What a ride it has been for Calvin Ridley in dynasty leagues. Going back to his final year at Alabama, Ridley was widely regarded as the number one receiver in the 2018 class. He was a polished prospect whose game would translate easily (relatively speaking) to the NFL. Then something weird happened. Ridley went to the NFL combine, ran a 4.43 40-yard dash, and his dynasty stock dropped! His other measurables were blown away by the shiny new toy in D.J. Moore, while his upside wasn’t nearly as sexy as Courtland Sutton. Fast forward six weeks into the 2018 season and Ridley leads all rookies in yards and touchdowns and is second in catches. Let’s dive into Ridley’s production, value, and game tape.
PPR Pts (Rank)
*Week 1 was omitted in the above chart, where Ridley was held without a catch on two targets. Ridley also left the game against Tampa Bay early when he suffered an ankle injury.
Ridley’s season thus far has been up-and-down in terms of fantasy points/finishes, ranging from the top overall receiver in Week 3 to outside of a WR5 finish against Pittsburgh. His touchdown production is keeping his fantasy points afloat, as he’s tied for second in receiving touchdowns in the NFL amongst wide receivers along with Davante Adams and Antonio Brown at six touchdowns. What sticks out even more amongst those three is comparing their target and catch numbers. Adams has 47 catches on 71 targets while Brown has 40 on 72, making Ridley’s current pace appear unsustainable.
Due to Ridley’s recent production, his ADP value is the highest it has been at 52.5, shooting up from 83.5 in August. The rankers at DLF have Ridley as the third overall rookie, behind only Saquon Barkley and Derrius Guice. With the lack of production from the 2018 rookie class as a whole and Ridley’s safe situation, I don’t view this as a recency bias ranking.
What do trades look like in the past month for the Alabama product? Let’s take a look using DLF’s Trade Finder.
Game TapeRidley is a fun player to watch, especially if you enjoy crisp routes and separation quickness. These two things alone have me excited for his future in Atlanta’s offense.
I mean, come on. Ridley is lined up at the top of the screen here, man to man with Dre Kirkpatrick (seven-year veteran) and makes him look silly. Ridley does a great job selling the out route by opening his hips toward the sideline, uses a head and shoulder fake, gets Kirkpatrick to bite, and glides to the end zone. Easy six.
Something that’s crucial for receivers is their ability to win off the line of scrimmage. Ridley is at the top of the screen, facing one of the better press corners in William Jackson III. Ridley will never be a super physical receiver, measuring in at 6’0” and 189lbs, but his foot quickness and burst will be enough to get him open while facing press coverage at the line.
Maybe you should have your defenders play in off coverage instead? Nope. Ridley is so quick with his cuts that the corner had no chance here. He plants his outside foot in the ground and bursts into his dig route, picking up the first down.
If you drafted Ridley at the end of the first round in your rookie drafts, you’re more than happy with what he’s provided you. I wouldn’t want to rely on him as the second receiver in my lineups, but as a WR3 or deeper, he provides you with a safe floor and the ability for a “boom” week. As long as Julio Jones is on the field along with him, Ridley will fit in an NFL offense perfectly as their WR2. This way, he won’t be seeing double coverage and won’t have to deal with many contested-catch scenarios, one of his only legitimate concerns. Ridley also gives dynasty owners flexibility as a buy or sell, as he has a stable situation and has produced early on. Contenders can use him in a package for a higher-tier player, and he could be a buy-target in almost any other situation.
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