Rookie wide receivers have begun to make an enormous impact on fantasy leagues each year. In 2021, Ja’Marr Chase and Jaylen Waddle both finished as top-12 WRs as rookies. Last year Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave both finished as top-24 wide receivers, and Drake London (WR28) wasn’t far behind.

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Let’s examine each of the rookie wide receivers selected in the top-75 picks of the 2023 NFL Draft and see who can make a meaningful impact this season.

I’ll use RotoViz’s Prospect Box Score Scout to generate similar comparable players for each wide receiver. If you don’t have a subscription to RotoViz, we highly recommend checking them out.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Seattle Seahawks

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Selected 20th overall by the Seattle Seahawks, Jaxon Smith-Njigba was the first rookie wide receiver off the board in the 2023 NFL Draft.

As a true freshman, “JSN” was involved but only recorded 10 catches in six games. His breakout took place as a sophomore, playing with future NFL stars Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba19.81395160616.99
Garrett Wilson21.41170105815.112
Chris Olave21.5116593614.413

Significantly leading the team in receiving, at such a young age, while playing with not one but two future stars cannot be understated. Smith-Njigba barely played as a junior but this sophomore season indicates that he is a star.

Smith-Njigba didn’t run the forty at the combine but did impress with his incredible agility. His 10.50 agility score is 99th percentile.

100Jaxon Smith-NjigbaOhio State200.220.130.040196
32George PickensGeorgia520.220.260.0904.47195
32Percy HarvinFlorida220.
16Jerry JeudyAlabama150.
16Kadarius ToneyFlorida200.
14John MetchieAlabama440.
12Henry Ruggs IIIAlabama120.
9Justin JeffersonLSU220.
9Chris OlaveOhio State110.
9Garrett WilsonOhio State100.
9Parris CampbellOhio State590.

Sim refers to the sim score for how similar each comparable player is. DP is the player’s draft position. CYMS is each player’s career receiving yards market share. CTDMS is each player’s career receiving touchdowns market share. FYMS is each player’s final year receiving yards market share. FTD/G is each player’s final year receiving touchdowns per game.

Using RotoViz’s Box Score Scout for JSN is a bit tricky. The final year receiving production is significant and JSN barely played, hence why George Pickens is his most similar comparable. Even including this and its impact on his career market shares, the inclusion of Justin Jefferson, Chris Olave, and Garrett Wilson highlight JSN’s explosive potential.

While DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are excellent receivers, don’t underestimate the potential of a player who has shown superstardom at the collegiate level. Many questioned Ja’Marr Chase’s potential as a rookie when competing for targets with Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. Despite sliding in drafts, Chase finished as the WR5.

Quentin Johnston, Los Angeles Chargers

The following pick after JSN was selected, the Chargers drafted Quentin Johnston out of TCU.

As a 19-year-old freshman, Johnston achieved a 29 percent dominator rating. That jumped to 39 percent as a sophomore before another strong junior season.

At 6’ 3” and 208 lbs., Johnston is big and wins with his 98th-percentile leaping ability.

100Quentin JohnstonTCU210.310.30.310.464.57208
100DeAndre HopkinsClemson270.290.310.341.384.57214
79CeeDee LambOklahoma170.250.270.341.084.5198
73Jalen ReagorTCU210.260.350.250.424.47206
71Robert WoodsUSC410.
65Laquon TreadwellOle Miss230.
65Michael ThomasOhio State470.240.290.320.694.57212
62Jonathan BaldwinPittsburgh260.320.330.310.384.49228
56Brandon AiyukArizona State250.310.310.390.674.5205
56Laviska Shenault Jr.Colorado420.
51Justin JeffersonLSU220.

Johnston looks extremely similar to superstar DeAndre Hopkins and other very exciting hits. While the profile could clearly miss (with busts like Jalen Reagor included), Johnston was much more productive than Reagor in terms of yards per team pass attempt.

The landing spot for Johnston is excellent. The Chargers threw 711 times last season and didn’t have any pass catcher reach 900 receiving yards. Austin Ekeler ended up leading the team in targets while Keenan Allen and Mike Williams both missed time due to injury. Allen (31 this season) and Mike Williams (29) aren’t spring chickens – the first-round pick will receive every opportunity to inject life into the Chargers’ offense. This is a rookie wide receiver who could make a massive difference for both this offense and your fantasy teams.

Zay Flowers, Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens selected Zay Flowers 22nd overall.

Flowers broke out as a 20-year-old sophomore with a 34 percent dominator rating. He continued to improve, concluding with a 47 percent dominator rating as a senior.

100Zay FlowersBoston College220.290.380.3614.42182
100Jahan DotsonPenn State160.280.340.3614.43178
87Kendall WrightBaylor200.30.330.361.084.49196
63DeVonta SmithAlabama100.
62Corey ColemanBaylor150.270.340.371.674.42194
50Will Fuller VNotre Dame210.30.450.371.084.32186
48Calvin RidleyAlabama260.30.250.360.364.43189
47Brandin CooksOregon State200.270.30.361.234.33189
47Elijah MooreOle Miss340.290.30.4214.35185
47Rashod BatemanMinnesota270.340.350.460.44.39190
46Devin SmithOhio State370.

Flowers has some fun comparables – one of the concerns with him is that he’s not an early declare. Out of this group, Will Fuller, Calvin Ridley, Brandin Cooks, Elijah Moore, and Rashod Bateman all declared for the draft after their junior season. As Blair Andrews expertly noted, “WRs who declare early average over 200 PPR points over their first two seasons. Those who exhaust their eligibility fail to reach even 80 PPR points.” We want receivers who eschew their senior year and declare early.

Flowers joins a previously run-heavy Ravens team that will attempt to become more pass-heavy this season. Unfortunately, there is a lot of competition for targets. Mark Andrews figures to lead the team in targets, while Flowers battles Rashod Bateman and Odell Beckham Jr. for opportunities. Only time will tell where this rookie wide receiver will fall in the “totem pole” of targets in Baltimore.

Jordan Addison, Minnesota Vikings

Addison reached a 30 percent dominator rating as a true freshman at Pittsburgh. He upped his dominator rating to 36 percent as a sophomore before transferring to USC as a junior. In his junior season, Addison’s numbers dropped across the board to a 26 percent dominator rating.

At 173 lbs., Addison is small for an NFL wide receiver. Generally, receivers of this stature are fast, but Addison’s 4.49 40-time equates to just a 19th-percentile speed score. His leaping and agility aren’t above average either.

100Jordan AddisonUSC230.30.340.250.734.49173
46Calvin RidleyAlabama260.30.250.360.364.43189
45Jahan DotsonPenn State160.280.340.3614.43178
41Justin HunterTennessee340.
38DeSean JacksonCalifornia490.310.380.260.54.35169
36Jerry JeudyAlabama150.
33Marqise LeeUSC390.380.310.320.364.52192
32Justin JeffersonLSU220.
32Robert WoodsUSC410.
31Corey ColemanBaylor150.270.340.371.674.42194
30Randall CobbKentucky640.260.310.290.544.46191

Again, Addison’s size and speed aren’t favorable. Even when looking at his comparable players, only DeSean Jackson is lighter – and Jackson ran a 4.35. Out of this group, only Marquise Lee and Robert Woods are slower. If Addison is good, he’ll likely win as a route-running technician. Addison broke out at a young age, declared early, and is a first-round pick so there are still reasons to remain optimistic.

Behind all-world WR Justin Jefferson, Addison will compete with TJ Hockenson and KJ Osborn for targets. The Vikings should have plenty of targets to go around, so I expect Addison to be productive, but he doesn’t have the profile that points to a potential breakout for a rookie wide receiver.

Jonathan Mingo, Carolina Panthers

At 39th overall, Jonathan Mingo was the first wide receiver selected in the second round.

As a freshman was involved but didn’t make a huge impact. In his junior season, he reached a 21 percent dominator rating and upped that to 28 percent as a senior. It wasn’t until his senior season that Mingo topped 2 yards per team attempt.

At 226 lbs. running a 4.46, Mingo is likely this draft’s freakiest player. He combines a 96th percentile speed score with a 91st percentile burst score.

100Jonathan MingoOle Miss390.
97Mohamed MassaquoiGeorgia500.
92Michael Pittman Jr.USC340.
84Chase ClaypoolNotre Dame490.220.220.3214.42238
65Deebo SamuelSouth Carolina360.
64Cody LatimerIndiana560.
63Brian RobiskieOhio State360.250.330.270.624.46209
62Josh PalmerTennessee770.
61Josh HuffOregon860.
58Tee HigginsClemson330.
57Chris ConleyGeorgia760.

His comparables show a combination of solid hits and misses. Like Flowers, Mingo was a four-year college player. Tee Higgins was an early declare, but hits Michael Pittman, Chase Claypool, and Deebo Samuel were all non-early declares.

Mingo is the type of player that doesn’t have impressive production but his athleticism leads to a projection of what he might be capable of, even as a rookie wide receiver.

On a wide receiver depth chart led by Adam Thielen and DJ Chark, Mingo will have opportunities to climb the depth chart. However, as a player that took time to make an impact at the college level, he may not make an immediate impact.

Jayden Reed, Green Bay Packers

After the departure of Aaron Rodgers, the Packers added some pass-game weapons, including Jayden Reed, in this year’s draft.

Reed broke out as a true freshman for Western Michigan. Following his impressive first year, he sat out a year and transferred to Michigan State. He broke out for the Spartans as a 21-year-old junior but again fell below 2 yards per team attempt as a senior.

Reed has decent speed but below-average leaping ability.

100Jayden ReedMichigan State500.270.330.250.454.45187
96Devin SmithOhio State370.
88Sterling ShepardOklahoma400.270.250.320.854.48194
86Dante PettisWashington440.
79Randall CobbKentucky640.260.310.290.544.46191
70Brian RobiskieOhio State360.250.330.270.624.46209
66Christian KirkTexas A&M470.290.360.280.774.47201
64Ryan BroylesOklahoma540.280.320.341.114.57192
63Titus YoungBoise State440.
62Justin HunterTennessee340.
61Emmanuel SandersSMU820.320.330.370.544.4186

Reed spent five years as a collegiate player, so he will begin his rookie year at 23 years old. Hits Randall Cobb and Christian Kirk were both three-year college players.

Reed will slide in behind Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs. While his breakout age and draft position are promising, I don’t expect him to pass either second-year wide receiver in 2023.

Rashee Rice, Kansas City Chiefs

After drafting Skyy Moore in the second round last season, Rashee Rice was selected 55th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Rice wasn’t hugely involved as a freshman but reached a 22 percent dominator rating as a sophomore. He finally topped 2 yards per team attempt as a senior, while reaching a 32 percent dominator rating.

As an athlete, Rice combines solid size with impressive 95th-percentile leaping ability.

100Rashee RiceSMU550.240.210.350.834.51204
99Taywan TaylorWestern Kentucky720.250.280.371.214.5203
98Josh HuffOregon860.
94Sterling ShepardOklahoma400.270.250.320.854.48194
94Terrance WilliamsBaylor740.260.280.410.924.52208
92Mohamed MassaquoiGeorgia500.
87Bryan EdwardsSouth Carolina810.270.30.350.6212
86Zay JonesEast Carolina370.260.210.430.674.45201
84Markus WheatonOregon State790.240.20.310.854.45189
83Malcolm MitchellGeorgia##
83ArDarius StewartAlabama790.230.220.350.674.49204

Sterling Shepard, Terrance Williams, and Zay Jones have had productive NFL seasons. However, his comparables obviously don’t provide a whole lot of reason for enthusiasm.

The Rice backers will argue in favor of his landing spot, which is a great one. With the departure of JuJu Smith-Schuster, the Chiefs will rely on Rice, Kadarius Toney, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Skyy Moore at wide receiver. While Rice is the new and exciting toy, I’d prefer to draft last year’s second-round pick Skyy Moore as a post-hype sleeper.

Marvin Mims, Denver Broncos

Why Marvin Mims wasn’t drafted higher than some of these other receivers remains a mystery to me. Fortunately, Sean Payton and the Broncos ended his slide with the 63rd selection.

Mims hit a 24 percent dominator rating as an 18-year-old true freshman at Oklahoma. He saved his best for last, hitting 2.66 yards per team attempt as a junior.

At 5’ 11” and 183 lbs., Mims isn’t the biggest, but he did run a 4.38 forty. He also leaped to a 91st percentile burst score.

100Marvin MimsOklahoma630.240.220.330.464.38183
92Dyami BrownNorth Carolina820.250.280.330.734.46189
91Keke CouteeTexas Tech1030.20.170.330.774.43181
86D.J. CharkLSU610.280.220.360.254.34199
81Randall CobbKentucky640.260.310.290.544.46191
70Markus WheatonOregon State790.240.20.310.854.45189
67Justin HunterTennessee340.
66Jarius WrightArkansas1180.220.240.3114.39182
65Titus YoungBoise State440.
60Rondale MoorePurdue490.30.290.2904.28180
58Anthony SchwartzAuburn910.210.130.310.34.27186

Interestingly, his comparable players don’t pop off the page, but Chark and Cobb do provide some hits. Mims, however, checks a lot of boxes: he’ll be a 21-year-old rookie wide receiver, who was productive early in college and has unique athletic traits.

Mims will enter a crowded depth chart that includes Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, and Tim Patrick, but the Broncos did trade up to select him. The Athletic’s Nick Kosmider believes Broncos head coach Sean Payton will “design a very specific role for Mims that allows him to see the field.”

Nathanial Dell, Houston Texans

With the 69th overall pick, the Houston Texans selected Nathanial Dell.

Dell is an older prospect, who began his college career at 20 years old. With an impressive 2.91 yards per team attempt, he broke out as a 21-year-old sophomore with a 36 percent dominator rating. He upped his dominator rating to 38 percent with 1,398 receiving yards as a junior.

Unfortunately, Dell is tiny. At just 165 lbs., his 4.49 forty, when combined with his weight, leads to a 6th percentile speed score.

100Nathaniel DellHouston690.320.370.341.314.49165
55Paul RichardsonColorado450.320.360.450.834.4175
47DeSean JacksonCalifornia490.310.380.260.54.35169
39Mario ManninghamMichigan950.330.420.4414.59181
34Randall CobbKentucky640.260.310.290.544.46191
33Stedman BaileyWest Virginia920.30.440.381.924.52193
33Dyami BrownNorth Carolina820.250.280.330.734.46189
31Brandon TateNorth Carolina830.210.30.370.64.52183
30Emmanuel SandersSMU820.320.330.370.544.4186
29Tyler LockettKansas State690.360.410.410.854.4182
27Josh ReynoldsTexas A&M1170.270.350.310.924.52194

The box score scout loves his raw stats and doesn’t include any age metrics. Unfortunately, Dell will be a 23-year-old rookie wide receiver, is the lightest of any of these players, and is slower than the hits in this cohort. We like to remain optimistic for rookies, but his size and age are trouble elements of his profile.

The Texans’ depth chart remains barren. Dell will slide in behind Nico Collins, Robert Woods, and John Metchie III.

Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee

After winning the Fred Biletnikoff Award, the New York Giants selected Jalin Hyatt with the 73rd pick.

Hyatt didn’t produce in a significant way until his 21-year-old junior season, in which he had a 37 percent dominator rating and averaged 3.22 yards per team attempt. Hyatt’s production as a junior was incredible but we also would’ve liked to see him an earlier breakout.

Physically Hyatt is just 176 lbs. but combines 4.4 speed and 97th percentile leaping ability.

100Jalin HyattTennessee730.220.270.321.254.4176
91Dyami BrownNorth Carolina820.250.280.330.734.46189
90Keke CouteeTexas Tech1030.20.170.330.774.43181
80Randall CobbKentucky640.260.310.290.544.46191
73Brandon TateNorth Carolina830.210.30.370.64.52183
72Jarius WrightArkansas1180.220.240.3114.39182
64Diontae JohnsonToledo660.
60Titus YoungBoise State440.
58Dante PettisWashington440.
54Markus WheatonOregon State790.240.20.310.854.45189
52Darius SlaytonAuburn1710.

Hyatt lands on a Giants depth chart that is wide open. He will compete with the likes of Wan’Dale Robinson, Sterling Shepard, Isaiah Hodgins, Darius Slayton, and Parris Campbell. Hopefully, the Giants will allow Hyatt to dominate snaps if he flashes early.

Cedric Tillman, Tennessee

Hyatt’s teammate Cedric Tillman was selected 74th overall by the Cleveland Browns.

Tillman had a five-year collegiate career. His fourth season was the first year that he topped 70 receiving yards (for the season), but finished with 1,085 and registered an impressive 37 percent dominator rating. Tillman was 21 during that season and will play his first NFL season at 23 years old.

At 213 lbs., Tillman is big and has solid speed in the context of his size. He also performed well in the leaping drills.

100Cedric TillmanTennessee740.
76Austin PettisBoise State780.
67James WashingtonOklahoma State600.260.330.3114.54213
67Ty MontgomeryStanford940.
55Chris MooreCincinnati1070.
52Josh HuffOregon860.
52Nick ToonWisconsin1220.
52Brandon LaFellLSU780.270.310.340.854.58211
47Romeo DoubsNevada1320.
46Erik EzukanmaTexas Tech1250.
43Mohamed MassaquoiGeorgia500.

Tillman’s comparable players are not the most favorable. It’s hard to be enthusiastic about a collegiate player that didn’t break out until he was already 21 years old.

Tillman will begin his rookie year behind Amari Cooper, Elijah Moore, and Donovan Peoples-Jones.