This Henry Ruggs III fantasy rookie article was written in two parts, a pre-draft profile written by Matt Hicks and a post-NFL Draft article written by Aaron Schill.
Henry Ruggs III Fantasy Forecast
With the 12th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Las Vegas Raiders selected Henry Ruggs III. This pick came as a bit of a shock, as many fantasy analysts were expecting CeeDee Lamb or Jerry Jeudy to be the first wide receiver selected. That being said, the way the NFL is moving anymore, everyone wants to get that next ‘Tyreek Hill type of player’ that can take off at any moment and hit the home run. Having a weapon like that on offense cannot be overstated, and that’s ultimately why I believe the Raiders ended up taking Ruggs with their first pick. In a very deep and talented wide receiver class, 35 wide receivers were selected, and Ruggs was the first. Draft capital like that cannot be ignored, and in a West Coast offense like the Raiders run, Ruggs will be a very intriguing fantasy player moving forward.
The Las Vegas Raiders are in need of some help at the wide receiver position. This was obvious in the NFL Draft as the took Ruggs in the first round and also grabbed Bryan Edwards and Lynn Bowden with back to back picks in the third round, with the 80th and 81st overall picks. With the way Ruggs plays, I wouldn’t be too surprised if he ends up being more of a ‘boom or bust’ type of wide receiver, rather than one that thrives off of getting a bunch of targets. Ruggs has the speed and ability to take the top off the defenses and can beat opposing defensive backs with his speed. He’s also a fairly physical wide receiver, but he’ll need to work on his route running.
For redraft fantasy leagues, Ruggs isn’t someone that I’ll be particularly interested in targetting. Henry Ruggs III fantasy value is very much debatable. If you’re in a deep league, sure you can take a late-round flier on him. Derek Carr isn’t exactly known for throwing the ball deep downfield, which is where Ruggs can really do his damage. Carr has been known for checking down a lot, and this isn’t exactly ideal for someone who can thrive off of the big plays. I honestly wouldn’t be too terribly surprised if Edwards ended up being more productive for fantasy purposes, as he’s someone I liked a lot and profiles as a prototypical WR1 in the NFL. In dynasty rookie drafts, Ruggs is likely going to be a top ten pick, and with the upside that someone of his skill set brings, it makes sense.
Quick Link: Dynasty Rookie Rankings – Check out Henry Ruggs III fantasy value in our 2020 rookie rankings
Henry Ruggs III Pre-NFL Draft Profile
Henry Ruggs is a fairly controversial prospect coming out of Alabama. He has some incredible traits that are sure to catch the eye of NFL scouts and get him drafted early; giving him huge upside that should be appealing for fantasy football players. Contrasting those traits, though, is a lack of production in a crowded wideout corps. for the Crimson Tide. He will likely go off the board in the first round of your fantasy football rookie drafts and is worth having at the top of your radar.
- 188 lbs.
- Age: 21
We knew from the tape that Henry Ruggs III was fast, but he proved it at the 2020 NFL Combine. He ran a 4.27s 40-yard dash, which is the 6th fastest in NFL history. It is also the 4th fastest among wide receivers in NFL history. Ross (5’11”, 188 lbs.) measured in at the same height and weight as John Ross did at the 2017 combine; when he ran at 4.22, the fastest time in NFL combine history.
NFL Combine Recap
- 40 Yard Dash: 4.27s
- Vertical Jump: 42″
- Broad Jump: 131″
Ruggs absolutely dominated the 2020 NFL combine. As expected, he blew away his competition with his 4.27s 40-yard dash time; putting him in the 98th percentile all time. His 42″ is almost equally impressive; he placed in the 97th percentile. He also placed in the 94th percentile with his 131″ broad jump. Ruggs lived up to the hype in Indianapolis, which is exactly what he needed to do to keep his draft stock high.
Strengths & Weaknesses
Despite playing three seasons in the SEC, Ruggs has never shared the field with someone who can outrun him. He is more than just his speed, though. He displays athleticism at all three levels of the field; he has quick movements and consistently creates spaces with his running and body movements. He is a huge yards after catch (YAC) threat; he has good field vision and is very elusive in open space. He has consistent hands and catches anything when he has space to.
Ruggs’ tape does show some areas that need development. He struggles to release off press coverage, although defenders usually play zone on him to avoid getting burned. He is a willing blocker but didn’t have the strength to hold his own in the SEC. He also struggles to catch the ball in traffic; NFL teams will need to scheme him into one on one situations to consistently have success.
His biggest knock, though, is his lack of production at Alabama. Ruggs caught just 96 receptions in 40 games for the Crimson Tide. It’s worth noting that although he played in 14 games his freshmen season (2017), he was not a featured member of the offense. Still, he averaged 743 yards and 43 receptions and 9 touchdowns per season in 2018 and 2019. Although these numbers aren’t up to par with the other top wideouts in the 2020 NFL Draft, they still show his explosive potential. His career average of 17.5 yards per reception and one touchdown per four receptions shows how dynamic of a player he can be. During his time at Alabama, he shared the field with a plethora of talented wide receivers including Jerry Jeudy, Jaylen Waddle, and Devonta Smith.
Best Fit: Pre-NFL DRAFT
Ruggs’ fantasy football value will be at it’s highest if he lands in an offense that creative-minded and finds ways for him to get the ball in his hands close to, behind, or at the line of scrimmage. He works very well off screens at the line of scrimmage and off short routes like drags and slants. Ruggs will likely work out of the slot, although his size could allow him to bounce into the Y role depending on the make-up of the depth chart for the team he lands on. He could benefit from landing in an offense that employs west coast concepts like Philadelphia or Las Vegas.
Pre-NFL Draft Dynasty Thoughts
I’m sure you’ve gotten this from this profile already, but Ruggs is a tricky player to predict long term production. The traits are clearly there, both on tape and at the NFL Combine. Traits do not equal yards and touchdowns though, which means that traits do not equal fantasy football value. For me, though, Ruggs is worth the mid to late first-round investment he is likely to cost in your fantasy football drafts. There are no guaranteed hits when trading for veterans in fantasy football, regardless of their previous production, and there is certainly no guarantees when drafting rookies. That’s why I prioritize players with high ceilings whenever possible; when you hit you want to hit big.
Henry Ruggs III has the traits you’d want when looking for upside. His critics are also driving his price down; the further he slips in fantasy football rookie drafts the less of a risk you’re taking on him. He may take time to translate into fantasy football points, depending on his landing spot, but he has the potential to produce WR1 season, with a greater likelihood of falling in the WR24-36 range for the majority of his career.
Matt is a seasoned fantasy football analyst that writes dynasty and devy fantasy football content year-round. In addition to writing for Gridiron Experts, he writes and hosts a podcast for The Dynasty Draft Room and publishes all of his work at patreon.com/theffeducator