The 2014 Wide Receiver Rookie Class

Josh Collacchi takes a look at the 2014 Rookie Wide Receiver class from a fantasy football perspective.

| 3 years ago

The 2014 Wide Receiver Rookie Class

All-American-WR-suspended-two-games-for-arrest-Q120GA80-x-largeFor those following the NFL Draft, you know this year’s wide receiver class will be one of the best we have seen. As always, time is the deciding factor, but the potential of this class is simply outstanding.

Here is a look at the last five wide receiver classes in terms of those drafted in the first round:

2013: Tavon Austin, DeAndre Hopkins, Cordarrelle Patterson

2012: Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd, Kendall Wright, A.J. Jenkins

2011: A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Jonathan Baldwin

2010: Demaryius Thomas, Dez Bryant

2009: Darrius Heyward-Bey, Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin, Percy Harvin, Hakeem Nicks, Kenny Britt

As you can see, the last significant amount of receivers taken early was in 2009. This year’s class could potentially match that class in terms of the amount of receivers taken early in the draft. The most intriguing thing about this particular class is the depth. There are roughly 10 players who could be starting fantasy options right away. With the amount of talent in this class and the upward trend of wide receivers in fantasy football, this particular class will be one to watch for in your drafts for next season.

The draft is less than 80 days away and the Combine is set to begin in the coming days. The wide receiver class of 2014 will be among the hot topics in fantasy football. Here is the top 10:

Player Height Weight
1 Sammy Watkins 6’1 205
2 Mike Evans 6’5 225
3 Kelvin Benjamin 6’5 235
4 Odell Beckham Jr. 5’11 195
5 Jordan Matthews 6’2 210
6 Brandin Cooks 5’10 185
7 Allen Robinson 6’3 210
8 Davante Adams 6’2 215
9 Marqise Lee 6’0 195
10 Kevin Norwood 6’2 200

With at least three of the above players being taken in the first round, it is hard to imagine a scenario where a good number of these players will not be fantasy relevant. Of the 10 names listed above, the top nine have the potential to be top fantasy options (depending on which team drafts each one), and that cannot be said for the last few rookie wide receiver classes. Last season, the savvy owners were able to draft Keenan Allen and Cordarrelle Patterson, the only two who finished in the top 50 wide receivers in terms of fantasy points. This season, it’s realistic to expect that number to double, or even triple.

Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans could be top options right away, and Kelvin Benjamin could be a red-zone monster with his big frame. Not to mention Brandin Cooks, who has drawn comparisons to a hybrid of Steve Smith and DeSean Jackson, as a top slot option.

In the late first or early second round, a team could select Marqise Lee, who is as dynamic as any player with the ball in his hands. If he ends up in a situation that will allow him to get yards after the catch, Lee will be a good fantasy option as well.

In terms of dynasty value, this wide receiver class will likely fill out the first round of most drafts. Many fantasy football players know that fantasy football is becoming a wide-receiver-dominated league due to an increase of passing in today’s NFL. In addition, PPR leagues are increasingly popular, giving more value to the wide receiver. So, this rookie wide receiver class will be one of the most heavily drafted by fantasy players that we have seen. Last year in dynasty drafts, we saw the likes of Le’Veon Bell, Eddie Lacy and Gio Bernard. This year will have the same value throughout the first round at wide receiver.

This rookie class will have an impact in redraft leagues as well. The consensus feeling around the draft community is that at least five of this year’s wide receiver class will have an impact right away, regardless of team. Considering Allen and Patterson were the only impactful ones last year, five is a huge number. Watkins will be the one player that everyone will target, but getting Evans and some others later in your draft may win your leagues for you.

Keep an eye on where each of these 10 players end up, and remember the names for your fantasy drafts. With Allen being the only rookie wide receiver in fantasy to crack the top 35, most of the rookies will be considered sleepers. Get these sleepers in your draft strategy right away, and reap the benefits later.

In addition to PFF, Josh writes for eDraft and ProFootballCentral. With any comments or questions, each him on Twitter @PFF_JCollacchi !

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