What Kind of Fantasy Football Impact Will Justin Jefferson Have With the Minnesota Vikings?
The Minnesota Vikings selected Jefferson with the 22nd pick, and their fans should be ecstatic.
Let's take a look at what Minnesota is getting, and what we can expect from Jefferson in fantasy.
Mr. Reliable... From the Slot
Despite playing on an offense that included Ja'Marr Chase, Thaddeus Moss, Terrace Marshall Jr., and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Jefferson caught a whopping 111 passes for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns. Not too shabby.
You've probably heard a lot about Jefferson being a slot receiver, so let's take a brief look at that.
According to Pro Football Focus, Jefferson ran 575 of his 583 routes from the slot in 2019. That's...a high percentage -- trust me, I can math. PFF also says that Jefferson led the nation with 37 explosive plays -- i.e., 15 or more yards -- from the slot. Basically, he's not your everyday slot receiver.
And then there's the fact that Jefferson had the highest contested-catch rate -- 92.3 percent -- among all draft-eligible receivers with at least 10 contested-catch opportunities. Again, not your average slot receiver.
The 21-year-old can stake a claim as being one of the best route runners in the 2020 class -- this is in addition to having some of the best hands and ball skills. Oh, and he can do this.
This Justin Jefferson juke. @JJettas2
(via @LSUfootball, h/t @thecheckdown) pic.twitter.com/9qdGwXDrJP
— NFL (@NFL) April 16, 2020
Jefferson can struggle against the press -- which makes a projection to moving him outside more difficult -- but that's easier to avoid in the slot.
Fantasy Fit With Minnesota
It's my opinion that Jefferson was one of the most NFL-ready wideouts in this class. Because of this, I expect him to make an instant impact in purple.
Jefferson should immediately benefit from Minnesota's trade of Stefon Diggs, who averaged 112.5 targets over his last four seasons. He'll also benefit from Kirk Cousins being behind center, as Cousins has had a tendency to pepper his slot guys with targets.
JJ Zachariason projects the 21-year-old Jefferson to catch 51 passes for 728.9 yards and 4.3 scores in 2020.