Many dynasty championships are won with quick thinking and more times than not a great deal of research. I get excited each year during bowl season, perhaps it’s the optimism in the air as a few good prospects that go under the radar can make all the difference in the world to building a competitive fantasy squad of tomorrow. Most of these players I am seeing for the first time, unless I indicate in their individual write-ups. Here are some of the players I watched during the first week of the 2016-2017 bowl games:
WR-Michael Gallup, CSU: When you watch a prospect the first time, sometimes you are disappointed. In the first half of his bowl game, Gallup had two receptions for 22 yards and I didn’t see a lot of things to get excited about. Fast forward to the second half where he caught four passes for 86 yards and three touchdowns. The junior Ram displayed good balance and great catch radius by skying high and going low for worm burners. He ran a varied group of routes, played physical by fighting for extra yardage and blocking downfield. Gallup looked like an acrobat running the tightrope on his 60 yard touchdown grab. The wide out is a decent red zone threat and can swat defenders out of the way. His play reminded me of Detroit’s’ Golden Tate.
RB-Brian Hill, Wyoming: When I started watching his bowl game, I was confused as Hill did not play until the start of the second quarter. He missed time due to a team violation. The runner has good balance and vision while running between the tackles. There is a lot of quickness in his steps, uses his slipperiness and spin moves, while always seemingly keeping his legs churning for extra yardage. In the passing game, the back dipped his head and got off balance too often. Hill also made it painfully obvious if he was or wasn’t a target in the passing game with the way he ran his routes. I thought he ran too high at times without using leverage and using his pads to deliver punishment. At this time, the junior has not made a decision whether to stay in school or go to the next level.
WR-Anthony Miller, Memphis: His bowl statistics are quite impressive: eleven receptions for 151 yards and three touchdowns. These don’t tell the entire story though, Memphis was behind for the majority of the game with Miller being the biggest benefactor of them playing catch up. He lined up all over the field, on the line, in the slot, as a punt returner, and I believe once out of the backfield. The junior Tiger has soft hands, catches the ball at its highest point, adjusts well to the pigskin in air, and usually snare it in stride. The wide out has a knack for knowing where the sideline is and finds a way to toe-tap to secure the grab with good concentration. Miller often comes back to bail out his quarterback when in trouble or will instead keep working downfield trying to get behind the defense. There is a little running back in him with a strong stiff-arm and he has a good combination of loose hips and quick feet that usually make the first man miss. He does also block downfield in the running game. If the junior elects to enter the draft, Miller might be a nice second or third round fantasy rookie draft pick. Also skip to the 26 second mark and just watch this!
QB-Cooper Rush, Central Michigan: I was not impressed with his bowl game performance. Sure, he is a quick decision maker who is calm in the pocket, but the signal caller was only accurate within ten yards of the line of scrimmage. Rush spent a lot of time in shotgun to give him more time to see the field before getting rid of the ball. The quarterback got too much air underneath the pigskin and didn’t protect his receivers with his ball placement often throwing behind them. His footwork was off-balance as he relied more on his natural arm strength. Rush will have to sit a few years to work the kninks out before making an impact..
WR-Taywan Taylor, WKU: Although Anthony Miller had the better bowl game, I thought Taylor made the most of his nine catches for 144 yards and one receiving touchdown. The receiver lined up on the line and in the slot while being sent in motion to find the best matchup. He runs his routes with amazing foot quickness starting and stopping with ease. It was difficult for defenders to bring him down with his physical upper body, good balance and strong legs as he would at times run them over. Taylor added spin moves and one-handed receptions using amazing concentration. Poorly thrown passes did not bother him as the wide out would make the adjustments to catch them in stride trying to get behind the defense. He is also a willing blocker downfield. The only mistake I saw him make was losing a 50/50 jump ball in the end zone where the receiver mistimed his jump, otherwise I thought he had a great game.
RB-Jamaal Williams, BYU: The senior back missed his entire junior year with a knee injury, but came up big in his final BYU bowl game with 26 carries for 210 yards and a touchdown. The runner has big legs, a mean stiff-arm, and good balance. In the rainy field conditions, it appeared that Williams was looking for defenders to run right over like a bowling ball smashes pins. He was always falling forward using his powerful body to eke out more yardage, while always running behind his pads gaining every ounce of torque he could. His physical style and lateral agility reminded me of former BC fourth rounder Andre Williams. Jamaal Williams looks more like a two down back at the next level.
Thanks for reading. I will continue to discuss my bowl observations with you throughout the next few weeks, so keep checking the site for more content. You can also follow me on Twitter @AndrewMiley.