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ZWK

ZWK's 2020 Prospect Analysis

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In terms of production, Chase Young beats everyone in my overall top 10 and is #2 on the whole. That leaderboard is:

DeMarcus Walker
Chase Young
Sutton Smith
Josh Allen
Ejuan Price
Bradley Chubb
Derek Barnett

(I don't have an easy way to look at production & size without the drills.)

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On 3/2/2020 at 4:01 PM, ZWK said:

Not if you stuck to guys who entered the league in the past 15 years.

Exactly.

Once everyone had the technology to accurately record Bigfoot sightings those stopped happening too.

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On 3/15/2020 at 8:55 PM, ZWK said:

This edge rusher draft class looks terrible by my numbers.

There were zero players who had both good production (sacks & tackles for a loss) and good combine numbers (size & athleticism). Though Chase Young probably would have if he'd done the drills at the combine.

Rtg     Player                   Team     Class
6.9    Alex Highsmith    Charlotte    2020
6.1    Zack Baun    Wisconsin    2020
5.6    Isaiah Simmons    Clemson    2020
5.2    Casey Toohill    Stanford    2020
4.9    Jonathan Greenard    Florida    2020

4.6    Khalil Davis    Nebraska    2020
4.3    Yetur Gross-Matos    Penn State    2020
4.3    Chase Young    Ohio State    2020 *

2.8    Kenny Willekes    Mich St    2020

I'm on board with Chase Young as an early pick - he skipped the drills because he knew that he was an early pick without them, whereas my formula assumes that guys skip combine drills because they expect to do badly at them. If he had competed at the combine, he likely would have been top 10 on this list, with a good shot at Myles Garrett / Josh Allen territory. And some of these guys are off--ball linebackers rather than primarily pass rushers, in which case making this list at all is a good sign. Butfor pure pass rushers this doesn't look good early in the draft.

Continuing down the ratings for this draft class only, the next few guys are:

2.2    Curtis Weaver    Boise St
1.1    A.J. Epenesa    Iowa
-0.1    James Lynch    Baylor
-1.0    Terrell Lewis    Alabama
-2.2    Javon Kinlaw    S Carolina
-3.3    Bradlee Anae    Utah

One EDGE player expected to higher than all but  Chase is K'Lavon Chaisson who missed games due to injury and he also skipped the Combine so he took a double-hit with your formula.  His final four collegiate games he produced spectacular numbers.

Every analytic formula uses 'similar' data-in where production is a large part of how they rank players so K'Lavon is not ranked high in those rankings but K'Lavon has been consistently mocked high and NFL.com draft rankings show something different.

They break out DEs and have Chase atop that list but have K'Lavon listed as an EDGE.  Here is how they rank all o the EDGE players in this draft.

 https://www.nfl.com/draft/tracker/prospects/EDGE

The highest grade is for K'Lavon.

I saw this yesterday from Simms who is high on K'Lavon.  

---------------------------------------------------

Go to the 40:00 minute mark of the LINK below.  Chris Simms does not break out DE from EDGE he has Chase as his top EDGE prospect but has K'Lavon Chaisson as his #2 pick.  He gushes and I must confess I really like him as well.  He comps him with Derrick Thomas which is uber-high praise.  Paul threw out the name Von Miller.  

You have your rankings but ah ... ya know... this guy needs to be AT LEAST on the list.  

NFL Draft 2020 EDGE Rankings: Don't sleep on Chaisson | Chris Simms Unbuttoned (Ep. 141 FULL)

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4 hours ago, Bracie Smathers said:

One EDGE player expected to higher than all but  Chase is K'Lavon Chaisson who missed games due to injury and he also skipped the Combine so he took a double-hit with your formula.  His final four collegiate games he produced spectacular numbers.

Every analytic formula uses 'similar' data-in where production is a large part of how they rank players so K'Lavon is not ranked high in those rankings but K'Lavon has been consistently mocked high and NFL.com draft rankings show something different.

They break out DEs and have Chase atop that list but have K'Lavon listed as an EDGE.  Here is how they rank all o the EDGE players in this draft.

 https://www.nfl.com/draft/tracker/prospects/EDGE

The highest grade is for K'Lavon.

I saw this yesterday from Simms who is high on K'Lavon.  

---------------------------------------------------

Go to the 40:00 minute mark of the LINK below.  Chris Simms does not break out DE from EDGE he has Chase as his top EDGE prospect but has K'Lavon Chaisson as his #2 pick.  He gushes and I must confess I really like him as well.  He comps him with Derrick Thomas which is uber-high praise.  Paul threw out the name Von Miller.  

You have your rankings but ah ... ya know... this guy needs to be AT LEAST on the list.  

NFL Draft 2020 EDGE Rankings: Don't sleep on Chaisson | Chris Simms Unbuttoned (Ep. 141 FULL)

Yeah, Chaisson's a guy whose reputation is way above his production. He had only 6.5 sacks this year, and only 9.5 for his career, and his numbers are similarly unimpressive if you look at pressures, tackles for loss, per game stats, or per pass rush stats. Maybe his numbers are good if you only look at his last 4 games, but that's a tiny sample size and not how I'd evaluate production for any prospect (except maybe on day 3 if I'm taking shots at flashes of potential).

I buy that he's better than his production, and that he's a good athlete even in the absence of combine testing (although probably not at Von Miller's level0, but I'm generally going to be lower than the consensus on guys like that and unlikely to take them in the first round. I put some thought into Chaisson in particular because I was doing a mock draft as Atlanta and he's one of the 3 players who are typically mocked to them in the 1st, and I decided to not have him on my first round draft board for pick 16. He seems more like the second round guys as a prospect, and not anywhere close to guys like Chase Young or Von Miller.

Here's a take on him from someone at PFF. Their guess is that a main cause of his lack of production is his tendency to get swallowed up by linemen if he doesn't win on his initial move, in part because of short arms (his arms did measure 1.25" shorter than Von Miller's).

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24 minutes ago, ZWK said:

Here's a take on him from someone at PFF. Their guess is that a main cause of his lack of production is his tendency to get swallowed up by linemen if he doesn't win on his initial move, in part because of short arms (his arms did measure 1.25" shorter than Von Miller's).

If you look at tape in addition to stats you will see something unique about one of his signature pass rush moves.  He does a 'T-Rex' move where he pulls his arms-in and swings them back-and-forth in quick succession getting the O-Lineman to commit then dips outside or spins inside to beat the punch.  Its very-effective.

From PFF's write-up.

Quote

 

We've collected enough data on college-to-pro projections at this point to know that college pass-rushing grade strongly correlates to pass-rushing production in the NFL, but it's far from the end all be all. There have been some notable exceptions over the years that we'll dive into a little later, but first, let's take a look at what Chaisson brings to the table on the field.

The first thing you notice about Chaisson is simply the type of athlete he is. He's smooth, bendy and explosive –the ideal combination to play off the edge.

At 6-foot-3, 254 pounds, Chaisson could legitimately move to off-ball linebacker and still play at a high-level with his movement skills. And while he's not quite Von Miller athletically, he's still a terrific athlete for the position in pretty much every regard you can think of....

 

All analytic analysis of EDGE rushers use production and measurables as the keys.  I've seen it with the first acknowledged analytic FO with Paul DePodesta (Moneyball) and Sashi Brown where they drafted Ogbah and Nate Orchard and Carl Nassib in addition to Myles Garrett, all heavy producers in college.

Note injuries and the fact Chaisson lost an entire season and he's coming out early which means he would not have as much production as a Senior who had not missed any time.  Even with PFF low ranking they consistently mock him off the board in the first.

I feel unique players break molds, even analytic molds so in this case I think Chaisson has a shot to exceed the analytic grade.

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Guys who look the part but didn't put it together to produce big in college have typically been a bad bet in the first round of the NFL draft. I've looked most thoroughly at WR, but I think it holds up across positions and there have been some prominent examples at edge rusher like Vernon Gholston.

At some point in the draft, it becomes worth betting on those guys, although the question of precisely when it becomes worth it to take a projected first rounder like Chaisson is kind of moot point because someone else is going to draft him before then. I'd guess that Chaisson belongs somewhere in day 2 of the draft, which is earlier than he'd rank just from crunching his numbers but later than he's gone in any mock draft that I've noticed.

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12 hours ago, Bracie Smathers said:

If you look at tape in addition to stats you will see something unique about one of his signature pass rush moves.  He does a 'T-Rex' move where he pulls his arms-in and swings them back-and-forth in quick succession getting the O-Lineman to commit then dips outside or spins inside to beat the punch.  Its very-effective.

From PFF's write-up.

All analytic analysis of EDGE rushers use production and measurables as the keys.  I've seen it with the first acknowledged analytic FO with Paul DePodesta (Moneyball) and Sashi Brown where they drafted Ogbah and Nate Orchard and Carl Nassib in addition to Myles Garrett, all heavy producers in college.

Note injuries and the fact Chaisson lost an entire season and he's coming out early which means he would not have as much production as a Senior who had not missed any time.  Even with PFF low ranking they consistently mock him off the board in the first.

I feel unique players break molds, even analytic molds so in this case I think Chaisson has a shot to exceed the analytic grade.

I have watched Chaisson from the perspective of if he would fit the Vikings as an edge rusher and I do not like the lack of strength he has at the point of attack. He is always stunting when he is successful and I don't see him winning straight up in a traditional way. He seems more like a situational pass rusher than one I want on the field all 3 downs.

Now maybe he puts on some weight and becomes that in the NFL. I don't think he is there yet. I see him being mocked as a 1st round pick but there are other edge players besides Young who I like more than him.

Its likely I just need to watch him more. Maybe he is like Jerry Hughes of the Bills or something?

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Football Outsiders has posted their prospect ratings for QB, RB, WR, and (paywalled for now) edge rusher.

QB: Their QBASE formula doesn't love any of this year's QBs. It sees Burrow, Herbert, and Tagovailoa as decent prospects. Behind them, it sees Fromm & Hurts as solid day 2 options. Down on Eason & Love. Burrow & Tua get knocked primarily for only having 2 seasons as starters (as historically QBs who started 3+ years in college have done better in the NFL) and also for their stellar supporting casts.

RB: Their BackCAST formula is madly in love with Jonathan Taylor, rating him as the best RB prospect since ever (beginning in 1998 when their dataset starts), beating out Ricky Williams & Saquon Barkley. #2 in this class, it also really likes AJ Dillon. After that, it sees Dobbins, Swift, and Akers as solid prospects. Its favorite sleepers are Anthony McFarland, Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Darrynton Evans, and Joshua Kelley. It is down on Clyde Edwards-Helaire and (to a lesser extent) Zack Moss. A big part of that is just the size/speed combo that Taylor & Dillon bring, and which Moss & especially CEH lack. Put that together with Taylor's rushing production and their formula goes wild for him.

WR: They're now only using a Playmaker formula which takes expected draft round into account, so their overall take aligns pretty closely with expected draft order and their distinctive contribution is which players they expect to do better or worse than the average player in that round. They see Lamb & Jeudy as above average for 1st rounders, Gabriel Davis & Shenault as above average for rd2-3 WRs, and relative to other late rounders they like Tyler Johnson, Isaiah Hodgins, Trishton Jackson, Omar Bayless, Quintez Cephus, Quez Watkins, Darnell Mooney, Jauan Jennings, and Cody White. They are down as Denzel Mims as a 1st rounder, Michael Pittman in rd1-2, Bryan Edwards in rd3-4, and Van Jefferson & KJ Hill in rd4. Other guys are closer to the average for their round, including Justin Jefferson as a typical 1st rounder, and KJ Hamler, Tee Higgins, and Jalen Reagor as typical 2nd rounders. Also some of their draft round estimates are different than what I'm seeing most places (Gabriel Davis as a borderline rd2-3 pick?), but they are what's on draftscout.

Edge rusher: The headline result of their SackSEER formula is that Chase Young is real good, and the rest of the class looks real weak.

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Next Gen Stats has released top 5 player ratings at various positions. As far as I can tell, these are only available in videos like this one of the QBs and they are based on crunching numbers like production & combine measurables (like what I & Football Outsiders do) and do not incorporate player tracking data or anything like that. These are their "draft score" ratings, which are on a scale similar to Madden ratings, for the top 5's which I've found:

CB    89    Reggie Robinson
CB    86    Kristian Fulton
CB    84    Amik Robertson
CB    82    Jeff Okudah
CB    80    Lamar Jackson

DT    86    Justin Madubuike
DT    82    Derrick Brown
DT    79    Khalil Davis
DT    78    James Lynch
DT    78    Javon Kinlaw

EDGE    97    Chase Young
EDGE    85    Kenny Willekes
EDGE    82    Yetur Gross-Matos
EDGE    78    Jabari Zuniga
EDGE    77    Jonathan Greenard

LB    95    Isaiah Simmons
LB    87    Anfernee Jennings
LB    78    Logan Wilson
LB    75    David Woodward
LB    75    Troy Dye

QB    95    Tua Tagovailoa
QB    95    Joe Burrow
QB    90    Justin Herbert
QB    82    Jalen Hurts
QB    68    Anthony Gordon

RB    98    Jonathan Taylor
RB    94    J.K. Dobbins
RB    86    Cam Akers
RB    80    Zack Moss
RB    78    Clyde Edwards-Helaire

TE    99    Albert Okwuegbunam
TE    82    Brycen Hopkins
TE    78    Thaddeus Moss
TE    75    Hunter Bryant
TE    74    Josiah Deguara

WR    96    CeeDee Lamb
WR    92    Tyler Johnson
WR    90    Jerry Jeudy
WR    90    Tee Higgins
WR    82    Justin Jefferson

For some positions they also shared their "production score" ratings (which is one of the inputs into the "draft score").

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So the big knock against Swift vis a vis Taylor is his usage in comparison and a bit of a speed score discrepancy. The article itself points out that they're going against the pro scouting services. Who to believe, then?

Questions are endless.

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Posted (edited)

With the draft approaching, I'm thinking more about my bottom line conclusions about who I'd take (taking into account all the information that's out there), rather than trying to focus on my own independent analysis. I spend the first few months of the offseason more as a player evaluator, trying to form my own take on them (mostly from numbers, with a bit of tape watching sprinkled in), trying to ignore a lot of what other people are saying rather than just copying them. As it gets closer to the draft, I shift more towards being an information aggregator, looking at the take that ZWK developed alongside the takes of scouts, analytics models, mock drafters, etc.

So here's how things are looking from that standpoint, starting with QB (which I last went into detail on in January).

In most fantasy leagues there are 7 QBs worth paying attention to, and I see them as having a pretty clear ranking:

Joe Burrow
Tua Tagovailoa
Justin Herbert
Jordan Love
Jalen Hurts
Jake Fromm
Jacob Eason

The top 4 are all expected first rounders, and that order is the order that they're projected to be drafted in as well as the order that they generally rank in analytics models, PFF grades, etc. The only close call there in terms of my production formula is Burrow vs. Tua at the top, but in terms of who to take that really isn't a close call.

The last 3 are expected day 2 picks, and they're also all among the 58 players who will be virtually attending the draft. Attending the draft has traditionally been a strong predictor of draft position, although traditionally it has been about 23 players attending in person - this year's draft is not so traditional. Hurts-Fromm-Eason is the clear order that my production formula gives on these three. I think Hurts vs. Fromm is actually a close call for NFL teams, but for fantasy football Hurts' running makes this ranking pretty easy.

There is a case for Hurts>Love, but at this stage if I had to take one for my fantasy team I'd defer to the apparent view of NFL teams and go with Love.

Edited by ZWK
fixed a typo

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RB. I last went into detail on RB rankings just after the combine in February:

On 2/28/2020 at 6:16 PM, ZWK said:

And here's how the tiers look with most of the combine info in:
 

Jonathan Taylor

Antonio Gibson*, Cam Akers, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, D'Andre Swift, AJ Dillon, J.K. Dobbins

Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Darrynton Evans, Lynn Bowden Jr.*

Zack Moss, Michael Warren, Malcolm Perry*, Eno Benjamin and then some others

Now, thinking about the order that I would draft the RBs in if I had to draft today (taking into account things like expected draft order), I'd go with something like this:

D'Andre Swift, Jonathan Taylor
J.K. Dobbins
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Cam Akers
Zack Moss
Antonio Gibson, AJ Dillon
Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Eno Benjamin, Darrynton Evans
La'Mical Perine, Anthony McFarland Jr., Joshua Kelley

Guys on the same line are close enough so that I'd be fine letting someone else pick first if I could get a little something back in return. In most cases I've found myself going back and forth on the order. I notice with those groupings that I often wind up giving the edge to the guy who's a better receiver.

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To put some words in there along with those RB rankings...

One way to think about this is as starting with my formula and then adjusting to account for other things.

Jonathan Taylor is the clear #1 by my formula for his rushing production, speed, and size, and many other number-crunching rating systems agree (or are even higher on him). But NFL teams don't seem to be that high on him, and his big weakness is in the receiving game which is hugely important in fantasy football, so that brings him down closer to the pack.

Among that pack of 6 good RB prospects, Swift stands out above the rest as highly rated by scouts and especially good as a receiver. That boosts him up near Taylor. In 0 ppr or 0.5 ppr I'd still take Taylor first, but with 1 ppr I think I'd currently lean very slightly towards Swift at #1.

Two guys in that pack stand out below the others. Gibson & Dillon are both generally seen as 4th round picks. Dillon offers little as a receiver. Gibson has an asterisk because he barely played RB, though he does have some nice tools (size, speed, open-field elusiveness, receiving). So those two drop below the others in that pack.

Out of the other 3, Dobbins is most consistently seen as a top 3 back by various sources, and CEH gets the edge over Akers based on receiving ability.

Out of the guys who didn't make that tier, Zack Moss stands out above the rest as a projected 3rd rounder (who is attending the draft), highly rated by some analytics folks like PFF, good at breaking tackles, a good receiver.

Everyone else seems like more of a long-shot or a backup type, but 6 of those guys seem like NFL rd4-5 types and are at least potentially worth drafting. Out of those 6, my formula is higher on Vaughn & Evans than the others, and Benjamin seems like the best receiver of the bunch, so I have those 3 grouped above Perine, McFarland, and Kelley.

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I posted my post-combine WR ratings in February, and here is the order that I'd draft the top 22 WRs in. I've interspersed the RBs & QBs in there, although I'm less confident in the cross-position comparisons (and they can also be more league-dependent).

D'Andre Swift, Jonathan Taylor
CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy
J.K. Dobbins
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Henry Ruggs, Justin Jefferson, Cam Akers
Joe Burrow, Brandon Aiyuk, Denzel Mims, Tee Higgins, Laviska Shenault, Jalen Reagor
Tua Tagovailoa, Zack Moss
Michael Pittman, Chase Claypool, Antonio Gibson, AJ Dillon
Justin Herbert, Tyler Johnson, Bryan Edwards, KJ Hamler
Jordan Love, Lynn Bowden, Antonio Gandy-Golden, Devin Duvernay, Jalen Hurts
Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Eno Benjamin, Darrynton Evans, Gabriel Davis
Van Jefferson, La'Mical Perine, Anthony McFarland Jr., Donovan Peoples-Jones, Isaiah Hodgins, Joshua Kelley, K.J. Hill, Jake Fromm

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51 minutes ago, voiceofunreason said:

Sidetrack but what does attending the draft mean?

In normal seasons, about 23 players attend the draft and hang out in a room on site. The NFL tries to bring in the best prospects for that, so they are typically guys who have a good shot to be drafted in rd1, and are almost always go in first 2 rounds. List from the past few years here.

This year they went with 58 instead of 23, so presumably they're targeting guys who have a good shot to go in the first 2 rounds rather than just the first 1, and a decent chunk of them will last until rd 3, and a few until rd 4. I think that "virtually attending" the draft means that they'll have cameras set up in their homes which the network will occasionally cut to during the draft. Although the article on the topic just says "Details on how the prospects will participate in the draft are expected to be revealed at a later date."

At least I think it's 58. Adam Schefter initially broke the story posting this list of 58 players to Twitter, and the headline of the NFL.com story that I linked says 58, but the NFL.com story only lists 56 players (it is missing DB Trevon Diggs & RB Zack Moss).

At fantasy-relevant positions, the guys virtually attending the draft are:

QB: Burrow, Tagovailoa, Herbert, Love, Hurts, Fromm, Eason
RB: Swift, Taylor, Dobbins, (?)Moss(?)
TE: Kmet, T Moss
WR: Lamb, Jeudy, Ruggs, Jefferson, Mims, Higgins, Reagor, Aiyuk, Shenault, Claypool

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1 hour ago, ZWK said:

I posted my post-combine WR ratings in February, and here is the order that I'd draft the top 22 WRs in. I've interspersed the RBs & QBs in there, although I'm less confident in the cross-position comparisons (and they can also be more league-dependent).

D'Andre Swift, Jonathan Taylor
CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy
J.K. Dobbins
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Henry Ruggs, Justin Jefferson, Cam Akers
Joe Burrow, Brandon Aiyuk, Denzel Mims, Tee Higgins, Laviska Shenault, Jalen Reagor
Tua Tagovailoa, Zack Moss
Michael Pittman, Chase Claypool, Antonio Gibson, AJ Dillon
Justin Herbert, Tyler Johnson, Bryan Edwards, KJ Hamler
Jordan Love, Lynn Bowden, Antonio Gandy-Golden, Devin Duvernay, Jalen Hurts
Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Eno Benjamin, Darrynton Evans, Gabriel Davis
Van Jefferson, La'Mical Perine, Anthony McFarland Jr., Donovan Peoples-Jones, Isaiah Hodgins, Joshua Kelley, K.J. Hill, Jake Fromm

I am quite encouraged my rough draft looks quite similar to yours. Only major difference is Bryan Edwards.Any incite?

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My formula doesn't much like Bryan Edwards because his production wasn't that good (at least the way I calculate production); I went into more detail on that here. Also his PFF grade wasn't that good and PFF doesn't much like him, and ditto Football Outsiders. Also I have him ranked basically right in line with projected draft order (though you'd have to flip Tyler Johnson & KJ Hamler for the players around him to also line up).

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That leaves TE. My post-combine take on TEs is here.

Drafting today, I'd put the order something like this:

Albert Okwuegbunam, Cole Kmet
Adam Trautman, Hunter Bryant, Harrison Bryant, Brycen Hopkins, Thaddeus Moss

Albert O blew up the combine and had solid career production, but had a ton of drops and is generally projected to rd4 or so. So he's a boom-or-bust upside play. Most of the others here are okay but not special by my numbers. Kmet is projected the earliest, as a rd 2-3 guy, so if you're playing in a format where owning fantasy TE15 is really worth something then there's more of a case for him as the first guy to take. The others mostly have a rd3-4 projection and decent ratings by my formula. Trautman & Moss are the worst by my ratings, but Trautman was FCS and so harder for me to project & has the earliest draft projection of the bunch, and T Moss (as I mentioned) is virtually attending the draft which might just be a family thing but increases the option value of rostering him for a week right now.

Okwuegbunam & Kmet would slot into the Love-Hurts bunch in my overall rankings (aka fantasy 3rd rounders), and the rest would go in the Jefferson-Fromm bunch.

So that finishes up my pre-draft top... 49. The order I'd draft them today in ppr:

D'Andre Swift, Jonathan Taylor
CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy
J.K. Dobbins
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Henry Ruggs, Justin Jefferson, Cam Akers
Joe Burrow, Brandon Aiyuk, Denzel Mims, Tee Higgins, Laviska Shenault, Jalen Reagor
Tua Tagovailoa, Zack Moss
Michael Pittman, Chase Claypool, Antonio Gibson, AJ Dillon
Justin Herbert, Tyler Johnson, Bryan Edwards, KJ Hamler
Jordan Love, Lynn Bowden, Antonio Gandy-Golden, Devin Duvernay, Albert Okwuegbunam, Jalen Hurts, Cole Kmet
Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Eno Benjamin, Darrynton Evans, Gabriel Davis
Van Jefferson, La'Mical Perine, Anthony McFarland Jr., Donovan Peoples-Jones, Isaiah Hodgins, Adam Trautman, Joshua Kelley, K.J. Hill, Hunter Bryant, Harrison Bryant, Brycen Hopkins, Jake Fromm, Thaddeus Moss

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Some draft guides and such that I've been looking at (free but require sign-up at other sites):

Arif Hasan's consensus big board, which averages together a bunch of draft boards

Greg Cosell's draft guide

Bob McGinn's positional rankings based on the opinions of anonymous scouts

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Adding the next 4 names to the list of which WRs I'd take:

Collin Johnson - was getting a bunch of hype last offseason, then struggled this season while on & off the field with hamstring issues. I wasn't high on him last year, but that seems like a pretty good profile for a late dart throw.

Isaiah Coulter - the highest regarded FCS receiver in this year's draft class

Quez Watkins - a speedy deep threat, rates well in my WR formula with plenty of yardage & a lot of big plays

Jauan Jennings - productive but unathletic, PFF likes him

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Clyde Edwards-Helaire jumps up to the rookie 1.01. The case for him now is a lot like the case I made for Swift a couple days ago, with a big KC bump on top of that.

My formula has Jonathan Taylor as the clear top RB, followed by a tightly bunched trail pack of 6 good RB prospects which includes Swift. Still, Swift just barely edged out Taylor in my pre-draft PPR rankings because 1) NFL teams & scout-types generally seemed to prefer Swift to Taylor, and to have Swift as the top back, and 2) receiving is hugely valuable for fantasy and it's one of Swift's main strengths and one of Taylor's main weaknesses.

Now, substitute CEH in for Swift, and change my impressions of what NFL types think of the RBs with when they actually get drafted. CEH is a member of that pack who 1) was drafted earlier than Taylor, and 2) is a much better receiver than Taylor.

And he's on KC, an elite offense (which tends to work in a fantasy RB's favor) with unusually high long-term stability with a coach that loves to throw to shifty backs like him (good for fantasy value, and beautiful fit which plays to his strengths). Looking at some previous Andy Reid RBs:

Brian Westbrook had a 4-year stretch where he averaged 248/1158/5.8 rushing + 88/811/5.5 receiving per 16 games.

LeSean McCoy had a 3-year stretch with Reid where he averaged 259/1230/9.9 rushing + 69/488/3.0 receiving per 16 games.

Jamaal Charles in Reid's first 2 years in KC averaged 248/1237/11.2 rushing + 59/525/6.4 receiving per 16 games.

Kareem Hunt in KC averaged 268/1275/8.9 rushing + 47/494/5.9 receiving per 16 games.

West/Ware/Williams have started 39 games for KC over the past 5 years and averaged 222/952/6.2 rushing + 43/458/2.5 receiving per 16 starts.

CEH's also weighs more than Westbrook, McCoy, or Charles did coming into the NFL (207 vs. 200, 198, 200), and has higher BMI.

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Posted (edited)

Here are the generic rookie rankings which are based on only the player's position and draft pick, using historical data. (EDIT: Originally posted after rd3, updated to include the top 50 from the whole draft.)

208    WR    Henry Ruggs III    (pick 12)
202    RB    Clyde Edwards-Helaire    (pick 32)
196    WR    Jerry Jeudy    (pick 15)
188    WR    CeeDee Lamb    (pick 17)
185    RB    D'Andre Swift    (pick 35)
173    WR    Jalen Reagor    (pick 21)
169    WR    Justin Jefferson    (pick 22)
157    WR    Brandon Aiyuk    (pick 25)
156    QB    Joe Burrow    (pick 1)
155    RB    Jonathan Taylor    (pick 41)
124    WR    Tee Higgins    (pick 33)
121    WR    Michael Pittman Jr.    (pick 34)
113    RB    Cam Akers    (pick 52)
109    QB    Tua Tagovailoa    (pick 5)
107    RB    J.K. Dobbins    (pick 55)
105    QB    Justin Herbert    (pick 6)
98    RB    AJ Dillon    (pick 62)
97    WR    Laviska Shenault Jr.    (pick 42)
95    RB    Antonio Gibson    (pick 66)
92    RB    Ke'Shawn Vaughn    (pick 76)
91    WR    KJ Hamler    (pick 46)
89    RB    Zack Moss    (pick 86)
88    WR    Chase Claypool    (pick 49)
86    RB    Darrynton Evans    (pick 93)
83    WR    Van Jefferson    (pick 57)
82    WR    Denzel Mims    (pick 59)
73    RB    Joshua Kelley    (pick 112)
70    WR    Lynn Bowden Jr.    (pick 80)
69    WR    Bryan Edwards    (pick 81)
68    TE    Cole Kmet    (pick 43)
67    RB    Lamical Perine    (pick 120)
65    QB    Jordan Love    (pick 26)
64    RB    Anthony McFarland Jr.    (pick 124)
60    WR    Devin Duvernay    (pick 92)
40    RB    DeeJay Dallas    (pick 144)
38    TE    Devin Asiasi    (pick 91)
36    TE    Josiah Deguara    (pick 94)
31    TE    Dalton Keene    (pick 101)
29    TE    Adam Trautman    (pick 105)
23    WR    Gabriel Davis    (pick 128)
21    TE    Harrison Bryant    (pick 115)
21    RB    Jason Huntley    (pick 172)
19    QB    Jalen Hurts    (pick 53)
19    TE    Albert Okwuegbunam    (pick 118)
14    TE    Colby Parkinson    (pick 133)
14    WR    Antonio Gandy-Golden    (pick 142)
12    TE    Brycen Hopkins    (pick 136)
10    QB    Jacob Eason    (pick 122)
10    QB    James Morgan    (pick 125)
9    WR    Joe Reed    (pick 151)

Feels like this is underrating the RBs who were drafted in the top 60.

Edited by ZWK
added day 3 rather than making a new post
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Posted (edited)
On 4/21/2020 at 3:08 PM, ZWK said:

So that finishes up my pre-draft top... 49. The order I'd draft them today in ppr:

D'Andre Swift, Jonathan Taylor
CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy
J.K. Dobbins
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Henry Ruggs, Justin Jefferson, Cam Akers
Joe Burrow, Brandon Aiyuk, Denzel Mims, Tee Higgins, Laviska Shenault, Jalen Reagor
Tua Tagovailoa, Zack Moss
Michael Pittman, Chase Claypool, Antonio Gibson, AJ Dillon
Justin Herbert, Tyler Johnson, Bryan Edwards, KJ Hamler
Jordan Love, Lynn Bowden, Antonio Gandy-Golden, Devin Duvernay, Albert Okwuegbunam, Jalen Hurts, Cole Kmet
Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Eno Benjamin, Darrynton Evans, Gabriel Davis
Van Jefferson, La'Mical Perine, Anthony McFarland Jr., Donovan Peoples-Jones, Isaiah Hodgins, Adam Trautman, Joshua Kelley, K.J. Hill, Hunter Bryant, Harrison Bryant, Brycen Hopkins, Jake Fromm, Thaddeus Moss

Still undrafted through rd3:

WR Tyler Johnson
WR Antonio Gandy-Golden, TE Albert Okwuegbunam
RB Eno Benjamin, WR Gabriel Davis
almost everyone after Van Jefferson

Guys missing from this list who were drafted in the first 3 rounds:
TE Devin Asiasi, TE Josiah Deguara, TE Dalton Keene

Edited by ZWK

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This was the output of my formula after the combine:

On 2/28/2020 at 6:16 PM, ZWK said:

Jonathan Taylor

Antonio Gibson*, Cam Akers, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, D'Andre Swift, AJ Dillon, J.K. Dobbins

Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Darrynton Evans, Lynn Bowden Jr.*

Zack Moss, Michael Warren, Malcolm Perry*, Eno Benjamin and then some others

It has turned out to be surprisingly close to how the NFL sees these guys. Here's how things look through 3 rounds, with my formula's rating for these RBs and their draft pick:

87.4    Jonathan Taylor    (pick 41)
52.3    Antonio Gibson*    (pick 66)
48.0    Clyde Edwards-Helaire    (pick 32)
47.8    D'Andre Swift    (pick 35)
45.0    Cam Akers    (pick 52)
44.8    AJ Dillon    (pick 62)
43.7    J.K. Dobbins    (pick 55)
31.7    Ke'Shawn Vaughn    (pick 76)
30.4    Darrynton Evans    (pick 93)
25.3    Lynn Bowden Jr.*    (pick 80)
21.0    Zack Moss    (pick 86)
19.2    Michael Warren II    
17.7    Eno Benjamin    
17.6    Malcolm Perry*   
12.3    Xavier Jones    
10.4    Javon Leake    
9.9    Joshua Kelley    
7.8    Rico Dowdle    
4.0    Reggie Corbin    
3.6    Jason Huntley    
1.4    JaMycal Hasty    

The top 11 guys are the ones who've been drafted so far (including the guys with an asterisk for position ambiguity), and for those 11 guys there's a correlation of r=-0.70 between my rating and their draft pick.

They usually don't line up this closely so this has to be at least partly a fluke, but it's still fun to see.

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Here's an attempt to rank the top 33 rookies.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire KC    (pick 32)
Jonathan Taylor IND    (pick 41)

D'Andre Swift DET   (pick 35)
J.K. Dobbins BAL    (pick 55)
CeeDee Lamb DAL    (pick 17)
Jerry Jeudy DEN    (pick 15)
Cam Akers LAR    (pick 52)

Henry Ruggs LV    (pick 12)
Justin Jefferson MIN    (pick 22)
Brandon Aiyuk SF    (pick 25)
Tee Higgins CIN    (pick 33)
Michael Pittman Jr. IND    (pick 34)
Jalen Reagor PHI    (pick 21)
Joe Burrow CIN    (pick 1)

Laviska Shenault Jr. JAX    (pick 42)
Ke'Shawn Vaughn TB    (pick 76)
Antonio Gibson WAS    (pick 66)
Chase Claypool PIT    (pick 49)
Tua Tagovailoa MIA    (pick 5)
Zack Moss BUF    (pick 86)
Denzel Mims NYJ    (pick 59)
AJ Dillon GB    (pick 62)

KJ Hamler DEN    (pick 46)
Bryan Edwards LV    (pick 81)
Lynn Bowden Jr. LV    (pick 80)
Darrynton Evans TEN    (pick 93)
Justin Herbert LAC    (pick 6)
Van Jefferson LAR    (pick 57)
Joshua Kelley LAC    (pick 112)
Anthony McFarland Jr.    (pick 124)
Devin Duvernay BAL    (pick 92)
Cole Kmet CHI    (pick 43)
Lamical Perine NYJ    (pick 120)

Ruggs, Reagor, and Hamler are all speed deep threats, which is a role that tends to have more NFL value than fantasy value, which is a reason to rank all 3 of them below where my generic rookie rankings have them. Also, my formula doesn't love any of them. I personally feel most skeptical of Hamler.

I'm seeing Ke'Shawn Vaughn as a fantasy first rounder in a lot of places, which seems to be giving him too much credit for his landing spot (especially since he was generally regarded as a day 3 talent). In redraft I'm generally seeing him as a fantasy RB3 (and lower than that more often than higher) so 2020 shouldn't boost his dynasty value that much, and Tampa is a win-now team with a 43-year-old QB so that shouldn't boost his long-term dynasty value that much. His situation is looking pretty good for 2021 & 2022 is pretty good, but that doesn't seem like enough to boost him over this first round (and near-first-round) WRs.

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3 minutes ago, ZWK said:

Here's an attempt to rank the top 33 rookies.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire KC    (pick 32)
Jonathan Taylor IND    (pick 41)

D'Andre Swift DET   (pick 35)
J.K. Dobbins BAL    (pick 55)
CeeDee Lamb DAL    (pick 17)
Jerry Jeudy DEN    (pick 15)
Cam Akers LAR    (pick 52)

Henry Ruggs LV    (pick 12)
Justin Jefferson MIN    (pick 22)
Brandon Aiyuk SF    (pick 25)
Tee Higgins CIN    (pick 33)
Michael Pittman Jr. IND    (pick 34)
Jalen Reagor PHI    (pick 21)
Joe Burrow CIN    (pick 1)

My top tier is the same two guys in the same order.

My second tier has all of those guys in it, and a few more.

It feels like I'm going to be higher on Reagor than most. I see him as a prospect with a wide range of potential outcomes. A best-case scenario would be something like Roddy White, who he reminds me a lot of as a prospect. A bad outcome for him would be something like Breshad Perriman, another "athlete" with modest positional skills. That being said, I would not lump him in with Ruggs and Hamler. He is a bigger and stronger, and could be a good catch-and-run threat early in his career before polishing the other aspects of his game. He's probably the best pure athlete in this WR class, so his ceiling is high, but I don't see him as a safe pick.

Ruggs will be an interesting one to watch. You're right that deep threats don't have as much FF value as NFL value, but there's a scenario where he excels. I've seen a lot of Ginn and Tyreek comps for him, but the names I like more for comps are Santonio Holmes and TY Hilton. Thin, fast, sharp routes, good hands and body control. It may take a friendly system to get the most out of him, but I think he's actually a high floor prospect and there's a universe where he's an FF WR2. He may be underrated. People talk so much about his speed that I think his actual positional skills are overlooked. He is more than just a fast guy and his ceiling could see him become much consistent than the Will Fuller/John Brown/Marquise Goodwin types. He does have some size/strength limitations in the possession game though.

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It seems off to compare Ruggs to guys who were great returners like Tyreek, Ginn, or DJax since that skillset shows up on offense too and Ruggs doesn't have it. I have been thinking of him as maybe a better Will Fuller (at least better hands & health). I have mostly been saying negative things about him, but that is mainly relative to his draft position. I do have him ranked 9th, and have already gotten him in 1 rookie draft.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, ZWK said:

It seems off to compare Ruggs to guys who were great returners like Tyreek, Ginn, or DJax since that skillset shows up on offense too and Ruggs doesn't have it. I have been thinking of him as maybe a better Will Fuller (at least better hands & health). I have mostly been saying negative things about him, but that is mainly relative to his draft position. I do have him ranked 9th, and have already gotten him in 1 rookie draft.

I have to say that I read several scouts that expressed the idea that he wasn't that great of an open-field runner and that it was his speed that caused him to break big runs rather than his return ability, a talent that either Football Perspective, PFF, or Football Outsiders maintained was actually below-average in college. Tyreek and DeSean were like human joysticks. They look wild. Ruggs is less juke, less wiggle.

Edited by rockaction

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10 hours ago, ZWK said:

It seems off to compare Ruggs to guys who were great returners like Tyreek, Ginn, or DJax since that skillset shows up on offense too and Ruggs doesn't have it. I have been thinking of him as maybe a better Will Fuller (at least better hands & health). I have mostly been saying negative things about him, but that is mainly relative to his draft position. I do have him ranked 9th, and have already gotten him in 1 rookie draft.

 

Is Mike Wallace a good comparison? All my leagues are ppr so not sure where to slot him.

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On 5/1/2020 at 8:35 PM, ZWK said:


KJ Hamler DEN    (pick 46)
Bryan Edwards LV    (pick 81)
Lynn Bowden Jr. LV    (pick 80)
Darrynton Evans TEN    (pick 93)
Justin Herbert LAC    (pick 6)
Van Jefferson LAR    (pick 57)
Joshua Kelley LAC    (pick 112)
Anthony McFarland Jr.    (pick 124)
Devin Duvernay BAL    (pick 92)
Cole Kmet CHI    (pick 43)
Lamical Perine NYJ    (pick 120)

It's likely that Duvernay will find his way onto all my dynasty teams unless I get seriously snaked in a couple drafts. I'm pretty close to finishing my rankings and he's probably going to end up in the top 15. He's one of the only day two players who really intrigued me on tape. He doesn't look like a 10.3 100m guy in his clips, but he still looks fast and puts early vertical pressure on DBs. He's an odd one because his height (5'10") has him pigeon-holed as a small/slot type of WR, but in terms of BMI he's on the opposite end of the spectrum with the likes of Fitzgerald/Crabtree/JuJu. It's an odd combination. He seems to be only an average route runner. I watched some of his 1v1 reps from the Senior Bowl and he was not able to consistently create space out of his breaks. He's more straight-line explosive than shifty/bouncy, but he's not terrible in this regard and his game highlights had some good reps in them. What probably gives me pause more than anything is the low-ish draft slot. He played four years at a huge school, went to the Senior Bowl, and still fell all the way to the late 3rd round as the 17th WR drafted.

Are all those teams stupid or is he just not that good? I'm not sure, but I do think the Ravens are smarter than most and Harbaugh was pretty fired up to land him. That's part of what makes Duvernay intriguing. The Ravens have a promising young QB and a plethora of weapons. They can scheme to his strengths and create opportunities for him to exploit the best aspects of his skill set while minimizing the weaknesses. I've always felt that when it comes to second tier talents at WR, situation can be the differentiator. Think about all of the productive seasons we've gotten from Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Green Bay, New Orleans, etc. If Lamar is one of the next great ones and Duvernay is an underrated talent then he could be the TY Hilton, Eric Decker, or Mike Wallace of this group in terms of providing high payout for minimal rookie draft capital.

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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, EBF said:

Are all those teams stupid or is he just not that good?

I just read the PFF scouting report on him because I'm a subscriber. His cons, or complaints against, were a lack of downfield speed, mediocre (rounded corners and the like) route running, and that most of his catches came on screens this year (42 out of 105). He also was said to be a little smaller and to have no experience facing press coverage.

I wouldn't say he fell too much. This was apparently a deep class, though the jury is still out.

His pros are nice and he got a receiving grade of 89.6. Not too shabby. The elite of the elite, really. Getting drafted in the third is quite the athletic feat.

Edited by rockaction

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Duvernay is someone that I like relative to where he was drafted, and who my formula likes. Top 15 is pretty rich, though, given all the talent that was drafted ahead of him. And I don't think that Baltimore is that great a landing spot since Lamar Jackson's rushing yards don't help his receivers accumulate fantasy points. Baltimore had the best offense in the NFL last year but was just 27th in passing yards.

The main negatives in Duvernay's quantitative profile are his age and the fact that he didn't produce much before this year. Some of the things in his scouting reporting also seem like concerns - stiff hips, issues with route running, his speed not always showing up on the field, issues with press coverage, playing almost exclusively in the slot. The production on screens doesn't really seem like a negative, given that it still leaves him with 63 receptions for 1141 yards and over 13 YPT on non-screens.

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Here's a summary of which WRs my formula liked. Out of the guys who were drafted in the first 4 rounds, did my formula give them a thumbs up?

12 Henry Ruggs LV - No, but he has a pretty good excuse
15 Jerry Jeudy DEN - Yes
17 CeeDee Lamb DAL - Yes, my formula loved him
21 Jalen Reagor PHI - Borderline/no
22 Justin Jefferson MIN - Yes, my formula loved him
25 Brandon Aiyuk SF - Yes, my formula loved him
33 Tee Higgins CIN - Yes
34 Michael Pittman Jr. IND - Yes
42 Laviska Shenault Jr. JAX - Yes
46 KJ Hamler DEN - No
49 Chase Claypool PIT - Yes
57 Van Jefferson LAR - No, nowhere close
59 Denzel Mims NYJ - Borderline/no
81 Bryan Edwards LV - No
92 Devin Duvernay BAL - Yes
128 Gabriel Davis BUF - No
142 Antonio Gandy-Golden WAS - Borderline/yes(?)

I posted essentially the same information after the combine, but it seems useful to look at it again in the context of draft position. Starting with draft position and then adjusting receivers up or down depending on whether my formula likes them covers a large (and simple to share) portion of what goes into my personal WR rankings.

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17 minutes ago, rockaction said:

I just read the PFF scouting report on him because I'm a subscriber. His cons, or complaints against, were a lack of downfield speed, mediocre (rounded corners and the like) route running, and that most of his catches came on screens this year (42 out of 105). He also was said to be a little smaller and to have no experience facing press coverage.

I wouldn't say he fell too much. This was apparently a deep class, though the jury is still out.

Lack of speed doesn't really compute given his 4.39 40 time and track background. He doesn't look super fast on the football field in the same way that DeSean Jackson or Tyreek Hill do, but ripping off a 4.39 on a 28+ BMI is pretty sick. I said elsewhere that it's more accurate to think of him as a 5'10" Andre Johnson instead of as a "small" slot/deep threat type. He is yoked, but short. Whether or not that can work is a little iffy. Golden Tate has done okay with a similar height/weight/speed. A negative comparison could be someone like Josh Boyce, who also had a funky body type with some disparate skills. Duvernay's hands are more reliable FWIW.

I'm more receptive to the route critique because I don't think he has elite skills there. He doesn't have that top tier suddenness out of his breaks of NFL greats like Tyreek, Chad Johnson, AJ Green, etc. On RAC plays he's more straight-line instead of juking, bobbing, weaving, etc. There's some tightness there. He shows little flashes of being a really good route runner though, like in these examples (he's #6):

https://youtu.be/F5lxBmGQdzc?t=118

https://youtu.be/F5lxBmGQdzc?t=389

The screen thing is a nothing-burger for me. They schemed to get him the ball on a lot of short throws. It skewed his numbers, but you could view it as a positive. It shows that the coaches wanted to get the ball in his hands.

Anyway, I don't want to go overboard and say the Ravens got a steal because he's not a can't-miss guy and there are a lot of possible outcomes, but they've outfoxed the league a couple times recently (Lamar, Andrews) and maybe this is another. Their own GM has compared Duvernay to Boldin, Steve Smith, and Derrick Mason. They seem to like him a lot and they're one of the teams that has perhaps earned the benefit of the doubt recently when it comes to understanding how to utilize their talent.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the analysis. Can't say I disagree with any of that, including the disagreement with the downfield speed comment, which seemed really odd. But they intoned that he ran a great forty like a lot of track guys do, implying he doesn't play as fast and that it's technique rather than speed.

YMMV greatly on that.

Also noted was the B'More comment. They do indeed seem ahead of the curve in just about everything but brawn enough to beat Tennessee last year. 

Edited by rockaction

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It's also interesting and maybe a tidbit that will help a drafter. His ADP in rookie drafts is almost identical to Van Jefferson's in the places I've checked, so one is likely not to get both. 

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15 minutes ago, ZWK said:

And I don't think that Baltimore is that great a landing spot since Lamar Jackson's rushing yards don't help his receivers accumulate fantasy points. Baltimore had the best offense in the NFL last year but was just 27th in passing yards.

This is a good point and maybe they'll continue to be a run-first team, but it's also maybe a little bit of a chicken-and-egg thing since their best receiving weapons last year were a rookie WR who missed time with injuries (Marquise Brown) and their second-year TE. Maybe comparing the situation to New Orleans, Indy, Pittsburgh, etc was misguided because Lamar is not a traditional pocket passer like those other QBs. However, I do like the idea of him going to a team where he can get heavy snaps without having to do everything on his own. With Brown, Andrews, and now Dobbins and Duvernay in there, they're starting to have a pick-your-poison type of thing going on offense. Bad for volume maybe, but could be good for efficiency.

 

14 minutes ago, ZWK said:

Here's a summary of which WRs my formula liked. Out of the guys who were drafted in the first 4 rounds, did my formula give them a thumbs up?

12 Henry Ruggs LV - No, but he has a pretty good excuse
15 Jerry Jeudy DEN - Yes
17 CeeDee Lamb DAL - Yes, my formula loved him
21 Jalen Reagor PHI - Borderline/no
22 Justin Jefferson MIN - Yes, my formula loved him
25 Brandon Aiyuk SF - Yes, my formula loved him
33 Tee Higgins CIN - Yes
34 Michael Pittman Jr. IND - Yes
42 Laviska Shenault Jr. JAX - Yes
46 KJ Hamler DEN - No
49 Chase Claypool PIT - Yes
57 Van Jefferson LAR - No, nowhere close
59 Denzel Mims NYJ - Borderline/no
81 Bryan Edwards LV - No

92 Devin Duvernay BAL - Yes
128 Gabriel Davis BUF - No
142 Antonio Gandy-Golden WAS - Borderline/yes(?)

 

Part of my rationale for having Duvernay high is being relatively down on these guys. I'm lukewarm on Claypool, Hamler, and Pittman. I think I'm outright fading all the others (and Hamler looks very niche FWIW). Historically, the odds say maybe 2-3 guys in my red group above are going to be good. I find this cluster relatively unconvincing though compared to some past prospects picked in similar territory. Last year I was bullish on AJ Brown and Deebo. A couple years back it was JuJu. I don't see that guy this year who fell to the 2nd, but looks like he should've been a 1. Maybe I'm just missing it. Maybe it will be someone like Shenault or Claypool.

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7 minutes ago, rockaction said:

Thanks for the analysis. Can't say I disagree with any of that, including the disagreement with the downfield speed comment, which seemed really odd. But they intoned that he ran a great forty like a lot of track guys do, implying he doesn't play as fast and that it's technique rather than speed.

 

I hear you and I'm definitely a believer in the idea of "game speed" (Chad Johnson is the ultimate example), but there's simply no way to "technique" your way to a 10.3 100. You have to be born with that kind of juice, and not many are. I do think he has quality speed on the field. He gets off the line quickly. He eats up cushion quickly. People struggle to keep up with him. It's not that "wow" level like Tyreek, Moss, Heyward-Bey, or a young Ted Ginn, but it's noticeable.

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6 minutes ago, EBF said:

I hear you and I'm definitely a believer in the idea of "game speed" (Chad Johnson is the ultimate example), but there's simply no way to "technique" your way to a 10.3 100. You have to be born with that kind of juice, and not many are. I do think he has quality speed on the field. He gets off the line quickly. He eats up cushion quickly. People struggle to keep up with him. It's not that "wow" level like Tyreek, Moss, Heyward-Bey, or a young Ted Ginn, but it's noticeable.

Yeah, their comment jumped out at me as ringingly wrong, honestly. I was just relaying. No defense really intended. You're exactly right that you can't technique your way to a sub-4.4 or that 100 time. Just a professionally fast individual no matter the competition. Well, Usain and the track guys, but not the crossover track guys.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/2/2020 at 9:50 AM, voiceofunreason said:

Is Mike Wallace a good comparison? All my leagues are ppr so not sure where to slot him.

I was really down on Mike Wallace as a prospect. He looked really awkward to me in his routes and overall movement, and was simply a fast guy. Kolby Listenbee reminded me a lot of him, but was never healthy enough in the NFL to even get a chance at playing time.

I would say Ruggs is more athletic in terms of routes and agility. He's a little bit shorter though.

I've probably posted it elsewhere in this thread, but I would say he's roughly in the TY Hilton / Isaac Bruce mold. I don't think the Will Fuller comparison is too far off either. Put Fuller as the worst-case scenario on that spectrum and you probably have a decent range of Ruggs's potential outcomes. Thin frame, crisp routes, and a lot of vertical speed. Value-wise, I look at him as a FF WR3 with a ceiling to become something much more if the situation and talent click.

Edited by EBF

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1 hour ago, EBF said:

 

1 hour ago, ZWK said:

Here's a summary of which WRs my formula liked. Out of the guys who were drafted in the first 4 rounds, did my formula give them a thumbs up?

12 Henry Ruggs LV - No, but he has a pretty good excuse
15 Jerry Jeudy DEN - Yes
17 CeeDee Lamb DAL - Yes, my formula loved him
21 Jalen Reagor PHI - Borderline/no
22 Justin Jefferson MIN - Yes, my formula loved him
25 Brandon Aiyuk SF - Yes, my formula loved him
33 Tee Higgins CIN - Yes
34 Michael Pittman Jr. IND - Yes
42 Laviska Shenault Jr. JAX - Yes
46 KJ Hamler DEN - No
49 Chase Claypool PIT - Yes
57 Van Jefferson LAR - No, nowhere close
59 Denzel Mims NYJ - Borderline/no
81 Bryan Edwards LV - No

92 Devin Duvernay BAL - Yes
128 Gabriel Davis BUF - No
142 Antonio Gandy-Golden WAS - Borderline/yes(?)

 

Part of my rationale for having Duvernay high is being relatively down on these guys. I'm lukewarm on Claypool, Hamler, and Pittman. I think I'm outright fading all the others (and Hamler looks very niche FWIW). Historically, the odds say maybe 2-3 guys in my red group above are going to be good. I find this cluster relatively unconvincing though compared to some past prospects picked in similar territory. Last year I was bullish on AJ Brown and Deebo. A couple years back it was JuJu. I don't see that guy this year who fell to the 2nd, but looks like he should've been a 1. Maybe I'm just missing it. Maybe it will be someone like Shenault or Claypool.

This seems like a big difference between us. I think the big strength of this draft class is the depth of the good receiver prospects. Seems like a great year to trade back and get more 2nd round rookie picks, especially if someone like Aiyuk falls (like he has in the SP polls) but also if it's just some of these guys like Higgins, Pittman, Shenault, and Claypool.

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I posted my top 33 rookies last week. Continuing from there is a little tricky because it depends more on your league's setup, especially on the cost of keeping a roster spot filled with a long time with someone you've stashed.

QB: Jordan Love GB (pick 26) & Jalen Hurts PHI (53) might be the top 2 guys left in terms of expected career value, but it's likely that you'll have to wait a few years before you find out. In most leagues roster space is precious, such that (e.g.) stashing Jimmy Garoppolo as a rookie would have turned out not to be worth it because, while he did turn into an NFL starter, he doesn't do as much for you in fantasy as the guy who you could've gotten by churning through twenty waiver wire guys with that roster spot. In leagues with huge rosters, or ample taxi squads where you can stash guys for multiple years, Love & Hurts are among the best options after the top 33. Other guys like Eason IND (122), Morgan NYJ (125), and Fromm BUF (167) I wouldn't bother rostering except in superflex or unusually deep leagues.

RB: DeeJay Dallas SEA (144) is one of the best players remaining, especially with the injury question marks around Penny and to a lesser extent Carson. After that it gets pretty thin, with only 4 other RBs drafted: Jason Huntley DET (172) could be a Riddick/Cohen type but Detroit doesn't look like a great spot for that, Eno Benjamin ARI (222) could compete with Edmonds for the #2 spot, Raymond Calais TB (245) is another receiving back, and Malcolm Perry MIA (246) is similar as a QB turned offensive weapon. RB is a good direction to go to start the churn, since RBs are more likely to have a large rise or drop in value in their rookie offseason.

TE: A lot of guys drafted in rd3-4, which is a part of the draft where some good TEs come from, so these guys are near the top of the remaining players in my generic rankings. Good TEs usually emerge (as at least top 24 fantasy TEs) by their second season, and more often than not show in their rookie year that they're worth rostering, so you shouldn't have to wait too long on these guys. But TE is a more attractive option if you can easily stash the guy for a year and reassess during the 2021 preseason. I think I'd rank the rd3-4 TEs: Asiasi NE (91), Trautman NO (105), Keene NE (101), Okwuegbunam DEN (118), Deguara GB (94), Bryant CLE (115), Parkinson SEA (133), Hopkins LAR (136), based on a mix of situation, draft order, and my pre-draft assessment. Most uncertain about Deguara because I haven't looked closely into the talk of him being a FB more than a TE.

WR: WRs are always an option. Here we'd be looking at the guys who went in rd4-5 of the NFL draft, along with some later guys if you really like them. I think I'd rank them Tyler Johnson TB (161), Antonio Gandy-Golden WAS (142), Gabriel Davis BUF (128), Collin Johnson JAX (165), Isaiah Coulter HOU (171), Quintez Cephus DET (166), Joe Reed LAC (151), Donovan Peoples-Jones CLE (187), John Hightower PHI (168), Darnell Mooney CHI (173), Quez Watkins PHI (200), Isaiah Hodgins BUF (207), KJ Hill LAC (220), and Jauan Jennings SF (217).

So the rest of my top 60 for a "typical league" would look something like this (although some guys, especially the QBs, could move a bunch depending on league format):

34 RB DeeJay Dallas
35 WR Tyler Johnson
36 WR Antonio Gandy-Golden
37 WR Gabriel Davis
38 TE Devin Asiasi
39 TE Adam Trautman
40 WR Collin Johnson
41 WR Isaiah Coulter
42 TE Dalton Keene
43 TE Albert Okwuegbunam
44 RB Jason Huntley
45 WR Quintez Cephus
46 RB Eno Benjamin
47 RB Raymond Calais
48 RB Malcolm Perry
49 QB Jordan Love
50 QB Jalen Hurts
51 TE Josiah Deguara
52 TE Harrison Bryant
53 WR Joe Reed
54 WR Donovan Peoples-Jones
55 WR John Hightower
56 TE Colby Parkinson
57 WR Darnell Mooney
58 WR Quez Watkins
59 WR Isaiah Hodgins
60 WR KJ Hill

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First, your system tracked remarkably well with NFL draft grade. Kudos. That tells me you are doing something right.

Question: You seemed to value Gibson and Bowden higher than the fantasy community is based on drafts. What are your thoughts on these two unusual players and what do you make up this discrepancy.  Bowden in particular is falling to late third and even fourth rounds when based purely on draft position--mid third in the NFL draft--he should be going in mid-third fantasy drafts.  

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I generally like asterisk type players (position switchers and such). You could go back and find positive things that I was saying about Jerick McKinnon and Denard Robinson back when they were entering the league.

One way to think about it is to start by assuming that draft position does a reasonably good job of reflecting their NFL value and then adjust from there. And I think there's a pretty strong case that these guys should have more fantasy value than NFL value. They have a boom-or-bust profile which is worth more in fantasy than to NFL teams, since fantasy value is more dependent on the best 25% (or even 5%) of possible outcomes. They might take longer to develop, which is a bigger problem for teams that just have them for 4 years than for us who have them for their whole career. And a huge chunk of fantasy RB value comes from receiving, where they've already shown ability.

Another way to look at it is to just evaluate them as players. Not being great college players at the position is a negative (compared to guys who were), but getting an "incomplete" due to having a different college role is better than being a mediocre college player at the position (like DPJ or Van Jefferson at WR). And RB is more about a player's physical profile than WR is, so guys can show more without actually playing the position. Gibson has great size & speed for a RB. Bowden not as much, but it's a good sign that Kentucky did the high school thing of putting him at QB since he was their best player and they wanted him to touch the ball more. Gibson showed great elusiveness in the open field. The receiving ability is a big plus from this angle too. When you plug their production numbers & physical numbers into my RB formula they come out pretty well - this is kinda sketchy because it's easier for WRs & QBs to have good rushing efficiency so I wouldn't put a ton of weight on it but it's still a good sign. So even before I knew that some NFL teams valued them as day 2 guys there was enough for me to be interested (and then, from this angle, seeing that NFL teams did like them validates that interest and makes me willing to draft them earlier).

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I just looked through several of the more recent drafts in the Rookie Drafts thread, and it looks like these are the guys that I would own the most:

56%    Aiyuk, Brandon SFO WR
46%    Davis, Gabriel BUF
41%    Hamler, KJ DEN
24%    Swift, D'Andre DET
23%    Gibson, Antonio WAS
22%    Evans, Darrynton TEN
21%    Ruggs, Henry LVR
20%    Claypool, Chase PIT
18%    Coulter, Isaiah HOU
15%    Jefferson, Van LAR WR
15%    Perine, Lamical NYJ

These guys are my favorites relative to draft position in 8 drafts which have been posted over the past couple weeks. The percent is the fraction of the leagues that I'd expect to own the guy in, if it was a 12-team draft and I had a random draft slot and just used all my picks on rookies. For example, according to my draft board Chase Claypool was BPA in this draft from pick 2.11 through 3.02 (after Shenault was gone until he was drafted), so I'm assuming that he would've been mine if I owned any of those 4 picks, which gives me a 4/12=33% chance.

And these are the guys that I would own the least:
0%    Reagor, Jalen PHI
0%    Mims, Denzel NYJ
0%    Dillon, AJ GBP
0%    Kelley, Joshua LAC
0%    McFarland, Anthony PIT
0%    Gandy-Golden, Antonio WAS
0%    Asiasi, Devin NEP
1%    Jeudy, Jerry DEN
1%    Higgins, Tee CIN
1%    Pittman, Michael IND
1%    Vaughn, Ke'Shawn TBB
1%    Edwards, Bryan LVR WR
1%    Trautman, Adam NOS

Caveat that I didn't pay attention to league rules, so I might (e.g.) be missing out on TEs by ignoring that the league is TE premium. (I do own Asiasi in one of my actual TE premium leagues.)

My draft board is similar to (but not identical to) what I posted here and here.

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Aiyuk. 🥂

I like that fade list as well except for Asiasi. Feel like he's quality value at his ADP.

Not sharing the fascination that my league mates have with the day three dart throws (Kelley, McFarland, Gandy-Golden).

I guess I can see McFarland being decent in spurts, but all those guys go pretty high for being longshots on paper.

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I don't think of myself as fading Higgins & Pittman, I just have them behind Aiyuk. And usually they're going after Aiyuk, so I won't be drafting them. But I wouldn't much mind if someone else snagged Aiyuk and one of them fell to me instead.

Whereas someone like Vaughn I do think of myself as fading, since I have him a tier behind where he's often going. It seems like people are drafting him for his situation, when his situation isn't even that great.

On my draft list, I don't think I'm drafting any of these guys all that early relative to their NFL draft spot, so in large part this is a list of guys who are going later in fantasy drafts than they did in NFL drafts. A couple are guys I like even relative to their NFL draft spot (Aiyuk, Gibson), a couple are guys who I really dislike at their NFL draft spot (Hamler, V Jefferson) but other fantasy drafters are apparently even more down on them. Most are in between, e.g. Gabriel Davis & Lamical Perine seem like pretty typical NFL 4th rounders. I have them behind the more popular options (Gandy-Golden at WR, Kelley & McFarland at RB), but by a much smaller gap than we're seeing in rookie drafts.

BPA when Asiasi was drafted (according to my draft board): Gabriel Davis, Cole Kmet, DeeJay Dallas, KJ Hamler (Duvernay also available), DeeJay Dallas, KJ Hamler (Edwards also available), KJ Hamler. I have him in the same tier as Gabriel Davis & DeeJay Dallas, so I would've at least been considering Asiasi in those leagues (and I haven't checked if TE premium should've rearranged my draft board for any of these leagues).

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