Dynasty Draft Profile: Wide Receiver Class Shakedown April 25, 2016  |  Rich Hribar


We’ve finally reached the week of the NFL draft and since we didn’t have nearly the amount of time to cover every prospect that we would’ve liked in tremendous detail, I wanted to circle around the remaining players that are still out there.

For this post, I’ll be focusing on the remainder of the receiving class. We’ve covered 11 individual receivers so far, mostly the ones that are occupying the premier ADP in your leagues, but we know that roughly 35 wide receivers are going to be taken in this draft (an average of 34.8 wide receivers have been selected per draft since 2000) and that’s not even including undrafted free agents.

Since I am forced to paint such a broad stroke here on so many, there’s not going to as much meat on the bone per individual players but if you want to further the discussion (or bring up a player I don’t list here), hit the comment section and I’ll do my best to keep this train moving.

As a reminder, draft capital is something you definitely want to stick a pin while following your favorites from this class. Initial investment into a player doesn’t hold ultimate clairvoyance on his career, but we do know that the higher the immediate investment, the higher the probability of early playing time and a longer leash in proving that a prospect can’t play.

 

wrdraft

 

Dynasty Draft Profile: Malcolm Mitchell

Dynasty Draft Profile: Keyarris Garrett

Dynasty Draft Profile: Leonte Carroo

Dynasty Draft Profile: Laquon Treadwell

Dynasty Draft Profile: Sterling Shepard

Dynasty Draft Profile: Corey Coleman

Dynasty Draft Profile: Michael Thomas (OSU)

Dynasty Draft Profile: Josh Doctson

Dynasty Draft Profile: Will Fuller

Dynasty Draft Profile: Tyler Boyd

Dynasty Draft Profile: De’Runnya Wilson

Big Miles from a Small Vehicle 

 

PlayerSchoolFY AgeHtWt40YDVertBroad20YS3CRec/GmReYd/GmReTD/GmMS YD
Pharoh CooperSouth Carolina20.8712034.63311154.267.155.581.10.739%
Tajae SharpeMassachusetts21.0741944.5533.5114n/an/a9.3109.90.443%
Rashard HigginsColorado State21.2731964.64321164.537.136.388.50.739%
Hunter SharpUtah State21.7711984.5832.51164.197.126.575.90.837%

 

The first bucket of receivers is filled with young, hyper productive players for multiple seasons while in poor passing games that also bring lousy physical profiles to the table. We can call this the arbitrage Tyler Boyd group for short.

The fact that Sharpe, Sharp and Higgins measured out so poorly as athletes really makes me question their counting stats in relation to the level of competition they faced. Pharoh Cooper doesn’t have that rain cloud over him as he threw up his numbers in the SEC while on the 99th ranked offense in the nation last year (and 12 of his 18 receiving touchdowns in his career have come against SEC opponents).

Outside of the likelihood that he’s the first player from this group selected in the draft, Cooper was also a more all-around contributor than his cohorts here, which gives him more ways to find the field early on and contribute. Cooper ran for another 513 yards in his career, while returning punts (albeit very poorly) and even passing for another four touchdowns.

Still, outside of objective age weighted, multi-faceted production, there’s not a lot to like here about Cooper the player.  Whether at the line of scrimmage, catching the ball consistently, or winning many contested catches, he struggles to use his hands effectively at all on any level. Also, he’s not nearly the type of electric playmaker that his usage may imply. He was more used in that capacity because that’s all South Carolina had (similar to Boyd at Pitt this past season).

Rashard Higgins is the most intriguing of the group and the one that I believe is the best receiver of the four right now entering the league. Higgins was an immediate starter and even though his overall numbers were dinged this past season under a new regime and a quarterback change, he got to showcase some well-roundness to his game underneath that had yet to be on display. He’s very apt at creating late separation in his routes with amazing hands (11 drops over the past three years on 337 targets) but doesn’t have a second gear and isn’t strong at the line of scrimmage. If that ability to separate in route is compromised by the competition jump, then he can end up smushed early in the NFL.

Hunter Sharp’s counting stats aren’t nearly as good as the groups are and the fact that he basically tallied all of his production against two teams in concerning.  35 percent of his receiving yards and 44 percent of his touchdowns came in the four games against Air Force and BYU while averaging five catches for 57.2 yards in his other 20 career games.

The bottom line is that I’m not overly concerned about missing on any of these players because what I perceive their ceilings to be in the NFL is completely replaceable in a fantasy sense. All four of these players are completely going to be driven by opportunity alone in providing tangible fantasy production and all will require a lot of that opportunity as a requisite since they all offer such low ceilings on a per play basis. The second round is far too early for me to bite on anyone here, but if Higgins or Sharpe are hanging around in the third round, I may make a play on their objective odds of success based on their production profiles.

 

 

If You Squint Just Right

 

PlayerSchoolFY AgeHtWt40YDVertBroad20YS3CRec/GmReYd/GmReTD/GmMS YD
Demarcus RobinsonFlorida21.3732034.5934.51234.196.774.043.50.221%
Cody CoreOle Miss21.7752054.4731.51194.406.753.153.70.316%
Aaron BurbridgeMichigan State22.0722064.5630.51154.317.226.189.90.538%
Geronimo AllisonIllinois22.0751964.67331274.287.405.473.50.330%
Jordan PaytonUCLA22.3732074.4734.51214.337.086.085.00.429%
Cayleb JonesArizona22.8752094.6533.51124.146.994.269.50.426%
Nelson SpruceColorado23.1732064.69351144.207.096.881.00.334%
Braxton MillerOhio State23.1732014.50351234.076.952.026.20.214%
Charone PeakeClemson23.2742094.4535.51224.466.963.651.10.417%
Alonzo RussellToledo23.3762064.5429.51124.337.183.051.50.420%
Rashawn ScottMiamin/a731994.5032.51164.296.884.357.90.421%

 

This is the group of receivers with tweener builds. This is also the group of players that likely will have a few hits as most of the players here have a few things you really like about them, but have just a blemish or two that keeps them from having a higher end profile.

I really like Jordan Payton of this group as an arbitrage play on another guy I really like in Malcolm Mitchell, whose price is ascending. There’s an obvious physical overlap as both guys have almost identical profiles, with Mitchell having more measured explosion, but Payton being a little bigger overall. Both have huge mitts, catch everything they should and dominate in that intermediate, 8-15 yard target range. Payton isn’t going to make a ton of aesthetically wowing plays, but he’s a very consistent option that does a lot well.

I’m also keeping tabs on Charone Peak. He was a high-end recruit that never was able to hurdle the likes of DeAndre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins, Martavis Bryant, Mike Williams or Artavis Scott and has a wealth of missed games due to multiple injuries, but has a speed and size profile that is generally overvalued by NFL teams which could lead to some immediate opportunity at the next level.

Demarcus Robinson is the youngest player of the group, but also comes with major red flag issues as he was suspended four different times while at Florida. He profiles to be a better big slot option, but it remains to be seen how far he falls due to his character concerns.

There’s virtually no way I will own Braxton Miller in any fantasy league based on his expected rookie cost of a second round pick. I firmly believe that an NFL team will overdraft him, but he has mountain of things that I just can’t buy into. He’ll be a 24-year old rookie still in the midst of a position change as he played just 373 snaps this season as a full-time receiver and to top that off, he wasn’t nearly the measurable athlete that many assumed he would be as he was in the top third of athletic percentile scoring in just the agility drills for all receivers since 2000. If he hits, I believe it will be in short spurts early in his career, but he’s still far too great of a leap of faith for me to buy into with a top-24 selection.

 

Athletes over Production

 

PlayerSchoolFY AgeHtWt40YDVertBroad20YS3CRec/GmReYd/GmReTD/GmMS YD
Marquez NorthTennessee20.7742234.48351234.136.901.211.60.06%
Ricardo LouisAuburn21.8742154.43381324.326.963.555.10.231%
Devon CajusteStanford22.9762344.62361234.286.492.331.90.315%

 

Ricardo Louis jumped on a number of objective radars after the combine after crushing the explosion drills at 215 pounds.  Even though Louis was stuck in a passing game that ranked 111th in passing per game (173.6 yards) while in a competitive conference, you’d still expect an athlete of his caliber to run into more measured production at the amateur level. He scored just eight career touchdowns with three 100-yard receiving games over his career, but can be a factor in the run after the catch game if he ever develops any nuance as he carried the ball 68 times for 578 yards over his career.

Devon Cajuste surprised many with his agility and size, but did little on the field at Stanford to be really excited about. He’s often compared to Devin Funchess in terms of profile, but even Funchess’ limited production in a terrible offense dwarfs what Cajuste did in the box score. Cajuste reached 70-receiving yards in a game just six times during his career. If he can truly go to a team where he can moonlight as an H-Back or move tight end and garners a fantasy positional change, then he becomes more appealing as more than a play on his tangible size and agility marks.

I have some Devy teams latching onto their last breath of hope that somewhere inside of Marquez North is the player that was widely ranked as a top-10 recruit at his position coming out of high school. North caught 38 balls for 496 yards as a true freshman and then just 36 passes for 378 yards in the two seasons afterwards as he dealt with knee, back and torn labrum injuries. He compounded things by having an out with the current coaching staff which forced him still declare for the draft after such a disappointing season.

I’m just fine with taking some swings on these players in the fourth round or later in hopes that their production profiles eventually catch up their physical ones, but they will require some nursing on your roster that ultimately may never pay off.

 

 

Potential Lid Poppers

 

PlayerSchoolFY AgeHtWt40YDVertBroad20YS3CRec/GmReYd/GmReTD/GmMS YD
Kolby ListenbeeTCU21.9721974.3533.5129n/an/a3.059.70.517%
Roger LewisBowling Green22.1722014.5733.51164.457.506.1110.31.130%
Chris MooreCincinnati22.5732064.53371304.206.763.679.10.622%

 

This is a trio of true flanker only types and only Kolby Listenbee has the measured speed that NFL teams will covet for the position.  All three of these guys are fairly limited in only doing only one thing really well, but doing that one thing so well that it will get them drafted and have a role in the right spot, which may aid them in developing any of the weak parts of their game. Per Pro Football Focus, all three of these players seen at least 30 percent of their targets come on throws 20 or more yards downfield.

Even without the pure speed profile as Listenbee, Chris Moore is intriguing as a late round target. The Cincinnati receivers all kind of cannibalized each other from a statistical stance, but Moore is a home run hitter with a consistent nose for the end zone, scoring on 21.8 percent (26 of 119) of his college receptions, trailing only Leonte Carroo in this class. He also has a small added checkmark for destroying the Ohio State championship defense as a junior for 221 yards and three touchdowns.

I really want to like Roger Lewis, but his production appears to be heavily inflated by his environment judging by his anemic physical profile. He’s also the most limited of the trio in route diversity as he was only asked to run hitches and streaks at Bowling Green. Tack on that he also has major character concerns from facing jail time in 2012 and he’s someone that you’ll really have to monitor when he’s selected based on those concerns and where he lands in the draft based on limited fit for an offense.

 

Non-combine Invitees

 

PlayerSchoolFY AgeHtWt40YDVertBroad20YS3CRec/GmReYd/GmReTD/GmMS YD
Jordan WilliamsBall State21.6742274.6433.51184.457.036.076.70.735%
Mike ThomasSouthern Miss.21.4731934.54361264.267.065.5107.01.132%
Paul McRobertsS.E. Missouri State23.1732024.6935.51254.427.286.985.50.849%
Robby AndersonTemple22.6741874.3636.51284.287.075.067.10.531%
Dom WilliamsWashington State23.1741984.4140.51254.217.025.880.00.821%
Davonte AllenMarshall22.8732084.57391284.446.814.859.60.426%
Jay LeeBaylor22.5742144.5533.51204.076.852.958.30.620%
Devin LucienArizona State22.5721924.4934.51184.306.935.589.60.730%
Mitch MathewsBYUn/a772224.49361294.256.994.256.70.819%
Jamal RobinsonULL23.0732124.5036.51184.396.914.568.70.433%

 

In my four years covering the draft, I can’t recall a group of guys this good that didn’t get invited to the combine. I covered out in larger length how players are selected for the combine and why that’s important for their draft prospects already for those who need to catch up to speed, but all of these players are already in an objectively limited bucket of probable NFL success. Still, there are a few intriguing players here.

Jordan Williams and Mitch Mathews are two players that may benefit from a class largely void of big bodied receivers. Mathews also tested out athletically at a high level, but it’s unclear just how old he truly is. He’s seven years removed from high school since he served his mission from 2009-2011.

I, like most of the community, am a fan of the other Mike Thomas. Out of 329 players in college last year to have at least 50 targets, Thomas ranked 14th in yards per catch at 19.6 while catching 63 percent of his targets. He ranked 23rd in yards per overall team targets and 12th in yards per target vs anyone else in offense (4.1). It’s crazy he wasn’t considered among the top 40 players at his position by National Scouting. The problem I’ve run into with Thomas is that he’s still being treated as a second rounder in rookie drafts despite the NFL making it blatantly clear that they’re really not overly interested to this point. Because he’s already a buzzy name in fantasy circles, I can’t see a scenario where his price becomes palatable for my projections.

I’m also interested in Robby Anderson and Devin Lucien here to varying blushes. While I definitely don’t stock Anderson’s 40-yard dash time at his pro day, he does have an alluring speed and wingspan profile and he uses both his advantage. He attacks the ball in traffic, making some spectacular grabs, but he also has Todd Pinkston-ish vibe to him with his wiry frame and inconsistency. He also has character issues from leaving the team for a stretch in 2013 and then missing all of 2014 due to academic ineligibility.

If you’re in a deeper draft, everyone here is in the dart throw range of draft picks that will require that you hold them for a few seasons as they are on roster bubbles and forced to find a niche through special teams production, unless someone miraculously gets scooped up in the fourth round or earlier with really the only one who could push that is Thomas.

 

 

Pull Some Slots

 

PlayerSchoolFY AgeHtWt40YDVertBroad20YS3CRec/GmReYd/GmReTD/GmMS YD
Jakeem GrantTexas Tech23.2651654.4236.51184.067.016.997.50.825%
Demarcus AyersHouston21.5691824.72331234.337.007.087.30.435%
KJ MayeMinnesota21.9681914.65331134.357.185.659.50.428%
Daniel BravermanWestern Michigan22.3691754.4928.51124.206.868.3105.51.037%
Shaq WashingtonCincinnati22.6671784.6334112n/an/a6.975.50.521%
D.J. FosterArizona State22.1701934.5735.51174.076.754.544.90.215%
Byron MarshallOregon21.9691974.5829.51114.237.002.330.30.512%
J.D. McKissicArkansas State22.4701874.57371224.447.004.040.40.219%
Bralon AddisonOregon22.2691974.6634.51164.146.954.861.80.824%
Carlos HarrisNorth Texas22.1671814.7431.51104.476.955.160.60.638%
Jalin MarshallOhio State20.4702004.6037.51254.136.803.039.80.414%
Jaydon MickensWashingtonn/a691744.5435.51213.936.624.553.20.222%

 

This is a deep class of receivers that project strictly as slot options and almost all of these players have special teams experience as well if you’re in a league that awards points for returns. This is a bucket of the receiving class that I almost assuredly avoid yearly because these players are more reliant on opportunity than the majority of the class. Because of that, they have the added benefit of not having to majorly meet many athletic prerequisites. I’m definitely not saying that there aren’t good players here, but I view this archetype of receiver to be completely replaceable in a non-expensive fashion in roster construction, so I rarely invest initial capital at the baseline level here.

Jakeem Grant, Daniel Braverman, Demarcus Ayers and Shaq Washington all ran 90 percent or more of their routes from the slot in college this past season. Braverman has a fairly strong backing for those who are excited about interior receivers and he was highly productive, even when Western Michigan faced higher end competition as he was another receiver who gave Ohio State a lot of trouble, catching 10 passes for 123 yards and a score.

Still, Braverman didn’t even receiver a combine invite and the NFL showed two years ago with Michael Campanaro (a player they did invite to the combine and was a better athlete) that the value of his archetype still isn’t something that teams will invest heavily into.

 

California Dreams

 

PlayerSchoolFY AgeHtWt40YDVertBroad20YS3CRec/GmReYd/GmReTD/GmMS YD
Kenny LawlerCalifornia21.5742034.64311114.207.134.354.81.115%
Trevor DavisCalifornia22.5731884.4238.51244.226.603.151.70.214%
Bryce TreggsCalifornia21.7711904.39341224.197.003.573.50.520%

 

Since Jared Goff is very likely going to be the first pick of this year’s draft (or at worst, second), I threw all of his targets on the board separately for fun. Kenny Lawler has some support around the community, but he’s easily the worst athlete of the three and his production wasn’t even elevated over the group in the same climate. In fact, a target to Lawler was actually worth negative yards (-1.97) on average compared to going anywhere else in the Cal offense. Lawler still has the inside track on fantasy relevancy of the Cal receivers, but he doesn’t have the objective upside I’m looking for in the later rounds.

Obviously I didn’t list every single prospect here and the ones I didn’t list are because I have them graded so low that they didn’t make the cut. I also didn’t list Wendell Williams or Mortiz Boehringer here since they didn’t play a level of football to give any of their production any merit whatsoever. Both are incredible measured athletes, but I still find it hard that they will find a roster with any type of relevant draft capital and will be working from the basement up.

 

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