In my weekly column, we take a long look at impact fantasy football rookies. I compare their performance to date against my original expectations of them. Let’s continue this 2014 version of the series by looking at one of the highest regarded wide receivers, Marqise Lee I will look at some of his college production against his performance versus Tennessee to discern his dynasty value.
Here are my thoughts after watching him in college: Lee gets a clean release off the line, using his quick feet and upper body strength. The receiver has impressive straight-line speed, is very fluid with the ability to change directions effortlessly. This makes him very dangerous as a downfield threat who can use a stop and go route to shake his defender. He sees the entire field well and can find and catch the pigskin behind either shoulder. USC plays the best athletes week in and week out, and this young playmaker has had success against the highest competition that college has to offer. Lee also accelerates well once he has the ball in his hands. The wide out goes up to grab the ball out of the air at its highest point without losing stride. He can help in the return game with both punt and kickoffs.
Lee plays bigger than his 6′ 192 lbs. size suggests, but he is on the skinny side and battled many injuries in 2013. The young wide out was so much more productive in 2011 and 2012. Lee is a willing blocker in the run game, but cannot hold up to double teams and physical coverage in the passing game that a true WR1 would face in the NFL. This receiver also had a tendency to round off routes or freelance which helped when his college quarterbacks weren’t good, but won’t work at the next level. He did suffer from some concentration issues at times, but he still should be considered a top six rookie receiver. I feel he will become a good NFL WR2 and a fantasy flex player.
This is what I saw from him against the Titans: The rookie wide out lines up all around the formation: on the outside and in the slot. He gets a quick release off the line of scrimmage, using his hands and quick feet to create space between him and the cornerback shadowing him. Lee shows good effort when he is trying to run block down the field, but mostly gets in front of his defender without driving them back.
Lee is not the quickest receiver, but he runs crisp routes with good footwork, getting in and out of breaks. The wide out ran more of the deeper routes compared to the other Jacksonville receivers. He shields defensive backs well from the ball and has strong enough hands to fight for the reception when faced with contested throws. Lee fights for extra yardage on every catch, even trying to spin out of tackles when he can’t power out.
There were a few balls that he let into his body while making the reception. He needs to get better at catching the ball in stride, which Lee did on his longest reception of the night against the Titans. On that catch, he got his coverage to fall, and changed directions a few times for a long gain. I see his game is similar to a receiver on the Titans, Kendall Wright. They both are very good NFL WR2s that have fantasy value, but do not have the size or speed to become more than a dynasty WR3. If you can find someone who values Lee higher than that, make the trade. Likewise, if you have someone who thinks the rookie wide out is worth less than that, then acquire Lee on the cheap.
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