Target Acquired: Week Six

Travis May

Welcome to another edition of Target Acquired. If you’re new to the series, let me catch you up. Dynasty strategy has many layers to it, but one of the more fun aspects of it all is player research and analysis. And whether you play in devy leagues, “normal” dynasty leagues, or just love college football, it’s a blast to dig into some of the best NFL prospects in the country. This series takes a look every week at a mix of college football players who just bolstered their chances of making it to the pros with a stellar performance.

Some will be names you recognize. Others will be the deepest of sleepers that no one knew until yesterday. Regardless, the point is to tuck these names away as your prepare for all of your drafts, trades, and just-for-fun research in the future.

The draft gets closer every day, and I have my set of “Targets Acquired” for any and every format out there.


Luke Falk, Washington State

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Luke Falk is quickly becoming a hotly debated quarterback prospect. Coming off of a nationally televised victory over USC many writers and social media scouts seem torn over Falk’s true pro potential. You’ll hear Luke’s critics go on about his lack of arm strength. Then of course two seconds later you’ll hear his fans talk about his phenomenal accuracy. If you want to see through all of that noise just look at the facts and you’ll see a fantastic story. Falk went from being just a lowly walk-on backup quarterback to tossing the pigskin for more than 9000 yards and 76 touchdowns in just the past two seasons. His unbelievable ascension will be the talk of the town on Draft Day next spring.

Running Back

Kerryon Johnson, Auburn

Last season Kerryon was one head of the two-headed beast that was the Auburn’s backfield. Kamryn Pettway, Kerryon’s counterpart, has garnered plenty of NFL buzz himself, but lately it’s Kerryon who has been taking advantage of opportunities. First Kerryon ran for 136 yards against Georgia Southern. Then he punched it in for five touchdowns against Missouri. And finally, just this past weekend Kerryon churned out another 116 yards and three scores against a pretty decent Mississippi State team. This former four-star running back recruit is doing his best to prove he’s worth a mid to late round pick in 2018 or 2019. If you want a running back with burst, vision, and adequate size Kerryon is your guy.

Malik Davis, Florida

One of the most horrible and beautiful things about football is the necessity for the “next man up” cliché. In this case, luckily no one had to get hurt. They were just stupid. Florida’s lead running back is currently one of several players suspended for a petty crime not worth mentioning in a fantasy football article. Many thought that Lamical Perine or Mark Thompson (the remaining veteran Florida RBs) would take the reins, but Malik had other ideas. A true freshman, Malik wasn’t even set to really see the field in 2017, but just led the team in rushing against Vanderbilt with 124 yards and two scores. Malik is getting virtually no attention right now with all of the other red hot freshman running backs in the country, but that may change very soon. If Malik takes hold of this job he could play on Sundays one day.

Wide Receiver

DJ Moore, Maryland

Stefon Diggs should forever be the former Maryland wide receiver that people remember, but DJ Moore could one day follow in his footsteps. If you take a moment to watch some Maryland you’ll see two things: an abundance of mediocrity and the tantalizing talents of DJ Moore. Through four games he already has an impressive 30 catches for 403 yards and 5 scores this season in an absolutely putrid Maryland passing offense. That’s good for 49% of the team receptions, 60% of team receiving yards, and 71% of team receiving touchdowns! Moore is actually built more like a running back than wide receiver, but uses that excess strength to win at the line of scrimmage, at the point of the catch, and in battles for extra yardage. DJ Moore is getting zero love from draft aficionados and that needs to change fast.

Tyler Vaughns, USC

USC has long been known for sending wide receivers to the NFL. Lately, the joke has been that none of them really amount to anything, but they generally always send someone to the NFL nonetheless. Heading into this season many thought that the massive Michael Pittman Jr. would rise to the challenge and lead the USC WR corps. Thanks partially due to injury, and possibly also to USC’s tendency to start their upper classmen, Pittman has done nothing. As it turns out, the real young WR to be interested in for now is Tyler Vaughns. He stepped up in a big way against Washington State, leading the team with six receptions for 89 yards. It wasn’t a crazy performance, but it might just be enough to earn him the snaps he most definitely deserves. Expect him and Burnett to continue carving it up this year. Look forward to a massive breakout in 2018 and a mid-round draft selection soon thereafter.

Tight End

Hayden Hurst, South Carolina

How many college 6’5” tight ends can catch 48 passes in a season and still fail to receive any hype whatsoever? Well, that list is a least one name long given Hayden’s fantastic sophomore effort. Hayden boasts Travis Kelce size. He can high point the ball, punish after the catch, and is aware enough to find soft spots in the zone. Hurst brings a balance to his game that many tight ends don’t. And now, due to the unfortunate absence of South Carolina’s star wide receiver Deebo Samuel, Hayden has a massive opportunity to produce all season long yet again. He finished with six catches and 76 yards this past week. Those numbers aren’t insane, but tight ends generally don’t put lines together like that in college. By the end of 2017 you can expect to hear Hayden’s name in conversations for “top tight ends in the country” heading into his senior year. Hayden, like most other tight ends, will probably stay for all four years, but could be a top three tight end in the 2019 NFL Draft.


Hercules Mata’afa, DL Washington State

With a name like Hercules, how can you not be a monster on the field? Hercules may not put together any massive stat lines in the tackle column, but his jump off the line is absolutely ridiculous. Even if he doesn’t finish the play with a tackle, Hercules generally finds a way to make his presence known. He logged 5 total tackles, including two tackles for loss against USC this past weekend. Hercules still has a long way to go before he proves that he is even worthy of late round pick, but if he continues to come up with big plays in big games Hercules could be a late round steal in an IDP rookie draft near you very soon.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s Target Acquired. Let me know if you have any questions on any of these guys. If you want me to watch any specific upcoming games closer than others just let me know via Twitter @FF_TravisM. Best of luck to you in all of your fantasy leagues!