As we near the NFL Draft, we’re going to speculate on some best-case landing spots that have the potential to shake up dynasty drafts.
To be fair, a good landing spot doesn’t always equate to the player becoming a home-run pick, but a healthy dose of potential opportunity helps. And what is the offseason for, if not dreaming of overly optimistic scenarios?
With that in mind, I offer you Calvin Ridley to the Green Bay Packers.
If you ask scouts, Ridley is the best WR prospect in the 2018 class. That much is apparent by his score of 97 in the Scouting Index, far better than the scouts’ second-ranked WR, Courtland Sutton, at 82 points. RotoViz staff are less convinced. Citing age concerns, Ridley was KO’d by James Washington in the final four of the RotoViz Sweet 16 WR Tournament.
However, if Ridley lands in Lambeau, even the most skeptical among our staff would start to warm to him.
Beyond just the chance to play with Aaron Rodgers, the Packers present a tremendous opportunity in 2018.
The shocking departure of Jordy Nelson has left 1,071 air yards available in 2018, the fifth most in the league. While that’s a solid number, it probably undersells the true amount of opportunity up for grabs. Nelson had 964 air yards in 2017, mostly while playing with Brett Hundley, but he averaged 1,648 air yards over his previous three seasons. With Rodgers back under center, the Packers passing game overall should have more volume in 2018 than it did last year.
Not only has Nelson been Rodgers’ most-targeted WR, but he’s also been by far the most effective.
It’s a huge hole to fill. Davante Adams may eat up some of those extra air yards in 2018, and with a second-round ADP in MFL10s, drafters are well aware of his increased ceiling. But we haven’t seen much from Randall Cobb lately to suggest he’s capable of filling such a big void.
I don’t view Cobb as a credible threat to win away any potential opportunity, should the Packers draft a WR in the first round.
And while tight end air yards aren’t included in the WR opportunity scores, there is the addition of Jimmy Graham to consider. He’s averaged 803 air yards over the past two seasons and will pick up some of the slack in the Green Bay passing game as well. So at least some of that free opportunity is already accounted for.
Regardless of how the potential addition of Ridley would affect the Packers offense, there’s no question it would shake up dynasty drafts.
Ridley could realistically be on the board when the Packers pick at 14th overall. If they do select the 6-foot-1, 190-pound WR, the Rodgers-to-Ridley hype will immediately commence, and he could become a top-three dynasty pick. Ridley is currently going around ninth on average, just behind D.J. Moore.
Of course, that will depend on where other rookies land, but Ridley has enough pedigree that becoming a Packer would almost certainly make him one of the most sought-after WR targets of 2018. Despite the lack of touchdown production, he maintained a very healthy 30 percent market share of receiving yards over the course of his career, and his rookie age of 23-years old is the only other red flag.
|Year||Class||Receptions||Yards||TDs||MS Yards||MS TDs||Dominator|
While his advanced age reduces his chances of ever becoming a WR2, it also means that he might be more mentally and physically ready to step into the NFL as an instant contributor, similar to what we saw from Cooper Kupp, another older WR that RotoViz couldn’t get behind last year.
What will really wind up the fantasy crowd is that it would give Rodgers the fastest WR he’s ever had. The Alabama WR ran a 4.43 40-yard dash at the combine, and the next closest 40-yard time among the Green Bay WRs listed above is Cobb at 4.46 seconds.
A true a downfield threat, Ridley averaged 15.3 yards per catch in his final season, and that’s the kind of talent Rodgers can certainly take full advantage of.