The NFL Draft is finally here! In a couple of days, young men will finally see their dreams fulfilled. NFL fans will get excited by rookies who could improve their team’s chances of winning a championship. And for us dynasty players, we’ll finally learn the landing spots of some of our favorite rookies who we’ve assessed through college production, physical and athletic testing numbers, and game tape.
Landing spots are the last missing piece of data dynasty players need to finalize their rookie rankings. The most basic formula in dynasty football is T+L=P (talent plus landing spot equals production.) Admittedly, it may not be as scientific a formula as E=MC2, but it works for us.
In this post, I’d like to propose the ideal landing spots for the top 10 dynasty rookie WRs according to the ADP data from Dynasty League Football (DLF.) If these WRs get drafted by the teams I identify below, they should definitely get a bump up in your rankings.
Being in the top 10 of DLF WR ADP, the dynasty community has already determined that they have talent. The landing spots I mention are teams that currently have a need for the kinds of WRs in question, and they are likely to see the field and produce right away (T+L=P!)
The ideal landing spots I discuss won’t be selected in a vacuum. They will be teams that have a reasonable chance of selecting one of these WRs given their draft position, WR needs, and overall team needs (other team needs may trump the need for a WR.) Also taken into consideration will be the draft grades these players have been given by Lance Zierlein at NFL.com. Giving some added support to my choices, they’re also landing spots I’ve seen proposed in various mock drafts.
N’Keal Harry: New York Giants
Not only currently the WR1 in DLF ADP, he’s the 1.01. At 6’2 3/8” and 228 lbs, Harry outperformed the expectations of many draft and dynasty analysts by running a 4.53 40 at the Combine. At Arizona State, he impressed on a lot of short passes designed to get the ball into his hands and utilize his play-making abilities. His 4.53 40 alleviated some concerns that he didn’t have the deep speed to pose a viable vertical threat. But concerns remain about his releases against hard press and his ability to separate at the intermediate level with his route running. These weaknesses can be improved with NFL coaching. But even as an unfinished product, Harry’s play-making ability along with his strong hands and contested catch skills will fill the need of a team looking for a big WR who poses both a deep threat and red zone threat and who can even deliver some YAC with manufactured touches.
The New York Giants are one of those teams. Currently overstaffed with short slot receivers, namely Golden Tate and Sterling Shepherd, the Giants need someone who can offer big chunk gains on short routes, push downfield and take advantage of defenses trying to stop Barkley, and win contested catches in the red zone. If the Giants take a QB at 1.06 as many expect (either Dwayne Haskins or Daniel Jones), they can reach for Harry (Round 1-2 grade from Zierlein) at 1.17 or possibly scoop him up at 2.05 and make their WR corps more versatile.
While I foresee the Giants as the most likely ideal landing spot, there are several other probable spots that would also be ideal for Harry. The 49ers, Cardinals, and Seahawks are teams that also have a need for a WR like Harry and are in a position to draft him. Rather than go into detail here, I’ll discuss these teams and their needs in relation to the other top 10 rookie WRs. If Harry does go to one of these other teams, you can refer to my discussions for these other WRs to gain a sense of the fantasy significance for Harry. The same holds true for the other WRs in case my top ideal landing spot for them doesn’t happen.
Since Harry is the WR1 and the 1.01, his fantasy stock can’t go any higher for most dynasty players. But there are dynasty players who don’t value him that high, so technically he can still move up in someone’s rankings. Or at a minimum, he can at least hold off any challengers to his DLF ADP.
Hakeem Butler: San Francisco 49ers
Like Harry, Butler (the DLF ADP WR2 and 1.02) also impressed at the Combine both physically and athletically. Physically, he measured in at 6’5 3/8” and 227 lbs with an arm length of 35 ¼” and hand size of 10 ¾”, all of which put him in the 98th, 95th, 98th, and 99th percentile respectively. His 4.48 40, 36” vertical jump, and 10’8” broad jump demonstrated solid speed and explosiveness. If his size is taken into account, which PlayerProfiler.com does with their “speed score” and “burst score,” they were even more impressive numbers. Butler’s speed score (40 yard dash adjusted for size) was 118.9, good for the 97th percentile, and his burst score (vertical and broad adjusted for size) was 125.2, good for the 73rd percentile. His game tape revealed a WR who was a mismatch on deep passes and contested catches, but who was also able to work the intermediate levels of the field with route breaks respectable for his size. His route running still needs further refinement, but he showed a bit more aptitude than Harry in that area. Of some concern were his drops, but many analysts have attributed them to concentration rather than bad technique.
The San Francisco 49ers could use a WR with Butler’s talents. They currently have all-around WR Dante Pettis who can play any of the three WR positions, a deep threat in Marquise Goodwin, and either Trent Taylor, Kendrick Bourne, or Richie James to man the slot. Both Pettis and Bourne are the tallest of the 49ers WRs at 6’1”, but they are both slight in build. The 49ers could use more size in their WR corps to win contested catches downfield and in the red zone.
With the 2.04, the 49ers are well-positioned to acquire Butler who has a Round 2 grade. If the 49ers go in a different direction at WR (there are a lot of WRs in this year’s draft class that offer a good blend of size and speed), Butler would also make sense for the Giants, Cardinals, and Colts, teams in the right draft position (2.05, 2.01, 2.02 respectively) to snag him at his value. On any of these teams, Butler should be a fantasy producer right away, and he could challenge Harry for the WR1 spot if Harry lands in a less than ideal situation.
D.K. Metcalf: Buffalo Bills
If you are a follower of the #DraftTwitter community, you couldn’t help but be entertained by the back-and-forth over D.K. Metcalf, the WR3 and 1.03 in DLF ADP. For some, he is the second coming of either Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, or Josh Gordon. For others, he is going to be another Stephen Hill, Kevin White, or Dorial-Green Beckham.
The Metcalf truthers point to his freakish size and athletic ability. At 6’3 and 3/8,” he posted several athletic testing numbers near the 95th percentile, including a 4.33 40. His game tape showed a physical receiver who excelled at beating hard press and winning the deep ball. His speed will help take the lid off the top of defenses, and just the threat of it should open up underneath routes for him. For Metcalf deniers, his awful agility numbers at the Combine and his limited route tree at Ole Miss suggest that he’s nothing more than a one-dimensional vertical threat. And his injury history is a serious red flag.
But there’s no denying that size and athletic WR freaks are coveted by the NFL since many of them are taken high in the Draft. And the Bills are the team that would be both a nice fit for Metcalf and in the best position to draft him with the 1.09 (he has a Round 1 grade.) While the Bills did address their need for a speed receiver by bringing in John Brown, he’s small and light at 5’10” and 179 lbs. Having two vertical threats on the outside would help open up the run game, which was one of the league’s worst last year (30th overall) if you remove QB rushes. And he would be the perfect complement to Josh Allen’s cannon arm. His enormous catch radius (his 34 7/8” arm length was in the 98th percentile) should also help with Allen’s accuracy issues.
I’ve also seen Metcalf mocked to the Redskins at 1.15 and Giants at 1.17, two teams also in need of a big WR, and he would be a good fit for any of those teams as well. If he goes to one of these teams and Harry and/or Butler doesn’t end up in an ideal spot, he could overtake one or both of them in the rankings of many dynasty players.
A.J. Brown: Indianapolis Colts
For some draft and dynasty analysts, Brown (DLF ADP WR4 and 1.04) is the best WR prospect coming out of Ole Miss, even better than his more highly touted teammate D.K. Metcalf. Going by college production, they might not be wrong. In his 2017 sophomore season, he put up a 75/1252/11 stat line, and in his 2018 junior season he went 85/1320/6. For the FBS in 2018, he ranked 16th in receptions and 7th in yards. For the SEC, the toughest conference in college football, he ranked 1st in both categories. They might not be wrong going by game tape either. Playing mostly out of the slot (63% of the time, which would have been a higher percentage if Metcalf hadn’t gotten injured), Brown displayed crisper and more versatile route running and better hands than his teammate. Frequently comped to both JuJu Smith-Schuster and Quincy Enunwa, Brown is a big slot with good YAC ability.
A big slot who can work the middle of the field is exactly what the Colts need. With T.Y. Hilton providing speed and the deep threat and Devin Funchess offering size and the red zone threat, Brown could be the intermediate, 1st down gain, and 3rd down conversion threat.
Picking at the 1.26, the Colts are in the perfect position to pick him up given his Round 1-2 draft grade. And if they go in another direction with their first pick, they’ll still have a good shot at getting him at the 1.02. But Brown would also be a great selection for a few other teams, and the Colts risk missing out on him. He could go (and has been mocked) to the Raiders at 1.27 (to pair with Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams), the Packers at 1.30 (to replace Randall Cobb), and the Cards at 2.01 (to learn from and replace Larry Fitzgerald.) Wherever he goes, he deserves a rankings bump if it’s any of these teams.
Kelvin Harmon: Washington Redskins
During his junior collegiate football season, Harmon was in competition for the WR1 among draft and dynasty analysts. Not only did he produce on the field by going 81/1186/7, he also displayed the refinement and nuance in his catching technique, route running, and zone prowess that allowed him to win at all levels of the field. He especially won at the intermediate level, which is where you want a good possession receiver to win to get chunk gains on 1st down and make 3rd down conversions. According to the Dynasty Command Center Draft Guide, Harmon led all of the top 10 rookie WRs in percentage of receptions in the 6-10, 11-15, and 16-20 yard range at 33%, 26%, and 12% respectively. If there was a weakness to his game, it was going deep. Though he wouldn’t get caught up on the line of scrimmage, he rarely ran past press corners. But he always seemed to find a way to win deep with hand-fighting, body-positioning, and body control, producing some highlight reel catches. Along with his receiving chops, his size at 6’2½” and 221 lbs made him a prototypical fit for the X-receiver position.
But his stock faltered as a result of his performance at the Combine. He delivered a 4.6 40, 32½” vertical jump, and 9’9” broad jump, which were in the 17th, 16th, and 28th percentile respectively. His speed and explosiveness numbers did make sense given his inability to blow past press corners. But despite demonstrating the capacity to win deep with other methods, his slowness shook the faith of many draft and dynasty analysts.
Nevertheless, Harmon is still considered to be in the top 5 of this year’s WR draft class by dynasty analysts (he’s the WR5 and 1.08 in DLF ADP), even if he only has a Round 4-5 draft grade from Zierlein. Because he can win at all levels of the field, I have taken to describing him in some tweets and personal conversations as a “go-to” receiver. And coincidentally, just yesterday former Redskins QB, Super Bowl MVP, and senior vice president of player personnel Doug Williams stated that the team needed a WR who was a “go-to guy.” I would be shocked if the Redskins took Harmon at 1.15 given his draft grade, but I could see them grabbing Harmon at 2.14 or 3.12. The Redskins have their vertical threat in Paul Richardson and their slot in Trey Quinn. Their X-receiver is Josh Doctson, and many analysts in NFL and fantasy circles think it’s time for the Redskins to move on. If the Redskins don’t take Harmon, I could also see him going to the Giants, Panthers, or Seahawks in round 2 or later and being productive.
Parris Campbell: Green Bay Packers
In early DLF ADP, Campbell was a 2nd rounder largely based on the electric play-making ability he showed on game tape. Often targeted on short crossing routes and screens just to get the ball in his hands, Campbell secured most of his production in college with his YAC skills. But what was seen on tape wasn’t as powerful as what was proven by his Combine athletic measurements. He posted a 4.31 40, 40” vertical, and 11’3” broad, good for the 96th, 92nd and 98th percentile respectively. With further development of his route running skills, which are still pretty raw, and more utilization on deeper routes to take advantage of his elite speed, Campbell projects as both a NFL and fantasy difference maker.
Looking to make the most of Aaron Rodger’s shrinking window, the Packers could look to add another weapon to his arsenal in Campbell. With Davante Adams manning the X-receiver position and either Marquez Valdez-Scantling, Equanimous St. Brown, or Jake Kumerow the Z, Campbell could play the slot and fill the void left by Randall Cobb, a void he created while he was still on the team actually. With a Round 2 grade, it wouldn’t be too much of a reach for the Packers to take him at the 1.30, but the 2.12 sounds about right.
If the Packers go with a likely alternative in A.J. Brown, who I’ve seen mocked to them many times, to fill their slot need, Campbell could also be selected in the 2nd by several other teams in need of a slot and/or play-maker. The Colts 2.02 and Dolphins at 2.16 come to mind.
Deebo Samuel: Pittsburgh Steelers
Deebo Samuel (DLF ADP WR7 and 2.02) is probably one of the most well-rounded WRs in this year’s draft class. His route running is advanced compared to many others. Not only did he demonstrate a capacity to separate with his route running during the season, at Senior Bowl practices he dominated 1-on-1s with defensive backs, consistently beating hard press and putting them on skates. Fearless in catching in traffic over the middle and wielding 10” hands, he is as dangerous a big play threat on short routes as he is on deep ones. He can play both inside and outside, playing outside 55% of the time and inside 45% according to Dynasty Command Center. If there is a flaw to his game, it is his contested catch ability. Solidly built at 5’11¼” and 214 lbs, he posted above average athletic numbers at the Combine, running a 4.48 40 and jumping a 39” vertical and a 10’2” broad.
Because of his all-around game and big play ability, Samuel seems like he would be as good a replacement as the Steelers could get for Antonio Brown. With JuJu Smith-Schuster in the slot and James Washington on the other side playing the deep threat, Samuel’s route versatility could provide some of the same kind of offensive options that Brown did. With a Round 2 grade, the Steelers would be grabbing him at his value at the 2.20. But it wouldn’t be a surprise if another team took him earlier and played him in the slot in the same way that Golden Tate, a common comp for Samuel, did in Detroit. If a team has this role for Samuel in mind, he could easily be taken in the 2nd round by the Colts, 49ers, or Packers. Any of these teams would provide Samuel with a dynasty rankings boost.
Marquise Brown: Oakland Raiders
If you could only use one word to describe Brown, the DLF ADP WR 8 and 2.04, it would be “speed.” His speed absolutely pops off the tape even though we don’t know precisely how fast he is because he skipped the Combine due to a Lisfranc injury. But there is more to Brown’s game than speed. At Oklahoma, he played both in the slot and on the outside and ran a variety of routes. When he faced press coverage on the outside, his tremendous foot speed and quick reflexes often enabled him to get off the line cleanly and into his stem. At the top of his stem, he typically exploded out of his breaks. And when the ball did find his way into his hands, his quickness and breakaway speed made him extremely elusive. The main weaknesses he’ll take to the NFL are his size and durability. At 5’9”, 166 lbs, he’ll have trouble holding onto the ball through contact, and he’ll be at a physical disadvantage in contested catch situations. And his health will always be at risk due to the rigors of the game. But despite this risk, Brown has game breaking talent in the mold of Tyreek Hill.
Brown has a Round 1 grade, and there’s a lot of chatter in the NFL news media that Brown will be the first WR off the board. It’s unlikely that he’ll go to the Bills at 1.09 or the Giants at 1.17 given that they are more in need of size. He could go to the Redskins at 1.15, but they may be looking for more of a clutch receiver than a big play one. The Titans at 1.19 and the Ravens at 1.22 are definite possibilities, but this is a post about ideal landing spots, not terrible ones. Marcus Mariota is a question mark at QB, and if he hasn’t made Corey Davis a star, he probably won’t make anyone else one either. Lamar Jackson has serious accuracy issues and averages about 13 completions a game. And both teams emphasize the run.
So if I have to pick a landing spot that will boost his dynasty value and also within the realm of probability, I’m going with the Raiders at either 1.24 or 1.27. Jon Gruden looks like he’s trying to build a winner sooner rather than later. With Brown, the Raiders would have a triple deep threat in his cousin Antonio, Tyrell Williams, and himself. While Williams is supposed to be the vertical threat to A. Brown’s X-receiver role, M. Brown could provide a short YAC threat in addition to an additional vertical threat. In any case, if he lands anywhere other than the Ravens or Titans, he should get a serious bump in everyone’s rankings.
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside: Carolina Panthers
At 6’2”, 225 lbs, Arcega-Whiteside is a tall, lanky WR with long strides who excels at contested catches in the red zone. The son of two professional basketball players who played overseas in Spain, he posts up defenders as if he was preparing for a rebound and high points the football better than anyone in this year’s class. But he’s not just a one-dimensional threat. He does show quick feet, subtle acceleration, and adequate speed (he ran a 4.49 at his pro day) to occasionally beat press coverage off the line of scrimmage. His lateral routes could use some work, but he does decelerate well enough to create separation on curls and comebacks, and he shows a propensity for finding holes in zone coverage.
With a Round 3 grade, Arcega-Whiteside could be the perfect target for the Carolina Panthers at 3.13. With the departure of 6’4” Devin Funchess in free agency, the Panthers are rolling into the 2019 season with D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel, both 5’11,” as their top two WRs. They could use some serious help in the height department. He would also be a nice fit in Seattle who also have their issues with height. As the DLF ADP WR 9 and 2.06, he could get a slight rankings bump if he ends up on one of these two teams.
Andy Isabella: Arizona Cardinals
An early sleeper pick of some dynasty analysts, Isabella is a converted halfback turned WR who was the dominant player on his UMass team. In his senior season last year, he put up extraordinary numbers, posting 102 receptions for 1,698 yards and 13 TDs. According to PlayerProfiler.com, his “dominator rating,” an average of his share of his team’s total receiving yards and TDs, was 52.2% (a rating of 45 or above is considered extraordinary.) His stock began to rise after Senior Bowl practices, where much like Samuel, he dominated in 1-on-1 drills, consistently beating press and putting DBs on skates with his route running. Then it exploded when he ran a 4.31 40 at the Combine. Capable of playing both inside and outside (he played outside 62% of the time, 35% in the slot according to Dynasty Command Center), Isabella is a big play threat on both short passes with YAC potential and deep passes. His one liability is his hands, as they only measure 8 3/8” and he is primarily a body catcher, giving DBs more time to deliver punishing hits and dislodge the ball.
But the upside is so great that worries about his hands haven’t prevented him from being the WR10 and 2.07 in DLF ADP and earning a Round 3-4 grade from Zierlein. His perfect landing spot would be the Arizona Cardinals who could select him at the 3.01. He would be an immediate NFL and fantasy producer in Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid offense that runs the QB out of the shotgun, deploys 4 WRs, and passes 65%-75% of the time. A landing spot like Arizona could vault Isabella into the first round of dynasty drafts.
So remember, T+L=P. If any of these ideal landing spots come to fruition for these 10 WRs, dynasty players should revisit their rookie rankings and give serious consideration to giving a rankings boost.