Can you believe it is already week three of the college football season? College offenses are starting to find their rhythm, meaning your devy fantasy football prospects are beginning to show differences between perceived and actual value. Let's look at five wide receivers to monitor for this weekend's slate of games.
Roderic Burns - Wide Receiver - North Texas
The 5'10" 185-pounder has been a target vacuum for quarterback Jace Ruder, as his 18 receptions and 255 receiving yards are more than the next three closest North Texas pass-catchers combined. After averaging 19 yards per catch and scoring a 23-yard touchdown in the season opener, the redshirt junior went bonkers against SMU, recording 12 catches for 141 yards in the 35-12 loss. The Lamar High product has an advantageous matchup this week, as UAB's defense was just obliterated through the air a week ago by Georgia, allowing over 375 yards and six touchdowns. While the Mean Green's passing attack is nowhere close to the Bulldogs, the Houston, Texas native should still have his way with the Blazers' defense based on volume alone.
Talik Keaton - Wide Receiver - Marshall
While he received Conference-USA First Team honors over the past two seasons as a punt returner, the redshirt junior is slowly starting to show some progression as a pass-catcher. Keaton has reeled in eight catches on the year, which does not scream game-changer production at first glance. But the Sarasota, Florida native has averaged almost 22 yards per reception, amassing 173 yards through the air. Last week against North Carolina Central, the 6'1" 184-pounder found the endzone on two of his three receptions, scoring from distances of 14 and 46 yards in the first half. Despite recording six fewer catches than Corey Gammage, Keaton leads the team in receiving yards and touchdowns. The Booker High School product will have an opportunity to continue his explosive start to the season against East Carolina, as the Pirates have allowed lead receivers to average 115 yards through the air and 25.9 yards per catch.
Erik Ezukanma - Wide Receiver - Texas Tech
Most receivers that lead the country in receiving yards are discussed heavily throughout the national media. Since Ezukanma wears a Texas Tech jersey, he does not receive much attention, often an afterthought when considering the top receivers in the 2021 class. Either way, the Fort Worth, Texas native has been extremely efficient throughout the start of the 2021 season, stacking a seven-catch 179-yard performance in the opener with a six-reception 144-yard outing against Stephen F. Austin last week. The 6'3" 220-pound redshirt junior had 12 plays of 20 or more yards a year ago, and with his 24.8 yards per catch average thus far in 2021, it appears that explosiveness is still there. Ezukanma and the Red Raiders play host to Florida International, who has been susceptible to bigger-bodied receivers through the first two games. LIU's Derrick Eugene (6'3") and Texas State's Marcell Barbree (6'2") have led their respective teams in receiving against the Panthers, averaging 7.5 catches and 91 yards.
Calvin Austin III - Wide Receiver - Memphis
With the offensive breakouts of quarterback Seth Henigan and running back Brandon Thomas, the hometown receiver from Harding Academy often goes unacknowledged. Austin III has had back-to-back games with six receptions and a touchdown, but his performance on the road at Arkansas State last week was straight out of a video game. The redshirt senior went for 239 yards and three touchdowns, averaging a smidge under 40 yards per catch and scoring from distances of at least 50 yards on all three scores. Henigan's best trait thus far has seemed to be his accuracy down the field, which fits seamlessly with Austin III and his 17 yards per reception career average. The 5'9" 162-pounder will be relied on as the primary option against a Mississippi State defense that has allowed the most passing yards per game in the SEC.
Tyler Scott - Wide Receiver - Cincinnati
After totaling only three receptions during his freshman campaign, Scott has come out of nowhere as the Bearcats' leading receiver, exploding for 155 yards with 31 yards per catch and scoring in both contests. The Norton High product broke an 81-yard touchdown in the opener that was the Bearcats' longest pass play since 2016 and added four receptions for 74 yards last week against Murray State. As long as the speedy sophomore from Ohio's chemistry with quarterback Desmond Ridder continues to improve, Scott could be well on his way to becoming one of the most explosive receivers in the AAC. Cincinnati and Indiana have not met since 2000, so this will be an intriguing game to follow on its own. But do not be surprised if Scott can get behind the defense for a few big plays. Despite winning the game last week, the Hoosiers' defense was picked on by Idaho's Hayden Hatten, allowing ten receptions for 94 yards and two touchdowns.
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