Have We Moved On From Big and Fast?

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Goirish374
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Have We Moved On From Big and Fast?

Postby Goirish374 » Sat May 04, 2019 5:16 am

I remember preparing for rookie drafts when I started playing dynasty and there was a very real, almost palpable push for the magical WR combination of height and speed.

It wasn't an accident that we wanted it as fantasy football players making rookie picks--AJG, Calvin, Brandon Marshall were guys the NFL wanted more of and it seemed natural to follow their lead. If (and from here on out I will refer simply to Decision Makers in lieu of the amorphous combination of administrative and personality combinations that exist for each franchise) Decision Makers are trying to find the next Calvin Johnson in Martavis Bryant, then that's a guy that is going to get draft capital, opportunity, fantasy points, etc...

we wanted big and fast because the NFL wanted big and fast.

to call someone a "possession receiver" was a pejorative. to say someone would play in the slot was to indicate that they were deficient in their ability to be big and fast but could do some other WR things. often, it simply meant they were short. some Decision Makers were on record saying they wouldn't draft guys below a certain height. multiple Decision Makers took two WRs in 2010 ahead of antonio brown due in part to his height.

you don't need a forum post to know that the NFL has changed. it's not an exhaustive list but it is easy to see that shorter WRs are having more and more success as:

-offensive schemes have changed
-talent utilization has changed
-the history of shorter WRs over the last 10 years has changed
-college preparation of guys playing "slot" roles has changed
-college prepartaion of guys throwing to "slot" WRs has changed

what i find interesting is that all these Decision Makers...they are colleagues, they're all in the same club. they talk, they attend seminars, they exchange industry information on a professional level, they pay attention to who's doing what...and whether or not they think it's working.

the quests of most Decision Makers to unearth the next Calvin, AJG, Julio...have largely failed. and i wonder if it hasn't gone unnoticed to the point where Decision Makers as a group have flipped.

hand-in-hand with all the above reasons that "slot" WRs have been "on the rise" is there a perception amongst Decision Makers that...big and fast hasn't worked, that the odds of spending high capital to find Calvin are too stacked against you and, further, may no longer be a system fit for many teams?

if i'm right...do we need to be doing more to follow their lead? are we still giving too much credit to Big & Fast when the underlying assumptions that drove that valuation have (perhaps) changed?

i learn a lot from listening to you all and would love to hear your thoughts on this.
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Re: Have We Moved On From Big and Fast?

Postby CGW » Sat May 04, 2019 6:48 am

Yes and no. I still think the big and fast profile is desirable, but the NFL has begun to accept other body types. Partially out of necessity as there have been so few quality prospects, but also because the NFL is becoming more receiver friendly/less physical.

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Re: Have We Moved On From Big and Fast?

Postby sloth8u » Sat May 04, 2019 6:51 am

For our ff purposes...its all about targets. Makes sense right. Im not sure how you want to define "big", but the majority are 6'0 or above and im not really knocking anyone for being 5'11". Maybe what you mean is what i call "gadget guys"....these guys are real football players that just need a role that involves touches.

The rule changes have passing up. Thats simply more oportunities for these guys. Offenses in general are alot different. I wouldnt look to far in to it from a fantasy perspective. Gm's have all the tools we do plus a whole lot more. Organizations are investing in guys they believe will fit.

Trying to compare a pro prospect to hall of famers is gonna get us nowhere imo. Its impossible to know how they will be able to handle adulthood and their profession. Thats before we even get to a discussion about their abilities.

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Re: Have We Moved On From Big and Fast?

Postby Ice » Sat May 04, 2019 6:59 am

Don’t think the NFL or fantasy has moved on at all from big and fast.

It is obvious with the rules in the passing game that defenses are getting a bit smaller and faster at The edges and LB. Offenses are responding with more spread formations and are counteracting this more speed. We are also seeing a return to more 4/3 zone defenses to keep mobile QB’s in check so the back 7 doesn’t have to turn their back to the QB.

Offenses today seem to like Big X Wr’s and small fast take the lid off WR’s that can also run by defenders in space.

Teams and fantasy owners still want the Julio and Evans type players obviously but we also need scheme wr’s that are lightning fast in space.

In today’s NFL and Fantasy it won’t be uncommon for a team to have 2 WR’1s on the same team.

The second WR’1 could be a TE or RB in disguise like the Eagles, Chiefs, Saints.

The short answer is NO but Size no longer is viewed as the end all be all predicate for success and really hasn’t been for quite a while.

This NFL draft in the first round we had a small speedster that can run routes and destroy teams with that skill and a monster as an X going to the Pats.

Big isn’t as critical but the one certainty is functional speed kills and everyone wants that across all positions.
Last edited by Ice on Sat May 04, 2019 7:02 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Have We Moved On From Big and Fast?

Postby ninotoreS » Sat May 04, 2019 7:00 am

From around the mid-2000s into the beginning of the aughts, the height-speed-weight prototype dominated. For several years, most of the league's highest profile WR stars fit that profile.

The league adapts. Defenses started using more press with stronger, lengthier corners. It worked. Even a freak of nature like Calvin Johnson struggled with his Peanut Tillman match-ups.

And again, the league adapts. Offenses countered these taller, longer, stronger DBs with shorter, quicker, craftier WRs. And so we entered an era in which WRs of even the sub-6'0" variety emphasizing technical route-craft have become world-beaters.

Height, speed, and weight is still a great advantage, and isn't ceasing to be relevant. But certainly, there's other ways for a WR to be dominant in the current era.
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Re: Have We Moved On From Big and Fast?

Postby Weknownothing86 » Sat May 04, 2019 7:29 am

I feel like its because WRs have more defined or "specialized" roles than they used to have so its a bit more noticeable that a 6'5" guy isnt getting the amount of attention they used to in drafts because teams are drafting more specialized players instead of do it all WRs. Much like many RBBCs where you have a 2 down thumper and a 3rd down pass catcher. Many teams have a Speed Wr (Ala Tyreek Hill) a slot guy (ala Edelman) and a big guy (ala Michael Thomas). Why spend a high pick on one guy when instead you can spend lower picks on a specialized WR who is really good at their one role. I hope i made my point as well in the post as it is in my mind. Not sure i did.
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Re: Have We Moved On From Big and Fast?

Postby Dynasty DeLorean » Sat May 04, 2019 8:39 am

People thought Rbs were going out, then good RB's entered the league and now RB's are all the rage. It's the same thing with Wr's, just because a bunch of crap has been entering the league doesn't mean the NFL doesn't like big athletic Wr's that are actually good.

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Re: Have We Moved On From Big and Fast?

Postby ninotoreS » Sat May 04, 2019 11:25 pm

Dynasty DeLorean wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 8:39 am
People thought Rbs were going out, then good RB's entered the league and now RB's are all the rage.
This feels like a misleading summary of what's happened.

Kamara carried only 194 times last year. CMC carried only 219. And yet they're the new dynasty superstars at RB. Even Barkley with his conventional bellcow mold is best highlighted by his pass-catching prowess, and Gurley's fantasy resurgance post-2016 under McVay has been thanks in great part to a massive spike in role as a receiver.

The league adapts. Linebackers and D-linemen in the modern era have gotten faster and more athletic without compromising strength and power, so the best RBs have had to evolve to become more flexible in usage, equally dynamic as ball carriers and receivers so that they can fully exploit more complex scheme and sideline-to-sideline space.
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Re: Have We Moved On From Big and Fast?

Postby FantasyFreak » Sun May 05, 2019 2:06 am

Yep, it's all about small and slow now.

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Re: Have We Moved On From Big and Fast?

Postby Dynasty DeLorean » Sun May 05, 2019 7:29 am

FantasyFreak wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 2:06 am
Yep, it's all about small and slow now.
Calvin Johnson probably couldn't even make a practice squad these days.

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Re: Have We Moved On From Big and Fast?

Postby Cameron Giles » Sun May 05, 2019 9:59 am

We've moved on from players who can't get open or take too long to. You can no longer watch a YouTube highlight reel of a big WR making contested catches while a random hip hop song plays behind it and think you're getting a great player.

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Re: Have We Moved On From Big and Fast?

Postby Dynasty DeLorean » Sun May 05, 2019 12:54 pm

Cameron Giles wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 9:59 am
We've moved on from players who can't get open or take too long to. You can no longer watch a YouTube highlight reel of a big WR making contested catches while a random hip hop song plays behind it and think you're getting a great player.
Crap, that’s how I did all my scouting this year :doh:

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Re: Have We Moved On From Big and Fast?

Postby Dynos » Sun May 05, 2019 1:01 pm

Dynasty DeLorean wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 12:54 pm
Cameron Giles wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 9:59 am
We've moved on from players who can't get open or take too long to. You can no longer watch a YouTube highlight reel of a big WR making contested catches while a random hip hop song plays behind it and think you're getting a great player.
Crap, that’s how I did all my scouting this year :doh:
you ended with? lolll
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Re: Have We Moved On From Big and Fast?

Postby DLF3000 » Sun May 05, 2019 3:32 pm

Well, the game has become less physical (meaning the rules increasingly discourage wideouts and defenders mugging eachother as much as they use to, especially near the LOS), so you don't need that big X receiver as much as you use to.

Still a place for them, though, depending on team.
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Re: Have We Moved On From Big and Fast?

Postby jetsfan5757 » Sun May 05, 2019 4:47 pm

Echoing a lot of what was said here: I think big and fast is still great, but not the be all end all it was. I tend to heavily weigh draft capital when it comes to WRs.

My additional 2 cents: I also heavily weigh situation, but more so look for good offenses than immediate opportunity.
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