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ZWK's 2021 Prospect Analysis


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This thread is for my analysis of the 2021 draft class (and other college players). Previously threads: 2020 draft class, 2019 draft class, 2018 draft class, 2017 draft class, 2016 draft class, 2015 draft class, 2014 draft class.

I haven't been following college football much during this weird year, but I still have player stats spreadsheets. WR, RB, and QB spreadsheets are up and running. They're missing some stats like WR targets, and some of the ratings are a little screwy because there's so much of a difference between teams in games played (and SOS is messed up because of the lack of games between conferences). TE & pass rusher should get added at some point (perhaps not till after the season). Also: birthdates, VBD by draft pick (for generic rookie rankings), and dynasty rankings.

My main source of data is cfbstats, and I also get some things from PFF, Rotowire, and other sources (with some stats not coming in until after the season is over).

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This thread is for my analysis of the 2021 draft class (and other college players). Previously threads: 2020 draft class, 2019 draft class, 2018 draft class, 2017 draft class, 2016 draft class, 2015 d

Here are the overall WR rankings according to my formula (tinkering with the formula in a few places to adjust for the weird 2020 season): Kyle Pitts Ja'Marr Chase Terrace Marshall Jr.

Putting it all together into ppr rookie rankings (also available in spreadsheet format) Pos    Player    Team    Pick WR    Ja'Marr Chase    CIN    5 RB    Najee Harris    PIT    24 RB    T

Let's start things off with some WR stats.

Typically, the main receiving stats I highlight in these posts are:

25+ Yard Receptions per Game
Market Share of Passing TDs
Yards per Team Attempt
Yards per Target

(Though my spreadsheets also include some other stats, as does my ratings formula)

These four are all efficiency stats, and it's much easier to put up huge numbers on efficiency stats over a smaller number of games, so I'm going to do some of these leaderboards a little differently with the plague year.

With 25+ yard receptions, here's the leaders in # of 25-yard receptions minus number of games played (min 5 25+ yard receptions). This seems like a reasonable way to look at things because 1 25-yard reception per game is a pretty good level, so we're rewarding players who topped that number. If we just looked at 25-yard receptions per game that would make someone with 6 25-yarders in 4 games look better than they really are.

25+ Yard Receptions over 1 per Game

6    Jaelon Darden    N Texas    (13 in 7g)
6    Elijah Moore    Miss    (14 in 8g)
5    D'Wayne Eskridge    W Mich    (9 in 4g)
4    Romeo Doubs    Nevada    (10 in 6g)
4    Tylan Wallace    Okla St    (11 in 7g)
4    Jalen Tolbert    USA    (14 in 10g)
3    Jack Sorenson    Miami (Oh)    (6 in 3g)
3    Gunner Romney    BYU    (11 in 8g)
3    Jaylon Robinson    UCF    (12 in 9g)
3    Dyami Brown    N Carolina    (12 in 9g)
2    Jeff Foreman    Ark St    (5 in 3g)
2    Garrett Wilson    Ohio State    (6 in 4g)
2    Isaiah McKoy    Kent State    (6 in 4g)
2    Khalil Shakir    Boise St    (7 in 5g)
2    Ty Fryfogle    Indiana    (8 in 6g)
2    DeVonta Smith    Alabama    (10 in 8g)
2    Calvin Austin III    Memphis    (10 in 8g)
2    Jonathan Adams, Jr.    Ark St    (12 in 10g)
1    Jaylen Waddle    Alabama    (5 in 4g)
1    Reggie Roberson, Jr.    SMU    (5 in 4g)
1    Chris Olave    Ohio State    (5 in 4g)
1    Antonio Nunn    Buffalo    (5 in 4g)
1    Rashod Bateman    Minnesota    (6 in 5g)
1    Lavel Davis Jr.    Virginia    (6 in 5g)
1    Chris Autman-Bell    Minnesota    (6 in 5g)
1    T.J. Simmons    WVU    (6 in 5g)
1    Dahu Green    Ark St    (7 in 6g)
1    Bo Melton    Rutgers    (7 in 6g)
1    Terrace Marshall Jr.    LSU    (8 in 7g)
1    Jaquarii Roberson    Wk Forest    (8 in 7g)
1    Kenny Yeboah    Miss    (8 in 7g)
1    Donavon Greene    Wk Forest    (8 in 7g)
1    Marlon Williams    UCF    (9 in 8g)
1    Seth Williams    Auburn    (9 in 8g)
1    Javon McKinley    Notre Dame    (9 in 8g)
1    Sam Pinckney    Georgia St    (10 in 9g)

Market share of receiving TDs has the same problem - having 6 of your team's 11 receiving TDs in 5 games is impressive, but not as impressive as the 55% market share makes it look. So here's the leaderboard in receiving TDs over 25% share. For example, 25% share of 11 TDs is 2.75, so if you have 6 instead that's 3.25 more for a score of +3.25. Again, 25% market share is pretty good. Here are the receivers with at least 2 TDs more than that. (For players that missed games, I have limited this to team passing TDs in the games that the player played.)

Receiving TDs over 25% Market Share
7.75    Jaelon Darden    N Texas    (12/17 in 7g)
6    DeVonta Smith    Alabama    (12/24 in 8g)
5.75    Terrace Marshall Jr.    LSU    (10/17 in 7g)
5    Romeo Doubs    Nevada    (9/16 in 6g)
4.75    Kyle Pitts    Florida    (11/25 in 6g)
4    David Bell    Purdue    (7/12 in 5g)
3.75    Jonathan Adams, Jr.    Ark St    (12/33 in 10g)
3.5    Jalen Tolbert    USA    (8/18 in 10g)
3.5    Ty Fryfogle    Indiana    (7/14 in 6g)
3.5    Marlon Williams    UCF    (10/26 in 8g)
3.5    Kawaan Baker    USA    (8/18 in 10g)
3.5    Marcell Barbee    Texas St    (10/26 in 12g)
3.25    Khalil Shakir    Boise St    (6/11 in 5g)
3.25    Jahan Dotson    Penn State    (6/11 in 6g)
3    D'Wayne Eskridge    W Mich    (6/12 in 4g)
3    Zakhari Franklin    UTSA    (6/12 in 9g)
2.75    Treylon Burks    Arkansas    (6/13 in 7g)
2.5    Tylan Wallace    Okla St    (5/10 in 8g)
2.5    Sam Pinckney    Georgia St    (6/14 in 9g)
2.5    Tutu Atwell    Louisville    (7/18 in 9g)
2.5    Shi Smith    S Carolina    (4/6 in 8g)
2.5    Reggie Roberson, Jr.    SMU    (5/10 in 4g)
2.25    Jaivon Heiligh    Coast Car    (8/23 in 9g)
2.25    Zay Flowers    BC    (7/19 in 10g)
2    Dyami Brown    N Carolina    (8/24 in 9g)
2    Calvin Austin III    Memphis    (8/24 in 8g)
2    Bo Melton    Rutgers    (5/12 in 6g)

For Yards Per Team Attempt, I didn't do anything clever. Just sticking with my standard thing of yards per team attempt with an asterisk for teams that haven't played many games (6 or less). Also, with this stat I am including all of the team's attempts even if the receiver didn't play that game. No pro-rating.

Yards per Team Attempt
6.42    D'Wayne Eskridge    W Mich    *
4.54    Garrett Wilson    Ohio State    *
4.54    Elijah Moore    Miss    
4.38    DeVonta Smith    Alabama    
3.69    Jaelon Darden    N Texas    
3.69    Rashod Bateman    Minnesota    *
3.61    Isaiah McKoy    Kent State    *
3.48    Khalil Shakir    Boise St    *
3.34    Tylan Wallace    Okla St    
3.31    Dax Milne    BYU    
3.30    Dyami Brown    N Carolina    
3.23    Jaivon Heiligh    Coast Car    
3.23    Romeo Doubs    Nevada    *
3.20    Bailey Gaither    SJSU    *
3.16    Jalen Tolbert    USA    
3.03    Jaquarii Roberson    Wk Forest    
2.90    Ty Fryfogle    Indiana    *
2.81    Marlon Williams    UCF    
2.73    Sam Pinckney    Georgia St    
2.69    Jacob Cowing    UTEP    
2.67    Calvin Austin III    Memphis    
2.59    Dez Fitzpatrick    Louisville    
2.58    Gunner Romney    BYU    
2.58    Jonathan Adams, Jr.    Ark St    
2.57    Treylon Burks    Arkansas    
2.53    Terrace Marshall Jr.    LSU    
2.53    Jaylon Robinson    UCF    
* less than 7 team games

I don't have target data, so no YPT leaderboard. I haven't found a way to auto-include targets in my spreadsheets, so I'll probably wait till the offseason before I try to add it manually.

Players on all three leaderboards (starting with the ones who are generally higher ranked):
Jaelon Darden
D'Wayne Eskridge
Romeo Doubs *
DeVonta Smith
Jalen Tolbert
Tylan Wallace
Khalil Shakir *
Ty Fryfogle *
Dyami Brown
Jonathan Adams, Jr.
Terrace Marshall Jr.
Marlon Williams
Calvin Austin III
Sam Pinckney

Players on two leaderboards:
Elijah Moore
Garrett Wilson *
Isaiah McKoy *
Rashod Bateman *
Gunner Romney
Jaivon Heiligh
Jaylon Robinson
Treylon Burks
Reggie Roberson, Jr. *
Jaquarii Roberson
Bo Melton *

* less than 7 games played

I listed more names on these leaderboards than I usually do, which seemed appropriate given the season's weirdness, but that means that it's a little less impressive than usual to be near the bottoms of these lists.

Edited by ZWK
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I don't plan to post much on FBGs in the future, but I just want to say that Pitts and Waddle are 🤩. I had the 1.04 dev pick in the summer and those are the two guys who really popped off the screen for me. Nothing that's happened since then has dampened my enthusiasm (though they've each picked up some durability questions). Pitts is doing crazy things for a college TE from a statistical standpoint, so I'm curious to see how much your system likes him. He's a TE in name only, as he really functions like a 6'6" WR on the field. The closest thing I've seen from a talent standpoint was a pre-injury Eifert, but Pitts looks more special and could be a top 10-15 pick.

Waddle might be the best of the recent Alabama WRs. He's like the WR version of Darren Sproles. Lacks height, but super explosive and agile.

Another guy I liked in the summer is USC WR Amon-Ra St. Brown. I tried to trade back into the devy draft to get him late, but wasn't able to make it happen. He seems like a really good day two player who can become a solid WR2 for some NFL team. He's not going to stand out in any one specific area, but the overall package of size, speed, route running, and position-specific skill makes him an appealing second-third tier prospect to me.

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1 minute ago, 32 Counter Pass said:

Hey Z,

How are you handling players who opted out or missed this season due injury? I am thinking specifically of Ja'Marr Chase and Justyn Ross. 

I'll have to figure that out eventually. So far I've just posted some 2020 production numbers, which obviously don't include those guys. When I get around to making overall ratings I'll have to find a way to make them work.

I might wind up trying to revamp my whole system, since I could probably come up with something better now if I made it a major project. I set up my approach years ago when we had less data, and it's not that great at accounting for age, missed games, or a player's whole trajectory across his college career. But maybe I'll just do a little tinkering to get things to work not-too-terribly with this one weird season.

Ja'Marr Chase had dominant production in 2019 so he should come out looking great.

Justyn Ross had a mediocre 2019 and a good 2018, so he'll probably come out looking like a decent but not great prospect.

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Love this thread, saw it on Twitter already but I find it easier to engage here. 
 

Can’t wait to talk 2021 prospects. I’ve got my top10’ish at WR and RB already. My biggest under the radar guy that I’m higher on than most is going to be Sage Surratt and he’s not on any of these lists. 
 

Totally agree with EBF that Pitts and Waddle look special in lots of ways 

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Olave really intrigues' me...will he follow in the footsteps of Thomas and McLaurin and be even more productive in the NFL then he was at OSU...Day said he is the best WR he has ever been around:

https://www.elevenwarriors.com/ohio-state-football/2020/11/118146/chris-olaves-legacy-continuing-to-grow-as-ohio-state-wide-receiver-keeps-making-big-plays

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I realize that I didn't make a post after the 2019 season about how the returning players looked as prospects. Here's how the WRs looked based on their production through the 2019 season (according to my formulas, which are designed to evaluate receivers entering the NFL but which tell us something if applied to college players).

Top Prospects:
Ja'Marr Chase    LSU
Sage Surratt    Wk Forest *
Tamorrion Terry    FSU
Rashod Bateman    Minnesota
Tylan Wallace    Okla St

These 5 guys would've gotten a pretty clear thumbs up from my formula last offseason if they'd been entering the draft then. Chase & Wallace had amazing production. The others had very good production and good estimated size/athleticism. Surratt's track record was a little short compared to the others since he missed a few games in 2019 and wasn't great in 2018 (Wallace also missed some games in 2019 but he was great in 2018).
    
Decent Prospects:
Rondale Moore    Purdue
Justyn Ross    Clemson
Reggie Roberson, Jr.    SMU *
JD Spielman    Nebraska
DeVonta Smith    Alabama
Dyami Brown    N Carolina
Chatarius Atwell    Louisville
Marquez Stevenson    Houston
Keylon Stokes    Tulsa

These 9 guys rated out pretty well / decent / borderline thumbs up. Roberson, Smith, Spielman, and Atwell had very good production but issues with their estimated size/athleticism. Moore, Ross, Brown, Stevenson, and Stokes had only pretty good / borderline production (though Brown was close). Roberson gets an asterisk because he missed some games in 2019 (Rondale Moore missed even more games in 2019, but he makes this list on the strength of his 2018 production).
    
Keep an Eye On:
Austin Watkins Jr.    UAB
Nico Collins    Michigan
Isaiah McKoy    Kent State
Damonte Coxie    Memphis
Dazz Newsome    N Carolina
Chris Olave    Ohio State
Warren Jackson    CSU
Siaosi Mariner    Utah State
Brandon Arconado    Wash St
Ja'Marcus Bradley    La-Lafytte
JoJo Ward    Hawai'i
Hasise Dubois    Virginia
Whop Philyor    Indiana
Jaylen Waddle    Alabama
Victor Tucker    Charlotte
David Bell    Purdue

These are guys who wouldn't have gotten a thumbs up for 2020, but who were good enough through 2019 to have put themselves on the radar. If they took another step up in 2020, then their pre-2020 production would count in their favor.

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4 hours ago, Zyphros said:

Love this thread, saw it on Twitter already but I find it easier to engage here. 
 

Can’t wait to talk 2021 prospects. I’ve got my top10’ish at WR and RB already. My biggest under the radar guy that I’m higher on than most is going to be Sage Surratt and he’s not on any of these lists. 
 

Totally agree with EBF that Pitts and Waddle look special in lots of ways 

Surratt is #2 on my list of top prospects through 2019, but obviously didn't appear on the lists for 2020 production since he's not playing. The main negative for him is that we're looking at 9 games of great production from him (since he missed a few games in 2019, opted out in 2020, and wasn't great in 2018), which is kind of thin for a track record. I'm still probably on board with him as early pick, pending more info.

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5 hours ago, ZWK said:

Surratt is #2 on my list of top prospects through 2019, but obviously didn't appear on the lists for 2020 production since he's not playing. The main negative for him is that we're looking at 9 games of great production from him (since he missed a few games in 2019, opted out in 2020, and wasn't great in 2018), which is kind of thin for a track record. I'm still probably on board with him as early pick, pending more info.

Yeah my mistake, I didn't connect 1 to 1 that this was 2020 college production lists. 

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10 hours ago, Biabreakable said:

Having watched a few Gophers games this year I have seen body catching and drops from Bateman. He isn't doing as well as he did last season.

I see some people's rankings have him as a top5 WR in 2021. Definitely don't agree with that.

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On 12/3/2020 at 8:48 AM, Zyphros said:

I see some people's rankings have him as a top5 WR in 2021. Definitely don't agree with that.

Was Tyler Johnson the better Gophers receiver all along?

 

Thanks Z for providing the topic.  Ton of great information in here.. p.s. Is there any way to hide your posts so none of my league mates see it?  Always appreciated..

Edited by HW_53
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2 hours ago, HW_53 said:

Was Tyler Johnson the better Gophers receiver all along?

My cousin who is a Gophers fan and has watched more of their games than me thinks so.

He has a strong opinion about that. We have discussed this a few times over the past year.

I am more on the fence about it. I think there are things Bateman does very well and he has more speed than Johnson does. I don't think he has the same level of body control, hands and toughness of Johnson.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I think my cousin gives Bateman the stink eye a bit as Bateman is a good WR. At the same time I get where he is coming from because the offense does not run through Bateman the way it did with Johnson.

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1 hour ago, Biabreakable said:

My cousin who is a Gophers fan and has watched more of their games than me thinks so.

He has a strong opinion about that. We have discussed this a few times over the past year.

I am more on the fence about it. I think there are things Bateman does very well and he has more speed than Johnson does. I don't think he has the same level of body control, hands and toughness of Johnson.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I think my cousin gives Bateman the stink eye a bit as Bateman is a good WR. At the same time I get where he is coming from because the offense does not run through Bateman the way it did with Johnson.

Thanks for the insight.. in just watching some of Johnsons tape this year, he just seems to pass the eye test when it comes to being an effective mid level receiver.  As far as Bateman goes, unfortunately he will be tossed into the 2020 evaluation salad that many will be. Bad year to be evaluated by an evaluator.

 

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2 minutes ago, HW_53 said:

Thanks for the insight.. in just watching some of Johnsons tape this year, he just seems to pass the eye test when it comes to being an effective mid level receiver.  As far as Bateman goes, unfortunately he will be tossed into the 2020 evaluation salad that many will be. Bad year to be evaluated by an evaluator.

 

I saw him drop a possible TD on a slant route that I think the defender was able to get a piece of.

With the Gophers, he was normally so money on this type of play.

The commentator said that Johnson should have run his route more flat along the goal line to give Brady more space away from the defender.

But the throw was almost behind him, so if he did that he would not have been in position to make the catch where it was thrown.

I think it was a bad throw but I still would like to see Johnson catch that.

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Here's who my formula currently has as the top RB prospects in college football:

Travis Etienne    Clemson

Javonte Williams    N Carolina
Najee Harris    Alabama

Breece Hall    Iowa State *
Kevin Harris    S Carolina *
Isaiah Spiller    Texas A&M *
Khalil Herbert    Va Tech
Javian Hawkins    Louisville
Elijah Mitchell    La-Lafytte
Michael Carter    N Carolina
Chuba Hubbard    Okla St

* not draft eligible

Basically, it's giving a thumbs up to Etienne, Javonte Williams, and Najee Harris, and it wants to see more from everyone else.

Etienne's rushing numbers are down this year, but his receiving, his amazing 2018-19 seasons, and his speed are enough to put him alone on top. Javonte Williams has been the best running back in college football this year by my formula, with amazing efficiency stats and good receiving production too. Najee Harris has multiple seasons of great production as a runner and receiver.

Things get kind of messy after the top 3. For one thing, my RB ratings depend more than other positions on size & athleticism measurements, and advanced stats (especially yards after contact), which I won't have until the pre-draft process. I'm also don't even have size & athleticism estimates for most RBs since I haven't put much effort into updating that info. And then there's this unusual season, which has reduced the number of games played (which my formula counts against players because it sees it as a smaller workload which is a bad sign). Plus some RBs have opted out of this season entirely (or mostly), including two who my formula was high on at the end of last season: Kylin Hill and Kennedy Brooks. Also Kenny Gainwell (opt-out) and Max Borghi (back injury), who showed a lot of promise as receiving backs in 2019 (and I've heard a bunch of positive chatter about Gainwell).

Here's how things looked according to my formula after last season.

Top returning RBs through 2019 season
Travis Etienne    Clemson

Najee Harris    Alabama
Kylin Hill    Miss St
Chuba Hubbard    Okla St
Kennedy Brooks    Oklahoma
Elijah Mitchell    La-Lafytte

Trey Ragas    La-Lafytte
CJ Verdell    Oregon
Javonte Williams    N Carolina
Josh Johnson    La-Monroe
Brenden Knox    Marshall

The top 6 (Etienne through Mitchell) already looked like strong NFL prospects at the time. Etienne & Harris are still up there in the current rankings. Hubbard & Mitchell's numbers are down this year. Hill played in just 3 games this year and was used more as a receiver than as a runner - not sure what's up with that. And Brooks opted out entirely.

The next 5 were in a position where they needed to show something more for me to get excited about them, and one of them has done that: Javonte Williams. Verdell opted out so I guess he's looking the next-best out of this group.

 

Bottom line is: thumbs up to Etienne, J Williams, and N Harris (currently in that order but that could change). After that... we'll see. It will take some time, work, and probably adjustments to my process to have a take on which other RBs are most promising. The leading contenders are the other RBs whose name appears in this post.

Edited by ZWK
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4 hours ago, ZWK said:

Here's who my formula currently has as the top RB prospects in college football:

Travis Etienne    Clemson

Javonte Williams    N Carolina
Najee Harris    Alabama

Breece Hall    Iowa State *
Kevin Harris    S Carolina *
Isaiah Spiller    Texas A&M *
Khalil Herbert    Va Tech
Javian Hawkins    Louisville
Michael Carter    N Carolina
Chuba Hubbard    Okla St

* not draft eligible

Basically, it's giving a thumbs up to Etienne, Javonte Williams, and Najee Harris, and it wants to see more from everyone else.

Etienne's rushing numbers are down this year, but his receiving, his amazing 2018-19 seasons, and his speed are enough to put him alone on top. Javonte Williams has been the best running back in college football this year by my formula, with amazing efficiency stats and good receiving production too. Najee Harris has multiple seasons of great production as a runner and receiver.

Things get kind of messy after the top 3. For one thing, my RB ratings depend more than other positions on size & athleticism measurements, and advanced stats (especially yards after contact), which I won't have until the pre-draft process. I'm also don't even have size & athleticism estimates for most RBs since I haven't put much effort into updating that info. And then there's this unusual season, which has reduced the number of games played (which my formula counts against players because it sees it as a smaller workload which is a bad sign). Plus some RBs have opted out of this season entirely (or mostly), including two who my formula was high on at the end of last season: Kylin Hill and Kennedy Brooks. Also Kenny Gainwell (opt-out) and Max Borghi (back injury), who showed a lot of promise as receiving backs in 2019 (and I've heard a bunch of positive chatter about Gainwell).

Here's how things looked according to my formula after last season.

Top returning RBs through 2019 season
Travis Etienne    Clemson

Najee Harris    Alabama
Kylin Hill    Miss St
Chuba Hubbard    Okla St
Kennedy Brooks    Oklahoma
Elijah Mitchell    La-Lafytte

Trey Ragas    La-Lafytte
CJ Verdell    Oregon
Javonte Williams    N Carolina
Josh Johnson    La-Monroe
Brenden Knox    Marshall

The top 6 (Etienne through Mitchell) already looked like strong NFL prospects at the time. Etienne & Harris are still up there in the current rankings. Hubbard & Mitchell's numbers are down this year. Hill played in just 3 games this year and was used more as a receiver than as a runner - not sure what's up with that. And Brooks opted out entirely.

The next 5 were in a position where they needed to show something more for me to get excited about them, and one of them has done that: Javonte Williams. Verdell opted out so I guess he's looking the next-best out of this group.

 

Bottom line is: thumbs up to Etienne, J Williams, and N Harris (currently in that order but that could change). After that... we'll see. It will take some time, work, and probably adjustments to my process to have a take on which other RBs are most promising. The leading contenders are the other RBs whose name appears in this post.

Verdell is playing, but it looks like he's been dinged up the last couple games. 

Your analysis has me intrigued by the 2022 RB class, at least at the top. I hadn't heard of Harris before. 

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4 hours ago, jtd13 said:

I'm surprised to not see Jermar Jefferson anywhere on the RB list. He has been prolific in his 4 games. 

He's next on the list after Carter & Hubbard. Only playing 4 games this year is a big negative in my formula. He was down even farther because I had him estimated as being real slow (based on Draftscout's estimate from a year ago); I updated to the current Draftscout estimated speed + size which moved him up behind Hubbard.

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I went back and updated size+speed information for the top 25 RBs by production. Now none of them have missing data (except Kevin Harris, who doesn't seem to have a 40 time estimate on draftscout) and none of them are relying on estimates from last year. A few guys rose in the rankings because of this, mainly from faster estimated speed.

Biggest risers are Jermar Jefferson (as mentioned in my post from a few minutes ago) and Elijah Mitchell who should actually make the leaderboard near the bottom between Javian Hawkins and Michael Carter (I've edited that post to add him).

If I extended the leaderboard, the next 10 players on the list are: Jermar Jefferson, Sincere McCormick, Chris Rodriguez Jr., Kyren Williams, Tyler Allgeier, Mohamed Ibrahim, Tank Bigsby, Jaret Patterson, Leddie Brown, and Trey Ragas.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here are the top seasons according to my QB efficiency metric by quarterbacks who are still in college:

Mac Jones    Alabama    2020    
Justin Fields    Ohio State    2019    
            
Kaleb Eleby    W Mich    2020    *
Zach Wilson    BYU    2020    
Grayson McCall    Coast Car    2020    
Kyle Trask    Florida    2020    
Tanner Morgan    Minnesota    2019    
Trevor Lawrence    Clemson    2020    
Matt Corral    Miss    2020    
            
Sam Howell    N Carolina    2020    
Kedon Slovis    USC    2019    
Desmond Ridder    Cincinnati    2020    
Trevor Lawrence    Clemson    2019    
McKenzie Milton    UCF    2017    
Dorian Thompson-Robinson    UCLA    2020    *
Tyler Shough    Oregon    2020    *
Trevor Lawrence    Clemson    2018    
D'Eriq King    Houston    2018    
Jack Coan    Wisconsin    2019    
Justin Fields    Ohio State    2020    *
Layne Hatcher    Ark St    2020    
Brady White    Memphis    2019    
Ian Book    Notre Dame    2018    
Spencer Rattler    Oklahoma    2020    
Sam Ehlinger    Texas    2019    
K.J. Costello    Stanford    2018    
McKenzie Milton    UCF    2018    

* less than 9 games

The top tier here rate among the best seasons we've seen on this metric (they're both in the top 11 since 2008), the next tier is also elite college production, and the next tier is also good.

So all of the FBS quarterbacks who are in the round 1-2 discussion are getting a thumbs up here (Lawrence, Fields, Wilson, Trask, Mac Jones). I think that's partly a sign of this being a strong QB class, and partly this style of analysis of QBs is getting less useful with the changes to the college passing environment.

I haven't looked at FCS numbers, so this doesn't tell us anything about Trey Lance.

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College Football 2020: PFF's All-American Team

We have apparently just seen a record-breaking year for PFF grades at all four fantasy-relevant positions

QB Mac Jones - overall grade beats Joe Burrow
RB Javonte Williams - rushing grade beats Ronald Jones
WR DeVonta Smith - receiving grade beats Amari Cooper (Power 5 only)
TE Kyle Pitts - receiving grade (previous recordholder unspecified)

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8 hours ago, ZWK said:

Here are the top seasons according to my QB efficiency metric by quarterbacks who are still in college:

Mac Jones    Alabama    2020    
Justin Fields    Ohio State    2019    
            
Kaleb Eleby    W Mich    2020    *
Zach Wilson    BYU    2020    
Grayson McCall    Coast Car    2020    
Kyle Trask    Florida    2020    
Tanner Morgan    Minnesota    2019    
Trevor Lawrence    Clemson    2020    
Matt Corral    Miss    2020    
            
Sam Howell    N Carolina    2020    
Kedon Slovis    USC    2019    
Desmond Ridder    Cincinnati    2020    
Trevor Lawrence    Clemson    2019    
McKenzie Milton    UCF    2017    
Dorian Thompson-Robinson    UCLA    2020    *
Tyler Shough    Oregon    2020    *
Trevor Lawrence    Clemson    2018    
D'Eriq King    Houston    2018    
Jack Coan    Wisconsin    2019    
Justin Fields    Ohio State    2020    *
Layne Hatcher    Ark St    2020    
Brady White    Memphis    2019    
Ian Book    Notre Dame    2018    
Spencer Rattler    Oklahoma    2020    
Sam Ehlinger    Texas    2019    
K.J. Costello    Stanford    2018    
McKenzie Milton    UCF    2018    

* less than 9 games

The top tier here rate among the best seasons we've seen on this metric (they're both in the top 11 since 2008), the next tier is also elite college production, and the next tier is also good.

So all of the FBS quarterbacks who are in the round 1-2 discussion are getting a thumbs up here (Lawrence, Fields, Wilson, Trask, Mac Jones). I think that's partly a sign of this being a strong QB class, and partly this style of analysis of QBs is getting less useful with the changes to the college passing environment.

I haven't looked at FCS numbers, so this doesn't tell us anything about Trey Lance.

I have heard some folks compare this upcoming QB draft class to the class of 1983 which is of course hyperbolic but maybe they are that good as prospects?

I would think one of these QB decides to not declare if the competition is that good.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have updated my WR production formula for 2020. Here's how it ranks the most productive receivers of the 2020 season, on a per game basis:

DeVonta Smith    Alabama    (12g)
Jaylen Waddle    Alabama    (5g)
Chris Olave    Ohio State    (6g)
D'Wayne Eskridge    W Mich    (6g)
Terrace Marshall Jr.    LSU    (7g)
Elijah Moore    Miss    (8g)
Jaquarii Roberson    Wk Forest    (9g)
Treylon Burks    Arkansas    (9g)
Ty Fryfogle    Indiana    (8g)
Jahan Dotson    Penn State    (9g)
Dyami Brown    N Carolina    (11g)
Jaelon Darden    N Texas    (9g)
Garrett Wilson    Ohio State    (7g)
Sam Pinckney    Georgia St    (10g)
Bailey Gaither    SJSU    (7g)
Bo Melton    Rutgers    (9g)
Jalen Tolbert    USA    (11g)
Khalil Shakir    Boise St    (7g)
Romeo Doubs    Nevada    (9g)
Marlon Williams    UCF    (8g)
Kyle Pitts    Florida    (8g)
Tylan Wallace    Okla St    (10g)
Calvin Turner    Hawai'i    (9g)
Simi Fehoko    Stanford    (6g)
Kadarius Toney    Florida    (11g)
David Bell    Purdue    (6g)

Bell is the last guy with a production rating over 4.0 on my scale, which is what I usually think of as the cutoff for WR prospects. Though some other guys not listed are still in the borderline / gray zone.

Note that this is just 2020 production, not career production or overall prospect rating. Ja'Marr Chase didn't play in 2020 so he doesn't show up on this list, but he will be at or near the top in career production & overall prospect rating once I've finished updating those (and I see him as the top WR prospect). That will also make a big difference for some other guys like Rashod Bateman & Tutu Atwell.

Note that this is just showing per game production. It isn't adjusting at all for the fact that production is more random and less informative over a smaller sample size. So ranking highly on this list is not as impressive for the guys who played fewer games.

Similarly, there is a less clear signal for guys who missed the list and only played a few games - it's more like an "incomplete" rather than a failing grade. Still, I really would like to see a guy stand out in college before liking him as a prospect, so I am wary of guys who didn't make the cut this year and haven't had that caliber of season in previous year.

The two big updates I had to make to my spreadsheet in order to generate this near-final version of my production rankings were adding target data (which I got from Rotowire) and changing my source for strength of schedule ratings. SRS-based strength of schedule ratings were broken by the lack of interconference games, so I switched to FEI for this year's SOS adjustment.

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  • 1 month later...

Career rushing efficiency, as measured by .5FD+TD+20/att. (Only half credit for first downs, which is different than what I've posted before. This is a little less simple, a little more accurate as a reflection of production.)

0.33 Travis Etienne (686 att)
0.32 Javonte Williams (366 att)
0.32 Rhamondre Stevenson (165 att)
0.28 Elijah Mitchell (526 att)
0.28 Jaret Patterson (636 att)
0.27 Trey Ragas (596 att)
0.26 Trey Sermon (455 att)
0.26 DeAndre Torrey (361 att)
0.26 Najee Harris (638 att)
0.26 Kenneth Gainwell (235 att)
0.25 Chuba Hubbard (585 att)
0.25 Michael Carter (514 att)
0.24 Khalil Herbert (474 att)
0.24 avg RB
0.23 Javian Hawkins (399 att)
0.22 Jermar Jefferson (514 att)
0.21 Kylin Hill (452 att)
0.21 Brenden Knox (550 att)
0.20 Pooka Williams (415 att)
0.20 Larry Rountree III (746 att)
0.18 Demetric Felton (233 att)

And here are the early overall RB rankings by my formula, with my standard tier labels. These include rushing efficiency, rushing volume, receiving, yards after contact, age, (estimated) size, (estimated speed), and some other stuff. These could move a fair amount if we get accurate measurements.

Wow: Javonte Williams
Guys I Like A Lot: Travis Etienne
Guys I Like: Najee Harris
Awkwardly Between Tiers: Michael Carter
Guys Who Have A Decent Chance: Javian Hawkins, Elijah Mitchell, Khalil Herbert, Kenneth Gainwell *
Guys I Can't Rule Out: Jaret Patterson, Trey Sermon, Kylin Hill, Chuba Hubbard, Trey Ragas, Rhamondre Stevenson, Jermar Jefferson, Larry Rountree, Brenden Knox, DeAndre Torrey

* rating Gainwell as if he'd entered the draft a year ago, which seems like the best way to deal with his opt-out season

Some of the other guys who didn't play many games this year are probably underrated a bit by my formula.

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7 hours ago, Iceman03 said:

Mac Jones overall rating for 2020 👀

I just updated the QB SOS numbers to use FEI (since SRS works badly with the lack of interconference games) and that makes his rating even better. 2nd best QB season on record since 2008, even with era adjustments, by my efficiency numbers.

Kyler Murray    2018
Mac Jones    2020
Russell Wilson    2011
Tua Tagovailoa    2018
Joe Burrow    2019
Sam Bradford    2008
Baker Mayfield    2016
Jameis Winston    2013
Baker Mayfield    2017
Jalen Hurts    2019
Justin Fields    2019
Johnny Manziel    2013
Zach Wilson    2020
Zach Mettenberger    2013
Marcus Mariota    2014
Robert Griffin III    2011
Grayson McCall    2020
Colt McCoy    2008
Andrew Luck    2010
Marcus Mariota    2013
Kyle Trask    2020
Tua Tagovailoa    2019

Likely early rd1 picks Fields & Wilson up there. Less touted Kyle Trask also up there. Lawrence doesn't make this leaderboard but he was consistently good, with all 3 of his seasons making the top 100. FCS QBs not included, so no data on Trey Lance.

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On 2/20/2021 at 3:24 PM, ZWK said:

I just updated the QB SOS numbers to use FEI (since SRS works badly with the lack of interconference games) and that makes his rating even better. 2nd best QB season on record since 2008, even with era adjustments, by my efficiency numbers.

Kyler Murray    2018
Mac Jones    2020
Russell Wilson    2011
Tua Tagovailoa    2018
Joe Burrow    2019
Sam Bradford    2008
Baker Mayfield    2016
Jameis Winston    2013
Baker Mayfield    2017
Jalen Hurts    2019
Justin Fields    2019
Johnny Manziel    2013
Zach Wilson    2020
Zach Mettenberger    2013
Marcus Mariota    2014
Robert Griffin III    2011
Grayson McCall    2020
Colt McCoy    2008
Andrew Luck    2010
Marcus Mariota    2013
Kyle Trask    2020
Tua Tagovailoa    2019

Likely early rd1 picks Fields & Wilson up there. Less touted Kyle Trask also up there. Lawrence doesn't make this leaderboard but he was consistently good, with all 3 of his seasons making the top 100. FCS QBs not included, so no data on Trey Lance.

Looking over this list, I'm not seeing a strong correlation between these highly rated seasons and fantasy (or NFL, for that matter) success for these players. I realize the jury is out on a few of the recent players, just something I noticed. Any thoughts on that?

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On 2/19/2021 at 1:56 AM, ZWK said:

Career rushing efficiency, as measured by .5FD+TD+20/att. (Only half credit for first downs, which is different than what I've posted before. This is a little less simple, a little more accurate as a reflection of production.)

0.33 Travis Etienne (686 att)
0.32 Javonte Williams (366 att)
0.32 Rhamondre Stevenson (165 att)
0.28 Elijah Mitchell (526 att)
0.28 Jaret Patterson (636 att)
0.27 Trey Ragas (596 att)
0.26 Trey Sermon (455 att)
0.26 DeAndre Torrey (361 att)
0.26 Najee Harris (638 att)
0.26 Kenneth Gainwell (235 att)
0.25 Chuba Hubbard (585 att)
0.25 Michael Carter (514 att)
0.24 Khalil Herbert (474 att)
0.24 avg RB
0.23 Javian Hawkins (399 att)
0.22 Jermar Jefferson (514 att)
0.21 Kylin Hill (452 att)
0.21 Brenden Knox (550 att)
0.20 Pooka Williams (415 att)
0.20 Larry Rountree III (746 att)
0.18 Demetric Felton (233 att)

And here are the early overall RB rankings by my formula, with my standard tier labels. These include rushing efficiency, rushing volume, receiving, yards after contact, age, (estimated) size, (estimated speed), and some other stuff. These could move a fair amount if we get accurate measurements.

Wow: Javonte Williams
Guys I Like A Lot: Travis Etienne
Guys I Like: Najee Harris
Awkwardly Between Tiers: Michael Carter
Guys Who Have A Decent Chance: Javian Hawkins, Elijah Mitchell, Khalil Herbert, Kenneth Gainwell *
Guys I Can't Rule Out: Jaret Patterson, Trey Sermon, Kylin Hill, Chuba Hubbard, Trey Ragas, Rhamondre Stevenson, Jermar Jefferson, Larry Rountree, Brenden Knox, DeAndre Torrey

* rating Gainwell as if he'd entered the draft a year ago, which seems like the best way to deal with his opt-out season

Some of the other guys who didn't play many games this year are probably underrated a bit by my formula.

The Yards After Contact numbers that I was using were too high (I hadn't realized that the PFF draft guide was including receiving plays); fixing that drops the whole class down a bit. So Javonte Williams now just on the "Guys I Like A Lot" tier.

Travis Etienne now neck-and-neck with Williams on that tier, mainly thanks to weighing in at a solid 215 at his pro day. Also had a good 40 time - 4.41 unofficially, 4.40 according to Fusue Vue, 4.45 on draftscout. For now, he's either slightly behind or slightly ahead of Williams, depending on which number you pick in that range.

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6 minutes ago, ZWK said:

The Yards After Contact numbers that I was using were too high (I hadn't realized that the PFF draft guide was including receiving plays); fixing that drops the whole class down a bit. So Javonte Williams now just on the "Guys I Like A Lot" tier.

Travis Etienne now neck-and-neck with Williams on that tier, mainly thanks to weighing in at a solid 215 at his pro day. Also had a good 40 time - 4.41 unofficially, 4.40 according to Fusue Vue, 4.45 on draftscout. For now, he's either slightly behind or slightly ahead of Williams, depending on which number you pick in that range.

ETN at a not so solid 215.  More like soft 215, man boobs and all.  He will be back to 200/205 for his playing weight.

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13 minutes ago, JohnnyU said:

ETN at a not so solid 215.  More like soft 215, man boobs and all.  He will be back to 200/205 for his playing weight.

Maybe. The good news for my RB rating formula is that he did his weighin & his athletic testing on the same day, and if he packed on some bad weight that probably hurt him in the athletic testing. If he'd been in better shape at 205, my formula would be penalizing him for the lower weight but rewarding him for running faster & jumping higher/farther, and I'm not sure if it would've liked that size/athleticism combo more or less than what he showed at 215.

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On 2/19/2021 at 3:56 AM, ZWK said:

Career rushing efficiency, as measured by .5FD+TD+20/att. (Only half credit for first downs, which is different than what I've posted before. This is a little less simple, a little more accurate as a reflection of production.)

0.33 Travis Etienne (686 att)
0.32 Javonte Williams (366 att)
0.32 Rhamondre Stevenson (165 att)
0.28 Elijah Mitchell (526 att)
0.28 Jaret Patterson (636 att)
0.27 Trey Ragas (596 att)
0.26 Trey Sermon (455 att)
0.26 DeAndre Torrey (361 att)
0.26 Najee Harris (638 att)
0.26 Kenneth Gainwell (235 att)
0.25 Chuba Hubbard (585 att)
0.25 Michael Carter (514 att)
0.24 Khalil Herbert (474 att)
0.24 avg RB
0.23 Javian Hawkins (399 att)
0.22 Jermar Jefferson (514 att)
0.21 Kylin Hill (452 att)
0.21 Brenden Knox (550 att)
0.20 Pooka Williams (415 att)
0.20 Larry Rountree III (746 att)
0.18 Demetric Felton (233 att)

And here are the early overall RB rankings by my formula, with my standard tier labels. These include rushing efficiency, rushing volume, receiving, yards after contact, age, (estimated) size, (estimated speed), and some other stuff. These could move a fair amount if we get accurate measurements.

Wow: Javonte Williams
Guys I Like A Lot: Travis Etienne
Guys I Like: Najee Harris
Awkwardly Between Tiers: Michael Carter
Guys Who Have A Decent Chance: Javian Hawkins, Elijah Mitchell, Khalil Herbert, Kenneth Gainwell *
Guys I Can't Rule Out: Jaret Patterson, Trey Sermon, Kylin Hill, Chuba Hubbard, Trey Ragas, Rhamondre Stevenson, Jermar Jefferson, Larry Rountree, Brenden Knox, DeAndre Torrey

* rating Gainwell as if he'd entered the draft a year ago, which seems like the best way to deal with his opt-out season

Some of the other guys who didn't play many games this year are probably underrated a bit by my formula.

I realize that in follow up post you changed this because of some breaking tackle data that you used.

Even so, how is it that you would have Williams in a tier above ETN when ETN performed better than Williams in these combined metrics with near twice the sample size?

Greater efficiency on more volume is > than lower efficiency on less volume no?

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9 minutes ago, Biabreakable said:

I realize that in follow up post you changed this because of some breaking tackle data that you used.

Even so, how is it that you would have Williams in a tier above ETN when ETN performed better than Williams in these combined metrics with near twice the sample size?

Greater efficiency on more volume is > than lower efficiency on less volume no?

Williams is bigger & had better elusiveness numbers (yards after contact & missed tackles). Those were his main edge over ETN.

The gap between them closed mainly because Etienne weighed in bigger than expected.

Their overall production profiles are fairly close. Williams is younger, which helps balance out the difference in volume. I also put some extra weight on a player's last season, which helps Williams & hurts Etienne compared to just using career numbers.

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1 minute ago, ZWK said:

Williams is bigger & had better elusiveness numbers (yards after contact & missed tackles). Those were his main edge over ETN.

The gap between them closed mainly because Etienne weighed in bigger than expected.

Their overall production profiles are fairly close. Williams is younger, which helps balance out the difference in volume. I also put some extra weight on a player's last season, which helps Williams & hurts Etienne compared to just using career numbers.

Isnt that all baked into the combined metric?

If so .33 is > than . 32 and 686 is > than 366

It does not add up unless I am really missing something here.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tight end production.

This stat is "Receiving touchdowns plus 25-yard receptions, per 13 games", over the player's last n seasons, picking the n that is most favorable for each player on this stat with a minimum of 19 games (so at least 2 seasons).

TD+25yd per 13g
18.6 Kyle Pitts 2019-20
18.3 Kylen Granson 2019-20
13.7 Cary Angeline 2019-20
13.5 Brevin Jordan 2018-20
12.5 Kenny Yeboah 2018-20
12.0 Hunter Long 2018-20
11.8 Tony Poljan 2019-20
10.8 Quintin Morris 2018-20
9.9 Pat Freiermuth 2018-20
7.0 Nick Eubanks 2017-20
6.2 Tommy Tremble 2019-20
5.1 Tre' McKitty 2018-20
3.4 Noah Gray 2017-20

For comparison, here are the top TEs on this stat in my database:

19.5 Ladarius Green
18.3 Rob Gronkowski *
18.1 Thomas Duarte +
17.6 Jermaine Gresham *
16.8 Noah Fant
16.5 Coby Fleener
16.3 Jace Amaro
15.6 Harrison Bryant
15.5 Mark Andrews
15.0 Gavin Escobar
14.9 Albert Okwuegbunam
14.7 Brycen Hopkins
14.7 Evan Engram
14.6 Austin Seferian-Jenkins
14.1 Gerald Everett

* using estimated 25+ yard receptions for Gronk & Gresham's 2007 season (based on receptions & YPR) since I don't have 25+ data for that season
+ Duarte played WR in college and was drafted as a TE/WR tweener. Several of the other guys on the list were also tweener types but they all played TE in college; I think Green is the only one who faced serious discussion of being moved to WR in the NFL.

Kyle Pitts & Kylen Granson are at the top of the leaderboard for this draft class, and among the top on record. For Pitts it's yet another breakdown where he looks special. I already have Pitts in my top 4 dynasty TEs, the only question is how to order him vs Kelce vs Waller at 2-3-4 (any order is plausible; I recently posted rankings with Pitts at 2 but keep going back-and-forth on this). I am pretty sure, for now, about Kittle at TE1 based on his combo of age, production, and projected 2021 production.

SMU's Kylen Granson is on the opposite end of the hype spectrum from Pitts. He entered college as a WR at Rice in 2016, and transferred to SMU where he began playing TE in 2019. He had his best two seasons at SMU, as an undersized tweener-type TE often playing out of the slot, with 43/721/9 in 12 games in 2019 and 35/536/5 in 10 games in 2020. So he's an older player with a late breakout, but had great production for a TE by the end of his college career. At the senior bowl he measured in at 6'2", 242 pounds, which is on the smallest end for TEs but is essentially the same size as Irv Smith Jr. and Dustin Keller. In high school he ran a 11.07 100m, which suggests that he'll "surprise" us in a few days with a 40 in the low 4.5s or so at the SMU pro day (3/25).

This is one of the stats putting Jordan > Freiermuth for the TE2 vs. TE3 spot.

Yeboah & Long are two of the contenders for that next tier of TEs after Pitts, Freiermuth, and Jordan, and they check out on this stat. Not so good for Tremble & McKitty.

Cary Angeline, Tony Poljan, and Quintin Morris are the other 3 with pretty good numbers here. I watched some of their highlights - Poljan looked slow & lumbering so I don't have much interest in him, which leaves Angeline & Morris as potential sleepers.

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