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 Wide Receivers
Some in the dynasty community will already denounce Mitchell as any sort of “sleeper” at the WR position. His stock is definitely rising, but he’s still able to be had in the 3rd, for now. I’m not going to lie, before the combine I didn’t know much about Mitchell. But then he put up a 4.45 40, 36 inch vert, 10’9” broad, and a 6.94 3-cone (all well above average). However, what really wowed me was his game. Defenses often would try to change the type of coverage on him, but it didn’t matter. Off-man, zone, press, whatever it was, he was open often. Even when he wasn’t open he’d extend his hands outside of his frame, make the tough catch and punish the defender before ultimately getting a first down. His tough (bigger than his size) style of play gets him hurt sometimes, but besides that, he’s a beast that no DB wants to cover or tackle. With Odell-sized-hands, quicks, and amazing tenacity, this slightly undersized, under-hyped WR out of Georgia could be the best value in your entire rookie draft.
Tennessee fans don’t care that he’s gone. Why not? Marquez really couldn’t stay healthy for more than a few games it seemed, which led to him getting buried in a 4-deep WR core in Tennessee. You don’t like to see production go down just about every year leading up to entering the NFL, but I’m still intrigued. Marquez (I just love that name) has the best size/speed combo in the whole WR class this year, and it’s not close. The dude is just shy of 6’3”, 223, but runs a 4.48 40. That’s stupid. Well, surely he’s not very agile. Wrong. He tied for 4th among WRs at the short shuttle and was easily above average at the 3-cone. The only valid knock on North is his injury history. He showed fantastic hands, route-running ability, and clearly has burner speed. Don’t overthink this. Do you have an extra late 3rd or early 4th round pick for your rookie draft? Give Marquez another shot.
If you haven’t heard Peake’s name, you probably didn’t watch the national championship game. He put up 6 catches and 99 yard against Alabama. Besides that though, he’s not been a big name WR in college football for long. Mike Williams, the real stud at Clemson went down this season and Peake stepped up. He has a small sample size, but I’ve already seen a Martavis Bryant comparison. That makes no sense beyond the tall/lanky frame (even though he’s significantly shorter) & kind of similar speed, but his stock is on the rise. He ran a 4.45 at 6’2”, and put up adequate numbers on the combine drills outside of his short shuttle. He’s mainly intriguing to me, because of his combination of size, long speed, ball skills, and ability to sell his routes to create enough space even with his lack of big-time WR1 experience. Due to lack of production you can snag him as late as the 5th round in your rookie draft right now. At that point, why the heck not?
This guy’s better known as “that one guy who is not Christian McCaffrey, on Stanford.” He was massively overshadowed and underutilized due to the massive market share in touches that went to McCaffrey last year, but Cajuste surprised when he did some pretty impressive things at the combine. First off, he had the best 3-cone drill, period. Stop right there. A 6’4” WR who weighs 234 pounds had the best 3-cone time (6.49 seconds) at the combine. Then on top of that he has above average scores in the vert, broad and short shuttle. That got some heads turning. The problem is that at 4.62 in the 40 he struggles to separate downfield. He does a decent job boxing DBs out, and his massive hands (just shy of 11 inches) could probably accidentally catch the ball, but on tape he does struggle to separate if the DB reads his route. Devon’s another guy that would cost you next to nothing that could score some TDs at the next level.
I saved the best for last. Why is he the best? He may have had the best combine in the last two years for any WR. Ricardo’s 6’2”, 215, but ran a 4.43 (which put him 2nd in size/speed combo behind Marquez), 38 inch vertical, 11 foot broad jump and was above average on short shuttle and 3-cone. He’s my kind of guy (0 deficiencies). I only knew who he was because I’m an Auburn fan, but never really watched him in-depth. When I did, one thing I noticed right away is that not only can he catch, but he can run. He actually carried the ball 29 times last season. Not only that, but defensive players take horrible angles on him all the time. On several plays he just blows by the DB like it’s an offensive lineman chasing him. He’ll end up behind everyone, and it just seems like the whole secondary’s confused as to what just happened in a couple cases. He could use some refinement on underneath routes, but he’s intriguing for sure. He spent most of his college career behind Sammie Coates and Duke Williams, but this year definitely did enough to interest me. Watch where he lands and pick him up for free after your rookie draft.
You’re welcome. Questions? Find me on Twitter Follow @FF_TravisFF