Riley Ridley is a player that is being disrespected by the dynasty community. He’s going to fall, and he is going to be a value player in your dynasty rookie drafts.
Riley Ridley is a player that has been dismissed by the vast majority of the dynasty community. It only takes one dynasty owner to stop the fall of a rookie in dynasty rookie drafts, but the general opinion of Riley Ridley in the dynasty fantasy football community is so low right now that there may not be another owner that stops his fall before he becomes an immense value player in dynasty rookie drafts.
In a class that is weak on established, top-end running back talent, wide receivers that project to find an early role in the NFL should not be falling.
There are definitely knocks against Riley Ridley. Let’s start there.
Riley Ridley tested poorly at the NFL combine. There is no doubt about it. His athletic profile is concerning. You won’t get an argument from me on that. His 40 yard dash time was below average. His vertical jump was atrocious. His agility times were poor, something that was very surprising, given his strong route running ability. ABout the only thing that was solid was his broad jump.
That’s a very bad athletic profile. People who use athletic profiles as a major part of their projection models understandably have basically removed Riley Ridley from their boards.
The second major knock on Riley Ridley as a dynasty rookie wide receiver is his college production.
Riley Ridley was not a focal point of Georgia’s offense. His production was unimpressive. Again, you won’t get an argument me on that. According to Player Profiler, He was in the 28th percentile in his college dominator score. He was in the 26th percentile in yards per reception. To top it off, Riley Ridley was in the 14th percentile in breakout age.
That’s not a good production profile.
So the people with heavy value on athletic profiles don’t like him. The people with production models don’t like him. The people that have hybrid models don’t like him. Who does that leave?
The film community.
Riley Ridley, despite everything, has really good tape.
Riley Ridley ran a limited route tree in Georgia’s offense, but he shows attention to detail in every route that he runs. He does a lot of subtle things right. He sets up defenders, is crisp in his breaks, works back to the football, and has no trouble creating separation and giving the quarterback throwing windows.
Ridley has good hands, catches the ball well away from his frame, adjusts to poorly thrown balls, and uses excellent body control to contort and make catches that many other receivers in this class would struggle to make.
His frame is a little concerning against press coverage, but he seems to have a good understanding of how to beat press coverage. He may struggle at the next level against more physical corners, but he is a technician in other aspects of his game, and I think that he projects to drastically improve his releases in the NFL.
While Ridley’s vertical jump is a limiting aspect of his athletic profile, he makes up for it with his excellent body control and ability to time his jumps exceptionally. If you watched his tape before the combine, you probably were not expecting him to jump as poorly as he did, because he masks it with his timing and body control on tape.
He catches the ball smoothly through contact, and shouldn’t have issues in this area at the next level. He isn’t an overly physical receiver, and he doesn’t have the biggest frame, but his ability to hold on to the ball at the catch point through contact helps to minimize the negative effects of his physical profile.
He does a great job of attacking the ball and playing aggressively at the catch point. This helps him in his limited route tree, but it projects to be an even more meaningful trait once he reaches the NFL and diversifies his routes. While he doesn’t have the top end speed to win purely by running by defenders, his aggressiveness at the catch point, his ability to track the football, his body control, his ability to catch through traffic, and his ability to time his jumps all should translate to being a successful vertical receiver, if not a dominant one.
After the catch, Ridley is crafty. He isn’t the burner that is going to take plays to the house, and he isn’t the physical RAC monster that N’Keal Harry is, but he does a nice job to fight for extra yards and has good spatial awareness and has some surprising moves in space.
What is Riley Ridley’s ceiling? It’s tough to say. He doesn’t have the same ceiling as the top tiers of wide receivers in this class and isn’t likely to end up as a WR1 in dynasty fantasy football drafts, but he is a player that is going to find a role in the NFL.
Late second round and third round dynasty rookie picks are always gambles. Riley Ridley is a player that easily projects to finding a role in the NFL. I don’t know how big that role will be, or what his numbers project to, but I’ll take my gambles on the guys that have a clear path to playing time in the NFL and the tools to produce meaningfully with that playing time.
I’m thrilled to get him in the third round of dynasty fantasy football rookie drafts. I’m happy with him in the late second. I’m comfortable with him even earlier than that, but I don’t think that you are going to need to spend an early-to-mid round rookie pick to acquire him in your dynasty rookie drafts.
Don’t miss out on a player that projects to be a productive player in the NFL, just because he wasn’t in a productive situation in college.