The SEC always boasts plenty of offensive talent, and this year is no exception. The conference is currently seeing a bit of a renaissance at the wide receiver position. Several young players emerging during a time where many offenses are flourishing and defenses are struggling. I almost split this article into two separate ones, just based on the sheer amount of devy relevant receiving weapons that should be in the NFL within the next three years.
Jaylen Waddle (Dynasty Nerds WR4):
It seems fitting to start with the receiver ranked highest by the consensus here at Dynasty Nerds. Waddle is an uber-athletic receiving prospect with a well-rounded game. This season, Waddle has answered the critics by doing a bit of everything. He has shown toughness and the ability to track downfield, as well as a dangerous YAC game. If his receiving skills were not enough, he is also the most feared return man in college football. He was already high on most boards entering the season, but his performances have been great. So far, he has 21 total touches for 410 yards and three touchdowns. He’s produced circus catches, been consistent on his manufactured touches, and shown he is more than just a gimmicky receiver.
Perhaps Waddle’s biggest advantage so far this season is that the other top tier receivers in the class have yet to play a game. Rondale Moore and Rashod Bateman will start playing in a few weeks, but Ja’Marr Chase opted out for the season. By the time the others get going, the Waddle narrative may be at its peak. Waddle could be the first receiver drafted in 2021 because the upside he presents is enormous. He should be a buy in all devy leagues because the price may never be lower.
DeVonta Smith (Dynasty Nerds WR7):
Smith is the most steady of the four great 2019 Alabama receivers. The 6’1, 175 receiver often served as Tua’s security blanket, and he has filled a similar role this season. Waddle and John Metchie have done most of their work deep or on screens and other manufactured touches, but when the game gets tough, Mac Jones calls Smith’s number. Smith had 6/63/1 against Texas A&M two weekends ago and 13/164/1 to help beat Ole Miss. In both contests, he showed his great hands and short-area quickness. Smith may not be picked in the top half of the first round like the other three guys, but discount Smith’s pro prospects at your own peril.
John Metchie (Dynasty Nerds WR56):
Metchie was famously the MVP of the spring game last offseason, but he was never going to get any serious game time as a freshman behind Waddle, Smith, Jerry Jeudy, and Henry Ruggs. With Ruggs and Jeudy gone, Metchie has stepped in, and the Tide offense has not missed a beat. Metchie has mostly been used as a deep threat, but he has excelled in that role. Saturday against Ole Miss was a quiet game because of the Tide dominance on the ground, but in the previous game against A&M, he finished with 5/181/2, and he is currently averaging 27.1 yards per reception.
When Waddle and Smith leave this offseason, Metchie will be the new leader of the Tide receivers. I am buying in all formats. Bama receivers typically hold their value, and the hype around Metchie will only grow going into next season. He is my number 1 WR riser in all of college football so far in 2020.
Other: Alabama brings in several highly ranked recruits each year, so there is always talent ready to break through for the program. This year, several players are waiting in the wings that may eventually become must-owns in devy leagues. In particular, freshmen Thaiu Jones-Bell, Traeshon Holden, and Javon Baker could all see snaps as the season progresses. All three should be on radars in campus to canton leagues.
George Pickens (Dynasty Nerds WR6):
We only have Pickens as the 6th rated devy receiver here at Dynasty Nerds, but he is currently my WR1. Pickens led the Bulldogs as a true freshman last season and has played well with relatively poor quarterback play in 2020. I am not concerned about his lack of production this year, as Bennett only seems interested in throwing to Kearis Jackson. He’s good for at least one play each week that truly shows how special he can be. I am a sucker for receivers that play the position angry, and Pickens definitely does. Physical at the catch point, refined as a route runner, and plenty athletic to dominate for years to come, Pickens should be drafted in all devy formats.
Dominick Blaylock (Dynasty Nerds WR46):
Blaylock missed the majority of his freshman season due to injury, and he will miss all of 2020 with a knee injury suffered this offseason. Georgia recruits so well that he may have missed his chance to truly break out. He is a hold if you have him because he won’t fetch much of a return.
Jermaine Burton (Dynasty Nerds WR68):
Basically, every receiver not named Pickens or Jackson has struggled this season. The QB play in Georgia is…uneven, to say the least. If JT Daniels can get healthy enough to play, the offense may get a boost. In the meantime, players like Burton should be a hold in all formats.
Kearis Jackson (Unranked):
When I initially started this article, I planned to give Jackson roughly two sentences of coverage and continue on. However, it is now undeniable that after three games, Jackson is the most important receiver on the roster. Jackson is currently leading all Georgia receivers in receptions and yardage, and Stetson constantly looks his way in big moments. Listed at 6’0, 200, the former 4-star looks quick and explosive, working mostly underneath and on some intermediate routes as well. He has had some injury issues since arriving at Georgia, so that is something to monitor. At this point, he should be owned in all c2c leagues, and I am keeping an eye on him in moderate to deep devy leagues.
Other: Marcus Rosemy (FR) has received some snaps but only has 2 catches to show for it. Again, the QB situation is limiting a lot of these guys, so hold Rosemy if you have him.
Terrace Marshall (Dynasty Nerds WR16):
I will be the first to admit that I may have been too low on Marshall coming into the season. In 2019 he benefited from the attention paid to Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson, and Thaddeus Moss in the passing game along with Edwards-Helaire on the ground. Marshall has stepped up to be the true wide receiver one in this offense. He is currently leading the team in receptions (21), yardage (424), and touchdowns (7). Marshall has the athleticism and size to be a true alpha in the NFL. His hands can be inconsistent, and he has not shown much on short and intermediate routes. But scouts will focus on what he can do, create explosive plays downfield. I am looking forward to LSU’s matchup with Bama, where Marshall will likely compete with first-round hopeful Patrick Surtain.
Kayshon Boutte (Dynasty Nerds WR35):
Boutte is an extremely explosive athlete who is dangerous with the ball in his hands. He has not received many targets through three games, but he is getting snaps and making the most of his situation. I expect a breakout game sooner rather than later, so take advantage of impatient owners and grab him now before he does so. Boutte was my WR2 in this freshman class.
Other: Koy Moore (FR) is a former 4-star recruit who was wanted by virtually every top program. He has strong hands and is a better route runner than many recruits are coming out of high school. QB Myles Brennan really only looks to Marshall and TE Arik Gilbert, so opportunities may be limited for the other pass catchers on the roster in 2020.
Elijah Moore (Dynasty Nerds WR34):
Ole Miss has my favorite receiving duo in the country. The more famous of the duo is Moore, the 5’9 185 junior who is extremely elusive in space and is a perfect slot receiver for the NFL. Moore has been on fire so far this year, with 31 catches for 462 yards and a touchdown in only three games. The Running Rebels have played at a torrid pace so far this season, which has him on pace for 100+ receptions. He probably won’t be a day 1 NFL draft pick, but he presents excellent value for dynasty managers looking for upside outside the consensus top receivers in the 2021 class.
Jonathan Mingo (Unranked):
Mingo is the less-heralded of the Ole Miss duo, but he won’t be that way for long. Mingo profiles similarly to recent Ole Miss receiver AJ Brown, both with his athletic profile and skill set. He flashed at times last season but looks like he has taken his game to the next level in 2020. Mingo is a bully and is savvy at gaining small amounts of separation at the catch point to allow for greater YAC. He is 2022 eligible and will not be the alpha in the offense until his junior year, which may be a small cause for concern. I have Mingo as a buy in c2c leagues, and I would consider drafting him late in devy drafts longer than 2-3 rounds.
Seth Williams (Dynasty Nerds WR14):
Williams is a difficult prospect to evaluate. He flashes a ton on tape for Auburn, but the offense is run-first, and Nix struggles to get his receivers the ball with any consistency. Williams’ game relies on his ability to win at the catch point. He isn’t a pure “jump ball” receiver, but he does not separate particularly well either. He is solid with the ball in his hands, but he may slide with so many dynamic players in the 2021 draft. This season, Williams put up a huge game against Kentucky in Week 1 but has been limited to 3 catches and no touchdowns each of the past two weeks.
I think draft twitter will be higher on Williams than the NFL is, and he will struggle early as he works to learn more nuances of the position. If he can go somewhere and start as the WR3 with a defined role, I could see him blossoming into a solid fantasy option. If he is expected to be the main guy early, we could see another big receiver bust.
Other: Anthony Schwartz (JR) has legitimate Olympic track speed and is still learning the receiver position. Bo Nix is inconsistent, which doesn’t help Schwartz either. He will get drafted based on the upside that he presents because he could be a Desean Jackson level player in the NFL.
Kadarius Toney (Unranked):
The Florida passing offense runs through Kyle Pitts, but the roster’s receivers have impressed this season as well. Toney currently leads the group in receptions (18), yardage (237), and touchdowns (4). Despite his listed size at 6’0, 195, Toney is tough after the catch and regularly sheds multiple tackles with the ball in his hands. His unique style makes for a difficult NFL comparison, but teams look for playmakers in all shapes and sizes. Buy Toney in c2c leagues.
Other: Justin Shorter (JR) couldn’t get on the field at PSU despite a shallow depth chart and transferred to Florida. His hands are still not great, which makes it hard for coaches to trust him. If he even had average hands, his athleticism would make him a top guy in the 21 class. Worth a bench spot in c2cs, but nothing more… Trevon Grimes (SR) is a big-bodied receiver but lacks the explosiveness to be much of a devy asset… Jacob Copeland (JR) is my favorite of the Florida receivers but hasn’t clicked much with Trask this season. A lot of Jarvis Landry to his game… Xzavier Henderson (FR) was a highly rated guy in this year’s freshman class. Won’t feature much with the talent in front of him but should step in to produce next year once Grimes and Toney are gone.
Treylon Burks (Dynasty Nerds WR62):
It’s odd that Arkansas has so many devy assets with how poor they have been over the past few years, but Burks and fellow WR Trey Knox are both legitimate NFL prospects. Most analysts, including myself, have Knox rated higher, but Burks has a profile that is very hard to ignore. He has excellent size at 6’3, 330, and possesses massive hands that he uses to great effect. The Arkansas offense does not afford much opportunity for the receiving corps, which may deflate his value.
Trey Knox (Dynasty Nerds WR39):
We have Knox rated higher than Burks in our consensus rankings, but the gap between the two has closed considerably over the past few months. Knox moves very smoothly for a guy that is 6’5, 207. Again, we won’t see much production at the collegiate level, at least not in the current Razorbacks offense.
Other: Mike Woods (JR) has lead the team in receiving through three games. Has decent size (6’1, 195) and can play outside or the slot…
BEST OF THE REST
Ainias Smith (Unranked):
Ainias Smith profiles similarly to Nebraska’s Wandale Robinson. Both have the ability to play some running back but are more dangerous in a hybrid RB/slot WR role. A&M has him listed as an RB, but I wanted to highlight him here since he has been so dangerous in the receiving game. Smith has 12 catches for 203 yards on the year and is extremely dangerous on screens and other manufactured touches where he can make people miss in space. He should continue to be a staple of this offense all season.
Demond Demas (Dynasty Nerds WR18):
Demas is probably the biggest athletic freak at the WR position in all of college football. He has great verified numbers in the 40 (4.43) and vertical (41.1 inches) while measuring in at 6’3, 180. I think Demas has more issues than rankers, and analysts want to admit, which has contributed to his lack of playing time to start the season. It doesn’t help that Kellen Mond just isn’t a very good quarterback either. Demas will likely get his chance. He is too talented not to, but the depth chart is deep with unproven talent, and Demas will have to earn it. If you were high on Demas coming into the season, you aren’t likely to sell him now. The opposite is true for those looking to buy. He is a firm hold in all formats.
Osiris Mitchell (Unranked):
Mitchell is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the new offense under Mike Leach. He exploded week 1 against LSU for 7/183/2 but has been relatively quiet since then, as has the entire offense. Mitchell is a big target at 6’5, 210, and could be a late day 3 draft pick in 2021.
Josh Palmer (SR) Vols fans will hate me for relegating their receivers to small blurbs, but none of them are currently major devy assets. Palmer has been the leading receiver this year and has shown great ability to adjust to the ball and win at the catch point. Likely nothing more than a day three guy right now. Ramel Keyton (SO) was highly recruited last year but didn’t contribute much. Keyton has nice athleticism and decent hands and just needs to put it all together on the field. Malachi Wideman (FR) was a top basketball and football recruit but very raw. Known in deep devy circles but unlikely to produce until 2021 or later.
Shi Smith (Unranked):
Smith is a good college player that I don’t think will make it in the pros. He is explosive but undersized and likely will be a slot receiver in the NFL. He has instantly connected with Colin Hill this season, which has resulted in a robust stat line (26/271/2). With so many other receivers in his class, it may be difficult to stick on a roster.
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