The dynasty wide receiver landscape has been blessed by a crop of elite pass catchers, who have been at the top of the league for years. Every few years the age gap shuffles the dynasty drafts. Owners desire youth before players get to that age 30 season. Before 2013, wide receivers like Julio Jones, A.J. Green, and Antonio Brown dominated the league, but as they aged owners were looking to find the next great class.
The 2013-2016 rookie classes have brought us players that have dominated not only NFL cornerbacks but also the fantasy community. DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham, Davante Adams, and Michael Thomas have left similar impact on the league but as they all turn 27 or 28 years old respectively this season. Here are my top wide receivers under 24 years of age, who could ascend into elite status in 2020.
Chris Godwin - 23 years old
After a promising rookie season, an improved sophomore campaign, Chris Godwin was primed for a third-year breakout. He exploded in 2019 for 86 catches, 1333 yards, and ten touchdowns behind shaky but fantasy dependent play from Jameis Winston. Godwin finished as the second overall wide receiver in standard PPR leagues. He dominated at times with the ball in his hands with 6.7 yards after the catch, which ranked third in the league. Godwin played a majority of his snaps in the slot but still finished second in the league in air yards, the vertical yards on a pass attempt at the moment the ball is caught in relation to the line of scrimmage. Godwin's price has soared but is still obtainable with the uncertainty of what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do at quarterback. If Winston comes back, he’s a volume machine but either way he's still an elite asset who can be quarterback proof because of his ability to win at all levels, especially as the big slot receiver in Bruce Arians’ offense.
D.J. Moore - 22 years old
Similar to Godwin, Moore is entering his third season after a promising rookie and sensational sophomore season. The best is yet to come from this young productive pass catcher, who was a first round draft pick by the Panthers in 2018. He took his game to a new level this year, improving on every statistical category with 87 receptions on 135 targets, 1,175 yards, but only 4 touchdowns. Moore was able to accomplish this with Kyle Allen and Will Grier at the helm for most of the 2019 season. His touchdown total is sure to see some positive regression, while his catch totals should rise if he gets more competent play from his quarterback. New coach, new system, new quarterback all could be reasons to fade the young receiver but I believe all of these things are positive news for Moore. His average depth of target of 11.2 yards was better than the likes of DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Thomas, Keenan Allen, and Chris Godwin in 2019, and the sky's the limit for this explosive playmaker. He's been able to utilize his 4.42 speed and athleticism to excel in the NFL but this third year could be the breakout which makes him unobtainable if you do not buy soon.
A.J. Brown - 22 years old
Brown is the tale of trust the tape and talent over the landing spot in dynasty. A superior talent coming into the NFL, Brown struggled as we expected with Marcus Mariota running the offense, but when Ryan Tannehill took over he showcased his skills as one of the premier yards after the catch playmakers. He led the NFL in yards after the catch with 8.9 while averaging 2.67 yards per route run, which is third all time for a rookie receiver. His explosiveness and route running ability led to 52 catches for 1,051 yards and 8 touchdowns as a rookie! Over the final six games of the season, Brown was the WR2 overall only behind Michael Thomas, as he posted some monster games down the fantasy stretch. Brown will have a hard time matching the same level of efficiency and productivity if given the same amount of work, but his targets should increase making a sophomore season jump into the top two rounds of dynasty startups seems imminent.
JuJu Smith-Schuster - 23 years old
To call Smith-Schuster's 2019 season disappointing would be an understatement. After a great rookie season approaching 1,000 yards on 58 catches and 7 touchdowns, Juju erupted in 2018 with 111 catches for 1,426 and 7 touchdowns as a 22 year old. The sky seemed to be the limit and many owners were ready to anoint him the WR1 overall in dynasty after that production. 2019 was going to be a test since the departure of Antonio Brown with more double teams and better coverage. However, it was the injury to Ben Roethlisberger that zapped him of all production. He posted a stat line of 42 catches, 552 yards, and only 3 touchdowns. This has created a buy low window if you believe in the talent, which many owners still do. Juju is still only 23 years old and has produced two top 24 seasons already. There is no reason to believe that he won't bounce back this season with a healthy quarterback.
Courtland Sutton - 24 years old
Dominant size and 50/50 ball skills have made Sutton a force to be reckoned with in the NFL. He struggled in his rookie season with consistency but showcased flashes, but his sophomore season was much more consistent. Becoming a true go to receiver, Sutton emerged with 72 receptions for over 1100 yards and 6 touchdowns. Utilizing his size, body placement, and ball skills, he was top ten in the league with 19 red zone targets and was the clear number one option for rising quarterback, Drew Lock.
D.K. Metcalf - 22 years old
Metcalf shocked the world at the 2019 NFL Combine, running a 4.33 40 yard dash as a 6'3" 228 pound specimen. Like with his college teammate Brown, we should have trusted the tape and his elite skill set as a deep threat. Metcalf and Seattle Seahawk quarterback Russel Wilson had immediate chemistry, leading a great rookie campaign for Metcalf. 58 catches for 900 yards and 7 touchdowns were a great start, but he's only scratching the surface. He has shown the ability to take over games as he did in the playoffs against the Philadelphia Eagles when he set the NFL rookie record with 7 catches for 160 yards and a touchdown. As he learns the nuances of the NFL, adds to his route tree, and increases chemistry with one of the best deep ball passers in the league, Metcalf could be on the rise in dynasty ADP.
D.J. Chark - 23 years old
After a non-existent rookie season, only the most dedicated of dynasty owners were high on Chark for 2019. Chark rose from the ashes to put up top 5 wide receiver numbers in an offense which used multiple quarterbacks. Despite that he was able to put up 73 catches for 1,008 yards and 8 touchdowns in 14 games. Chark uses his 6'4" frame to high point balls and tower over his defenders. He showed the ability to be productive and even dominant at times with both Nick Foles and Gardner Minshew throwing him the football. After a promising year of 117 targets, he could be in for many more high volume, high opportunity seasons in the future since he's improving daily.
Deebo Samuel - 24 years old
Converted running back Deebo Samuel plays like a perfectly blended hybrid of both positions. His 8.5 yards after the catch ranked second in the NFL and he led all wide receivers with 14 carries for 159 yards and 3 rushing touchdowns. As a receiver he also chipped in 3 more touchdowns while amassing 802 receiving yards on 57 catches. Samuel is a strong, physical receiver who fits perfectly in the San Francisco system. While he doesn't project as the typical alpha wide receiver, Samuel's rushing floor mixed with play making ability make him someone who should be in the top 24 wide receivers year in and year out.
Terry McLaurin - 24 years old
Pro Football Focus #7 overall wide receiver, Terry McLaurin didn't have the same draft pedigree as some of the receivers listed above but what he did have was play making ability mixed with opportunity. He burst onto the scene with 5 touchdowns in his first 5 games as an NFL rookie and finished the season with 58 grabs for 919 yards and 7 scores. He had a strong connection with Case Keenum in the early part of the season but struggled when his former Ohio State teammate Dwayne Haskins took over. The Redskins offense struggled for most of the season but McLaurin was the bright spot. We all knew he had elite speed with a 4.35 40 yard dash and impressive burst numbers across the board but he impressed as a complete receiver in 2019. He's not your prototypical alpha, but showing what he can do with poor quarterback play on a poor offense leads many to believe this is just the start for this talented player.