Posted on: August 21, 2023, 08:45h.
Last updated on: August 21, 2023, 11:17h.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba from the Seattle Seahawks, Jordan Addison from the Minnesota Vikings, and Zay Flowers from the Baltimore Ravens are among the top rookie wide receivers to keep close tabs on during your upcoming fantasy football draft.
If you play in a large fantasy football league with 12 or more teams, then you’ll have no choice but to add a rookie or two to fill out your roster.
The NFL has evolved into a pass-first league, which is why wide receivers have a higher premium than rookie running backs.
Other rookie wide receivers who could make an impact in fantasy football this upcoming season include Quentin Johnston from the Los Angeles Chargers, Rashee Rice from the Kansas City Chiefs, Jalin Hyatt from the New York Giants, Jayden Reed from the Green Bay Packers, Marvin Mims from the Denver Broncos, and Jonathan Mingo from the Carolina Panthers.
Mims could see some action early in the season because the Broncos are short two wide receivers. Tim Patrick sustained an unfortunate, season-ending Achilles injury, and K.J. Hamler will miss an unspecified amount of time with a recently diagnosed heart condition.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Seahawks)
The Seattle Seahawks selected Jaxon Smith-Njigba with the #20 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. He was the first wide receiver picked in this year’s draft.
Smith-Njigba played his collegiate ball at Ohio State, but he was limited to only three games in 2022 by a hamstring injury. In 13 games as a sophomore in 2021, Smith-Njigba caught 95 passes for 1,606 yards and nine touchdowns. He also set Ohio State records for most receptions in a game and most receiving yards in a single season.
Smith-Njigba was a slot receiver at Ohio State, which is where he’ll see a lot of action with the Seahawks this season. He will be WR #3 on the Seahawks’ depth chart behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Metcalf and Lockett both averaged over 1,000 receiving yards during the previous four seasons, and they combined for 70 touchdowns since 2019.
Smith-Njigba is +1400 odds to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, according to DraftKings. He’s sixth overall, but the top wide receiver on the awards board.
Jordan Addison (Vikings)
The Minnesota Vikings selected Jordan Addison with the #23 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Addison was the fourth wide receiver taken in the draft.
Addison played two seasons with the Pittsburgh Panthers before he transferred to USC to play his junior season. He appeared in 11 games with USC last season, and he caught 69 passes for 875 yards and eight touchdowns.
During the 2021 season with Pittsburgh, Addison was a consensus All-American and won the Fred Biletnikoff Award for the nation’s top wide receiver. He scored 18 touchdowns in 14 games for the Panthers that season.
Addison gets the rare opportunity to learn from the best wide receiver in the NFL this season. Justin Jefferson from the Vikings is the consensus top wide receiver in fantasy football, and he’s ranked #1 in all the major fantasy leagues, including ESPN, Yahoo, CBS, Fantasy Pros, and the NFL.com.
Veteran wideout Adam Thielen left the Vikings when he bounced in free agency and signed with the Carolina Panthers. Without Thielen, Addison has a chance to start for the Vikings in Week 1 as WR #2.
Zay Flowers (Ravens)
The Baltimore Ravens selected Zay Flowers with the #22 pick from the 2023 NFL Draft. He earned third-team All-American honors out of Boston College. In 12 games last season, Flowers caught 78 passes for 1,077 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Flowers is currently WR #3 on the Ravens’ depth chart, behind third-year wide receiver Rashod Bateman and veteran Odell Beckham, Jr. Beckham signed with the Ravens in free agency after missing last season recovering from ACL surgery. He blew out his knee while playing for the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI.
The Ravens and quarterback Lamar Jackson finally worked out a contract extension, so there’s no drama entering training camp this season. The Ravens also hired a new offensive coordinator and revamped their passing game, which should benefit Jackson and their wide receivers. Todd Monken led the Georgia Bulldogs to back-to-back college football national championships, and he’s the Ravens’ new OC.
Quentin Johnston (LA Chargers)
Quentin Johnston finds himself in a similar situation with the other top rookies. He’s on a team with two standout wide receivers, which means he’ll have ample opportunity to learn from veterans like Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. As a potential WR #3, Johnston could move up in the depth chart, because both Allen and Williams struggled with injuries over the last few seasons.
Johnston is in a unique spot because he plays with a better quarterback than his fellow rookies. Justin Herbert from the Chargers is a better pure passer compared to the quarterbacks who will be throwing the ball to Smith-Njigba, Addison, and Flowers.
The Chargers selected Johnston with a first-round pick from the 2023 NFL Draft, and he was the second wide receiver picked in the draft. Johnston made a huge splash in his first season with TCU when he averaged 22.1 yards per catch, which set a Big 12 freshman record.
During his last two seasons at TCU, Johnston was named to the All-Big 12 first team. In 14 games during his junior year, Johnston caught 60 passes for 1,069 yards and six touchdowns for the Horned Frogs.