The mission of this article is to make our in-house experts sizzle and bristle over the hot-button issues that face Dynasty owners. Our experts make the entire route tree HOT as they address topics from the world of IDP, Devy, Start/Sit, Non-PPR (standard), PPR, and everything in between. Try not to get burned by all the fiery YAC below! This is Dynasty Hot Routes!
Which 2018 WR Prospect will be a bust?
Joshua Johnson – James Washington seems like the perfect second, third, or fourth WR off the board. His median size profile appears very translatable. His college yards-per-catch average of 19.8 is a staggering mirage as well as 39 TDs in 51 collegiate games. Stat nerds everywhere just had their glasses fall off their faces. It may not seem fair, but given the size and skill set I get a very “Terrance Williams” vibe from Washington. I loved T-Will coming out as he averaged 16.5 YPC during his time at Baylor. In his senior season he caught 97 passes for a nation leading 1,832 yards (18.9 YPC) and 12 TDs.
According to mockdraftable.com, Washington’s closest comparison is Jordan Payton. The list doesn’t get any better with Shaq Evans, Leonte Carroo, and ArDarius Stewart also as highly comparable. Washington’s 4.54-second 40-yard dash time is just fine. His 34 ½-inch vertical is concerning, and his 7.11 3-cone is Strike 3 for me.
Kyle Francis – Deon Cain. His March Rookie ADP on DFF is 20. That is 10+ spots ahead of Tre’Quan Smith, 15+ ahead of Allen Lazard, 20+ spots ahead of Dante Pettis, 25+ spots ahead of Keke Coutee, Richie James, Jordan Lasley, Cedrick Wilson, Korey Robertson, Javon Wims, Trey Quinn, and J’Mon Moore. Yowza! Cain was a high school QB is currently more athlete than polished receiver. It’s likely that Cain will be selected ahead many of the aforementioned receivers that are cheaper, but I would contend many from that group are better players.
John Hogue – Yet again, I get to mask my inadequate knowledge of the incoming rookie class by leaning on one of my peers from DFF’s amazing Devy department; this time, it’s my podcast co-host James Koutoulas (@DFF_TheBrain). He’s pointed out some alarming tape on two guys: D.J. Moore and Christian Kirk. I personally believe the hype on Moore is a little much, but that he could absolutely be a Will Fuller-type pro. Kirk concerns me quite a bit more after reviewing “The Brain’s” testimony. The biggest issue is the way he avoids contact; good luck getting on the good side of a coaching staff when you don’t fight for extra yardage or stay in bounds to reach for the first down. The best-case scenario seems to be a Jarvis Landry-type PPR machine without a lot of yards or touchdowns, but again, getting on the field requires some kind of virtue that the coaching staff can appreciate. A five-yard catch and step out of bounds on third-and-long is the perfect way to earn some serious chill-time on the bench.
Travis Rasmussen (@TravisNFL) – I was somewhat optimistic about Auden Tate as a late-round, high-upside guy in Dynasty rookie drafts before the combine. I don’t think I should have to preface these next few takes with a Combine disclaimer, but it is necessary to protect my mentions from becoming aflame. We all know the Combine isn’t remotely close to the most important part of scouting NFL prospects – not even close – but it does matter. It matters in that it can confirm what we think we’ve already seen from these players, and it also matters in that it can help point out red flags and outliers, good and bad. There is a minimum level of athleticism required to be successful in the NFL. Auden Tate had a historically bad athletic performance at the Combine, and I think he legitimately might not hit the minimum athleticism benchmark for being a starting NFL Wide Receiver. Tate ran a 4.68 in the 40-yard dash, had poor jumps, and (probably wisely) chose not to run any agility drills. To make things worse, after having weeks to prepare and improve upon that 40-time at his pro day, he went out and put up a 4.75 40-yard dash there. He got worse. At his pro day – an event that historically results in faster times. Tate is still the consensus WR7 in rookie rankings on www.dynastyfootballfactory.com and that is a take that I could not disagree with more. I will own him on zero dynasty teams.
Which 2018 RB Prospect will be a bust?
Joshua Johnson – Okay I will take the bait here. What if it’s Saquon Barkley. I mean come on, he is already being knighted as the best NFL player to walk this earth. He is basically Jesus on the Iron Throne. The bar is so high for Mr. Barkley that he may drown in the gooey and oozing pressure. He seems safe, right. My biggest concern is that he dances around too much looking for the big play. That worked for the 5’8”/200 lb. Barry Sanders but Barkley is four inches taller and 35 more pounds. That means he is a bigger target for SAM LBs to decapitate. Go ahead, crucify me or unfollow me on the Twittersphere.
Just for conjecture here is a list of RBs to go in the top 12 picks of the NFL Draft over the last ten years:
Leonard Fournette – jury still out on those tender ankles
Christian McCaffrey – between the tackles flawed
Zeke Elliott – great, but boneheaded
Todd Gurley – up, down, up and ?
Trent Richardson – out of the league
C.J. Spiller – journeymen JAG
Ryan Mathews – soft tissue punchline
Knowshon Moreno – more like WHOshon
Darren McFadden – strength and conditioning no-show
So, yeah, pressure is the bastard that could make us all Judas Iscariot.
Kyle Francis – Kalen Ballage. One of the most polarizing players in this class, he just hasn’t yet shown he is anything more than a genetically gifted, athletic freak. Ballage will need to land at a spot where a team will primarily utilize him as a pass-catcher and in a running scheme that allows him to read less and just hit a hole and go. DFF has his Rookie ADP at 13.75 for March, which feels very rich for a player that has done very little on the football field over the past several years.
John Hogue – I’m glad Josh Johnson dove on the grenade, so I don’t have to, because I’m nervous about Barkley. The expectations are just way too high. However, I don’t see him being an actual bust; maybe a slow, disappointing start, though. I think Ronald Jones could legitimately bust… and it hurts my heart to say that. “RoJo” is my favorite player in this entire draft, because I absolutely love his running style. He’s a slasher, with great elusiveness and breakaway speed, and he runs through arm tackles like he’s Steven Jackson or Marshawn Lynch. But he isn’t those guys. At 6’0” and 195 lbs., he’s going to be pigeon-holed as a third-down, change-of-pace back. The problem is, he doesn’t really catch the ball very well (he didn’t at USC, anyways). He runs aggressively and violently, and actually could hold up even with a full NFL workload, but he looks like the type of guy you feed 8-12 times per game and hope you get a home run from him. Without the trust of an NFL coaching staff to fill the workhorse roll, I don’t see Jones performing anywhere near his mid-first-round rookie draft ADP. I see C.J. Spiller, the sequel.
What constitutes a bust, in your discerning eyes?
Joshua Johnson – In a startup draft, I believe a bust is someone you take in the first five rounds who does not end up being a centerpiece and starter for 2- to 5-years.
In redraft, a bust is someone who you draft with the expectation of being an every-week starter. Even if you are one who “waits” on QBs.
In rookie drafts, it is anyone you drafted in the top 4 picks. Granted, some years, the player talent pool is deeper and more refined (like this year). However, screwing up a top-4 pick with guys like Kevin White, Corey Coleman, Laquon Treadwell, and John Ross can only make a bad team worse.
Kyle Francis – I look at it a bit like purchasing real estate or investing in stocks. Did you pay more to purchase than the price you sold it for and/or not get the overall utility from it that you had hoped? Often, players are labeled busts too early in their careers and not given time to fulfill their potentials. There can be opportunity to buy young players at a discount, if you time the market properly. For example, while Laquon Treadwell has been disappointing for the Vikings thus far, it’s too early to give up on him and label him as a bust.
John Hogue – It varies by position (I typically give a running back two seasons to carve out a role before I write them off, yet I generally won’t even attempt to evaluate a wide receiver in his first two seasons). Here’s the bottom line: Learn from the past. History repeats itself when it comes to the trajectory of a player’s career. There are outliers, but the timeline for a player at a given position is generally the same for Player Z as it was for Players A-Y. So… is the player following the same basic career arch as any other player of the same position before him? If not, we’ve got a code red bust alert. It’s really that simple. We know that a rookie running back doesn’t have to be Ezekiel Elliott or Alvin Kamara; we just need to see progress. An increased workload, more reps on early downs and goal line situations, etc., and something that passes the eye test. If you don’t see that player doing anything “special,” chances are the coaching staff won’t either, and he won’t stay on the field very long. As for wide receivers, it’s unlikely to get anything out of them their first season, but an increased role towards the end of Year One and certainly midway through Year Two means his learning curve is right in line with any other receiver (not named Randy Moss or Odell Beckham, Jr.).
It’s all relative to where you drafted the player and what role he was meant to serve, but at the end of the day, you can get a good player early in the draft without getting the production you were expecting. That’s not a bust; just a slight disappointment. However, if he can’t get on the field, or he is ineffective when he is on the field, you won’t even get bench-depth from him. That’s how you know he is a bust.