Printable Nfl Coloring Pages

Why you should draft Rome Odunze instead of Marvin Harrison Jr. and Malik Nabers

The NFL draft is shaping up as a generational bonanza for fantasy football. NFL GMs are being forecast right now to draft as if they’re fantasy football managers, basically. (Well, at least zeroRB drafters.) Bottom line, according to the mocks, defense be damned — just the way we like it.

For the purposes of this column, I’m going to discuss the wide receivers, and tight end, expected to come off the board at the top of the draft. Without a team attached to them, receivers Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze, along with tight end Brock Bowers, are Top 100 fantasy picks. In NFBC drafts, blind in respect to their ultimate teams/QBs, Harrison Jr. is pick No. 26 (WR14), Nabers pick No. 54 (WR27), Odunze pick No. 73 (WR33) and Bowers pick No. 84 (TE7).

NFL Coloring Pages  Lalo
NFL Coloring Pages Lalo

But how likely are each to achieve surplus value at that ADP as rookies?

Let’s start with the wide receivers before assessing Bowers, who has more to overcome based on his position.

The first question is whether there should be this level of separation between these players since the teams that draft the wide receivers may have had that guy on the top of their board at the position. So while the draft community thinks there’s some separation between them in ability, it’s best to put them all in the bucket of “Top 10 overall drafted rookies” and just take the last one, who is Odunze.

Football Coloring Pages (Free PDF Printables)
Football Coloring Pages (Free PDF Printables)

Why are there four rounds separating these guys? It’s like saying the difference between Harrison Jr. and Odunze equals the difference between Davante Adams and Zay Flowers. That’s madness. I would not bet a nickel that Harrison Jr. is going to be better/score more fantasy points than Odunze as a rookie. We know from Cade Massey that, historically, the next player at a position has a 47% chance to be better than the player drafted right ahead of him. This arguably is two players, but they’re expected to be separated by five picks overall — which is nothing.

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So what is the ideal range to actually draft a Top 10 overall rookie WR? In other words, what’s the base rate in points per game in PPR?

This century, it’s 10.5 points per game (median). Since 2010, it’s 12.0. Since 2020, it’s 12.7 (but only five guys are in that pick tier). Let’s go with 12.0. That equals WR39 last year. So these are all bad picks at ADP. Let’s instead be optimists and go with 2020 (12.7), equaling WR 33 last year.

NFL Football - Coloring Pages for kids  Free and easy print or
NFL Football – Coloring Pages for kids Free and easy print or

So Odunze again is the pick at ADP since he should be expected to perform where he’s being drafted and anything better is profit. If Harrison Jr. has the best rookie season this century he’ll be WR8. Do you pay WR14 when the upside is WR8 and the downside is WR33? No. You should pay WR23 for Harrison Jr. to be in balance — and that’s only if you’re a true believer.

If you’re a believer in Nabers, WR27 is actually a fine price. He can be Jaylen Waddle as a rookie pretty easily, which translates to WR17 in 2023. So the midpoint between that and WR33 (let’s call that the average return) is WR25. You at least have some reasonable expectation of a tiny profit, and there definitely are people who view Nabers as the best prospect at the position. So maybe you can convince yourself he can be WR8.

Bottom line: forget about drafting Harrison Jr. at the current price (WR14). That’s a likely losing bet. Nabers is about an average bet. Odunze is a good bet at his WR33 price (though just an okay pick and not something you should feel is dramatically moving the needle).

Football Coloring Pages (Free PDF Printables)
Football Coloring Pages (Free PDF Printables)

Now let’s deal with the tight end, Bowers.

The reason I’m pessimistic about Bowers relative to the market is that teams that draft a tight end with a premium pick have a schematic and formation challenge that teams drafting a WR with a premium pick don’t have to deal with. Every team plays three or four WRs in passing downs. They all have progressions featuring the WRs as the top reads on most plays. Few teams play tight ends on passing downs and especially split out as a receiver where we don’t have to worry about them just being an extra blocker. Coaches have to change their preferred personnel groupings, formations, play calling and the plays themselves for more first-read TE plays.

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Let’s see if the data backs up my theory. First round TEs in the 2010s have a median of 5.17 targets vs. 6.88 for for Top 15 overall WRs. (Any first-round TE is such a premium pick relative to the position that I’m positing that it equals a top-half-of-the-first-round WR.) That’s 25% less expected targets for a similarly drafted tight end. There are very few drafted in the Top 10 — but if we use that, it’s 5.86 targets (15% less). So expect Bowers to have about 20% less targets than the closest WR taken to him. Expecting Bowers to have a 100-target floor is nuts. That’s more like his ceiling.

NFL Coloring Pages (Updated )
NFL Coloring Pages (Updated )

But the bar is lower at tight end. So let’s adjust. Shockingly, in PPR points per game, where a tight end gets drafted in the first round doesn’t matter. They get about 6.5 points per game. Evan Engram’s rookie season is the best ever for a first rounder at 11.6 points per game. Last year, that was a range of TE27 (6.5 PPR/G) to TE8 (11.6 PPR/G). Paying TE7 for the upside of TE8 is crazy, we all agree. Yeah, yeah, Bowers is a “generational talent” who has WR speed. So did Engram, Jeremy Shockey, Kyle Pitts, Vernon Davis, Kellen Winslow Jr. … we’ve heard it before.

Where should you draft Bowers? I’d say around TE17. Yep, no chance you’ll get him there. But TEs are so cheap in redraft that if you took him TE12, who cares? However, that’s not going to do it, and I can’t go any higher. Bowers shouldn’t be drafted ahead of Cole Kmet, in my opinion, and Kmet’s overall high-low range is No. 97 to 150 overall.

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I’m not trying to suck the fun out of the game. Picking these guys is fun. You should like your team. But it’s important to know the base rates so you can figure out how big a bet you’re making and if the likely payoff is worth that price. Coloring outside of the lines is why we play, to a degree. But do you want to be outside the lines, or off the page completely?

(Top photo of Rome Odunze: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports)

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