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Tue Feb 27th 2024

Seven Players I Like Less Than The DLF Pros

Last week, I wrote about ten players I liked more than Dynasty League Football (DLF) pros. This week, I intended to write about ten players I like less. However, there were only seven players I liked five spots less than DLF within their top 36 players, which is where I drew the line for comparison.

I wrote this article on Saturday, February 24th, so the analysts at DLF may have since adjusted their rankings. I, too, may change my rankings before posting this article. That said, as of February 24th, here is a list of seven players I have ranked at least five spots lower than the analysts at DLF.

Brian Thomas Jr.

  • I have Thomas ranked 16th, while DLF ranked him 8th.
  • I expected to be lower on Thomas than most dynasty analysts because I am lower on Thomas than most NFL analysts who believe Thomas will get drafted in the first round of the NFL draft. He has the pedigree as a four-star recruit to LSU, but he underperformed his first two seasons before his breakout last year with Jayden Daniels as his quarterback. He had 59 catches for 702 yards and seven touchdowns in his first two seasons. In his junior year with Daniels, he erupted 68 catches for 1177 yards and 17 touchdowns, more than doubling his production in his first two years combined. He averaged 17.31 yards per catch and made his living as a downfield receiver who burned people with speed. I'm lower on Thomas because I value speed and downfield ability less than others. In fact, I see it as a red flag. Most of his big plays and touchdowns were on simple go routes where he ran by weaker defensive backs. He won't be able to do so as often against NFL talent. He's excellent at the catch point and makes some incredible contested catches against defensive backs and the sideline so that I will give him credit for that. However, I like receivers that win with route running, quickness, and smarts because that translates better against NFL-quality athletes and schemes. I won't draft Thomas if other analysts rank him in the first round of rookie drafts.

Keon Coleman

  • I have Coleman ranked 22nd, while DLF ranked him 10th.
  • I was surprised to see Coleman ranked as a first-round draft pick by DLF when I'd only take a chance on him midway through the second round. Coleman burst onto the scene in his first game with Florida State after transferring from Michigan State. He had three touchdowns in a game against LSU in an opening Sunday night game when the whole world was watching. That one game tainted everyone's glasses for the rest of the season. Coleman was far too inconsistent to be trusted as a first-round rookie pick, and NFL teams are conflicted about where to draft him, too. Seven times this season, he had 54 or fewer yards receiving, and only four times did he have more than 54 yards receiving. The NFL Mock Draft database has him as a projected draft pick at the end of the first round, but I think he will fall in the NFL draft because of his inconsistency. He'll test well in the Combine, so his value in the eyes of NFL and dynasty scouts will rise next week, but I'm not willing to raise a player who only had 50 catches in his final season to the first round of my draft board, no matter how well he tests next week or how high he gets drafted. I place too much value on consistency and positive progression through the years. He's inconsistent, has not positively progressed, and has not had a true breakout year like so many in this class have.

Bo Nix

  • I have Nix ranked 23rd, while DLF ranked him 13th.
  • This 10-rank difference surprised me because I like Bo Nix and think he will get a chance to compete for an NFL starting job immediately if the right team drafts him. If he is, I will move him up in my rankings. I ding him most in my rankings because the offense at Oregon is one of the least comparable to NFL offenses, and he only thrived as a college quarterback once he was put into Oregon's simple and productive system. He had a 57, 59, and 61 percent completion rate in his first three years at Auburn. His completion rate skyrocketed to 71 and 77 percent in his last two years at Oregon, whose scheme gets guys open for easy targets. He gets credit for taking what he can get within the scheme, but I have questions about how his college production will translate to the NFL. If NFL teams do, too, he could slide in the draft to a late first-round pick and get selected as a placeholder behind a veteran quarterback, which would knock his dynasty value. Every year, one or more first-round quarterbacks become busts in the NFL. I'm confident that the first four in this class (Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels, and J.J. McCarthy) will not bust, but after that, I have concerns, which brings me to the next guy on my list.

Michael Penix Jr.

  • I have Penix ranked 26th, while DLF ranked him 18th.
  • I have Penix a few spots behind Nix because I believe he will be the sixth quarterback drafted in this class and will not have a chance to compete right away for a starting position. I see him as a solid career backup quarterback, so I would only take a chance drafting him early in round three in superflex drafts just in case he proves me wrong. He had an incredible fifth and sixth year in college at Washington. Still, an excellent offensive system inflated his stats, and having arguably the best starting wide receiver group in the country. He was a below-average quarterback for Indiana for four years before transferring to Washington, where conditions were perfect for him. As excellent as he played those final two seasons, his below-average years at Indiana concern me too much to draft him higher than the third round of rookie drafts.

Bucky Irving

  • I have Irving ranked 35th, while DLF ranked him 24th.
  • I expected that I would be lower than the consensus on Irving because I prefer running backs with bigger frames. Sports Reference lists Bucky at 5'10" and 190 pounds. I'll wait to see what he weighs at the NFL Combine next week. He's a great pass catcher, extremely quick and shifty, and a tough runner for his size. I'm just concerned that his size and talents won't win in the NFL as they could in the Pac-12. I've already mentioned how the Oregon offense does not translate well to the NFL at the quarterback position, and it affects the running back position, too. There's no denying that Bucky's 56 reception season last year was fantastic. It's just inflated a bit by the Oregon scheme. An NFL team will draft Irving with a specific role in mind in the passing game, but it will take a lot of work to become a great producer in fantasy with a limited role. He'll help an NFL team early in his career, but not dynasty teams. He's projected to get drafted in the third round. If he lands with a creative team with a lack of depth at running back, I'll move him up in my rookie rankings, but it will take a perfect landing spot for me to move him into my second round. There are too many receivers and bigger running backs I'd rather draft ahead of him.

MarShawn Llyod

  • I have Llyod ranked 48th, while DLF has him ranked 30th.
  • Llyod had a solid pedigree as a four-star running back, ranked as the 8th running back in his recruiting class and 88th overall. Still, he never produced much at South Carolina and only improved marginally at USC after transferring last season. His lack of production and the fact that he never had a breakout season makes me unwilling to draft him as high as 30th, where DLF has him ranked. This running back class is difficult to rank, especially after the first tier. Draft capital and landing spots will shake up rookie rankings more than in recent years. NFL Mock Draft Database projects Llyod as a fourth-round pick, making his path to a future starting role difficult. I'd instead take a chance on players who have had highly productive careers at smaller schools even though they had less competition. I have Dylan Laube (New Hampshire) and Kimani Vidal (Troy) ranked ahead of Llyod in the fourth round of rookie drafts. I value production over pedigree. We'll see which NFL teams do, too, soon.

Jalen McMillan

  • I have McMillan ranked 46th, while DLF has him ranked 29th.
  • I was surprised to see Washington's third-most-productive receiver ranked so high by the pros at DLF. He had a productive third season in Washington but was significantly surpassed by Ja'Lynn Polk last season. Or so I thought. After researching why I had McMillan ranked so far behind the DLF analysts, I discovered that McMillan missed a considerable part of the season, from mid-September to Thanksgiving. Once he returned, he contributed significantly during the Huskies' playoff run with 131 yards receiving in the Pac 12 championship game and a touchdown in each of the Huskies' playoff games. I also learned he's projected to be a third-round draft pick in the NFL. I compare my rankings with other analysts to discover things I missed like this. I'll move McMillan up in my rankings after the NFL Combine as a result. There's always more to learn about this class, and Phase one for me is complete. Now it's time for phase two, when I re-rank that class after the NFL Combine.

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