Target Acquired: Week Two

Travis May

Welcome to week two of the 2018 Target Acquired series. If you enjoyed the series last year, you’re in for a good time! 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 you prepare for all of your drafts, trades, and just-for-fun research in the future.

Football is back and I have my set of “Targets Acquired” for any and every format out there.

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Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State

Dwayne Haskins isn’t exactly a sleeper playing for THE Ohio State Buckeyes, but he has dominated early. Even though he had only really played one full game of college football, most thought Haskins was going to be impressive. However, I don’t think anyone could have expected the perfection he’s put on display thus far.

Through two games this season, he’s completing nearly 80% of his passes and has tossed nine touchdowns to one interception. The Ohio State offense looks unstoppable with Haskins at the helm and isn’t just because of the scheme. He throws wide receivers open, maneuvers in the pocket with ease, and shows nice touch and control to make any throw. Haskins should find an opportunity in the NFL soon.

Running Back

Kylin Hill, Mississippi State

When Kylin Hill entered college, he was already considered one of the top backs in his class. He did show some flashes as a true freshman in 2017, but he wasn’t the clear starter for 2018 until just weeks before the season began. But holy cow. That looks like the best decision new coach Joe Morehead could have ever made.

Hill demolished the Kansas State defense this past weekend for 211 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Then he decided to add a receiving touchdown as well. Hill isn’t a huge back, but he runs with fury and decisiveness that makes him hard to bring down. If he, continues his current track of dominance, expect him to be a first-round devy draft pick next spring.

Darrell Henderson, Memphis

Not many people watch Memphis football on Saturdays, but for those who do, you’re already aware that Darrell Henderson is one of the best running backs in the country. In case you missed it, Henderson ran for 1,154 yards on just 130 carries in 2017. That’s an absurd 8.9 (you read that right) yards per carry. He also averaged a couple receptions per game too.

This season, his numbers are even more ridiculous so far, thanks to two dominant performances. He’s averaging 13.1 yards per carry on his 22 carries and 40 yards per reception on a couple of grabs. Obviously, Henderson’s efficiency numbers will come down a bit, but his 13-carry 212-yard performance last weekend is hard to even on a video game. If Henderson adds just a little bit of weight, he could sneak into day two of the NFL Draft next spring.

Wide Receiver

Laviska Shenault, Colorado

Pronounced “Luh-vis-kuh Shin-alt”, this Colorado Buffalo came to play this season. After his impressive explosion for 11 receptions and 211 yards in week one against a soft Colorado State defense, I was hesitant to get too excited. But when he followed that up with another double-digit reception performance for 177 yards and the game-winning touchdown, I took a closer look.

Shenault is 6’2”, 220 pounds and he carries it well. He gets in and out of breaks with ease for a thicker guy and uses his wide frame to win in contested situations. Shenault’s ball skills are also a joy to watch as well. Colorado’s schedule gets a bit tougher, but Shenault is going to end up with 100 receptions this year. Expect a Michael Gallup-like rise in his draft stock for 2020.

Emanuel Hall, Missouri

If you like explosive deep threats with some size, then Emanuel Hall is your guy. Hall is currently averaging more than 24 yards per reception on 47 receptions over the past twelve games for a total of 1,159 yards. He accumulated ten receptions and 171 yards of that just this past weekend against Idaho.

He was second fiddle to J’Mon Moore (now with the Green Bay Packers) in 2017. However, now Hall is the clear lead target for one of the best quarterbacks in the country in Drew Lock for the Missouri Tigers. Hall’s explosion off the line of scrimmage and pursuit of the deep ball is breathtaking to watch. But then when you realize that Hall is about a head taller than some defensive backs trying to defend him his true upside comes into view. Hall is a 6’3” speedster with excellent body control. Imagine that kind of player in a decent landing spot in the NFL.

Tight End

Kaden Smith, Stanford

Stanford doesn’t like to throw the ball too much. They instead tend to feed their running backs until they rack up nearly 2,000 yards. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing for their tight end development. Kaden Smith is no exception. He’s already shown to be a more than adequate blocker in his collegiate career for Stanford. However, that’s not what makes him fun for future fantasy football consideration beyond just keeping him on the field.

Smith runs one of the most unstoppable seam routes in all of college football. At 6’5”, 252 pounds, Kaden easily leaps over linebackers and finds holes zone to force himself open at the second level of defenses. That shows up in his career average of 17.6 yards per reception. Smith just caught another four balls for 77 yards against USC. Look for him to be a round two tight end selection in the 2019 NFL Draft.

IDP (Individual Defensive Player)

Ben Humphreys, Duke (Linebacker)

Duke hasn’t exactly been known for providing the NFL with defensive studs, but Ben Humphreys could start a trend. He put together a 100-tackle season as a sophomore in 2016, but saw a slight downturn in productivity last season. That’s probably why he chose to stay for his senior season.

So far, it looks like that was the right call. Humphreys just racked up 15 total tackles in Duke’s win over Northwestern. His play speed and pursuit should continue making him a tackle machine this season. He’s one of my favorite mid-round steals for next year’s NFL Draft that can do a little bit of everything.

I hope you enjoyed the second Target Acquired of the 2018 season! 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. Also, since college daily fantasy is back be looking for some #TouchdownTime videos from me on that via Twitter as well! Best of luck to you in all of your fantasy leagues!