Jerry Jeudy had a terrific second half of the season last year and is way too low in fantasy football rankings in 2023. Nathaniel Hackett is out as the Denver Broncos head coach, and Sean Payton is in. He brings a plethora of knowledge on offense, ranking top five in pass attempts every year from 2010-2016. This coincided with the prime of Drew Brees’ career, and he will look to take that same success to Denver.
The biggest question for Payton will be whether he can fix Russell Wilson who is coming off the worst season of his career. However, that didn’t stop Jeudy from being a productive fantasy receiver and taking over as the top option in the Denver offense. Fantasy managers should look for him to build on his progress on his way to a top-15 fantasy football wide receiver finish in 2023.
Jerry Jeudy’s College Profile
Jerry Jeudy entered the NFL Draft after a prolific collegiate career with the Alabama Crimson Tide. He caught 145 passes for 2,478 receiving yards with an over 20-percent target share in his final two seasons. Jeudy even went on to win the Biletnikoff award for the most outstanding receiver in college football as a sophomore.
Becoming the WR 1 for DEN
2 games w/o Sutton:
-149 rec yds
Week 16 w/ Sutton:
-10 tgts* (31.3% Target Share)
-117 rec yds*
HOLD (offense will improve) pic.twitter.com/PRlsOy252J
— PlayerProfiler (@rotounderworld) December 27, 2022
Diving into the tape shows a player that was an advanced route runner at an early stage in his career. Jeudy was consistently able to put opposing cornerbacks in awkward positions and create big gains for the offense. While he isn’t an elite athlete, his technique allowed him to create a lot of space between himself and the defenders.
While there weren’t many drawbacks to his draft profile, Jeudy did have issues with drops at Alabama. He wasn’t strong in contested catch situations either, and we’ve seen both of those issues arise in the NFL. Nonetheless, he was thought to be one of the safest wide receiver prospects in recent memory. This led to him being selected No. 15 overall by the Denver Broncos as the new WR1 for quarterback Drew Lock.
Jerry Jeudy’s Fantasy Football Performance Thus Far
However, his career thus far has been rocky, to say the least. Although he produced 856 receiving yards as a rookie, he had a massive 7.1-percent drop rate. The same issues that plagued him in his collegiate career continued in the NFL. Regardless, he was No. 7 in the NFL in air yards (1536) which led CeeDee Lamb by over 500 yards. Not to mention Jeudy did all of this battling poor quarterback play with Drew Lock under center.
Unfortunately, Denver’s poor passing offense continued into his sophomore season as both Lock and Teddy Bridgewater struggled to generate any success. To make matters worse, Jeudy suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 1 that caused him to miss the following six games. As a result, he never got back on track in one of the worst offenses in the NFL.
Fast forward to 2022 and many thought Jeudy was finally going to break out with Russell Wilson under center. In one of the most surprising storylines of the season, the Broncos’ offense ranked last in points per game. Nonetheless, after a slow start, Jeudy was able to find himself finishing as a top 24 fantasy wide receiver in six of his final eight games.
Jerry Jeudy’s 2023 Fantasy Football Rankings Outlook
Looking ahead toward 2023 Jeudy is in store for a breakout season under new head coach Sean Payton. Denver hired him to improve the offense and revitalize Russell Wilson after a successful run with Drew Brees in New Orleans.
Despite Wilson’s struggles, Jeudy was still the WR11 in fantasy points per game since the start of Week 7. He out-targeted Courtland Sutton 64 to 57 over that span, and he was far more efficient in his opportunities as well. Jeudy was No. 16 in yards per route run compared to Sutton’s rank of just No. 50. Even though they received a similar amount of targets, Jeudy was the far more productive fantasy option.
Top-8 WRs vs. man coverage by receiving yards per route run last season [via @FantasyPtsData]
1. CHRIS OLAVE (3.48)
2. Jerry Jeudy (3.43)
3. Mike Williams (3.40)
4. Tyreek Hill (3.39)
5. Justin Jefferson (3.39)
6. A.J. Brown (3.35)
7. Cooper Kupp (3.28)
8. Ja’Marr Chase (3.13)
— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) March 7, 2023
This shouldn’t have been a surprise either considering their time together prior to last season. While they both had been limited due to injuries, they played in 12 games together between 2020 and 2021. In those matchups, Jeudy outscored Sutton in fantasy points eleven times. He was always the far more productive receiver, and that wasn’t going to change.
Jeudy should now be the clear WR1 this off-season in what should be one of the league’s most improved offenses. After ranking near the bottom of the league in most statistical categories, even a return to average would be a welcome sight. Jeudy already operated as a WR1 for an extended period of time in 2022, and he will build on that going forward.