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C.J. Prosise offers plenty of upside in fantasy football

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Leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft, each day NFL Fantasy will profile a prospect (or two) who could make a splash in fantasy next season. Today's subject is former Notre Dame running back C.J. Prosise.

C.J. Prosise, a senior out of Notre Dame, registered over 1,000 rush yards, 308 receiving yards and scored 12 total touchdowns in 10 games in 2015. Converted from a slot receiver, the 6-foot-0, 220-pound back was the Fighting Irish's workhorse last season and put on a strong showing with seven-straight 100-yard games to open the year. But is just 10 total games of experience as a starting running back at the collegiate level enough for Prosise to excel as a fantasy starter in 2016?

Full 2016 "Prospect a Day" list

Prosise's NFL.com draft profile

Strengths


2016 NFL DRAFT

Draft coverage:

» Versatile and resilient runner with three-down potential
» Instinctively runs north-south, has speed to get outside
» Natural pass-catcher with polished route-running (converted slot WR)
» Presents a threat that defenses cannot ignore

Prosise brings upside for fantasy managers thanks to a combination of his tenacious, north-south running style and natural talent as a receiver. This versatility will allow him to rack up valuable all-purpose yardage both as a runner and a pass-catcher. While we're at it let's toss in his strength running between the tackles, speed to bounce outside, nasty spin move and his knack for falling forward on his way to the ground. It's abundantly clear that Prosise possesses all of the qualities that fantasy owners (and NFL teams) covet in a running back. Prosise presents a threat that defenses cannot afford to ignore and has shown that he is capable of taking one to the house on any given play. In short, Prosise can do it all at an extremely high level.

Weaknesses


» Lack of experience as a starting RB
» Needs to be more decisive
» Minor ball security concerns

If Prosise is so talented, then why is he being labeled as a third-, or even fourth-round pick in the NFL Draft? The fact that he has only started 10 games as a running back probably has something to do with it. Some scouts aren't convinced that he has the instincts to be a reliable starter at the professional level. He has room to develop a better sense of decisiveness after the snap, but the same could be said for any rookie runner entering the NFL. In terms of ball security, Prosise fumbled five times on his 156 carries lasts season, and lost two of them. He'll need to clean that up unless he wants to spend his rookie year in the coach's dog house.

Ideal fantasy fits


» Dallas Cowboys
» Indianapolis Colts
» New England Patriots
» New York Giants

It's no secret that the Cowboys are in the market for a running back. Dallas still has one of the best offensive lines in the league and Prosise's running style, similar to that of DeMarco Murray's, would obviously fit well there. The Colts are working on a much-needed shake-up of their offensive line too, and aging veteran Frank Gore can't shoulder the load by his lonesome for a full season. The Patriots are always on the lookout for a value pick and have been notorious for using a revolving door of running backs in recent years, although landing with New England would hurt Prosise's fantasy stock. The Giants need a real backfield threat who could take some of the heat off of Odell Beckham Jr., and fantasy owners would be just fine with that.

Early fantasy draft projection


With all of the pre-draft attention on Ezekiel Elliott and Derrick Henry, Prosise has seemingly flown under the radar thus far. But according to NFL Media draft expert Mike Mayock, "there was a buzz around him" at the combine and for good reason. Kevin Cole of ProFootballFocus used a post-combine success prediction model to conclude that Prosise could be a tremendous bargain in dynasty league drafts as he scored third behind only Elliott and Henry. And due to his prowess as a pass-catcher, Prosise could lend even more value in fantasy leagues than the top two running back prospects. His current ADP in MFL10 drafts is late Round 15 which is likely due to lack of name recognition this early (and the fact that it's March). But a player who has already drawn comparisons to 2015 rookie breakout David Johnson is sure to see his fantasy stock rise this summer. Fantasy owners would be remiss to overlook the extreme upside that Prosise presents. Write his name on a sticky note and post it to your computer monitor because you won't want to forget about him on draft day.

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Matt Franciscovich is an associate fantasy editor at NFL.com. Hit Matt up on Twitter @MattFranchise for music recommendations and fantasy advice.

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