Just as we’ve seen the past few weeks in the NFL, injuries are really taking a toll in the college ranks, especially among some of the top ranked devy players. We’ve already seen running back Todd Gurley miss time due to an ankle injury and top wide receiver prospect Marqise Lee bothered by a nagging knee injury. Not to mention running backs Keith Marshall and Matt Jones, who are out for the year. Now, one of the top sophomore wide receivers will also be out of action for the remainder of the season, as Maryland’s Stefon Diggs suffered a broken leg. Hope, these young players will come back strong in 2014 and earn some of their dynasty value back along the way.
Here’s hoping for an excellent Saturday of college football with no serious injuries to our favorite players. Take a look at what you should be watching today!
A Look Back
Disappointment of the Week: Brett Hundley, QB UCLA
UCLA entered this huge PAC 12 matchup against the Cardinal of Stanford undefeated and with a chance to create some space in the standings. Instead, fellow redshirt sophomore Kevin Hogan easily outplayed Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley as Stanford won with a second half explosion. It was easily Hundley’s worst game of the season as he threw for less than 200 yards and had the lowest completion percentage of the year. Other than a nice thirty yard rush, he was also held in check on the ground as he totaled only twenty-seven rushing yards. Hundley is one of the quarterbacks expected to be part of a crowded second tier behind Teddy Bridgewater and Marcus Mariota, but he failed to make up any ground on those two presumed high picks. Of course, there is a good chance that Hundley decides to stay in school and wait another season, which might be the right choice based on last week’s game alone.
On the Rise: Mike Evans, WR TX A&M
One player I admittedly overlooked during the off-season as I was participating in devy drafts was Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans, but he is getting my attention now, thanks to some eye-popping receiving numbers. In last week’s surprise loss to the Tigers of Auburn, Evans hauled in eleven passes for nearly 300 yards and found the end zone four times! Both numbers were obviously season highs, but it’s not the first monster game for the redshirt sophomore wideout. When facing the top ranked Crimson Tide a month ago, he totaled 279 yards and just seven catches, including a ninety-five yard touchdown. With his incredible play of late, there has even been some talk that Evans could overtake both Marqise Lee and Sammy Watkins in both the NFL drafts and dynasty rookie drafts. While he is clearly gaining ground on Lee, I still prefer Watkins to any other college wide receiver. Nonetheless, Evans performance through this point of the season has him in the conversation and he is quickly gaining dynasty value.
Devy of the Week: Jameis Winston, QB FSU
I told you last week to focus on quarterback Jameis Winston in the huge Florida St.-Clemson ACC battle and he didn’t disappoint. The redshirt freshman established himself as a Heisman contender and has the Seminoles in line for a BCS bowl berth as Florida St. destroyed the previously undefeated Tigers. Winston threw for a career high 444 yards and tossed three touchdowns. Draftniks are now contemplating if they’d prefer Winston or likely 2014 first overall pick Teddy Bridgewater. While the debate is really meaningless, it shows how far Winston has come in just a couple of months and his devy value is skyrocketing. The good news is that he is still available in nearly all leagues and you can expect him to be a high devy pick a few months from now.
A Look Ahead
Wake Up and Watch: Vanderbilt vs. Texas A&M (ESPN3, 12:21)
This early Saturday SEC tilt features a few players that could be first round NFL draft picks in just a few months as the Aggies, led by quarterback Johnny Manziel face off with the surprising Vanderbilt Commodores. I touched on the devy value of Manziel last week, which is of course, all over the board. Some owners have already pegged him as a bust and a player that, while having great success as a collegiate, won’t be able to succeed in the NFL. I was once in that group, though my opinion is slowly changing. There is also a group that see Manziel as a future franchise quarterback, able to control the game just as he does in College Station, making amazing play after amazing play. Regardless of what you think of Manziel’s future, enjoy his present play on the field.
Each team also has a future NFL wide receiver on their roster, both of which should be a part of the upcoming NFL draft. The Aggies Mike Evans has already been mentioned this week, and is always worth focusing on, but Vanderbilt also has a player who could land in the draft’s first round, yet is flying under the radar this season. Jordan Matthews leads the team with fifty-eight receptions, 798 yards and five scores and he is on pace to lead the entire SEC in receptions for a second consecutive year. Matthews has been somewhat overshadowed by bigger names across the country and in his own conference and it doesn’t help he plays for one of the second citizens of the nation’s best league, but Matthews has an NFL body at 6’3” and over 200 pounds. Be happy to scoop him up with a late first round pick in your next rookie draft.
If You Can Only Watch One: UCLA vs. Oregon (ESPN, 7:00)
Another player already mentioned earlier in the article is UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley and he sure has his hands full to prove last week was just a down game for himself and the Bruins offense as the team travels to Oregon to face the third ranked Ducks and Marcus Mariota. Mariota entered the season viewed as somewhat of a system quarterback. Another in the long line of college quarterbacks who put up huge stats in high-powered offenses, yet had no place in the professional ranks. What he’s shown this year is that is not the case and now he has himself in line for a trip to New York as a possible Heisman finalist.
This game is not just about a meeting of future pro quarterbacks though. Offensive weapon De’Anthony Thomas of Oregon is expected back for the first time in a month. In addition to Thomas, the Ducks have playmakers all over the field, which is to be expected considering they are averaging 58 points per game and nearly 700 total yards. Many of these teams’ games are late nighters following a full day of football viewing for most college fans and devy owners, but it’s a treat for those of us not on the west coast to see this one in primetime. Enjoy the offense and key in on those two quarterbacks.
Stay Up Late For: Fresno St. vs. San Diego St. (ESPN2, 10:30)
Let’s get down to it! For devy and dynasty owners, this one is really about two players who form an impressive quarterback-receiver duo. The Bulldogs are off to a 6-0 start thanks to the extraordinary play of quarterback Derek Carr and wide receiver Davante Adams. Adams has some unbelievable individual games already this season, including a sixteen reception outing against Idaho. That game wasn’t a fluke either. He has another game with fourteen grabs and another with twelve, while he has topped the 185 receiving yard mark the past two games. Carr is a pro prospect himself and could even make his way into the first round. Adams is another one of those redshirt sophomores which seems to be popular this year, so it’s unclear if he will declare for the draft, but with Carr, a senior, gone for sure, it’s very likely that Adams makes himself available for NFL teams.
Devy Stock Watch
The first year each player is NFL draft eligible is noted in parentheses. I’ve also included how the player fared in last week’s action.
1.) Todd Gurley, RB UGA (2015) Missed game due to injury
2.) Sammy Watkins, WR CLEM (2014) 68 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
3.) Melvin Gordon, RB WISC (2014) 142 rush yards, 3 touchdowns
4.) TJ Yeldon, RB ALA (2015) 88 rushing yards, 1 touchdown
5.) Mike Evans, WR TXAM (2014) 287 receiving yards, 4 touchdowns
6.) Marqise Lee, WR USC (2014) 18 receiving yards
7.) Lache Seastrunk, RB BAY (2014) 112 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns
8.) Teddy Bridgewater, QB UL (2014) 341 passing yards, 2 touchdowns
9.) Jameis Winston, QB FSU (2015) 44 passing yards, 3 touchdowns
10.) Amari Cooper, WR ALA (2015) 65 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
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