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2020 College Market Share Report: Wide Receivers

Bruce Matson examines the market share data from the 2020 college season and picks out prospects to watch.

Rashod Bateman

We are blessed with another wide receiver class deep with talent. There will be multiple pass-catchers making an impact for our fantasy teams for years to come. This class should be compared with the last two and we all know how successful those players became once they transitioned to the NFL. I wouldn’t be surprised if we receive multiple WR1s from this year’s batch of rookies.

The Market Share Report has become a staple for my draft season research as it provides a broad depiction of the college football landscape. It allows me to know which players are breaking out and who to look forward to in rookie drafts.

For the report, I pulled the top 200 in receiving yardage and figured their market share percentages. From there, I sorted the players by classes to get an idea of when these players are breaking out. Players with a redshirt year are baked into the classes. For example, a redshirt freshman could be marked as a freshman in the report.

For reference, here are the reports from the past five draft seasons:

Market share should be used with film analysis and other metrics. I don’t recommend using just market share when analyzing players because it only narrows the scope of information used for player analysis. Ownership rates can be very helpful, they are best used in conjunction with other metrics and film study.

*All stats are courtesy of ncaa.com

SENIORS

DeVonta Smith, Alabama

Smith won the Heisman this season by catching 117 passes for 1,856 yards and 22 touchdowns. He will easily be a first-round pick this year. Even with his recent accolades, there is still some doubt whether he will translate to the next level. He broke out at age 20 with a 29.07 percent breakout age which is historically late when compared to most of the productive wide receivers at the next level. He will be a 22-year-old rookie who exceeds the prerequisite benchmarks when compared to most successful wide receivers. Not to mention many draft analytics are skeptical of his slender frame and how it could impact his play.

The tape doesn’t lie. Smith is a sound football player. He consistently made big plays during high-pressure moments. His draft pedigree will allow him to receive opportunities to succeed early in his career. It easy to see a path where he could develop into a WR1 in fantasy.

Many dynasty managers are on the fence. The analytics are saying one thing while the tape and recent production is pointing to something else. This is a very talented draft class. No matter how we cut the cake everyone will get the opportunity to get a piece – just make sure you show up to the right party.

Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State

Wallace tore his ACL at the end of the 2019 season which became the catalyst to him coming back for his senior year. He did not disappoint as he caught 59 balls for 917 yards and six touchdowns while achieving a 34.16 percent dominator rating. We’ve seen him burn defensive backs his entire career at Oklahoma State. He broke out with a 38.26 percent market share during his sophomore season. Wallace will be a value in the late first to the early second round of rookie drafts this spring.

Amari Rodgers, Clemson

Rodgers produced his first 1,000-yard season this year. Per PFF, he was very efficient by averaging 2.61 yards per route run. There’s a big red flag in his metric profile – he didn’t breakout until this year which was his age-20 season. Rodgers had to share the field with Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross before this season, making it hard for him to stand out in the offense. This could allow him to be the exception to the rule. Plus, he has an impressive highlight tape which lends the notion he has the potential to develop into a promising wide receiver prospect.

Kadarius Toney, Florida

We saw Toney breakout this season. He scored 11 total touchdowns and had 1.9 yards per team pass attempt. Florida quarterback Kyle Trask took a step forward in his development this year and was able to sling the ball all over the field. Toney was one of his top targets along with Kyle Pitts. He was very reliable dropping just two of his 84 targets.

Tyler Vaughns, USC

Vaughns is currently flying under the radar. He’s a speedy receiver who can make plays downfield. The shorten season didn’t do him any favors. The fact that he will be starting his NFL career at 24 years old is not very encouraging. He would be a major outlier if ever develops into a valuable fantasy option. I don’t suggest betting on outliers and without the combine to improve his stock, many dynasty managers will fade him in rookie drafts.

JUNIORS

Chris Olave, Ohio State

Olave was one of the key pieces to Ohio State’s offense this year. Many pegged him as a breakout candidate going into the 2020 season. Per PFF he led the team with a 26.22 percent target share and was one of the most efficient wide receivers with college football with 3.33 yards per route run. Olave will be returning for his senior season where he expects to improve on his resume. He will check-in as one of the top wide receivers in the country next year.

Elijah Moore, Ole Miss

Moore finished his junior season owning a 34.59 percent market share of his team’s passing offense. He was second in the SEC with 1,193 receiving yards. Many dynasty managers are planting their flag on Moore as one of the top wide receivers in this draft. He’s a quick wide receiver who can make plays in the open field. Moore does an excellent job at reading coverages to find the seams of the defense.

Rashod Bateman, Minnesota

Bateman might be the best wide receiver in this year’s draft class. He broke out during his freshman season with a 29.22 percent market share of the team’s passing production while sharing the field with Tyler Johnson who was considered one of the top wide receivers during that time. The shortened Big Ten season affected his counting stats, but when you look at his production from an efficiency standpoint, it’s easy to see he’s still one of the best wide receivers in college football.

Seth Williams, Auburn

Williams is a wide receiver prospect who might become this year’s value in rookie drafts. He’s a big-bodied wide receiver who knows how to win at the catch point. He has been productive, producing a 20.32 percent market share or higher during his last three seasons. Williams is another talented receiver in a fantastic draft class.

Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC

For what it’s worth, St. Brown might be the best route runner in this year’s draft. He is very technically sound. We saw him blossom over the last two seasons. His counting stats look a little wonky due to him playing in just six games. However, he still produced a 33.06 percent dominator rating this season. He owned a 41.18 percent share of the team’s passing touchdowns. St. Brown has the potential to be one of the first wide receivers from this year’s class to breakout at the NFL level.

Terrace Marshall, LSU

Marshall produced his second straight double-digit touchdown season this year. NFL executives and scouts will give him a bump in value due to being paired with Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase. He has the speed to stretch the field and is very talented in his own right. I wouldn’t be surprised if he crept into the first round of the NFL Draft.

SOPHOMORES

Garrett Wilson, Ohio State

Wilson will be competing to be the best wide receiver in college football in 2021. He was a five-star recruit coming out of high school and has developed his game ever since setting foot on Ohio State’s campus. If he continues to produce at his current rate, he will easily be a first-round pick in next year’s draft. Wilson should be on everybody’s radar.

Treylon Burks, Arkansas

Burks is a very good wide receiver prospect. He owned a 35 percent share of the team’s passing touchdowns, helping him achieve a 34.57 percent dominator rating. His best game of the season came against Missouri where he caught ten passes for 206 yards and one touchdown. He’s a big play waiting to happen and is another standout prospect playing at the college level.

David Bell, Purdue

Purdue has been hiding one of the best wide receiver corps in the nation. Not only do they have Rondale Moore, but Bell is a player who should be on everybody’s watchlist. He has been making plays since his freshman year. After pro-rating this year’s shortened season, Bell was on pace to catch 106 passes for 1,250 yards and 16 touchdowns. The condensed Big Ten schedule deflated his counting stats. From an efficiency standpoint, he’s still one of the most productive receivers in college football.

George Pickens, Georgia

Even though it was a down year for Pickens, he still looked the part. He made some amazing catches and still managed to own a 20.53 percent share of Georgia’s passing production. He was on last year’s Market Share Report as a true freshman with a 23.29 percent market share. Bad quarterback play prevented him from reaching his true potential. However, once the team made the switch to JT Daniels, he finished the season with back-to-back 100-yard games. Pickens is a mega-talent and has WR1 written all over him.

FRESHMAN

Quentin Johnston, TCU

Johnston a four-star prospect and was ranked the 14th best wide receiver recruit by 247Sports. He finished his freshman campaign strong by accumulating 247 yards in his final two games against Oklahoma State and Louisiana Tech. Johnston led TCU in receiving and is projected to be the top receiving threat in the offense going into the 2021 season.

Kayshon Boutte, LSU

Boutte was a five-star blue-chip prospect in this year’s recruiting class. The odds are highly likely that we will be hearing his name on Sundays. Not only does he look the part, but he might be the final piece that makes LSU the next ‘WR U’. His best game of the season came against Mississippi when he caught 14 passes for 308 yards and three touchdowns, proving he’s more than capable of taking over a game when the opportunity presents itself.

Jordan Addison, Pittsburgh

Addison was rated the tenth best athlete in the 2020 recruiting class by 247Sports. He owned a 28.57 share of Pittsburgh’s passing touchdown while also producing a 25.94 percent dominator rating. He had two 100-yard performances that came against Florida State and Miami. Addison led the team with 666 receiving yards. We should continue to see him produce during his sophomore season.

2020 College Market Share Report: Wide Receivers
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6gummybearsandsomescotch
1 year ago

Very in-depth article, Bruce! Thank you. I feel like this is a lot of what can decide whether a WR can be an alpha or not. When you see a player can not only be successful with another WR but subsequently as the top target, that seems to be a pretty solid indicator of future accomplishments.

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