The NFL Draft is finally here and with it a whole new crop of players for you to worry about. There are dozens and dozens of names, to learn, but for fantasy football purposes, there are probably only about 50 or 60 guys you really need to worry about. Let’s break these guys down with 10 Second Scouting, the maiden voyage of a series that lets us do the hard work for you to give you an idea of what to expect from fantasy football rookies in 2021 and beyond. We started with the quarterbacks and running backs, so let’s move on to wide receivers now.
DeVonta Smith, Alabama (6’1” 174 pounds) | Dynasty Rookie ADP: 1.04
People obsessed with BMI will tell you DeVonta Smith is too skinny. People obsessed with football tell you that DeVonta Smith is too good for his BMI to matter. I concede he is a string bean and I also posit that I don’t care. The dude is Nightcrawler on the football field, popping in and out of reality seeming at will to get open. He fast with excellent route-running skills. He has a chance to make an immediate fantasy football impact if he ends up going to a wide receiver-needy team like Detroit or Philadelphia.
NFL Comparison: Marvin Harrison
Ja’Marr Chase, LSU (6’0” 208 pounds) | Dynasty Rookie ADP: 1.04
Chase has a good shot to be the first wide receiver off the board, mostly because Joe Burrow apparently lobbied for him behind the scenes in Cincinnati (who has the #5 overall pick). He is a great downfield receiver with speed, inside leverage, and moves constantly putting him between the DB and the ball. His biggest issue is press coverage, and his route running relying more on athleticism than technique. Still, I like him a lot. He also has a chance to pop in his rookie season for fantasy football purposes.
NFL Comparison: D.J. Moore
Jaylen Waddle, Alabama (5’10” 182 pounds) | Dynasty Rookie ADP: 1.06
Waddle reminds me of a poor man’s Tyreek Hill; he has speed for days and the presence to find the holes in zones. Unfortunately, he struggles in man coverage, given that he doesn’t have the size or chops to bully opposing DBs. If a team constructs their offense to focus on getting the ball to Waddle, he can shine, but he might fall off if he becomes a rotational part of an offense. I could see an A.J. Brown rookie year progression (slow, then lightning when they learn to use him) for Waddle for fantasy football purposes.
NFL Comparison: Poor Man’s Tyreek Hill
Rondale Moore, Purdue (5’7” 180 pounds) | Dynasty Rookie ADP: 1.07
Moore is small, but small guys can succeed if they do a bit of everything, and Moore fits that mold. If you like Brandon Aiyuk, then Rondale Moore is his mini-me. Purdue worked hard to get him the ball and he rewarded their loyalty. He has great hands, plays incredibly super mean and with agility, and does enough to beat man and zone coverages. His size does concern me, specifically since it seems to have caused an injury history. He can still be successful for fantasy football, just something to note.
NFL Comparison: Steve Smith
Rashod Bateman, Minnesota (6’2” 210 pounds) | Dynasty Rookie ADP: 1.08
Bateman is firmly a top-50 NFL Draft pick for me, but I am not blown away watching him. He’s merely really good in a lot of areas. He can catch, he is good off the line, he runs good routes, and he finds his spot in zones. Bateman’s biggest issue is sloppiness; as his routes need polishing and he suffers from focus drops. Mysteriously shrunk to 6 feet, 190 pounds on his Pro Day. The weight is COVID-19-related, but is the height? He’s very good and dependent on his destination for fantasy football value.
NFL Comparison: Justin Jefferson
Terrace Marshall Jr., LSU (6’3” 200 pounds) | Dynasty Rookie ADP: 1.12
I truly don’t know what I’m missing with Terrace Marshall. He checks all the physical tools, he’s a technician with good footwork. Marshall is big, physical and fast but doesn’t blow me away. Probably because when it comes to actually catching the football and doing things with it, he suffers. Marshall feels more like a guy who helps his QB his rookie year than helps in fantasy football.
NFL Comparison: Denzel Mims (and it’s eerie)
Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC (6’1” 195 pounds) | Dynasty Rookie ADP: 1.12
Amon-Ra does everything at a high level, but he has incredible hands, like “way too good” hands. He is one of the best WRs in this class at the attack point. He’s the brother to Green Bay’s Equanimeous St. Brown, and part of family that’s been called the “football version of the Ball family.” Amon-Ra is looking far more like LaMelo than LiAngelo to Equanimeous’ Lonzo, at this point.
NFL Comparison: Golden Tate
Elijah Moore, Ole Miss (5’9” 185 pounds) | Dynasty Rookie ADP: 2.03
Moore does a little bit of everything and is an inch shorter and two pounds lighter than Antonio Brown. He can run, catch, and is a great all-around athlete that Ole Miss used all over the field at every level. He could have sneaky PPR value his rookie year, depending on landing spot.
NFL Comparison: Antonio Brown (this doesn’t mean he will be AB84)
Kadarius Toney, Florida (6’0” 193 pounds) | Dynasty Rookie ADP: 2.04
Rumors swirl that Toney could go in the first round of the NFL Draft and that he might even go top-fifteen. I am not that bullish, though I do like Toney. He has an insane route running technique, and not in a normal way. He runs like a maniac that can only remind me of Johnson, who torched Prime Richard Sherman and Prime Darrelle Revis. He’s a YAC monster on top of his route running abilities. I want him in San Francisco with a third-rounder in the NFL Draft, but he’s going to fly off the board far before then.
NFL Comparison: Smaller Stevie Johnson
Dyami Brown, UNC (6’0” 195 pounds) | Dynasty Rookie ADP: 2.06
Brown has good straight-line speed but struggles in traffic. He isn’t the most fluid, which is why he was great on go routes. Brown averaged 20 yards per catch in each of his last two seasons in school, which best explains his game. He’s also an enthusiastic (but somewhat ineffective) blocker in the run game, as well. He likely finds no consistent fantasy football usefulness at the next level without evolving his game, but has earned an early day three pick in the NFL Draft.
NFL Comparison: Pick a fast guy with an okay size. John Brown? Will Fuller? Insert your favorite speedster here!
Seth Williams, Auburn (6’3” 211 pounds) | Dynasty Rookie ADP: 2.06
He’s a bigger stronger version of Tylan Wallace, which buys him two picks in dynasty rookie ADP. The extra height and a 95th-percentile wingspan help him dominate at the point of attack. He’s also good enough after the catch to make me sit up and take notice. He’s fine before the catch, but there’s just something about him that has me crushing on him. The ineffable wide receiver last year was Chase Claypool, so take from that what you will.
NFL Comparison: Tylan Wallace (I kid, I kid, see below)
Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State (6’0” 190 pounds) | Dynasty Rookie ADP: 2.08
I’m not overwhelmingly impressed with Tylan Wallace, as his traits would play infinitely better with some extra size and weight (which is why I like Seth Williams). He gets shoved off routes a lot, and sometimes punted on trying to hand fight, opting to try to sprint around the opposing DB instead. He’s physical and tough, but not very fast. He could evolve into a PPR guy in a couple years depending on where he goes in the NFL Draft.
NFL Comparison: Michael Gallup
Sage Surratt, Wake Forest (6’3” 215 pounds) | Dynasty Rookie ADP: 3.05
Big and slow with incredible hands and a nasty attitude on the field to match. He is almost a carbon copy of Anquan Boldin, who was one of the most productive fantasy football wide receivers of all time. I want him on all my dynasty rosters but I’m not so sure how well he will do in the NFL his rookie season.
NFL Comparison: Anquan Boldin
Tutu Atwell, Louisiana (5’9” 149 pounds) | Dynasty Rookie ADP: 3.05
Tutu weighs 149 pounds. I’m not worried about DeVonta Smith’s weight because he’s really good. Tutu Atwell kind of… isn’t. Like Pooka Williams, he plays like someone slammed every slider in Madden to the left but speed. He mostly blasted past other people in Louisiana. I’m not overwhelmingly excited about Tutu, though he could lead all rookies in explosive play rate. Destination will play a huge role in sorting out how his size plays in the NFL and for fantasy football.
NFL Comparison: J.J. Nelson
Dazz Newsome, UNC (5’11” 190 pounds) | Dynasty Rookie ADP: 3.05
Newsome is a sturdy, athletic, and shifty wide receiver who doesn’t do anything superbly. He was out of control against Virginia Tech, but that seemed to be an outlier. Newsome is more likely to be a useful cog in a highly functional NFL offense as a WR3 or WR4, or a useless (for fantasy football) WR2 in a dysfunctional offense. I like Dazz, but as a real NFL Draft prospect, not a fantasy football one.
NFL Comparison: Kendrick Bourne
Jaelon Darden, North Texas (5’9” 174 pounds) | Dynasty Rookie ADP: 3.06
Deep sleeper alert! Darden is shifty as all get out and is unstoppable if you give him a bubble screen inside the ten yard line of the end zone. He’s unlikely to have sustained fantasy value but he is going to hit some absolutely tasty home runs in the receiving game. He is a speedster and a shifty YAC monster.
NFL Comparison: Darnell Mooney
Nico Collins, Michigan (6’4” 215 pounds) | Dynasty Rookie ADP: 3.07
He’s big. And fast. And played in a barely functional passing game in college. The Wolverines seemingly held him down, since he tests will in every single aspect of being a wide receiver, but the tape just showed a whole lot of nothing. He’s big, does well on 50-50 balls and is fast enough for it to be a problem for opposing defenses. I’ve seen Kenny Golladay comparisons, but I’m not buying them at all. He’s a decent third-or-fourth round rookie pick, depending on destination.
NFL Comparison: Chase Claypool
If you want information that takes significantly more than 10 seconds, go ahead and check out these links!
Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ja%27Marr_Chase#/media/File:LSUvsUT_156_(49174312763).jpg (cropped) under CC BY SA 2.0
Average Draft Position per fantasyfootballcalculator.com, height and weight per nbcsports.com/edge