Last week, we examined a projected first round of a hypothetical dynasty rookie draft. This week we move on to Rounds 2 through 4. I’ve tried to use a wide variety of sources to get a sense of where players might land: evidence-based analysis, draft scuttlebutt, rookie mocks, all-star game reporting. These are not my rankings but an exploration of where you might need to go in a draft to secure a personal favorite. I’m also including IDP players as serious dynasty leagues increasingly include a defensive player element. (In ranking IDPs, I’m assuming a scoring system which awards big plays and balances for position. It’s my impression that IDP leagues are transitioning away from formats in which only inside linebackers have value.)
In addition to recommending the Box Score Scout, and the Rookie Age Project, these prospects are almost all covered in Matthew Freedman’s Bowl Preview series and archived in the College Bowl Games Playbook.
Part of this project is for my own benefit as I make dynasty trades. I’ve already priced the expected Combine performances into these projections. Possible questions: 1) Understanding that individual drafts will vary widely in Rounds 2-4, who is projected incorrectly based on what we currently know? 2) Who do you expect to rise/fall (surprise) at the Combine? 3) What areas of the draft would you be targeting in trades? 4) Of the players not mentioned, who is the most intriguing?
Scoring is assumed to be half-ppr.
2.01. Duke Johnson, RB, Miami, 21.3, 5-9, 200
— Justin Goad (@OptimusPrime52) January 30, 2015
I’m projecting Johnson behind T.J. Yeldon, Jay Ajayi, and Tevin Coleman, but he could easily end up as the third back off the board. It probably makes sense to think of Johnson as the 13th player with a first round dynasty grade. His placement in this range helps explain why 2015 is to runners as 2014 was to receivers. A speed back with elite receiving ability, Johnson joins the group of rookies with immediate RB1 potential.
2.02 Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn, 21.8, 6-2, 201
Jon Moore has a thorough analysis of Coates’ profile and calls him equal parts Julio Jones and Stephen Hill.
2.03 Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska, 21.6, 5-9, 195
With three straight 200-carry, 20-catch seasons to go with 46 career touchdowns, Abdullah profiles as a smaller back with potential bell cow ability. 2014 was something of a down year for Profile 2 backs, which could lead to a 2015 discount in all fantasy formats.
2.04 Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota, 20.7, 6-4, 250
When you consider his age, production, and projected measurables, there’s an excellent case to be made for Williams having more value than any of last year’s Big 3. Of course, the rookie seasons of Eric Ebron, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, and Jace Amaro helped to remind fantasy owners of the likely wait they have in store for tight end production. The delayed gratification aspect probably keeps him out of the first round.
2.05 Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State, 21.0, 6-4, 230
Jay Cutler likes Winston’s tape and believes a healthy interception total is indicative of true arm talent and a willingness to make all the throws.
2.06 Mike Davis, RB, South Carolina, 21.9, 5-9, 223
Davis should fall to this range after a relatively lackluster 2014, but his size and receiving value could see him carve out a big fantasy role early. If you use his 2013 season in the RB Prospect Lab – including his 2013 age and with guesses at possible athletic measurables – here are some of his potential comps.
|GIOVANI BERNARD||North Carolina||21.02||2013||202||4.5||6.91||18.39||122.8||1.2||4.7||64|
|MIKE DAVIS||S. Carolina||20.8||2013||223||4.55||7||16.89||99||0.9||2.8||62|
|JEROME HARRISON||Washington State||22.75||2006||201||4.47||6.79||28||172.73||1.45||2.18||62|
|ANTONIO PITTMAN||Ohio State||21.07||2007||207||4.40||6.84||18.62||94.85||1.08||1.08||62|
|ANDRE BROWN||North Carolina State||22.05||2009||224||4.37||7.35||13.46||59||0.54||2.23||61|
|RYAN MOATS||Louisiana Tech||21.97||2005||210||4.46||7.22||24||147.83||1.5||1.25||61|
2.07 Nelson Agholor, WR, USC, 21.6, 6-1, 190
The USC star outperformed an injury-addled Marqise Lee in 2013 and exploded upon his graduation. He’s probably a poor man’s Lee or a rich man’s Robert Woods. He could really solidify this position by showing off better athleticism than his predecessors at the Combine.
2.08 Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska, 22.1, 6-6, 240
We’ve reached the point where the difference between 2.08 and 3.08 at running back or wide receiver is not particularly large. This doesn’t mean good players don’t remain – they do – but an owner in need of IDP help might choose to select an impact player and return to the offensive side of the ball next round. A probable Top 5 reality selection, Gregory could help immediately.
2.09 Leonard Williams, DT, USC, 20.5, 6-5, 300
If your league assigns different point totals for DTs – and it should – then Williams will go very early after Aaron Donald took IDP leagues by storm in 2014. Williams is widely considered the best prospect in the draft. (If your league bundles DT in with everyone else or uses the same scoring settings it uses for LBs, then take it up with your commissioner but ignore this pick.)
2.10 Javorius Allen, RB, USC, 23.3, 6-1, 215
Allen’s profile points in opposite directions. His size and receiving ability suggest a borderline first round rookie pick, but his age puts him more in the Charles Sims range.
2.11 Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State, 22.8, 6-1, 197
Optimistically, Smith could be seen as a DeSean Jackson or Mike Wallace clone (minus the character issues). I’ve included a heatmap of the three players to help give a feel of how they performed and developed as college players. If Smith is selected in the second stanza of the reality draft, he will likely see his rookie ADP jump into this range.
2.12 Philip Dorsett, WR, Miami, 22.0, 5-10, 195
Dorsett will probably be the draft’s fastest man, and that may combine with hyperbole from scouts to move him well up the board. (To this point, dynasty experts have been far less enthusiastic, although we’re all likely to get caught up in the glow if he breaks Chris Johnson’s record for the 40.) His collegiate resume is largely unimpressive, but he did post a solid final season DR.
Find out how fast your favorite sub-200 pound receiver has to run to be a viable fantasy player in Devin Smith, Phillip Dorsett, and the Importance of 40 Times for Small Receivers
3.01 David Cobb, RB, Minnesota, 21.6, 5-11, 229
Cobb may not be a flashy reality player or exciting fantasy pick, but Chris Begnaud explains why his profile suggests a possible steal.
3.02 Rashad Greene, WR, Florida State, 22.3, 6-0, 180
Greene’s name recognition will probably have him going at least this high, but his size/production package projects as an NFL role player. He did have better msYDs than Kelvin Benjamin in 2013.
3.03 Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida, 21.3, 6-3, 214
With good size and an encouraging 0.36 DR, the true junior will be an intriguing prospect to follow through the draft process.
3.04 Josh Robinson, RB, Mississippi State, 22.4, 5-9, 215
Robinson didn’t end up carrying or finding pay dirt frequently enough to own a projection that matches his scouting report, but he’s yet another runner with size and receiving ability.
3.05 David Johnson, RB, Northern Iowa, 23.0, 6-1, 215
Johnson was the star of Senior Bowl week. Another size/receiving combo back, he needs to continue his offseason momentum in order to overcome age and strength of schedule concerns.
3.06 Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland, 21.1, 6-0, 190
Although Diggs’ freshman season finished No. 8 in Jon Moore’s ranking of the Top 25 Most Precocious college receiver seasons, many draftniks believe he should have stayed in school after two injury-marred campaigns. Despite near unanimous enthusiasm from the dynasty community, Diggs could really lose value if he falls as far in the reality draft as some expect.
3.07 Justin Hardy, WR, East Carolina, 23.0, 6-0, 188
Hardy is probably a healthy version of Ryan Broyles, but still sports size, age, and market share red flags. He’ll certainly get a chance to dispel those concerns if he lands in Round 3 of the reality draft as many project.
3.08 Shane Ray, DE/OLB, Missouri, 6-3, 245
Currently mocked in the Top 8 by both Rob Rang and Dane Brugler, Ray may possess the best long term pass-rushing potential and IDP upside.
3.09 Devante Davis, WR, UNLV, 22.2, 6-3, 215
A big receiver with a 0.47 DR in 2013, Davis has A.J. Green and Golden Tate on his comp list if you don’t include SOS. His 2014 comps are not favorable and suggest he needs a strong Combine to reignite his stock.
3.10 Vince Mayle, WR, Washington State, 23.6, 6-3, 219
Mayle put up big raw stats for Mike Leach but a DR of only 0.24 as a redshirt senior. His status is complicated somewhat by his transition from basketball to football, and he’s fairly intriguing as a result.
3.11 Deontay Greenberry, WR, Houston, 20.8, 6-3, 200
Greenberry posted a 0.37 DR as a sophomore, but failed to generate significant raw or market share production against a weak schedule in 2014. He may see his dynasty value stall further following the Combine snub.
3.12 Tyler Lockett, WR, Kansas State, 22.3, 5-11, 175
Lockett has size and age concerns (think A.J. Jenkins) but was probably the second best receiver in college football last year. According to Jon Moore’s age-adjusted production model, over the last two years he was well above the trend line for a future WR1.
4.01 Dante Fowler Jr., DE/OLB, Florida, 20.4, 6-2, 261
Fowler’s value is likely to hinge on his positional designation and the scoring rules of your format, but his production may be under-appreciated due to his age.
4.02 Landon Collins, S, Alabama, 22.0, 6-0, 222
Collins might see his stock elevated by the large gap down to the next highest rated at the position. The Alabama star has the type of all-over-the-field projection that could allow him to thrive in any IDP scoring system.
4.03 Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford, 21.9, 6-2, 215
A plus athlete with a DR that cratered from 2013 to 2014, Montgomery is Sammie Coates with even more skepticism about his ability to play the receiver position.
4.04 Jamison Crowder, WR, Duke, 21.5, 5-9, 175
Although the evidence strongly suggests Crowder is a better player than Smith and Dorsett, he isn’t currently expected to benefit from the same irrational exuberance. At 175 pounds, fantasy owners will likely be concerned about his ceiling.
4.05 Terrell Watson, RB, Azusa Pacific, 21.5, 6-1, 240
I don’t really know if Watson will gain any momentum before the draft, but he was too hard to resist here. When I put his numbers into the RB Prospect Lab, it almost broke the computer. If you haven’t already, check out Moore’s profile of the Charles Johnson of running backs.
4.06 Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson, 22.6, 6-3, 235
Without a C.J. Mosley-type prospect at ILB, owners in leagues that reward splash plays will probably be looking at Beasley.
4.07 Tony Lippett, WR, Michigan State, 22.5, 6-3, 185
Lippett is this season’s aging one-year-wonder, but at 6’3” with double digit touchdowns, he makes for an interesting risk.
4.08 Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA, 21.5, 6-3, 227
I examined why Hundley and Tyler Lockett were probably undervalued in my Alamo Bowl preview, and then they both had gigantic games. Which I enjoyed, even if it was only a happy coincidence.
4.09 Jeremy Langford, RB, Michigan State, 23.1, 6-1, 208
Although Langford again performed as a workhorse for Michigan State in 2014, he would have had a much better projection after the 2013 season due to age and reception totals.
4.10 Shaq Thompson, OLB, Washington, 20.7, 6-1, 228
Perhaps a higher upside prospect than Beasley, his status as a ‘tweener could actually help him rack up IDP stats.
4.11 Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA, 22.9, 6-0, 230
Right now Kendricks looks like the highly coveted three-down ILB. NFL Draft Scout recently moved him to the top of their rankings and Rotoworld’s Josh Norris mocks him to Kansas City at No. 18 overall. Age is a minor red flag, but he’s posted big tackle numbers for three consecutive seasons.
4.12 Danny Shelton, DT, Washington, 6-2, 339
This is again a very format specific selection, but Shelton looks like a potential star for DT-heavy leagues.