Fantasy Football: Will Tee Higgins make an instant impact as rookie?

Credit: Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images
Credit: Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images /

Tee Higgins has a bright future, but will he make an instant impact for fantasy owners as a rookie?

The Cincinnati Bengals took quarterback Joe Burrow No. 1 overall in April’s draft, as expected. But a sneaky move came with the first pick of the second round, when then took Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins.

Higgins had a big final season at Clemson, with 59 receptions for 1,167 yards (19.8 yards per catch) and 13 touchdowns. He averaged 13.4 yards per target, and Pro Football Focus gave him the second-highest grade among rookie wide receivers (90.5).

Higgins joins a wide receiver group that includes A.J. Green (who he was compared to pre-draft) and Tyler Boyd. Green did not play last season after suffering an ankle injury early in camp, but Boyd is underrated and Cincinnati now has a pretty good-looking trio of receivers. According to Sharp Football Stats, the Bengals used 11 personnel (one RB, one TE, three WR) 76 percent of the time last year. Add in a bit of three or four wide receivers in other personnel groupings, and the percentage becomes 78 percent. So Higgins is stepping into a starting job.

Will Tee Higgins Be An Immediate Fantasy Factor?

Right or wrong, the fantasy community is pretty high on Burrow. Even with some improvement to the Bengals defense this offseason, he should be throwing the ball plenty. Green, Boyd and even running back Joe Mixon will be prominent targets, with John Ross, Auden Tate and tight end Drew Sample in the mix.

That said, there should be room for Higgins to contribute. Tate had 80 targets in 12 games last season, with Green of course missing all 16 games, and something in the 70-80 target range seems reasonable for Higgins as things look right now.

The Bengals franchise tagged Green this offseason, and they don’t seem inclined to trade him even it makes some sense in the big picture. But if that tune changes and Green is moved between now and Week 1, or even during the season, Higgins would be in line for more targets. If Green struggles to stay on the field again, Higgins would also be in line for a big role.

With Green likely heading into his last season as a Bengal, Higgins is (or at least should be) prominent on the radar in dynasty/keeper leagues. But in single-season leagues he’s only worth drafting as a late-round flier in the deepest leagues, unless something changes his immediate outlook. He’ll start on the waiver wire everywhere else otherwise, with the possibility to become a factor if things break a certain way.

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