Fantasy Football Rookie Analysis: Phillip Dorsett


The Indianapolis Colts’ selection of University of Miami wide receiver Phillip Dorsett was certainly a head-scratcher. The Colts already had a potent passing offense led by T.Y. Hilton. The team also has two wide receiver projects in Donte Moncrief and Duron Carter, two tight ends that have shown catching ability, as well as a newly signed veteran in Andre Johnson. With such a lack of depth at other positions, especially on defense, the choice was derided by both experts and even Colts players.

So what did the Colts see in Phillip Dorsett to make them take him over potential defensive players? Clearly he must have been high on the draft boards for the Colts front office to make the move. Were they swayed so powerfully by his play in college, or something they saw during the NFL Combine? Let’s check the stats and the tape.

Phillip Dorsett played three years for the University of Miami, missing his junior year because of injury. In 2012, as a sophomore, he had 58 receptions, 842 yards, and four touchdowns, all team receiving highs.

May 27, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Phillip Dorsett (15) catches a pass in OTA at Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

As a senior in 2014, his reception total dipped, but his YPC jumped from 14.5 to 24.2 and his touchdowns more than doubled. This was with true freshman Brad Kaaya at QB, who went on to win ACC Rookie of the Year.

Considering the fact that Phillip Dorsett actually had the third most receptions on the team but such a high average per catch suggests that he might have a penchant for the long ball. This would give opposing safeties something to worry about, opening the field for Hilton and Johnson.

His game tape gives credence to the burner potential at times. In the first minute against Georgia Tech during their 2012 matchup, he got wide open for a 65 yard touchdown thanks to a defensive miscue. Later in that same quarter, he found the open seam in the defense for another long catch on one of the quicker slants I’ve seen on tape.

In 2014 against the same opponent, Phillip Dorsett showed more of the same. Insane quickness, and an ability to take advantage of open field opportunities (like a short underneath route where he took one cut and bolted down the field past most of the defense), but not the same level of skill that I saw in other rookies this year like Amari Cooper and Kevin White.

On the negative side from the tape I watched, he doesn’t catch everything that comes to him and he didn’t show much of a special ability to turn short passes in traffic into long gains or broken plays into touchdowns.

The offense seemed to use Phillip Dorsett as a decoy on more plays to open the field for short routes by the running backs and slot receivers. Andrew Luck will certainly be able to get more deep passes to Dorestt, and Luck isn’t scared of throwing it deep, so that will definitely benefit Dorsett. But was that potential really worth a first round pick? And, more importantly, is this potential worth drafting him at all in fantasy drafts?

At the NFL Combine, Phillip Dorsett’s measurables didn’t prove anything more than what was seen on tape. He had the second best 40 time for a wide receiver and performed well, but not otherworldly on the vertical jump (tied for 10th), 3 cone drill (4th), and 20 yard shuttle (6th). He measured in at 5’10” and 185 pounds, suggesting that he certainly will be relying far more on his speed than his strength at the pro level. He will have the perfect mentor in T.Y. Hilton, another small player who has greatly succeeded in the NFL.

To sum up Phillip Dorsett, he is a raw player with incredible speed on a team that is crowded at wide receiver. On a team that will have so much offensive production, chances are that Dorsett will get occasional opportunities to score some fantasy points. He might even have a random week or two where he scores a long touchdown and gets picked up off waivers in every league, only to be dropped again after three down weeks proceed it.

If you have a particularly deep bench or are in a dynasty league, getting any share of the prolific Colts offense is worth burning a roster spot with. His current ADP is WR64, in the same ballpark as Cordarrelle Patterson and Dwayne Bowe. If you’re still looking for a wide receiver this deep in the draft, I’d take him 10 times out of 10 over the older guys around him in ADP. Just don’t expect him to win you any leagues.

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