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EBF

Top 29 Rookies 2019

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14 minutes ago, Biabreakable said:

Go to the 2:19 mark of Butlers game against Oklahoma and tell me what you see here?

The initial move is good and I saw a clip from another game where some people fell off him and let him get free, but generally he's not much of a RAC threat. He doesn't have much ability to make cuts in space. Not a lot of pitter-patter quickness. He's more of a straight-line guy.

A-Rob at Penn State was so good in these situations that they would throw several screens his way every game.

https://youtu.be/5Xm3MFgJaD4?t=2

Even AJ Green, who's a downfield/finesse WR with a thin frame and not my idea of RAC specialist, was used like this:

https://youtu.be/K3fevGVe4qE?t=62

I remember when Demaryius was a rookie for Denver they used him on KRs because he was so unusually mobile.

Vincent Jackson in college was a pretty good return man in addition to his WR duties.

That's what you're looking for. Exceptional mobility.

Butler is a limited athlete compared to most of the successful NFL WRs, and it's more down to what you see in his clips than his combine metrics, which look fine. He's going to struggle to win with routes and athleticism. So then you think, 'Well, he's still tall, and he has long arms. Maybe he can win that way.' The problem there, as we talked about, is that he's not a great pure receiver either. So you've got a flawed athlete with flawed positional skills. Maybe they can still get something out of him. He had great production last season. I'm not a fan though and his ADP is quite high, which really renders it totally moot. People are taking this guy in the 12-15 range. Way too high. I don't see what they're seeing to justify those selections.

To me, as a guy who sat on the sidelines during this CFB season and caught up late, it feels like a case where some people built this guy up during the pre-draft process into something he's not and then failed to sufficiently correct the mistake when the NFL returned a "meh" verdict with his draft slot.

Of course, you have to go with your gut to some degree and if he pans out then those people will be ecstatic to have gotten him where they did in these rookie drafts, but I think I've laid out a fair case against him.

Edited by EBF

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20 minutes ago, EBF said:

Butler is a limited athlete compared to most of the successful NFL WRs, and it's more down to what you see in his clips than his combine metrics, which look fine. He's going to struggle to win with routes and athleticism. So then you think, 'Well, he's still tall, and he has long arms. Maybe he can win that way.' The problem there, as we talked about, is that he's not a great pure receiver either. So you've got a flawed athlete with flawed positional skills. 

I liked Butler as a 1st round pick pre-draft, but when I think about it using hindsight, I realize the NFL got it right. You see glimpses of his fluidity with some really great routes. He does great on comebacks. But then you see some very bad ones too. Youd think a guy his age would have managed some more consistency. 

I'm not worried about his lack of suddenness so much. If he can maintain his momentum thru his route he wont need it. He can learn how to beat press coverage with his hands. But being that he didnt demonstrate these abilities consistently, you have to admit a lot risk. 

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38 minutes ago, EBF said:

Butler is a limited athlete compared to most of the successful NFL WRs, and it's more down to what you see in his clips than his combine metrics, which look fine. He's going to struggle to win with routes and athleticism. So then you think, 'Well, he's still tall, and he has long arms. Maybe he can win that way.' The problem there, as we talked about, is that he's not a great pure receiver either. So you've got a flawed athlete with flawed positional skills. Maybe they can still get something out of him. He had great production last season. I'm not a fan though and his ADP is quite high, which really renders it totally moot. People are taking this guy in the 12-15 range. Way too high. I don't see what they're seeing to justify those selections.

I think they are seeing this.

I can't agree with your statement that Butler is a limited athlete compared to most successful WR. Or I guess I would need a definition of what you consider successful to understand what you mean by that. Its not like he ran a 5.0 forty. He has measurable gifts that put him in pretty rare company. I know its a dirty word but he has potential to be able to do things that most WR can't do.

I am not going to argue that his lateral agility and the suddenness of his breaks are great. That is not how he wins in my view although there are examples of him doing those things. The play I pointed out is an example of that. Just a quick in route. I think he has a false step as he is crossing over, but generally he ran that play pretty clean. I don't think this is something the Cardinals will often ask him to do, and I don't think that is something he has to do to be a successful NFL WR/ He can win in other ways. He does not have to be DT or Michael Thomas.  He is a deep ball and contested catch receiver. Those are the things he does well.

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10 minutes ago, Biabreakable said:

 

I can't agree with your statement that Butler is a limited athlete compared to most successful WR.

Explosive ≠ athletic.

Mark Harrison (listed on that link) was a different style of player, but was a great example of this.

Explosive leaper and sprinter. Very sub par athlete in terms of fluidity, routes, and WR skills.

The inverse would be the Anquan Boldin and Keenan Allen types. Poor testers. Athletic on the field.

Butler doesn't move well with or without the ball. Doesn't play up to his 40 time either. He is not functionally athletic.

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3 hours ago, Biabreakable said:

Like any other metric you can find some thresholds where you have almost zero success rate of players below a certain BMI and although I haven't really seen the other end of this, that is likely also true, a player over a certain threshold of BMI has almost no success.

Thresholds have the problem of selection bias. You've seen a bell curve, the highs and the lows are much smaller. The vast majority of the population are pretty close to the average.

Edited by cloppbeast

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4 minutes ago, EBF said:

Explosive ≠ athletic.

Mark Harrison (listed on that link) was a different style of player, but was a great example of this.

Explosive leaper and sprinter. Very sub par athlete in terms of fluidity, routes, and WR skills.

The inverse would be the Anquan Boldin and Keenan Allen types. Poor testers. Athletic on the field.

Butler doesn't move well with or without the ball. Doesn't play up to his 40 time either. He is not functionally athletic.

Now that your statement is more clear I definitely dont agree with it.

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1 minute ago, cloppbeast said:

Thresholds have the problem of selection bias. You've seen a bell curve, the highs and the lows are much smaller. The vast majority are pretty close to the average.

Definitely.

A player with x variable has never reached x fantasy points until the outlier proves that wrong.

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6 hours ago, cloppbeast said:

When you crunch the numbers and find some correlation, I'm all ears. For now all you have are some historical comparisons, aka anecdotes. 

I crunched some numbers here and here. WRs who were successful in the NFL had higher BMI on average than other WRs at the combine, and rarely had low BMI (though Butler is above the "low BMI" thresholds that I looked at).

Edited by ZWK
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43 minutes ago, ZWK said:

I crunched some numbers here and here. WRs who were successful in the NFL had higher BMI on average than other WRs at the combine, and rarely had low BMI (though Butler is above the "low BMI" thresholds that I looked at).

Well there you go. I stand corrected.

 Surprisingly, to me, height is barely a predictor at all. 

I've derailed the thread enough for one day. Carry on.

Edited by cloppbeast

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5 hours ago, cloppbeast said:

Well there you go. I stand corrected.

 Surprisingly, to me, height is barely a predictor at all. 

I've derailed the thread enough for one day. Carry on.

I don't think that's quite the right takeaway either.

First, height may be an extremely valid predictor of nfl success from a random population, but there are more "short" receivers than tall ones in the world and only the best short receivers get a shot at the nfl. So if you're playing a pickup game at the Y, you should still pick the tall guy.  

But from an nfl perspective, those numbers will probably be skewed the other way. There's almost certainly more "project" receivers in the tall pool, but it's hard to quantify who is "good" and who is just "a size speed freak".  You do occasionally get the John Ross type of project but usually when teams draft a project it's a big tall guy like mobo a couple years ago. 

And the worldwide population of big fast agile athletic men who are 3 or 4 years out of high school is already small, before you take a bunch out who play basketball or other sports, or got injured, or play other positions. 

So being big and fast may be the natural advantage you'd empirically expect, but there's just not that many big fast guys who are good at playing wide receiver, and the nfl routinely drafts guys who aren't good in the hopes that they can coach them up because the upside is so high.  

The takeaway for me is that when i see a big dude getting drafted early, it doesn't make me think he's good, and when i see a little guy who is really good i don't write him off, but when i see a big guy who is good - e.g. they dominated for multiple years in college - i'm all in.  

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Some minor RB/WR tier adjustments after having had a bit more time to go through drafts and digest everything.

 

RB Josh Jacobs, Raiders
-----------------------
RB Miles Sanders, Eagles
RB Darrell Henderson, Rams
RB David Montgomery, Bears
RB Devin Singletary, Bills
-----------------------
RB Damien Harris, Patriots
RB Alexander Mattison, Vikings

 

Feel pretty confident that Jacobs will be solid. He's my #1 rookie pick still.

I still like Sanders and would take him ahead of the other day two backs, but the lack of any single elite physical trait pushes him down into the second group. I like his clips and his quickness stands out, but he's also in dangerous territory as a 210 pound back with just good and not great speed/power. He lacks the extra something of a top prospect and that's probably why he fell into day two. On the other hand, Singletary moves up into the second tier. The lack of speed is a concern, but I like his clips, he was picked in the same general range as these other guys, and he goes to a team with an aging starter where he's a natural like-for-like replacement. Not a tier one guy or a can't-miss prospect, but when you look at the ADP vs. the value, there's a good argument that he's underrated. My take on Montgomery hasn't changed at all. Very strong immediate opportunity and a chance to be FF ROY, but lack of burst gives him long-term JAG potential and job security question marks. I like Henderson's metrics more than his tape, but on the strength of draft slot, profile, and production; I think he belongs about where I have him here.

I think I had Harris overrated on the first pass. The characterization of him as a high floor/low ceiling type is probably accurate, but I've overrated some players of that ilk in the past (i.e. Perine, S Greene). If Michel's injury stuff lingers then there's a sneaky upside to get NE's starter, but he's not an obvious talent tier ahead of the other day two backs and his short-term opportunity is pretty bad. He may be confined to an 800-900 total yards role for the foreseeable future. I like him as a mid-late 2nd round rookie pick, but the top 10 where I had him initially was too high.

 

 

WR AJ Brown, Titans
WR Deebo Samuel, 49ers
WR N'Keal Harry, Patriots
-----------------------
WR Marquise Brown, Ravens
WR DK Metcalf, Seahawks
WR Andy Isabella, Cardinals
-----------------------
WR Mecole Hardman, Chiefs
WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Eagles
WR Parris Campbell, Colts
WR Diontae Johnson, Steelers
-----------------------
WR Miles Boykin, Ravens
WR Jalen Hurd, 49ers
WR Terry McLaurin, Redskins
WR Hakeem Butler, Cardinals

 

More or less sticking to my guns here. I'm relatively confident in the top 3 and would use a top 5 rookie on any of them.

The second tier is my flawed-but-intriguing group. Isabella and Brown have issues, but clear upside and some elite traits. I lean towards Metcalf being a bust, but the boom potential if he hits is so high that you have to give it some weight.

Not in love with the other tiers, as I'm generally passing on Hardman/JJAW/Campbell at their ADP. Johnson is usually a bit cheaper, so would be more likely to find his way onto one of my rosters, but I'm not particularly a fan. Generally, I'm confident in the first tier, intrigued by the second tier, and skeptical of the third tier. Based on the odds, it's highly likely that I'm missing the boat on at least one of those tier 3-4 WRs, but I'm not a buyer today without the benefit of hindsight.

 

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I passed on Isabella for Hardman in a recent draft picking at 1.11 in a 16 team IDP league. Not loving my pick (Parris Campbell was also still available, he was the alternative I was agonizing over) but I’d read some things that concerned me about Isabella: small catch radius and a body catcher. Was (and still am) skeptical about Hardman, basically drafting Mahomes/Reid and that offense. I definitely weighted Murray and that offense as well but went for what I viewed as more upside.

Having said that, I probably stuck myself with a gadget/ST player. Kind of an out of character pick for me too, I usually lean towards solid floors rather than gamble. I have a pretty good team I think for a 16 team league but stuck in mud it seems.

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3 hours ago, bostonfred said:

I agree with almost that entire post.  Deebo is a little higher than i'd expect.  Nice write up as always @EBF

Thanks.

It's funny how perception of value works sometimes. N'Keal Harry goes at pick #32 to NE and becomes a top 2-3 pick in every PPR rookie draft. He's a "first round pick" playing with a HoF QB. Deebo Samuel comes off the board a whopping 4 picks later at #36 overall and regularly falls to the 8-12 range in the same PPR rookie drafts. I actually got him at the 2.05 spot in a 12 team QB-premium league where 1-2 relevant FAs also went ahead of him. Very surprised he was still there.

A  similar thing is going on with Montgomery and Singletary. Singletary was picked exactly one spot lower in the NFL draft, but often falls a full round lower in rookie drafts. In that case it's largely down to people putting a premium on the potential for instant results since Montgomery figures to be a day one starter whereas Singletary doesn't, but I do think these examples illustrate how the FF community can somewhat arbitrarily perceive huge value disparities between two commodities that actually look pretty similar on paper.

Is the difference between Harry and Samuel that we see in rookie ADP really justified? I'm open to the idea that Harry > Samuel, but I have it pretty close and can see it going the other way as well. Deebo is a pretty great athlete considering his size/strength and figures to be the best WR on the 49ers right out of the box. Maybe people are overrating the Brady factor with Harry, whose play style and role may require more seasoning than the RAC game of Deebo. Brady is 41 (!!!) and will turn 42 before opening day, so the perceived advantage that Harry has with his HoF QB is something that may not last very long at all.

Anyway, Deebo's frame almost looks too heavy for a WR, more like a RB or TE, but his combine performance and game film don't show a lack of mobility. He ran 4.49, jumped 39" in the vertical, and did a respectable 10'2" in the broad jump. His game clips show that he gets off the line quickly and is a dangerous runner with the ball in his hands. It's an interesting combination of skills. As I've said previously, I think he's somewhere in the general ballpark of Boldin/JuJu/Crabtree. His pure possession game likely isn't as good as those guys. I believe Crab had very long arms for his height and I know he was a standout in jump ball/red zone situations. I don't think Deebo is as strong in that department, but he's not terrible in those spots and his RAC ability is comparable to those guys I listed.

I don't want to hype him too much, but I think he's a player who's simply a little underrated in this draft class. He was the third WR drafted and the fourth RB/WR drafted. When you think of it that way, my ranking of him as a top 5 guy might be more reflective of where he SHOULD BE going than the 10+ slot you often see him fall to. I think it's a minor market inefficiency and I've been happy to take advantage of it. I ended up getting him in 3/5 rookie drafts. In one of the leagues where I missed him, I essentially had no picks. In the other league, I had the #11 pick and two second rounders and made a conscious decision not to trade up because A.) he might have fallen to me anyway and B.) I needed depth and wanted to diversify my portfolio ever so slightly.

In general though, he's my go-to pick in the back half of the first round of this year's rookie draft, as I think you're getting a top 5 prospect in this class without having to actually spend a top 5 pick.

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29 minutes ago, Ranethe said:

I passed on Isabella for Hardman in a recent draft picking at 1.11 in a 16 team IDP league. Not loving my pick (Parris Campbell was also still available, he was the alternative I was agonizing over) but I’d read some things that concerned me about Isabella: small catch radius and a body catcher. Was (and still am) skeptical about Hardman, basically drafting Mahomes/Reid and that offense. I definitely weighted Murray and that offense as well but went for what I viewed as more upside.

Having said that, I probably stuck myself with a gadget/ST player. Kind of an out of character pick for me too, I usually lean towards solid floors rather than gamble. I have a pretty good team I think for a 16 team league but stuck in mud it seems.

Well, Hardman was the higher NFL pick and has the better QB, so it's not necessarily something you need to feel bad about. I didn't love his film, but that doesn't mean I'm not wrong.

There's been some conversation in this thread about which traits are most important for a WR and Isabella will be an interesting case study in that. People who covet big, rangy jump ball WRs with basketball skills are going to hate him because those are the areas where he's pitiful. On the other hand, he has elite speed, college production, and is a pretty good route runner overall. Though short, he is solidly built. Stronger than the likes of Diontae and Hardman. If you're a movement/athleticism guy then you have to be intrigued, even if there are reservations. The question is this: Are the things he figures to be really good at (speed/routes) enough to overcome the areas where he's deficient (height/contested balls)?

I don't have the answer there, which is why I've cited him as a boom-or-bust prospect. In PPR, I can honestly see him becoming the best player from this draft. It sounds crazy, but if it pans out then he could be like a turbo Welker catching 90-100 balls per year and destroying people out of the slot. There is a lot of risk though and with his hands and small frame, you can also envision him being a big flop.

I didn't have a lot of early 2nd round rookie picks this year, which is the range of the rookie draft where I like the risk/reward equation for Isabella, but I did move up to snag him in one league because I just wanted to own him on at least one roster in case he happens to go nuclear.

 

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