Today we're talking about my favorite sleeper in this year's draft, and no one is talking about this speedster. He was the first wide receiver taken in last year's stacked draft at wide receiver and everyone is acting like he's already a bust and that's that. His name is Henry Ruggs. He is widely considered to be one of the fastest guys in the league, and that's not all he does well. He showed at Bama and in flashes last year that he has strong hands and could even go up and get the ball if he needed to, but he is being drafted after other speedsters whose opportunity is a lot less and that aren't as good. Hardman and Waddle are both going before him in drafts, they both already have speed threats ahead of them on the depth chart, Hardman's chemistry hasn't been great with Mahomes to this point, and Waddle a rookie is behind Fuller and might have better chemistry with Tua, but we don't even know if Tua can play yet.
Let's get to Ruggs, he had a bad rookie season, and was beat out by Agholor as the deep threat and number one receiver spot. But Agholor is gone, that leaves a ton of targets there, and Ruggs is still the first round pick. Gruden has shown that he wants to be considered smarter than the rest of the league and that he likes to zag when everyone else zigs, especially with his first round picks the last couple of drafts. He is going to want to prove that he was right with the Ruggs pick, especially after Jefferson has that record breaking rookie year. He has an above average QB in Carr, who is also one of the best deep ball throwers in the league.
Now Ruggs' normal stats might back this up but looking at the advanced stats, it tells a different story. His yards per reception was 17.4 and yards per target 10.5 - both of those are top 10 in the league. This tells me they're trying to get the ball to him downfield. The most eye popping stat was his 2.31 yards of separation he averaged per target, that was number one in the entire league, ahead of Tyreek Hill even.
These numbers show me he was beating his primary defender most of the time when he was on the field and when he did get targeted it was downfield. Building deep ball chemistry is one of the toughest things for QBs to do, it took Brady over half the season last year to get that with all-pro receivers in Evans and Godwin. With no real OTAs or preseason last year Ruggs missed out on valuable time to work with Carr and got beat out by a veteran wide receiver. With a full offseason, he has already been working his butt off at getting better across the board as a wide receiver and all the primary first team reps in this offense. He also won't be the primary target of opposing defenses. They'll be more focused on Waller and the run game with Jacobs and Drake. I see Ruggs breaking out and possibly being a league winning sleeper in fantasy drafts this year. Once you get to the tenth round or later in most drafts, it's a crapshoot anyway. Other than QBs, which you can get really good ones late either way, if he's on the board and you're looking for the first couple guys on your bench, this guy could end up being a high upside starter every week. He can easily have weeks when he wins you your match-up.