Deontay Burnett: Deep Stash
This past week when the Jets traveled to Chicago they had a new wide receiver to lead the team in yards, his name is Deontay Burnett. Burnett was a consistent wide receiver at the University of Southern California prior to the NFL Draft and looked to be a potential fifth-round selection prior to the NFL Combine. His 6’0” frame makes him a good size for a slot receiver but his listed weight as 170lbs had him plummet down draft boards. Missing the Combine because he was nursing a torn hamstring hurt his stock too, but he did impress at the USC pro day where he ran a 4.70 40 yard dash without being fully healthy. Now although that isn’t that impressive of a time, it doesn’t factor in his injury or route running ability. Burnett went undrafted due to his frame, underwhelming 40yd time, and still nursing an injury. Shortly after the draft concluded, Burnett was given an opportunity to make the roster with the Tennessee Titans. Although there were a few glowing reports coming out of camp, he never did make the opening roster and was released on the final cut day. Not long afterward he found his way to the New York Jets practice squad, this is where it gets interesting.
While playing wide receiver at USC, Burnett’s quarterback was none other than Sam Darnold who is obviously the cornerstone quarterback for the New York Jets. During Burnett’s emergence at USC it just so happened to be the two seasons he played with Sam Darnold, including his senior season where Burnett amassed: 1,114 receiving yards on 86 receptions and 9 touchdowns. With Burnett in a situation where he already has trust from his quarterback, and a weak corp of receivers alongside him it’s possible he emerges as a viable WR3 by the end of the season. Now that we know his situation, let’s discuss his strengths and weaknesses. Although his frame and weight is a weakness, he has been able to make the most of it. Burnett’s final season at USC was a bit of a disappointment for the team, however not for him personally. Sam Darnold had been up and down all season with accuracy issues which he’ll battle his entire career. That is a massive problem with most receivers for good reason, but Burnett was able to contort his body from time to time when a ball was underthrown or thrown too the sidelines from time to time to make underrated acrobatic catches. Another positive for Deontay is his toughness for a player his size. Obviously, to stick around in the NFL for years to come, he’s going to need to put on 20-25lbs and play the slot. Burnett has all the tools to be a solid slot receiver to stick around for years if he adds to his build, that will be one of the biggest issues for him in the coming months and years. For those who have watched tape on Deontay can see how many hard hits he’s taken and played through ankle and foot injuries. For those who haven’t seen much footage of him, I’d suggest watching his performance in the 2016 Rose Bowl to get an idea of what he’s capable of giving an offense when in the proper situation.
Deontay Burnett is a great deep stash, and I do mean a deep stash. Although he has cracked the Jets roster and just had 4 catches for a 61-yard day this past week including an impressive 29-yard catch that was underthrown, he isn’t at the point he needs to be owned in all leagues yet. He’s only been targeted 6 times so far this season in 2 weeks but has been able to haul in 5 of them for a total of 70 yards. With all the buzz around Jakeem Grant in Miami right now, it’s very possible Burnett will have similar production this season for what should be just an average waiver wire pickup and worth 20% of your FAAB at this point in the season. We’ll have to see what his production looks like when Quincy Enunwa returns, but for now, Burnett is a decent WR4 you should be able to play in a few DFS lineups if you need a cheap WR3-4 with potential.