2014: Post Draft Rookie Podcast

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Here is the latest little ditty from the Art of Score.  We cover our top 5 favorite rookies as of now, our two big surprise rookies and veterans who could be slowing down.

Into Music – Mr. Bungle – Chemical Marriage

Outro Music – Dead Kennedys – Viva Las Vegas

 

-Ron

Post Draft Rookie Positional Rankings: TE

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When looking at the rookies from a fantasy perspective, there is no silver bullet.  With any scouting, whether it’s fantasy or real life, there is a lot of subjectivity.   You would think with the amount of advanced statistics available you could mitigate the risk by using metrics. Though useful, they are only part of the equation.  Maybe there is a magic algorithm somewhere in the ether that will eventually reduce this to a numbers game.  Until the string theory of scouting is discovered, I use this.

Tape- What does he look like on tape? TV, youtube etc… Did he dominate?  Was he running people over, making people miss and running by them?  Do these skills translate in to the NFL?

Situation- How many players at his position are in front of him?   What are their skill levels? Age? Years remaining on their contracts?  Salary cap concerns?

Talent- How did he measure up in the combine and pro day?  Did he dominate on the field? Does he have a unique characteristic that can make him successful? Is he too small to be anything more than a 3rd down back or are his hands so bad he is only a 2 down back?

Scheme- What scheme is he playing in?  This is not always an absolute, but you should have idea of what type of offense he is in.  Does he fit what the team wants in a RB?  How does this scheme impact the player?

Run/Pass Ratio- How much do they pass?  How much do they run?  Be careful with this one.  EX. Drafting a WR4 on Seattle is not going to help you much unless you feel he can become more than a WR4 down the road.

Preseason Games – This is where you can tell a lot about what the team thinks of the player, how they will use him and how he stacks up against NFL competition.  Be careful watching a player going against 2nd and 3rd string players…

These rankings are slanted towards Dynasty Leagues

Ebron, Eric  – Lions   

He is probably the most athletic TE in the draft. However, he isn’t Vernon Davis, so please don’t compare him to Davis athletically. Fantasy wise he is in a good situation in Detroit, but not great. There are several unknowns. For one the offense IS NOT THE SAME AS LAST YEAR. There is a whole new offense that will be more balanced. I would not expect 600+ passes again from this team. If they did, it would be a big upset. There are already two competent TE on the team in Fauria and Pettigrew. Neither are world beaters, but I can’t foresee either giving up their position without a fight.   As I recollect back to the Colt’s offenses of the mid- 2000’s, there was a lot of 2 TE offense or “12” personal. In that, one of the TE’s, Dallas Clark, was the “Joker” or detached TE(the one that lines up in multiple positions and doesn’t block much.) I would imagine this is what Ebron will become. Even with all the weapons around him, I think he can be a very effective TE in this offense.

Seferian-Jenkins, Austin – Buccaneers    

The big get bigger. One of the tallest receiving corps in the league just got taller. ASJ adds yet another redzone threat to 6’5” Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans. Jenkins is probably the most complete TE in the draft and this could allow him to start earlier than his one dimensional counterparts.   He has size and speed. The Jeff Tedford offense should play into his strengths. The only thing I worry about is the amount of touches he will get with all the talent around him. His long term prospects look very good.

Amaro, Jace  – Jets     

He can’t block a lick, but he won’t be asked to block. He could be Geno Smith’s or Mike Vick’s best friend this season. Jets have an inexperienced WR group behind Decker and Kerley. Amaro will have to beat out Jeff Cumberland for some PT, but they are two different types of TE’s and should be able to coexist in “12” personnel.

Fiedorowicz, C.J – Texans     

This guy reminds me of Health Miller. The offense they are running here is still a bit of a mystery.   I can’t say how Ryan Griffin and Garret Graham come into play, but as of now, they are in front of Fiedorowicz. I don’t see him ever being more than a TE2 in most formats.

Rodgers, Richard – Packers

Here is a solid player in a very good situation. Drafted in round 3 so he will get an opportunity here. Buy low.   If J. Finley comes back healthy, his value takes a hit.

Others to watch…

Leonard, A.C. –  Vikings 

I loved this guy on “Saved by the Bell.” Talented, but troubled. Kicked out of Florida for domestic violence arrests. Clean record for past 2 years at Tennessee Tech and productive.   Norv Turner and he could be dangerous.

Jordan, Reggie  – Jaguars

Weak competition in from of him, Pass catching TE from a small school.

Gillmore, Crockett  – Ravens       

Lynch, Arthur  – Dolphins    

Niklas, Troy  – Cardinals    

All three of these guys are blockers first. Without a doubt they have pass catching skills, but not the kind that will be impactful fantasy wise at this juncture. Keep and eye on them, but I don’t think they worthy at this point.

 

-Ron

Post Draft Rookie Positional Rankings: RB

 

toast-beer

When looking at the rookies from a fantasy perspective, there is no silver bullet.  With any scouting, whether it’s fantasy or real life, there is a lot of subjectivity.   You would think with the amount of advanced statistics available you could mitigate the risk by using metrics. Though useful, they are only part of the equation.  Maybe there is a magic algorithm somewhere in the ether that will eventually reduce this to a numbers game.  Until the string theory of scouting is discovered, I use this.

Tape- What does he look like on tape? TV, youtube etc… Did he dominate?  Was he running people over, making people miss and running by them?  Do these skills translate in to the NFL?

Situation- How many players at his position are in front of him?   What are their skill levels? Age? Years remaining on their contracts?  Salary cap concerns?

Talent- How did he measure up in the combine and pro day?  Did he dominate on the field? Does he have a unique characteristic that can make him successful? Is he too small to be anything more than a 3rd down back or are his hands so bad he is only a 2 down back?

Scheme- What scheme is he playing in?  This is not always an absolute, but you should have idea of what type of offense he is in.  Does he fit what the team wants in a RB?  How does this scheme impact the player?

Run/Pass Ratio- How much do they pass?  How much do they run?  Be careful with this one.  EX. Drafting a WR4 on Seattle is not going to help you much unless you feel he can become more than a WR4 down the road.

Preseason Games – This is where you can tell a lot about what the team thinks of the player, how they will use him and how he stacks up against NFL competition.  Be careful watching a player going against 2nd and 3rd string players…

These rankings are slanted towards Dynasty Leagues

 

1          Sankey, Bishop           Titans

He has it all.  College Production, combine metrics, good tape and he’s in a situation where his only competition (Shonn Greene) is coming off knee surgery.

2          Williams, Andre          Giants

The Giants running back situation is muddled. Hillis is an aging RB. Jennings parlayed a good 5 game stretch into a nice FA contract, but is only a part time back.. David Wilson is coming off an injury and he has ball security issues.  Dynasty wise, he is a good bet.  Great college production and tough running style.

3          Hill, Jeremy                 Bengals

With BJE, aging and slowing, which now makes him really, really slow, Hill is the heir apparent for the power back role here.  He has the pedigree but there are character concerns. Could be the thunder to Gio Bernard’s lightening.

4          Freeman, Devonta       Falcons

I like, but don’t love Freeman from a talent perspective.  I really like his situation.  Jackson is on his last legs, Rodgers is just an average back.  Antone Smith might have been their best back last year.  This situation is wide open and he should have a great shot of getting significant playing time.

5          West, Terrance            Browns

He is firmly behind Ben Tate who signed a FA deal this offseason.  I can firmly say that Tate gets hurt every year.  He should be the unquestioned #2 here next year.  He played at a small school, I hope he can handle the speed of the NFL game.  If he can, he could eventually overtake Tate

6          Hyde, Carlos               49ers

This situation is different.  He is currently buried on the 49ers depth chart.  However, each guy he is behind has their warts.  Gore is aging, Lattimore is still recovering from that terrible knee injury, Hunter seems to be regarded as a change of pace (even though I think he can be more) and James seems to not have a role.   Where does that leave Hyde?  Beats me, but he has great talent and a great scheme fit in SF.  I wouldn’t expect immediate returns, but he has the talent to be an impact NFL player when he gets his shot.

7          Johnson, Storm           Jaguars

Perfect scheme fit. One cut and go for the zone scheme.  He is only really behind Gerhart.  Jordan Todman and Dennard Robinson seems to have undefined roles.  This bodes well for Johnson.  He could end up the #2 behind a guy that never has had to carry the load.

8          Mason, Tre                  Rams

Mason has average measureables, great production, good scheme fit and he is buried behind two capable RB’s in Stacy and Cunningham.   Pead and Richardson are wildcards, but candidates to be cut after a disappointing 2013. Mason seems to be a long term investment at this point.

9          Gaffney, Tyler            Panthers

Don’t expect to get an immediate return unless the panthers release Stewart or Williams.  Both are aging, injury prone and have cripplingly high salary cap numbers.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see Gaffney getting significant carries later in 2014.  He could be the future if he can adjust to the NFL.

10        White, James               Patriots

I like White.  Why did the Patriots select another RB when they have 3 capable on the roster?  Ridley and Vareen’s contracts are up after this offseason.  I would imagine only one would be back.   Vareen gets hurt a lot and Ridley has butterfingers so take your pick.  Brandon Bolden could also not be back.  White could conceivably be the starter in 2015.

11        Carey, Ka’Deem          Bears

It’s open season for the Bears back up running back position.  Carey can get the carries if he proves himself.  His value could really get an uptick if he plays well in the offseason.

12        McKinnon, Jerick        Vikings

A.P. is the man. He is one of best running backs of his generation. He is also getting older. He is coming off groin surgery. He has no back up RB.  Matt Asiatta is not enough.  Take a flyer late on this guy.

13        Blue, Alfred                Texans

Can do everything.  Can’t stay healthy.  Intriguing RB behind Foster.  Fosters’ age and health are becoming a factors.

14        Taliaferro, Lorenzo     Ravens

Ray Rice is having…legal issues.  Pierce is having shoulder issues.  Taliaferro could get some carries early.  Uncertain situation for sure.

15        Andrews, Antonio        Titans    

You never know when that UDFA beats out the higher ranked player.   A weak depth chart in front of him makes him draftable in dynasty leagues providing you have the roster depth.

15        Mairon Grice                   Chargers

Buried in a deep Chargers backfield.

16        Jerome Smith                   Falcons

Could be the Yin to Freeman’s Yang moving forward.  A player to watch.

17        Williams, Damien        Dolphins 

Crowded backfield situation.  Seems suited to the spread offense. Wait and see here.

18        Archer, Dri                  Steelers

Gadget back for the Steelers at this point.  Could he develop into Darrren Sproles?  History says the odds are against that, but his speed is elite.

19        Seastrunk, Lache         Redskins

See Damien Williams above. Possible replacement for Roy Helu who is in his contract year.

 

-Ron

Post Draft Rookie Positional Rankings: WR

 

nfl-head-hitContinuing our way too soon rankings for you fantasy fans that can’t get enough, and you dynasty leaguers with deadlines to draft very soon.  We’ll tackle the clear marquis position from the 2014 draft:  The WR, lots of good value here – but who makes the best value, who makes the longest term contributions, who is ready to play right now?

Let’s take an initial look, put them in your input file, and let’s watch how they change over the course of the summer.

1.) Mike Evans – Buccaneers – Remember because these are early rankings without having seen this play out, my rankings are heavily influenced by who has the longest term value as a fantasy player over their career.   Evans is the top of a very good group, even though I’m not in love with his initial landing spot.   Evans is a massive target, runs well, and opposite Vincent Jackson will see a lot of single coverages in 2014.  But I think his real value is a few years down the line when Lovie finds a long term answer at QB, and when Jackson has relinquished primary redzone status.  I’m putting Evans at the top, just slightly ahead of Watkins because I really hate Watkins’ situation – and I feel Watkins is overrated to a degree.

2.) Sammy Watkins – Bills - Let’s get this out of the way, I don’t like the Bills giving up a ton to move up to grab Watkins.  It was a deep WR draft, therefore it was a stupid move. You do that for a once in a generational WR talent like Calvin Johnson, you don’t do it for a guy with very similar measurables to his former teammate DeAndre Hopkins.  There is a guy (or two) like Watkins every year. Anyway, a more practical reason to hate the move is for fantasy owners that are now staring at Watkins in Buffalo, with the cold, and the low output offense, and EJ Manuel.  I actually think Manuel could be better than people think, but better than people think doesn’t mean Watkins will be fantasy relevant in 2014.  He should be used a ton since the Bills fully committed to him, but the output of that commitment to me seems very much in flux.  In a few seasons if Manuel stabilizes himself Watkins could be a top 10 fantasy WR – so in rookie drafts I couldn’t blame you for taking him #1, there’s just a little too much hype, and a little too much situational discomfort for me to rank him 1st.

3.) Jordan Matthews – Eagles - This guy might be the best physical prospect in the draft.  I’m not kidding.  It’s tough to rank him over Evans and Watkins because he does need to polish a little bit of his game.  But in 2 seasons, he could very easily be the best WR in this class with some more instruction on route running.  I believe in him, and I definitely believe in the extremely high output Chip Kelly offense.  If he gets a one on one matchup in an uptempo offense he’ll be terrifying.  In dynasty drafts I would not blink if you put this guy as your your 1st pick, I’m higher on him than some – but I really feel in a short time you will see him rise to top 10 fantasy WR status.  In 2014 redrafts however, he’s little more than a late round flier as a WR 4 or 5.

4.) Brandon Cooks – Saints – Another WR with freaky measurables that landed in a fantastic spot.   Cooks actually is probably in the best position of these top 4 to contribute right away – he’s a burner on a nearly legendary passing offense.  But Cooks isn’t just a speedster he’s very strong for his 5’10 frame and should be able to handle press coverages at this level without much issue.    I think he also has a legit chance to pass Watkins during his career, but I’ll temper it with the fact that he may be saddled at some point with a complete change of offense after Drew Brees moves on.  In redraft leagues right now he’s the top guy I’m taking from this class – you could probably do a lot worse than having him as your fantasy team’s # 3 option in 2014.

5.) Odell Beckham – Giants - Beckham’s great combine really helped pushed him onto the charts.  How much so?  Well that the Giants took him 12th overall.  I don’t doubt that Odell can be productive in the NFL and in a jack-of-all-trades type of way if they let him explore his returner capabilities.   I do have some doubts about his explosiveness, as against better SEC competition in college he really struggled.  Ron and Tim would probably have Beckham at the same level, and higher than some of the 4 above.  I have him clearly as number 5.  And there’s nothing really wrong with that – heck for 2014 I could easily see him outproducing everyone from this class except for Cooks.  In redraft leagues right now think more low end WR3 high end Wr4 – in dynasty you’re welcome to take him higher than 5th, but to me he’s not quite there.

6.) Allen Robinson – Jaguars - In many ways I think Robinson the most underrated WR in this draft.  I know putting him above Lee and Benjamin probably seems ridiculous at 1st glance….but I believe he’s better physically than his new teammate Lee (although he is slower), and he’s got better instincts and moves than Benjamin.  The caveat here is Jacksonville – rookie QB, competition with Lee, and overall rookie growing pains on a bad team.  It’s a risk pick in dynasty that many people won’t make because they’ll assume Lee will be given more rope, and Robinson may not get a chance to shine.  So I wouldn’t blame anyone for flipping these 2 selections – but I want it on record that I think Robinson is the better player right now.  In 2014 redrafts you can delay this debate for another year – because Robinson is worth waiver wire consideration only.

7.) Marqise Lee – Jaguars - How the years have changed, last year at this time as people were looking forward to who might be the best WR in the following draft – Lee’s name was mentioned early and often.  Now with how deep the WR class became he’s almost relegated to an afterthought.  Lee’s in a tough spot here for a lot of reasons: my disdain for  Blake Bortles has already been mentioned (not that a rookie QB is usually a good thing regardless),  physically he’s not exceptional – not the biggest, not the fastest, and finally he’s got plenty of competition from Cecil Shorts & Allen Robinson.  Lee is probably a solid NFL WR but I don’t think he ever gets to elite status – and it’s certainly harder to see that in  Jacksonville where they need to define their entire offense for the 4th time in 6 years.  In redrafts for 2014 Lee may have value if the Jags force the ball his way to get him involved…I still let someone else take that risk.  In dynasty it’s not out of the question that Lee becomes a top 25 WR in 2 or 3 years.

8.) Cody Latimer – Broncos - Here’s a risky one that at 1st doesn’t seem like it.  I mean who wouldn’t want to be paired with Peyton Manning?  Well, how about a guy who’s just starting out may have to be eased into his role, and by the time he gets it his team has moved on to a new QB and a new philosophy?  I love Latimer’s strength, speed, and hands – but I’m not sure how big a part of the Broncos offense he’ll be in 2014 – and if you handicap Peyton with a 2 year window or so, I can’t guarantee Latimer will see the field enough with the Manning offense.  If I could do that,  Latimer easily jumps into top 4 of this draft – I believe in his talents that much.  I also believe long term he will make a great “Eric Decker” like prospect over the course of his career.  A solid fantasy #2, but for 2014 you really have to track reports out of Denver to see how he’ll be used.  He’s either a potential rookie sleeper, or a deep stash in dynasty.

9.) Kelvin Benjamin – Panthers - My dislike of how “stiff” a player Benjamin is cannot be overstated.  He’s like Plaxico Burress at 36, not Plaxico in his prime like what he’s been compared to…still he lands in a pretty good situation for himself.  The Panthers, as we discussed numerous times throughout the offseason, were cobbling together a WR corps after cutting Steve Smith.  Drafting Benjamin in the 1st round clearly shows their commitment to building a passing offense around him.  The problem is, for all the progress Cam Newton made last season, he’s largely still a check down, scramble QB leading a heavy run offense.  Benjamin doesn’t have much gamebreaking ability to create for himself and so will be tied very heavily to redzone usage – where his incredible height may give him an advantage – but he may not be top in the pecking order down there.  As he watches Cam run in another draw, I’m sure fantasy owners will appreciate his blocking.  He’s too big to write off completely, so in dynasty mid 2nd round pick, in redraft late flier if you’ve built your team well….but to me he has very high bust potential.

10.) Davante Adams – Packers - Adams initially is probably a fantasy non-factor in 2014.  But man, his landing spot – after this season the Packers will have to come to contract discussions with Jordy Nelson and Randle Cobb.  My guess is they’ll probably only sign one of them, leaving Adams in 2015 with competition from only Jarret Boykin & fellow rookie Jarred Abrederis for the #2 in an Aaron Rodgers’ offense.  Oh sure, the Packers could trade or draft someone prior to 2015 – but Adams is a solid option for them in house and should just be waiting in the wings for more and more playing time.  He’s riskier than guys like Benjamin or Lee, but his payoff if things break right could be very nice.  If you like upside guys dynasty leaguers aren’t out of their minds to draft him in the late 1st, early 2nd rounds of rookie drafts.

THE REST

Donte MoncreifColts - solid but not great measurables, won’t become the coveted future “go-to-guy” for Andrew Luck, but could hang around for years being a productive player.

Paul Richardson – Seahawks – they like his deep ball skill set.  But will they use it?  What overlap does that have with Percy Harvin’s game?

Jarvis Landry – Dolphins - I don’t think he’s special at all, but Dolphins will give him every chance to make it work.

Bruce Ellington  – 49’ers - Above average talent, but will he be buried on that roster?  Even if Crabtree leaves in 2015 and Boldin moves on after that he fits the burner role rather than the possession role the Niners have coveted.

Martavis Bryant – Steelers - Draft stock tumble was probably warranted – average possession level WR, could be useful career fantasy Wr3.

Jared Abbrederis – Packers – Bit of a wildcard good pass catcher, not fast, potentially a #3 in Green Bay which could spike value.  But may not be polished enough to grab gig and get lost in shuffle.

Devin Street – Cowboys – Underrated player chance to supplant Terrance Williams, but certainly no lock to do so.

Michael Campanaro – Ravens – One of my favorite sleepers, but on a traditionally low output offense shifting toward heavy TE use – he may be a story more of never was, than will be…

John Brown – Cardinals - To take this guy in the 3rd round shows the Cardinals must have plans for him.  Doesn’t mean those plans will pan out however.

Josh Huff – Eagles - Same as John Brown on a much better offense.

Quincy Enunwa – Jets - The best of a truly odd trio the Jets brought in to pair with Geno Smith. Long term he might work out….short term betting against it.

Jeremy Gallon – Patriots - There’s just too much competition for him – smallest WR drafted by Patriots since Bellichik took over, likely views him as special team coverage player.

Robert Herron – Bucs - Could carve out a speed role in a land of giant WR, but not confident the Bucs offense will utilize him.

Matt Hazel – Dolphins - I might be among the very few that wouldn’t be shocked by him beating out Jarvis Landry for playing time.

TJ Jones – Lions - I’m not so sure TJ makes the team, I know there is some fantasy teasing with a Lions WR, but not sure he can handle being a 3rd or 4th option at the pro level.

Ryan Grant – Redskins - No, not that Ryan Grant.  Great hands, average measurables, and a very crowded WR crew have him pegged for a preseason cut or practice squad.

Kevin Norwood - Seahawks – Long odds to make the team, steady but not any kind of standout player.

Shaq Evans – Jets - Shaq Evans a 4th rd pick?!!  Oh you wacky Jets.

Jalen Saunders – Jets - Jalen Saunders a 4th rd pick even higher than Evans?!!!! Oh Jets….no…

 

:by Mike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post Draft Rookie Positional Ranks: QB’s

We here at the Art of Score realize the amount of over-saturation and further more, the absurdity of handing out draft grades to players and teams before guys have even played one down of professional football.  However, we also realize the demand for some type of fantasy feedback, particularly for those of you in dynasty drafts who will be drafting players before you get to see any of these guys in pads.

As such, we’re going to give you these positional rankings now – put them in your input file, and let’s watch how they change over the course of the summer.

QB’s

1.) Teddy Bridgewater – Vikings – I’ve felt all along from a talent perspective Bridgewater was the best QB in this draft.   Going to Minnesota is pretty good for him for a few reasons.  First if he struggles in camp and isn’t ready for the season there’s no QB in the NFL that says “stopgap” more than Matt Cassel – so the Vikes shouldn’t feel pressured to start Bridgewater if he’s not ready.  Second, Norv Turner apparently pushed for Ted (I feel weird to keep calling him “Teddy”) so Turner believes in him and will design the offense for him.  And third the Vikings will still emphasis the run game under Adrian Peterson – as anyone will tell you a heavy run game can slow down pass rushers, and give an inexperienced QB more time to make quality decisions.  In redraft leagues, unless Bridgewater clearly wins the job out of preseason, and looks very good doing it – I’m probably not drafting him – even as a low end backup.  He’s going to take some time I predict – but in dynasty drafts he’s one of the few QB assets I’d like to have from 2014.  Probably a mid 2nd round dynasty pick.

2.) Tom Savage – Texans – Ok I know the next two guys on this list have more hype, seem more pro-ready, and have zero chance of not starting at some point in 2014.  But to me with Savage you play the long game here and see if you win.  You’ll hear a lot of buzz about Ryan Mallet coming to Houston and if that happens it probably pushes off Savage’s debut 2 seasons or so (I don’t believe in Mallet).  And in 2-3 years Arian Foster and Andre Johnson could be gone from what was an explosive offense.   However, what makes Savage attractive in spite of this uncertainty is that he has better tools than most at the position – he has better size, better accuracy, and better decision making than Manziel, and he’s got a better arm than Bortles.  In redraft leagues he’s a non draft for 2014 – on the off-chance he comes in as the 2014 starter, a backup to a low risk starter (Manning, Rodgers, Brees, etc) might be feasible.  In dynasty rookie drafts – if you have a development roster spot – spending a 3rd or 4th rd pick on him may yield you a top 15 QB in a few seasons.

3.) Johnny Manziel – Browns – Crazy is as crazy does.  In less than a week, Josh Gordon has started to face the possibility of a year long suspension, reports have surfaced that most of the Browns scouting department and coaches wanted Teddy Bridgewater, and that the owner Jim Haslam apparently overruled everyone on the advice of a homeless dude.  Now, whether that last part is just an urban legend, or a terribly misguided PR move – I don’t know, and I don’t care.   Look Manziel is polarizing, so no matter what I say about him you are going to have your opinion on whether he can play in this league.   I think he’s the type of guy to have 3-4 seasons of a few highlight plays, be generally mediocre – be loved or hated way beyond that level, and then slip into the ether. He’s smaller and slower than RG3, doesn’t seem to have the decision making that Russel Wilson has, and lacks the accuracy of Andrew Luck.   Yet I’m supposed to believe somehow that this guy is the league’s next superstar?  Not buying it.  Assuming he starts this year in Cleveland in redraft formats he may be worth looking at from the perspective of his scrambling – but keep in mind that usually has a shelf life (as RG3 found out) – and he has low end backup value on that.  In rookie drafts, the guy is going to be drafted 2nd round, whether it’s by you depends whether you think Manziel has game beyond his legs.  If I was drafting in dynasty I would pick him if I thought he would have a highlight or two his rookie year and then try to trade him.

4.) Blake Bortles – Jaguars – Well the Jags believe in him so he’ll probably be given the keys to drive asap. Bortles has great height and weight for an NFL QB, and he’s fairly mobile – but I am highly skeptical of his ability to throw the ball. In college he had a ton, and I mean probably the majority of his time in a one read system – complete with extremely short drops of 2 or less.  A lot of QB’s look great in bubble screen systems – but can he throw the ball down the field?  I say not really, but based on a draft position this guy will be a starter in the league for at least 2-3 seasons.  For redraft purposes he is undraftable to me even if he’s the opening day starter, I mean if he heats up you can also try a waiver wire on him.  In rookie drafts, if you’re fairly desperate for a backup QB you can take him in the late 3rd or 4th rounds knowing that at least he’ll start some games this year.

5.) Jimmy Garoppolo – Patriots – A testament to how weak this QB class seems to me is that I’m putting Garoppolo over players that have a much clearer path to starting.  If the Pats hadn’t chosen Jimmy he may well have been the 2nd or 3rd best QB fantasy option in this draft.  As it stands right now Garoppolo is undraftable in redraft leagues, and in dynasty leagues is a high risk pick that depends a lot on how you view him.  I think Jimmy is talented, I think learning under Brady would be good for him, but I also think it’s impossible to know if he’s the next Pat’s QB.  And if he’s not New England’s successor than you have to check the trajectory of guys like Matt Cassel and Ryan Mallet (to be determined) and figure out if you like his FA chances in 3 seasons.   I would take a flier on him in dynasty leagues if you have a developmental spot he seems to be exactly the player you hold that spot for, and unlike Mallet I believe that the possibility of the Pats job may be up for grabs by the end of his rookie contract.  I’d take him over Bortles in dynasty at about the same spot in the draft if my team already had a competent backup QB on the roster.

THE REST

Derrick Carr – Raiders – nobody wants to get involved with the Raiders’ mess do they?

Logan Thomas – Cardinals - The most fascinating of the QB’s to me unpredictable.  A better Cam Newton?  Or out of the league in 2 years?

Zach Mettenberger – Titans – Not a great potential guy, but path to QB may only be blocked by shaky and often injured Locker.

Aaron Murray – Chiefs - Small, lack of arm strength, and recovering from a torn ACL.  May have some intangibles.  May also have been drafted solely for contract leverage with Alex Smith.

David Fales – Bears - Getting to work with Trestman is nice, working with Cavanaugh is even better.  Capable backup player – ironically may have a career a lot like recently departed Josh McCown.

AJ McCarron – Bengals – McCarron seems to have some potential starter traits good arm, size, decision making average.  But he’s missing something elite – and he’s not going to find it in Cincy behind Dalton.

Tajh Boyd – Jets - A run 1st QB 3rd string back up to Geno Smith and Michael Vick. I don’t see Boyd ever starting an NFL game.

Keith Wenning – Ravens - Wenning is probably a better QB than 2 or 3 of the guys that went ahead of him in the draft.  But he’s clearly on track for NFL career backup…although that career may last longer than people think.

Garret Gilbert – Rams - Possible conversion to WR? Either way Bradford has nothing to worry about from QB competition.

 

:by Mike

 

 

2014 NFL Draft: The Top 100?

After no doubt you’ve been completely exhausted by NFL draft coverage, and with the thing finally kicking off tonight, allow me to pile on with just one more article to spin around your head.   I mean, hey we here at the ArtofScore have been good boys since this whole draft season started – we haven’t published a single draft article.   And there’s a very good reason for that: for fantasy purposes (especially a position like RB) the quality of the player predraft doesn’t matter as much as the opportunity they get.  We promise plenty of post draft, and preseason coverage – but we’ve been saving our energy for that.

Still – with everyone having their own “sleepers” this time of year, with the debate over whether Johnny Football Manziel can you know – actually play football at the NFL level, and with so many mock drafts you know think you know what’s going on…

Well it’s my turn: below are the top 100 players I’m most interested in from the 2014 draft.  Most of them are here because I believe they are making it as pros, some of them are here because the story of whether they make it as pros will be compelling, all of them are likely to be relevant enough to be drafted.   And that’s all you can really ask – give the kids a chance and let’s see.  I’m keeping this list archived so we can check back over the years and see how many of these players made an impact, it’s as fun and and valuable an exercise as any during this period of over analysis and I can tell you at least it won’t be a mimic of the dozens of national mock drafts out there already.

Here they are:

1.) Khail Mack LB
2.) Greg Robinson OT
3.) Jake Matthews OT
4.) Ryan Shazier LB
5.) Javeon Clowney DE/LB
6.) Aaron Donald DT
7.) Jordan Matthews WR
8.) Bradley Roby CB
9.) Mike Evans WR
10.) Justin Gilbert CB
11.) Deonee Bucannon S
12.) Austin Sefieran – Jenkins TE
13.) Anthony Barr OLB
14.) Sammy Watkins – WR
15.) Zack Martin – OT
16.) Jason Verrett – CB
17.) Brandon Cooks – WR
18.) Taylor Lewan – OT
19.) Cody Latimer – WR
20.) Teddy Bridgewater QB
21.) Will Sutton – DL
22). Gabe Jackson – G
23.) Calvin Pryor – S
24.) X’avier Su’a-Filo – G
25.)  Laurent Duvernay-Tardif – OT
26.) Louis Nix – NT
27.) Joel Bitoni – G/T
28.) Allen Robinson – WR
29.) Kevin Pierre Louis – LB
30.) Odell Beckham – WR
31.) Marcus Smith – LB/DE
32.) Bishop Sankey – RB
33.) Cyril Richardson – OG
34.) Philp Gaines – CB
35.) Carlos Hyde – RB
36.) Tom Savage – QB
37.) Kelcy Quarles – DT
38.) Marques Lee – WR
39.) RaShede Hageman – DT
40.) Donte Moncreif – WR
41.) Kyle Fuller – CB
42.) Tyler Gaffney – RB
43.) Andre Williams – RB
44.) Jimmy Garoppolo,- QB
45.) Ha Ha Dixon – S
46.) Dee Ford – OLB/DE
47.) Darqueze Dennard – CB
48.) Kelvin Benjamin – WR
49.) Johnny Manziel – QB
50.) Jace Amaro – TE
51.) CJ Mosley – ILB
52.) Bruce Ellington – WR
53.) Chris Borland – ILB
54.)Tre Mason – RB
55.) Stephon Tuitt – DE
56.) Jerrick McKinnon – RB
57.) Michael Campanaro – WR
58.) Timmy Jernigan – NT
59.) Blake Bortles – QB
60.) Daniel Mccullers – DT
61.) Jimmy Ward – S
62.) Trent Murphy – DE
63.) Ed Reynolds – S
64.) Jackson Jeffcoat – DL
65.) Kyle Van Noy – OLB
66.) Davante Adams – WR
67.) Cyrus Kouandjio – OT
68.) Antonio Richardson – OT
69.) Martavis Bryant – WR
70.) Lache Seastrunk – RB
71.) Terrance West – RB
72.) Ka’deem Carey – RB
73.) Aaron Murray – QB
74.) Eric Ebron – TE
75.) Zach Mettenberger – QB
76.)  David Yankey – OG
77.) Morgan Moses – OT
78.) Dominique Easley – DT
79.) Demarcus Lawrence – DE
80.) Kony Ealy – DE
81.) Jack Mewhort – OT
82.) Preston Brown – ILB
83.) Derek Carr – QB
84.) Charles Sims – RB
85.) Stanley Jean-Baptiste – CB
86.) Dezmen Southward – S
87.) Andrew Jackson – ILB
88.) Paul Richardson – WR
89.) Isiah Crowell – RB
90.) Jaylen Watkins- CB
91.)  Brandon Thomas – G
92.) JaWuan James – OT
93.) Troy Niklas – TE
94.) Scott Crichton – DE
95.) Jeremiah Attaochu DE/LB
96.) Kareem Martin, DE
97.) Christian Jones – LB
98.) Mike Davis – WR
99.)  Walt Aikens – CB
100.) Logan Thomas – QB

Observations:  First you’re probably wondering if I forgot some names and then had to make up by inserting them near the bottom.  This is not the case and players like OG David Yankey, T Morgan Moses, TE Eric Ebron, and NT Timmy Jerrigan (and others) I almost put on this list in full begrudge mode – I don’t particularly like their game, but they are likely to be drafted so high (1st or 2nd rounds) that I had to include them as potential NFL starters because their teams will give them every opportunity to fail before they finally realize their mistakes.

The Top 12 guys I have listed I think are really special players.  WR Jordan Matthews and LB Ryan Shazier might have the most effort to adjust to the pro game, but I think they could be the two best players for the 2014 draft if they in Matthew’s case polish their game, and in Shazier’s case if he either adds muscle or moves to an OLB/S hybrid position in the pros.  Jenkins at TE represents the highest bust factor of the 12, but I’m taking his potential way over the other TE’s in this draft (Amaro at 50, Ebron at 74, Niklas at 93).

Bishop Sankey to me is the best RB right now in this class, and it is an interesting RB group with Hyde, McKinnon, Mason, West, Gaffney, Williams, Seastrunk, Crowell etc… there isn’t a lot of wow factor here.  In fact, as many as half of these RB’s (as well as some not listed) will be rendered fantasy irrelevant as soon as their name is called by the wrong team.  We learned that last year when teams like the Seahawks took talent like Christine Michael , and he was relegated to the pine for 2013.  By the same token though you monitor it because there’s always a chance that one of these guys gets early down carries and becomes an instant RB 2 for you.  Welcome to the new NFL where RB’s are necessary crap shoots.  So it’s always worth checking on them even if they’ll break your heart.

Speaking of breaking your hearts I have 9 QB’s on this list.  This certainly won’t happen in the real life draft that 9 QB’s will go in the 1st 100 picks.  And I don’t even think this is a particularly strong QB draft – in fact, it’s debatable if any of these guys are worth a 1st round pick.  But, statically a few of these guys will win starting jobs and as QB it is the most important position on the field so – the Johnny Manziel saga, the rise of Tom Savage, the fall of Teddy Bridgewater are all things worth watching because 1 or 2 of these 9 could be probowlers.  Just don’t ask me to name them now…this is a muddy, muddy hierarchy.  Logan Thomas is on here purely for the “could be” factor – his athleticism is scary – but so are some of his throws.  Star or camp cut I love that intrigue.

I’ve said all along that outside of WR (16 on this list!), the skill positions for fantasy in this draft are not outstanding – and that means that the post draft work you do to prepare for your 2014 FFL team will be really the most beneficial.  But for those of you draftniks tonight begins another part of the process that brings us closer to football season.

I hope your team does well over the next three days.  I hope my team takes a lot of these 100 – the true fantasy is getting excited over draft picks yet to hit the field.  Game on.

:by 40

 

 

 

 

 

2014 Offseason – Jason Avant to Carolina

Jason Avant signed with the Carolina Panthers today on a one-year deal.  They must read The Art of Score because we suggested this weeks ago.  Here and Here.

In all seriousness, this was a great move for the Panthers.  Avant isn’t the most fantasy relevant player in the league, that much is certain.  However, he is one of the best slot men in the game and will help Cam Newton out as a chain mover on third down.   He also is one of the most sure-handed WR’s in the game, the exact opposite of former Panther WR Brandon LaFell.

The Panthers are not done on the WR front in FA or in the draft.  They have no down field threat at all. The need to get younger and more explosive is a must. WR draftees like Odell Beckham and Brandon Cooks are players that could be looking that team in the face at the end of the first round.  Drafting two such WR’s is a very plausible scenario here. In addition to that, Cotchery and Avant have been signed to cap friendly short-term deals.   Having signed these two veterans means that the Panthers won’t have to start two inexperienced WR’s and that is a good thing.  Conversely, because they are short term deals, Carolina must hit on a WR  in the draft or they will end up in the same situation next year.

The Panthers could also hedge their bet a little after the draft.  Free agent WR’s such as Miles Austin, Sidney Rice, and Santonio Holmes will still be around after the draft and could be tempting depending how the Panthers draft unfolds.

No matter what the move, no matter how subtle, all off season moves matter and its ripples are felt throughout a teams roster.

Overall, the fantasy impact for the Avant move is low.  It helps Cam more than anyone else.  The real impact is the increased roster flexibility throughout the draft and offseason.

-Ron