Fantasy Football 2020 NFL Draft Profiles: Mid-round wide receivers who offer upside

Over the past couple months, the CBS Fantasy team has been churning out prospect profiles for the 2020 NFL Draft with a specific focus on Fantasy. All of these include a statistical breakdown, strengths and weaknesses, a Fantasy-focused player comp and our favorite landing spot, and I can’t recommend them enough as snapshots of who these prospects are and what to expect from them. 

Here are the wide receivers we’ve covered so far, with links to each piece:

Of course, the wide receiver class is much deeper than these high-profile names, so here are some brief thoughts on 13 more mid- and later-round names to keep an eye on this week, sorted in order of their CBS Sports prospect rankings. 

Michael Pittman

Height: 6 feet 4 inches
Weight: 223 pounds

Pittman has been a late riser and is generating some second- and even first-round buzz after a solid Combine for a big receiver. Pittman wasn’t very productive early in his college career but capped it off with a 100-catch senior season. Not a burner, he has a solid all-around game and is praised for his ball skills. As with all of these players, draft capital will be a significant marker on what the team that eventually drafts Pittman thinks of him, and if someone is willing to commit a top-50 pick, he’ll be in play for Fantasy in 2020. 

From a statistical standpoint, Robert Woods is a good upside comp, and if a team invests a solid pick in Pittman, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him have a similar career. 

KJ Hamler

Height: 5 feet 9 inches
Weight: 178 pounds

If Hamler weren’t a smaller receiver, he’d likely be thought of much more highly. That’s not meant to be a knock — the rest of his profile is truly great. After redshirting his first year at Penn State due to an ACL tear, Hamler posted two strong receiving seasons as well as over 1,000 kick return yards and additional contributions returning punts and on rush attempts. Praised for his agility, ability to create separation and ball skills in the open field, Hamler is a versatile weapon who fits modern offenses and reminds of a young Randall Cobb. 

Tyler Johnson

Height: 6 feet 1 inch
Weight: 206 pounds

When controlling for team passing volume, no receiver in the 2020 class had a more productive career than Johnson. If you buy into the notion that production is more important than athleticism, Johnson is your perfect sleeper. Two problems — Johnson stayed in college all four years, and declaring early tends to better predict success, and he’s projected to go on Day 3 of the Draft. It seems athleticism concerns may prevent Johnson from seeing significant playing time at the next level, unless things break right. But if Johnson does get significant opportunities, the upside is substantial. 

Donovan Peoples-Jones

Height: 6 feet 2 inches
Weight: 212 pounds

Peoples-Jones never produced much at Michigan, but he has a good combination of size and speed that is helping his draft stock. Still, wide receivers with his type of track record have a low hit rate, and Peoples-Jones never accounted for more than 21% of Michigan’s receiving yardage in a season, well off the roughly 30% mark you’d like to see. Peoples-Jones could have some sporadic downfield production in a good offense sort of like a Phillip Dorsett, but his odds of ever receiving consistent enough targets to be a Fantasy factor in an NFL offense are low. 

Devin Duvernay

Height: 5 feet 10 inches
Weight: 200 pounds

Duvernay is another speedster who played out of the slot in his senior season at Texas and saw his numbers skyrocket. He’s very good after the catch but has limitations as an overall receiver, meaning fit will play an important role in his upside. Should Duvernay find some playing time at the next level, a sporadic, gadget-type producer like Albert Wilson is the best bet for what to expect. 

Antonio Gandy-Golden

Height: 6 feet 4 inches
Weight: 223 pounds

Gandy-Golden was very productive over the past three seasons at Liberty, and utilized his plus size to rack up 10 receiving touchdowns each year. The big question on his profile is whether he can translate that production against NFL defenses — the jump from college to the pros is always quite a bit wider for smaller school guys. 

Gandy-Golden ran just a 4.6 40 and really struggled in the shuttle and three-cone, but he did well in the jumping drills. Josh Doctson comes to mind as a downfield player with leaping ability and some upside, though Doctson’s never materialized. 

Van Jefferson

Height: 6 feet 2 inches
Weight: 200 pounds

“Want an NFL-ready slot receiver with tremendous route-running traits? Jefferson fits the bill. No joke, he might have the best technique among all receivers not considered first-round locks, and he proved it over the past two years at Florida and again when he ditched coverage routinely at the Senior Bowl. It doesn’t hurt that he’s got a little size to him, too. He’s not a burner, which will cost him in the NFL Draft, and a foot injury could limit his preparation for this season, but he is exactly the kind of experienced receiver with a football pedigree (father Shawn played in the NFL for years and currently coaches with the Jets) teams look for in the middle of the draft. He’s got a shot to be a late-round pick in PPR Fantasy drafts if he winds up with some meaningful playing time.” – Dave Richard

K.J. Hill

Height: 6 feet
Weight: 196 pounds

Hill is an older slot receiver (23 in September) who was a four-year contributor and wound up as Ohio State’s all-time leader in receptions. But his explosiveness is a question mark at just 11.6 yards per reception, and he never hit 900 yards in a season and went over 650 just one time. Hill’s 40 time was also disappointing at 4.6 seconds, and he didn’t partake in the agility drills, but he did have an impressive 10-yard split. He gets praise for route running and hands, so the hope is he’s on the Jarvis Landry spectrum, but Landry put up a lot stronger yardage numbers at LSU than Hill did at OSU, and Landry also declared early while Hill stayed five years.

Gabriel Davis

Height: 6 feet 2 inches
Weight: 216 pounds

Davis has been generating Day 2 buzz in recent weeks, and he has enough production and size where that type of draft capital would give him a solid prospect profile. But he did face a little lighter competition at UCF, and there are question marks around his quickness and ability to run a full route tree. 

Jauan Jennings

Height: 6 feet 3 inches
Weight: 215 pounds

Jennings is another projection where we didn’t see the production in college. He failed to crack 600 yards until his redshirt senior season, and even then he wasn’t a 1,000-yard receiver. He’s a big receiver and is difficult to bring down, and playing in the SEC certainly makes production harder to come by, but as an older prospect (23 in July) with a limited track record and a 4.72 40 time, Jennings will likely need to land in a great situation. 

James Proche

Height: 5 feet 11 inches
Weight: 201 pounds

A productive slot receiver, Proche didn’t help himself with poor agility drills at the Combine. He’s another receiver who stayed in college through his redshirt senior season, so he comes into the league at an advanced age. Proche did have four seasons of reasonable production at SMU, including two 90-plus catch years at advanced ages, and gets praise for his ball skills.

Isaiah Hodgins

Height: 6 feet 4 inches
Weight: 210 pounds

Hodgins is the perfect sleeper wide receiver — an early declare who was productive for three straight seasons in a Power-5 conference and has NFL size. Some might discount the Pac-12, and Hodgins’ 4.61 40 time isn’t great, but he showed off impressive route running and ball skills throughout his college career. He’ll need a team willing to use a decent pick on him or be willing to give him a real shot in camp, but if he gets his chance there’s plenty of upside here. 

Lynn Bowden

Height: 5 feet 11 inches
Weight: 204 pounds

Bowden is a fascinating prospect who took over as Kentucky’s quarterback in his final season due to injuries, and rushed for 1,468 yards and 13 scores in the role. Before that, he had an impressive sophomore campaign as a slot receiver in a low-volume offense, and the hope would be he can translate that versatility to the next level in the way players like Antwaan Randle El and Julian Edelman have been able to. 

Which players are poised for breakouts, which sleepers do you need to jump on, and which busts should you avoid at all costs in your Fantasy football league? Visit SportsLine now to get early rankings, plus see which WR is going to come out of nowhere to crack the top 10, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.

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