Rookie Rundown: WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma

Rookie Rundown: WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma

Fantasy Football Rookie Analysis

Rookie Rundown: WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma

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(Tim Heitman, USA TODAY Sports)

Oklahoma Sooners junior wide receiver CeeDee Lamb declared early for the 2020 NFL Draft after three productive seasons with the Sooners, in which he improved each of the past two years. He would go on to be a first-team AP All-American and Biletnikoff Award finalist in 2019, and Lamb earned recognition as a member of the All-Big 12 team.

Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 198 pounds
40 time: 4.5 seconds

Despite a class with high-end quarterbacks and offensive linemen expected to occupy most of the top-10 draft picks, Lamb belongs in this area of the first round, even if it may not play out that way.

Table: CeeDee Lamb NCAA stats (2017-19)

Year
Rec
Yards
Avg.
TD
Long
Rush
Yards
Avg.
TD
2019
62
1,327
21.4
14
71
9
20
2.2
1
2018
65
1,158
17.8
11
86
0
0
0
0
2017
46
807
17.5
7
82
0
0
0
0

Pros

  • Lethal after the catch — open-field athleticism, awareness and vision jumps off of the screen when reviewing his film
  • Elite ball skills and tracking ability — his best traits as a receiver
  • One of the best receivers in the nation in contested-catch situations — attacks the ball and understands the dynamics behind optimal body placement and adjustments
  • Dangerous in all three levels of the route tree
  • Can play all over the field and is easily schemed into any system
  • Among the best deep-ball playmakers in college football over the last three years. No receiver averaged more yards per catch (minimum 40) in 2019
  • Tremendous football intelligence and off-field character
  • Plays faster than he times
  • Experienced punt returner
  • Adequate lower-body strength to slip flimsy tackle attempts

Cons

  • Needs to improve efficiency in and out of breaks — could struggle to separate vs. pro-level man coverage
  • Limited upper-body strength with 11 reps on the 225-pound bench press and is more of an effort blocker, which could be exposed in the NFL
  • Thin build and doesn’t possess the frame to pack on more mass without threatening his quickness
  • More question marks than necessarily cons: Lamb played in an offense designed to create separation, which could have inflated his numbers after being untested by suspect Big 12 cornerbacks. How much did he benefit due to catching passes from the past two No. 1 overall picks in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray (plus Jalen Hurts)? How about playing alongside Hollywood Brown for two years?

Fantasy football outlook

As mentioned, despite being a top-10 talent, Lamb may fall victim to external circumstances. Looking at the first round, teams with the need and placement include: Arizona Cardinals (8th), New York Jets (11th), Las Vegas Raiders (12th, 19th), Indianapolis Colts (13th), Denver Broncos (15th), Miami Dolphins (18th). While Miami also has the fifth pick, it’s fully expected they will address quarterback and/or offensive tackle needs.

The most likely teams are the Jets, Raiders and Colts. It is tough to envision Lamb falling past the Raiders after the Antonio Brown fiasco left the cupboard rather barren, and the Jets absolutely need a WR1, especially if Robby Anderson doesn’t return in free agency.

In any of those three situations, the quarterback play (assuming Philip Rivers is a Colt) shouldn’t work against Lamb putting his best foot forward as a rookie. That said, the position rarely posts huge fantasy football statistics in Year 1. We’ve see several strong efforts in recent years, so think of Lamb as a best-case WR2 and most likely a weekly flex consideration on talent alone.

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