Get your fantasy football questions in each week!
Now that the college season is underway, every week will feature a mailbag article where readers can ask their devy questions. Send a tweet to @skipnewton31 to add your question to a future article!
Is Josh Downs good enough to be a starting wide receiver in the NFL? - Brandon Lejeune (@DevyDeepDive)
North Carolina lost several weapons in the 2021 NFL Draft, including its top two wide receivers in Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome. True sophomore Josh Downs is a talented pass-catcher who could become quarterback Sam Howell’s favorite target. The four-star receiver began the season with eight catches, 123 yards and a touchdown as he caught nearly 50 percent of Howell’s completions. If he continues to put up big numbers, he will skyrocket up devy wide receiver rankings.
The question of whether Downs can be a starter in the NFL is another matter. His slight frame of 5’10, 180-pounds does not help his chances. Downs beats opponents with speed and his ability to pick up yards after the catch. Those types of wide receivers are becoming more common in the NFL, but few are starters. The best-case scenario for Downs is elevating his game enough to earn a day two draft selection. He could develop into a starting receiver, but the odds are better that he will be a team’s number three pass-catcher.
What do you expect from Treyson Potts? - Felix Sharpe (@sharpereview)
The Minnesota Golden Gophers lost senior running back Mohamed Ibrahim to injury in the season-opening loss to Ohio State. Ibrahim, who carried the ball 30 times for 163 yards before getting injured, was the definition of a workhorse back. Ibrahim is out for the remainder of 2021, leaving the Gophers with a huge hole to fill on offense.
Replacing such a vital part of the offense will not be easy for head coach P.J. Fleck. Redshirt Sophomore Treyson Potts recorded 34 yards on ten carries against Ohio State and is now number one on the depth chart. The three-star prospect brings a different skill-set than Ibrahim. Potts is a more dynamic runner, looking to get outside and use his speed and elusiveness to beat defenders. He also is a better threat in the passing game.
The question is will the Gophers adjust their scheme to take advantage of Potts’ strengths? Minnesota does not throw the ball to their running backs often, completing only 18 passes in seven games in 2020. Potts did catch one pass for 12 yards against the Buckeyes, but he was the only rusher with a reception. It is unlikely that the Gophers will alter that philosophy in any significant matter. Instead, they may attempt to run the ball to the outside more frequently after losing a great between-the-tackles runner in Ibrahim.
If Saturday’s game against Miami (OH) is any indication, Potts will be the primary back, leading to fantasy goodness in their run-heavy scheme. He finished with an impressive 178 yards and two touchdowns on 34 attempts. Minnesota was leading all game long, resulting in just 17 passing attempts. The scheme makes Potts an excellent waiver pick-up in college fantasy and campus to canton formats. However, devy league managers should not add Potts until he proves that he is a likely NFL draft pick.
Will Jo’quavious Marks be an NFL running back? - A-Starr FF (@AStarrFF)
Smaller running backs have to fight an uphill battle to make it in the NFL. For every Boston Scott and Nyheim Hines, dozens go undrafted or barely see the field if they make the team. Size still matters in the NFL. Mississippi State’s Jo’quavious Marks is 5’10, 195-pounds, making him a third-down, change of pace back in the best-case scenario. Fortunately for the true freshman, he is excellent at catching passes out of the backfield, catching 60 balls in 2020 and nine in the first game this season. The concern is the lack of big plays, as those 69 receptions have gained just 295 yards, a measly 4.3 yards per catch.
The short passing game is a trademark of head coach Mike Leach’s system. The four-star prospect needs to add some big plays to his resume to draw the attention of NFL scouts and general managers. Given his limited upside, he is a much better college fantasy asset than a devy prospect.
Which one of the highly productive, undersized running backs are you willing to bet on in devy? Kyren Williams, Deuce Vaughn, Jerrion Ealy, Tyler Badie, Etc. - Todd Vincent (@Hobart_Whipple)
The answer to the previous question is relevant here. All these smaller backs are under 200-pounds and are proven pass-catchers. These running backs have a limited ceiling, just like Marks. The one guy that is worth a devy roster spot is Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams. The third-year back is a highly productive runner, with 1,125 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground last season. His size is still a concern, but he is explosive and has the best chance to develop into more than a third-down specialist. The other reason to gamble on Williams is that he plays for a successful program. Notre Dame is highly ranked, which helps protect Williams’ value. Devy managers can trade him before the draft if they want to capitalize on his high production.
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