As a fantasy fanatic, do you ever get tired of seeing articles written on the same 5-7 incoming rookies at every position? I know I do. Every off-season, including this one, the fantasy-sphere gets cluttered with talk of high profile rookie draft guys like Zeke Elliott, Derrick Henry, Laquon Treadwell, Josh Doctson, & Corey Coleman. Don’t get me wrong. All of those guys are potential NFL studs, but unless you own multiple first round rookie picks, you’re probably only getting, at most, one of them. What happens when you get to round 3, round 4, or even later in your rookie draft if your league has a deep format? Well, if your leagues are like mine, more than half of the owners in your league will be throwing darts at that point. Don’t be one those guys. In these next two articles, I’ll be going over 5 2016 RBs & 2016 WRs that are (currently) going, at the very least, outside the first two rounds of rookie mock drafts right now. Hopefully this can give you the edge in finding the right late round guys that will help you win your league championship.
The Running Backs
You may have heard his name at this point, especially if you’re a PAC-12 fan. If you live on the other side of the country like me, the hype may not have shown its face until the NFL combine, where Lasco ran a 4.46 40-yard dash, jumped through the roof in the vert at 41.5 inches, and eclipsed 11 feet in the broad jump. To help clarify how ridiculous that is, Alex Collins of Arkansas managed nearly a full 2 feet less in the broad jump, and over a foot less in the vert. There’s a catch, though. Daniel Lasco hasn’t stayed healthy, pretty much ever. He also ran a ridiculously high number of snaps out of the shotgun, so his footwork will definitely need some work at the next level. However, his tape agrees with the measurable athletic attributes that he put up at the combine. He’s just crazy explosive, almost to a fault. Lasco could absolutely wash out due to injury, but he could also come out of nowhere and amaze right away in the NFL.
Okay, so with Tyler, it’s really hard to find something negative to say. Ervin, like Lasco, blew people away at the combine. His 4.4 wheels, combined with a vert and broad (39 inches & 10’10”) right around Ameer Abdullah turned a lot of heads. He is “only” 5’9”, but makes such decisive cuts that I saw him avoid direct contact on just about every play. Any concern on his size will be based in ignorance. The real misunderstanding about his perceived ability may begin when I hear people compare him to Dion Lewis. His long speed kills Dion, but he is not elusive in the same way. Ervin’s a flat out sprinter with speed that jumps off the tape, who can make cuts to save his body, but I don’t think it was an accident that he didn’t complete the 3-cone and short shuttle at the combine. I think, for his size, those drills would not have impressed in the same way. He may prove me wrong at his pro day, but I’m guessing he elects not to complete those drills. Really, there’s not any big knock on Ervin. He has decent receiving ability, sick speed, surprising strength, and amazing vision to complete the big play. Draft this dude confidently.
Imagine if Duke Johnson and Ray Rice had a kid. He would look a lot like DeAndre Washington. That sounds nice, but if he’s so great, why is barely getting drafted in 4-round rookie mocks? I’m glad you asked. DeAndre quietly finished inside the top 6 RBs at the combine in the 40-yard dash, 3-cone & short shuttle. He didn’t absolutely kill it in the vert or broad, but was sufficient there as well. If you’ve checked out my RBAMA analysis (measurable assessment) for the 2016 class you’ll already know he put up the second best overall score. Why? He has 0 athletic deficiencies. His tape and last year’s numbers tell a story of a RB that’s ready for the next level. I love watching his footwork in tight space, the amount of fight he has for his size, and his uncanny ability to get downhill quick off the snap. Snag him with your last pick of the rookie draft and laugh at your league mates for missing out.
Tre is a back that is way off the radar. If you’re league’s drafting him, a league mate either read this article, or their probably a USC fan. There are a couple of reasons for this. He’s a converted linebacker, and he’s been injured. Since he didn’t even play RB until his junior year, plus couldn’t stay healthy when he did, he didn’t put up crazy numbers. That’s fine by me. C.J. Prosise has limited experience at RB too, but he’s looking like a top 5 RB in this class. Madden is 6’1”, 225, built similarly to Le’Veon Bell. He doesn’t have the same receiving chops, but in the limited sample size he’s excelled at the RB position. When I watch his tape he shows amazing balance off of contact, fantastic one-cut reads consistently, and great down-field vision that kills it on the second level of the defense. Depending on your league’s format, you may not even have to draft this guy at all. Just pick him up for free and stash him.
You’re going to hear this guy’s name before the draft if you haven’t already. He was a Senior Bowl invite, but combine snub. I call him T.J. Yeldon lite, but that’s probably a tad misleading. He runs with the stature and pad level of Yeldon. Plus I can’t help but think Yeldon when he plants on his first cut just past the line of scrimmage. However, it’s very apparent that his agility, short-area quickness, and long speed are quite a bit more impressive than Yeldon. After watching a bunch of his game I really can’t find a glaring flaw. RBs that don’t even get invited to the combine don’t generally have huge NFL careers, but just watch where he lands. My only concern is that his build pigeon-holes him into a 3rd down role that he’s not really ready for, and he washes out in a couple seasons due to misuse of his talents.
You’re welcome. Questions? Find me on Twitter Follow @FF_TravisFF