As the 2021 NFL season approaches, ADPs churn out of the fantasy football machine, and you prepare for your drafts, there is one claim I would like to make for the season ahead. Justin Jefferson should be taken as the first wide receiver in all dynasty drafts to reap the long-term benefits.
Maybe you are worried about his high catch percentage and do not believe he can maintain it. How much does Dalvin Cook factor into Jefferson’s workload? Will Klint Kubiak run more than the Vikings already have? Let’s address those things.
Rookie Justin Jefferson with an incredible first NFL touchdown 🔥
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) September 27, 2020
Let us acknowledge how great of a rookie season Justin Jefferson had. 88 receptions, 1,400 yards, 7 TDS. Jefferson did this on 125 targets, which is an insane 70.4% catch rate. He broke Anquan Boldin‘s rookie receiving yards record of 1,377 yards.
IDP Guys July SuperFlex ADP
Below you will find the current top five ranked wide receivers via IDPGuys July Superflex ADP and their numbers from last season. Here you can find the link to the complete ADP and rankings where Justin Jefferson currently sits ranked third with an ADP of 22.33 in Superflex leagues. https://www.idpguys.org/offense-adp/
I will acknowledge one thing from the wide receivers above, Davante Adams is a beast. I think it is easy to give him the consensus number one WR ranking. However, in the dynasty world with the questions surrounding Rodgers and the future of the Packers QB situation, along with Adams’ age (28), I am still not taking him first. The only stat that can be held against Jefferson for the wide receivers above is touchdowns. The targets are nearly equal. Hill is going to naturally receive more targets as the clear-cut primary receiver on the Chiefs, but the efficiency of Jefferson equals the playing field.
Regression or Progression
Will there be a major drop-off in year two for Jefferson? Let’s take a brief look at what other WR’s have done after their great rookie years. Odell Beckham followed his amazing rookie season (1,305 yards, 12 TDS) with 1,450 yards and 13 TDS. Mike Evans in his rookie year had 1,051 yards and 12 TDS. He also improved in year two to the tune of 1,206 yards but only 3 TDS. In year three he hit double-digit touchdowns again. Just like Beckham and Evans, Justin Jefferson fits the mold to continue to put up seasons like his rookie year.
I have seen some argue the catch percentage to targets is not something Jefferson can repeat. Why? I do not see this argument with any of the other top dynasty WRs. If anything this should propel those to continue to draft Jefferson at his current ADP or even higher.
Impact of Thielen and Cook
Some may be concerned with the amount the Vikings will throw the ball and how much Thielen may take away from Jefferson. Adam Thielen will be 31 going into the NFL season. And while he racked up 14 touchdowns on 74 catches, there are plenty of balls to go around for the Vikings dynamic WR duo. According to Spotrac, in the 2022 season, Thielen’s cap hit will be 16.9 million dollars. This could be the last year we see Thielen alongside Jefferson unless there is a restructure. This means that if not already this season, Jefferson is the main man in Minnesota.
Will the Vikings continue to feed Dalvin Cook? Yes. With the additions and returns the Vikings have on defense, it should be vastly improved. There may be times this impacts the number of targets Jefferson receives if the Vikings are playing with a lead or need to control the clock. But with the sum of what Jefferson has done, I am going to bet on him still stealing the show.
New Offensive Coordinator
One outlier we cannot foresee is how Klint Kubiak will run the Vikings offense. Many assume Klint will be very similar to his father, Greg. Last season the Vikings ran a total of 1023 plays. 45.7% were run plays and 54.3% were passing plays. Because the Vikings want to keep Dalvin healthy, I think they are going to preserve him and continue to throw the ball. In the last three games of the season, the Vikings passed 62% of the time. Jefferson received double-digit targets in each of those games and finished with 23 receptions for 322 yards. This all came during the fantasy football playoffs.
Age and Ability
Let us not forget we are talking about a 22-year-old wide receiver that dominated his first season in the NFL. Barring injury, there are no telltale signs Jefferson will regress, in fact, I expect Jefferson’s touchdown numbers to improve. Justin Jefferson, with his age and the ability to do the most with the least amount of opportunity (and really it’s not that much less), makes him the dynasty WR1.
Thank you for reading! You can find me on Twitter @ClintonHolmgren and @IDPGuys. Check out all of my IDP, Devy, and Offensive work at idpguys.org. Be sure to order our rookie draft magazines, which we load with fantastic player profiles and landing spot analysis.