Whether you are a devy dynasty owner tracking your player or simply trying to stay ahead of your competition when prepping for 2019 rookie drafts, following the weekly world of college football can pay dividends for fantasy players.
Each week this season, I’ll focus on a trio of games throughout the day, along with some key future pros you might want to focus on as you watch.
Wake Up and Watch
Wisconsin at Penn State (ABC, 12:00)
Each of these Big Ten teams have disappointed this season but both are also still in the running for a big time bowl berth as the season winds down.
Not only will the Badgers be on the road but they’ll also likely be playing without starting quarterback Alex Hornibrook, who is dealing with his second concussion of the season. He’s officially questionable for this game and assuming he sits out, inexperienced backup Jack Coan will draw the start. This would lead Wisconsin to lean on their running game even heavier than normal.
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That won’t be an issue for sophomore back Jonathan Taylor, who has somehow improved on a breakout freshman season a year ago. Taylor leads the Big Ten with 1,363 rushing yards, which is a full 400 yards ahead of the league’s second rusher, Michigan’s Karan Higdon. Speaking of Higdon, he ran all over this Penn State defense last week, a good sign that Taylor should have a huge game.
While most fantasy players and fans still think of superstar running back Saquon Barkley when they see Penn State in action, junior running back Miles Sanders has done a very good job in his attempt at filling Barkley’s shoes. Sanders has averaged nearly six yards per carry, thanks in large part to 362 combined rushing yards in earlier games against Illinois and Michigan State. He has struggled over the past two games though, totaling 76 yards against Iowa and Michigan.
Expectations were high for Nittany Lions’ junior receiver Juwan Johnson this season but as has been the case with Johnson in the past, he has disappointed. Penn State has been led by redshirt freshman KJ Hamler, who is fourth in the conference with 18.5 yards per reception, a big play threat out of the slot.
Not so long ago, Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley was considered a Heisman contender and solid NFL prospect. McSorley has struggled recently though and has also been dealing with an injury that caused him to be pulled from last week’s Michigan game. McSorley is expected to play against the Badgers.
Other teams in early action include:
Texas Christian at West Virginia (FS1, 12:00)
Ohio State at Michigan State (FOX, 12:00)
South Carolina at Florida (ESPN, 12:00)
Mississippi at Texas A&M (CBS, 12:00)
Washington State at Colorado (ESPN, 3:30)
As his teams have done so many times in the past, Mike Leach’s Washington State Cougars are riding a hot streak due to a powerhouse offense that overwhelms their opponents and posts video game numbers in the passing game.
Normally, NFL scouts and fantasy players are hesitant to invest much into products of these types of offensive juggernauts, but Wazoo senior quarterback Gardner Minshew might be a different case. He’s not likely to challenge other quarterbacks such as Justin Herbert or Drew Lock when it comes to draft position but he is gaining steam as a prospect. Minshew leads the nation in pass attempts (465), completions (329), passing yards (3517) and he’s tied for sixth with 27 passing touchdowns.
Taking nothing away from Minshew as a college playmaker, the one dynasty owners should really focus on in this matchup is Colorado wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr., who was enjoying a breakout season before it was interrupted by a toe injury about a month ago. This is really all you need to know about the 6’2”, 220-pound receiver… even after missing the past three games and part of a fourth with the injury, Shenault still leads the Buffaloes with 60 receptions for 780 yards and six touchdowns.
Shenault has had stat lines of at least ten receptions for 125 yards in four of the six games he’s played this season. Before the injury, Shenault had many calling him the nation’s top wideout and as if this wasn’t enough, Shenault has added production as a runner as well. Shenault has carried the ball 15 times for 87 yards and five touchdowns, giving him a total of 11 scores on the season. In a 2020 draft class that is stacked at running back but lacks strong receiver prospects, Shenault is a welcome addition to the top college players and most valuable devy assets.
Other teams in mid-day action include:
Mississippi State at Alabama (CBS, 3:30)
Oklahoma State at Oklahoma (ABC, 3:30)
Kentucky at Tennessee (SEC, 3:30)
Purdue at Minnesota (ESPN, 3:30)
Clemson at Boston College (ABC, 8:00)
In their last serious challenge on their way to a potential fourth straight trip to the college football playoffs, the Clemson Tigers visit eighteenth ranked Boston College, the host for ESPN’s College Gameday. If the Eagles stand any chance against the huge favorite Clemson, they’ll need running back AJ Dillon on the field. Dillon missed two games with an ankle injury but is still second in the ACC with 897 rushing yards, averaging nearly 130 yards per game. Dillon is one of the backs from the loaded class of 2020 and could easily be on track to be a first-round NFL Draft pick.
As you already know, when it comes to Clemson, they have a wealth of prospects at every position. While their defensive linemen should claim multiple first round spots in the upcoming NFL Draft, fantasy players will have to wait until 2020 for most of the offensive playmakers. Running back Travis Etienne leads the ACC with 998 rushing yards and should become the tenth back in the nation to break the 1,000-yard barrier early in the game.
In last week’s demolition of Louisville, true freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence was barely even needed as the running game racked up nearly 500 yards and Lawrence’s backup played so much, he had better numbers than Lawrence. That won’t be the case in this tough battle against BC but Lawrence has the weapons needed to earn a victory.
Sophomore receiver Tee Higgins has stepped up from a crowded depth chart to become the top target, leading the team with 35 receptions, 514 yards and seven touchdowns. He’ll look to extend his touchdown streak to five games against the Eagles. Freshman Justyn Ross (22/476/5) and sophomore Amari Rodgers (33/395/4) have also been prime contributors to the Tiger offense.
Other teams with evening games include:
Auburn at Georgia (ESPN, 7:00)
Florida State at Notre Dame (NBC, 7:30)
LSU at Arkansas (SEC, 7:30)
2019 NFL Mock Draft
As the NFL Draft has grown in popularity, that means it has become a year-round business and we no longer have to wait until the end of the football season to see where the top players project to land. Multiple sites and writers are nor regularly producing mock draft months out from the actual event and I’ll now be including those in these weekly updates.
Here’s the latest projection from Matt Miller of Bleacher Report.
1.01 NYG Justin Herbert, Oregon
1.12 JAX Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
1.15 BAL N’Keal Harry, Arizona State
1.16 TEN Noah Fant, Iowa
1.20 MIA Drew Lock, Missouri
1.23 CIN Irv Smith, Jr., Alabama
1.25 OAK AJ Brown, Mississippi
1.30 GB Marquise Brown, Oklahoma
2019 Dynasty Rookie Mock Draft
1.01 N’Keal Harry, WR Arizona State
1.02 AJ Brown, WR Ole Miss
1.03 Bryan Edwards, WR South Carolina
1.04 Kelvin Harmon, WR North Carolina State
1.05 Dekaylin Metcalf, WR Ole Miss
1.06 Hakeem Butler, WR Iowa State
1.07 David Montgomery, RB Iowa State
1.08 Noah Fant, TE Iowa
1.09 Marquise Brown, WR Oklahoma
1.10 JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR Stanford
1.11 Deebo Samuel, WR South Carolina
1.12 Tyler Johnson, WR Minnesota
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