The devy wide receiver landscape will be wide open in 2021. Let’s see who is in line for possible large target shares for next year.
For the last two seasons, the devy wide receiver pool have been loaded with potential NFL stars. The 2020 WR class was a historically talented group, but the 2021 class has the potential to be even better. This upcoming draft will feature studs such as Ja’Marr Chase, Rondale Moore, Rashod Bateman, Devonta Smith, Terrace Marshall and Jaylen Waddle.
These stud WRs will leave behind storied legacies on their respected campuses, but more importantly a whole LOT of targets. In this third installment of Next Man Up, we will be looking at which college players may be falling into large target shares. Some of the featured players are showing off a bit in 2020 while others have untapped potential.
If you are looking for a running back target in line to replace a high-profile 2021 draft prospect, you can find my Next Man Up running back article by clicking here. If you are in Superflex format leagues, Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields and Kyle Trask will most likely be turning pro and you’ll want to see who is replacing them under center by clicking here.
Devy Wide Receiver Studs: Ja’Marr Chase, Terrace Marshall
In waiting: Kayshon Boutte, one of three incoming 4-star WR prospects
🎙️Ep. 40 #Devy Deep Dive Podcast🎙️
– Reviewed Devy Workbook Additions – Want it? DM Me
– Answered Listener Questions🔥
– Harrison Bryant 📽️ Review (TE's Need Love Too)
– Justin Jefferson's Replacement
⬇️Deep Dive Player – 4⭐️LSU WR Kayshon Boutte⬇️ pic.twitter.com/9LHmuCDGzN
— Brandon Lejeune (@DevyDeepDive) February 11, 2020
After last year’s historic run to a National Championship, this LSU football program bought into the 2020 mood and has been an absolute dumpster fire. However, freshman Kayshon Boutte’s progress is one of the only positive takeaways from the LSU season. The Louisiana native is a 5-star prospect who came to Baton Rouge with a lot hype along with the uber-athletic and monstrous Arik Gilbert.
Though Ja’Marr Chase is sitting out this season, Terrace Marshall has been a target monster. The 5-star is finally getting his time to shine the WR1 role and leaving scarps for the rest of the LSU receiving core. Though Boutte’s numbers maybe modest, his 12 receptions and 168 receiving yards are good for 4th on the team. When Marshall’s departs this receiving core next year, Boutte looks primed to be the biggest benefactor.
Boutte, a five-star recruit out of New Iberia, La., is a special athlete and dangerous all-around receiver. He can hurt opposing defenses vertically with his speed or get it done off a screen with unbelievable quickness and agility. The Tiger freshman’s athletic profile and all-around game will make a leading candidate for the X-receiver job in 2021. He will pair with Arik Gilbert to hopefully let Tigers fans forget about this 2020 season.
For WR2 roles in the passing offense, Chris Hilton, Jojo Earle, and Deion Smith will battle for that prime position in the LSU offense. All three players are highly-rated recruit and solid choices for your incoming freshmen drafts.
Devy Wide Receiver Studs: Jaylen Waddle, Devonta Smith
Couldn’t wait: John Metchie III, Slade Bolden, Thaiu Jones-Bell, Javon Baker
"I think we have a new star we can talk about."
John Metchie III: 5 REC, 181 YDS, 2 TD pic.twitter.com/JnLw25zlRW
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 3, 2020
John Metchie III is already looking like a future stud in Tuscaloosa and should be Alabama’s alpha WR in 2021. After a quiet freshman campaign, Metchie has posted some impressive numbers while needing to share the ball with Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith. The sophomore out of Canada has 25 catches for 535 yards and 4 touchdowns while averaging a whooping 21.4 yards per catch. He also posted two monster games against Texas A&M (5 catches, 181 receiving yards, 2 TDs) and Tennessee (7 catches, 151 receiving yards) this year.
The former 4-star recruit has areas to improve his game, but he looks like a very polished receiver. He sets up his defender well, then makes a quick cut to gain separation while running precise routes. Once Metchie has created space between him and the defender, Metchie uses his his speed to turn into a dangerous vertical threat. Mac Jones’ extremely accurate deep balls have frequently landed in Metchie’s hands.
Metchie’s value has not skyrocketed as some expected after Waddle’s ankle injury. In fact, two of Metchie’s worst games of the year came happened after Waddle’s ankle injury. The down performances should not be seen as a concern, but a potential buying window. If you want him, invest now before Metchie becomes significantly more expensive in the offseason.
The Crimson tide will say good-bye to two study wide receivers, so there’s room for more mouths to feed. Slade Bolden is an excellent athlete with exceptional quickness who is currently filling Waddle’s role. Bolden doesn’t offer a particularly high ceiling at the NFL level, but will see steady volume at the college level and is a decent flier.
Freshmen Thaiu Jones-Bell and Javon Baker will get shots to be difference makers in 2021. With little production or opportunity in 2020, they are solid, cheaper devy investments.
Devy Wide Receiver Stud: Rashod Bateman
In waiting: Chris Autman-Bell
Chris Autman-Bell made everyone miss on this play 😯 pic.twitter.com/nU4I7v5pwZ
— ESPN (@espn) November 9, 2019
If you look for a bargain target with a lot of upside, Minnesota wide receiver Chris Autman-Bell may be your guy. Rashod Bateman is going to eat up all the cereal this year, but there will be A LOT targets left when Bateman departs for the NFL. As readers (should) know, opportunity is king in all fantasy football formats.
While Tyler Johnson and Rashod Bateman hogged most of the targets, Autman-Bell still put some respectable numbers (28 catches, 371 yards, 5 TDs) in sophomore campaign. The redshirt-junior continues to impress in 2020. With 14 catches and 315 yards through 5 games, the Illinois native is averaging an eye-popping 22.3 yard per catch.
Autman-Bell is an exceptional athlete who can stretch the field and shows excellent ability to catch the jump in the air. In addition to his big play ability, Autman-Bell has shown a willingness to go over the middle and catch the ball in traffic. The skilled Gopher could be a very nice sleeper when he becomes Minnesota’s WR1 next season.
This type of move is very low risk as the price is quite low, but could turn into a pleasant surprise in 2021. You either look like a genius or no one noticed otherwise from what it would cost to get him.