Welcome to week eight 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.
2018 college football is already more than half over! This season has revealed to us some of the best future NFL playmakers now and I have my set of “Targets Acquired” for any and every format out there.
Adrian Martinez, Nebraska
It’s been tough sledding for the Nebraska Cornhuskers and new coach Scott Frost in 2018, but they finally snagged their first victory against Minnesota last week. That victory was due much in part to the performance of true freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez. He completed 25 of his 29 pass attempts for 276 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions.
Martinez was absolutely dominant and under control the entire game. He was the first true freshman to ever kick off a season as the starting quarterback for Nebraska and now we can see why. Martinez may be a top five devy quarterback by spring 2019 if he keeps up his current trajectory.
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Karan Higdon, Michigan
Karan Higdon showed his face in last year’s Target Acquired series after he racked up 603 yards and eight touchdowns in a four-game span. Now he’s back for more in 2018.
Michigan finally figured out who their best running back was and Higdon’s been absolutely balling this year. He just notched his sixth consecutive game with 100 rushing yards this past weekend in the Wolverines win over the Michigan State Spartans.
He’s clearly shown balance, vision, burst, and strength as a runner this season. The only thing he may lack is true feature back size and elite receiving chops. If he can add just a bit more receiving production to his profile, he should be a nice value for many dynasty rosters here soon.
Stevie Scott, Indiana
The perfect storm in the Indiana Hoosiers backfield allowed for a quick ascension for true freshman running back Stevie Scott. Last year, Morgan Ellison had a great freshman year for Indiana as their lead rusher, but he was suspended indefinitely by the team just prior to this season. Then Indiana’s other experienced back Cole Gest tore his ACL to start September. Ever since then, it’s been the Stevie Scott show.
It’s been an up-and-down affair as far as solid production goes thus far for him. But this past weekend, he almost single-handedly carried Indiana to a victory against Penn State. He bullied the Penn State defense with all of his 6’2”, 233-pound frame for 26 carries, 138 yards, and two touchdowns. Yes, he may have more company in the backfield next year, but Scott looks to have feature back potential in him as a true freshman. That’s the kind of back to target in devy leagues.
Preston Williams, Colorado State
For those familiar with college recruiting, you may have some deep recollection of Preston Williams buried away in your mind from years ago. That’s because he was supposed to be a four-star stud for Tennessee back in 2015. As many may already know, Tennessee’s football program has been imploding for several years now. Williams saw this and got out of town quickly after the 2016 season. Now he’s found a home that appreciates him, Williams has absolutely dominated.
He’s averaging about eight receptions, 100 yards, and a touchdown every single game for Colorado State this year. His size (6’4”, 210), athleticism, pedigree, and recent production should earn him a mid to late round look in 2019 or 2020. Williams will be a favorite of many to climb a depth chart and eventually become a consistent NFL starter.
Antoine Wesley, Texas Tech
This season at Texas Tech was supposed to be all about star wide receiver T.J. Vasher. He’s been good and all, but has struggled with little injuries here and there.
The primary beneficiary of Vasher’s woes has definitely been Antoine Wesley. In the Red Raiders’ seven games this season Wesley has averaged more than seven catches and 120 receiving yards per game. This past weekend alone, he caught nine balls for 155 yards and a score against Kansas.
At 6’5”, 190 pounds he’s a little slender, but that doesn’t stop him from burning defenders and winning at the point of catch. He may stay one more year to solidify his production profile, but don’t let that worry you. Wesley may end up being the best Texas Tech wide receiver since Michael Crabtree.
If you followed the Target Acquired series much last year, you’ll know I was excited for what Albert Okwuegbunam (Oak-woo-aye-boo-nom) could become. However, last year most of his production came through clever scheming to force him open. This year he’s clearly grown into creating his own separation consistently. And that’s exactly what he did this past weekend Memphis as he racked up six catches for 159 yards and three touchdowns.
It doesn’t matter if he runs up the seam, outside, or inside Okwuegbunam is going to force his way open. Teams are going to like his prototypical size and balanced skill set. Expect a team to invest early draft capital.
IDP (Individual Defensive Player)
Grant Delpit, LSU (Safety)
Grant Delpit is joining a long tradition of star LSU defensive players. In fact, he may be the best safety in the nation already as just a sophomore. Through eight games this year he already has 54 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, and five interceptions. He’s putting together an excellent resume early in his college career. Expect him to be the next Jamal Adams or Derwin James. The kid is that good.
I hope you enjoyed the eighth 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! Best of luck to you in all of your fantasy leagues!