Jarrett Behar provides his potential 2016 dynasty rookie busts.
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The period immediately following the NFL Draft is one of the greatest times to be a dynasty owner. Rookie drafts are one of the most entertaining aspects of a dynasty league and the possibilities for your team seem endless. Especially in a year where the incoming rookie class is not as highly regarded as in the past, the prospect of adding an important new piece to your team can lead you to view these rookies through rose-colored glasses.
While the top four rookies – Ezekiel Elliott, Laquon Treadwell, Corey Coleman and Josh Doctson – seem fairly set in the stone, that fact leaves owners of picks in the middle and end of the first round even more susceptible to drafting players with very low floors. I’ll take a look at some of these riskier players and examine their bust potential.
High Bust Potential
Pharoh Cooper (WR – LAR)
Cooper is one of the most divisive rookies out there this year. It seems that people either love him or hate him. He was one of the most exciting players to watch in college over the last two years, scoring a combined 20 TDs and catching 135 balls over that span.
He is bigger (5’11, 203 lbs) than the player on his own team that he is accused of being redundant of, Tavon Austin (5’8, 176 lbs). However, they do both carry the stigma of needing their touches manufactured. Also, Austin generally outperformed Cooper in pre-draft workouts.
He was faster (4.34 sec 40-yard dash vs. 4.63 for Cooper) and had a higher vertical jump (32 inches vs. 30.5 inches). In addition, Cooper’s three cone drill time, 7.15 seconds, was unimpressive.
Although Austin and his $12 million 2017 salary may not be long for Los Angeles, Cooper may end up being nothing more than a slower, less athletic replacement in an offense that will be helmed by a young quarterback and will likely run through stud RB Todd Gurley.
Instead trade down and draft: Mike Thomas (WR – LAR)
Will Fuller (WR – HOU)
In the interest of full disclosure, Fuller was one of my least favorites of the top prospects coming into this year’s draft. His inability to secure contested catches coupled with his small hand size leads me to believe that this issue will not improve going forward. In addition to DeAndre Hopkins being just 23 years old and firmly entrenched as the Texans’ WR1 and one of the top WRs in the NFL, Fuller does not have future WR1 potential.
It won’t surprise me at all if Miller surpasses Fuller once he learns all of the nuances of being an NFL WR and Fuller gets relegated to situational WR3/deep threat. Fuller is going around the 1.09 in rookie drafts and at that price, I see too low of a floor and not high enough of a ceiling.
Instead trade down and draft: Braxton Miller (WR – HOU)
Above Average Bust Potential
Tyler Boyd (WR – CIN)
Although many people liked Boyd coming out of Pittsburgh, his athleticism is fairly underwhelming. With a SPARQ score ranked 80th among rookie WRs (behind such players as UDFA Cody Core and fifth round pick Jordan Payton) and an underwhelming 4.54 40 yard dash time, Boyd simply lacks the ability to create big plays.
In addition, in his best case scenario he falls into a Bengals WR2 position that has never been able to create a consistent fantasy producer while fighting for targets behind A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard. If Boyd looked like a talent that could challenge Eifert to be the No. 2 option on the team, then I might be a little excited about his prospects, but he doesn’t, so I’m not.
Instead trade the pick for: Phillip Dorsett (WR – IND) – 17 spots lower in DLF’s May ADP
Kenneth Dixon (RB – BAL)
We talked about the quagmire that is the Baltimore Ravens RB situation on Episode 6 of the Dynasty One Podcast. As a fourth round pick, Dixon is owed nothing and will have to complete with a couple of other former fourth-round picks in Javorius “Buck” Allen and Lorenzo Taliaferro, a former third-round pick in Terrance West. Let’s not forget to mention former first round pick Trent Richardson and veteran Justin Forsett, who was the PPR RB7 in 2014 and was the PPR RB13 through 10 weeks in 2015 before getting hurt in Week 11.
Dixon does have an all-around skill set, but he totalled 801 carries in four years at Louisiana Tech. It’s not the 924 carries that Montee Ball notched at Wisconsin, but the wear and tear on Dixon before he ever plays a down in the NFL is worth noting. Dixon is currently being drafted around the 1.07/1.08 pick in dynasty rookie drafts, which, in my opinion, is a very high price to pay for a fourth-round NFL Draft pick that’s headed into a very crowded backfield.
Instead trade down and draft: Keith Marshall (RB – WAS)
Moderate Bust Potential
Michael Thomas (WR – NO)
Depending on who you talk to, Thomas could be as high as the 1.05 in rookie drafts in what is generally perceived as a great situation with Drew Brees and the Saints. But Brandin Cooks and his 129 targets aren’t going anywhere and Willie Snead was quietly one of the most efficient WRs in the NFL last year, catching almost 70% of his 102 targets. Yes Marques Colston is leaving his 67 targets behind and Thomas could theoretically pick up some of Benjamin Watson’s 109 targets, but the question of Thomas’ role in the offense is certainly not a fait accompli.
In addition, Brees turned 37 in January and saw his total passing yards decrease for the fourth consecutive year. Although Thomas certainly has a good deal of athleticism and ball skills, there is a fair amount of uncertainty surrounding someone that requires a fairly high pick.
Instead see if you can trade out for a 2017 first round pick.
Leonte Carroo (WR – MIA)
Although I generally preach talent over situation, and I do think Carroo is very talented, the crowded situation in Miami elevates Carroo’s bust potential. Having spent a first round pick on DeVante Parker last year and with Jarvis Landry coming off an 111 catch season that saw him finish as the PPR WR10, Carroo’s path to targets is seemingly blocked by two talented and, more importantly, very young receivers. Could Parker continue to struggle with injuries or fail to develop into the WR1 that the team obviously thought he was when they drafted him so highly in 2015?
Sure and Carroo is certainly the pick of the new regime as opposed to Parker, but it is certainly a reasonable scenario where Carroo is nothing more than a WR3 fighting for targets for his entire rookie contract. Especially in shallower leagues, he could end up clogging up your roster while he waits for his turn.
Instead trade down and draft: Malcolm Mitchell (WR – NE)