Raiders Rookie Wide Receivers Carry Fantasy Football Upside

The Las Vegas Raiders selected a couple wide receivers in the 2019 NFL Draft. Both of them should have their names called in fantasy football leagues. 

Henry Ruggs III is getting plenty of hype ahead of the 2020 season. On the other hand, Bryan Edwards will bring physicality the Raiders wide receivers have lacked in a while. Although it’s doubtful they will be among the top performers by the end of the year, they should get attention at some point in fantasy drafts.

Ruggs Is the Cream of the Crop

Recently, Ian Hartitz of Pro Football Focus ranked and projected every rookie skill position player this upcoming season. When it came to wide receivers selected in this year’s draft, both Ruggs and Edwards made the cut to the top 10. Regarding Ruggs, Hartitz thinks the Alabama product will have the highest production of any rookie in his class if he claims the No. 1 pass-option role in the Raiders offense. Although Hartitz foresees Jalen Reagor becoming the Eagles No. 1 receiver this upcoming season, he favors Ruggs based on his potential.

While Jalen Reagor has the easiest path to his offense’s No. 1 WR spot among rookies, Ruggs might just have the best chance of seizing the role as his team’s No. 1 pass-game option. Jon Gruden’s target leader has received 153, 145, 133, 140, 142, 139, 122, 152, 143, 98, 138, 101 and most-recently 117 pass-game opportunities. Derek Carr’s pecking order is hardly defined, but Ruggs is my rookie WR1 for both his underrated potential target share and game-breaking ability.

Edwards Has Talent but Not a Defined Role

Edwards was ninth on Edwards ranking based on a couple factors. First, there’s uncertainty regarding Edwards’ role on the Raiders offense. He won’t be a featured option on their attack and will likely be playing behind Ruggs, Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller. Moreover, Hartitz doesn’t think Derek Carr’s quarterback style will benefit Edwards.

It’s simply tough to see exactly where Edwards fits in the Raiders’ 2020 plans… It seems unlikely Edwards earns a full-time role to start the season, and he’d almost assuredly be working behind Ruggs and Darren Waller in Derek Carr’s pecking order even if a starting job comes easier than expected. Betting on Edwards is betting on talent to win out; it would just be nice if there was a more solid QB situation ahead of the future.

If the Raiders didn’t have a burden of choice at wide receiver, Edwards would have a clearer path to the top of the chart. In the meantime, he will have to compete for playing time and make the most of his chances.

Related: Safety Erik Harris is ready to lead the Raiders secondary in 2020

What About Lynn Bowden?

Hartitz didn’t focus much on Lynn Bowden Jr. was because of the competition ahead of him in the depth chart. Although he doesn’t lack athletic prowess, Josh Jacobs is ahead of him in the Raiders running back pecking order. Then again, the Kentucky alumnus may have some value late in fantasy leagues if his offensive weapon potential is unleashed.

Rankings change from one season to the other. The 2020 season won’t be any different, and many rookies will rise up to the occasion. Even though Ruggs has the highest chance to shine, we shouldn’t sleep on Edwards and Bowden. After all, there is always one player that comes out of nowhere to rock the NFL. This year, he could be on the Raiders roster.

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Top Photo: Travis Bell/South Carolina Athletics

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