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The 2018 WR Final 4: (2) Calvin Ridley vs. (3) James Washington

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 matchup with the winner moving on to the next round.

Moore 2018 WR Final 4

 

View our previous Final 4 matchup by clicking the link below.

(1) COURTLAND SUTTON VS. (5) D.J. MOORE

(2) CALVIN RIDLEY VS. (3) JAMES WASHINGTON

Calvin Ridley advanced to our Final 4 by dispatching 15th-seeded DaeSean Hamilton and No. 7 seed D.J. Chark. The NFL scouting community and film buffs alike seem to love what they see on tape from the Alabama product. Expected to be one of the first WRs taken in the NFL draft, this early opportunity is a plus for Ridley and his profile. Will he ride this wave to the finals?

James Washington has been among the most productive WRs in college football. Washington bounced both Allen Lazard and Equanemious St. Brown from the tournament. Washington has moved through the tournament on the strength of his YPR (20.2) and his raw stats in Oklahoma State’s spread system. Will Washington’s profile be enough to move him past Ridley?

John Lapinski – Calvin Ridley: So, Calvin Ridley is skinny and he didn’t jump well at the combine. Who cares? We know production is what matters for WRs, and Ridley has that covered with an excellent 30 percent career market share of his team’s yards. The bigger concern here is Ridley’s age, which is a huge red flag. There’s no way to say for sure how Ridley would have performed if he entered college at age 19 instead of 21, but the fact that he immediately broke out makes his age less concerning to me than a player like Kevin White who only broke out in his final year.

Scott Smith – James Washington: There are times when fantasy analysts think they know more than the guys that get paid to actually pick players. While I try not to fool myself into thinking that I am smarter than the pros, Washington is my pick here. Ridley did perform as a freshman and has similar market share production over his career. Neither of these WRs are ideal prospects with each having there blemishes. Personally I am just not that inclined to pay the price for Ridley, who is an older prospect with an unathletic profile and serviceable production. Will I be wrong? Probably.

Matt Wispe – Calvin Ridley: From an NFL draft perspective, Ridley appears to be in a class of his own, at least among scouts. His age and lack of a truly dominant season are real concerns, and he failed to impress at the combine. But the dynasty community has taken this into consideration, and he’s not the top pick that most top WRs are. Ridley currently has a 1.09 ADP and Washington is only one pick later. If there was a round difference, Washington would be the pick, but with his NFL draft stock and reasonable price tag, Ridley is the pick.

Jordan Hoover – James Washington: I’m prepared to be wrong about Ridley, but again, his adjusted breakout age (21.3), SPARQx (30th percentile), and lack of explosiveness (13.5 career yards per reception) are enough for me to go with Washington here. He didn’t test as well at the combine as I had hoped, and his sub-six-foot stature isn’t ideal, but I’m willing to lean on his big-play ability and early-career dominance.

Blair Andrews – James Washington: Washington and Ridley are similar enough from a production and athleticism perspective that this mostly comes down to age and acquisition cost, where Washington has the edge.

Ryan Bobbitt – James Washington: Neither player is likely to become a No. 1 WR for NFL teams, but Washington beats Ridley in breakout and draft age while trailing slightly in adjusted dominator rating. I can’t shake Washington’s down-field ability and think he has more upside.

Hasan Rahim – James Washington: I previously noted that despite Ridley’s age, I’m still a fan and would consider him at the right price. Although Washington opting to use all four years of eligibility raises a red flag, his raw production is fantastic. Washington’s 1,549 receiving yards led all NCAA WRs in 2017, and he averaged 20.9 yards-per-attempt.1 It’s likely Ridley carries a depressed price tag in your rookie drafts, but I’d rather pay up for the player with the higher ceiling.

Shawn Siegele – Calvin Ridley: Ridley and Washington are very similar market share producers (career), and Ridley declared early, perhaps the most important indicator for getting a value based on draft slot. Add in that he’ll be selected a lot earlier in the reality draft, and it overcomes the large advantage Washington has in raw stats and on-field explosiveness.

FINAL RESULTS

With a score of 5-3, our panel advances James Washington over Calvin Ridley. Our writers basically view this as a toss up. Ridley will likely be drafted earlier, which carries the most weight when predicting success for prospects. However our writers have serious concern over Ridley’s age as he is among the older WR prospects in recent history. Washington gets the nod due to his cheaper price and better raw stats over the course of his college career.

James Washington moves onto the final to face off against D.J. Moore.

  1. Additionally, Washington has posted better Dominator Ratings than Ridley over the last two seasons.  (back)

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