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Week 8 was terrible. Just awful. Ok, I'm just being a bit spiteful since I'm an Ohio State fan and had to watch my team suffer another embarrassing road loss as a multiple score favorite. But if you're not a grumpy Ohio State fan like myself, you probably really enjoyed another weekend of games that featured big upsets and the top 25 being tossed back into turmoil.

Now that we're a little over halfway through the season, it's time to change up the format slightly to focus on players likely to be drafted highly in the NFL draft and, subsequently, in rookie drafts. So each week, I'll focus on a few top players and give one or two bonus players who are flying a bit under the radar.  There may be some players who get discussed a second time to update their status.

And since this is considered to be primarily a WR class, we're going to start off with a bunch of WRs. As a general reminder, my prospect analysis focuses on a few key metrics: market share, dominator rating, and breakout age.

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Scouting The Wide Receivers

N'Keal Harry, WR Arizona State

Week 9 - at USC (10/27)

I discussed N'Keal Harry this summer because he was considered the near-consensus top pick in devy drafts and a favorite to be the 1.01 in 2019 rookie draft. And not much has changed since then. Even with the new head coach, Harry has remained a focal point in the Arizona State offense.

N'Keal Harry Rec Yards YPR TDs MS Yards MS TDs Dominator
2016 58 659 11.4 5 0.21 0.32 0.27
2017 82 1142 13.9 8 0.34 0.38 0.36
2018 42 572 13.6 5 0.32 0.45 0.38
Career 182 2373 13.0 18 0.29 0.38 0.33

With his 32 percent market share of receiving yards, Harry appears well on his way to comfortably exceeding the critical 29 percent threshold for his career. One interesting note about his production is this improving dominator rating each season in large part because of him taking a bigger share of touchdowns. One slightly concerning aspect is Harry's lower average reception distance since field stretching WRs typically have a faster transition to fantasy success, but his increasing share of the offense helps ease some of those concerns. Per Bill Connelly's college football statistical profiles, Harry has 32 more targets than any other receiver on his team with 67 and has converted 62.7 percent of those targets into catches.

Harry won't turn 21 until mid-December and will be among the younger prospects at his position, at the time of the NFL Draft. And with his college breakout coming during his age 19 season, he'll have compared favorably to his peers in this year's class. Currently, he's projected to be either a first or second round pick and if that holds, he's easily worthy of being in consideration for the top pick in rookie drafts.

 

D.K. Metcalf, WR Mississippi

D.K. Metcalf gets a mention this week despite Mississippi not having a week 9 game in large part because it wouldn't matter for him if they did have a game. In all likelihood, we've seen the last of this athlete at the college level because he suffered a significant injury that will sideline him for the remainder of the season. And with his draft stock improving this season in the manner it did, it's expected that he'll be making the leap to the NFL.

D.K. Metcalf Rec Yards YPR TDs MS Yards MS TDs Dominator
2016 2 13 6.5 2 0.00 0.07 0.04
2017 39 646 16.6 7 0.16 0.25 0.21
2018 26 569 21.9 5 0.20 0.27 0.2376
Career 67 1228 18.3 14 0.12 0.19 0.15

With only a 12 percent career market share of yards, there's some reason to be concerned with Metcalf as a prospect and with no season over a 0.3 dominator rating, he never eclipsed the threshold to have broken out during his college career. Since only a small percentage of productive fantasy WRs have come from players who weren't dominant at the college level, this is a fairly significant red flag. Working in Metcalf's favor is the fact that he seemed to be on his way to a breakout season before the injury that ended his season. Through seven games, he had 41 targets which he converted into 26 catches for 569 yards which still ranks second on the team despite missing one game. And since Metcalf demonstrated the ability to contributed as a down-field receiver, there's a slightly increased possibility that he still produces.

The other factor helping Metcalf is his projected draft stock and expected athleticism. While there's no direct correlation between combine performance and fantasy success, there's evidence that a strong combine can elevate draft stock. And there's plenty of correlation between draft position and success. Despite the shortened season and college career that saw him typically play a secondary role to his teammate, Metcalf's projected draft position is expected to be in the top two rounds. If that holds true, he's an easy selection in the first round of rookie drafts and his location will determine whether he's inside the top half.

 

J.J Arcega-Whiteside, WR Stanford

Week 9 - vs Washington St. (10/27)

I know it's only been a few weeks since I last discussed Arcega-Whiteside, but on the verge of another big matchup against a conference rival, he's worth discussing again as a prospect.

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside Rec Yards YPR TDs MS Yards MS TDs Dominator
2016 24 379 15.8 5 0.18 0.33 0.26
2017 48 781 16.3 9 0.3 0.4 0.35
2018 37 632 17.1 9 0.34 0.68 0.51
Career 109 1792 16.4 23 0.27 0.45 0.36

If Arcega-Whiteside can somewhat increase his yardage pace for the rest of the season, he should comfortably surpass 29 percent for his career, but even if he falls short, he's already shown plenty to be a highly regarded prospect. Breaking out as a junior in 2017, in what was likely his age 21 season, won't put him at the top of the class for breakout age, but he won't be anywhere near the bottom.

While his profile from a junior WR leaving for the draft would be more desirable, there's no question that his 2018 campaign has elevated him as a prospect. A second season over a 0.30 dominator rating alone would have demonstrated the dominance of his offense, but a 0.51 dominator ranks in the top five among all qualified receivers. His draft projection is in the first two rounds, currently, but continuing to display his unique TD-heavy skill set should only help his end position. He wasn't considered a first-round rookie pick entering the season, but there's a good chance he's a late first-round pick by the time drafts roll around.

 

Keelan Doss, WR UC Davis

Week 9 - at Montana (10/27)

We discussed Doss as an under-the-radar prospect during our first week of previews and now with his senior season halfway complete, it's time to look at him from the perspective of an NFL prospect.

Keelan Doss Rec Yards YPR TDs MS Yards MS TDs Dominator
2014 22 325 14.8 2 0.13 0.08 0.10
2016 66 911 13.8 10 0.35 0.53 0.44
2017 115 1499 13 7 0.39 0.24 0.32
2018 61 598 9.8 4 0.26 0.17 0.21
Career 264 3333 12.625 23 0.30 0.24 0.27

Doss has seemingly taken a step backward this season as he's only on pace for around 1,000 yards compared to his near 1,500 yards in 2017. And it's likely that he won't improve upon his touchdowns from 2017 either. Currently, Doss has a career market share over 29 percent, but with only 26 percent this year, he can't afford to lose a portion of his share or he'll end up below that threshold.

As a redshirt senior, Doss is likely among the oldest receivers in the class which puts a cap on his rookie draft value. While his junior season breakout is adequate, his draft age and projected draft position will likely keep Doss as a late round rookie pick

More NCAA Football Analysis