At the start of the pre-draft circuit, few people were mentioning the name Daniel Braverman as a potential sleeper in this class. And it's easy to see why. Braverman stands all of 5-foot-10, weighs 177 pounds and played his college ball at Western Michigan University. That doesn't exactly check the height/weight/power conference boxes many scouts look for. However, Braverman's hype train has been gaining steam, and our own Daniel Jeremiah (one of the best in the business) is a huge fan of Braverman's tape. So should fantasy owners be paying attention to the Braverman hype, or is this going to go the route of a pre-draft smokescreen? I went to the tape to find out.
» Holy foot quickness, Batman!
» Fearless working over the middle of the field
» Great ability after the catch
» Short-area quickness makes him a nightmare in the red zone
Braverman is a master at getting open with his suddenness and short-area quickness. His feet are so fast defenders are rarely able to read where he's going out of his breaks or get a hand on him and are forced to play catch up. This makes Braverman a nightmare in the red zone, where he scored 10 of his 19 career touchdowns for the Broncos (seven in 2015, three in 2014).
However, all of this isn't to say that Braverman can't get open deep. Six of his collegiate end zone trips came from 40-plus yards (though some were due to nifty after the catch work). For reference, check out the 55-yarder he scored against Ohio State in the Vine below.
This brings me to another strong point in Braverman's favor. Even though he played in the MAC, he still performed against elite competition. He dropped 13-109-0 on Michigan State, and then 10-123-1 on Ohio State, two of the top teams in not only the Big Ten, but all of college football. Braverman wins in a way that will allow him to transition to the NFL and get open against top level competition.
» Size, lean frame are concerns
» Short arms make him a small target for quarterbacks
» Could get bullied in press
Not surprisingly, the main knock against Braverman is his size. While he's not going to hit any sort of growth spurt, he could stand to add some more muscle to his frame to handle press coverage and the hits he'll take working over the middle of the field. In addition, his short arms and already small frame make him a tiny target for quarterbacks to hit. However, we've seen players thrive like this before, as Wes Welker wasn't exactly Inspector Gadget when it came to arm length either. While Braverman has elite quickness, he is lacking in terms of straightline speed and explosion. His vertical and broad jump numbers (28.5, 112 inches) were far behind Julian Edelman (36.5, 123 inches), but much closer to Jarvis Landry (28.5, 110 inches), and we all know how successful Landry's been so far in the NFL.
Ideal NFL fantasy fits
The Raiders have two big, fast, physical wideouts in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, so Braverman could be the perfect complement in that passing attack to give Derek Carr a dynamic safety valve. The Bengals signed Brandon LaFell, but still need a reliable slot presence. Enter Braverman, who could do tons of damage in the space created by A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert. We've pegged plenty of receivers to the Giants in this series, so why leave Braverman out of the fun? While Minnesota needs a true No. 1 receiver (and maybe they take him in Round 1), Braverman could be an excellent Day 3 addition who could thrive with Teddy Bridgewater, one of the more accurate young passers in the league. The Packers are probably looking for more of an overall athlete at wideout in the draft, but Braverman working the short area of the field with the deadly accurate Aaron Rodgers could be a fantastic combination.
Early fantasy draft projection
Despite his obvious physical limitations, Braverman can flat out play and has a future in the NFL. He might not make a splash in redraft leagues in Year 1 (so leave him as a waiver wire option), but with a little time to develop and bulk up he could become a PPR stud. As such, he's a great late-round target in dynasty rookie drafts, and certainly a name to keep an eye on if he lands in a high-powered offense that will be able to put his skills to use.