#1 By: RotoViz, April 10th, 2017 14:03
Originally published at: http://rotoviz.com/2017/04/2017-rotoviz-writing-contest/
It’s that time of year again. We’re back with the 2017 version of the RotoViz writing contest. This is now year three of the contest, and in each of 2015 and 2016, we’ve had some great submissions that led to further writing opportunites here at the ‘Viz, with those writers still writing for us today. If…
#2 By: John S, April 10th, 2017 16:11
Folks, I've said as much on twitter, but this contest is how I got my start. I didn't win, but it motivated me to write about fantasy football. I joined playerprofiler.com as a writer and editor, and I later came back to RotoViz. If I didn't respond to one of these threads all those years ago, I'd probably never have bothered with fantasy writing at all. If you're on the fence, I encourage you give it a go.
#3 By: Chris G, April 10th, 2017 17:20
Little Big Man – Louisiana Tech’s WR Trent Taylor
Weighing in at 181 pounds and standing four inches short of six feet tall, Louisiana Tech’s Trent Taylor does not have the typical look of a top NFL WR prospect. He ran the seventh slowest 40 time for his position at the combine, clocking in with a 4.63. According to NFLdraftscout.com, Taylor ranks as the #41 WR in this years draft class, a projected 7th round pick. At first glance, there is nothing special about Trent Taylor.
If we look a little deeper, however, Taylor merits a much longer look. Perhaps the most detrimental to his case is his size. When we look closer, however, we can find several similar sized players who have found success. According to Box Score Scout, Taylor compares very similarly to Willie Snead – both in size and 40 time. Snead ran a 4.62 and weighs in at 195. He is a little taller, but is within 3.5 inches of Taylors height. Snead has found success in the NFL with his hard-nosed play and solid hands. Another notable little big man is TY Hilton, who has also found great success in the NFL.
Once you get past his size and start to look at what he did in college, we can strengthen our case for Trent Taylor. In his senior year, he led the NCAA in receiving yards with 1803. He had 136 receptions and a dozen touchdowns. Over his NCAA career, he posted 327 receptions for 4,179 yards. He started as a true freshman, and displayed excellent hands with a very low drop rate.
Digging more deeply, we can also spot a trend that compares favorably to another WR of similar size and speed. Taylor had 28 catches as a freshman, 64 as a sophomore, 99 as a junior and 136 as a senior. His yardage totals also improved each year. In the early 1980’s, another WR came out of a small college with very similar production. 30 receptions as a freshman, 66 as a sophomore, 102 as a junior, 103 as a senior. He was a few inches taller than Taylor and about 15 pounds heavier. He also ran a very pedestrian 40 time, reportedly clocking in at about 4.60. This comparable WR went on to become arguably the best of all time. We all know him as Jerry Rice.
While a comparison to Jerry Rice may not be realistic, the numbers indicate that Trent Taylor deserves more merit than he is receiving on draft boards.
Kevin Cole wrote an article on Rotoworld.com looking at the variables that predict early NFL success. The three variables he used were draft position, career market share of receiving yards and final year market share of receiving yards. The top score from this model for the 2000-2013 data set was Calvin Johnson. His two market share numbers were 42% career and 51% final year. Other notable names on the list include Larry Fitzgerald (41% and 45%), A.J. Green (34% and 39%) and Dez Bryant (35% and 60%).
More recently, in the 2014-2015 data set, we find Amari Cooper (36% and 44%), Sammy Watkins (30% and 34%), Mike Evans (29% and 30%), Odell Beckham Jr (29% and 35%) and Brandin Cooks (27% and 36%).
While draft position is figured into the final rankings, we are only looking at the market share numbers for the purposes of our comparison. Comparing the market share numbers, Trent Taylor comes in at 27% career and 35% final year. That compares very similarly to Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr, Brandin Cooks and Sammy Watkins – all top tier WR’s. Additionally, it shows a growth in market share, something we like to see in prospects.
Trent Taylor is not the guy with the measurable numbers. He is the guy who goes out and gets it done when it’s game time. Coming out of high school he was a star, but due to his size he was overlooked. He put his head down, worked hard and led his team in receiving yards every year except his freshman season. Now he is being overlooked again in the NFL draft. He will be a bargain for whatever team picks him up, and he’s my selection for the most overlooked player in the NFL draft this season.
#4 By: Austin Montgomery, April 11th, 2017 11:31
DeShone Kizer had an unfortunate situation at Notre Dame in his 2 years there. The first season, Kizer was a back-up to Zaire until Zaire ended up with a season-ending injury which allowed Kizer to step into the starting role. His first year he was the starting quarterback for the Irish and he led them to a 10-3 finish and they were in contention for the National Championship until the team cracked under pressure and lost the last couple of games to end the season. The Irish finished a dismal 4-8 last season with Kizer leading the team. One thing that stands out in Kizer is that his numbers didn’t significantly drop from these two years. In 2015 he finished with 2,880 passing yards, 62.9% completion, 21-10 TD-INT ratio, and a Passer Efficiency of 150.1. Then in 2016 he finished with 2,925 passing yards, 58.7% completion rate, 26-9 TD-INT ratio, and a Passer Efficiency of 145.6. He also ran for over 450 yards in both seasons as well as 10 rushing touchdowns in 2015 and 8 in 2016. What was the big difference in this team over these two years? The defense struggled a ton. That’s not the point in this article, we are focused on Kizer and his draft stock.
Kizer biggest problem is his internal clock. He takes a lot of sacks due to his lack of perception of time in the pocket. He throws a ton of late passes because he sometimes second guesses himself. Another weakness of his is targeting the receiver he wants to throw to pre-snap and not running through his progressions. The scary thing about Kizer is how he acts a little like Cam Newton. By this, I mean he isn’t afraid to take hits and fight for extra yards which is sketchy for a quarterback, especially in the NFL. His 13 fumbles is a big red flag to NFL teams but in this weak position of quarterback this year, Kizer is projected 2nd round in most experts eyes. He also plays like Cam in the fact that he has the strong arm like Cam does and isn’t afraid to take some deep shots when the time is right. He excels at keeping his eyes downfield as he is rushed out of the pocket but struggles to throw on the run. He is smart player and knows when to throw the ball away or tuck it and run, but at the same time is strong enough to make the throw into tight spaces while taking a hit when needed.
Overall, Kizer has the ability to be a solid quarterback in the NFL much like a Cam Newton or Jamies Winston. Expect a middle of the row kind of career for Kizer. He may win a ROY and/or a Super Bowl but don’t expect an automatic Hall of Fame type of player.
#5 By: Gunner Brown, April 13th, 2017 14:27
I am unable to upload my images because I am a new user. Is there a workaround for this?
#6 By: CK, April 13th, 2017 15:16
try again; i upped your "trust" level. LMK if it doesn't work but I think that'll do the trick.
#7 By: Gunner Brown, April 13th, 2017 15:54
A Year Late: The Jehu Chesson Story
Jehu Chesson may have left Michigan for the NFL after his junior year if he hadn’t torn his PCL during the Citrus Bowl that season. Chesson was in the process of shredding Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves, who would later be the #11 pick in that draft, for 5 catches, 118 yards, and a TD. His quarterback, Jake Rudock, was graduating and there was uncertainty on who would be throwing Chesson the ball the following season. He had been named first-team All-Big Ten and team MVP, and seemed ready to cash out on his breakout season.
As unfortunate as the knee injury was to his draft prospects, Chesson still had one great season on tape and hoped to add another one to polish his résumé. The opposite happened.
With new quarterback Wilson Speight, Jim Harbaugh elected to become run-heavy. Michigan passed the ball on only 40.58% of plays, good for 104th in the nation. Chesson personally struggled to get going early in the year due to not being cleared to return until the end of July. He had little time to develop chemistry with Speight in the offseason. And while Speight’s 38.9 expected points added- passing was about average, it was a healthy fall from Rudock’s 51.5 the year before.
So what are we to believe? Was Chesson a flash in the pan college player, or could he have some staying power as a contributing NFL receiver? Physically, he seems like he should be able to hold his own. At 6’3”, he probably could use a little bit more muscle to his lean frame. But he has measurables that match up favorably with other recent big-body receivers taken high in the draft.
The most important comparison in the above Box Score heatmap is the one to Mike Williams, Chesson's fellow WR in this season’s draft. Williams is taller and heavier, but lacks some of the raw athleticism demonstrated by Chesson. That includes the 40 yard dash, where Williams recently ran a 4.49 at Clemson’s Pro Day. Mike Williams is a tremendous catcher of the football, but it is not like Chesson has stone hands. CBS Sports reported Chesson as having reliable hands and he looked naturally smooth in the NFL's gauntlet drill.
The Production Questions
Of course, the difference between Jehu Chesson and Mike Williams was the amount of on-field production in their final season. Williams exploded to a national title, while Chesson was a secondary character in Michigan's offense.
That doesn’t mean that Chesson should be regarded as only a late-round flyer. Chesson showed that he was able to produce when given opportunity in a functioning passing offense with a competent quarterback. He probably would struggle as a number one option at the NFL level, but he could be a vital second or third wideout, particularly in the redzone. In his breakout season, Chesson had 9 receiving touchdowns. Julio Jones had a collegiate best season of 7, Odell Beckham went for 8, and AJ Green matched him with 9.
Jehu also maintained a team first attitude and work ethic that will endear him to his NFL teammates and coaches immediately. He was described as an aggressive run blocker and competes to the whistle, qualities that his position coaches will love in their wide receivers. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him play some special teams in order to earn more playing time, a great way to get in the game as a rookie.
While it seems unlikely that he will be able to ascend into the echelon of receiver superstardom, it also seems impossible to write off his fantastic 2015-16 season. Given a lot of natural athletic ability, a full year’s recovery from a knee injury that slowed his senior season, and the possibility of teaming up with a superstar quarterback, it feels as though Jehu Chesson’s arrow may be pointing up. If he is drafted into the right situation, he could explode on to the scene once again.
#8 By: Phil Clark, April 14th, 2017 11:32
I have the same issue with uploading pictures. Would appreciate your help!
#9 By: CK, April 14th, 2017 12:28
okay, try again. LMK if any problems.
#10 By: Shawn Siegele , April 15th, 2017 15:04
Cool entries here from @ChrisG, @Monty1507, and @gunnerbrown.
Let's keep them coming. We'd love to see 20-plus.
(There are potential writing opportunities for entries beyond the winning selection.)
#11 By: Eric Readinger, April 17th, 2017 08:43
Don’t Let Chad Dangle
By Eric Readinger
Former Ole Miss quarterback and current NFL draft prospect Chad Kelly is sorry. Not as a football player. He is a good football player. Chad Kelly is sorry for his past actions. “Off the field trouble” as it is referred to in NFL front offices, where no one has ever made a mistake. He has all the necessary measurables to be an NFL quarterback. When can we grow up and stop pretending like these draft prospects are not super young kids that make mistakes? We all are, really. He made mistakes and may do so again, but for fantasy purposes, he is sorry enough. Just because the NFL doesn’t want to draft him, doesn’t mean you can’t. Wait, don’t DRAFT Chad Kelly in your fantasy drafts. I believe he is a good player, but by no means should he be drafted, apart from a cinderella story training camp that ends with him as a starter for an NFL team. Ignore that last part, because it ain’t gonna happen. Don’t ignore Chad Kelly (in spite of his litany of red flags), because he could be a late season fantasy savior.
Did I mention he’s hurt? He had to cut his pro day short and had surgery days later on his wrist. Tell me more! Sounds like a real steal, huh? It’s just his wrist. It’s not something important, like the thing he uses to actually throw a football with... ok, so things aren’t going super good for Chad right now, but that can be super good for both NFL teams and fantasy owners looking for a possible difference maker at a bargain.
Kelly played at Ole Miss. Ahem, after he got dismissed from Clemson for conduct detrimental to the team mumbo jumbo. We don’t care, do we? It’s fantasy football, not a morality contest. Some may argue that his apparent temper could be channeled for good on the football field! Everybody likes a guy who plays with passion, and what is passion, if not just a happy temper? Anyway, Ole Miss is in the SEC, or as I like to call it “NFL Jr.” SEC defenses are the closest thing to NFL defenses that there are in college football. Chad Kelly averaged 333 passing yards a game against SEC defenses last year. He can straight slang a football.
“Don’t draft Chad Kelly.” Awesome advice, I know. Just because someone doesn’t seem relevant before the season starts doesn’t mean they can’t ball out at the end of the year. Many a championship has been won thanks to Week 14 out-of-nowhere quarterback options that often succeed due to a lack of video tape on them. Even quarterbacks that can’t move can step in in their first game and RUN for 100 yards and a touchdown. Bruce Gradkowski had relevant fantasy games just because no one had seen tape on him. Or, they literally couldn’t see him on the field because he was teeny tiny. That’s why we must remember Chad Kelly. Not because of his height, he is the shape of a regular NFL quarterback. Remember him because he could surprise a defense or two. Although he may only have two or three weeks of success in his entire career, don’t feel bad exploiting these games to get yourself a championship. Chad would be ok with it, I think. Then again, Chad has to be a lot nicer than other people now, given his past actions and a need for redemption.
Chad Kelly probably won’t be a hall of fame quarterback. Not like his uncle Jim. Did I mention his uncle is Jim Kelly? I had previously laid out many negatives in reference to poor Chad and didn’t want to add another. But here we are. Do not hold his “pedigree” against him. Chad Kelly is his own man. Allow him to lose his own four Super Bowls before connecting him with his uncle’s extremely disappointing career.
Chad Kelly will need an injury to get on the field. Not to himself, though! You know, because he also tore his ACL to end his senior year. Yeesh, I have almost talked myself out of Chad Kelly. Not quite, though. Because it’s not a hard sell. I’m not selling Chad Kelly as 2017’s five-star, double-thumbs-up, super prospect guy. I am selling him as someone who could have a couple good games at the end of the year to help you win a fantasy championship. The knowledge must run deep. If Chad Kelly gets a chance at the end of the year, don’t be afraid to start him if you need to.
#12 By: Peter, April 17th, 2017 13:03
Josh Malone fills a niche and is absolutely free
Josh Malone headlined the 2014 Volunteers’ recruiting class as the #4 player at his position and vaulted Tennessee back into the top 10 nationally. Unfortunately for him, that class didn’t include a quarterback. From the second half of the 2014 season onward he has resided at the other end of the anything-but-taught rope connected to Josh Dobbs inconsistent arm. There have definitely been highs, including the last two games of his career in which he combined for 12-241-2, but the majority of his career was hamstrung by Dobbs ability from the pocket.
This isn’t to say that Josh Malone is a complete receiver or that anyone the Vols would've run out short of Peyton Manning would've made him a collegiate star. He is a single skill player, and that skill is going deep. On tape he shows a propensity to catch with his body, and he profiles as more of a build-up speed player than someone with raw burst, but his athletic profile is consistent with many deep ball targets along with big names like Martavis Bryant and AJ Green.
(I guess I'm too new to upload an image this should be: Similar Prospects - Josh Malone - HT, WT, FORTY, BROAD, SHUTTLE, CONE, FREAK)
Those may be lofty comparisons, but Robert Meachem’s career stands out as a valuable baseline, and in a similar role Malone could excel in best-ball formats. While John Ross took the combine headlines with his record-breaking speed, and is currently mocked as a top draft pick alongside Mike Williams, Malone is nicely positioned as a Frankenstein’s draft prospect mash up of the two.
(Image should be: Prospect Heatmap - Josh Malone, John Ross, and Mike Williams - HT, WT, FORTY, BROAD, FREAK, CAR.MSRECYD, MSRECYD, SOS)
Landing spot will be the key. Since Malone will likely be a day 3 pick in the NFL draft he won’t come into training camp with an expectation of opportunity. He would be a good fit with a team like Carolina, who loves bigger targets and needs a deep threat, or Pittsburgh, taking a shot at replacing the aforementioned Martavis Bryant.
At the least, Josh Malone is a name to keep in mind during the draft and into training camp. For those of you that want to jump in early, he’s literally free, not even registering in the Best Ball ADP App and showing an average draft position of 275 on MFL10.
#13 By: Seth, April 17th, 2017 20:05
The Big Bodied Huskie
The 2017 NFL Draft, held in Philadelphia, is loaded with new talent. We have quite the depth of Running Backs, as well as quality Receivers. We all know who the top 10-20 picks may, or should be, but what about the less obvious ones? Possibly from a small school, or possibly coming off an injury? These players often go overlooked, and subsequently drop down the board. These players can become big names in the NFL and can contribute to their teams in ways most thought was impossible. As a Philadelphia Eagles fan (I know, bring on the hate) the first name that comes to mind is Trent Cole. Trent was drafted by the birds, with the 146th overall pick in the 5th round, in 2005. As they say, "Look at him now!" Trent went on to become a two-time Pro Bowler. There are many more players that fit this bill, however I am not here to inform you about them. I am here to tell about one player I feel strongly about in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft. This player is overlooked on almost every "mock draft" out there. He is a 218lb, 6 foot 4 inch, WR from NIU. His name is Kenny Golladay.
Ill give you a quick history of what this kid has accomplished. Golladay started his quest while living in his hometown of Chicago ILL, playing at St. Rita of Cascia High School. When it came time for college, only one offer was available for him. That school was University of North Dakota. Small school, yes, but as his only option, Kenny accepted. After spending 2 seasons with the team, his coaches left, and Golladay felt the need to create a highlight tape of his own. He sent that tape back to his former High School Coach, and asked that they sent it to Colleges in hopes of getting an offer. Northern Illinois were intrigued. Golladay transferred to NIU in 2014, and was red-shirted. (per NCAA Transfer Regulations) Here comes the good stuff! According to (NIUHuskies.com) in 2015 Kenny made 2nd Team All-Mac. He led NIU with 1,129 recieving yards, 73 catches, and 10 TDs. in 2016 Kenny was 1st team All-Mac selection. He once again led NIU with 1.156 yards 87 catches to become the first player in school history to record back to back 1,000 yard seasons. In two seasons at NIU, he finished his career ranked 6th ALL-TIME in catches (160) 5th ALL-TIME in receiving yards (2,285) and tied for 8th ALL-TIME in Touchdown catches with (18.) He also totaled 7 - 100 yard receiving games, and 12 games with 90 or more receiving yards. Fair to say, Kenny made an impact at NIU.
Now, we all know NIU is not a big producer of starting caliber NFL players. As noted on (Rotoviz.com) the most notable to come out of NIU recently is Justin McCareins, a former Titans and Jets WR. This only adds to the reasoning Golladay may be overlooked and underrated. So be it. Speaking of notable NFL players, lets take a quick look at the great tool provided to us on Rotoviz.com (The Box Score Scout) When we plug in Kenny Golladays name, we get a pretty relevant name up top the "Most Similar Prospect" tool. Rishard Mathews, whom was drafted in 2011. We all know who Mathews is and what he is capable of on the field, so I'll skip the details on his impact in the NFL. Ill get right to the comparison. Looking at weight difference, they are quite similar entering draft (KG) 218lbs and (RM) 217lbs. Their Receiving yards per game is relative to each other (KG) 96.3recypg and (RM) 113.7recypg. In fact, both Kenny and Rishard enter Draft with .7 Receiving Touchdowns per game. It isnt untill we look at their posted 40-yards from the combine, that I see a notable number on Golladay. Kenny Golladay actually ran a 4.5 40 compared to Rishard Mathews 4.54. Now this may not seem significant at first glance, however, this 40 time shocked many scouts at the combine. This is a BIG guy we are talking about here. Running a 4.5 with 218lbs of body is not an easy feat to accomplish. Shoot, I am barely 165 and I couldn't run a 4.5 to save my life. Granted, that's why I am sitting here writing this article, rather than being super excited to get my shot at the NFL. Anyhow, lets move on. I wanted to see what Draft prospect of this current year are similar, so I went ahead and looked into this. The most similar Draft prospect I found was Robert Davis, out of Georgia State. Her is a quick comparison of the two: Weight- (KG) 218lbs and (RD) 219lbs. Receiving Yards per Game- (KG) 96.3 and (RD) 80.7. Receiving TDs per game- (KG) .7 and (RD) .4. 40 Yard Dash- (KG 4.5 and (RD) 4.44. Now I did have to find this information via (NFL.com) but I thought it was relevant to this article. Using (BOX SCORE) once again, I wanted to see how Golloday stacked up against the TOP prospects of 2017. You can use the stats from above to get an idea of Kevins numbers. Here are Corey Davis and John Ross stats. Weight- (CD) 209 and (JR) 188. Receiving Yards per game- (CD) 107.1 and (JR) 113. Receiving Touchdowns per game- (CD) 1.4 and (JR) 1.2. 40 Yard- (CD) N/A and (JR) 4.22. Comparing these numbers, we do see a difference here. However, they also show Golladay to be much bigger, with relative speed, and some pretty close receiving numbers to boot. I know, I know, "Well he was playing in a small school, and division." Rightfully so. I am only here to provide some facts, and give you my opinion.
In conclusion, I truly believe Golladay is worth a late 3rd round pick. Most mocks and scouts have him projected to go in the 5th to 7th round, according to (WalterFootball.com.) His arm measure came in at 32 and hands at 10.13. Again, this kid is BIG. (NFLDraftScout.com) posted his combine numbers: 225 Bench- 18 Reps/ Vertical Jump- 35.5"/ Broad Jump- 10'1"/ 20 yrd shuttle- 4.15sec/ 3 Cone Drill- 7 sec. flat. Are you beginning to see the picture here? Big body, with some speed and agility. In fact, Rob Rang from (NFLDraftScout.com) stated "He (KG) looked terrific during the position drills, showing impressive body control during gauntlet drills to haul in a pass thrown behind him, while maintaining his momentum." What I see here is a kid that can be used as a Red Zone target, whom will be able to get some separation using his body, and go up for the ball. He has great speed off the line, but some scouts feel he needs to have a clear path in order to create that speed. This may cause some issues for him with the "bump and run" corners of today. The bottom line here, is that many teams in the NFL like to have those big bodied receivers who can create mismatches for apposing corners, especially in scoring situations. The kid was even used on special teams for NIU. Kenny is a worker, wants to win, and most importantly, wants to play. He is dedicated to perfecting his craft, and I for one, see him being a great addition to any NFL team this year. You may disagree, and that is okay. Feel free to "@ me" when you see Golloday scoring Touchdowns in the NFL in the near future! Thanks for taking time to read my article on the underrated, pretty well unknown, Big Bodied Huskie.
#14 By: Matthew, April 17th, 2017 22:34
We all know that guys like Mike Williams and Corey Davis will be highlighted or have a sticky note next to their name in almost everyone’s draft cheat sheet this summer. Their NFL teams will have invested high draft capital in them and depending on which team that is they may even start week one. I am writing this piece to remind you about a guy that you need to highlight; someone who I believe ends the season with better fantasy numbers then either of these top prospects.
A player with elite quickness and someone who I think will breakout early into their NFL career. I am talking about a player with a 40 time comparable to Odell Beckham Jr. and a catch radius that almost matches Brandon Marshall’s. A player who lives for the spotlight and who averaged an insane 153 yards per bowl game during his career [over three games]. This prospect crushed almost every event at the combine and yet still, I don’t think enough people are talking about him.
When I am at the draft this summer in Philadelphia, I am most excited to hear about where the city’s very own Chris Godwin lands.
Think about the last standout from the Nittany Lions, Allen Robinson. While Godwin is slightly smaller [1 inch and about 10 lbs] he is faster and has instincts very much like Robinson. Go watch some highlights and see how Godwin goes up for the ball, it should remind you of A-Rob. He shows such great concentration as he turns and grabs the ball high and away from over the cornerback. It’s a skill that many of the great established red zone threats in the league have.
Now think about this, Godwin and Robinson had almost the exact same combine grade. Both had nearly identical measurements in the broad jump and cone drill. Both had the same exact 20-yard shuttle time of 4 seconds flat [which led all prospects for Godwin’s class and means that he is slick and quick!].
So think about a player who can cut on a dime and explode off the LOS like Robinson and now imagine that player with elite top end speed. Godwin’s 40-yard dash time was 4.42 seconds to Robinson’s 4.6 seconds. If he doesn’t find a team with a path to starting week one, it won’t be long before that team figures out that they need to make one.
I know that combine numbers aren’t everything but they are a very good measure of athletic ability. So I take that combined with the college production [11 touchdowns last year and the clutch big game performances] and I get my breakout rookie wide receiver.
Chris Godwin checks all of the boxes and you should feel confident drafting him this summer [hopefully around his ADP thought, of course!] Let guys take rookies like Davis and Williams. Guys with very average combine numbers who will cost you a higher draft pick. They may have some real value in a dynasty league but if you want a guy who gives you numbers like a Michael Thomas did last year then there’s no need to pray to God for a Win, just draft Godwin.
#15 By: Justin, April 17th, 2017 23:06
A Hunt for Late-Round Magic
It’s easy for game breaking superstars like David Johnson to be overshadowed by athletic freaks like Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon as they transition out of college into the hype machine known as the NFL pre-season. The former Toledo Rocket, Kareem Hunt, knows this struggle all to well, as sites such as NFL.com and CBS Sports place Hunt outside of the top 5 Running Back prospects in the 2017 draft class.
Throughout his college career, Kareem Hunt was outstanding to say the least. In 2016 Hunt averaged 5.6 Yards per carry and an astonishing 112.4 yards per game. Hunt was the centerpiece of the Rocket’s offense as he consistently hurled his 216 pound 5’10 frame through defenders. Hunt has mastered the jump cut, a move he attempts to utilize almost every time he is one on one with a defender. In an attempt to gain every last yard Hunt keeps his legs moving at the end of every play. Rotoviz has given Hunt a 95 speed score following his 4.62 forty yard dash, which is a fairly average speed at the running back position.
One of the biggest knocks on Hunt is that he consistently attempts to go for the home run rather than pick up a couple of yards. When Hunt feels pressure near the line of scrimmage, it isn’t uncommon to see him try to spin his way out of it. Occasionally this spin move helps him break out a 20-yard play, but more often than not Hunt loses a yard or two when he does this.
From a purely physical perspective, Hunt’s best comparison is Alfred Morris. Morris came out of college and put up three consecutive thousand-yard campaigns. His rookie year was his most dominant year in the NFL producing over 1600 yards on the ground and double-digit touchdowns. Where Hunt differs from Morris is his pass catching ability. In Morris’ 5 years in the NFL he has accumulated 50 receptions, in contrast, Hunt produced 41 receptions in his senior year alone. Hunt has the physical ability to produce at the same level that Morris did on the ground while also filling in the pass catching role on a team.
There are several teams that could benefit with the addition of Hunt to their backfield. The teams that would be likely candidates for targeting Hunt are Redskins, Giants, Vikings, Eagles, Ravens, and Chiefs. These are all teams who either don’t have a reliable starting running back, or have an average back that they could move on from in the next few years. Hunt will not be an instant starter on the team he is drafted onto, but he can contribute on third downs and will be ready to step into the role if an injury occurs.
Ask anyone who their favorite running back coming out of college this year and you are sure to hear Fornett, Cook, McCaffery, and maybe even Joe Mixon at almost a consensus while Hunt’s name is no where to be found. Hunt may not be a favorite now, but he has the potential to be a household name a few years down the road. Hunt will be drafted in the later rounds of the 2017 draft, but he very well could be a top tier running back down the road for whichever team drafts him.
#17 By: Phil Clark, April 18th, 2017 14:41
A ZJ You Can Afford - ECU's Zay Jones
Zay Jones was overlooked by every major D1 school in his home state of Texas as a 2 star high school WR. You know who else was an overlooked prospect from a desert with 2 stars and a talented pedigree? Luke Skywalker. When East Carolina offered Zay a scholarship, they assured this Jedi Knight was indeed an R2-'D1' caliber player. The force is strong with this one. Ok, it's time for the references to end (s/o Last Jedi trailer). However; the overlooked aspect continued throughout his record shattering collegiate career.
During his senior campaign, Jones solidified himself as a PPR legend amongst the amateur ranks, hauling in an NCAA record 158 catches. Fluky year? Nah. Zay also shattered the NCAA career receptions record, which happened to be held by former ECU teammate Justin Hardy (Atlanta Falcons), with 399 career grabs. The fact that he was 1 catch shy of 400 is both infuriating and astounding. The numbers were tremendous enough for Jones to be a finalist for the Belitnikoff Award, given to the the NCAA's top receiver. He didn't win the award, go ahead and add that to the 'overlooked, sleeping on him only motivates him' mantra that drives Zay. Don't believe me? Just ask him, or his 3-time Super Bowl Champion father, Robert Jones. Just as impressive as these preposterous reception numbers, was his drop rate - a mere 2.7%. Saying Zay Jones has the best hands in the draft is not really hyperbole, quantitatively speaking.
While his stats are unmatched at the collegiate level, physical abilities need to be addressed and compared to get a broader scope of the athlete we're dealing with here. Jones stands 6'2" with a 201 lb frame with room for the 22 year old to strengthen as he develops. A 4.45 40 time groups Zay with current NFL Wide Receivers Amari Cooper (4.42), Stefon Diggs (4.46), and DeVante Parker (4.45). Also worth noting, Jones ranked top-5 among all WR's in the broad jump and both shuttle drills at the NFL combine. I was not able to find Zay in the Box Score Scout App - although there is massive data at the aforementioned 'overlooked, sleeping on him only motivates him' proverbial database. (Please help me if I am using the app wrong and missed him!)
The skepticism, if any, surrounding Jones would be the level of competition he faced in college - not having come from a Power 5 conference. He did have 3 games vs. Power 5 schools during his senior campaign. And as expected, they shut him down: Jones averaged 13 catches for 126 yards in those games. Wait...are those numbers good? One of those games, at SEC opponent South Carolina, Zay collected a school record 22 receptions, but could not break the NCAA record of 23. Sad!
The elephant in the room when examining Zay's stats, are his touchdowns - or lack there of. 8 TD's is but a tiny slice of the 158 catch Papa Jones pie. It is worth noting that he did reach paydirt 7 times in his final 8 games. With Zay being a possession receiver, the ability to score a lot of TD's is synonymous with Red Zone opportunities. ECU, while offensively putrid outside of ZJ, was surprisingly efficient when actually entering the Red Zone. ECU ranked 23rd nationally in RZ Offense, with 39 scores in 44 opportunities. Only 2 teams ranking in the top 25 had fewer chances. Simply put, Zay catches the ball when thrown his way; and when given the opportunity inside the Red Zone, he adds value to the overall efficiency of an offense. Zay has the potential DFS trajectory to exceed salary based expectations more weeks than not, especially in PPR formats - he'll have a modest floor, and given the right offense, TD equity. (Picture a younger, taller, faster, 2016 Cole Beasley)
Zay had one last impression to make on NFL scouts during the Senior Bowl, and he left a lasting one. Catch. After. Catch. NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah and Mike Moyock described his performance:
"You talk to the (Senior Bowl) coaches that have been around him this week, they say it's like dealing with a 10-year professional," said NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah during the broadcast of the game. "When your dad is Robert Jones, who played in the NFL for a long time, it's the family business."
NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock said Jones was the MVP of the first half.
"(Jones) had an unbelievable half. All he did was confirm what he did all week long," Mayock said. "He's a top-100 pick in this draft."
Well said, Mike. Whichever team ends up with this WR with a chip on his shoulder the size of Texas will be getting an absolute steal of a pick. Zay has the criteria in him to be a long-term player in the league. If they don't know who ZJ is by this point, they can't afford it.
#18 By: Jeremy Marin, April 19th, 2017 12:57
You Down With AET? Yeah, You Know Me!
You may be thinking, “Who is AET?” Well, for the uninitiated, AET would be Amba Etta-Tawo, a graduate transfer from Maryland who landed in Syracuse and lit up the Orange’s record books, setting 10 school records and getting close to several ACC records as well, posting an astounding line of 94 receptions, 1482 yards, and 14 touchdowns. So why do we not hear more about him, despite being a third team AP All-American?
Etta-Tawo is largely an unknown prospect after an unspectacular run at Maryland. Prior to 2016 and transferring to Syracuse, his previous season highs were 31 receptions, 500 yards, and two touchdowns, all accumulated during his freshman year. Etta-Tawo failed to capitalize on what could have been a breakout opportunity, recording only 30 receptions for 438 yards and a single touchdown during the next two campaigns combined. This is largely the reason why Etta-Tawo was not on anyone’s radar before the season began, and why people are still skeptical.
So why am I down with AET? His comparisons are spectacular and it is not unprecedented for a player to explode and then have NFL success. Looking at the Rotoviz Box Score Scout shows the reason for optimism.
Roddy White, Golden Tate, DeAndre Hopkins, Willie Snead, and Amari Cooper are all great names to be compared to, however, one of the more interesting names on the list is fellow 2017 prospect, Taywan Taylor. Taylor is receiving a lot of hype in dynasty and NFL circles alike, yet Etta-Tawo has nearly identical measurables and statistics. Both also were Biletnikoff Award semifinalists. The difference is that Taylor is being drafted in the second round of rookie drafts, while Etta-Tawo is being completely overlooked and rarely getting drafted. Finding him in the final picks of a rookie draft, or even as a post draft waiver pick up, makes Etta-Tawo a supremely low risk, high reward pick.
One of the largest criticisms of Etta-Tawo is his advanced age for a draft prospect. He turns 24 in November. However, this criticism appears unfounded as many of the dynasty community’s favorite prospects are similar ages, including Biletnikoff Award winner Dede Westbrook, Kenny Golladay, Trent Taylor, Amara Darboh, and Cooper Kupp. Even first round rookie pick, and possible top drafted WR, Mike Williams is less than one year younger than Etta-Tawo. And while RotoViz consistently prefers younger prospects (as you’d expect from the site that helped popularize the Phenom Index), recent older prospects such as Michael Thomas and Sterling Shepard have had early success in the NFL and as fantasy players.
In short, Amba Etta-Tawo has the measurables and production to see success in the NFL. For what he would cost in draft capital, he is a free asset that could hit big and outperform those drafted ahead of him. Etta-Tawo is currently projected to be drafted in the later rounds of the NFL draft. While this projected low draft capital points to a player unlikely to make an instant impact, his low cost and impressive comparables make him a possible gem in deep dynasty leagues.
#19 By: Richard Jenkins, April 20th, 2017 22:19
Looks like I am having the same problem uploading pictures.
#20 By: CK, April 20th, 2017 22:50
sorry about that; try again and let me know if you still have any trouble.
#21 By: Dynasty Guru FF, April 21st, 2017 16:23
Same, I'm having all sorts of formatting and picture issues. Any way I can just email it in? Let me know, thanks!
next page →