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Da’Rick Rogers: The Forgotten Man
via colts.com
via colts.com

It’s a very real possibility that the best wide receiver of the Tennessee Triumvirate of Da’Rick Rogers, Justin Hunter, and Cordarelle Patterson has the lowest cost in dynasty and redraft circles. The trio was set to play together in 2012 for Tennessee before Rogers got kicked off the team for smoking too much pot. Patterson was a first round draft pick, Hunter went at 34 overall after the Titans traded up for him . . . and Rogers got signed as an un-drafted free agent by the Bills, got cut, and then signed with the Colts.

I suspect that most will bristle at the idea that Rogers is as talented as Patterson or Hunter, who’ve already proven themselves, somewhat, in the NFL. On equal ground, with Tyler Bray as their QB, look at what the bunch did in college:

tennesseewr

Rogers outpaced the others in RZTDR (although essentially tied with Patterson) and clearly dominated both players in Market Share. There was a holy war on RotoViz last offseason about Patterson’s Market Shares and to this point, he looks like he has been able to assuage any concerns after a strong rookie season. Hunter, on the other hand, was basically below average in every category playing with Rogers in 2011 and Patterson in 2012. Patterson and Hunter have already produced at the NFL level and are going to be starting for their teams in 2014, so their respective price tags make sense (even if you think CP’s is a little rich). It is my contention that Rogers offers a reduced price chance at securing WR2 production. If Hunter and Patterson weren’t quite as good in college as Rogers, it would stand to reason that their NFL production is a point in favor for Rogers. It’s a simple logical equation. In a similar situation, Rogers produced the most, but hasn’t been given the same chance in the NFL. Given that chance, one can reasonably assume his success.

For all you ever wanted to know about the Colts WR rotation, please read Justin Winn’s article on the situation. The argument for Rogers comes down to one very simple point: who is better, Donte Moncrief or Rogers? T.Y Hilton will remain in his typical role playing in the slot, Hakeem Nicks and Reggie Wayne will fight for who can be less efficient and hurt the offense more playing on the outside, and the pairing of Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener will likely be middling TE2s.

Starting with the physical aspects.

Name Height (in) Weight (lbs) 40 Yard Bench Press Vert Leap (in) Broad Jump (in) Shuttle 3Cone Agility Score
Donte Moncrief 74 221 4.4 13 39.5 132 4.3 7.02 11.32
Da’Rick Rogers 75 217 4.5 10 39.5 132 4.06 6.71 10.77

It would be harder to find two prospects who compared so similarly and were drafted by the same team (unless it’s the Steelers in which case they have drafted roughly 11 Antonio Browns in the last decade). Roughly the same size, weight, strength, and literally the exact same jumping ability. Rogers has him beat on lateral agility, while Moncrief has better straight line speed. For our purposes though, they are pretty equivalent.

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From a collegiate production level, Rogers destroys Moncrief. This is where it gets tricky. While Rogers is a seemingly a better prospect, his suspension and subsequent UDFA status introduce a ton of hard to calculate variables into his road to scoring fantasy points. The Colts signed Rogers to an innovative contract for a very low dollar amount. If Rogers gets cut by the Colts, he isn’t allowed to sign with any other NFL team until his contract with the Colts would have ended. There are a few ways you can choose to interpret that contract; or the Colts realize he is valuable and want to give him an incentive to stay on the team/not play for another team; the team is concerned about his behavior to an extent that they have a hardline policy for him.

My primary concern with Moncrief as a prospect was that true freshmen Laquon Treadwell outperformed him in several games at Ole Miss. Treadwell had more receptions and was the team’s primary receiver in the second half of the season. Whereas most of the WRs we at RotoViz love as prospects are both physical marvels and highly productive with their college teams. Moncrief is explosive, but doesn’t have the production that Rogers does. We’re essentially looking at a question of playing time.

The Colts spent draft capital on Moncrief  that they didn’t on Rogers, but I’m not sure if that means if he will play over Rogers right away. It’s become common knowledge among RotoViz readers that rookies are not be relied upon for fantasy production; but fantasy points are a result of playing time and usage. Rogers has been on the Colts roster for half of last season and all of the offseason. He knows the playbook, has presumably some sort of rapport with Andrew Luck, and even started a playoff game for the team. Do the Colts want Rogers to play over Moncrief? Probably not. Will Rogers force their hand? Maybe. He has the talent to do so, but if his off the field issues present themselves again (or if the team is stubborn about forcing Moncrief on to the field) it might not happen. Then again, a Reggie Wayne or Nicks injury (whaaaaaat? That doesn’t sound like him) could open the door for playing time. Really, go back and read Justin’s piece, it covers this much more in depth.

Mr. RotoViz Staff published a piece stating five things we need to know the answer to before we start drafting, and I would add “Rogers over Moncrief?” to that list. In dynasty leagues, Rogers is an immediate buy. You can most likely get him cheaply, provided that a Rogers truther doesn’t already own him. He’s probably more valuable to Moncrief owners as a hedge in case he doesn’t pan out. In redraft leagues, Rogers offers a basically free ADP. You’ll know after the first Colts game if Rogers is going to be worth owning, so feel free to set him as the guy you’ll drop after Week 1 for whoever is the 2014 Kevin Ogleetree.

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