With every week that passes, the offseason narratives that flooded the news and airwaves are being dispelled or more rarely, confirmed. It turns out that this lovely game of football isn’t as predictable as most would hope. Shocking, right? Devy managers must remain open to and understand the inevitable rise and fall of player values as the season progresses. Week 3 provided plenty of opportunities to increase understanding about these college players that may one day impact NFL fantasy rosters.
TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State, RB: UP
Wow, this man can fly! For starters, let’s get the basic devil’s advocate arguments out of the way. Yes, Ohio State was playing against Tulsa. While surely a fine educational institute, it’s fair to assume they don’t churn out many NFL-caliber playmakers. Per Ourlads.com, there are three Tulsa alums on active rosters, with Zaven Collins being the only starter. Yes, Henderson is a freshman and won’t be NFL eligible until the 2024 draft. Three years is plenty of time for something negative to happen, so he has a higher risk than a 2022 or 2023 class prospect. That’s possible.
Now that the disclaimers have been discussed, it’s time to focus on reality. Henderson is a generational talent. It took a total of two college games to convince the coaching staff that he needed to be their lead back. In this game against Tulsa (his third college game), Henderson had 24 carries for 277 yards and three touchdowns, breaking a 49-year-old freshman rushing record held by Archie Griffin. Between his explosive speed and dynamic cutting ability, Henderson may already be in the top three for running backs in college football. After this performance, he has to be lifted in the rankings, with the only question being, “how high?” If Henderson can keep the pace and avoid injury, he’ll certainly be a top-5 Devy selection in 2022 startup drafts.
Will Shipley, Clemson, RB: UP
TreVeyon Henderson wasn’t the only freshman running back to break out in a big way this week. Will Shipley, another 5-star prospect (per 247sports composite), was the lone bright spot for an otherwise anemic Clemson offense. He carried the ball 21 times for 88 yards and two touchdowns. It was the only two scores his team could manage against an uninspiring Georgia Tech squad. Shortly after the game, senior running back Lyn-J Dixon let head coach Dabo Swinney know that he would be placing his name into the transfer portal. Even though Dixon had been used sparingly before this game, it confirms that the backfield will now be shared by Will Shipley and Kobe Pace. Between the two of them, expect Shipley to continue to grow into the starting role and for his value to increase throughout the season. With Shipley projected to have production in both the ground and air game, he could provide significant value for both NFL and dynasty teams.
Kedon Slovis, USC, QB: DOWN
It’s not all Kedon Slovis’ fault. Not completely. His performance has been inconsistent since 2020, and while it was reported that he dealt with a nagging injury last season, he’s done very little in 2021 to silence the critics. In that regard, what Slovis needed this past week was a dominant performance against an underwhelming Washington State team. Unfortunately, he didn’t have much of a performance at all. Slovis was knocked out of the game during the first drive with a neck injury. The injury has since been deemed minor, but the freshman backup quarterback, Jaxson Dart, entered the game and proceeded to lead USC to a victory on the back of 391 yards passing and four touchdowns. With USC’s head coach being relieved of duties last week, the team is obviously in flux. Interim coach Donte Williams has already said that both Dart and Slovis will be competing to decide the starter for next week’s game. As Slovis was a highly valued Devy selection in 2020, it’s fair to say that most were expecting him to be a successful NFL quarterback. If he’s benched in favor of a freshman quarterback, that would likely destroy most of his perceived Devy value and could potentially push him down or out of the NFL draft. Risk-averse Devy managers should consider trading Slovis before that happens, if at all possible.
Jalen McMillan, Washington, WR: UP
Ladies and gentlemen, there has been a Jalen McMillan sighting. I repeat, there has been a Jalen McMillan sighting. Just like that, the entire lackluster freshman campaign McMillan had is being forgiven and forgotten, right? Well, not quite. This outstanding performance, which included 10 catches for 175 yards and a touchdown, was against lowly Arkansas State. That said, it was thoroughly impressive to see Mcmillan healthy and back in action for his first game of the season. A high 4-star (per 247sports composite) receiver in the 2020 class, McMillan was expected to step into the empty depth chart at Washington and perform right out of the gate. That didn’t occur due to a series of minor injuries along with a COVID-shortened season. McMillan should continue to rise the ranks with a breakout game under his belt and an entire season on the horizon as the primary weapon on a desolate offense. Believers in his potential as a future NFL asset should consider sending out a few trade offers before he starts stringing together multiple studly performances.
Demarkcus Bowman, Florida, RB: DOWN
While most other top running back recruits from the 2020 freshman class are dominating, 5-star (per 247sports composite) Demarkcus Bowman is not. He started his college career committed to and enrolled at Clemson, but with Travis Etienne entrenched as the starter there in 2020, Bowman saw very minimal work. Despite there appearing to be an opportunity to play at Clemson in 2021, Bowman opted to transfer to the University of Florida. The Florida running back room is deep, with experienced players such as Dameon Pierce, Nay’Quon Wright, Malik Davis, and Lorenzo Lingard all present to potentially soak up snaps. Despite the competition, Bowman still figures to be one of the most talented backs on the roster and should be getting a fair amount of opportunity. Instead, Bowman has only managed seven carries for 53 yards across the first two games and didn’t get a carry this past week. With Florida already using their quarterbacks for much of their production on the ground, there’s very little chance that Bowman garners enough production to maintain his Devy value. If managers holding Bowman can find someone willing to buy in on his pedigree, trading him away might be the most brilliant move possible.
Sean Tucker - Syracuse - Running Back
Jordan Addison - Pittsburgh - Wide Receiver
Jaxson Dart - USC - Quarterback
Drake London - USC - Wide Receiver
Deion Smith - LSU - Wide Receiver
Blake Corum - Michigan - Running Back
C. J. Stroud - Ohio State - Quarterback
Jayden Daniels - Arizona State - Quarterback
C. J. Johnson - East Carolina - Wide Receiver
Re’Mahn Davis - Vanderbilt - Running Back (season-ending injury)
Dillon Gabriel - UCF - Quarterback (injury)
Bru McCoy - USC - Wide Receiver
Hundreds of prospects ranked and updated throughout the season. Stay updated on all the NFL Draft eligible players and where they could go in the draft.
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