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The Third Round Rookie Sleeper You Shouldn’t Ignore

I’ve been looking through some of the lower-ranked wide receiver prospects to see if any might have unexpected upside based on recent work by Kevin Cole and others. The first name that sticks out to me? Keyarris Garrett.

Here’s what I did. I started with the RotoViz Scouting Index, and worked my way up from the lowest-ranked WR (Nelson Spruce), until I found a prospect with promising comparables. To generate the comparables, I used the Box Score Scout App and plugged in the production numbers that matter most for wide receivers. I added weight — the most important combine variable — and strength of schedule,1 along with career and final season market share of yards, receptions per game, and yards per reception.

Here are Garrett’s top comparables from the 2016 draft class.

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The closest comparable is Josh Doctson, who’s currently the second-ranked prospect in our scouting index. Heavy hitters Laquon Treadwell and Corey Coleman also make the list, albeit much lower down. Here they are together, in a heatmap.

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Garrett did face a much easier schedule, but I like the fact that he compares very well to this cohort, especially Treadwell. I also like Garrett’s size.2 Earlier this offseason, Jon Moore chronicled Garrett’s breakout, injury, and return to form. He also highlighted some really impressive comparables using a different methodology than I am here. It’s worth a read if you’re looking for some more reasons to like Garrett.

Speaking of schedule, I did find that these WRs had a few games against common opponents. I don’t think it’s enough to draw firm conclusions from, but I’ll include for interest.

Player Opp Yr Rec Yds YPR TD
Garrett Memphis 2014 5 52 10.4 1
Treadwell Memphis 2014 5 123 24.6 2
Garrett Memphis 2015 14 268 19.1 3
Treadwell Memphis 2015 14 144 10.3 1
Doctson Oklahoma 2014 6 76 12.7 0
Garrett Oklahoma 2014 4 55 13.8 0
Coleman Oklahoma 2015 3 51 17.0 0
Garrett Oklahoma 2015 14 189 13.5 1
Doctson So Meth 2014 5 53 10.6 1
Garrett So Meth 2014 4 96 24.0 2
Coleman So Meth 2015 5 178 35.6 1
Doctson So Meth 2015 5 171 34.2 2
Garrett So Meth 2015 4 26 6.5 0

To summarize that table, on a per-game basis.

Player Ave Rec Ave Yds YPR Ave TDs
Coleman 4 114.5 28.6 0.5
Doctson 5.3 100 18.8 1
Garrett 7.5 114.3 15.5 1.2
Treadwell 9.5 133.5 14.1 1.5

Again, that sample of common-opponent games is really small, but I think it reinforces the notion that Garrett is a capable receiver.

I’ll drop one final nugget here, based on an email exchange with the inimitable Jon Moore. Looking at yards per team attempt, a promising metric that’s similar to market share but also incorporates some measure of efficiency, Garrett (2.53) bests both Doctson (2.51) and Treadwell (2.26).3 Garrett’s yards per team attempt is similar to both Mike Evans and Brandin Cooks (2.55) in their final two collegiate seasons.

There are obvious caution flags that shouldn’t be ignored. He’s projected to be a third or fourth round pick by CBS Sports; draft pick matters, and Treadwell, Doctson, and Coleman will be much higher picks. There’s also the issue of Garrett’s overall comparables.4

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That’s not a great list. But here’s the thing: I’d be much more worried about that set of comparables if I were investing a high draft pick, as I would be with Doctson. As it is, Garrett will be much cheaper to acquire in dynasty drafts, and so the downside risk is mitigated. In early rookie mocks, Doctson, Treadwell, and Coleman are going inside the top five picks. Garrett is going much later, at pick 30.

At that price, I’m definitely interested in Garrett as an arbitrage play on Josh Doctson. No great damage done if he doesn’t pan out, but the payoff if he hits, on a third-round pick, would be significant.

  1. Strength of schedule may or may not be significant.  (back)
  2. I remain a member of Team BigWR.  (back)
  3. But falls short of Coleman’s 3.19.  (back)
  4. That is, comparables from any draft class, not just 2016.  (back)

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