Jeff Janis: Get Him While You Can
April 24, 2014 | Chad Scott
Despite the poor attempt of tying in a Janis Joplin song with a small-school wide receiver prospect, humour me…
When you play dynasty – and by play, I mean immerse yourself in – the offseason might be the most enjoyable part of it all (sans the over-repetitive prospect takes). You have another year’s worth of data to study, yet the variables surrounding said data are out of our hands.
A few weeks ago, Rich Hribar wrote an article for the Fake Football regarding 2015 free agents. With a fixation for the pass catchers, my obsession led me to the Green Bay Packers.
Both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are set to be unrestricted free agents in 2015. Nelson will be turning 30 while Cobb will finally be able to rent that car he’s so desperately wanted whilst saving money on car insurance. Ah, the perks of turning 25…
The Packers General Manager, Ted Thompson, is well aware of the situation at hand. He’s one of those hipster GMs who actually built his teams via the NFL draft while saving money on aging, soon-to-be free agent veterans. It’s no surprise former Thompson acolyte, John Schneider, built a contender in the Seattle Seahawks in a short amount of time. The school of Thompson is the real deal. Instead of spinning the wheels and handing out lofty contracts to already-apexed, high dollar amount veterans, these two find the gems who fit their systems, but most importantly – they draft for present AND future.
Back to the point at hand, Thompson and the Packers have two very big decisions to make after next year’s Super Bowl. Sign the aging, but still very effective (and dominant) wide out; sign the still very young, but efficient wide out; or opt for both.
My guess is, they sign Cobb. Nothing like speculation in April about a situation 11 months away, right? The answer might come in this year’s NFL draft, however – and that’s just another fun aspect of why we play this dynasty game.
As I mentioned above, Thompson is very hipster when it comes to sorting out wide receiver talent. Assuming he can’t afford to sign both wide receivers (while presuming they match whatever Boykin gets offered), Saginaw Valley State’s Jeff Janis makes complete sense.
Janis bleeped the radar following his NFL combine performance. Watching him run drills against fellow peers was eye-opening. Just for funzies, let’s compare Janis and Nelson:
|Player||Height||Weight||40 Yard||Bench||Vertical||Broad||3-Cone||Shuttle||Mkt Yd||Mkt TD||Mkt RZ|
The fact Janis played his football in D-2, while Nelson played in the Big-12 – or was it Big-10 back then (Kansas State University) – shouldn’t/won’t deter NFL teams much, if at all. In his final two seasons at SVSU, Janis totaled 189 receptions, 3,207 yards and 31 touchdowns. Again, I realize the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference is not the Big-10(12), but keep indulging me…
Rich and I refer to “Market Shares” on the Faked Goods Dynasty Podcast frequently. I’ve added those in the last three columns, as well (final collegiate seasons). Market shares are basically the percent of said player’s stake in their team’s passing game. Example: Janis accounted for 45% of his team’s overall reception yards in his final season. Nelson, 47%, etc…
While there are many similarities between the two metrically, their overall “games” have a few differences. Nelson has always been an attacker of the football. His hands and body control are among the best in the game. Janis struggles with this, most likely due to his Teddy Bridgewater-like hands (9”). Conversely, Nelson’s hand game peaks at 10”… and you thought inches didn’t matter.
Janis does show similarities to Nelson on the field, however. “Chunk yards” are his forte and shows considerable explosion when working the middle of the field. If he gets into a foot race, R.I.P., cornerbacks.
What Janis lacks in hand size, he makes up for in leaping ability, separation and work ethic. He’s a body catcher, but that can be coached. His size (could) provide Aaron Rodgers with a much needed, legit red zone threat. Courtesy of The Statman, Rich Hribar, Rodgers (through the first seven weeks of 2013) attempted 30 red zone passes, completing ten (33%):
Jermichael Finley: 3 of 5 (60%)
Nelson: 4 of 8 (50%)
Boykin: 1 of 2 (50%)
James Jones: 1 of 6 (17%)
Cobb: 1 of 9 (11%)
Jones, who was signed by the Oakland Raiders in free agency, was spectacular in the two seasons prior. He caught 14 of a total 25 red zone targets from 2011-2012.
Rogers is crazy good when inside the 20 yard line, too. As Rich spat hot fire on last week’s podcast, he unearthed Rodgers’ red zone prowess. In his career, A-Rod has passed for 125 touchdowns against just three interceptions. 125. To. 3. *Does the Macarena*
If they draft one of these tall rookie wide receivers, there’s going to be an abundance of opportunity and/or red zone targets in their future.
Currently, Janis is projected to be a third or fourth round selection (some have him listed in the fifth-sixth), but Thompson has a pattern of making a move for “his” wide out well before then:
Let’s not assume Thompson works under the same grading system CBS or ESPN uses (because he doesn’t). If Janis is a prospect he thinks can fit inside the Packer offense schematically, he’ll take him when he can.
Whether or not Janis is drafted by Green Bay or any other NFL team, he’s a guy that needs to be on your dynasty radars. The hype-train is picking up steam – get him while you can.