Tee Higgins Fantasy
Tee Higgins is a big-bodied playmaker that stands out in a draft class full of speedy and athletic wide receivers. He dominated his competition at Clemson, catching 59 receptions in both 2018 and 2019 while hauling in a total of 27 touchdowns; that’s one touchdown for every 4.3 receptions he hauled in. Higgins looked raw in his 2018 tape but he improved in every single category I flagged him on going into the 2019 season, which helped him rise to my WR3 in this loaded draft class.
- 216 lbs.
- Age: 21
Higgins was the 19th overall recruit and 2nd ranked wide receiver in the 2017 high school recruiting class, according to 247 Sports. Although that’s impressive, it isn’t a fun fact. Higgins, a native of Oak Ridge, Tennessee was highly considering attending his hometown school: the University of Tennessee. Although Higgins surprised many when he chose a different shade of orange, it may have saved his college career. He was recruited under the Butch Jones coaching staff, which built a reputation of poorly utilizing talented wide receivers. Of course, Higgins could have produced with the Vols, but his growth has been tremendous at Clemson and you have to imagine their coaching staff played a significant role in that success.
NFL Combine Recap
- Arm Length: 34 1/8″
- Hand Size: 9 1/4th
- 40 Yard Dash (Pro Day): 4.43
Higgins disappointed many when he decided not to participate in drills at the NFL Combine. He did measure in, and his 34 1/8″ arm length proves he has one of the largest natural catch radiuses in the class, it puts him in the 96th percentile. Higgins did run a 4.43 forty yard dash at his Pro Day. If he ran that time in Indianapolis I’d be thrilled. That’s a fantastic speed for someone of his size and confirms the speed I saw on his college tape. It is important to note, though, that most scouts and draftniks believe that performing any drill at your Pro Day is easier than running that same drill at the NFL Combine.
Strengths & Weaknesses
Higgins excels at a lot, but his ability to win contested-catch situations is what separates him from his fellow wideouts in the 2020 NFL Draft class. He has ideal body positioning, a huge catch radius, knows how to climb the ladder, and always wins at the catch point. He fights through contact well and rarely gets knocked off balance on the ground or in the air. He tracks the ball very well in the air and has sticky hands. He releases well off press coverage and has understated athleticism and speed. He is not a nuanced route runner but he does have sharp cuts and fluid footwork that allow him to cover a lot of ground at all three levels of the field.
From 2018 to 2019 Higgins improved: the consistency of his hands, his route running, and his ability to win at the catch point. These went from serious flaws in his game to some of his best traits in one season. That shows a tremendous position to continue growing on whichever NFL roster he lands on.
Higgin’s game has few flaws, but there are areas for continued development. He struggles to separate in the open field; often relying on his ability to win in contested catch situations; this could cause issues when drawing top coverage from opposing secondaries at the next level. He’s not afraid to get physical with ACC defenders but needs to tighten his blocking technique to be consistently effective at the next level.
Best Fit: NFL Scheme
You can see I love Higgins, but it can be tricky when banking on big men for fantasy football production. Big bodied receivers can dominate the end zone and provide huge fantasy football value for your team, but if they don’t have a floor of opportunity from their scheme they can be a huge bust. Higgins’ fantasy football value, then, will be best when he has the opportunity to see the red zone often and/or has a quarterback that has the arm to get him the ball downfield. Realistic landing spots that would pair him up with one or more of those factors are: New Orleans with Drew Brees (8th in red zone scoring attempts per game in 2019), Kansas City with Patrick Mahomes (9th in 2019), or with Phillip Rivers in Indianapolis; although Rivers’ arm isn’t inspiring the Colts were 7th in red zone scoring attempts per game in 2019 despite having Jacoby Brisset and a rotation of injured running backs leading their offense.
When considering Higgins’ fantasy football value, long-term, I can’t shake the comparison of Mike Williams. Williams, also a big-bodied receiver from Clemson, has had an underwhelming start to his career. He finished as PPR WR32 in 2018, his first full season of play, despite hauling in 10 touchdowns. Williams then finished as PPR WR40 in 2019, despite recording over 1,000 receiving yards. He has struggled to be consistently utilized in an offense that ranks in the middle of the NFL in red zone scoring attempts over the last two seasons and didn’t have a gunslinging quarterback who could drop the ball into positions for him to win. Higgins’ floor, then, is probably just right there: low-end WR3 range. His ceiling, though, is high: if he lands in on one of the rosters I listed above, he falls into high-end WR2 territory for me over the course of his first few seasons in the NFL.