TFF Writing Contest Round 1, 1st Place Finish: Evan Sandel
June 22, 2015 | Chet
Editor’s Note: Congratulations to Evan Sandel who finished in first place for Round 1 of The Fake Football Writing Contest Sponsored by Victiv with the following piece. Give Evan a follow on Twitter at @LosTacos314.
Impact Rookie Receivers
Knowing when to draft rookies onto your fantasy team can be an intimidating prospect. There’s no real way to know for sure how well they’ll fare when joining the professional ranks for the first time. Whether they fail to rise to the competition, or are plagued by any “off the field issues” that may’ve hindered them in college, or if their coach is even going to give them any significant time.
But it’s also the most exciting part, because if you reach for a rookie and happen to nail it, you’ll have a real fantasy gem. A player who will allow you to lord your prognosticating abilities over your rivals all season long, as he racks up fantasy points, and your opponents have to sit on their couches, watch the games, and listen to an endless stream of pundits drone on about how amazing this rookie sensation is. OBJ owners know what I’m talking about.
On the other hand if you overreach for an untested, snot-nosed rookie and come up empty, you’ll wind up carrying a third stringer on your bench for three quarters of the season, only to watch him fall on his face when his opportunity finally arrives. You will then drop him and be mocked. My condolences Sankey owners.
With this predicament in mind, here’s a look at three wideouts whose rookie campaigns could bring fake football glory to their owners in 2015.
The 26th overall pick and 4th receiver off the board in the 2015 draft, Perriman finds himself in the best situation of the touted rookie receivers. Joe Flacco is the best Quarterback who will be throwing to a top-5 rookie wide receiver and Perriman will be catching his passes. Lining up across from the ageless Steve Smith Jr. should have its advantages too.
Smith saw the lion’s share of the targets last year but only averaged 13.5 yards per reception. Smith’s limited range combined with Torrey Smith’s departure means the Ravens are in desperate need of a new burner, a role Perriman should step into immediately.
Furthermore, Smith Jr. is a tough bird but if his age (36) starts to show, or he gets hurt, Perriman could find himself being ‘the guy’ on a good Baltimore team. And he has the skills to capitalize on the opportunity. He can run a 4.24, 40 and at 6’2 he’s one of the bigger guys who can book it that fast.
In his 2014 season for the UCF Knights, Perriman collected 1,044 receiving yards; the next three receivers all finished in the low 500s, so Perriman already knows how to be the man, and should step into that role easily.
Perriman is worth investing a 6th round pick and I’d take him over Michael Floyd or Eric Decker.
Another guy who knows how to be the man, Green-Beckham racked up very nearly a touchdown per-game in his sophomore year at Mizzou, despite erratic quarterbacking from short-stack Maty Mauk and having to regularly face elite SEC defenses. He rises to the occasion as well, in the SEC championship game against Auburn he caught for 144 yards and 2 TDs.
And D.G.B is B.I.G. At 6’5 237 he’s as imposing as Calvin Johnson or Mike Evans and still manages a sub-4.5, 40-time. His size and leaping ability make for an elite NFL catching radius and he can maximize its potential, with sure hands and body control that at times looks like football brilliance.
Unfortunately for the former high school player of the year, no.1 overall ranked recruit and All-SEC talent, he is plagued by off the field issues. Green-Beckham was arrested for possession of marijuana on numerous occasions and was eventually booted out of Mizzou after a domestic violence incident. With the NFL’s strict drug policy and newly vigorous campaign against domestic violence, gambling a pick on DGB is a risky proposition, but if it pays off, his upside is as high as any other rookie receiver’s.
Others in your league will be scared to draft him, and you should be too, but if he falls to around the 8th round and names like Tre Mason and Allen Robinson are coming off the board, you should snag him up ASAP. Because, in the words of the great Jimmy Johnson, “do you want to be safe and good, or do you want to take a chance and be great?”
The Hail Mary:
An absolute physical freak, Conley opened eyes when he tied the NFL Combine’s vertical jump record with an insane 45 inches. He also showed up the rest of his combine class by setting the mark in the broad jump and finishing among the top 4 in the bench press and 40-yard dash categories.
More than just a gym rat, Conley is smart too. The Georgia product finished 2014 as the SEC’s scholar athlete of the year. Bottom line: This talented young man works crazy hard.
And where would such a fine specimen as this wind up? This brilliant, Herculean, absolute athletic prodigy? You guessed it. The Kansas City Chiefs.
A good team, but the absolute armpit of NFL passing offenses, the Chiefs finished 2014 without throwing a single touchdown pass to a wide receiver, the first team since the 1964 Giants to do so. For this reason, many will write off Conley, and even new Chiefs acquisition, Pro-Bowler Jeremy Maclin, as being mired away in an Andy Reid and Alex Smith imagined dystopian hellscape of 3 yard crossing routes and Travis Kelce touchdown dances.
But here’s why you should take a late round flier on Conley. After a mediocre 9-7 finish, Andy Reid knows he can’t succeed with the same one-dimensional offense, The Chiefs finished 8 games with 20 or fewer points last year. Watching Jamaal Charles struggle against 8 in the box isn’t a sustainable offensive strategy and Reid, who loved to pass back in Philly, knows it. Last year the chiefs threw 54% of the time, compared to 60% in Reid’s last year with the Eagles. The Chiefs need to improve their vertical attack, and that’s why they went out and got prolific scorer Jeremy Maclin, and why they traded away two picks to move up and grab Conley, a trade they wouldn’t have made if they didn’t intend to use him.
Change is coming in KC and Conley can find a significant roll, in what will at least aspire to be a new-look Chiefs offense, as he should quickly be the Chiefs no.2 receiver. Conley produced despite being in a run-heavy offense at Georgia, so he’ll fit right into the evolving KC system. If Conley is still there in the last couple rounds, give the kid a chance.