In the 2020 NFL Draft, few prospects, if any, are more electric than former Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Henry Ruggs III. Also, few are more controversial in both NFL circles compared to dynasty but also his ranking in the community. Now that the Las Vegas Raiders have drafted Henry Ruggs at pick 12, we can examine his impact and value in dynasty leagues following the draft in 2020.
Henry Ruggs dynasty value heading into 2020
Speed, speed and more speed
Ruggs bring skills to the field that cannot be quantified by stats or a box score. His incendiary 4.27 speed can and will blow past any defender once Ruggs is even with them. That speed forces defenses to rotate coverage to give over the top protection towards whichever side of the field Ruggs lines up on.
During his time at Alabama, Ruggs was a consistent home run threat and productive receiver even while playing alongside Jerry Jeudy and two other future NFL draft picks. His 98 catches for 1,716 yards and 24 touchdowns show how game-breaking speed can lead to fantasy success. Not many receivers can boast a touchdown rate of one in every four receptions, and that factor cannot be overlooked.
Another area where he excels is one inside linear routes. Whether a dig or a slant, Ruggs has a knack for being able to find the weak spots in the coverage. If required, he has the ability to slow his route to give his quarterback more time to make the throw then accelerate past defensive backs who take poor paths to the ball.
The question is around whether a home run hitter like Ruggs can bring constant dynasty value or is he more of an NFL-only asset. NFL defenses are smart, and they will work out how to neutralize him as much as possible. When watching the film, if Ruggs gets press coverage from a physical defensive back, he struggles to get away and can, at times, be entirely taken out of the play. Now that he is with the Raiders, we need to consider his landing spot and break down his impact on their offense.
How will Ruggs impact the Las Vegas Raiders?
Henry Ruggs III just became the number one option on the Raiders, as he joins what was arguably the worst receiving corps other than the New York Jets heading into this weekend. Las Vegas did make some moves in free agency to bring in players such as Nelson Agholor, but no one will have the impact Ruggs should have in their offense.
Tyrell Williams slides into the WR2 role after the 2019 season in which he had a team-leading 651 yards, but even that was only good enough for 50th in the NFL. The addition of Ruggs does create a better opportunity for Hunter Renfrow to be moved around the offense to get more opportunistic looks. Jon Gruden and Derek Carr both love what Renfrow brings in terms of a chain mover across the field. Ruggs’ speed will force defensive backs away from the line of scrimmage, which will help create softer zones that Renfrow can exploit.
The most significant riser on the Raiders thanks to the Ruggs selection is Carr. A quarterback can only be as good as the options that he has around him. The Raiders have now spent back-to-back first-round picks surrounding Carr with offensive talent. Both times they were dipping into the Alabama talent pool with Ruggs this year, and in 2019, with running back Josh Jacobs.
The leash is short for Carr in 2020 with Marcus Mariota now in town, and there is also the chance the Raiders select another QB in the coming rounds. By giving him Ruggs to go with Renfrow, Jacobs, and the emergence of Darren Waller, excuses are running out. Selecting Ruggs as the first wide receiver off the board means failure to use him properly will not be tolerated.
Carr finished 2019 eighth in passing yards with 4,055 and 19th in touchdowns with 21 on the season. The addition of Ruggs opens up the entire offense and gives any short route the chance to get a long breakaway score.
Given Ruggs is the true WR1 for his team means dynasty owners now have a hard choice to make in the upper end of the first round of rookie drafts. Do you think he is more of an NFL-only asset rather than a consistent fantasy player? If so, then you have to wait until later in the opening round of the draft. If you believe in his talent and his name is on the board, you have to take a shot and draft him, as Ruggs will be afforded every opportunity to succeed as the Raiders look to create excitement in Las Vegas.
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Tommy Garrett is a writer for PFN covering Fantasy Football. You can follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.