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.
Catch up on any of the previous match ups in this series by clicking one of the links below.
(4) CHRISTIAN KIRK VS. (13) MICHAEL GALLUP
Christian Kirk bursts onto the college football scene as a true freshman torching the SEC for over 1000 yards and 7 touchdowns. While Kirk’s numbers didn’t improve drastically they were consistent every year. Kirk’s College DR of 36.8 puts him in the 73rd-percentile, while his freshman breakout has him in the 93rd-percentile. Kirk proved to be no slouch at the combine either. Three of his top four athletic comps are Randall Cobb, Golden Tate and Stephon Diggs. Each of those guys have had success at the NFL level. With draft slot being the unknown to this equation, Kirk has a solid profile to be a success.
Michael Gallup arrived at Colorado State via the junior college route. Once there, he did not disappoint, putting up over 1,600 yards and scoring 21 TDs in two years. Gallup was the focal point of the CSU offense, gaining 100 yards or more in 12 of 26 games. In this matchup, Gallup has a slight edge with a college DR of 37.4 (74th-percentile). While Gallup tested out above average in most combine metrics, it’s his ability to separate that scouts love. With similar production metrics and a likely lower cost, will Gallup be able to pull off the upset?
Anthony Amico – Christian Kirk: Kirk is the third-best player in my WR projections, and has a shot to be a late first-round pick. Both of these players were productive in college, but Kirk has the edge in breakout age and final age and was a fantastic return man. He had over 1,700 total return yards and seven TDs during his time at A&M.
John Lapinski – Christian Kirk: Kirk is a player who broke out early versus tough competition and then tailed off a bit. Meanwhile, Gallup’s grades forced him into community college, but he dominated every opportunity he got. Right now, the relatively small price differential between the two players has me taking Kirk’s early breakout, but if that gap widens I think Gallup could end up being the better value.
Scott Smith – Christian Kirk: This matchup is a lot closer than what the numbers may show at the end. Gallup is a smooth athlete that scouts tout for his ability to separate and create space in his routes. In his two seasons at CSU, Gallup tallied 175 receptions and more than 1,600 yards. The numbers are close enough that this shouldn’t be an easy decision. Kirk just edges Gallup in most categories. Kirk is a slightly better athlete with a breakout age of 18 years old. That early production and the likely earlier reality draft selection give Kirk the advantage in this matchup. While Kirk projects as only a slot WR in the pros, that doesn’t matter for me here.
Cort Smith – Christian Kirk: Remember when JuJu Smith-Schuster was utterly dominant at a very young age, and then he had a mediocre final season and dropped to the second round of dynasty drafts? Meet Chistian Kirk. He posted a 37.7 percent market share as a true freshman against tough competition before his production fell off slightly in subsequent seasons. Don’t let recency bias fool you; if you focus on nothing but draft position and age-adjusted breakout, you’ll do fine.
Matt Wispe – Michael Gallup: Gallup is my favorite of the former junior college prospects. Including his JUCO numbers, he posted 28 percent MS of yards which includes a season of three percent MS. Without, he posted 38 percent. Kirk is an exciting prospect, but failed to put up numbers at the same level as Gallup. I’m picking the upset here.
Jordan Hoover – Michael Gallup: I’ve come around on Kirk as a prospect because of his breakout age, return game prowess, and sky-rocketing draft stock. However, I’ll take Gallup who will be available later in rookie drafts, also posted a breakout season before age 21, and dominated for two straight seasons at Colorado State.
Blair Andrews – Christian Kirk: Gallup is someone I really want to like. He’s got great career market share numbers, but even taking that into account, he ends up in a node with just a 3.8 percent success rate according to Kevin Cole’s regression tree. Kirk meanwhile combines excellent career numbers with very good final season numbers to fall into a node with a 30 percent success rate.
Ryan Bobbitt – Christian Kirk: Gallup was my No. 1 returning dominator after a special 2016 season, and he once again torched the Mountain West after two years at junior college. Kirk beats Gallup in breakout age and his special teams production in incredible. With comparable DR’s, I’ll take the younger guy.
Although he falls by a vote of 6-2, Michael Gallup put up a good fight in this showdown and should be a prospect that dynasty owners monitor during the draft. Gallup’s production gives him a solid resume, and if he is drafted on Day 2, he will be a solid investment for owners in the second round of dynasty drafts. Kirk won out with superior athleticism and a younger breakout age against a stronger level of competition. Kirk also brings along special teams production that could prove to be an X-factor in predicting success for him at the next level.
Christian Kirk advances to take on No. 5 seed D.J. Moore in what should be one of the better battles of this tournament.