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The RotoViz WR Sweet 16: (3) Michael Thomas vs (14) Keyarris Garrett

The RotoViz Wide Receiver Prospect Sweet 16 Tournament matches the top incoming prospects in a head-to-head March Madness style format. Various RotoViz writers break down each match-up with the winner moving on to the next round.

4 Sweet 16

(16) Byron Marshall vs (17) Marquez North

(2) Corey Coleman vs (15) Aaron Burbridge

(3) Michael Thomas vs (14) Keyarris Garrett

Michael Thomas enters this tourney often being mocked in the first round as the second WR off the board. Fans of Thomas claim The Ohio State didn’t use him in the proper role, noting his low volume within the offense. Thomas has been noted for having good footwork to go along with prototypical NFL size. Thomas has been compared to a more refined Rueben Randle.

Keyarris Garrett was among the most productive WRs in college football in 2015. While many people discount the strength of schedule Tulsa faced, it’s hard to argue with Garrett’s production. As a big-bodied WR, Garrett ran mostly slant, curl and fly routes at Tulsa. It’s also interesting to note that Garrett lined up almost exclusively on the right side in college.

Heatmap Thomas vs Garrett

Anthony Amico – Keyarris Garrett:  I have been confused as to why Thomas is regarded so highly and continues to be so. Garrett is an older prospect (23.3 years old), but is still only six months older than the Ohio State alum. He also broke out in 2012 at the age of 20, while Thomas just broke out this season. Garrett is heavier, faster, more explosive, and recorded more than double the receiving yards per game as Thomas in 2015. He played against lesser competition, but I feel fairly strongly about Garrett in this match-up.

Scott Smith – Keyarris Garrett:  Neither prospect is without their blemishes in this match-up. I have the feeling that if you simply took the schools each of them played for out of the equation, Garrett would be the clear-cut winner. The real issue for me is the cost of acqusition for each. Garrett is simply cheaper and may clearly be better based on their college careers. I will mitigate risks in taking the player that is cheaper.

Shawn Siegele – Keyarris Garrett:  Garrett is bigger, more productive, and far less expensive. Thomas is more likely to actually score fantasy points due the disparity in draft slot, but the cost to acquire more than eliminates any benefit.

Matthew Freedman – Keyarris Garrett:  Ohio State Michael Thomas exemplifies what is wrong with scouting and/or college football. Garrett is bigger, more athletic, and more productive. He’s also likely to be drafted later. For his NFL prospects, that’s bad. From a value standpoint, that’s good.

Charles Kleinheksel – Keyarris Garrett:  Here’s my Garrett love letter. Garrett trounces Thomas in all the relevant Box Score Scout production measures.

Jon Moore – Michael Thomas:  While I really like Garrett, I’m going with Thomas here. He is a dynamic athlete for his size, more so than Garrett in my opinion. Also, Thomas was one of the more dominant (market share) receivers who has ever played in an Urban Meyer offense. Besides, he was really efficient over his last two seasons, even if his age-production profile isn’t ideal. While the other writers make excellent points about relative value and being able to acquire Garrett for a cheaper price, *I think* if this exercise is to identify which player has the better dynasty outlook, it’s Thomas, even before considering draft position.

Justin Winn – Keyarris Garrett:  I’ll say nice things about Garrett in later rounds, but for now I just want to talk crap on Michael Thomas. I’ve said before that he’s not a good bet to even be a fantasy WR2 because of his age-adjusted production. And you want to spend a first round pick on this guy? No way. Everything about Thomas is just not good enough to make me think he’ll be good. I’m really dubious anyone would even care about him if he played for a different school. And when Devin Smith entered the NFL, did Thomas step up? No he didn’t, instead the passing offense just took a step back.

Greg Conejo – Keyarris Garrett:  My vote for Garrett is as much a vote for the better Michael Thomas (Southern Miss) as it is for the Great Height Hope.

Lucas Crocker – Keyarris Garrett:  I looked at this and thought “damn, Keyarris got jobbed by the comittee.” Then when I started comparing I realized the only thing Thomas may have over Garrett is draft position. Look, they’re both old-ish and when given the choice between two old prospects with similar profiles, I’ll take the cheaper one.

Final Results

It seems all the RotoViz writers with the exception of WR Whisperer Jon Moore roared with chants of “OVER-RATED.” Thomas will more than likely be drafted well ahead of Garrett in the NFL draft as well as fantasy drafts. That didn’t seem to matter to this group. Garrett’s similar athletic profile along with his better college production gave him the nod. Important to note is that Thomas does have the upper hand in agility metrics and this could very well make a difference in getting open against NFL competition. Overall it seems as though acquisition cost was the key factor in Garrett moving on. With the first upset of the tournament out of the way, Garrett will move on to face the winner of Braxton Miller versus Leonte Carroo.

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