The 2017 WR Sweet 16: (1) Mike Williams vs (16) Malachi Dupre

The RotoViz Wide Receiver Prospect Sweet 16 Tournament matches the top incoming prospects in a head-to-head March Madness style format. Various RotoViz writers break down each match-up with the winner moving on to the next round.

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(16) Malachi Dupre vs (17) Ryan Switzer

(2) Corey Davis vs (15) Josh Reynolds

(3) John Ross vs (14) Josh Malone

(4) JuJu Smith-Schuster vs K.D. Cannon

(1) Mike Williams vs (16) Malachi Dupre

Looking at the Heatmap below, Mike Williams comes into this match up with a clear advantage in raw stats. Regarded by many in the scouting community as the WR in this draft class with the highest ceiling, Williams has been compared to Brandon Marshall. While lofty comparisons often come up short, Williams 90.7 receiving yards per game this past year show that he has the ability to produce at a high rate. Will that be enough for the top seeded WR to win this tournament?

Dupre enters this match up after beating Ryan Switzer in the play-in game. While regarded as an inferior prospect to Williams, Dupre accounted for a high MS of both receiving yards and touchdowns. With a very production-driven judging panel, that could be enough to get Dupre the nod.

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Anthony Amico – Malachi Dupre:  Dupre blows Williams away in career market share. Even if you take away Williams’ 2015 season, the pair is tied in market share in their final two seasons. Dupre is a year younger than Williams, and has two seasons with over 45 percent of the TDs for LSU. Williams has a tremendous edge in expected 2017 draft position, but the difference in expected rookie draft cost has me taking Dupre.

Heith Krueger – Mike Williams:

Shawn Siegele – Malachi Dupre:  Younger, much more athletic, and surprisingly more productive from a career market share perspective, Dupre will also be a lot cheaper to acquire. Of course, if he ends up too inexpensive, that’s a sign his early pro opportunity will be too limited for fantasy value.

Matthew Freedman – Mike Williams:  Williams isn’t young, but he’s still 22 years old, six feet four inches, 218 pounds, and entering the NFL with two straight 1,000-yard campaigns (minus his redshirt season due to injury). I almost don’t care how athletic he is. He’s more expensive than Dupre, but he has more No. 1 wide receiver upside. I’ll take the upside. Also, this almost certainly doesn’t matter, but . . . #ClemsonWideReceiverNarrative???

Scott Smith – Mike Williams:  There is such a thing as getting too cute. Trying to weigh out total production among these two players versus actual opportunity that will come with the draft selection slot of these two players could prove tricky. While Dupre is younger and more productive from a MS standpoint, there is no way he will be drafted anywhere close to Mike Williams. Will this affect the opportunity of Dupre early in his career? Dupre also has the cloud of upside hovering over head. His growth and production was clearly hindered by the offense while at LSU. The same could also be said for Mike Williams when it comes to injury.

An interesting question to ponder in this match up is what would both player’s production be if they switched teams during their college careers. In a much tougher-than-anticipated match up, I will play the chalk, and a big part of the reason is Williams’ draft position as well as his Championship game performance against Alabama. For his career against Alabama, Dupre only has 6 receptions for 54 yards and one touchdown in three games.

Kevin Cole – Mike Williams:  Dupre has many characteristics for the analytically inclined to like: younger age, strong career market shares, and athleticism that at least checks the box for NFL caliber. Ranking Dupre over Williams is tempting, given Williams’ lack of the very qualities highlighted for Dupre. But giving in to those temptations is what I’ll call, “When Keeping it RotoViz Goes Wrong.” Williams is the No. 1 WR prospect among draft analysts, played for a school with one of the most competitive receiving corps in recent history, and has the size of a true WR1. Let’s not overthink this one, Mike Williams is the play.

Matt Wispe – Mike Williams:  While Dupre has an advantage in age and career market share, his raw receiving numbers fall short of Williams. Williams out produces in both career and final season yards per game as well as final season TD per game.

Jordan Hoover – Mike Williams:  Dupre has a lot going for him: decent size and career market share metrics, youth, and pedigree. However, I’m sticking with Williams here. As Kevin mentioned, Clemson has had one of the most consistently competitive WR corps in recent FBS history. I take that into consideration when looking at Williams from a market share prospective. Cost of acquisition keeps this match up close, but I still prefer Williams.

Blair Andrews – Mike Williams:  Neither Williams nor Dupre fare well in Kevin Cole’s regression tree. Dupre ends up in the far left node, and Williams ends up in the second-most left node. However, if you plug Williams’ 2014 season in, instead of his 2016, he falls into the rightmost node on the left main branch, which has historically led to a 50% success rate. Williams is bigger, and is also going to be drafted higher. He is likely to see more opportunity early on. He gets a win in what is probably a closer match up than it should be.


Dupre puts up one of the stronger showings for a 16th seed versus a top seed. With Mike Williams dropping 2 votes, his overall production comes into question as this tournament moves forward. Will Williams high draft status among the scouting community be enough to float him through to the finals of this bracket? As for Dupre, a serious question arises as to whether LSU’s offense seriously hindered his development. A nice landing spot could change the outlook for Dupre.

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By Scott Smith | @ScottSmith610 | Archive

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