The Footballguys staff was asked to mention their most significant rookie wide receiver for the upcoming season. Most significant can have a lot of meaning, so - in this case - it means we just asked our guys to pick the rookie wide receiver they most wanted to write about. Here are the results.
Breshad Perriman - 4 mention
Alexander - Kelvin Benjamin's Top 15 wide receiver finish in 2014 was a fine example of opportunity (145 targets) trumping efficiency (11 drops) in fantasy football. That kind of target total probably won't happen again (only two rookie WRs had that many in the past 14 years), but if there's a receiver in the 2015 rookie class with a chance to become this year's Benjamin - raw, volume dependent, rookie receiver who struggles with concentration drops on his way to a great fantasy season - it's Baltimore first rounder Breshad Perriman. Opportunity abounds in Baltimore with offensive coordinator Marc Trestman grabbing the reigns of the Ravens' offense. Trestman's teams have finished in the top half of the league in pass attempts in each of his 10 seasons as a play caller, and the Ravens have a 169 target void left behind by the departures of Torrey Smith and Owen Daniels. Perriman will be given every opportunity to prove his athleticism, size (6'2'', 212 lbs.), and top end speed (4.26 forty!) are enough to get him by while his hands and route running develop.
Haseley - Amari Cooper, Kevin White and even DeVante Parker may be more popular picks in upcoming rookie drafts, but the one player that I can see having an immediate impact with numbers to follow is Ravens rookie wide receiver Breshad Perriman. The Ravens have a glaring hole at wide receiver opposite Steve Smith, due to Torrey Smith's departure to San Francisco. Perriman can come in from the get go and be a consistent option in the passing game for strong-armed quarterback Joe Flacco. Not only does Perriman fit the role - he has speed, size and an NFL pedigree as the son of former Lions wide receiver standout Brett Perriman. I fully expect Steve Smith to be a consistent part of the Ravens offense, but Perriman will see plenty of snaps as a rookie and if he performs well, the numbers will follow suit. Other rookie receivers may have more talent. I'm very excited to see how Miami uses DeVante Parker, but it's a safe bet that Perriman will see plenty of action and he has the ability to make good on the opportunity. We saw a similar situation last year with Kelvin Benjamin in Carolina. Other receivers had more talent, but it was Benjamin who saw an immediate impact on his team, which is what awaits Perriman in Baltimore.
Pasquino - Out with the old and in with the new for Joe Flacco, as he gets not just one but two new rookie targets in the draft this year with both Perriman and tight end Maxx Williams. General manager Ozzie Newsome had to replace the departed Torrey Smith (signed in San Francisco) and with Steve Smith getting one step closer to retirement, the Ravens needed a deep threat to both learn from Smith for the long term and also stretch defenses much like they did with the Smith-Smith pairing last season. Perriman has a clear shot at starting Week 1 and Flacco will certainly look in his direction at any distance on the field.
Simpkins - Breshad Perriman’s ascent into the first round of dynasty drafts has been fun to witness. While he may not be as talented as some of the other receivers in this class, he has certainly landed in a better situation than some of his contemporaries. Perriman is also arriving just in time for the Mark Trestman era. Trestman’s coaching stint in Chicago was short-lived, but there’s no question he is an exciting upgrade at offensive coordinator for the Ravens. Perriman has a higher ceiling than any of the other wide receivers currently on the Ravens’ roster, and it’s easy to imagine a scenario where he becomes Flacco’s primary target. There’s certainly some risk, but take him in the late first round of rookie drafts. Taking him there will mitigate that risk and if he hits, the dividends will be massive.
Nelson Agholor - 3 mentions
Brimacombe - Chip Kelly once again showed his love affair for Pac12 players, and although he couldn't land Marcus Mariota he made sure to draft another talent from the conference in wide receiver Nelson Agholor. The situation for Agholor is probably the best out of all rookies for fantasy football purposes. He comes into an offense that loves to play quick and move the ball down the field and most of all an offense that just lost Jeremy Maclin and his 86/1329/10 2014 statline. Chip Kelly will not hesitate to get Agholor involved right from the start of the season similar to what he did with Jordan Matthews last season (67/872/8). Agholor had a solid 2014 season for USC coming away with 104 receptions, 1,313 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns with Cody Kessler throwing him the ball. Look for Sam Bradford to target Agholor all over the field in his rookie season and he is an early contender for offensive rookie of the year.
Hicks - In the last four years, there has been a huge upswing in rookie wide receivers being productive fantasy receivers immediately. Fantasy owners have been slow to pick up on this trend. Nineteen rookies have scored over 100 fantasy points in the last four years. That’s more than the previous 12 years combined. Last year 8 rookies finished in the first 45 ranked wide receivers. The rule changes to allow a more pass friendly offense may or may not be balanced out by the evolution of the game in future, but for now rookie receivers have to be given serious consideration straightaway. We haven’t seen rookie receivers perform at this level, so getting a rookie receiver in the mid rounds of a draft in a good situation is a more savvy investment than one of the more blue chip rookie receivers at a much higher draft price. A productive offense is a must, as are reliable quarterback options. Nelson Agholor out of USC ticks all the right boxes, and early ADP results are dropping him well below Round 12. This will rise, but not by much. He offers little risk and in a Chip Kelly offense has a very high upside.
Wimer - Nelson Agholor lands in the best situation of any rookie receiver, and will be asked to replace Jeremy Maclin's volume in the wide-open, hurry-up Philadelphia offense. He'll work with strong-armed Sam Bradford and as Bradford is also new to the offense, there are no entrenched favorites for Agholor to overcome/surpass - Agholor should wind up with numbers on the cusp of the fantasy WR1/WR2 break by season's end, especially in PPR leagues.
Amari Cooper - 2 mentions
Holloway - Amari Cooper heads to the black hole ...... for fantasy success. Cooper was a consensus four-star player coming out of high school and announced his verbal commitment to Alabama in September of his senior year. At Alabama, he broke Julio Jones’ freshman reception and receiving yard records with 62 catches for 1,000 yards and 11 TDs. He remained productive as a sophomore, but missed two games with injuries. He set numerous single season records in his junior year, catching 124 passes for 1,727 yards and 16 TDs and also won the Biletnikoff Award and finished third in the Heisman Voting. Now he heads to Oakland to try to become the first wide receiver since Randy Moss in 2005 to have over 1,000 receiving yards.
Parsons - Cooper is an easy answer due to his complete package entering the NFL. His athleticism is underrated due to polished technique and the depth chart in Oakland lends itself to 100+ targets for Cooper as a rookie. Outside of a sophomore meltdown from Derek Carr, Amari Cooper justifies his top-5 NFL Draft status early and often as the clear top rookie receiver.
Kevin White - 1 mention
Tefertiller - Many in the fantasy community are overlooking the impact receiver Kevin White will have in the new Chicago Bears offense. He will line up opposite Alshon Jeffery and has a great chance to put up big fantasy numbers as a rookie. Quarterback Jay Cutler will continue to sling the ball around and will target the super-athletic White. New coordinator Adam Gase will throw often enough for both receivers to be fantasy viable. Both Jeffery and Brandon Marshall put up decent numbers a year ago. So did tight end Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte. This is one offense able to utilize all of the weapons and keep everyone happy. While it may not look like it at first blush, this is one of the better landing spots for the talented rookie.