For many, your dynasty rookie draft might not be very far away. Chances are if your holding one of your league's top 4 or 5 picks you've already been weighing your options carefully. For those of you not in need of a franchise quarterback, your probably flip-flopping between these two names at the top of your list: Amari Cooper or Kevin White?
There is no denying this kid has torn up college football since his freshman year. He had 1000 yards as a freshman to go along with 11 touchdowns (stats here). He was a Heisman finalist in his junior year and owns every receiving record in Crimson Tide history. These records include: career, single season, and single game receptions, yards and touchdowns. Many of these records were once held by fantasy stud Julio Jones, a name you no doubt have heard of. Cooper is slightly smaller than White at 6'1" and 211 pounds. Many people were also down on Odell Beckham Jr. at last year's combine due to his 5'11" size. Cooper is not as small as Beckham but his game speed is arguably as fast. When watching Cooper on film, he is almost always open due to his route running ability. He comes out of his breaks with an explosive quickness. I find that this kind of quickness often comes into play more than straight away speed at the next level. The ability to turn a defender around and create separation paired with the accuracy of an NFL quarterback cannot be undervalued. Another measurable that I like in receivers is the size of their hands. Coopers 10" hands equal that of OBJ's as well, and everyone has seen the one handed catches OBJ makes. At the combine Cooper ran a 4.42 40-yard dash which was bested by White with a 4.35. This, along with White's size, appears to have vaulted his stock ahead of Cooper in many mock drafts posted around the internet.
The bigger, faster, Kevin White was unstoppable last year as well. He amassed over 1400 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns playing for West Virginia in the Big 12 conference. He had some of the best hands in college football last year. These were on display when matched head to head with Amari Cooper in Week 1 where he managed 9 catches, 143 yards, and a touchdown. This pretty much set the tone for White all year and he continued to torch defenses en route to his 1447 yards receiving (stats here). Scouts and forecasters started late in the season to place White ahead of Cooper in prospect rankings. White then continued to bolster his stock at the combine with his faster 40 time. I find these scouts are almost grading them out equally but are giving White the edge only because of his height, weight, and 40 time advantages. As I mentioned before I value explosiveness in and out of routes over straight ahead speed. Cooper clocked faster than White in the 3-cone and 20 yard shuttle drills which tends to measure quickness and acceleration as opposed to speed.
There is no doubt that these two receivers are at the top of their respective class in this years NFL draft and your dynasty draft. On the other side, I am not so sure that they are as good as the Top 3 in Watkins, Evans, and OBJ in last years draft. Nonetheless, they will definitely been a solid contributor to any fantasy team for years to come. Each have their strengths with top end speed and size in Whites favor and quickness and route running in Coopers favor. I give their hands and ability to catch the football a draw. I do have to give the edge to make an immediate fantasy impact to Amari Cooper. He comes from a more pro-style offense due to coordinator Lane Kiffin and his route running is more polished. He was asked to run every route in Alabama while lining up on the outside and in the slot. White will no doubt make a very solid fantasy receiver but I think Cooper makes the greatest impact in the upcoming season.
So who do you draft?
Well, I think that comes down to the NFL draft itself. There is no doubt that one of them is going to Oakland with the 4th overall pick. This could limit the upside of whoever is chosen simply because Oakland is a bad team. If for example, one goes to Oakland and the other slips all the way to say St. Louis with the 10th pick, I would be inclined to take whoever is drafted by St. Louis. They will have a much better quarterback in Nick Foles and run game in Tre Mason (not to mention the defense's ability to get the offense back on the field). There is also talk of Chicago taking a receiver with the departure of Brandon Marshall to the Jets. This would also be a more favorable landing spot for a fantasy receiver. So remember to keep in mind what team these players will be playing for. The offense they find themselves in can very well limit or bolster the fantasy production of either of these two soon-to-be great receivers.