high on Claypool or Aiyuk. But as you can see below, I'm not selling high on Jefferson, and there's not a receiver in Fantasy I'd take for him.
A quick note about these rankings: In trying to make them for everyone, they fall short for the true contenders and the true rebuilders. Julio Jones is a great example; he's way too low if you're in it to win it in 2021. For the same team, Ruggs is probably too high. Adjust these based on your team's situation. and if you're not a contender or a rebuilder, you need to fix that before the season starts. There's no worse place to be in Dynasty than the middle.
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.