The RotoViz Running Back Prospect Sweet 16 Tournament matches the top incoming prospects in a head-to-head March Madness style format. Various RotoViz writers break down each matchup with the winner moving on to the next round.
Catch up on any of the previous match ups in this series by clicking one of the links below.
(3) JAMES WASHINGTON VS. (14) ALLEN LAZARD
James Washington has been one of the elite deep threats in college football over the past 3 seasons. His 20.2 YPR rates in the 94th percentile for WRs. With 39 touchdowns and over 4,400 yards receiving, Washington is among the most productive WRs in our tournament. Athletically, Washington is does not test as a world beater as evident by his 103 SPARQ score. That has not however, stopped him from becoming one of the top WRs in college football. Will it stop him from advancing to the next round?
Allen Lazard is another towering physical specimen in this year’s prospect pool. Sporting a 33 percent Dominator Rating, he also brings production to the table. Lazard has been consistent as a WR, producing at least 45 receptions in all four years as Iowa State. With a Speed Score and Burst Score both over the 75th percentile, Lazard displayed solid athleticism for a player his size. Lazard offers an intriguing profile as a size specimen with solid production and above average athleticism. Will that be enough for the upset?
Anthony Amico – James Washington: Washington is the only WR since 2000 to have 200 or more receptions and a YPR over 19.0. He has good size, and has been a long time producer in an explosive Oklahoma State offense. Lazard’s breakout age is his only real edge in this matchup, though it is a great thing to have in his favor.
John Lapinski – James Washington: Lazard is interesting due to his breakout age, but Washington’s ridiculous yards per reception and contested catch ability make him one of the highest upside prospects at the position.
Scott Smith – James Washington: Washington has a legit argument to be the top WR prospect in this draft class. The production is there and his downfield prowess is unmatched. Lazard is no slouch and has a nice breakout age in a big body, but it’s not enough for me to move him past Washington. Usually the knock on either is that they play in a weak Big 12 conference, but that doesn’t matter here.
Cort Smith – James Washington: I’m not sure using a first-round dynasty pick on a WR is the play in 2018, but if I do, Washington will be one of my top targets.
Matt Wispe – James Washington: I want to love Allen Lazard more and while he intrigues me as a red zone option, Washington appears more viable as a top WR in the NFL.
Jordan Hoover – James Washington: I wrote up Lazard as one of six big combine winners with the belief that his size/speed make him an interesting prospect. But Washington is my WR1. His incredible ability to produce explosive downfield plays is invaluable for both real and fantasy football purposes.
Blair Andrews – James Washington: Washington is one of only four players since 2000 to have more than 70 catches in a season while averaging more than 20 yards per reception. All of the others to do it had at least one 1,000-yard season in the NFL (Roddy White, Lee Evans, and Ashley Lelie). That’s pretty good company. In fact at 5-foot-10 and 202 lbs, Evans is probably a pretty good comp. PlayerProfiler lists DeAndre Hopkins, which I’m also OK with.
Ryan Bobbitt – James Washington: This is a tough draw for Lazard who produced early and consistently, but never took the next step. Washington’s downfield ability is evident in his yards per reception and will be a major asset to a team at the next level. Washington’s late first-round price in dynasty drafts is justified and even though Lazard is a fourth rounder, Washington has too much in his favor for Lazard to pull the upset.
Hasan Rahim – James Washington: As I’ve previously mentioned, Washington is likely the top WR in this class. His history of strong production gives him one of the highest floors among all WR prospects, and aside from D.J. Moore is the only WR I’d consider drafting in the first round.
Shawn Siegele – Allen Lazard: When Lazard vs. Washington is answered at the NFL level, it will give a sense of how much each player was a product of his offense. Washington was the more prolific and explosive college player and will likely be drafted much earlier as a result. But from a more context-neutral perspective, Lazard’s numbers equally impress. He broke out as a college sophomore, an important indicator, and finished with a career 28 percent market share of receiving yards. He was also only a tick slower in the 40 (4.55 to 4.54) at 6-foot-5, 227 pounds, which gave him a Freak Score of 70 to Washington’s 50. Lazard also recorded an easy win in the vertical (38 to 34.5) that provides a surprising overall resemblance to Mike Evans (6-5, 231, 4.53, 37).
Washington moves on with only a single dissent in his matchup with Allen Lazard. In the end, Washignton was just too productive and offers a unique skill set as the premier deep threat in this year’s draft. It will be important to see how much the NFL values Washington’s explosive skill set come draft day. An early Day 2 selection could boost Washington in prospect models. Lazard may have had a tough draw, but offers a solid profile as a dart throw in the later rounds of dynasty drafts. Pay attention to both of these prospects landing spots come April. If either lands on a team with an elite QB at the helm, they could be productive pieces for a roster.
James Washington will advance to take on upset winner Equanimeous St. Brown in the next round.