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ZWK's 2019 Prospect Analysis


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18 hours ago, ZWK said:

It's pretty rare for a TE to have much NFL success after having that little college production. TEs who never reached 400 receiving yards in a college season: Jimmy Graham, George Kittle, Kyle Rudolph, Owen Daniels, Jordan Cameron.

Not that it changes your overall point, but couldn't resist pointing out Antonio Gates. Carry on with the excellent analysis.

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This thread is for my analysis of the 2019 draft class (and other college players). Previously threads: 2018 draft class, 2017 draft class, 2016 draft class, 2015 draft class, 2014 draft class. M

@ZWK¬†@Zyphros I seldom post (read neverūüėČ), but I am an avid peruser of these forums. I just wanted to drop a kudos and thank you for the great work you guys do, I find it very invaluable. ZW

I have now made posts about most of the 12 WRs in my top 2 tiers; I've added links to them above. The 2 guys who I haven't covered yet are JJ Arcega-Whiteside and N'Keal Harry. It feels like I do

Yeah, that list was just going back to the 2006 draft class (which is as far back as my spreadsheet goes). Gates fits neatly in the Graham/Cameron type as a great athlete who had limited college football production because he prioritized basketball at the start of his college career.

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Here is how my RB formula ranks RB prospects coming into the league since the 2013 class (with my tier labels added):

WOW
Darrell Henderson    2019
Saquon Barkley    2018

GUYS I LIKE A LOT
Eddie Lacy    2013
Todd Gurley    2015
Nick Chubb    2018
Melvin Gordon    2015
Christine Michael    2013
Carlos Hyde    2014
Ezekiel Elliott    2016
Rashaad Penny    2018

GUYS I LIKE
Joe Mixon    2017
Lache Seastrunk    2014
Jay Ajayi    2015
Tre Mason    2014
Giovani Bernard    2013
Ameer Abdullah    2015
Knile Davis    2013
Royce Freeman    2018
Derrick Henry    2016
Dalvin Cook    2017
Curtis Samuel    2017
Darius Jackson    2016

AWKWARDLY BETWEEN TIERS
Jeremy Hill    2014
C.J. Prosise    2016
Christian McCaffrey    2017
Jerick McKinnon    2014
Kenneth Dixon    2016

GUYS WHO HAVE A DECENT CHANCE
Jonathan Franklin    2013
Tevin Coleman    2015
Jordan Howard    2016
Duke Johnson    2015
Alvin Kamara    2017
Samaje Perine    2017
Darwin Thompson    2019
Bishop Sankey    2014
DeAndre Washington    2016
David Johnson * (ignoring production)   2015
D’Onta Foreman    2017
Marcus Lattimore    2013
Jeremy McNichols    2017
Jaylen Samuels    2018
Aaron Jones    2017
Jhurell Pressley    2016
Stephen Houston    2014
Daniel Lasco    2016
Henry Josey    2014
Zac Stacy    2013
Josh Adams    2018
D.J. Harper    2013
Ronald Jones II    2018
Le'Veon Bell    2013
Trayveon Williams    2019
Derrius Guice    2018
Kareem Hunt    2017
Cierre Wood    2013
Miles Sanders    2019
Kenjon Barner    2013
Paul Perkins    2016
Montee Ball    2013
Latavius Murray    2013
Isaiah Crowell    2014
Leonard Fournette    2017
Andre Williams    2014
Marlon Mack    2017
Boston Scott    2018
Charles Sims    2014
Joe Williams    2017
Dri Archer    2014
Elijah Hood    2017
Darrin Hall    2019
Alex Collins    2016
James Conner    2017
Kerryon Johnson    2018
Devonta Freeman    2014
Bryce Love    2019
Justice Hill    2019

Bo Scarbrough    2018
David Cobb    2015
Devontae Booker    2016
Matt Breida    2017
Dexter Williams    2019
Kerrith Whyte, Jr.    2019


GUYS I CAN'T RULE OUT
Ty Johnson    2019
Mike Weber    2019

T.J. Yeldon    2015
Sony Michel    2018
Devin Singletary    2019
Cameron Artis-Payne    2015
Travis Homer    2019
Karlos Williams    2015
Josh Robinson    2015
I'Tavius Mathers    2017
Corey Grant    2015
Ito Smith    2018
Alex Barnes    2019
Kenyan Drake    2016
Damien Harris    2019
David Montgomery    2019

Devine Ozigbo    2019
Damarea Crockett    2019

David Fluellen    2014
Jamaal Williams    2017
Treavor Scales    2013
Jeremy Langford    2015
Qadree Ollison    2019
Elijah McGuire    2017
Michael Ford    2013
Robert Godhigh    2014
Matthew Tucker    2013
Nyheim Hines    2018
Ryquell Armstead    2019
Mike Davis    2015
George Atkinson III    2014
Josh Jacobs    2019
Keith Marshall    2016
Terrance West    2014
Anthony Wales    2017
Teriyon Gipson    2017
Brian Hill    2017
Larry Rose III    2018
Michael Dyer    2015
Wendell Smallwood    2016
Wayne Gallman    2017
Tim Cornett    2014
Jonathan Williams    2016
Justin Stockton    2018
C.J. Anderson    2013
Chase Edmonds    2018
Andre Ellington    2013
James White    2014
Stanley Boom Williams    2017
Benny Snell, Jr.    2019
Karan Higdon    2019
Alexander Mattison    2019

Jordan Wilkins    2018
Myles Gaskin    2019
De'Anthony Thomas    2014
A.J. Ouellette    2019
Lorenzo Taliaferro    2014
Chris Carson    2017
Tyler Ervin    2016
Ryan Nall    2018
Rodney Anderson    2019
Kalen Ballage    2018
Jeffery Wilson    2018

I am not quite as high on Darrell Henderson as my formula is, but my independent impression (trying to ignore what everyone else thinks about these players) is that he's clearly the top RB in the draft class. Great production, great elusiveness, good receiving, not tiny, above average workout numbers. Great in space, nothing special in traffic. Part of why Henderson's numbers are as good as they are (including both his raw stats and his elusiveness numbers) is that he faced a weak schedule and had a great offensive line; my formula adjusts for that but I think not enough in his case. IMO he should be down a tier or two from where my formula puts him, but he's a good fit for modern offenses which love to throw to the RB.

The other obvious candidate for top RB is Josh Jacobs, who is attending the draft and is a likely first rounder and a safe bet to get drafted before the end of the 2nd round. Obvious positives for him are good elusiveness numbers, good rushing efficiency, and good receiving production. Obvious negatives are his tiny workload and poor workout numbers. Sharing a backfield with Harris & Harris provides some excuse for his small workload, but a small workload plus a decent excuse is less promising than a big workload, and the poor athleticism numbers are also a major concern. People point to Kamara as a cause for optimism, but my formula rated Kamara a tier higher (near the top of the "Decent Chance" tier). I do put a lot of weight on the views of NFL teams, so if I had to pick today I think I'd take Jacobs ahead of Henderson, but that is only out of deference to the experts (and not my own independent impression). And it would be a close call, which also means that I'd be more likely to trade down or take a WR or something rather than going with Jacobs.

After those two, I don't think I'd take anyone in the first round of a fantasy draft or the first 2 rounds of the NFL draft. Miles Sanders, Damien Harris, and David Montgomery look to be the highest rated of the rest, and that seems reasonable. Harris & Montgomery both have size and reasonably good receiving chops, and Sanders is one of the higher rated "Decent" tier guys by my formula. Harris has the same workload excuse as Jacobs, and had strong numbers in 2017 (though a down year even from an efficiency standpoint in 2018). Montgomery generated a lot of missed tackles but has mediocre athleticism, which leads to Kareem Hunt comparisons, but Hunt had more big plays in college, better athleticism in his jumps, and he was clocked plenty fast in NFL games; my formula has Hunt a tier ahead. Sanders has shown limited receiving ability and fumbled a lot, and didn't break many big plays. I think I rank those 3: Harris, Montgomery, Sanders, but it's close.

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Just looking through the list this kind of makes sense where they are rated when you go through the analysis.  I'm curious if this class has provoked a change to your process of adding in some sort of baseline production IF a player isn't buried behind other players.  Sanders being behind Barkley being the biggest example.  

If I remember right, I think you said you use projections for guys that are injured but I'm looking at it from behind other guys perspective.  A player can get "stuck" for many reasons I feel, so seeing these guys low on your list isn't all that surprising.  But there are so many RB's this year that were held back in their roles due to having other players ahead of them in their college's.  Everyone this year is a projection to the NFL more so than past years in terms of production so how could/would you adjust for that in your formula?  

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My formulas are pretty friendly to one year starters. If a guy had a big year in 2018 but barely played in previous years then he can still have an elite rating (at any position).

Sanders's rushing efficiency numbers are above average but not great (e.g., he didn't break off many big runs), his receiving numbers are below average, and he fumbled a lot. Those are the main things holding him down in my formula.

Jacobs/Harris at Alabama looks like the only case where two good RB prospects had to share the backfield. Everyone else in this class had a chance to be the guy.

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This is an interesting WR class, tricky to evaluate. My rating formula is in love with them. It rates DK Metcalf as the best WR prospect since I've been doing this (going back to the 2006 draft class), and this draft class is neck-and-neck with 2014 (the Watkins/Evans/Beckham draft) for its top rated draft class.

But looking at the draft class through my own eyes rather than through my formula, pretty much everyone has serious causes for concern. No one matches Evans & Watkins.

I've made a bunch of posts about WRs already in this thread. I'm not going add links in this post,  but many were linked here and it shouldn't be too hard to search through a 6-page thread to find others.

8 WRs get a clear thumbs up from the formula: D.K. Metcalf, Emanuel Hall, Hakeem Butler, A.J. Brown, N'Keal Harry, Gary Jennings, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, and Andy Isabella.

And 4 of those guys are among the top 15 highest rated receivers by the formula:

D.K. Metcalf    Miss    2019
Stephen Hill    Ga Tech    2012
Mike Evans    Texas A&M    2014
Vernon Davis    Maryland    2006
Calvin Johnson    Georgia Tech    2007
Sammy Watkins    Clemson    2014
Emanuel Hall    Missouri    2019
Amari Cooper    Alabama    2015
Justin Blackmon    Okla St    2012
Brandin Cooks    Oregon St    2014
Robert Meachem    Tennessee    2007
Hakeem Butler    Iowa State    2019
DeVante Parker    Louisville    2015
Leonte Carroo    Rutgers    2016
A.J. Brown    Miss    2019

You can see from the top 5 what the formula is looking for at the very high end - college production, plus a freakish size/speed combo. Metcalf has that (crediting him for pro-rated 2018 stats), Hall is up there but on the thin side and is penalized for his drops, Butler also fits the Mike Evans type but is penalized for his drops and age. AJ Brown is not so freakish but has solid size+athleticism and 2 years of strong production.

Metcalf is the highest rated receiver of all time by my formula and a likely first round pick. And yet, I don't feel confident. He looks too one-dimensional. His workouts and tape suggest a Derek Zoolander comparison - not much of a turner (in either direction, in Metcalf's case). He had a mediocre PFF grade, yet PFF still has him as their top WR, but the profile where they make the case for him does not exactly inspire confidence: they note that he was extremely effective on go routes, back shoulder throws, and end zone fades and not good on other routes (and his three good routes basically just amount to one route on any given play). And given that his production mainly rates highly in my formula due to efficiency & deep balls rather than volume, maybe we should be thinking of him in more of a field-stretcher DJax/Fuller/Stills type role rather than as a go-to WR. Though on the plus side, agility drills have historically had very little relationship with WR success, Metcalf's contested catch skills give him more hope to be a high-target option, and he's still young.

The other 7 guys who get a clear thumbs up from my formula aren't even consensus first rounders - Metcalf is the only one of the 8 attending the draft. I could similarly list concerns about the others in the top 8, like Butler's drops and late breakout - it's definitely easier to look like a man among boys when you're 6'5" and 22 years old. Or Harry's separation issues.

Ignoring projected draft position, my own impression is that Hakeem Butler has the most tantalizing upside (closely followed by Metcalf) and AJ Brown is the safest of the bunch. But even Brown has some concerns/risk, what with his slot-heavy usage and his solid but unspectacular PFF grade.

If I take all information into account, including projected draft position, then that's an obvious downgrade to all the non-first rounders. Especially Jennings (a likely day 3 pick), and to a lesser extent Hall, Isabella, and Arcega-Whiteside (currently projected for rd 3).

After these 8 who my formula gives a clear thumbs up, there are a bunch of WRs who my formula rates as borderline prospects: Stanley Morgan, Scott Miller, Marquise Brown, Antoine Wesley, Deebo Samuel, Anthony Johnson, Damion Willis, Cody Thompson, Greg Dortch, Preston Williams, Lil'Jordan Humphrey.

Parris Campbell is also an interesting case, where his production totals aren't good but he only played half the snaps so his per-route numbers are good. But only playing half the snaps is a negative, and being used almost exclusively underneath is also a negative, so I'm wary of him even though I'm not downgrading him as much as the other guys who my formula says to avoid due to lack of production.

If I had to draft now, I think I'd have a top WR tier of DK Metcalf, AJ Brown, Hakeem Butler, and N'Keal Harry. Then a 2nd tier of Arcega-Whiteside, Marquise Brown, and Andy Isabella, and a 3rd tier of Deebo Samuel, Emanuel Hall, and Parris Campbell. I'm generally avoiding guys like Kelvin Harmon, Riley Ridley, Miles Boykin, and Terry McLaurin who don't have the production, although if they somehow fell I'd consider them later in the draft alongside sleepers like Gary Jennings, Stanley Morgan, and Anthony Johnson.

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On 3/22/2019 at 12:02 AM, ZWK said:

If I had a fantasy draft today, I'd put the QBs in this order:

Kyler Murray
Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock, Will Grier
Daniel Jones, Ryan Finley, Brett Rypien

This is taking into account scouting reports / expected draft position, my own analyses (also: BMI, mph) and the analyses of other advanced stats folks like Ian Wharton, PFF, Josh Hermsmeyer, and Hayden Winks.

Murray is the clear #1 as he has ridiculous production along with strong advanced stats, and he seems likely to be the #1 pick. Plus he runs a bunch, which is a big plus for fantasy.

Haskins, Lock, and Grier all have relatively strong production and relatively strong advanced stats; they come out in different orders in different analyses. I'll defer to the expert consensus in deciding what order to put them in, but I'll disagree with the consensus in having them not all that far apart from each other.

Daniel Jones is next because lots of people think he'll be a 1st or 2nd rounder. My own analysis is very pessimistic about him. By reputation Finley & Rypien are mid rounders, but by the numbers they look like the next tier after the Haskins/Lock/Grier trio.

This still basically matches my views. Murray looks like the obvious #1 fantasy pick in 2 QB leagues, and a late 1st in standard leagues. There should be another tier break now after Daniel Jones, since he's a likely first rounder given that he's attending the draft. In recent years about 80% of players who attended the draft got drafted in the 1st round, with the other 20% all getting drafted in the 2nd.

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On 4/16/2019 at 3:06 PM, ZWK said:

Players who are attending the draft:

QB Kyler Murray, Drew ÔĽŅLock, Daniel Jones
TE: TJ Hockenson, Noah Fant
WR: DK Metcalf, Marquise Brown
RB: Josh Jacobs

(Plus a bunch of guys who don't get yards or touchdowns.)

6 out of 8 went in the first round, which is basically in line with the historical average of 79%. The others almost always go in rd2.

For PPR leagues, my generic rookie rankings (which use historical data to estimate career VBD based on position & draft pick) have the first rounders in this order: Josh Jacobs, TJ Hockenson, Marquise Brown, Kyler Murray, Noah Fant, N'Keal Harry, Daniel Jones, Dwayne Haskins. 2nd round RBs can still slide in there ahead of Brown.

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Generic rookie rankings through 3 rounds (with expected career PPR VBD, based on position and draft slot):

VBD Pos  Player
251    RB    Josh Jacobs
206    TE    TJ Hockenson
157    WR    Marquise Brown
156    QB    Kyler Murray
153    TE    Noah Fant
128    WR    N'Keal Harry
114    WR    Deebo Samuel
111    RB    Miles Sanders
105    QB    Daniel Jones
94    RB    Darrell Henderson
93    RB    David Montgomery
92    RB    Devin Singletary
88    RB    Damien Harris
87    WR    A. J. Brown
83    QB    Dwayne Haskins
83    WR    Mecole Hardman
83    WR    JJ Arcega-Whiteside
83    RB    Alexander Mattison
82    WR    Parris Campbell
80    WR    Andy Isabella
79    WR    D.K. Metcalf
78    WR    Diontae Johnson
78    WR    Jalen Hurd
72    WR    Terry McLaurin
59    TE    Irv Smith Jr.
58    WR    Miles Boykin
57    TE    Drew Sample
49    TE    Josh Oliver
46    TE    Jace Sternberger
42    TE    Kahale Warring
36    QB    Drew Lock
34    TE    Dawson Knox
10    QB    Will Grier

The top 19 (through Parris Campbell) is all set. More RBs can slot in ahead of some of the remaining WRs.

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26 minutes ago, voiceofunreason said:

Hockenson is interesting. I pretty much own Kittle, Howard or Kelce in every league I'm in so burning an early first on a TE isn't real sexy to me.

Even if i had a top TE i'd take Hockenson top 5 in this class.  He may not be a sexy pick but he's safe with high upside at the position.

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Not gonna act like an expert on this class after one day of watching highlights (though I'm familiar with many of these guys from past dev drafts), but I have to say this is my least favorite class in many years. It seems like a very bad year to have a top 5 rookie pick. I like Jacobs at the 1.01 spot and I think he offers Zeke-like potential. I like my next tier of guys (which is probably going to be AJ Brown, Harry, and Sanders), but would consider them closer to 50/50 propositions than can't-miss talents.

Usually when I sift through a draft class there will be a small handful of guys whose highlights and clips immediately win me over, but I didn't have that reaction to many players in this group.

What I found interesting was the plethora of small/fast WRs selected with early-ish picks: Marquise Brown, Mecole Hardman, Parris Campbell, Diontae Johnson, and Terry McLaurin. It's like people are looking for the next TY Hilton or Tyreek Hill type of seam buster, but you can so easily get a John Ross, Phillip Dorsett, or Paul Richardson with these picks and on first blush I wasn't wowed by any of these guys (though I'll definitely be taking a closer look in the coming days).

It's a year where I may be looking to cash out for future picks instead of playing the lottery, but nothing is set in stone for me yet.

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Generic rookie rankings (with expected career PPR VBD, based on position and draft slot):

VBD Pos  Player
251    RB    Josh Jacobs
206    TE    TJ Hockenson
157    WR    Marquise Brown
156    QB    Kyler Murray
153    TE    Noah Fant
128    WR    N'Keal Harry
114    WR    Deebo Samuel
111    RB    Miles Sanders
105    QB    Daniel Jones
94    RB    Darrell Henderson
93    RB    David Montgomery
92    RB    Devin Singletary
88    RB    Damien Harris
87    WR    A. J. Brown
83    QB    Dwayne Haskins
83    WR    Mecole Hardman
83    WR    JJ Arcega-Whiteside
83    RB    Alexander Mattison
82    WR    Parris Campbell
80    WR    Andy Isabella
79    WR    D.K. Metcalf
78    WR    Diontae Johnson
78    WR    Jalen Hurd
73    RB    Bryce Love
72    WR    Terry McLaurin
72    RB    Justice Hill
65    RB    Benny Snell Jr.
60    RB    Tony Pollard
59    TE    Irv Smith Jr.
58    WR    Miles Boykin
57    TE    Drew Sample
49    TE    Josh Oliver
47    WR    Hakeem Butler
46    TE    Jace Sternberger
44    RB    Ryquell Armstead
42    TE    Kahale Warring
36    QB    Drew Lock
34    TE    Dawson Knox
32    RB    Qadree Ollison
30    RB    Jordan Scarlett
28    WR    Gary Jennings Jr.
24    WR    Riley Ridley
18    TE    Trevon Wesco
17    RB    Trayveon Williams
16    RB    Ty Johnson
13    RB    Dexter Williams
12    TE    Foster Moreau
11    TE    Zach Gentry
10    QB    Will Grier
10    QB    Ryan Finley
10    QB    Jarrett Stidham
10    WR    Hunter Renfrow
8    QB    Easton Stick
8    QB    Clayton Thorson
7    QB    Gardner Minshew
5    QB    Trace McSorley
2    WR    Darius Slayton
2    WR    KeeSean Johnson
2    TE    Kaden Smith
2    WR    Travis Fulgham
2    WR    Juwann Winfree

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Just now, Dr. Dan said:

any chance to get an updated rankings list with your formula?

Not sure what you mean. My prospect rating formulas don't incorporate draft position - you can see the numbers in the spreadsheets (all linked in the first post in this thread) and my summaries from just before the draft in posts I've made over the past week or two.

I'm still sorting out what I think of this class. I'll post more about it within a few days (though probably not over the weekend since I have other stuff going on this weekend).

I'll also update my positional dynasty rankings in my other thread to incorporate the rookies.

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2 minutes ago, ZWK said:

Not sure what you mean. My prospect rating formulas don't incorporate draft position - you can see the numbers in the spreadsheets (all linked in the first post in this thread) and my summaries from just before the draft in posts I've made over the past week or two.

I'm still sorting out what I think of this class. I'll post more about it within a few days (though probably not over the weekend since I have other stuff going on this weekend).

I'll also update my positional dynasty rankings in my other thread to incorporate the rookies.

Ah never mind. I misread your previous post 

 

Thanks for you work. It is very helpful

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Starting to take stock of this class post-draft. One way to do that is to start with the generic rookie rankings, and then think about which guys I like more or less than their generic value. In decreasing order of importance, this is mainly based on talent (based on my pre-draft opinion of the player), situation, and what draft position tells us about players like him.

251    RB    Josh Jacobs OAK: less. I like his talent less than a typical late 1st round back, and his situation about the same.
206    TE    TJ Hockenson DET: same. Receiving talent is good but not unusually good for an early first rounder, situation is aveageish.
157    WR    Marquise Brown BAL: less. Talent involves more question marks than I like for a first round WR, plus seems to have more NFL value than fantasy value. Situation is bad; usually I don't worry too much about a bad QB because he will get replaced soon, but Lamar Jackson's running could keep him in a job and create a situation like the Vick Falcons (2002-06) who were last in the NFL in receiving yards and receiving fantasy points.
156    QB    Kyler Murray ARI: more. Production numbers suggest huge upside (though there's also lots of risk), plus running gives him extra fantasy value. Situation is averageish.
153    TE    Noah Fant DEN: same. Great athleticism but some concerns about his hands. Situation is averageish.
128    WR    N'Keal Harry NE: more. Talent is same, situation is a plus with Brady and a receiving corps that needs restocking.
114    WR    Deebo Samuel SF: slightly less. A bit of a question about his talent. Situation seems better than average.
111    RB    Miles Sanders PHI: slightly less. Lack of receiving is a concern. Situation is averageish - plenty of opportunity but also a history of RB committee which suggests that they might not throw to him much.
105    QB    Daniel Jones NYG: less. Major concerns about his talent. Situation is averageish; one plus is that last year they often chose to use short passes to Barkley in place of runs.
94    RB    Darrell Henderson LAR: sameish? I love his talent relative to draft position. If Gurley is healthy then his situation is awful, if Gurley misses time then he could be the next James Conner or Damien Williams.
93    RB    David Montgomery CHI: slightly more. Talent is sameish. Situation is pretty good with opportunity to be the lead back.
92    RB    Devin Singletary BUF: less. Major concerns about his talent. Situation is pretty good, or at least should be by year 2.
88    RB    Damien Harris NE: slightly less. Talent is sameish. Situation is below average: NE is not bad for RBs in general (they often have a RB with lots of carries and TDs) but Michel will make it a challenge to get that workload.
87    WR    A. J. Brown NE: more. I liked his talent pre-draft. Situation is below average, but not disastrous (it's not like Davis is an established high-target stud). Compared to where I had him predraft, falling to 51 hurts him a lot more than ending up in Tennessee.
83    QB    Dwayne Haskins WAS: more. I liked his talent pre-draft. Situation is averageish.
83    WR    Mecole Hardman KC: less. Lack of college production is a major flag. Situation is amazing, but talent matters more.
83    WR    JJ Arcega-Whiteside PHI: more. I liked his talent pre-draft. Situation is averageish.
83    RB    Alexander Mattison MIN: less. I don't like his talent. Bad situation behind Cook.
82    WR    Parris Campbell IND: more. Some concerns about talent - played only half the snaps and was used mostly underneath. Great situation in Indy.
80    WR    Andy Isabella ARI: more. I liked his talent pre-draft. Situation is averageish.
79    WR    D.K. Metcalf SEA: slightly more. My formula loved his talent pre-draft, but I had some concerns and he doesn't seem like the kind of receiver that NFL teams would let fall if he was good. Good situation with Wilson at QB and no established star WR1.
78    WR    Diontae Johnson PIT: less. I didn't like his talent pre-draft, although he did have a pretty good 2017. Above average situation.
78    WR    Jalen Hurd SF: slightly less. I didn't like his talent pre-draft, but position change & size suggests room for improvement and makes it fairly impressive for him to go in the early 3rd. Situation better than average.
73    RB    Bryce Love WAS: slightly more. Mainline talent estimate roughly matches his draft position, but I like his boom or bust profile (with a great 2017 & lousy 2018, and injury concerns). Situation is above average, with no established starter (but Guice still the favorite).
72    WR    Terry McLaurin WAS: less. Limited production at Ohio State, plus he's really old. Averageish situation.
72    RB    Justice Hill BAL: more. Talent above average for this point in the draft. Situation above average, with a running QB opening things up and Ingram old.

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This suggests a draft order that's something like:

RB   Josh Jacobs OAK
TE   TJ Hockenson DET
QB   Kyler Murray ARI
WR   N'Keal Harry NE
TE   Noah Fant DEN
WR   Marquise Brown BAL
RB   Miles Sanders PHI
WR   Deebo Samuel SF
RB   David Montgomery CHI
WR   A. J. Brown TEN
RB   Darrell Henderson LAR
WR   JJ Arcega-Whiteside PHI
WR   Parris Campbell IND
WR   Andy Isabella ARI
WR   D.K. Metcalf SEA
RB   Damien Harris NE
QB   Dwayne Haskins WAS
RB   Justice Hill BAL
RB   Bryce Love WAS
WR   Mecole Hardman KC
QB   Daniel Jones NYG
TE   Irv Smith Jr. MIN
WR   Hakeem Butler ARI
WR   Jalen Hurd SF
RB   Devin Singletary BUF
RB   Alexander Mattison MIN
WR   Diontae Johnson PIT
WR   Terry McLaurin WAS

Not the positions that you usually see in the top 5.

Edited by ZWK
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I've posted updated positional dynasty rankings in my other thread, which show my first-pass take on where rookies slot on compared to everyone else: QB, RB, WR, TE. My top rookie at each position:

QB5 Kyler Murray
RB15 Josh Jacobs
WR21 N'Keal Harry
TE6 T.J. Hockenson

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I like him a lot for where he was drafted, but it's hard to like a late 6th rounder all that much. Good receiver, hard to bring down, great situation, 2nd highest rated RB by my formula this year, and his small school background gives him some excuse for falling so far in the draft. But on the other hand, he did fall that far, and a lot of his "hard to bring down" came against bad tackling, and his "2nd highest rated" largely reflects how weak this RB class was. I put him at RB72.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Looking at future draft classes.

My formulas are designed for players who are entering the draft, but several players already have the production and estimated size/speed to match strong prospects entering the draft:

Top Prospects:ÔĽŅ
RB: Travis Etienne (Clemson), Elijah Mitchell (La-Lafytte)
WR: Laviska Shenault Jr. (Colorado), Justyn Ross (Clemson)
QB: Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama), Jake Fromm (Georgia), Trevor Lawrence (Clemson), D'Eriq King (Houston)
TE: Albert Okwuegbunam (Missouri)

Within each position these are ranked from best to worst. QB evaluation depends more on scouting so I'm less confident of them. I may be missing some TEs since I only ran the numbers on a few non-draft-eligible TEs.

Continuing down the list at each position, here are guys whose numbers were already good enough to be okay/borderline prospects in this year's draft, and who are candidates to emerge as top prospects in a year or two.

Decent Prospects:
RB: Trey Ragas (La-Lafytte), Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin), D'Andre Swift (Georgia), Kennedy Brooks (Oklahoma), Jermar Jefferson (Oregon St), Michael Warren II (Cincinnati), Scottie Phillips (Miss), Trey Sermon (Oklahoma), Zack Moss (Utah), Benny LeMay (Charlotte), Ke'Shawn Vaughn (Vanderbilt), J.K. Dobbins (Ohio State), DeAndre Torrey (N Texas), Joshua Kelley (UCLA)
WR: Jerry Jeudy (Alabama), Tyler Johnson (Minnesota), Tylan Wallace (Okla St)
QB: Alex Hornibrook (Florida State), McKenzie Milton (UCF), Ian Book (Notre Dame), K.J. Costello (Stanford), Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma), Shea Patterson (Michigan), Alan Bowman (Texas Tech), Zac Thomas (App St), Sam Ehlinger (Texas)
TE: Jared Pinkney (Vanderbilt), maybe others

For WRs entering the draft I'm pretty aggressive about the production cutoff, but since we're looking a year ahead I'll include the next batch here as players to keep an eye on.

Keep An Eye On:ÔĽŅ
WR: Jalen Reagor (TCU), CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma), Darnell Mooney (Tulane), James Proche (SMU), JD Spielman (Nebraska), Collin Johnson (Texas), Rondale Moore (Purdue), Isaiah Hodgins (Oregon St), Denzel Mims (Baylor)

To see how these advance lists panned out in the past, you can see the posts from one year ago, two years ago, and three years ago.

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4 hours ago, dipandglide said:

@ZWKYour formula was high on Darrell Henderson. There has been lots of buzz, any recent thoughts on him and his situation? 

Henderson is in a tricky situation, because in a lot of ways it depends more on Gurley than on Henderson. If Gurley is 100% and playing like he did in 2017 then that crowds out all the other RBs and makes it difficult for Henderson to have fantasy value. If Gurley misses time then the Rams offense could vault Henderson into top 5 fantasy RB contention like Damien Williams & James Conner last year. In between there are a range of committee possibilities, including ones that are closer to Ingram/Kamara (big role & significant fantasy value for Henderson) and ones that are closer to Mixon/Bernard (smaller role for Henderson & generally unstartable in fantasy).

So Henderson is a very boom or bust fantasy prospect for his rookie contract, and a lot of that is out of his hands.

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Here is the post from last month with my impressions of Henderson after watching several of his game videos. I have bolded the most relevant paragraph.

On 4/10/2019 at 10:38 PM, ZWK said:

With pro days mostly in, here is how this RB class is looking (using my standard tier labels):

Wow: Darrell Henderson
Guys I like a lot:
Guys I like:
Awkwardly between tiers: Darwin Thompson
Guys who have a decent chance: Darrin Hall, Trayveon Williams, Miles Sanders, Damarea Crockett, Bryce Love, Justice Hill, Dexter Williams
Guys I can't rule out: Mike Weber, Kerrith Whyte, Jr., Devin Singletary, Ty Johnson, Devine Ozigbo, Travis Homer, Alex Barnes, Damien Harris, David Montgomery, Qadree Ollison, Ryquell Armstead, A.J. Ouellette, Josh Jacobs, Benny Snell, Jr., Karan Higdon, Alexander Mattison, Myles Gaskin, Rodney Anderson

Historically, guys on Henderson's tier have usually been named "Saquon", the "like a lot" and "like" tiers have usually contained players, guys on Thompson's tier and above usually get drafted in the first 3 rounds, the "decent chance" tier doesn't have a great hit rate but includes some studs and solid RBs, and the "can't rule out" tier has a pretty awful hit rate despite the occasional Kenyan Drake or Chris Carson. In other words, the formula says go get Henderson, Thompson is a good value, and it's worth looking into the next 7 guys but probably not in rd1.

I decided to take a closer look at the 3 Dars that my formula is spitting out on top, since it's a pretty unusual top 3 and if I rely on this formula I might wind up drafting them in a bunch of leagues. So I brought up some game videos and broke out my old elusiveness charting spreadsheet which I used to use for my Hard to Tackle ratings (before PFF rendered my efforts not worth the time).

I think my charting has two important advantages over PFF. First, I separate plays into "in traffic" and "in space", which helps pinpoint how much the RB is adding since it's much easier to generate yards after contact and missed tackles in space (and some RBs get many more of their touches in space). Second, I use "capped yards after contact", because if an RB slips a tackle at the line of scrimmage and then goes 80 yards untouched for a score then crediting him with 80 yards after contact is giving him way too much credit for that bit of elusiveness.

PFF's yards after contact & missed tackle numbers show Dar. Henderson with otherworldly elusiveness (way ahead of any other RB on record), Dar. Thompson with elite elusiveness (near the front of the pack), and Dar. Hall with really good elusiveness.

My charting rates Henderson & Thompson as having really good elusiveness, and Hall as averageish. Their numbers are here (you need to check other tabs to see how they stack up).

Henderson was amazing in space, especially at the 2nd/3rd level where he was able to make DBs/LBs miss while continuing at speed. That led to a bunch of long TDs and other big plays. Other than that, he seemed averageish at beating defenders (and he rated a bit below average in traffic). He profiles similar to Dalvin Cook and Kenneth Dixon. He doesn't look like he belongs in the "Wow" tier, but I do like him. ÔĽŅ

Thompson had very good elusiveness numbers both in traffic and in space. Although at least some of that was the weak competition - those extra yards that he picked up against New Mexico State weren't showing up against Michigan State. So he continues to be hard for me to evaluate after watching his games, but I think there is enough there for him to at least like him as a sleeper.

Darrin Hall looked like nothing special, and I would take him behind many of the other guys who my formula has in the same tier.

 

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22 hours ago, ZWK said:

Top Prospects:ÔĽŅ
WR: Laviska Shenault Jr. (Colorado), Justyn Ross (Clemson)

Decent Prospects:
WR: Jerry Jeudy (Alabama), Tyler Johnson (Minnesota), Tylan Wallace (Okla St)ÔĽŅÔĽŅÔĽŅÔĽŅ

Keep An Eye On:ÔĽŅ
WR: Jalen Reagor (TCU), CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma), Darnell Mooney (Tulane), James Proche (SMU), JD Spielman (Nebraska), Collin Johnson (Texas), Rondale Moore (Purdue), Isaiah Hodgins (Oregon St), Denzel Mims (Baylor) ÔĽŅ

One thing that seems worth adding: the difference between the top 2 tiers of WRs all comes down to size. All 5 of these guys have the production to be in the top tier. Jeudy, Johnson, and Wallace are undersized according to the last estimates that I looked up from draftscout (with BMI below 26.0), which is what puts them behind Shenault & Ross. To join the top tier they don't necessarily have to show more on the field, they could just step on a scale 10 months from now (and weight often goes up over a player's college career). If I was putting effort into devy projections (rather than just plugging numbers into the formulas that I use for rookies) then I would try to adjust more for that.

Similarly, from the third tier, Mooney, Lamb, Reagor, and Moore have the production to make the second tier and are just missing the (estimated) size. Though Moore is reportedly short as well as skinny, which it's harder to improve on.

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