While rookie running backs have been extremely relevant for fantasy football in recent years, that has not always extended to the wide receiver position. In fact, since 2017 there have been five receivers taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. Calvin Ridley is the only WR of those five who finished inside the top 20 WRs in standard fantasy leagues as a rookie.
However, that doesn't mean WRs can't be relevant as rookies. Just look at Odell Beckham Jr.'s rookie season in 2014 when he finished as WR5, but was actually WR1 on a per-game basis, averaging 17.0 fantasy points per contest in standard leagues. With that in mind, here are three rookie WRs with serious upside in the 2019 season.
Marquise Brown Fantasy Outlook
The Baltimore Ravens invested heavily in Marquise "Hollywood" Brown, who they selected at No. 25 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, making him the first WR taken. Things have gotten off to a bit of a slow start, however. Brown has been hampered by injuries, and has only racked up three receptions for 17 yards through two preseason games.
Still, there is plenty of reason for optimism. The Ravens don't have many established WRs, outside of Willie Snead IV, so it could be hard to justify keeping Brown and his game-breaking speed off the field. Brown is likely going to see a ton of opportunities as a rookie, and considering he amassed 1,318 receiving yards at Oklahoma in 2018, he could be productive from day one.
N'Keal Harry Fantasy Outlook
The New England Patriots turned quite a few heads when they selected N'Keal Harry at No. 32 overall in the NFL Draft, as they hadn't spent a first-round pick on a WR since 1996. Harry's fantasy outlook isn't as enticing at it once was, as he's been bothered by injuries and New England has immensely improved its WR corps, but he still could return decent value.
Both of the Patriots starters, Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman, have struggled to stay on the field in recent seasons. Edelman missed the entire 2017 season due to a torn ACL, missed four games in 2018 and is already dealing with a thumb injury. Meanwhile, Gordon hasn't played a full 16-game season since 2012. If either misses time, Harry could step into a prime position on one of the league's best offenses.
Deebo Samuel Fantasy Outlook
The lone WR not taken in the first round who appears on this list, Deebo Samuel, could come as a bit of a surprise. But to those who watched him in the preseason, it really shouldn't. Through four preseason games, Samuel racked up 163 yards from scrimmage on eight total touches.
Samuel looks explosive, and given San Francisco's injuries at WR, the team could rely more on him at the beginning of the year. He figures to be on the field quite a bit in three-WR sets, and could make a notable impact from day one.
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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.