John Laub adds to the Gridiron Scholar’s Game Plan with his CFF Wide Receiver Rankings for 2019 College Fantasy Football.
Evaluating wide receivers can be challenging in college fantasy football. Do not be overwhelmed. Learn the offensive systems, target players who are attached to an elite passer and identify underrated receivers in the Group of Five Conferences.
There are two basic strategies that I employ drafting wideouts in CFF leagues, which largely depends on where I pick. I would not select a receiver among the top eight selections and generally wait until the fourth round before dipping into the player pool. Nonetheless, if I have a pick at the end of the round (11 or 12), I would feel very comfortable taking two of my top three wideouts on the turn, i.e. Laviska Shenault, Jr., Rondale Moore or Jerry Jeudy.
My CFF: On Campus partner employed an interesting two-receiver strategy in the Summa Cum Laude Mock Draft. He selected out of the No. 3 hole and grabbed Moore, and in the second round, double-dipped at the position with Jeudy. I have provided Justin’s roster for readers to analyze below:
In the Summa Cum Laude Mock Draft, I opened with back-to-back quarterbacks and waited patiently at the receiver position. I ended up with two of my top 10 players (Justin Ross and Collin Johnson) and three of my top 25 wide receivers (Henry Ruggs, III) along with two sleepers among my reserves (Emeka Emezie and Damon Hazelton). My team is also provided below:
To assist CFF owners, I have composed player profiles along with my Top 24 College Fantasy Football wide receiver rankings. Enjoy my fellow CFF fanatics!
2019 CFF Wide Receiver Rankings
Summa Cum Laude
- Laviska Shenault, Jr., Colorado
Without question, Laviska Shenault, Jr. changed the course of fantasy teams in 2018. In my Week 1 Waiver Wire Gemstones column last year, I told readers to target the astounding sophomore, who was available in over 96% of leagues. I plucked Shenault on two of my teams, and he did not disappoint until a turf toe injury ended his crusade. In nine games, the Buffaloes’ game breaker snatched 86 passes for 1,011 yards and six touchdowns. Incredibly, he also scampered for five touchdowns on 17 attempts. At 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, Shenault has garnered national attention as a first-round talent in the 2020 NFL Draft. A competitive player with an intriguing combination of size, speed, and power, he employs running-back qualities after the catch. With senior quarterback Steven Montez slinging passes, Shenault will be the centerpiece of new coach Mel Tucker’s aerial assault and likely targeted 15 times each game. Before the 2019 kickoff, Shenault is my No. 4 WR Devy prospect and the rising star is clearly worth a top 12 pick in college fantasy football drafts this summer.
Receptions, Yards, and TDs: 102 for 1,250 and 14
Rushing Yards and TDs: 100 and 2
Total Fantasy Points: 333
- Rondale Moore, Purdue
Will there be a better waiver wire pair of receivers than Shenault and Rondale Moore last year? In the same column, I recommended acquiring both players…Moore was owned on only 5% of teams. Coach Jeff Brohm immediately saw the astounding abilities of his freshman during training camp. In the Boilermakers’ first game, Moore awakened the nation with a dominant performance against Northwestern: He established a school-record with 313 all-purpose yards, scored two touchdowns and grabbed 11 passes for 109 yards. Wow! Among returning receivers, Moore scored the most fantasy points at the position last year. He secured 114 receptions for 1,258 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also rushed for 213 yards on 21 attempts and scored twice. The accolades elucidate an even better narrative than the statistics: He was awarded the Paul Hornung Award (most versatile player), consensus All-American First Team, Big Ten Wide Receiver of the Year, Big Ten Freshman of the Year and All-Big Ten First Team. He caught 11 or more passes six times, broke a school record for all-purpose yards in a season (2,215) and game (313). Alongside former icons Herschel Walker, Georgia, and Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma, Moore is just the third true freshman to earn consensus All-American honors in the history of the game. At 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds, the sensational sophomore is one of the most electrifying players in the nation and could be the first receiver to capture the Heisman since Desmond Howard, Michigan in 1991. Moore might not win the award but could earn an invite to New York in December.
Receptions, Yards, and TDs: 105 for 1,300 and 13
Rushing Yards and TDs: 170 and 2
Total Fantasy Points: 342
- Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
In 2017, I drafted Jerry Jeudy in the third round of my CFF Industry Dynasty league and reaped the rewards of my decision last year. The Alabama superstar is my top-ranked WR Devy prospect and will likely be drafted among the first five selections in the 2020 NFL Draft. A 5-star recruit coming out of high school, Jeudy is a brilliant route runner and possesses exceptional traits: great speed, incredible agility, and stupendous body control. He easily changes directions with an elite jab step and employs eye-popping double moves to get wide open deep down the field. He has soft and natural mitts and effortlessly corrals the football. Last season, the Crimson Tide celebrity conquered SEC competitors, earned the Biletnikoff Award presented to the nation’s top receiver and named consensus All-American First Team. He recorded 68 receptions for 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns while averaging a remarkable 19.3 yards per catch. Both Jeudy’s receiving yards and touchdowns rank second all-time at Alabama behind Amari Cooper’s amazing 2014 campaign with 1,727 yards and 16 TDs. With Tua Tagovailoa and Jeudy leading the aerial assault last year, coach Nick Saban’s team finished third in Total Offense (7,830 yards) and points per game (45.6). Opponents cannot slow down the Crimson Tide passing game, and Jeudy might break Cooper’s single-season records at Alabama in 2019.
Receptions, Yards, and TDs: 80 for 1,440 and 15
Total Fantasy Points: 314
- Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State
Since Mike Gundy became coach at Oklahoma State, the Cowboys have produced a long line of high-end college fantasy football receivers: Justin Blackmon (2009-11), Dez Bryant (2007-09) and James Washington (2014-17). Last year, Tylan Wallace climbed the depth chart from the outhouse to the penthouse after catching 86 passes for 1,491 and 12 touchdowns. A true deep threat, he led the nation with 63 receptions over 10 yards and tied for second with 25 catches over 20 yards. He also secured 66 first-down catches, which paced all players in the Power 5 conferences. Wallace was named All-American First Team by ESPN and The Sporting News and Biletnikoff Award finalist. At 6-foot-0 and 185 pounds, he is fast and physical with excellent body control. A long-ball sage, the junior tracks the ball well and secures it with vice-like mitts, winning contested catches. The Cowboys just avoided their first losing season during Gundy’s tenure since 2005, and if the coach wants to continue the program’s winning streak, he must get the football into Wallace’s hands as often as possible.
Receptions, Yards and TDs: 80 for 1,350 and 10
Total Fantasy Points: 275
- Justyn Ross, Clemson
How splendid would it be to hear coach Nick Saban’s private thoughts on Justyn Ross after the game breaker burned the Crimson Tide for six catches for 153 yards and a touchdown in the National Championship Game? As the freshman scampered for a 74-yard touchdown, Saban must have been furious. Ross, a native Alabamian, was the top-ranked prospect in his home state, and since 2005, only the second No. 1 recruit not to sign with the Crimson Tide. The sensational sophomore performed his best on the big stage: He also toasted Notre Dame in the CFP semifinals with six receptions for 148 yards and two touchdowns. Since Dabo Swinney became coach at Clemson, he has guided the Tigers to five ACC titles and two National Championships. More importantly for college fantasy footballers, the Clemson factory continually churns out superb fantasy receivers (Sammy Watkins, 2011-13, DeAndre Watkins, 2010-12, Martavis Bryant, 2011-13 and Mike Williams, 2013-16), and Ross is now the alpha male in one of the best systems in the country. As a true freshman, he recorded 46 catches for a team-high 1,000 yards and 9 touchdowns. Since 2014, he was the first Clemson player to score three times from beyond 50 yards and named Freshman All-American by 247Sports. Ross checks nearly every box for fantasy stardom: great coach, super scheme, top quarterback, elite size, awesome athletic ability and talented teammates. What is there not to like? I am already heavily invested in the next Clemson receiver prospect.
Receptions, Yards, and TDs: 65 for 1,100 and 11
Total Fantasy Points: 241
- Collin Johnson, Texas
Anyone who has read my college fantasy football articles or listened to the CFF: On Campus Podcast already knows how confident I am in the Longhorns and QB Sam Ehlinger in 2019. Lil’Jordan Humphrey declared for the NFL Draft and 110 targets and over 1,100 receiving yards are now available. Who is likely to see an increase in production? It is simple logic to embrace Collin Johnson as the recipient of an uptick in opportunities. The senior kicks off the upcoming season ranked ninth in school history for career receptions (150) and yards (2,065). Last season, Johnson finished second on the team with 68 catches for 985 yards and seven touchdowns. In the Big 12 Championship Game, he established a record with 177 receiving yards on nine receptions and a touchdown. Among NFL Draft analysts, Johnson is moving up rankings, and he is rated as the No. 1 senior prospect by some, including myself. His father, Johnnie Johnson, was a first-round pick in the 1980 Draft and played 10 seasons in the NFL. In addition to good lineage, the lanky Longhorn has great size at 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, a tremendous catch radius with good hands and above average long speed. He projects as a prototypical X-receiver at the next level. For now, college fantasy diehards can reap the rewards of coach Tom Herman’s scheme as Johnson manhandles lesser competition.
Receptions, Yards, and TDs: 75 for 1,100 and 10
Total Fantasy Points: 245
Magna Cum Laude
- Marquez Stevenson, Houston
Tethered to the success of QB D’Eriq King in coach Dana Holgorsen’s offensive scheme foreshadows fantasy prominence for Marquez Stevenson. After missing the entire 2017 crusade due to a season-ending ACL tear, the junior flourished last season with 74 catches for 1,019 yards and nine touchdowns and also scored two touchdowns rushing. He was named to the All-AAC First Team, finishing second in the conference in receptions, third in touchdowns and fourth in yards. A big-play performer, Stevenson concluded the campaign sixth nationally with six plays over 50 yards and eleventh with 12 plays over 30 yards. At 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, the junior excels at finding holes in the defense and tracks the pass deep down the field well. A speed demon, Stevenson was a track star in high school and logged 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash last year. His quickness off the snap creates immediate separation, and his long-speed propels him past defenders vertically. In the defensively challenged AAC, Stevenson will shine once again in 2019.
Receptions, Yards, and TDs: 70 for 1,100 and 9
Total Fantasy Points: 234
- Cedric Byrd II, Hawaii
Whenever I contemplate the run-and-shoot Offense, two receivers come to mind as the archetype receivers: Richard Johnson, Houston Gamblers and Drew Hill, Houston Oilers. Both players were 5-foot-9 and in the 170-175 pound range and became Houston heroes as slot receivers. Looking at the Rainbows’ receiver corps, Cedric Byrd possesses nearly the same profile as Johnson and Hill at 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds. A quick-twitch athlete, Byrd quickly gets off the line of scrimmage and gains separation to provide the quarterback an open target. Last year, the senior snatched 79 passes for 970 yards and nine touchdowns. John Ursua is no longer on the team and leaves 89 catches and 16 touchdowns up for grabs. Without question, Hawaii is on the rise in the Mountain West Conference, and college fantasy footballers should invest in the passing game.
Receptions, Yards, and TDs: 90 for 1,000 and 10
Total Fantasy Points: 250
- CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
Over the past two seasons, CeeDee Lamb has been targeted by two of the most efficient passers in the history of college football: Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. Can Jalen Hurts match the proficiency of the two Heisman winners? Scrutinizing his resume at Alabama, Hurts would have to make an incredible leap forward as a passer in order to reach the heights of either signal caller. In 2017, Lamb was named All-Big 12 Honorable Mention for Offensive Freshman of the Year and earned All-Big 12 Second Team last year. The junior has recorded 111 receptions for 1,965 yards and 18 touchdowns while on campus. At 6-foot-2 and 191 pounds, Lamb is a very fluid athlete and a meticulous route runner, easily getting in and out of breaks. A natural hands catcher, the junior easily plucks the ball out of the air and wins contested catches, making the difficult ones look effortless. How Hurts performs will dictate the Sooners’ season and Lamb’s fantasy production. If you are a believer in the former Crimson Tide passer, move Lamb up a few spots. I have trepidations in 2019.
Receptions, Yards, and TDs: 60 for 1,100 and 9
Total Fantasy Points: 224
- James Proche, SMU
For the last eight years, I have owned season tickets to UConn football, and last year, I got to watch James Proche at the Rent as the Mustangs and Huskies combines for 112 points. It was the highest-scoring game that I’ve seen live in my life. Proche pulled down 6 passes for 101 yards. The senior led SMU in catches (93), yards (1,199) and touchdowns (12) last year and earned All-AAC First Team. A special teamer, he also returned 20 punts and 27 kickoffs for a combined 441 yards. In the AAC, he finished second in all-purpose yards (138) per game and surpassed 100 yards receiving in a game five times. Former Texas Longhorn QB Shane Buechele grabs the reins of the Mustangs’ offense and is more than capable of utilizing Proche to his fullest. The senior expects to win the AAC this season and knows that stats will follow if the team is winning…I concur. The Mustangs game breaker is a difference maker on fantasy rosters in 2019.
Receptions, Yards, and TDs: 90 for 1,150 and 9
Total Fantasy Points: 259
- Antonio Gandy-Golden, Liberty
Liberty elevated from the Big South Conference as an FCS program to the FBS as an Independent team last year. The Flames posted a respectable 6-6 record and hired former Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze, who will install a new offensive system and demand a fast-break pace, to propel the program forward. Freeze will rely on two seniors, QB Stephen Buckshot Calvert and WR Antonio Gandy-Golden, to implement his scheme. Last year, Gandy-Golden snatched 71 passes for 1,037 yards and 10 touchdowns, becoming only the second player in school history to exceed the 1,000-yard threshold in back-to-back seasons. Only Tylan Wallace totaled more plays over 20 yards than the Flames’ playmaker, who recorded 23. Liberty has one of the easiest schedules in the nation, and Calvert and Gandy-Golden will excel in a new up-tempo passing game.
Receptions, Yards, and TDs: 85 for 1,100 and 11
Total Fantasy Points: 261
- Jalen Reagor, TCU
One of the best receivers in college football, Jalen Reagor falls down CFF rankings because of the uncertainty at quarterback. The Horned Frogs have many options at the position—Alex Delton, Justin Rogers, Max Dugan, and Michael Collins—but will one embrace the challenge and become a reliable leader and passer? It is the most pressing challenge for coach Gary Patterson entering training camp. Whoever wins the job will profit targeting the TCU junior playmaker as often as possible. In 2018, Reagor was voted the team’s Dan Rogers Most Valuable Player award by his teammates and named All-Big 12 Second Team. He led the club in receptions (72), yards (1,061) and touchdowns (9) and 44 of his receptions went for a first down or touchdown. In school history, his catches and yards were second best for a single-season behind Josh Doctson’s totals in 2015. At 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds, he was a 4-star recruit and Top 10 WR prospect (ESPN) in high school and chose TCU over Alabama and Oklahoma. Reagor is a physical competitor who looks like a running back and gets to top speed rapidly. A very good route runner, he makes sharp cuts at full speed, fluidly changes directions to gain separation and easily eludes defenders in the open field. Despite the quarterback quandary, draft Reagor with confidence in 2019.
Receptions, Yards, and TDs: 75 for 1,100 and 8
Total Fantasy Points: 233
- Tyler Johnson, Minnesota
The University of Minnesota is not usually a hotbed for college fantasy receivers; nonetheless, Tyler Johnson deserves to come off the draft board quickly in 2019. Last year, he totaled six games over 100 yards and recorded 78 receptions for 1,169 yards and 12 touchdowns. The yards and touchdowns established new school records for a single season.
- Tee Higgins, Clemson
The Tigers are loaded on offense and likely to finish among the top five teams in Total Offense once again. The astounding junior earned All-ACC Second Team last year after leading the Clemson in receptions (59) and touchdowns (12). At 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, Higgins is a good route-runner who utilizes his large-catch radius and leaping ability to dominate defenders. Higgins and Ross form the best duo in college fantasy football.
- Warren Jackson, Colorado State
In fantasy sports, opportunity is often the king of production, and the Rams lost Preston Williams and Olabisi Johnson, who combined for 159 catches for 2,141 yards and 18 TDs. Who benefits from the roster turnover? At 6-foot-6 and 219 pounds, Warren Jackson is a daunting presence for defensive backs in the Mountain West and appears on many preseason All-MW teams. Draft Jackson with confidence.
- Denzel Mims, Baylor
I’m old enough to remember the halcyon days of the Baylor offense with Robert Griffin, III and Bryce Petty throwing to Kendall Wright, Terrance Williams, Antwan Goodley and Corey Coleman. With Charlie Brewer behind center, Denzel Mims is in line for a very productive senior season.
- JoJo Ward, Hawaii
The Run-and-Shoot offense produces a plethora of fantasy relevant receivers. JoJo Ward, another Rainbows’ wideout, will also produce weekly goodness. Ward will undoubtedly surpass last season’s totals of 51 catches for 865 yards and nine touchdowns. He led the team in yards per catch (17.0) and amassed 15 catches over 20 yards. Ward is likely priced cheaper than his teammate Cedric Byrd and also well worth purchasing.
- K.J. Hill, Ohio State
Both Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin graduated and K.J. Hill returns as the Buckeyes’ alpha male at receiver. Last year, the senior secured 67 passes for 831 yards and six touchdowns. After four years on campus, Hill could have declared for the NFL Draft but decided to return for one more crusade. He is the veteran of a young corps of wideouts in Columbus, OH and likely to lead the team in all receiving categories.
- Damonte Coxie, Memphis
A redshirt junior, Damonte Cox joined Isaac Bruce and Anthony Miller as the only receivers at Memphis to eclipse 1,000 yards in a season last year. At 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, Cox is a robust and lean competitor. He secured 19 contested catches, according to PFF, and made several eye-opening catches among his 72 receptions for 1,184 yards.
- JD Spielman, Nebraska
I’m a believer in coach Scott Frost’s offensive acumen and quarterback Adrian Martinez’s skill set. With Stanley Morgan, Jr. in the pros, JD Spielman is now the leading receiver at Nebraska. As a sophomore, he caught 66 passes for 818 yards and eight touchdowns in 10 games. At 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds, the junior is only 1,099 receiving yards and 68 receptions away from climbing to the top of the all-time career rankings in both categories for the Cornhuskers.
- Kalija Lipscomb, Vanderbilt
As a sophomore in 2017, Lipscomb enjoyed a breakout season, and as a junior, continued to impress coaches, teammates and scouts last year. Lipscomb paced the SEC in receptions with 87 while totaling 916 yards and nine touchdowns. He is climbing the all-time career charts at Vanderbilt with 155 catches (5th), 1,845 yards (9th) and 19 touchdowns (5th). A preseason All-SEC First Teamer, the senior will continue to dominate defensive backs.
- Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC
I acquired Amon-Ra St. Brown on as many Dynasty and Keeper teams as possible last summer. The first-year freshman did not disappoint: He led the team in receptions (60) and yards (750). He scored three times and shared the USC’s John McKay award. As a sophomore, I anticipate a significant improvement for the silky-smooth competitor.
- Rico Bussey, Jr., North Texas
The Mean Green employ one of the best offensive trios in the nation with QB Mason Fine, RB DeAndre Torrey and WR Rico Bussey, Jr. Over the past two seasons, the 6-foot-2 and 193-pound senior has recorded 115 catches for 1,694 yards and 19 touchdowns. An All-C-USA First Team selection last year, Bussey will earn back-to-back tributes in 2019.
- Tamorrion Terry, Florida State
For new coach Willie Taggart, the first year at Florida State did not go as scripted: The Seminoles only won five games, losing to Miami, Florida and Clemson. First and foremost, the offensive line was among the worse in the country and the run game stalled. Taggart has overhauled the O-line and hired Kendal Briles as offensive coordinator. Without question, WR Tamorrion Terry is the key to the aerial assault. A speed demon, the junior earned the club’s Offensive MVP after hauling in 35 passes for 744 yards and eight touchdowns. He should continue on a positive career arch in 2019.
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