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Fantasy Football: How the 2024 NFL Draft's wide receiver class performed depending on the situation | NFL Draft

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• Which players are most effective against press, single coverage, zone coverage and more: Highlighting the best FBS wide receivers throughout their careers in key receiving categories.

• Surprise! Marvin Harrison Jr. is effective regardless of the situation: The top-ranked wide receiver on PFF's big board shines in several key situations.

• Draft and trade yourself: Attempt PFF's Mock Draft Simulator – Trade picks and players and mock them against your favorite NFL team.

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes


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The 2024 NFL Draft is getting closer by the day and there can never be enough data to think about when it comes to evaluating prospects. After focusing on the running backsThis article focuses on the top wide receiver prospects in this year's draft and how they performed in key situations.

This article focuses on many metrics that are not readily available PFF Premium Stats to provide an exclusive and detailed breakdown of the production that cannot be found anywhere else.

  • Only FBS wide receivers are included in this analysis.
  • Yards per route pass (YPRR) represents the number of receiving yards per route pass in each specific situation.
  • Career yards and touchdowns percentage represents the number of yards and touchdowns scored by each wide receiver in each specific situation relative to the total number of yards and touchdowns for his career.
  • Targets per Route Pass indicates the number of times a wide receiver was targeted on routes run in each specific situation.
  • Yards per target is the number of receiving yards a wide receiver achieves depending on the number of times he throws to target in a given situation.
  • The 1DTD rate indicates the number of times a wide receiver caught a pass that resulted in a first down or touchdown per route run in each specific situation.


Total number of young professionals

Starting with the basics, this is an overview of each FBS wide receiver's performance on the metrics covered for his entire college career in all situations.

  • Marvin Harrison Jr. is the class's all-time leader in error-free yards per route and has an outstanding target rate and first-down and touchdown efficiency throughout his college career.
  • Malik Nabers isn't far behind in career production and efficiency on a per-route basis while ranking second in the class in yards per target Alabama'S Jermaine Burton.
  • Washington'S Rome Odunze – the other potential top-10 pick in this year's draft – ranks fourth in this class in career receiving yards, and while his YPRR total isn't quite as high as Harrison's or Nabers', it is due to the The context of this total is better than it seems, as highlighted in our HR-adjusted YPRR data study.

Career numbers versus individual insurance

The performance of wide receivers against single coverage simply highlights the player's success rate one-on-one against defensive backs in man coverage. This is especially important for outside wide receivers, who are exposed to single coverage more often than those who line up in the slot.

  • Oregon'S Troy Franklin Not only does he have the best YPRR total in this year's class, but he also has one of the highest ratings among wide receivers in recent years with at least 90 targets. He ranks just fourth among qualified wide receivers since 2019 DeVonta Smith (5.95), T-shirt Higgins (5.32) and Yes'Marr Chase (5.25).
  • UCF'S Javon Baker is also a standout in YPRR against single coverage, serving as the primary outside receiver and leading the team in receiving yards each of the last two years since transferring Alabama. Baker's performance and efficiency resulted in a top-four first down/touchdown rate and yards-per-target average even compared to single coverage.
  • Harrison once again leads the way, ranking third in the YPRR in this year's class compared to individual coverage, while also accounting for the highest percentage (57.6%) of his receiving production compared to individual coverage.

Career numbers compared to zone coverage

Zone coverage is the most common form of coverage in college football and the NFL. A strong sense of zone coverage and knowing how to exploit the gaps within those coverages is also a translatable trait when projecting to the next level.

  • Many of the top names repeat here as YPRR leaders against zone coverage between Harrison, Nabers and Franklin. North Carolina'S Devontez Walker leads the class in YPRR versus zone, although he also has one of the lowest sample sizes of routes run for the group.
  • Georgia'S Ladd McConkey has the best first down/touchdown rate in this class while also ranking in the top three in yardage and touchdowns in zone coverage. McConkey projects as a slot receiver in the NFL, so it's particularly encouraging that his production metrics in zone coverage are among the best in this class.

Career figures versus press coverage

In press coverage, a defender plays on the line of scrimmage directly in front of the wide receiver, often with the intent of getting his hands on the receiver and making legal contact within the first five yards to prevent his release and take him away route to the intended position. This section highlights the receivers who thrive against this tactic because of their ability to survive contact and still achieve targets, distance, and efficiency.

  • The tallest wide receiver in this year's draft class at 6-foot-7 and 237 pounds, Johnny Wilson, didn't let the press coverage deter him and achieved by far the best YPRR value in its class in these situations. It was obvious that FSU wanted to take advantage of these matchups as he also had the highest targets per route pass.
  • Similar, North Carolina'S Bryson Nesbit was also a force against press coverage, using his 6-foot-5, 235-pound size to also post the best first down/touchdown rate in the class, albeit in a smaller sample size.
  • Some lighter wide receivers near top performers Jamari Thrash and Troy Franklin both weigh under 190 pounds but, as highlighted, recorded a wide range of work against the press with encouraging metrics that support their “sleeper” status in the this year's class Here.

Career in Red Zone Production

Red zone usage and production is often associated with touchdowns, leading to stronger fantasy performances.

  • Success in the red zone should be measured primarily by first down/touchdown rate Marvin Harrison Jr. is a leader in this regard, as is yards per route pass. He was also targeted in the red zone more often than any other player in this class, showing how much his team (rightfully) viewed him as an offensive weapon and the best chance for touchdowns.
  • Michigan'S Roman Wilson also had a high success rate in the red zone and posted the second-highest first down/touchdown rate in the class, resulting in an impressive success rate despite only being a starter for a year.

Career as a film producer

Knowing how many production receivers are involved in scripts and how invested they are in that regard helps to contextualize their entire production to get a better understanding of where their true strengths lie.

  • Western Kentucky'S Malachi Corley is the perfect example of a player whose overall production was aided by scripts, as 36.4% – the highest percentage in the class – came from scripts. In this regard, since screens have a high completion percentage and are typically an easier way to gain yards with blockers working in front of the receiver, this high usage can be viewed as a red flag when transferring to the NFL.
  • Malik Nabers is a better example of a player who finds elite success when used on screen passes without relying too heavily on easy completions, as only 12.3% of his receiving yards come from screen passes.

Career deep ball production

Highlighting each FBS wide receiver's usage on long throws and the frequency with which they are used in that regard is a good way to highlight a key strength that leads to quality plays for both fantasy and their respective teams.

  • LSU's Brian Thomas delivered the highest YPRR total for this entire class on throws over 20 yards downfield, which also ultimately resulted in the highest yards per target and first down/touchdown rate for the class. Thomas' route tree indicates that he was primarily asked to run these deep routes, so it's encouraging to see that he was so effective at doing so.
  • Alabama'S Jermaine Burton He also had considerable success on deep passes, leading the class in total yards per target. He is also the only FBS wide receiver in this class to have more than half of his total receptions come from passes more than 20 yards down the field. Since moving to Alabama In 2022, just over 26% of Burton's routes were go routes – his most commonly run route by far.

Late career in production

Finally, we'll focus on the receivers who delivered when their teams needed them most, on crucial late downs. Scoring in these situations and tackling to convert on third and/or fourth downs can be a positive indicator that the player's teams were trusted most in each situation and who performed.

  • Surprising no one, Harrison Jr. is the leader in YPRR and first down/touchdown per route run. There are really no questions about his production profile at this point and that's why he's considered the top receiver in this draft.
  • Malik Nabers is, as usual, right behind Harrison Jr. in the YPRR while also achieving the second-highest target rate per route in this class. Partly due to LSUDue to Nabers' heavy reliance on key downs, Thomas Jr. became one of the most ineffective receivers in these situations.