revolutionary tools.  groundbreaking articles.  proven results.

7 Freakish Athletes Who Could Emerge as 2016’s Breakout WR

With the 2014 wide receiver class looking like one of the best in history and the depressing 2016 class still lending itself to Rookie Derangement, it’s easy to forget about 2015’s ultra-athletic prospects. Athleticism tends to be an overrated element of WR evaluation, but drafters are always on the lookout for upside players who might fall through the ADP cracks. If I’m going to invest in an opportunity-based breakout from a player with questionable production, I strongly prefer a Martavis Bryant type.1

The 2015 class provides us at least seven possibilities when trying to populate our rosters with breakout WR candidates of the freak athlete variety.

No. 1 Sammie Coates

Just How Athletic Is He? Coates posted a 41-inch vertical, a 4.43 forty, and a 6.98 three-cone at 212 pounds. That earned him a 97th Percentile SPARQ. He might be the second most athletic fantasy-relevant receiver in the NFL after Julio Jones.

Why He’ll Break Out: Coates had a tremendous sophomore season at Auburn. Had he been draft-eligible, he could have moved on with impressive comps.

Coates 2013 Comp

Because he posted such an elite peak season and declared as an underclassman, FO gave him the second best Playmaker Score in the entire 2015 class. Perhaps even more than his athleticism and 2013’s fleeting production, Coates inherits tremendous opportunity with Martavis Bryant’s suspension.

Why He Won’t: Coates’ career msYDs of 0.24 is below Kevin Cole’s threshold for success, and he made little impact as a rookie before flashing in their playoff loss. Rookie year performance is a key indicator of future year breakouts, leaving Coates in a dispiriting cohort of similar players.

No. 2 Chris Conley

Just How Athletic Is He? Conley is an entirely different breed of athlete with a 4.35 forty and 45-inch vertical at 213 pounds. He scored a 93.4 in the Megatron index.

Why He’ll Break Out: Rich Hribar details why he was undervalued as a prospect. Conley didn’t make much noise as a rookie, but he’s expected to start opposite Jeremy Maclin this season with Albert Wilson moving to the slot.

Why He Won’t: Conley wasn’t a productive receiver in college, and most owners will question whether Alex Smith can support more than two fantasy receivers.2

No. 3 Breshad Perriman

Just How Athletic Is He?

Why He’ll Break Out: Last year I suggested Perriman was a younger version of Kevin White. His final season production comps argue for selecting him everywhere.

Perriman SP

He’s a better prospect than the big names from this year’s class and shouldn’t have much trouble seizing the main role in Baltimore if healthy.

Why He Won’t: Will he ever be healthy? Perriman’s recent ACL scare follows a rookie year lost to a strained PCL. He may be the least reliable player in the entire fantasy universe.

No. 4 Dorial Green-Beckham

Just How Athletic Is He?

For what it’s worth, I think it’s defensible to claim that a mix of agility and speed would make a player the most athletic. Chris Conley did really well on the vertical leap and broad, but those are essentially testing the same thing. Agility and speed are slightly more different components of athleticism. – Frank DuPont, DGB Might Secretly Be the Most Athletic Rookie WR

Green-Beckham sports the best combination of scaled speed and scaled agility in a class loaded with athletic firepower.

NAMESCHOOLWTFORTYCONESPD SCOREScaled AgilityScaled SpeedCMBSource
DORIAL GREEN BECKHAMOKLAHOMA2374.496.891177175146C
KEVIN WHITEWEST VIRGINIA2154.356.921206680146C
AMARI COOPERALABAMA2114.426.711117866144C
DARREN WALLERGEORGIA TECH2384.467.071206080140C
CHRIS CONLEYGEORGIA2134.357.061195778135C
DAMIERE BYRDSOUTH CAROLINA1734.276.591048055135PD
DEVIN FUNCHESSMICHIGAN2324.56.981136469133PD
TYRELL WILLIAMSWESTERN OREGON2044.436.741067558133PD
KENNY BELLNEBRASKA1974.426.661037954133C
GEORGE FARMERSOUTHERN CALIFORNIA2134.471146171132PD
PHILLIP DORSETTMIAMI FL1854.336.71057557132C
PHILLIP DORSETTMIAMI FL1854.286.851106665131PD
TRE MCBRIDEWILLIAM MARY2104.416.961116366129C
CAMERON MEREDITHILLINOIS STATE2074.496.711027752129PD
JORDAN TAYLORRICE2094.526.691007949128PD
SAMMIE COATESAUBURN2124.436.981106265127C
BUD SASSERMISSOURI2194.536.881046955124PD
JORDAN LESLIEBYU2044.446.871056757124PD
AUSTIN HILLARIZONA2144.596.72967843121PD
DEANDRE CARTERSACRAMENTO STATE1854.446.64957842120PD
TY MONTGOMERYSTANFORD2214.517.041075960119PD
SHAKIM PHILLIPSBOSTON COLLEGE2044.436.971066158119PD
TY MONTGOMERYSTANFORD2214.556.971036354117C
EVAN SPENCEROHIO STATE2084.457.031065858116PD
DEMETRIUS WILSONARKANSAS1884.486.65937838116PD
MARIO ALFORDWEST VIRGINIA1804.436.64937838116C
NEAL STERLINGMONMOUTH NJ2384.637.071046055115PD
ISSAC BLAKENEYDUKE2234.626.89986946115PD
TELLO LUCKETTHARDING2114.47.281134369112PD
JAKE KUMEROWWISCONSIN WHITEWATER2094.546.9986646112PD
DAVARIS DANIELSNOTRE DAME2014.536.81957042112PD
JUSTIN HARDYEAST CAROLINA1924.566.63898032112C
NICK HARWELLKANSAS1934.526.73927437111PD
KEITH MUMPHERYMICHIGAN STATE2154.547.071015751108C
DEANDREW WHITEALABAMA1934.446.97996048108C
ANDRE DEBOSEFLORIDA1904.446.93986246108PD
TYLER LOCKETTKANSAS STATE1824.46.89976345108C
VINCE MAYLEWASHINGTON STATE2244.676.93946640106C
JAXON SHIPLEYTEXAS1924.526.82926837105PD
LUCKY WHITEHEADFLORIDA ATLANTIC1794.396.89966243105PD
STEFON DIGGSMARYLAND1954.467.03995648104C
QUINTON DUNBARFLORIDA1994.467.11015251103PD
LEVI NORWOODBAYLOR1974.66.78887231103PD
JACKIE WILLIAMSCENTRAL FLORIDA1904.656.58818320103PD
DEVIN GARDNERMICHIGAN2184.656.96936438102PD
DARON BROWNNORTHERN ILLINOIS2054.547.04975745102C
SHANE WYNNINDIANA1674.346.89946140101PD
KASEN WILLIAMSWASHINGTON2184.637.05955842100PD
JARROD WESTSYRACUSE2124.587.06965743100PD
KAELIN CLAYUTAH1954.516.97946040100C
KEANON LOWEOREGON1854.466.94946040100PD
DEZ LEWISCENTRAL ARKANSAS2144.587.1197544599C
RANNELL HALLCENTRAL FLORIDA1984.66.8688673198C
DRES ANDERSONUTAH1874.546.8388673198PD
DEVANTE DAVISNEVADA LAS VEGAS2204.577.25101465197C
DEONTAY GREENBERRYHOUSTON2114.527.23101465197PD
ROSS SCHEUERMANLAFAYETTE2044.457.29104425597PD
DEON LONGMARYLAND1924.516.9893593897C
JAMISON CROWDERDUKE1854.466.9994574097PD
KEVONTE MARTIN MANLEYIOWA1984.586.9490623496PD
KYLE PRATERNORTHWESTERN2314.757.0791593594PD
JUSTIN MCCAYKANSAS2254.597.33101425193PD
TITUS DAVISCENTRAL MICHIGAN1964.517.1495504292C
CHANDLER WORTHYTROY1764.397.0895504292PD
RASHAD GREENEFLORIDA STATE1824.536.8886632891C
KENNY COOKGARDNER WEBB2084.67.1393523890PD
MALCOME KENNEDYTEXAS A M2074.627.191543589C
JJ NELSONALABAMA BIRMINGHAM1564.287.0293513889PD
ROSS SCHEUERMANLAFAYETTE2044.627.0890543488C
TONY LIPPETTMICHIGAN STATE1924.616.9285622688C
DARIUS WHITEMISSOURI2104.657.1290533487PD
MATT MILTONLOUISVILLE2004.696.9283642387PD
TEBUCKY JONESFORDHAM1964.61787582987PD
ANDRE DAVISSOUTH FLORIDA2114.687.0988553186PD
ANTHONY JOHNSONWEST TEXAS AM1994.647.0686552883PD
CHRIS HARPERCALIFORNIA1824.537.0386542882PD
RJ HARRISNEW HAMPSHIRE1914.527.2392433780PD
MATT MILLERBOISE STATE2204.787.1284542579PD
CHRIS JONESALABAMA1824.636.9179621779C
DOMINIC RUFRANWYOMING1884.547.2189443276PD
EZELL RUFFINSAN DIEGO STATE2184.687.3591403575C
JAMISON CROWDERDUKE1854.567.1786462874PD
MARQUEZ CLARKCENTRAL OKLAHOMA1794.567.0783512374C
RICKY COLLINSTEXAS A M COMMERCE1984.537.4394324072PD
VERNON JOHNSONTEXAS A M COMMERCE1964.567.3791363571PD
JOSH HARPERFRESNO STATE1914.647.1582482270C
TELLO LUCKETTHARDING2114.657.5190293463C
JAMEON LEWISMISSISSIPPI STATE1884.657.2180441862PD
TOMMY SHULERMARSHALL1894.737.376391251PD

Why He’ll Break Out: DGB’s collegiate misadventures, previous production, and impending situation are all eerily similar to that of a recent mega-breakout as he entered his league-winning season.

DGB and Gordon

Green-Beckham is also one of two risky breakout candidates with absolutely massive upside.

Why He Won’t: DGB never crested a 25 percent yardage share at Missouri and only managed 14 percent of the targets as a rookie in Tennessee’s woebegone offense. Although the Titans coaches are being lambasted for demoting him for the ultra-productive Tajae Sharpe, it’s possible he’s just a bigger version of Justin Hunter.

No. 5 Devin Funchess

Just How Athletic Is He? The fantasy world was floored by Derrick Henry‘s 4.54 forty and 37-inch vertical at 247 pounds. Weighing that much actually looks like a negative for RBs,3 but huge WRs tend to have outsized production. At 6-feet-4 and 232 pounds, Funchess jumped 38.5 inches at the 2015 combine. He then ran a reported 4.47 forty and managed a 6.98 three-cone at his pro day. When it comes to pro day results, skepticism is warranted, but Funchess may be a better athlete than Henry.

Why He’ll Break Out: The Panthers intend to move Funchess ahead of Ted Ginn and Corey Brown this season, providing the opportunity necessary for him to become the next Brandon Marshall, Demaryius Thomas, or Vincent Jackson.

Why He Won’t: If your WR projection system emphasizes college touchdowns and rookie receiving yards, then don’t overthink it. Funchess sucks.

No. 6 Kevin White

Just How Athletic Is He? White blazed to a 4.35 forty, slid under the 7-second bar in the 3-cone at 6.92, and jumped 36.5 inches, extremely well-rounded athleticism indeed for a 6-foot-2, 215-pound receiver.

Why He’ll Break Out: White is a big time physical specimen who went for 109-1447-10 at West Virginia right before being taken No. 7 overall. He should see plenty of targets and relatively little defensive attention opposite Alshon Jeffery.

Why He Won’t: Top 10 WRs do bust from time to time4 and White’s production wasn’t particularly impressive from a per-team-target or market share perspective.

No. 7 Phillip Dorsett

Just How Athletic Is He? Dorsett ripped off a 4.33 forty, 6.7 three-cone, and 37-inch vertical at the NFL combine and then bettered those numbers with a 4.28 forty, 38-inch vertical, and 10-foot-9 broad jump at his pro day.

Why He’ll Break Out: Dorsett was guaranteed plenty of opportunity when Ryan Grigson selected him with the No. 29 pick in the 2015 draft. Departures in Indianapolis have vacated 161 targets, and I’ve argued that fantasy owners are choosing the wrong breakout candidate by selecting Donte Moncrief so early in drafts.

Why He Won’t: He fails in the two key production areas – college career market share of yards (0.19) and rookie receiving yards (225).

The Big Picture

I’ve provided the pros and cons for each of the receivers, but it’s also incumbent upon me to draw a few conclusions. For that, we must also consider price.

Freak Athlete ADP

With Green-Beckham’s ADP dropping after his underwhelming performance at OTAs, White remains the only WR with a prohibitive price tag. Meanwhile, Conley sticks out as the only WR with the type of production that precludes even a late round flyer. My current tactics rely on diversification between Funchess, Perriman, Dorsett, Coates, and Green-Beckham in the early double-digit range.

I recently traded for Perriman and Funchess during the RotoViz Dynasty League rookie draft, selected Coates during the Scott Fish Bowl, and landed Perriman, Funchess, and DGB in a recent MFL10 where I used the All-In WR Approach to Cover a RB-RB Start.

  1. If for no other reason than unproductive players with poor athleticism don’t get the myriad chances provided to unproductive players with elite athleticism.  (back)
  2. Last year Maclin finished as WR16 while Travis Kelce checked in at TE8.  (back)
  3. Although to be fair, it’s the size/speed combination drafters like, not either attribute in isolation.  (back)
  4. Just look at Charles Rodgers, David Terrell, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Tavon Austin. You could even include Michael Crabtree unless you feel like owners are satisfied with the production they’ve gotten from him.  (back)

recent and related

In case you missed it

Dynasty Hit Rates: 2016 Draft Class

  If you’re just reading this series for the first time, this is an investigation of the actual hit rates of previous Dynasty rookie classes. Starting with 2010, there’s been some very productive classes and some more scattered with hits. The 2016 class is one of the latter. That doesn’t

Read More

Rapid Reaction: First Round Opportunity Outlook

  As far as first rounds go from a fantasy perspective, no need to sugar coat it, this was a snoozer for the first half of it. We knew going in the back third of the round was where we were most likely to see some fantasy football related fireworks,

Read More

RotoViz NFL Draft Live Reactions — Day 2

  The RotoViz Slack chat is the place to be when it comes to in-depth, instant, and astute analysis of developing NFL news and events. For years, it’s been the first place I turned when I wanted intelligent, measured reactions anytime anything goes down. And while that’s great if you’re

Read More

Rapid Reaction: Second Round Opportunity Outlook

  Glad to be back again to sift through the opportunity each player drafted tonight will likely see. We will have a lot more fantasy breakdowns Friday than Saturday, so diving right on in. The first round breakdown is available here. Deebo Samuel 36th overall, San Francisco 49ers Here’s how

Read More
Connect
Support

rotovizmain@gmail.com

Sign-up today for our free Premium Email subscription!

© 2019 RotoViz. All rights Reserved.