NFL

Will Jerry Jeudy Ascend to Fantasy Stardom This Year?

Aidan McGrath
Aidan McGrath@ffaidanmcgrath

Things haven't quite gone according to plan for Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy since entering the NFL.

The 2018 Fred Biletnikoff Award winner earned first-round draft capital entering the league in 2020, but he hasn't exactly lived up to expectations. Jeudy has shown flashes of the elite wide receiver play he put on tape with the Alabama Crimson Tide, but we haven't seen him keep it up over a full spate of games in the NFL.

That could change in 2023, though, with a new coaching regime in place. After a wildly disappointing 2022 campaign, the team appears like it is on the right track heading into the new season.

With the wheels back on the wagon, could this be the year Jeudy truly breaks out in fantasy football?

Jerry Jeudy Fantasy Football Projections

All projections via numberFire.com.

Positional Ranking: WR21

Projected Stats:

  • 132.6 targets
  • 84 receptions
  • 1,122.7 receiving yards
  • 6.9 receiving touchdowns

Jerry Jeudy Fantasy Football Outlook

Getting on Track

As mentioned earlier, we've seen Jeudy produce like a stud in limited bursts during his first few years in the pros.

His promising rookie season saw him catching 52 of 113 targets for 856 yards and 3 touchdowns despite sub-par quarterback play from the likes of Drew Lock and Jeff Driskel. It was an up-and-down rookie year, but he finished on a positive note with a 5/140/1 receiving line in the final game of the year.

He looked poised for a breakout in 2021. And for the first half of the first game that year, it looked like we had a star on our hands. In Week 1, Jeudy caught 6 passes for 72 yards in just under a half of football -- before suffering a severe ankle sprain.

That sprain cost him the next six weeks of NFL action and likely limited him over the rest of the season. He eclipsed those 72 yards just one more time over his other nine games.

We had high hopes for him again in 2022 with the arrival of Russell Wilson in Denver. But as we all likely remember, nobody on the Broncos -- or who drafted Broncos players in fantasy -- had fun last season. We don't have to reopen old wounds just yet, but Jeudy's overall season disappointed after a slow start and another pair of injuries.

Things did start to get back on track towards the end of the year. Over the final five weeks of the season, Jeudy stood out as the team's WR1 and averaged 6.6 catches, 91.6 yards, and 0.6 touchdowns per contest, earning him weekly finishes inside the top 12 of fantasy football leaderboards.

Building for 2023

The end of Jeudy's 2022 season was an encouraging sign and will hopefully be a solid foundation for him to build on heading into the new season.

New head coach Sean Payton has been no stranger to putting his receivers in a position for elite fantasy production, either, as past fantasy standouts Michael Thomas, Marques Colston, and Brandin Cooks all enjoyed success on Payton's New Orleans Saints teams.

Much of the press coming out of Denver this offseason has emphasized the drastic differences between the way Payton has run training camp versus the team's experience under former head coach Nathaniel Hackett. Payton himself even drew attention for calling out Hackett's coaching job in a recent interview.

But apart from jabs at the old regime, we have also been seeing a fair amount of buzz for Jeudy as he heads into his fourth year.

Fantasy managers first looked Jeudy's way this offseason amidst trade rumors that had been circling the team in the leadup to the 2023 NFL Draft. Jeudy exited the draft still a member of the Broncos, though, and it has since been reported that it was the Broncos turning down offers from other teams.

After teammate Tim Patrick's recent, unfortunate Achilles injury, the team will now be relying on Jeudy to help keep the ball moving as their WR1 for the upcoming season.

Being the primary option in a consolidated, efficient passing attack has been an effective strategy for producing WR1 numbers in fantasy football. If Payton can help Russell Wilson recover after last year's disaster, Jeudy's fantasy production could pick up right where it left off after 2022.

A Look at the Numbers

We know the Broncos were a bit embarrassing at times last year, but the numbers can help us quantify just how many fantasy points those embarrassing moments cost fantasy managers.

For starters, the team's touchdown rate last year was crushingly low. While they attempted passes at a league-average rate -- something Wilson's fans clamored for years when he was with the Seattle Seahawks -- they only completed 18 passing touchdowns on 571 attempts.

As a point of reference, the Chicago Bears, who attempted the fewest passes in the league (377) by a mile, completed one more passing touchdown (19) than the Broncos did. Only five teams finished with fewer passing touchdowns than the Broncos in 2022.

Fortunately, we should see the team experience some regression in that department in 2023. Things can only stay that bad for so long, especially given Wilson's track record of efficient play prior to last year.

Until the 2021 season, in which the Saints lost their starting quarterback, none of Payton's offenses over the years had finished worse than roughly league average, and most (due credit to Drew Brees) finished near the top of the league in many passing metrics.

A bounce back to even a league-average level (which was roughly 23.4 passing touchdowns last year) could pay massive dividends for Jeudy as the team's top pass-catcher. If they advance to a top-level offense, like we've seen Wilson and Payton produce separately on multiple occasions over the years, Jeudy's fantasy production could absolutely skyrocket.

Upside to Invest in for 2023

numberFire's season-long projections have Jeudy finishing the season as the WR21 in fantasy football, but that kind of projection could look modest in hindsight if things line up correctly this season.

We know he's capable of putting up WR1 numbers for fantasy, we know Russell Wilson is capable of sustaining multiple fantasy-relevant wideouts, and we know Sean Payton has coached some of the best offenses over the past 20 years -- many of which produced fantasy football stars.

Sometimes, the best fantasy draft picks are the ones you don't overthink.


The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.