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.
Khalil Tate, Arizona
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Khalil Tate has ignited a fire in the Arizona offense since taking over for the injured Brandon Dawkins as the full-time starting quarterback. This past week Tate dominated yet again leading the Arizona Wildcats to a 58-37 thrashing of the Washington State Cougars. It was his fourth game in a row with at least 137 rushing yards, but he really took off as a passer too. Tate’s 275 yards and two scores through the air kept the Cougars honest all night from the beginning of the game. The first quarter strike to Jamie Nunley for a 48-yard TD on a run-pass option up the seam set the tone. Khalil has a long, long way to go in developing as a passer, but he’s only a sophomore. He’s absolutely electric as a runner putting up 70-yard run after 70-yard run. There aren’t many must-watch players in the country, but Tate might be one of them. Watch him closely as he continues to develop.
Josh Adams, Notre Dame
Many in the devy and dynasty community have been dragging their feet in embracing Josh Adams as a solid pro running back prospect. That may need to change. Yes, Adams is not exactly the fastest running back out there, but that isn’t his game. At 6’2, 230 pounds Josh Adams absolutely punishes inside the tackles, but isn’t all power. Adams’ subtle moves to get to the next level for big runs are something he’s really developed this season. Adams just dropped 200+ yards for the second time this season in the matchup against NC State this past week. His 8.9 yards per carry and monstrous production that includes six games with at least 118 yards on the ground so far this season might be enough to push him in to the middle rounds of the NFL Draft in 2018 or 2019.
Ty Chandler, Tennessee
It seems that just about half of all freshman running backs in the country are putting up insane numbers. Thanks to John Kelly’s phenomenal performance this year Chandler really hasn’t had an opportunity to shine. However, in Kelly’s absence, it was time for Ty to show his stuff. Ty totaled 153 yards from scrimmage and two scores in his very first start against Kentucky this week. It’s “only” Kentucky, but this Tennessee team cannot throw the ball to save their life. Kentucky committed to taking the run game away against the true freshman, but they just couldn’t do it. Ty Chandler has a bright future ahead of him, regardless of how dysfunctional Tennessee football is going to be overall. Look for him to be one of a dozen running backs taken in the first three rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Jeff Thomas, Miami
Jeff Thomas doesn’t get enough national attention. His team mate, Ahmonn Richards, has taken most of the spotlight as he looks to be a top WR prospect for 2019. Thomas may just be an even more coveted WR one day. He was already considered a top 50 player in the 2017 recruiting class. It’s only a matter of time before people realize that Thomas is one of the most explosive playmakers in the country already. Jeff posted his most impressive stat line this week with three catches for 101 yards and a score against North Carolina last week. Yes, even with those numbers Thomas still only has 11 catches so far this season, but they’ve nearly all been huge plays. Averaging 22 yards per reception will definitely earn him more work. Thomas is still somehow flying below the radar in devy leagues. Put his name in your pocket and steal a possible future 1st round pick next summer.
CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
CeeDee is leading Oklahoma in receiving touchdowns as a true freshman and almost nobody has cared to notice. In fact, he also has more receptions and receiving yards than any other natural wide receiver on the team as well. His 9 reception, 147-yard, two touchdown performance against Texas Tech’s putrid defense certainly didn’t hurt his stat line for the season. It’s a shame Lamb will be without Baker Mayfield for the rest of his college career after 2017, but he’s on a ridiculously productive pace. When the dust settles in January many in the devy community will realize that CeeDee Lamb just might be the best freshman wide receiver to target next year if he isn’t already rostered.
Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri
This is the week of the freshman (the fourth in this article). Albert Okwuegbunam (that’s a real name, I promise) has only caught 15 passes this season, but SEVEN of them have been for touchdowns. Albert was just a three-star recruit, but he’s quickly shown that was far too low. He isn’t the fastest guy, but his 6-5, 260-pound size as a true freshman is just absurd. Albert’s two scores this past week against UCONN came on similar routes where he slipped past the defense in the red zone over the middle. Neither score was anything to write home about, but they were both a result of Albert’s savvy and awareness. He can already run and pass block, run routes from in-line and the slot, and do just about anything else you want to see in a tight end. Expect to hear George Kittle comparisons one day, but he may be much more.
IDP (Individual Defensive Player)
Ty Schwab, Boston College
Boston College isn’t exactly known for their stud linebackers. That’s likely part of the reason that Ty Schwab still isn’t a name being talked about in many NFL Draft circles. That needs to change. Schwab is a guy who does it all and finds himself near the ball on almost every play. For example, Schwab logged 12 total tackles this week, but only two of them were solo tackles. Why is that? It’s simple. Ty flies in from across the field to assist in throwing the ball carrier to the ground. He just simply finishes strong on every down. Schwab also added a sack and 2.5 tackles for loss against the sputtering Florida State offense. Expect Schwab to be a late-round value next spring that rises late in the process. Teams are going to love his motor and ability to shed contact.
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!
- 2019 Rookie Class: An Early Look at Kelvin Harmon - January 29, 2019
- The Top 100 Rookies for 2019 - November 29, 2018
- Target Acquired: Week Twelve - November 20, 2018