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
Michigan at Ohio State (Fox, 12:00)
Rivalry week continues with The Game, the annual battle between Michigan and Ohio State. Both teams enter the game at 10-1 and with hopes of a playoff berth in their future but must come away with this one with a win.
The Buckeyes are loaded with offensive talent that dynasty owners should be paying close attention to. Despite wrapping up his first year as a full-time starter and only a redshirt sophomore, there is growing buzz that Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins could declare early for the NFL Draft. In many ways, it would be a smart choice. The presumed quarterback class is not overly impressive, while Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Geogia’s Jake Fromm will likely be headlining the 2020 draft class. Haskins in my favorite prospect in the class of 2019 and has enjoyed a breakout season so far.
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The Buckeyes’ backfield is headed up by true sophomore JK Dobbins, one of the many talented backs in the class of 2020 but Mike Weber will be available for dynasty leaguers to draft this coming off-season. Weber has built a solid resume during his time at Ohio State though I worry he doesn’t stand out in any one area. He has not been very involved in the passing game this season. He’s best viewed as a second-round dynasty rookie pick.
The Wolverines are built on their defense, which is widely considered the best in the country. Michigan has a pair of talented high-profile wide receivers on their roster, including leading pass-catcher Donovan Peoples-Jones, who has 32 receptions for 477 yards. His running mate, receiver Tarik Black has missed nearly two full seasons with a foot injury but the team is no slowly working him back into action.
Other teams in early action include:
Georgia Tech at Georgia (SEC, 12:00)
Florida at Florida State (ABC, 12:00)
Syracuse at Boston College (ESPN, 12:00)
Auburn at Alabama (CBS, 3:30)
The Iron Bowl pits longtime in-state rivals Alabama and Auburn. While the undefeated Crimson Tide are huge favorites, as they are in most games, we’ve seen upsets in this series before, including last season. Per The Action Network, this year’s spread of 24 points is the second largest in series history. An upset this season would be a major shock. The Tigers have no real running game, having lost Kerryon Johnson to the pros after last season. Auburn’s chances live and die with quarterback Jarrett Stidham, a junior who has had a disappointing season for the Tigers. After last year’s run, Stidham was drawing major draft buzz and considered making the leap to the league. This year, he might not even have that choice.
Of course, the Crimson Tide is stacked with NFL prospects on both sides of the ball, led by sophomore quarterback Tagovailoa, the favorite to be the top overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Alabama features a balanced backfield committee, led by senior Damien Harris, who suffered a concussion in last week’s game. The good news is Harris has cleared concussion protocol and is expected to play in his final regular season college game. Harris rebuffed the NFL a year ago after back to back 1,000-yard rushing seasons. His numbers have taken a dip as he shares touches with Najee Harris and Josh Jacobs. Coming off a head injury, we could see less of the senior in this matchup.
Sophomore receiver Jerry Jeudy has enjoyed a huge season, stepping up as the top option for the Alabama passing game with over 1,000 yards on 51 receptions. Jeudy is among the favorites to be the top-drafted receivers, but fantasy players and NFL teams will have to wait until 2020 to select him. My favorite emerging prospect from this draft class is Alabama’s tight end Irv Smith, who is regularly being projected as a first-round draft pick next spring. Along with Iowa’s Noah Fant and a few other secondary options, this is shaping up to be another strong tight end class.
Other teams in mid-day action include:
Stanford at UCLA (PAC12, 3:00)
Arizona State at Arizona (FS1, 3:30)
Minnesota at Wisconsin (ESPN2, 3:30)
South Carolina at Clemson (ESPN, 7:00)
This game might not be a close contest as the Clemson Tigers are headed to yet another college football playoff berth but the Palmetto Bowl sure is stacked with dynasty prospects. Clemson’s stars have been heavily highlighted in the piece all season. The Tigers passing game is nice, led by freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence and a collection of talented underclassmen receivers but this team is carried by the repeated game-breaking plays of running back Travis Etienne. He’s yet another back from that strong class of 2020 and he might just be the best. The Tigers could be without senior receiver Hunter Renfrow, who is dealing with a head injury.
After a rough early-season stretch, South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley has been on a hot streak over the past month. Likewise, senior wideout Deebo Samuel has been in the zone, posting back to back 100-yard games and scoring in five of the past seven contests. There’s still an outside chance that Bentley, Samuel and junior receiver Bryan Edwards all hear their name called in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Other teams with evening games include:
Kentucky at Louisville (ESPN2, 7:00)
Kansas State at Iowa State (FS1, 7:00)
LSU at Texas A&M (SEC, 7:30)
Notre Dame at USC (ABC, 8:00)
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 Joe Marino of The Draft Network.
1.05 NYG Justin Herbert, QB Oregon
1.08 JAX Dwayne Haskins, QB Ohio State
1.16 MIA Daniel Jones, QB Duke
1.20 CIN Noah Fant, TE Iowa
1.23 WAS Kelvin Harmon, WR North Carolina State
1.26 OAK Irv Smith, TE Alabama
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 David Montgomery, RB Iowa State
1.06 Hakeem Butler, WR Iowa State
1.07 Dekaylin Metcalf, WR Ole Miss
1.08 Noah Fant, TE Iowa
1.09 Marquise Brown, WR Oklahoma
1.10 JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR Stanford
1.11 Elijah Holyfield, RB Georgia
1.12 Tyler Johnson, WR Minnesota