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matthews2This rookie wide receiver class is one of the deepest in years.  The next eight wide outs that I will briefly discuss all have the ability to start in the NFL and be productive.  I have my doubts that more than one or two of them will become superstars, but they will be good depth for your dynasty team.  Each receiver has a wart or two that is pushing them slightly down the rankings. I have ranked them by skill level from the games and practices I have watched.

8. Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt

He is a physical player who can battle defensive backs up and down the field.  Matthews knows how to use his body to create space and has good hands.  His 2013 numbers were more of a result of a lack of other offensive weapons as he played more successfully with Jordan Rodgers (Aaron’s younger brother) throwing him the ball and Zach Stacy (now starter for St. Louis) running it.  He plays a bit stiff and is a long strider, but is athletic enough to be a great WR2 in the NFL.  If he ends up being a receiver in a target rich environment like Carolina or Oakland, Matthews could have even greater value than some on my first list. Read More »

niklasThe next rookie tight end I want to discuss is the underrated Notre Dame Golden Domer Troy Niklas. In recent years, his college has pumped out some good NFL tight end talent in the Bengals’ Tyler Eifert and the Viking’s Kyle Rudolph. After watching five of his 2013 games against Michigan, USC, Rutgers, Temple, and Arizona State, I think that not only is Niklas the best tight end prospect of the three, but he is also the most complete tight end. There are a lot of things that are impressive about this young man as he measured in at 6’ 6” 270 lbs. and ran a respectable 40 yard dash time of 4.80. The tight end is also cousins with all-pro linebacker Clay Matthews III.

He, like the three tight ends I ranked before him, lines up all over the field: traditional tight end, the slot, split out wide, and in the backfield. At this time, I think he has the most upside of the guys in front of him: Eric Ebron, Jace Amaro, and ASJ. Niklas is clearly a talented blocker, but he has some rawness as a receiving threat. He attacks his defender in the run game, trying to maul them as he squares up, holds his position, but sometimes struggles to knock them back. Unlike the other tight ends in his class, he helps secure the block on a double team and will then move on and find the next player to hit. Read More »

ebronAs far as complete tight end prospects go, you can’t get better than North Carolina’s Eric Ebron.  He is one of the most versatile players in his class.  It would be easier to name the places I didn’t see him line up (quarterback and the five interior linemen spots) than where he did. The great thing about this tight end is that he fits every offensive scheme and will see the field immediately wherever he lands.  Ebron impressed at the Combine measuring at 6’ 4” 250 lbs., and ran a quick 4.6 40 yard dash.  To get a better idea of his skill set, I watched five of his 2013 games against Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Duke, Miami, and East Carolina to get a better feel of what he will bring to the NFL.

The tight end is a high energy, high effort player.  He is the best run blocker in his class as he squares his shoulders, takes control of the defender, and seals the edge when he is lined up in the traditional tight end spot. Ebron is even better as a blocker after the ball is caught down the field by another receiver.  He gets good leverage and keeps a good pad level to clear a lane.  When he lined up in the backfield in shotgun situations, he excelled at opening up an initial hole on the line of scrimmage.  The tight end is such a good athlete that he got used on a reverse sweep and looked like Percy Harvin running with the ball!  He will work his way back to the quarterback to bail them out if he senses quick pressure and is a good special team player as well. Read More »

cj fiedorThis year’s rookie class of tight ends isn’t the deepest class, but unlike most year’s this one has plenty of two-way traditional tight ends.  Traditional tight ends tend to see the field a lot more as they are good at blocking and catching the ball, so they have use on every down.  There is a good chance that two or three of these players will not see the field right away as sometimes tight ends struggle as they need to perform well in two worlds.  This is a quick peak as to where I feel they compare against each other and this may change dramatically after the NFL Draft.  To get more detailed insights, please read their individual scouting reports.

1. Eric Ebron, North Carolina

He is my favorite tight end of this class.  Ebron has a big catch radius, great hands, and lines up all over the field.  The tight end dealt with double teams his entire college career and was still highly productive.  Even though he plays like a big receiver, Ebron can block well enough to stay on the field three downs.  He could vault up to a dynasty TE1 this year. Read More »

One of the most discussed wide receivers in the 2014 draft class is Jordan Matthews.  There is a certain amount of excitement already built into this player.  He is the cousin of Hall of Famer receiver Jerry Rice and he had an awesome bowl matthewsgame despite having one of the worst backup quarterbacks in all of college football throwing him the pigskin.  I reviewed three of his 2013 games: Houston (bowl game before mentioned), South Carolina, and Ole Miss.  Because some of his quarterback play was so atrocious in 2013, it was also important to see how he played with a better quarterback, Jordan Rodger’s (Aaron’s little brother and Jacksonville backup), so I watched two of his 2012 games against NC State and Wake Forest.

When you first look at him, Matthews is a physical specimen.  He is 6’ 2” 212 lbs., but plays larger than that.  The receiver ran a good 40 time of 4.46 that surprised many of his critics as most expected him to be in the 4.60 range.  He was the first player ever to ask for tape of his opponents when he got invited to the Senior Bowl.  It’s his work ethic and competitive nature that will have to separate the wide out from the other talented receivers in his class. Read More »

Let’s continue our exploration of NFL rookies and discuss the athletic Charles Sims.  He isn’t your typical back as he is taller, 6’, and leaner, 205 lbs., than most backs (played closer to 215 in college).  Don’t be fooled by his adequate 40 yard simstime of 4.55 as he plays much quicker with tremendous lateral explosion.  The 23-year-old back spent last season playing for West Virginia after playing his first three college seasons with Houston.

Many draftniks are comparing him to Matt Forte as they both are good receivers as well as runners, but Sims is a bit stiffer in the hips and is a step slower.  That shouldn’t stop any dynasty owner from considering him though.  I reviewed four of Sims’ 2013 games against Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma State, and William and Mary as well as his Senior Bowl practices and game play in Mobile this year.

This runner is a complete three down back.  Sims may not be the best inside runner, or be the quickest guy on the field, but he can play in any down and any situation.  Many times in the NFL, the personnel that you have on the field will dictate how a defense decides how to protect the field.  When Sims is out there, the offense can scheme to do anything. Read More »

hydeThe 2014 rookie running back class is a bit lacking this year. There are no Adrian Peterson talents, heck there aren’t even any Eddie Lacy type backs. That is not to say that there isn’t a few talented ball carriers, but I have my doubts that any of these runners will get 230+ touches in the foreseeable future. Does that make them less important, perhaps as the draft is rich with receiver talent, a few good tight ends, some outstanding defenders, and some encouraging quarterback prospects? Let’s take a look at my top seven 2014 rookie running backs, but keep in mind I will evaluate their talents more completely in individual player reports.

1. Carlos Hyde, Ohio State

This senior runner is the most physical, big back in his class. Not only does he have the size and power to run over and through opposing defenses, but Hyde catches the ball well. This back can play in a west coast type offense, or a power running scheme. He has a good nose for the end zone too. It was discouraging to see him come up lame at the Combine running his 40 yard dash, but I believe he is the only back in his class that could become a workhorse back. Reports have come out stating that he ran 4.5s in private NFL team workouts.

2. Bishop Sankey, Washington

Sankey is not the biggest, strongest, or fastest back in his class. No, this back is not spectacular in any way, but he can do everything. If a team needs a goal line back, he is your man. If you need a solid pass blocker, count on him. Heck if you need, three yards for the first down, give the ball to Sankey. Read More »

richardsonThis year’s draft is full of talented wide receivers.  Today I’m going to discuss former Colorado wide out Paul Richardson.  The first thing you notice when you see him is he looks a lot like DeSean Jackson, only taller, as he is 6’ even and weighs 175 lbs. soaking wet.  While he did not have the fastest 40 yard dash time at the Combine, Brandon Cooks did (4.33), the former Colorado Buffalo wide out ran a quick 4.40.   To get a better understanding of the skill set this receiver will bring to the NFL, I viewed five of his 2013 games against: USC, Arizona, California, Oregon, and Colorado State.

This athlete is a play maker and is very exciting to watch.  I am going to discuss the great things I saw him do, but the first game I watched, against USC, was the game I will take the most from.  He had issues gaining separation with physical tight coverage.  Chances are that he will see that type of coverage on almost every down in the NFL so team’s will need to get him open in space through design by formation or send him in motion to dictate coverage.  This makes me question if he will ever become more than a dynasty WR2, but that’s not to say he won’t be a good player, but I doubt that he will ever be elite. Read More »

English: Baylor quarterback, Robert Griffin II...

English: Baylor quarterback, Robert Griffin III, signing autographs at the 2009 Meet the Bears scrimmage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you need some insight in what rookies to draft this year and how I predict they perform fantasy-wise this season, please read my rookie reports.

I will dissect at least two rookies per week by looking at their skill set, figuring out their role for this year, making a reasonable estimate for their production, and comparing them to a player you already know.  Just follow the link here: here: http://www.fantasyalarm.com/weekly-nfl-rookie-draft-dynasty-report/

If you want more rookie ranking that include an IDP spin (my top 60 rookies) or you want some 2012 dynasty draft strategy (draft ended second week in May) , please read my blog at fantasyalarm.com: http://www.fantasyalarm.com/weekly-nfl-rookie-draft-dynasty-report/  I write two new articles at least every week.  Follow me on twitter and ask questions of an eight year dynasty owner at @AndrewMiley.

Now that the Super Bowl is over, we can finally close the book the 2011 season. It is easy to forget we almost did not have football this year due to the lockout, and we still had one of the most exciting seasons in recent memory. While many fantasy football owners go into hibernation in the off-season, dynasty owners are just getting started for 2012 and beyond.

Last weekend I published the first edition of my 2012 dynasty rankings. You may find where I rank some players surprising, but a lot can change with free agency and the NFL Draft. Read the rest of this entry at PFF Fantasy»

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