revolutionary tools.  groundbreaking articles.  proven results.

Did 2019’s Top Sleeper Turn Into Cinderella at the Combine?

Now that we have official combine testing results for a majority of the 2019 NFL Draft class, it’s time for a quick review of former Fresno State Bulldogs’ wide receiver KeeSean Johnson.1


After high school, Johnson received only one scholarship offer as a two-star prospect. As a redshirt freshman in 2015, he ranked second on the team in receptions (37) and third in yards receiving (337) in a relatively anemic passing offense. His 0.18 Dominator Rating wasn’t spectacular but it did lay a foundation for the future.

In 2016, Johnson nearly doubled his reception total (66) and saw a massive increase in yards (773) and touchdowns (6). This propelled him to a 0.38 Dominator Rating on the year, crossing the critical threshold we look for in WR prospects. In Week 1 against Nebraska, his only P5 opponent that season, Johnson put up a workman-like 8-61-0 line.


The arrival of Oregon State transfer quarterback Marcus McMaryion proved to be a massive boost for Johnson. In 2017, he posted his first 1,000-yard season, finishing with a solid 77-1013-8 line. A large chunk of his production came in just three games, however, with seven of his eight TDs coming against Nevada, Hawaii, and Boise State. But in his final season, Johnson has been a consistent weekly contributor:

  • At least 85 yards receiving in 10 of 13 games
  • At least 6 receptions in 12 of 13 games
  • At least 1 TD in 6 of 13 games

In terms of raw counting stats, Johnson has been one of the most prolific WRs in the country since the start of the 2015 season.


Going from almost no recruiting pedigree to a Biletnikoff Award nomination is a true testament to Johnson’s progression. The metrics we rely on here at RotoViz, however, paint a more unclear picture. We know that a breakout season — a Dominator Rating of 0.30 or better — is extremely important. But Johnson’s adjusted breakout age (20.5) and where he falls on Anthony Amico’s regression tree warrants some pause. Just two percent of prospects in Amico’s study with similar profiles to Johnson have gone on to notch a 200-point PPR season in the NFL.
This doesn’t completely sink Johnson’s outlook, but it is worth noting. His final age (22.2) is another slight concern based on research from Blair Andrews and puts him at a noticeable disadvantage compared to younger prospects.


Johnson’s performance at the combine left a lot to be desired. At 6 feet 1 inch, 201 pounds, he ran a 4.6-second forty-yard dash resulting in a Freak Score of 42, ranking 30th among 37 WRs in this year’s class. He also struggled in the agility and explosion drills, finishing no better than the 46th percentile in the vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone, and 20-yard shuttle according to Mockdraftable. Production means more than athleticism for WRs but Johnson did little to boost his draft stock at the combine.


Johnson’s production across the span of his four-year college career is nothing but impressive. He’s accounted for 33 percent or more of his team’s receiving yards and TDs in each of his last seasons. But a disappointing combine makes going undrafted a possibility, one which would severely damage his dynasty outlook. I still believe Johnson is worth a shot in the third or forth round of most dynasty rookie drafts based on production but his path to true fantasy relevance may be a steep climb.

  1. The original, pre-combine version of this article was published on December 14, 2018.  (back)
Find An article
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages

recent and related...

in case you missed it...

Contract Year RBs: Fantasy Appeal of the Walk Year Stars

  We’re back again to offer our thoughts on prominent contract year players at one of the fantasy footballs most important positions, namely running back. Yes, I know the popular theory is that they don’t matter. But getting a good one can be the reason you take home a fantasy

Read More

3 Deep Sleepers RotoViz Likes More Than You

  Being player agnostic is one of the best edges you can find in fantasy football in 2019 — don’t fall in love with a player, fall in love with his price. With the suite of RotoViz tools, finding this year’s most mispriced players is easier than ever, so let’s

Read More

When The Devy Breaks: Mock Draft Breakdown

  Last week I took part in a devy mock draft hosted by Greg Brandt from over at Devy Watch. It was a 12-team, PPR scoring, non-Superflex draft with a player pool consisting of 2020, 2021, and 2022 eligible prospects. Two of my fellow RotoViz writers, Travis May and Matt

Read More

Sign-up today for our free Premium Email subscription!

© 2019 RotoViz. All rights Reserved.