Andy Isabella Fantasy Football Outlook with Cardinals

Andy Isabella Fantasy Football Outlook with Cardinals article feature image
Credit:

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Andy Isabella

  • See Matthew Freedman's fantasy football analysis for wide receiver Andy Isabella, who was drafted No. 62 overall by the Arizona Cardinals.

Andy Isabella Fantasy Football Analysis

  • Height: 5’9” | Weight: 188 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 4.31 seconds
  • School: Massachusetts | Class: Senior
  • 2019 age: 23 | Draft position: No. 62 overall

Isabella is basically Major Tom: He’s stepping through the door, he’s peculiarly floating and his stars look different than they did yesterday.

Just a few short months ago, Isabella was an undersized small-school receiver with uncertain athleticism and a likely late-round draft grade. Now he’s a second-rounder slated to catch passes from No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray in an Air Raid offense overseen by head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

It is entirely within the realm of possibility that Isabella could be Murray’s top receiver as early as this year.

This is a great moment for Isabella truthers everywhere. It’s also terrible.

I mean it. This is terrible. Absolutely horrible. For us. Not for Isabella. It’s great for him. He could have a fantastic NFL career. But this is terrible for everyone who was hoping to draft him on the cheap in 2019. Especially in dynasty leagues.

Even though the Cardinals were horrible last year, I expect that fantasy players will want to invest in them this year because of the hype surrounding Murray, Kingsbury and the Air Raid offense. And people should want to invest in the Cardinals — especially Isabella.

A converted high-school running back, Isabella was a Biletnikoff finalist in 2018, finishing first in the nation with 1,698 yards receiving and 4.15 yards per route, second with 102 receptions and sixth with 13 touchdowns receiving. His use as a rusher (342 yards and two touchdowns in his career) speaks to his overall skill set.

Although Isabella at first glance looks like a slot-only receiver, he played regularly on the outside at UMass and consistently displayed the ability to create separation down the field. With his speed and route-running nuance, Isabella should be able to get open in the NFL regardless of where he lines up.

And even if Isabella is nothing more than a slot receiver, he has the potential to be a superb middle-of-the-field pass catcher: In 2018, he accounted for a dominant 47.5% and 48.2% of the UMass yards and touchdowns through the air.

And with a coach as innovative as Kingsbury, Isabella could be a truly dynamic offensive weapon right away. He could take carries on end-arounds or out of the backfield. He could line up out wide or in the slot. He could operate in the middle of the field or stretch defenses deep.

He could be a league-winning fantasy receiver as a rookie.

But in dynasty, because of his college production, versatility, speed, draft capital and landing spot, he’s going to be very hard to draft at a value. I was hoping to be able to get him at the bottom of Round 1 in rookie drafts, but I doubt that will be possible now. I’ll be shocked — and pleasantly surprised — if his average draft position doesn’t settle in the middle of Round 1.

For 2019, Isabella might actually provide the most value in seasonal leagues. Redrafters — who tend to be more casual as fans compared to dynasty managers — will probably look to invest in the Cardinals by drafting Murray, running back David Johnson and wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk. They’ll look at Isabella, see a short rookie receiver from UMass and think, “Why would I invest in that guy?”

I probably won’t be able to get as much Isabella as I want in dynasty, but in seasonal leagues he’s going to be one of the upside rookies I religiously draft as often as I can.

NFL Comp: Brandin Cooks but older and less agile

Matthew Freedman is the Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs. He has a dog and sometimes a British accent. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he’s known only as The Labyrinthian.

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