Is KJ Hamler a Fantasy Football Sleeper?

The Denver Broncos surprised many by doubling up on wide receivers in the 2020 NFL Draft. Could KJ Hamler, the second receiver they drafted, be a fantasy football sleeper?
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The Denver Broncos went into the 2020 NFL Draft hoping to add weapons around second-year quarterback Drew Lock and accomplished that goal with flying colors. Many had Alabama's Jerry Jeudy as their top overall wide receiver in a highly-touted class, and he fell to the Broncos at pick No. 15.

So they're all set now, right? Wrong. The Broncos doubled up at receiver and added Penn State's KJ Hamler in the second round. Will he be a fantasy X-factor in 2020?

Hamler's skill set is quite intriguing. He's a dynamic player with blazing speed that's best suited for a slot role. Size (5-foot-9, 178 pounds) is a concern when working in the middle of the field, but you have to catch him to hit him.

The intrigue around Hamler's role in Denver centers around how he'll be used in relation to Jeudy and Courtland Sutton. Both of those players are better all-around receivers, but don't have the straight-line speed Hamler possesses. Here's what Broncos reporter Erick Trickel said about the pros and cons of what Hamler brings to Denver's offense:

Denver needed that, and boy did they go out and get it with Hamler. There are many concerns with him, though, especially with his size, which is likely to see him limited to a slot role with the Broncos, pushing Jeudy to be the other boundary receiver opposite Sutton.

With these first two picks being a WR, the Broncos sent a very loud message to the receivers not-named Sutton on their roster. Step up or be replaced.

The other question is, how much will Hamler play? There's always the rookie factor/transition period to consider when dealing with any wide receiver, but if Jeudy gets time in the slot, does Hamler get taken off the field in favor of DaeSean Hamilton or Tim Patrick? The other part of that equation is how much the Broncos will pass in 2020. 

Denver operates a fairly run-heavy offense, rushing on 42.9% of their offensive plays in 2019. That was the ninth-highest total in the NFL, and one has to assume the addition of Melvin Gordon in free agency will only increase that number. That doesn't mean multiple receivers can't be successful; it just means that there are only so many that can be.

Sutton finished last season as a WR2 in PPR formats (18th in overall points and 24th in FPPG) and should maintain that status this season. I project Jeudy as a high-end WR4 as a rookie, and you can read more about that here. So, where does that leave Hamler?

Hamler projects as a worthwhile best-ball bench player who's nothing more than a WR7 in redraft leagues. He ranks as the No. 15 rookie wide receiver in Scott Atkins' latest dynasty rankings. He could have some big performances that make some DFS players rich but predicting when those games will happen is nearly impossible. Expect a special teams role and a couple of deep shots per game to go his way. Anything more is gravy and not something worth investing in outside of deep leagues or best-ball formats.

K.J. Hamler Ranking Info

  • Dynasty WR rank: WR71
  • Rookie rank: 24th
  • Projected Rookie Pick ADP: 2.12
  • Redraft WR rank: WR82

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