This offseason, many of the finest at RotoViz will be highlighting a slew of 2020 rookies using the lens of one of the single most powerful tools in the industry: The RotoViz Screener. We’ll be breaking down their rookie seasons, seeing how they fared when stacked up against their historical comps, and identifying how those comps performed in their second season. If you need any additional motivation to follow this series closely, here are a few of my favorites from last year.
- Jack Miller tabbed Diontae Johnson as a breakout candidate almost precisely a year ago and labeled him a potential league winner.
- Jack also highlighted how D.K. Metcalf’s historical comps were simply unreal, and he was right.
- Neil Dutton demonstrated just how big of a breakout was in store for Kyler Murray this season.
Let’s take a look at my favorite wide receiver from this class.
Rookie Season Recap
Wide receiver Tee Higgins kicked off Day 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft when the Cincinnati Bengals selected him 33rd overall. A three-year player out of Clemson, Higgins elected to forgo the NFL combine and instead perform at his own pro day. His college production was solid but not elite, and his athletic measures were very much the same. However, his college production comps shed some light on the type of player the Bengals were getting in a deep, talented wide receiver class.
Aside from some obvious misses, this list of comps is as good as you will find for an incoming player. It serves as another reminder that a holistic approach needs to be taken when evaluating college prospects. It helps if their production numbers are strong or if their athletic measurables are off the charts, but we shouldn’t merely dismiss players lacking in a given area or two. For his part, Higgins was an effective asset in college, and Matt Wispe noted how fantasy managers seemed to forget about him once draft season rolled around.
Higgins’ rookie year was phenomenal, considering he played almost half of it without his starting quarterback, first-round pick Joe Burrow. He fell just short of the RotoViz breakout threshold of 200 fantasy points, and that was despite not scoring any points in Weeks 1 and 17, respectively. In his remaining 14 games, he averaged 14 fantasy points/game. However, he missed Burrow in a big way down the stretch. Higgins experienced a significant drop in nearly every major category, but still provided fantasy managers with some semblance of a floor.