I’ve decided that I will do a short dynasty profile series on some of the 2020 rookie class. This format is one of my favorites, and there are simply so many rookies who balled out in Year 1. We have to talk about them, starting at the top with one of my favorite wide receivers, Justin Jefferson.
Jefferson had an incredibly successful career at LSU. However, he truly broke out as a junior in LSU’s historic 2019 offense. Jefferson caught 111 passes for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns in a fantastic season. Even though Ja’Marr Chase somewhat outshone Jefferson, Jefferson still made an impact on NFL scouts, making him a top prospect.
The Vikings selected Jefferson with the 22nd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Jefferson was the fifth receiver picked after Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and Jalen Reagor. Some people questioned Jefferson’s fit in the Vikings’ offense, as he mostly played as a slot receiver in LSU’s offense. However, the Vikings played a lot of 12 personnel, and they often used Adam Thielen in the slot when they went to 11 personnel.
Well, Jefferson proved any concerns or doubts wrong. After a quiet first couple of games, Jefferson lit the NFL on fire as a rookie. Here are Jefferson’s rookie year stats:
|Year||Games||Targets||Receptions||Yards||TDs||Fantasy Finish||Fantasy PPG||PPG Rank|
Jefferson didn’t play a full complement of snaps in the first two games, seeing only three targets in each game. He caught five of those six targets for 70 yards, but it wasn’t an awe-inspiring performance. Jefferson missed a significant portion of the offseason program with COVID-19, so it makes sense that he wasn’t completely ready to contribute from the jump.
However, in Week 3, Jefferson jumped to 78% of snaps, becoming the Vikings’ clear WR2. He caught seven of nine targets for 175 yards and a touchdown, bursting onto the dynasty scene. From that week forward, Jefferson averaged a whopping 5.9 receptions, 95 yards, and 0.5 touchdowns per game for a 16-game pace of 95 receptions, 1,520 yards, and eight touchdowns.
I can’t describe just how much Jefferson impressed me as a rookie. He put up insane stats, despite playing across from a star receiver in Thielen. The Vikings were also a run-first team, centered around Dalvin Cook. It almost seems like Jefferson caused the Vikings to shift their offense, leading Kirk Cousins to record 4,265 passing yards, far more than the 3,603 he had in 2019.
We don’t have to wonder if Jefferson can realize his ceiling or anything like that for dynasty purposes. He’s already finished as a WR1 as a rookie and ninth in fantasy PPG. Therefore, unlike most rookie receiver breakouts, I don’t have to project any outcomes with Jefferson.
Jefferson currently ranks as my dynasty WR1. He turns only 22 years old in June, making him about two years younger than fellow young dynasty studs D.K. Metcalf and A.J. Brown. Jefferson already scored more fantasy points than either Metcalf or Brown scored in either of their two NFL seasons, and he finished between Brown and Metcalf in fantasy PPG.
Considering that Jefferson produced his numbers as a rookie and that he’s younger, I don’t see any reason to rank Jefferson behind Metcalf or Brown. Putting up 1,400 yards is unique for a rookie, as Jefferson broke Randy Moss’ rookie receiving yards record. There’s nothing not to love in Jefferson’s dynasty profile. I have full confidence in Jefferson as my dynasty WR1, and I haven’t doubted that decision since making it a few weeks ago.
Thanks for reading this article. You can find me on Twitter at @DFF_Karp. I love to interact with anyone in the community, so reach out at any time! I take fantasy questions and help with all formats, so keep sending those questions my way.