Future Barometer (Week 3)

In this ‘Future’ Barometer, the goal is to break down a handful of players each week who likely don’t offer fantasy utility in the meantime, but otherwise might have the prospect profile of a player who could make an impact if an opportunity presented itself. The hope is that doing so will give you a head start in your evaluations if any of these guys pop up into the mainstream later on.

But again: these are long shots. They’re probably off the radar in even the deepest of re-draft leagues for the time being.

Presented in no particular order of importance…

Gerald Everett, TE, LAR

Everett is easily the most heralded prospect to show up in this series so far, as last week’s highest draft pick was fifth-round selection Trent Taylor. Everett was a second-round pick (44th overall) for the Rams this year, so he’s very much already on the radar for people who follow the NFL Draft at all. But for redraft fantasy leagues, he’s been a non-consideration in most formats to this point, playing as the backup to clear starter Tyler Higbee.

Through two weeks, and on just 45 snaps, Everett has four catches for 134 yards on four targets. Higbee, meanwhile, has two catches for 17 yards on four targets over 94 snaps. Higbee is much bigger at 6-foot-6, 257 pounds than Everett is at 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, but there was clearly a long-term plan to get Everett into the starting lineup one way or another. The issue has been accelerated by Everett’s showing so far.

I wouldn’t pick him up except for maybe a 16-team league, but Everett is someone I can easily imagine myself spending FAAB money on in a month or so. With 4.62 speed, an 11.32 agility score, 38-inch vertical, and 126-inch broad jump, Everett is an uncommon athlete at tight end, and coach Sean McVay got a lot out of Jordan Reed, who was once a similar prospect.

Jacob Hollister, TE, NE

I was surprised to see Hollister (6-foot-4, 239 pounds) go undrafted in the most recent draft, as he was one of college football’s better receiving tight ends in the last couple years, and he posted encouraging workout numbers at the Wyoming pro day.

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He caught 43 passes for 599 yards and five touchdowns over 18 games as a sophomore and junior, then he broke loose for 32 catches, 515 yards (16.1 YPC) and seven touchdowns on just 43 targets in 2016. With just 11.3 percent of Wyoming’s targets, he produced 16.1 percent of its receiving yardage and 24.1 percent of its receiving touchdowns. Throw in a 4.64-second 40, 36.5-inch vertical, and 121-inch broad jump from the Wyoming pro day, and you’ve got a fine profile for a pass-catching tight end.

If Rob Gronkowski (groin) misses any time or is otherwise limited going forward, keep an eye on Hollister in the New England offense. Dwayne Allen has disappointed so far, and if the Patriots remain in need of pass catchers, Hollister just might get a shot to contribute.

Elijah McGuire, RB, NYJ

While it generally appears that Matt Forte and Bilal Powell are locked in as the lead runners for the Jets, Powell has been so unproductive that it might not be long before his job security is on some sort of notice. With just 35 yards rushing on 13 carries and five catches for 17 yards on eight targets, Powell is off to a remarkably rough start. McGuire got his foot in the door against the Raiders on Sunday, seeing 11 snaps in an effort that ended with 29 yards on six carries and a seven-yard catch on two targets.

McGuire was a sixth-round pick in the most recent draft after a Louisiana-Lafayette career that was excellent as a whole, but contained a downward trajectory over the last two years while McGuire dealt with chronic foot issues. He was incredible in his first two seasons, totaling 2,127 yards (7.9 YPC) and 22 touchdowns along with 67 catches for 852 yards and five touchdowns in 26 games despite playing off the bench. In his last two seasons, by contrast, his rushing average fell to just 4.9 yards per carry, and his YPR dropped from 12.7 to 8.6.

McGuire might never be the athlete he used to be – his 4.53-second 40 and 11.82 agility score may or may not be representative of the athleticism he boasted at his peak – but at the very least this is a running back with a long history of demonstrating rare innate pass-catching ability. If Powell’s role decreases or if one of Powell or Forte get hurt, McGuire might provide some value in PPR formats even if he’s not particularly effective in real life.

Taquan Mizzell, RB, CHI

Tarik Cohen has been the foundation of the Bears offense through two weeks, but at 5-foot-6, 181 pounds, he’s not a great bet to hold up physically if he keeps seeing 16 or more touches per game. Jordan Howard, meanwhile, is dealing with a shoulder injury. An injury to Cohen, then, might open up a substantial opportunity for a third runner, even with Howard otherwise around.

Mizzell would be an obvious plug-in replacement for Cohen if such a thing should happen. While Mizzell lacks Cohen’s dizzying speed and quickness, he has unique skills as a pass catcher, and could at least soak up targets in an offense that would have plenty to go around in such a scenario.

Mizzell was once a top recruit for Virginia despite posting weak pre-draft workout numbers (4.55-second 40, 116-inch broad jump, 11.25 agility score at the UVA pro day), so he probably has a bit more pedigree than your average undrafted runner. More importantly, Mizzell finished his college career with 195 receptions for 1,560 yards and seven touchdowns. He led Virginia in receptions in each of the last two years, and was only three catches away from doing the same in 2014.