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Jeff Janis, the Green Bay Packers and Arrested Development

jeffjanis

“I hear the jury is still out on science”-George Oscar Bluth

It happened. My favorite player in the 2014 NFL Draft was actually drafted by the team that I wanted him to be drafted by, where he was the absolute most perfect fit. I’m talking, of course, about Jeff Janis from Saginaw Valley State. For those who need a primer on Janis, check out this piece where I break down his physical and production based comps. Long story short, he has *insane* measurables and was incredibly productive against D2 competition (as he should have been). It is my belief that the Packers are one of the best possible landing spots for Janis, especially because they used actual draft equity to acquire him. Check out how he stacks up next to Jared Aberderris and Davante Adams (another RV favorite), the other 2 WR’s drafted by Green Bay.

Year Name College POS Height (in)  Weight (lbs) 40 Yard Vert Leap (in) Broad Jump (in) Shuttle 3Cone Agility Score DR
2014 Jeff Janis Saginaw Valley State WR 75 219 4.42 37.5 123 3.98 6.64 10.62 45
2014 Davante Adams Fresno State WR 73 212 4.56 39.5 123 4.3 6.82 11.12 42
2014 Jared Abbrederis Wisconsin WR 73 195 4.5 30.5 116 4.08 6.8 10.88 37

In all likelihood, Jared Abrederris is not an impact player in the NFL. He’s gritty, scrappy (read: white) and it seems that the Draftnik community does have some love for him, but he’s small, slow-ish, weak (only 4 bench reps) and had a 19% RZ conversion rate as a senior, while playing for the incredibly run heavy Wisconsin Badgers. Davante Adams is a touchdown scoring machine (RZ conversion rate was better than 40% as a senior) and he is obviously athletic enough to make a difference in the NFL. That being said… Janis destroys both of these guys from an athletic perspective, but we knew that. That’s why he was drafted as opposed to being forced to go through the dregs of priority free agency. Adams is going to make the team, this much is guaranteed. On the other hand, I actually think Janis has a better chance of making the 53 than Abbrederris does, even if he won’t contribute much as a rookie.

Michael: “Well, I’m just different than you, GOB. You know, I’m not going to, you know, siphon gas out of some girl’s car like you used to in high school just so you can show up and say, ‘Car troubles?’
GOB: “It’s called ‘taking advantage.’ It’s what gets you ahead in life.”

You’re gonna feel pretty silly owning Jeff Janis next year, most likely. In all reality, he won’t play much and it’s very likely Jarret Boykin plays a significant portion of snaps over Janis1; but I firmly believe this is a situation to take advantage of. Outside of Randall Cobb (whose contract is up after this year) and Jordy Nelson, there are no established receiving options on this roster. The opportunity is perfect for Janis’ skills to rise to the top, but more importantly, the coaching staff in Green Bay has experience taking impressive raw physical tools and turning them into NFL production.

The player everyone wanted to compare Janis too pre-draft was Jordy Nelson. They’re both white, big, pretty fast and had productive college careers; but there is a developmental reason why the comp makes sense in a dynasty fantasy football context. Both Nelson and Janis were from small towns in the Midwest, both played football and basketball in high school and both weren’t sought after by D1 programs upon graduation. Nelson played QB and DB in high school, and he played for the Kansas State Wildcats as a walk-on, before earning a redshirt. Janis decided to attend Saginaw Valley State, rather than walk-on to a larger program. Nelson eventually blew up in college, finishing as a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, and Janis was a 1st team D2 All-American.

Most of that is anecdotal information that doesn’t really help us out, but it is pretty cool. Here’s where the comparison becomes important. These are Nelson’s first 3 seasons as a Green Bay Packer:

Receiving
Year Age Rec Yds Y/R TD
2008 23 33 366 11.1 2
2009 24 22 320 14.5 2
2010 25 45 582 12.9 2
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/11/2014.

The dude didn’t play. The talent was obviously there, and he scored some touchdowns, but he was a bit player at best almost through his entire rookie contract. Now, the Packers obviously had more equity tied up into Nelson as he was a 2nd round pick, and this can be interpreted to mean that Davante Adams will have the largest chance of success with Aaron Rodgers, and thinking in terms of probabilities that is true. Thinking in terms of value, however, Janis becomes an even more interesting investment.

Michael: I don’t know why you’re not taking this “I’m out of here” seriously, but I am out of here, seriously.

G.O.B.: Let’s face it, Michael. You’ve made this threat before.

Michael: Tell me, when.

Flashback

Michael: That’s it, I’m out of here.

Another flashback

G.O.B.: Ta da!

Another flashback

Michael: I’m out of here.

Another flashback

Michael: I’m out of this family. Seriously.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Davis Mattek finds out about uber-athletic WR prospect, falls in love, writes too many words about it, becomes known on twitter for liking said prospect… and the prospect does nothing. Yes, you’ve all been down this road with me before with Stephen Hill, Nick Toon and others. I continue to believe however, that betting on physical skills, college production and opportunity is good process in dynasty fantasy football. Unlike former man crush Stephen Hill, Jeff Janis will have Aaron Rodgers throwing him the football. The optimal strategy with Janis will be to acquire him as cheaply as possible and to not be frustrated with a lack of immediate production. If it comes… it comes. If it doesn’t, monitor the situation and figure out if ‘the game moves too fast for him’ or if the Packers just don’t trust a raw rookie in a playoff contending season. The cost of acquiring him this offseason will be far less than the potential reward.

  1. authors note: blech  (back)

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