Where Vikings WR Justin Jefferson Ranks In A Stacked Dynasty Rookie Class
Don Juan Moore/Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Jefferson
- LSU's Justin Jefferson should come off the board in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, but where does he fit in dynasty rookie rankings?
- Matthew Freedman breaks down Jefferson's prospects, and where he should go in dynasty drafts.
Justin Jefferson Dynasty Rookie Analysis
- Position: WR | School: LSU
- Height: 6’1” | Weight: 202 pounds
- 40-yard dash: 4.43 seconds
- 2020 Age: 21 | Class: Junior
- Recruitment Stars: 3
- Draft Position: 1.22 (Vikings)
Justin Jefferson’s Fantasy Fit with Vikings
Jefferson makes a lot of sense in Minnesota. Drafted with the pick the Vikings received from the Buffalo Bills for Stefon Diggs, the versatile Jefferson will essentially be a one-for-one replacement for the traded wide receiver.
Like Diggs, Jefferson can play in the slot and out wide, and he’s also athletically similar to Diggs. Unfortunately, though, Diggs had only 94 targets last year, and even if Jefferson builds upon that number, he’s unlikely to be as efficient as Diggs was last year or to compete with wide receiver Adam Thielen for a significant share of targets.
I still like Jefferson’s long-term potential, but I am skeptical about his 2020 fantasy prospects.
Justin Jefferson: Dynasty Analysis
Not many people have Jefferson as a top-two receiver, but most dynasty analysts rank him No. 3 at the position, and I’m right there with them.
As a high school recruit, Jefferson ran a 4.88-second 40-yard dash at 180 pounds, so there was a lot of curiosity entering the combine as to how fast he would run and how much he would weigh.
If the combine were a cat, Jefferson would have killed it: He was bigger (202 pounds), faster (4.43-second 40-yard dash) and more explosive (37.5-inch vertical and 126-inch broad jumps) than anyone thought he would be.
Before the combine, Jefferson was in about half of expert mocks. After the combine, he was in all of them as a locked-in Round 1 pick.
A three-star recruit — which is impressive, considering how slow he was — Jefferson did nothing as a freshman: He played just 25 snaps and saw one target. As a sophomore, though, he came from nowhere to lead LSU with 54 receptions, 875 yards and six touchdowns, and then as a junior he burst onto the national scene with an all-time great season when quarterback Joe Burrow transformed into a superstar and he shifted into the slot.
Because Jefferson’s 111-1,540-18 campaign coincided with Burrow’s breakout and his full-time move to the middle of the field, it might be easy to pigeonhole him as a slot-only, passer-dependent receiver.
But that’s not what he is.
Jefferson is better on the interior than the perimeter, and he feasted on zone coverage in 2019, but he can line up all across the formation, and he has excellent hands. For a mid-sized receiver, he fights for the ball with outstanding tenacity, as evidenced by his 92.3% contested catch rate (per Pro Football Focus).
And he’s good — or at least good enough — with the ball in his hands.
This Justin Jefferson juke. 😳 @JJettas2
— NFL (@NFL) April 16, 2020
Jefferson needs to improve as a route runner: His technique is average, and his strength is unimpressive. He needs sharper cuts to create separation, and he needs more physicality when facing handsy defenders.
He’s not without flaws — and he will probably never be a true No. 1 wide receiver. And yet I don’t think that matters. He’s basically the ideal Jarvis Landry: A receiver who plays primarily in the slot and gets steady volume — but one who actually has above-average athleticism.
Ultimately, there’s so much to like about Jefferson: He’s a 21-year-old SEC receiver with a good physical profile and a 1,500-yard season to his name. A guy like that tends to have NFL success.
I like his odds to have multiple seasons with 1,000-plus yards receiving.
NFL Prospect Comp: Nelson Agholor but younger
More Dynasty Analysis For Freedman’s Top Rookies
Matthew Freedman is the Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs, part of The Action Network.