The 2020 Rookie Wonder Boy
The 2020 Rookie Wonder Boy
I’m going to start off by reexamining a trade that was made between the Vikings and Bills, then dive into performance of players that were part of that trade. I will mostly take a look at it on the Fantasy side but will go into my opinion as well. So in March 2020 the Buffalo Bills acquired wide receiver Stefon Diggs from the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for first, fifth, and sixth round picks in the 2020 draft, as well as a 6th round pick in the 2021 NFL draft.
First off let’s look at why this trade needed to be done. Stefon Diggs was becoming a diva in the locker room. A guy who had never had a thousand yard receiving season before Kirk Cousins came along then had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons was complaining about his targets. In my opinion he had nothing to complain about. Cousins helped him have back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. With that said, as much of a huge Diggs fan as I was, it was time to move on from him. Now let’s look at what the Vikings got in return. First off we got the 22nd overall pick which we used on Justin Jeffferson who had the best rookie year of any receiver in NFL History. We traded pick 155 to get defensive back Cameron Bynum. Traded 201 and 219 for Kenny Willekes and tight end Zach Davidson and used pick number 134 in the 2021 NFL draft to get Janarius Robinson.
Let’s start by comparing the two main pieces Jefferson and Diggs based on PPR Fantasy production. So for the whole 2020 season Stefon Diggs finished 3rd in the NFL for WR for PPR points with 328.6, Justin Jefferson finished 6th with 274.2 However, Jefferson was a rookie and didn’t see the field much the first couple games. So let’s look at PPR points from week 4 on. From week 4 on Diggs had 267.8 points and Jefferson had 231.7 putting them at third and fifth respectively. Then from week 10 on Diggs was second in the NFL with 166.3 points and Jefferson third with 157.5 Now let’s break down the per game fantasy production, Diggs played in 16 games averaging 20.5 points per game. Jefferson also played in 16 however as I said didn’t get much action in the first couple games but he averaged 17 points per game.
Now let’s break down further the best rookie season of all time for rookie wide receivers. The first two weeks Jefferson didn’t see more than 70 percent of offensive snaps in either contest. The next two weeks it went up to not more than 80 percent of snaps. Despite this he posted 100-yard games in his first two starts weeks 3 and 4. From there his time increased and so did his production. Jefferson’s total of 1,400 receiving yards was the most ever in the Super Bowl era for rookie receivers and second all-time behind Bill Groman’s 1,473 yards in 1960. On top of that he was dominant in other ways too. He was by far the top rookie in yards per route at 2.66, the next highest was Ceedee Lamb at 1.81 this is according to PFF. According to next Gen Stats Jefferson’s 36.73 percent of his team's total air yards was fifth highest in the whole league. He did this while averaging a higher catch percentage than the 4 guys in front of him on the list.
This article has been longer than usual as is, so I’m going to wrap it up here pretty quick, but even if you just look at Jefferson for Diggs and not look at any of the other pieces Minnesota got, which I think a couple of them have a lot of potential, but with that aside I think the Vikings won this trade. And it was awesome watching The griddy touchdown dance as well as watching wonder boy rookie receiver Justin Jefferson as a rookie. For the record, Randy Moss has the record for receiving touchdowns as a rookie, however to me Jefferson's rookie season may be the best of all time based on analytics, yards etc.
Elijah Allen Lippert