Malik Washington’s Dynasty Rookie Profile | Virginia WR Fantasy Football Outlook

After leading the country with 111 receptions in 2023, is Virginia WR Malik Washington a steal for dynasty managers heading into upcoming rookie drafts?

The high-profile names of this wide receiver draft class — such as Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr., LSU WR Malik Nabers, and Washington WR Rome Odunze — have stolen most of the headlines of the early 2024 NFL Draft process.

However, Virginia WR Malik Washington had one of the most productive collegiate seasons of the draft-eligible prospects entering the NFL later this year. Is the Virginia product set to watch his dynasty fantasy football stock rise significantly over the next few months?

Should You Draft Malik Washington in Dynasty Fantasy Football?

The recent trend of late-round wide receivers finding immediate fantasy success was on display in a big way throughout the 2023 NFL season.

Los Angeles Rams WR Puka Nacua — who was a fifth-round pick in last year’s NFL Draft — just set the rookie record for most receptions and receiving yards by a rookie in NFL history, which led to a stunning WR4 overall finish in full-PPR formats in 2023.

Houston Texans WR Tank Dell — who was selected late in the third round — was the WR19 on a points-per-game basis in full-PPR formats in 2023.

This recent trend of big-time fantasy impact from rookie wide receivers with later draft capital has dynasty managers in search of the next late-round gem at the position.

Washington was one of the most productive receivers in the country on a middling Virginia Cavaliers team in 2023, which saw him dominate out of the slot against both man and zone coverage during his final collegiate season.

Washington doesn’t possess the elite athletic testing measurements — listed at 5’8” and 194 pounds last season — of the other top prospects in this class and played five years’ worth of college football, which has him pushed a bit further down the dynasty rankings board heading into the draft process.

His top-shelf production in 2023, though, combined with plenty of route-running polish and playmaking ability after the catch, make him a very intriguing receiver prospect to keep an eye on towards the end of the second round or early third round of upcoming rookie drafts in the dynasty leagues.

Who Is Washington?

Background

Washington was widely regarded as a three-star receiver prospect coming out of Parkview High School in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

MORE: Dynasty Fantasy Football Trade Value Chart

Washington was a standout performer during his prep days, amassing 130 receptions, 2,645 total yards, and 28 total TDs as a multi-faceted weapon in high school. In addition, he did spend some time playing quarterback and contributed on the defensive side of the ball with 117 tackles.

College Production

The majority of Washington’s collegiate career took place at Northwestern, where he accumulated just 11 receptions for 76 yards through his freshman and sophomore years combined.

He saw his role expand significantly in his junior year by catching 44 passes for 578 yards and two scores and managed to increase his receptions and receiving yards in his 2022 senior season by hauling in 65 passes for 694 yards in his final year as a Wildcat but failed to gain national notoriety during his time at Northwestern.

Washington finally broke out in his fifth collegiate season after transferring to Virginia by leading the nation with 110 receptions while logging 1,426 receiving yards and nine scores in 2023.

Washington’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths

  • He is a highly competitive and gifted playmaker after the catch; a very strong player after the catch with a dense physical build — led all WRs in missed tackles forced in 2023; great contact balance and feel for churning out extra yards after the catch and doesn’t shy away from contact; consistent ability to snag the ball and immediate getting moving upfield.
  • Deceptive route runner who does an exceptional job changing tempo at the top of the stem before dropping his hips and exploding out of breaks to separate from defenders; detailed timing on double moves to bait defenders into committing before bursting by them with acceleration.
  • Top-shelf short area quickness with efficient footwork off the line of scrimmage (LOS) and at the breaking point of his route; quickness translates well as a ball carrier, ability to navigate through traffic with sharp cuts at top speed to dismiss overeager defenders.
  • Effective beating both man and zone coverage in 2023; has a great natural feel for when to break off his route and settle into opening against zone coverage, which should translate very well to the next level with extensive experience working out of the slot in college.
  • Despite projecting as an NFL-ready slot receiver, he does possess some formation versatility.
  • Can be deployed as a satellite/manufactured touches type of weapon; effective with reps in tap pass and screen game reps during the time at Virginia.
  • Can be effective in beating man coverage with effective speed, skip, and double-move releases when his short area quickness prevents DB from landing an initial jab.

Weaknesses

  • Lack of size and length could create consistency issues in contested-catch situations at the next level.
  • Despite the ability to climb the ladder while attacking the ball at the apex, limited arm length and height present some limitations with catch radius.
  • Adequate top speed but wouldn’t be classified as a vertical threat to opposing defenses on every snap; defenses likely don’t have to assign over-the-top resources to limit his vertical playmaking ability.
  • His length could present some issues disengaging from physical press corners who manage to connect with their initial jab at the LOS.
  • Can be knocked off course at the breakpoint of his route by bigger and lengthier corners.
  • Does have a little tendency to body catch when unnecessary more than I would like, which could come into play with limited wingspan and catch radius at the next level.

KEEP READING: Dynasty Rookie Draft Strategies

With the fantasy football season behind us, why not start preparing for your rookie drafts with our dynasty rookie rankings? Additionally, as you look to improve your team heading into 2024, our dynasty trade calculator can help you find the perfect deal to boost your championship chances.

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