Editor’s Note: As our coverage of the 2016 NFL Draft and its impact on fantasy football continues, we bring you our 2016 Rookie SWOT series. These articles will feature video highlights, combine reviews, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, short-term expectations, long-term expectations and rookie draft advice for over 30 of the best dynasty league prospects from this year’s draft. We’ll follow that up with team-by-team draft reviews because, you know, that’s kind of what we live for.
Make sure you’re ready for your dynasty league rookie draft by staying up on all these articles, checking out our rookie draft guide, rookie rankings, rookie draft cheat sheet and mock draft rooms. There are simply no better resources out there for dynasty fantasy football enthusiasts.
Name: Rashard Higgins
Position: Wide Receiver
Pro team: Cleveland Browns
College team: Colorado State
Draft Status: Round 5, Pick 35. #172 overall.
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Height: 6’1” (35th percentile)
Weight: 196 pounds (36th percentile)
Hands: 9 3/4” (75th percentile)
Arm Length: 32 1/4” (54th percentile)
40-Yard Dash: 4.64 seconds (11th percentile)
Vertical: 32” (10th percentile)
Broad: 116” (21st percentile)
- Polished route runner
- Will fight for ball
- Hands catcher
- High points balls downfield
- Incredibly focused
- Productive even when defenses know ball is coming to him
- Not very strong, so he has issues with blocking and press coverage
- Does not profile well athletically
- Lack of athleticism may cause issues with separation despite excellent routes
- Production came in the relatively weak Mountain West conference
Higgins is walking into a 2016 Browns depth chart that is almost entirely overhauled compared to 2015. Travis Benjamin, Dwayne Bowe, and Miles Austin have all departed. Corey Coleman, a fellow 2016 draftee is slotted as the de facto No. 1 wide receiver for the Browns. The majority of Higgins competition are also unproven rookies. Given his strengths with route running, it would make sense that he could separate himself from the pack early and lock down a starting role.
For opportunities I mentioned that most of Higgins’ competition are also rookies. Unfortunately, despite the Browns drafting four rookie wide receivers, Higgins was the last of the four. They spent the least draft capital on him, and the guys drafted ahead of him may be given greater opportunities simply due to this. With Coleman expected to lock up one starting spot, that leaves only two major holes to fill and Higgins could be the odd man out. In the event that Josh Gordon is reinstated, the number of holes reduces to one and Higgins would have an even harder path to playing time. There is also the simple fact that he plays for the Browns, which cannot be ignored based on recent history. They are perennially bad and arguably mismanaged.
The range of outcomes for Higgins, even in the short term, is very wide. He could see no snaps or limited snaps, or he could lock up a full time role in the offense as early as training camp. While it is easy to envision a productive rookie with great routes to come in and exploit the situation he has landed in, temper expectations. I believe his best case scenario for 2016 is a WR6-7, while his worst case is zero fantasy points scored.
Higgins long term expectations have just as wide of a range of outcomes as his short term expectations. I see it that way because, if he fails to earn a role early in his career, it becomes far less likely for him to carve one out down the road. In a best case scenario, he could be a WR4-5 type for your dynasty squad with limited big play upside. In a worst case scenario, he is waiver wire fodder as soon as 2017. Higgins will need to tap into his notable focus both on and off the field in order to maintain relevance.
NFL Player Comparison
NFL.com has Devin Street listed as a comparable player while PlayerProfiler.com likens him to Titus Davis. You may notice that neither of those guys are world beaters. Higgins has an uphill battle ahead of him, although he isn’t buried on a depth chart like they are.
Rookie Draft Advice
Higgins is going at the top of the third round in 12 team rookie drafts according to May ADP. Given the risks involved due to his range of outcomes, this is a fair range in which to take him. Many of the other players in this range of 2016 drafts have an equal number of question marks and difficult paths to playing time. Once you hit the late second round, it is all about personal preference to me. If you find yourself a believer in Higgins, I could see taking him as early as 23rd overall. He is more of the type of player you hope falls to you rather than one to reach for, so I would snap him up without a second thought anywhere after the 30th pick.
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I snatched him up as the last pick in our 12 team five round draft…
I was drinking a beer and walking into my buddies living room when I saw the Browns select Higgins. I saw him catch one football, fell in love, and gave him the nickname “Mittens”. I love the way this dude catches the football. He has 9 & 3/4″ hands and just plucks the ball. I like him a lot and drafted him last week in our rookie free agent draft.