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Josh Downs Dynasty Fantasy Football Value

By Jared Smola | Updated on Tue, 08 Aug 2023 . 12:20 PM EDT


Josh Downs, WR, Colts

Height: 5’9
Weight: 171
BMI: 25.2
Age: 21.7
NFL Draft Pick: Round 3, Pick 16 (79th overall)
Draft Sharks Model Score: 7.12
Analytics Score: 0.69
Film Score: 0.53
Production Score: 0.76
Player Comp: Jamison Crowder


Josh Downs Dynasty Fantasy Football Value

Downs’ college production rivals any WR in this year’s class. He racked up 195 catches, 2,364 yards, and 19 TDs over the past two seasons with stronger market shares than first-rounders Jordan Addison, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and Quentin Johnston.

NFL Projection

I was a bit underwhelmed by Downs’ tape, though. He creates separation on short routes and has the speed and agility to add value after the catch.

But he struggles with contact, has a relatively small catch radius, and lacks elite downfield speed.

Those concerns were confirmed at the Combine, where Downs checked in at just 5’9 and 171 pounds and clocked a middling 4.48-second 40 time.

Limited Upside

Downs projects as a quality slot receiver at the next level and a potential PPR fantasy football asset. But he seems unlikely to develop into a real difference maker for fantasy squads.

Josh Downs Team Fit: Indianapolis Colts

The NFL seemed to share my concerns, letting Downs fall to the middle of Round 3 as the 12th WR off the board.

That's a knock against his dynasty value.

Run-Heavy Colts

And so is the landing spot.

The Colts are an offense in transition, with a new HC in Shane Steichen and a new QB in Anthony Richardson. The range of outcomes on that tandem is wide.

And, even if the duo delivers, we're looking at a run-heavy offense similar to what Steichen helped build with QB Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia.

Immediate Opportunity

On the plus side, Downs has a good shot to quickly earn playing time in Indianapolis. Michael Pittman is cemented as the Colts' #1 WR. 2022 second-rounder Alec Pierce is the favorite for the other outside WR spot. But Downs will only need to beat out Isaiah McKenzie for primary slot duties. McKenzie has never reached 500 receiving yards across 6 NFL seasons and got just $400,000 guaranteed on his 1-year deal from the Colts.

Consider Downs the favorite for that starting slot job, but he still doesn't project for much 2023 fantasy value.

Training Camp Update

Reports out of the Colts training camp is that the UNC product has been taking reps with both the first- and second-team units. His shiftiness has paid off in practice, where he’s also returning punts.

Don’t sleep on Downs. He might be making his way up our rankings in the coming days — both redraft and dynasty.  

Dynasty Valuation

Our Dynasty Draft War Room assigns dynamic player values based on your league’s specific settings. These values range from 100 to 0, with 100 being the most valuable player in your league and 0 being the worst rostered player. Use these values to compare players at the same position and across positions for help with draft, trade, and add/drop decisions.

Josh Downs Dynasty Values:

  • Dynasty: 1-QB, Non-PPR – 23.2
  • Dynasty: 1-QB, PPR – 17.7
  • Dynasty: 1-QB, PPR, TE Premium –  21.8
  • Dynasty: Superflex, Non-PPR –  7.1
  • Dynasty: Superflex, PPR –  -0.1
  • Dynasty: Superflex, PPR, TE Premium –  -1.2

To see Josh Downs’ value for your exact league setup, check out our Dynasty Draft War Room.


Josh Downs Combine Results

Wingspan: n/a
Arm length:
Hand size:
40-yard dash:
4.48 seconds
10-yard split: 1.49 seconds
Bench press:
Broad jump:
3-cone drill:
20-yard shuttle: DNP

Josh Downs is plenty athletic. But his diminutive frame is a concern for his dynasty fantasy football value.

Percentiles vs. Combine wide receivers since 1999, per MockDraftable.


Josh Downs Stats

year games targets Receptions rec. yards yards per rec. tds
2020 10 10 7 119 17.0 3
2021 13 148 101 1335 13.2 8
2022 11 120 94 1029 10.9 11

Downs dabbled in basketball and track and field early in his career at North Gwinnett High School in Georgia, finishing third in the state in the triple jump and fourth in the long jump. But he really excelled on the football field, racking up 187 catches, 3,019 yards, and 32 TDs over his final three seasons.

The unanimous four-star prospect chose North Carolina over offers from Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State, among 10+ others.

Big Finish to Quiet Freshman Season

Downs played just 74 snaps as a true freshman in a 2020 WR corps led by Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome. But he closed that season with a big 91-yard, 2-TD outing in UNC’s Orange Bowl loss to Texas A&M, despite running just 14 pass routes.

Dominant Sophomore Campaign

That foreshadowed a breakout sophomore season.

With Brown and Newsome off to the NFL, Downs emerged as QB Sam Howell’s clear top target, setting school records with 101 catches and 1,335 receiving yards.

Both marks ranked top-11 in the country.

Downs’ market shares were huge:

  • 42.6% of the receptions
  • 40.2% of the receiving yards
  • 30.8% of the receiving TDs

The reception and receiving yards shares topped the sophomore-year marks posted by Jordan Addison, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and Quentin Johnston.

Downs’ 83.4 Pro Football Focus receiving grade ranked 29th among 334 qualifying WRs. His 2.80 yards per route run (YPRR) was good for 32nd.

Downs played 96% of his snaps in the slot, with an 8.5-yard average depth of target. He averaged a healthy 13.2 yards per catch, though, thanks in large part to a strong 7.5 yards-after-catch average.

Career Highs as a Junior

Downs traded NFLer Sam Howell for future NFLer Drake Maye this past year.

(Maye is considered one of the top QB prospects in the 2024 class.)

Downs missed three games last season, suffering a lower-body injury early in the year and then opting out of the Holiday Bowl. But he still led North Carolina in all major receiving categories and set new personal bests with 8.5 catches and 1.0 TDs per game.  

The market shares in his 11 games:

  • 33.2% of the catches
  • 29.5% of the receiving yards
  • 37.9% of the receiving scores

Downs’ 86.5 PFF receiving grade was a career best and ranked fifth among 377 qualifying WRs. His YPRR dipped to 2.17, though, 97th among those 377 qualifying WRs.

Better in the Slot

Downs moved out of the slot for 21.9% of his snaps. He averaged a mediocre 1.99 YPRR on the outside. He remained excellent from the slot, averaging 2.21 YPRR and ranking second among 198 qualifiers in PFF receiving grade.

It’s also worth noting that Downs was excellent in the return game over the past two seasons, averaging 11.1 yards across 26 punt returns.


Josh Downs Highlights:

Games watched: Florida State (2021), Miami (2021), Florida A&M, Notre Dame

Short-Range Maven

Downs is at his best working near the line of scrimmage. He has quick feet and good burst out of breaks to create separation against man coverage.

Josh Downs creates big separation over the middle of the field.
Josh Downs' dynasty value will be fueled by his route running ability.

He also has natural feel against zone defenses, settling down in soft spots to give his QB an open target.

After-Catch Ability

Downs is not a tackle breaker after the catch but creates yards with his change-of-direction ability, acceleration, and speed.

Josh Downs creates yards after the catch with shiftiness and burst.
Josh Downs has enough speed to create big plays after the catch, bolstering his dynasty fantasy football value.

Contested-Catch Winner?

Downs shows better contested-catch ability than you might expect from a 5’9, 171-pounder. He converted 17 of 31 contested opportunities (54.8%) over the past two seasons, per Pro Football Focus.

Josh Downs flashes surprisingly strong contested-catch ability for an undersized receiver.

Size Limitations

But his diminutive frame limits him at times.

North Carolina clearly worked to keep Downs away from press coverage, lining him up in the slot and often using him in motion.

Downs can get knocked off his route by contact and has a relatively small catch radius, curbing his downfield effectiveness.

His size will only be more of a barrier in the NFL – and figures to keep Downs in the slot for the vast majority of his routes.


Where Does Josh Downs Land in the Dynasty Rankings?

Everyone has dynasty rankings. But not like these ...

Our dynasty rankings start with the award-winning Draft Sharks projections. Then we apply career aging curves specific to each player type.

The result: You get 1-year, 3-year, 5-year, and even 10-year outlooks for every player.

Not only that, you get a specific DMVP value for each player customized to your league format.

So you get a clear picture of who to select at every turn of your dynasty rookie draft. And you'll know exactly where the value lies in your dynasty trades.

See where Josh Downs sits in our dynamic dynasty rankings.


More Changing Dynasty Values ...

Matt, Jared, and Herms break down the post-NFL Draft rookie landscape.

Jared Smola Author Image
Jared Smola, Lead Analyst
Jared has been with Draft Sharks since 2007. He’s now Lead Analyst, heading up the preseason and weekly projections that fuel your Draft War Room and My Team tools. He currently ranks 1st among 133 analysts in draft rankings accuracy.
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