The RotoViz Scouting Index (RSI) is up and running for 2018. The RSI tracks NFL draft prospect rankings from a variety of traditional scouting sites, giving you quick insight into how incoming rookies are currently being valued over in “real football” land.
We’ll track the rise and fall of player values throughout the draft season, and assess the impact on player fantasy valuations. Thanks to the data wizardry of Dave Caban, we’ll be aggregating rankings from a half-dozen popular and well-respected sites. This is the second update for the wide receiver position; the initial index can be found here.
NFL DRAFT WIDE RECEIVER PROSPECT RANKINGS
Make sure to read the introductory article to this series so you understand where the data comes from and how the scores are calculated.
THE TOP WIDE RECEIVER PROSPECTS
I expect we’ll see more movement in the RSI once the component ranking services have a chance to fully digest the NFL combine results. As of now, however, there’s not been much change at the wide receiver position. The top-nine players maintained their pre-combine ranking.
There is one change in average rankings, however. Auden Tate dropped a fair bit. That’s likely due to his poor combine performance (4.68 second 40, 31-inch vertical, 112-inch broad jump).1 Let’s take a quick look at Tate’s profile to see how much this might matter.
There’s no denying his athletic measurables are poor but are they a death knell for his NFL outlook? I combed NFL combine results for his most favorable comps:
|Year||Name||Height (in)||Weight (lbs)||40 Yard||SPDSCORE||Vert Leap (in)||Broad Jump (in)||Shuttle||3Cone||Hand Size (in)||Arm Length (in)|
To be absolutely clear, these are the best names out of dozens of names that were within five pounds of his weight or a few tenths of his forty time. So yes, his numbers are empirically bad. But as you can see, a number of players have been quite successful despite some poor measurables.
In one of my all-time favorite RotoViz articles, Kevin Cole established that, when it comes to wide receivers, production is the only thing that matters. Even excluding production numbers from his regression tree analysis led to the conclusion that
athleticism is less predictive for wide receivers generally, and that more of our wide receiver prospect analysis should be focused on production.
Let’s apply Cole’s regression tree to Tate’s collegiate career.2
Working our way down the tree, we see:
- Career market share of receiving yards (16 percent) less than 29 percent = Yes
- Final year receiving yards (548) less than 933 = Yes
That puts Tate in the far-left bucket, where receivers have just a 2.6 percent chance of having a fantasy WR1 season in their first three years in the NFL.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. Tate captured 21 percent of his team’s receiving yards in his final season to go along with nearly 48 percent of his team’s receiving touchdowns. Combine those numbers and we get a Dominator Rating of 0.34, which is a good but not elite number. Tate is also the third-youngest WR in this year’s class which is a nice indicator. Still, at this early stage, it looks like Tate might be a player whose draft stock continues to fall.