The Path to a WR1 Fantasy Football Season: Jerry Jeudy
In 2020, Bronco Nation was filled with excitement for their newest draft pick, Jerry Jeudy–he’d be the perfect complement for star wide-out Courtland Sutton and would round out the young Denver offense. Fantasy managers were eager to grab Jeudy, as he offered tremendous upside, especially in keeper and dynasty leagues. Despite the high expectations, we haven’t yet seen Jeudy break out. He’s been inconsistent in his first three seasons, and despite a few flashes of brilliance, he hasn’t been anywhere near WR1 value.
While slightly disappointing thus far, the future is bright for Jeudy–coming off his best season (despite having Nathaniel Hackett as a coach and one of the worst offenses in the league) and the hiring of Sean Peyton, all signs point towards a high-end fantasy season. Let’s discuss the case for Jeudy hitting a top-12 outcome in 2023.
Jeudy’s target share is incredibly promising. Each year he has averaged a higher share, taking the biggest leap last season (22.5%). This is especially important with a struggling QB in Russell Wilson, as his trusted receivers will be key in gaining back his confidence and improving the offense. See his progression below.
Receptions & Catch Rate
Jeudy can be considered the best pass-catcher in the Denver receiving corps. He led their top three receivers in 2022 in catch rate at 67%–Sutton falls at 59% and Tim Patrick at 62%. Jeudy also led the team in receptions, pulling in 67 grabs last season (#2 Sutton 64, #3 Dulcich 33). Again, a reliable receiver is exactly what this recovering offense needs–as a mid-range route runner, Wilson will frequently look for Jeudy over his other two deep-threat receivers when rebuilding his crumbled confidence.
Looking at Jeudy’s expected fantasy points from 2022 offers some fantastic insight as well–Jeudy put up close to 140 fantasy points (half PPR) in 2022–his expectation was 122.58. Using player percentiles for fantasy points over expected and for expected fantasy points, we can calculate a ‘player upside’, a number falling between -1 and 1 (mean = 0). Jeudy’s upside falls at 0.25, which is incredibly promising.
*The ‘Touches’ column below is a sum of targets and rushes
aDOT & Air Yards
While Jeudy’s aDOT was relatively low at 11.8 yards in 2022, he was still able to pull in about a third (28.4%) of the air yard share. This is promising for a WR who sits on a struggling offense–check downs and 10-yard passes will be plentiful, which is exactly where Jeudy has been able to find success as Denver’s leading receiver. It is important to point out that despite a large drop in air yard share in 2021, Jeudy was able to rebound last season–if he can get closer to his share from 2020 while continuing his efficiency, he could be in for a breakout season! See his air yard share progression below.
Jerry Jeudy has serious potential to break out in 2023–his reliability, fantasy efficiency, and shallow route running all play a role in making him a safe and effective option for Russell Wilson. In order for this Broncos team to succeed, Jeudy will need to step up big-time as a fourth-year receiver. With Sean Peyton holding the reigns and (hopefully) injecting some life into this offense, there is no doubt Jeudy can take the path to become a WR1.