In The Blitz, RotoViz writers react to the latest news and help you place it within the context of our 2020 research and recommendations.
It was a weekend for rookie wide receivers to explode onto the fantasy scene. For the Minnesota Vikings, their first-round selection erupted for over 30 fantasy points in a losing effort. Firmly entrenched as the team’s WR2, Jefferson offers fantasy appeal moving forward.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson racked up a team-high seven catches for 175 yards and one touchdown in the team’s crushing 31-30 loss to the Titans in Week 3. The rookie finally was able to flash what made him a first-round draft pick, making plays all over the field. He burned the Titans secondary for a 71-yard score and was the go-to option for quarterback Kirk Cousins. Jefferson may not be overtaking teammate Adam Thielen for lead-dog among pass-catchers but Jefferson’s fantasy value will be spiking upwards heading into Week 4.
Exit Diggs, Enter Jefferson
The offseason departure of Stefon Diggs opened up quite the void in Minnesota. Veteran wideout Thielen figured to get a bump in usage or least to solidify himself as the clear No. 1, but there was no true WR2 for Cousins. The offense would still run through Dalvin Cook much as it did in 2019, but the opportunity was there for someone to step up.
Enter Justin Jefferson.
A member of the College Football National Championship team from LSU, Jefferson enjoyed a highly productive final season. Blair Andrews even wrote about how Jefferson checked every box as a prospect even before the NFL Draft.
Primarily a slot receiver, it would be interesting to see how the Vikings deployed Jefferson when Thielen has experienced much success in a similar role. Jefferson’s collegiate production comps bring up some intriguing names of potential at the next level. Robert Woods and Calvin Ridley are two players who have had incredible success in their careers.
After three weeks, the Vikings seem to have found a way to keep both of their top wideouts involved.
How To Play It
Jefferson saw three targets in each of his first two games. In Week 3, he exploded for 175 receptions and a touchdown on seven receptions (nine targets). He vastly outperformed Thielen and added a needed spark to an offense that struggled to post points the previous week. Along with Cook, who posted nearly 200 scrimmage yards, Jefferson provided the only real offense for the afternoon.
Jefferson will not be available in any dynasty leagues due to his first-round draft capital, incredible college production, and secured a role on an offense that has topped 30 points in two of three games this season. However, there’s a chance he’s available in your redraft league. Heading into the next few weeks, Jefferson and his wide receiver teammates have a favorable schedule. The Vikings defense has struggled to stop anyone this season, and Jefferson could just be heating up.
For me, the exciting thing about Jefferson is his clear path to opportunity right out of the gate. Thielen is the savvy veteran but is on the wrong side of 30. Behind him, Jefferson is by far the most talented option in the wide receiver room. If he struggles for a stretch this season, he is someone who I would aggressively target in dynasty.