55 Ohio State University alums currently play in the NFL. Wideout Chris Olave and some of his Buckeye teammates probably will put that number above 60. The question for dynasty fantasy football managers is whether Olave has what it takes to be a long-term asset, helping managers lock in a wideout who belongs in weekly fantasy lineups. How should dynasty managers assess him now that he’s landed with the Saints/
Chris Olave’s dynasty fantasy profile
Olave’s scouting report demonstrates his exceptional growth as a collegiate wide receiver. Which factors could impact his long-term floor and ceiling?
Simply put, Olave is an impressive athlete, and his metrics show it. He ran a 4.39 40-yard dash time, placing him squarely in the “fast” category. In fact, he’s been one of the most dominant collegiate receivers in single coverage. And some of his catches are undoubtedly NFL-caliber, including a lunging sideline grab against Michigan State that showcased his exceptional hands, body control, and awareness to stay in bounds.
In his senior season at Ohio State, he compiled a 65-936-13 receiving line, scoring at least once in nine of 11 contests. In his two scoreless games, Olave collected 12 catches for 126 yards and then 7 catches for 88 yards.
As a junior, he showed a comparably sky-high floor with a nearly unparalleled ceiling. In fact, he’s had 60+ yards and/or a touchdown in 26 straight contests and 32 of his last 33. That’s an insane stretch of excellence, particularly in a conference as competitive as the Big Ten.
On the one hand, Olave clearly did not need to return to Ohio State for his senior season. On the other hand, he did, and that’s a problem.
Early declares have a far greater historical hit rate than four-year players. Simply put, had Olave entered the 2021 NFL Draft, his odds of success would be higher.
Olave does not profile as a dominant X receiver from a physical standpoint. That doesn’t mean he can’t have an excellent career. Not every receiver can be a WR1, and Olave has the skills to be that reliable WR2/Z receiver.
The thing with Olave is he will likely need rapport with a quality quarterback to thrive. He’s not going to win with sheer size or raw athleticism. He’s not going to be a jump-ball receiver. Olave needs to run crisp routes and excel on timing with his quarterback. That makes his NFL success more dependent upon landing spot than others.
Olave’s injury history
Olave has not exhibited any significant injuries that merit yellow or red flags heading into the draft.
Chris Olave’s dynasty value on the Saints
This was my top projected landing spot for Olave and it’s exactly where he ended up. The Saints traded up with the Commanders for the right to draft the Buckeye.
This is great fit for multiple reasons. Olave can play alongside Michael Thomas for as long as Thomas remains with the Saints. At 29 years old, Thomas is closer to the end than the beginning. The two profile similarly in terms of NFL usage, so Olave could grow into the role Thomas has now.
In 2021, no team threw for fewer yards or had a worse completion percentage than the Saints. Even if Thomas returns to form, that won’t be enough to anchor a passing attack that might see a little less of the generally overworked soon-to-be 27-year-old Alvin Kamara.
Adding Olave gives the Saints a true WR2 opposite Thomas. They haven’t had two formidable wide receivers since Brandin Cooks played alongside a rookie Thomas in 2016.
The Saints need to figure out their quarterback situation. They re-signed Jameis Winston, but he’s likely not their long-term answer. Regardless, the Saints are a quality organization that should get this sorted within a couple of years. Olave will have plenty of time to learn and grow with a new, presumably younger quarterback.
Given the Saints’ wide receiver room, Olave should start immediately. We know Winston can support multiple fantasy-relevant wide receivers if allowed to throw. I’m not sure if the 2021 version of Winston can. At the same time, Olave is the Saints’ future at wide receiver with Thomas only having a few years left.
Olave probably is not going to be super fantasy relevant as a rookie, but he is a worthwhile dynasty selection as he has high-floor WR2 upside as early as 2023.