Early Mock Draft Trends: Juju Smith-Schuster, Calvin Ridley, and DK Metcalf

Mock Draft Observations: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Calvin Ridley, and DK Metcalf
by Alan Seslowsky

Many fantasy football enthusiasts are spending more time at home looking to pass time. There is no greater satisfaction than participating in drafts. There are plenty of free and low-cost options to scratch that drafting itch. Long time RosterWatch subscribers know that we test our signature tool, The Ultimate Draft Cheat Cheat, in thousands of mock-draft simulations to assure that we are getting value at every pick and that the user receives a balanced and well-rounded roster. After a recent round of simulations and a few tune-ups to the sheet, below are a few observations about drafts as of late May 2020.

Juju Smith-Schuster is a Mystery

One player that sticks out like a sore thumb is Pittsburgh Steelers WR, Juju Smith Schuster. In 2018 JJSS finished as the WR8 overall and was being drafted as a fringe first-rounder in 2019. Last season he was one of the biggest busts, finishing as the WR65. We understand the circumstances were poor around him with a below functional group of QBs. Though it is a small sample sometimes the magnitude of a sample can be significant. Drafters are left wondering, “Is JJSS an elite WR, deserving of a high draft pick?” The Cheat Sheet will have “exit ramps” for drafters not wanting to take the risk on Juju. 


DK Metcalf vs Calvin Ridley

In most drafts, there is a dog fight to acquire running backs early. The result is about a dozen high-quality and high-upside WRs are “falling” to the early middle rounds. From Juju Smith- Schuster all the way to Deebo Samuel, you can draft reliable starters in this range. Three players that stand out are DK Metcalf, Calvin Ridley, and Courtland Sutton. We put RosterWatch Co-Founders, Alex Dunlap and Byron Lambert to the test in podcast #248. Byron answered by saying in a live draft he prefers DK Metcalf heading into his second season attached to the arm of Russell Wilson. Alex leans toward the uptick in projected volume and TD equity of Calvin Ridley. In short, there are no bad options in this bunch. The late third and early fourth rounds remain excellent spots to land high-end WR talent that has been pushed down the board to some degree.


Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks: The Houston WRs are Under-Priced

One of the biggest stories of this offseason was Houston trading WR DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona. Hopkins is routinely one of the most targeted players in the NFL year after year. There are at least 150 extra quality WR targets available in Houston for Will Fuller, Brandin Cooks, et al. Early drafts are not valuing the Texans top two projected WRs. Fuller and Cooks have significant injury histories likely depressing their ADP, but their 8th and 10th round costs respectively are not in line with their upsides. RosterWatch is getting Fuller in over 90% of simulations to date at his current price. 


Jarvis Landry: Under-reported Injury Concern

Landry has been one of the most reliable WRs in fantasy since he came into the league. He overachieved in Miami, with multiple 100-catch seasons, and has actually been the most reliable target in Cleveland since his arrival. Landry is one of those “boring” great picks in fantasy. An underreported story this offseason is the significant injury to Jarvis Landry’s hip. He underwent surgery in February with a projected recovery timetable of 6-8 months. At RosterWatch we usually like to project the latter part of injury timetables, which would put Landry back on the field in November. There is some positive news that Landry is “ahead of schedule,” but reports such as these in May are generally optimistic. Likely, you can count on a few game acclimation period as well. In our normal 16-round redraft league that makes Jarvis basically undraftable at this time. RosterWatch steers our subscribers away from “roster-cloggers.”

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