As the NFL draft approaches, many dynasty players have their sights set on their rookie drafts. Incoming NFL rookies have been studied, analyzed and heavily debated over the last few months and they will continue to be throughout the spring and summer. With so much focus on the rookies, it is sometimes easy to forget many owners also have upcoming devy league drafts. In fact, I just participated in my first devy startup of the season.
Devy-league participants and other savvy owners can use this time to learn more about Collegiate and High School players and possibly give themselves an advantage in their devy drafts. In this article, I dip my toes into the mystical devy waters and offer some high-level notes on prospects I am looking to acquire in devy leagues. For a more in-depth look at the top devy players, check out Rob Willette’s Devy 100, his annual series that provides great insight into his top 100 devy players and their 2018 outlooks. While my list below includes a general overview of players to target, Rob’s series provides more detailed analysis for anyone wanting to take a deeper dive into “Devyland.”
Likely only available in devy startups. These players are the cream of the crop for the time being. Get familiar with these names if you are not already.
N’Keal Harry, WR ASU
If you play in a devy league and have not heard of Harry, you are simply doing it wrong. He possesses prototypical size may teams look for in their lead receiver and is silky smooth both during his routes and with the ball in his hands. In addition, his catch radius is outstanding. Combined with his size, it helps him win many contested catches. He is many people’s top devy player at the moment.
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Cam Akers, RB FSU
Akers is one of the rare players who was well-known outside the devy community while he was still in High School. He has a well-rounded game with no glaring weaknesses. His versatility and exceptional agility are two of my favorite traits of his.
A.J. Brown, WR Ole Miss
A.J. Brown dominated his Sophomore season last year, catching 75 passes for 1,252 yards and 11 touchdowns. He is a physical receiver who uses his size plus some nasty moves to generate many yards after the catch.
D.K. Metcalf, WR Ole Miss
Brown’s teammate, D.K. Metcalf, is another physical receiver who makes some ridiculous contested catches. I am going to need to see a little more production out of him before I move him higher in my rankings, but a lot of others have him ranked highly. As a result, it will probably take a high pick to land him in your devy drafts but he could very well be worth it.
Jonathan Taylor, RB Wisconsin
Taylor dazzled in his Freshman season at Wisconsin as he rushed for 1,977 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was in the running for the Heisman Trophy and could very well be a finalist next season. Taylor possesses great vision and balance, which help him generate many big plays and also has quick feet and good speed for someone his size.
J.K. Dobbins, RB Ohio State
Dobbins displayed impressive cutting ability in his Freshman season last year. He, Cam Akers, Jonathan Taylor, and D’Andre Swift headline a star-studded 2020 running back class. Dobbins still splits a backfield with Mike Weber, who also received over 100 carries last year, but hopefully, Dobbins receives more work next season.
Kelvin Harmon, WR N.C. State
Kelvin Harmon was slightly underrated at the start of last season, but the devy community took notice of his Sophomore season last year. He has great hands and elite body control that allow him to make some ridiculous jump-ball catches. He is currently my second-ranked Devy wide receiver behind N’Keal Harry.
Ahmmon Richards, WR Miami
Richards had an outstanding Freshman season, catching 49 passes for 934 yards and three touchdowns. I was expecting him to break out in his Sophomore season last year with David Njoku departed to the NFL, but Richards struggled with injuries. He dealt with a season-long hamstring injury, ankle issues, and a meniscus injury that ended his season early. He is another receiver who is very physical with the ball in his hands. I am a fan of Richards’s game, but the plethora of injuries are concerning.
David Montgomery, RB Iowa State
Montgomery is my top running back in the projected 2019 class. His elusiveness is off the charts, even when his offensive line is letting defenders into the backfield. Other running backs like Bryce Love and Jonathan Taylor might have stolen the national spotlight last year, but do not sleep on Montgomery.
The players who have a great chance to make a name for themselves this upcoming season. They are probably only available in startups or the least Devy-depleted leagues but still make great trade targets if someone already owns them.
D’Andre Swift, RB Georgia
Todd Gurley, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and now D’Andre Swift. On top of them, do not forget about incoming Freshman Zamir White. If Clemson is “Wide Receiver University,” I am dubbing Georgia “Running Back University.” It is not a stretch to say Georgia’s backfield might be better in two years than it was last year and Swift figures to play a major role in that.
Swift demonstrated great power and cutting ability on his limited touches last season. He also had a significant receiving role as well. With both Chubb and Michel departed to the NFL, Swift has a great opportunity to make himself a household name.
Bryan Edwards, WR South Carolina
What were you doing at age 17? Maybe you were worried about what college you would be accepted into or who you were going to ask to Prom. Bryan Edwards was busy playing college football at a high level for South Carolina at that age. He caught 44 passes for 590 yards and four touchdowns as a Freshman and followed it up with even better numbers as a Sophomore. Edwards has an impressive “my-ball mentality” in contested-catch situations. I have him ranked as my third-highest devy wide receiver, the highest amongst the DLF rankers. I figure he has a great opportunity to climb up the consensus rankings this season.
Noah Fant, TE Iowa
Noah Fant is my top devy tight end and it is not even close to me. He has great ball skills and elite speed for a tight end. Even though tight ends are not usually very productive in college, Fant was able to catch 30 passes for 494 yards and 11 touchdowns in his Sophomore season last year. Especially in tight end premium formats, Noah Fant is someone you are going to want to grab.
Justin Herbert, QB Oregon
Justin Herbert has only played in eight games in each of the last two seasons, one of the reasons being a broken collarbone he suffered midway through last season. While on the field, Herbert had good completion percentages and touchdown to interception ratios. He makes some really impressive tight-window throws. If he can stay healthy this year, he has a chance to breakout.
The “Old” Vets
These players are not the most exciting picks, but they could offer value in later rounds of Devy drafts. They could all start generating NFL fantasy points in 2019.
Damien Harris, RB Alabama
Some thought Damien Harris would enter the NFL draft this year, but he decided to return to Alabama for his Senior season. While not the flashiest running back, Harris is still a solid runner with good size and cut-back ability. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his last two seasons, averaging over seven yards per carry in each.
Myles Gaskin, RB Washington
Gaskin is another running back who returned to school for his Senior season. He has been a very consistent producer over the last three years, rushing for around 1,300 yards and scoring at least ten touchdowns in each, including 24 just last year. He should be in line for another heavy workload next season.
Bryce Love, RB Stanford
After playing behind Christian McCaffrey early in his career, Bryce Love exploded onto the scene last year. He rushed for over 2,100 yards, scored 19 touchdowns, and was named a Heisman finalist. He rushed for at least 100 yards in all but one game last year, fueled by large holes and numerous breakaway runs. I am curious to see how he follows it up in his Senior season.
Damarea Crockett, RB Missouri
Crockett had a solid Freshman season, rushing for 1,062 yards and ten touchdowns. However, his Sophomore season was cut short last year due to a shoulder injury and he fell off the radar a little. Hopefully, he bounces back next year.
The Young Bucks
These are young players just entering college or stepping into a more prominent role for the first time. They are great targets for teams with open devy roster spots and a willingness to wait a few years for these guys to develop.
Jhamon Ausbon, WR Texas A&M
Ausbon has a great chance to step into a more prominent role this season with Christian Kirk heading to the NFL. He is starting to climb in many people’s rankings but has a chance to climb even higher this year.
Zamir White, RB Georgia
Georgia can really recruit top running backs. Zamir White is the top-ranked incoming Freshman at his position this year and is set to attend Georgia. He could form an explosive duo with Sophomore D’Andre Swift that could end up rivaling the Chubb-Michel tandem they had this year.
Justin Shorter, WR Penn State
The Penn State offense will probably look much different with Saquon Barkley, Mike Gesicki and DaeSean Hamilton heading to the NFL. Justin Shorter has a chance to step in as a Freshman and make contributions right away. He is my top-ranked incoming Freshman receiver at the moment.
Stephen Carr, RB USC
With Ronald Jones now gone, Stephen Carr could step into a more prominent role in his Sophomore season. He played significant snaps as a true Freshman but battled injuries for a good part of the season. When he did play, he displayed electric playmaking ability.
Najee Harris, RB Alabama
Former teammate Bo Scarbrough left for the NFL, which could open up a few more carries for Najee Harris. However, Damien Harris, Josh Jacobs, and Brian Robinson are still there to prevent a full workload for the talented Sophomore. I could envision the Alabama backfield carries being distributed similarly to how Georgia’s were this past season with both Harris backs seeing a good chunk of carries. Do not forget Najee Harris was the second-ranked running back coming out of high school last year, behind only the aforementioned Cam Akers.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR USC
My second-ranked incoming Freshman receiver, Amon-Ra St. Brown, is the brother of Equanimeous and Osiris and is considered by some to be the most talented of the trio. He consistently used his speed and route-running to get past defenders in the High School tape I watched.
Jerry Jeudy, WR Alabama
Jerry Jeudy’s route-running is ridiculous. With Calvin Ridley gone to the NFL, Jeudy could become the main target in the Alabama passing game. However, he will have to compete with fellow Sophomores Devonta Smith and Henry Ruggs III. I will be much more excited for all three receivers’ outlooks if Tua Tagovailoa is their quarterback.
Justin Fields, QB Georgia
I am not usually a fan of selecting incoming Freshman quarterbacks in Devy drafts because their outlook often changes, but Justin Fields could be truly special. Jake Fromm is still at Georgia, so we might have to wait to see Fields play, but Fromm did go in and steal the starting job from Jacob Eason just last year.
Hopefully, you can use the information laid out above as a guideline in your Devy Startup Drafts or to help you target some of the players above in trades. As always, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @TheDevyDude if you have any questions. You can also check out our Dynasty Scouts Devy Rankings here.