DynastyFootball

Kapri Bibbs, Ryan Grant, and the 2013-14 Bowl Season: What is the Elvish Word for “Awesome”?

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With the NFL regular season winding down and the college football bowl season starting, we at RotoViz are beginning to transition our focus from 2013 to 2014. In particular, we’ll start providing coverage on draft-eligible 2014 prospects, and we’re starting with a series of Bowl Game Previews calling your attention to intriguing players in each contest.

So, without much ado, let’s start looking at some of the Bowl Games to be played on Saturday, December 21st.

Gildan New Mexico Bowl

Washington State (6-6, Pac-12)
Try to contain yourself! When Washington State hired Mike Leach two years ago, a second-year season culminating in a trip to the New Mexico Bowl is clearly what everybody had in mind! So long ago seem the days when the team from Pullman had an intriguing prospect, like Marquess Wilson. (Side note: Astute dynasty players might want to add the 21-year-old WR if he’s on waivers. Marc Trestman’s offense can clearly support multiple receivers, and Brandon Marshall and Earl Bennett will be free agents in 2015.) In this game, however, no intriguing prospects can be found on the Cougars. With all apologies to Baron Batch, the last truly notable player in a Mike Leach offense was Michael Crabtree in 2008 at Texas Tech. Move along—which is what Leach will probably be doing in about a year.

Colorado State (7-6, MWC)
This is more like it! Kapri Bibbs is the guy you want to watch in this game. As a 20-year-old redshirt sophomore, Bibbs has totally studded it up in his first season of FBS play. Here are his 2013 stats:

Att

RuYds

RuAvg

RuTD

Rec

ReYds

ReAvg

ReTD

Games

254

1572

6.2

28

7

53

7.6

0

13

Pretty good. Right now, he’s #2 in the nation in rushing TDs and #8 in rushing yards—and he didn’t even become his team’s starting tailback until the season was halfway over. In his seven starts, he’s been phenomenal.

Att

RuYds

RuAvg

RuTD

Rec

ReYds

ReAvg

ReTD

Games

189

1143

6

22

3

19

6.3

0

7

According to his CSU profile, Bibbs is 5’11” and 203 lbs. That’s not huge (I normally don’t like small RBs), but Bibbs is bigger than Andre Ellington, right? If he declares for the 2014 Draft and has a decent 40 time, he could be one of the small-ish RBs who garners a lot of attention with the production he’s had this year. In fact, he could look a lot like Shane Vereen or Jordan Todman when they entered the 2011 Draft.

For new readers (and those who need/want a review), in July I introduced the concept of non-QB Dominator Rating, a metric that measures the extent to which any non-QB rusher outproduces the other non-QB rushers on his team. The theory is that if a guy can be a true workhorse RB in college, he can probably be one in the NFL, and I’ve found that a correlation does exist between a high nQBDR and positional success for RBs. After my introductory piece, I used this metric to look at:

What is a high nQBDR?  I prefer a luda-crazy high of 90%, but 80% is certainly still high enough to prove predictive in many cases. And what is Bibbs’s 2013 nQBDR?

nQBDR Carries

nQBDR Yds

nQBDR TDs

Tot nQBDR

Games

0.56

0.62

0.88

0.75

13

For the entire season, Bibbs handled 56% of his team’s non-QB carries, and he accrued 62% of the rushing yards and 88% of the rushing TDs, for a total nQBDR of 75%. That’s not bad. But what is his nQBDR for the 7 games he started?

nQBDR Carries

nQBDR Yds

nQBDR TDs

Tot nQBDR

Games

0.65

0.7

0.92

0.81

7

With nQBDRs, the difference between 0.75 and 0.81 isn’t as large as the difference between 0.81 and 0.87, but Bibbs’s (admittedly cherry-picked “adjusted”) starting nQBDR of 0.81 is still pretty good. Bibbs may not even leave college for another year or two, but he’s a draft-eligible player now and crazier things have happened than a guy leaving two years early. If he declares for the draft and does well at the Combine, he’ll be someone to think about in dynasty leagues.

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4, Sun Belt)
Really not much to see here. The team’s leading rusher and receiver, Alonzo Harris and Jamal Robinson, are both juniors with solid but not spectacular production, and neither seems likely to declare for the 2014 Draft. But both guys do have decent size (Harris is 6’1” and 216 lbs, and Robinson is 6’4” and 205 lbs), and it wouldn’t be surprising to see at least one of them next year develop into a low-round prospect with potential.

Tulane (7-5, C-USA)
I have a thing for collegiate WRs who record 1000-10 seasons the year before they go pro. It’s just my thing. I’ve noticed that over the last decade, as a group, the guys who hit this benchmark do better in the NFL than the guys who don’t. I won’t outright avoid a rookie WR who didn’t have a 1000-10 final season in college (doing so would’ve prevented me from drafting Josh Gordon, Alshon Jeffery, and even Victor Cruz), and merely having such a season doesn’t mean that a WR is worthy of being drafted (my heart still hurts for Jarett Dillard)—but the 1000-10 guys are the ones who catch my eye first.

Given that, I’ll be curious to see if Ryan Grant, Tulane’s leading receiver is able to break the 1000-10 threshold in his final college game. Here’s where he stands right now.

Rec

Yds

Avg

TD

DR Rec

DR Yds

DR TDs

Total DR

Games

70

926

13.2

9

0.34

0.44

0.47

0.46

12

As a redshirt senior, the 23-year-old Grant has decent-but-not-great size (according to his Tulane profile, he’s 6’1” and 191 lbs), and he’s really taken a step forward this year in becoming the playmaker in second-year coach Curtis Johnson’s offense. Here are his 2012 stats:

Rec

Yds

Avg

TD

DR Rec

DR Yds

DR TDs

Total DR

Games

76

1149

15.1

6

0.25

0.34

0.26

0.3

12

Although his yardage numbers are down this year, he’s caught a higher percentage of the team’s passes and a substantially higher percentage of its receiving yards and TDs. (For more on Dominator Rating as it applies to WRs, read Shawn Siegele’s groundbreaking piece from a couple of years ago.) In fact, as the team has gone from a 2-10 punching bag to a 7-5 bowl-qualifying squad in a year’s time, the offense has also dealt with a notable QB change. Last year, Tulane was led by Ryan Griffin, who became something of a trendy sleeper before the 2013 Draft. (Disambiguation potentially necessary: No, in 2012, the former UConn TE was not throwing passes to the former Packers RB for the Green Wave.) This year, Tulane has been quarterbacked by JC transfer Nick Montana (yep, Joe’s kid) in his first season with the team. This transition has not been insignificant (Montana is completing just over 53% of his passes), and Grant’s stability as a receiver has helped the QB change go as smoothly as possible—and, especially with his QB’s struggles, Grant’s marked DR improvement from last year to this one suggests the extent to which he has developed as a player.

Almost no one (whom I know of) in the scouting community is talking about this guy—and maybe for good reason—but some of his statistics are intriguing (a DR of 0.46 is very high), and if he has a good showing at the 2014 Combine he could potentially go as high as the third round or turn into a late-round pseudo-gem à la Marvin Jones or maybe even a full-blown diamond stud like—(gulp)—Antonio Brown.

Grant’s not getting nearly the buzz that other draft-eligible WRs get . . . and that’s fine with me. I hope he does well in pre-draft workouts and then flies under the radar all the way into September. Keep an eye out for the guy who could ultimately be one of the most undervalued receivers of the 2014 class.

 

Interested in other Bowl Game Previews? Here are others for your perusal:

As the bowl season progresses, more previews (and other pieces) may be found at my RotoViz Author Page. Want to compare one college WR with another? Check out our College Career Graph WR App. Want to talk about other college prospects? Hit me up on Twitter. And, yes, my name is really Matt Freedman. No, I’m not nine years old.

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By Matthew Freedman | @MattFtheOracle | Archive

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