College Football Factory

CFF Dynasty Summer Series: WR

I’ve put together a list of possible dynasty wide receiver additions that will help teams that are building for the 2019 season and beyond. This list isn’t meant to be exhaustive nor in order of preference, instead, highlight a mix of players with various price tags and range of outcomes. This is part three of four in this summer series.

Dynasty Wide Receiver Targets

Octavius Evans, True Sophomore, Boise State

The departure of Cedrick Wilson means that there will be a massive void in 2018 that needs to be filled. Wilson was targeted 136 times in 2017 and finished with 83-1531-7. In 2016, the top two receivers were targeted 125 and 95 times, respectively. Go back to the stone age in 2015, and the top two saw 140 and 83 targets, respectively. It’s clear that the WR1 for the Broncos carries immense value in CFF. There are some differing opinions from analysts on who will be the man in 2018. My vote is for true sophomore Octavius Evans. As a true freshman in 2017, Evans was targeted 23 times and came away with 15-131-2. Those numbers are modest but he was one of two true freshmen that contributed at wide receiver, and the three players that outperformed him will all be gone by 2019. From Bronco Country, “Evans joined the Broncos after declining scholarship offers from teams in three different P5 conferences, and the spring game showed why those offers were there. As mentioned earlier, Evans played with the first-team offense in that game, which offers real hints as to how high the coaches are on his ability to come in and start producing immediately. Nothing he did gave reason to doubt that judgment. He led all receivers with five catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns.” Following Boise’s spring game, Boise’s stud safety, DeAndre Pierce, had this to say about him, “That’s the go-to target in the red zone… He’s a worker. He’s big, physical, fast. Basically, he’s our prototype receiver, and to think that he’s only going into his sophomore year is kind of scary. I feel like the sky is the limit for him.”

Tee Higgins, True Sophomore, Clemson

Higgins is a guy that is likely already rostered in most dynasty leagues. However, I think he’s currently undervalued in redraft formats, and that likely means he will be for dynasty as well. If Kelly Bryant wins the job, then I’m not nearly as interested in Higgins in 2018, but his future pairing with Trevor Lawrence is where things get interesting for me. I already gave my thoughts on Lawrence in part one of this series and getting his WR1 who is a sophomore is a +EV play. Looking at Clemson’s leading receiver since 2011: 83-1225-12 (Watkins), 82-1405-18 (Hopkins), 101-1464-12 (Watkins), 57-1030-6 (Williams), 93-901-6 (Scott), 98-1361-11 (Williams), and 58-734-6 (Cain). That is an outstanding floor and ceiling. Higgins is another future NFL player in a long line of them that have come from Clemson. Here is an excerpt from The State, following the spring game, “ Tee Higgins had an unbelievable day. I asked him if he stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night, I didn’t know what was going on,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney joked. “He said, ‘Nah, I’m just trying to be your starting 9-man.’ I said, ‘That’s a good answer and a good way to do it,’ but a great day for him.” Higgins averaged nearly 30 yards per catch and connected with Trevor Lawrence for a 50-yard score early in the first quarter. Later in the first quarter, he caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from Hunter Johnson. At one point in the first half, the Orange and White teams had combined for 165 yards and 14 points. Higgins was responsible for 118 of the yards and both scores.” There tends to be a steeper price attached to players that are future NFL stars but based on the rankings of several other prominent CFF market influencers; I think he is currently an exception.

CeeDee Lamb, True Sophomore, Oklahoma

Over the past ten seasons, Oklahoma’s WR1 has averaged 79-1162-11 (13 games) each season. That equates to a rough average of 6-89-1 every game. The best season in that span was by Ryan Broyles in 2010. He had an amazing 131-1622-14 (14 games). The least productive season was Sterling Shepard in 2014. Shepard finished with 51-970-5 (12 games). Marquise “Hollywood” Brown had 57-1095-7 and led the team in 2017. He returns for his junior season and will have two years of eligibility remaining. I can understand arguments for him being the WR1 this season, but I believe it will be CeeDee Lamb both in 2019 and 2020. As a true freshman in 2017, Lamb finished with 46-807-7. What makes that even more impressive is that he did it while only being healthy for one month of the season. On October 7th, Lamb scored a touchdown against Iowa State where he laid out and extended the ball towards the pylon. He was unable to lift his arm following that play, but he showed great toughness as he didn’t miss any games afterward. Lamb had worked on his body this offseason and reportedly weighed 203 pounds this spring, up from his listed 173 pounds when he enrolled. Lamb is a bona fide red zone threat and is more likely to be a target on fades than Brown. I believe Lamb is the most talented true sophomore wide receiver in football, so it is expected that he declares early for the NFL draft after playing the next two seasons as Oklahoma’s WR1.

Trishton Jackson, Redshirt Junior, Syracuse

Trishton Jackson transferred to Syracuse from Michigan State this past offseason. Following his 8-168 in Michigan State’s 2017 Spring Game, this is an excerpt from the Lansing State Journal, ‘“Jackson caught several passes against Scott. Another deep against the other likely starter at corner, Vayante Copeland. Jackson found creases in the defense, created separation and caught passes in traffic. He also had one of the better punt returns seen at Spartan Stadium in a few years. “He’s a great football player,” Dantonio said. “He can really run, he’s got size, he’s got great hands. He’s got to get tougher, so we can print that. That’s what I’m always telling him, you’ve got to get tougher. But he can play. He has a very unique skill set.”’ Jackson will have to sit out the 2018 season, due to transfer rules, but will have two years of eligibility remaining in 2019 and 2020. There is a massive void to fill in 2018, and Devin C. Butler should fill the outside receiver production. The true junior will have two years of eligibility remaining. If Jackson were eligible in 2018, I would forecast him as a Top 10 WR in redraft formats, but he’s not, so I expect Butler will be the man. Steve Ishmael played outside WR for Syracuse last year and finished with 105-1347-7. The year prior, Amba Etta-Tawo had 94-1482-14 playing the outside spot. Jackson was allowed to participate in spring practice and turned heads throughout several of their scrimmages. While I believe Butler will be the man in 2018, Jackson is the best receiver on the roster, and I think he will be the focal point of the passing game next season. Jackson will pair with one of my favorite young quarterbacks in football, Tommy DeVito. There is a ripe buy-now-window on TJ.

Evan Hendrix, True Freshman, Syracuse

I’m not going to spend a ton of time on Hendrix. Much of my desire for rostering him centers around the outside receiver for the Orange. Here is his profile as a recruit on 247Sports, “Hendrix combines size, the ability to high point the football, and good route-running skills, all of which makes him the top receiver in Washington, D.C. Hendrix is a red-zone threat because he knows how to use his size, he has good control of his body in tight situations and he is strong with his hands. He runs well. In getting off the line of scrimmage, Hendrix usually is clean, but he needs to be more direction. He knows how to set up a defensive back, and his smoothness makes his running seem effortless. He will catch the ball in traffic, but he is not the type of receiver who will make defenders miss because of a stop-start ability.” At 6’4” and 195 pounds, Hendrix projects to be the outside WR of the future. I like the idea of stacking as many of the potential WR1s in this offense as I can.

Nykeim Johnson, True Sophomore, Syracuse

Jumping right back into Syracuse WRs, Johnson should be a valuable asset in full PPR formats. He should play inside receiver in this offense. While that doesn’t present the same value as the outside receiver, Erv Phillips showed this is a high-value position. In 2016, Phillips had 90-822-6, and in 2017 he followed it up with 89-904-4. Babers’ final year at Bowling Green saw three receivers accumulate 85-1544-16, 94-1033-10, and 72-954-6. Johnson played as a true freshman in 2017 but only started one game and made a total of eight catches. As a senior in high school, he caught 75 passes for 1,100 yards and scored 19 touchdowns. The 5’8 and 163 pounds Johnson won the fastest man and WR MVP at the Washington D.C. Nike Opening in 2016. While he will be the starting inside receiver for the next three seasons, he got work on the outside this past spring. I sound like a broken record, but I want to stockpile Syracuse receivers and pair them with a young, talented quarterback.

Davontavean “Tay” Martin, True Sophomore, Washington State

Thanks to my friend, Mike Bainbridge @MBainbridgeCFF , for doing the legwork, here’s a glimpse at how the Washington State receivers have performed, by position, over the past three seasons:

2015: X/Z = 179 receptions, 26 TDs H/Y = 96 receptions, 5 TDs

2016: X/Z = 153 receptions, 20 TDs H/Y = 86 receptions, 8 TDs

2017: X/Z = 130 receptions, 14 TDs H/Y = 98 receptions, 5 TDs

Tay Martin is a lock to start at the X or Z spot in 2018. He will have the opportunity to produce in 2018, 2019, 2020. From the Seattle Times, “Tay practices and plays with a glowering intensity that comes from deep within. He’s overcome a lot to get to WSU, and even Cougars’ coach Mike Leach is impressed by the poise and maturity Tay has displayed in his first season. “He never goes half speed,” Leach said. “One thing about him – correct or incorrect – he was always full speed. He’s improving fast, and it’s helped him. He’s passed some guys up… We’ve got a lot of guys who like football, who want to play football. Tay Martin literally needs football, if you go back to where he’s from. He attacks it like that’s the case.” Tay Martin needs football because football kept him going during the hardest year of his life, his junior year of high school, when his father was sent to prison and Tay found his mother dead from a brain aneurysm.” Martin was initially committed to play basketball at the University of New Orleans. He has been coached by Derek Sage, who was formerly at the University of Wyoming and compared to another former receiver of his, Josh Doctson. He is one of the most valuable dynasty receivers in college football.

Rodrick Fisher, True Freshman, Washington State

Watch this video. It’s beautiful and does a much better job highlighting who he is as a player. 

He’s 6’2” and 205 pounds, has been clocked running a 4.51 forty-yard-dash, and will be an X or Z receiver for Washington State.  (See chart above for X & Z production) There is potential for him to be a significant contributor for the next four seasons. However, based on Washington State’s depth chart, I think 2019 and 2020 will be when he starts to shine. He likely isn’t well known right now in most dynasty leagues so grab a future star in the late rounds.

Austin Williams, Mississippi State

Since 2012, here are a few performances from wide receivers in Joe Moorhead’s offenses:

72-1042-7 (11 games – 2012), 93-1646-14 (14 games – 2013), 89-1094-14 (14 games – 2013), 85-1154-5 (13 games – 2013), 89-1247-11 (14 games – 2014), 78-1202-12 (14 games – 2014), 37-492-7 (12 games – 2015), 59-982-11 (14 games – 2016), 53-857-9 (13 games – 2017). There are some eye-popping-numbers in that group. It’s not just running backs that have tremendous value in this scheme; the pass catchers do as well. From the Starkville Daily News, “Williams caught the eyes of the MSU coaching staff this past spring. Judging by the words of new State head coach Joe Moorhead, Williams certainly appears as though he’ll be a factor in the Bulldogs’ offensive plans this coming year. “We have a couple of guys that are like a Swiss army knife,” Moorhead said this spring. “They come in there and play the X, the H or the Z, and we’ve kinda settled (Williams) in the slot. “He’s a guy that can retain the information. He’s got speed, good change of direction and excellent hands.”Williams might not be the first pick when it comes to MSU players destined for big offensive years, but his versatility and talent might make him an under-the-radar choice to have a breakout season.” Looking back at former Penn State WR, DaSean Hamilton in 2017, he finished with 53-857-9. His 82 targets led the team last year. He lined up in the slot on 97.6% of his snaps. This offense should line up with three wide receivers on the majority of their snaps and Williams should be on the field for most of them. What makes him even more attractive is the fact that he is a redshirt freshman that has a high likelihood of being a four-year starter.

Devonta “Whop” Jason, Mississippi State

Just to recap: Since 2012, here are a few performances from wide receivers in Joe Moorhead’s offenses: 72-1042-7 (11 games – 2012), 93-1646-14 (14 games – 2013), 89-1094-14 (14 games – 2013), 85-1154-5 (13 games – 2013), 89-1247-11 (14 games – 2014), 78-1202-12 (14 games – 2014), 37-492-7 (12 games – 2015), 59-982-11 (14 games – 2016), 53-857-9 (13 games – 2017). Jason was a former LSU commit that hails from the state of Louisiana. He enrolled early at Mississippi State to acclimate in hopes of early playing time. Fortunately for him, no significant pass catchers are returning from 2017, and two of the projected contenders will now miss 2018. Jason was a five-star recruit and one of the most highly rated recruits in school history. At 6’3” and 215 pounds, Jason has some elements of his game that resemble former Penn State WR, Chris Godwin (59-982-11). He played in a spread offense in high school, enrolled early, and has the potential to step into a massive opportunity in a potent offense. His greatest competition over the next two years will come from JUCO transfer Stephen Guidry.

McLane Mannix, True Sophomore, Nevada

I’m going to borrow much of Mannix’s profile from the Reno Gazette-Journal, “After Matt Mumme was hired as Nevada’s offensive coordinator on Dec. 21, he went home for a quick Christmas break. Much like Santa Claus, Mumme went about making a list and checking it twice, only his list did not consist of toys for kids. Mumme’s list, instead, consisted of West Texas slot receivers to target. Mumme did an extensive search of the national recruiting websites to see if there were any good class of 2017 slot receivers in his home base of West Texas. One name emerged: McLane Mannix, a receiver at Midland High who was committed to play for Vanderbilt. Mumme had a strong relationship with Midland’s head coach, Craig Yenzer, so he picked up the phone and made a call. “I knew I could probably get my foot in the door with him,” Mumme said. “I called Coach Yenzer and said, ‘Hey, look, I’m going to the University of Nevada and I want to talk to McLane and see if we can’t flip him from Vandy.’ I said, ‘How committed to Vandy is he?’ He said, ‘He’s pretty committed, but another offer, he may at least look at it.” In January, Mannix became a top target of new head coach Jay Norvell and his staff. After about a month of work, they were able to flip him from Vanderbilt – an SEC school that offers one of the best educations in the nation – to Nevada just 24 hours before national signing day. On Saturday, in Nevada’s season-opener against Northwestern, everybody saw why the Wolf Pack was so committed to landing Mannix. Playing in his first college game as a true freshman, Mannix caught two passes for 76 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown. “The kid is an unbelievable athlete,” Nevada inside receivers coach Timmy Chang said. “When you come in as a freshman, you’re playing this sport against grown men. It’s a lot different from high school and college. For him to play as well as he did, it was impressive. It was really, really impressive.” Mannix burst onto the scene at Nevada as he racked up 57-778-6 en route to being awarded Freshman All-American status. There are a few things that have me more excited about him building upon that in 2018 and beyond. Nevada was learning a new system in 2017, and they shuffled their quarterbacks to start the year before settling on Ty Gangi. Mannix missed nearly half of fall camp with a hamstring, so he didn’t get many if any, first-team reps as a true freshman. Texas Tech runs a similar scheme, and we just saw Keke Coutee score ten touchdowns from the slot. Mannix has similar speed and can be a significant deep threat. Nevada will have several big-bodied receivers that will receive double teams over the next three seasons while Mannix can feast from the slot. Mannix is my favorite slot WR in dynasty formats, and I believe he has potential to be the next Wes Welker at the professional level!

Mike Woods, True Freshman, Arkansas

“You’re going to be the next Courtland Sutton” That was the pitch from the former SMU staff and now current Arkansas staff to Mike Woods. Originally a commit to Morris’ SMU staff, Woods flipped when Morris was hired in Fayetteville. The 6’1” and 186 pound true freshman enrolled early and he made quite the impression on the team and staff. “Mike is one of the young guys that continues to impress. What’s big in college is consistency,” (fellow WR) Pettway said. “If you can come out and give a consistent approach in practice and be that same guy then you’re good. His demeanor in practices, he doesn’t act like a young guy.” In one spring scrimmage, Woods led the team in targets with eight. There are traditionally three different wide receiver positions in Morris’ offense. They are denoted by numbers instead of letters, like many other schemes. The “2” is the field receiver, the “5” is the slot receiver, and the “9” is the boundary receiver. The “9” is where Woods projects in this offense. Other notable “9”s that Chad Morris has coached are Courtland Sutton, Martavis Bryant, and Mike Williams. There is the potential for massive production from his boundary receiver. Most recently, Sutton had 49-862-9 (Freshman), 76-1246-10 (Sophomore), and 68-1085-12 (Junior). Morris’ offenses have featured a 1,000-yard receiver for each of the past seven seasons. It’s very challenging to determine how the 2018 season will shake out, but Woods is the player that I want in dynasty. He was hand-picked by this staff, shined this spring as a teenager, and has the profile that points towards a fruitful career as a multi-year-contributor.

Tamorrion Terry, Redshirt Freshman, FSU

Willie Taggart’s hiring by FSU brought a lot of excitement with it this offseason. Most of the anticipation centers around his running backs, and for a good reason. While he was at USF, Rodney Adams flashed some fantasy relevance from his wide receiver spot. Aside from him in 2015 and 2016, there isn’t much in Taggart’s history that shows his wide receivers will carry much value. That being said, he’s never had a talent on the roster like Tamorrion Terry, and they elected to redshirt him in 2017 as a freshman. He came to FSU as a raw bundle of potential. TT has since gone through some refinement and emerged as one of the Seminoles’ top playmakers this spring. From Seminole.com, “ He’s one of the first guys that I was able to remember his name,” Taggart said. “Because he was making plays every day out in practice.” Terry has since parlayed an impressive month of bowl practices into an impressive month of spring camp and, after playing a starring role at Saturday’s Garnet and Gold Game, Florida State fans all know his name, too. Blessed with a 6-foot-4, 197-pound frame, Terry made quick work of the Gold team’s defensive backs with a four-catch, 129-yard performance during Garnet’s 31-13 victory. That includes one 13-yard touchdown midway through the game, as well as a 47-yard completion in which Terry was stopped just inches short of the goal line. “He tried to get me and say he had two (touchdowns),” Taggart said with a laugh. “He tried. Oh boy. We’ll see it on film.”Nobody can guard him,” said Bailey Hockman, Terry’s quarterback with the Garnet team. “You can put him out there on anybody, and, if I’ve got him 1-on-1, I’m going to take it. He’s a great player.” Terry will likely be fairly touchdown dependent due to lack of massive volume, but he has the skill set and opportunity to be a solid flex player for the next two-four years. TT would be an even better option in best-ball formats, dynasty or redraft.

Shi Smith, True Sophomore, South Carolina

South Carolina made one of the more significant, yet under-reported, CFF hires of the off-season. From SEC Country, “ I remember, after [Orgeron’s staff] got fired … [Werner] went to [see] Rich Rodriguez’s system at Michigan, he’d just gotten to Michigan and that quarterback run-game was pretty hot in college football,” Feldman said. “That wasn’t Dan’s background, but Dan went and spent some time around those guys, to try to learn about that. “He has been proactive in trying to develop and pick up different things that maybe weren’t in the toolbox beforehand, from all the time — Miami was such a pro-style attack. I think he kind of adapted to that, somewhat. It’s a little different than what his roots are in.” In 2015, Ole Miss set program records for scoring (531), touchdowns (68), total offense (6,731), passing yards (4,351), passing touchdowns (35), 50-plus point games (4) and games with more than 600 yards of offense (3). The Rebels led the SEC and were top 10 nationally in scoring (40.8), total offense (517.8 yards/game) and passing (334.7 yards/game).” The impact of the Werner-McClendon duo was evident in the spring game. South Carolina was moving at a blistering pace, and Jake Bentley was distributing the ball quickly, more like a point guard than a traditional quarterback. Deebo Samuel will move on to the NFL following the 2018 season, and Smith will be in-line to assume that role. As a true freshman in 2017, Smith had 29-409-3. Even more impressively, he didn’t drop a single pass that was thrown his way. We don’t have a full season of data yet for what this Werner-McClendon duo will look like, but I’m optimistic that all of the Gamecock receivers will see an uptick in their production from 2017. Smith projects as the starting slot receiver this season and should be productive for the next three seasons.

Isaiah Hodgins, True Sophomore, Oregon State

Isaiah Hodgins was once a Washington State commitment. The former four-star recruit is one of the highest rated recruits to ever sign with Oregon State. He cited his relationship with the staff as one of the main reasons why he flipped. There is a new staff in Corvallis, and I believe that it’s going to benefit Hodgins’ fantasy value greatly. Brian Lindgren was the former offensive coordinator at Northern Arizona, San Jose State, and most recently, Colorado. Over the past six seasons, his WR1 has amassed: 82-1307-9, 83-1343-10, 106-1198-12, 89-1053-4, 56-883-9, 62-693-5. Those present a tantalizing combination of floor and ceiling. It’s highly unlikely that Oregon State will recruit a player that is more talented than Hodgins, so we are looking at the potential of mega-production in 2018, 2019, and 2020. If he elects to leave early after 2019, that’s likely a very positive indicator that it was mission accomplished in rostering him for cheap. To add to the intrigue, the Beav’s head coach was most recently the offensive coordinator at the University of Washington for the past four seasons. In 2016, Dante Pettis and John Ross went for 53-822-15 and 81-1150-17. Pettis followed that up in 2017 with 63-761-7. At 6’4”, Hodgins is a great red zone weapon and I believe he is one of the more underrated wide receiver options that will be available at the end of drafts, in all formats.

Bo Melton, True Sophomore, Rutgers

Few players had a better spring than Bo Melton. Without besmirching the names of any former Rutgers student-athletes, there was a very toxic environment in their wide receivers room last season. As such, Melton didn’t emerge as the Big 10 Freshman All-American which he aspired to be. According to NJ.com, ” Bo Melton is having an outstanding spring,” Rutgers coach Chris Ash said. “He’s had a good offseason. There are a lot of things on a freshman that’s playing, but he’s learned to handle it. He understands what to expect; he understands how to handle his business. He’s matured. When he shows up to football, he can focus on football and not be distracted from a lot of other things. I really like where Bo is at.” Erb has seen that maturity as well, adding: “Bo is playing with confidence right now. And when you play with confidence, you just go out and play instead of thinking all the time. He’s really stepped up his game this spring. We’ve just got to keep moving him forward to make sure he puts pressure on himself to get better every day. And he’s doing that.” Melton’s breakthrough spring camp has even made an impression on his teammates, with Mohamed Jabbie echoing his coaches’ assessments: “He’s amazing. It’s like night and day. The way we worked this offseason, he really deserves it. It’s been amazing to see his progress, continue to go hard and make plays, have such a strong spring. I’m excited to see what he brings to the table.” Melton is one of Rutgers’ most heralded recruits in recent memory and will have a clear path to being their target leader, perhaps by a large margin, in 2018. In some regards, his situation reminds me of some of Minnesota Tyler Johnson’s last season. His offense needs some time to season, but he is the elite player on the squad and has the potential to dominate the market share. Rutgers will start a talented true freshman at quarterback. While that likely means there will be growing pains in 2018, there is the potential for magic in 2019 and 2020. When examining their new offensive coordinator’s history, it’s easy to get excited about Melton’s potential. John McNulty returned to Rutgers as their OC after his first stop there in 2007-2008. In 2007, Tiquan Underwood had 65-1100-6 and his teammate, Kenny Britt, had 62-1232-8. In 2008, Underwood took a step back, but Britt had a monster 81-1371-7. Melton’s price tag is pretty much a pile of dirt right now, but he offers some of the best value of any receiver in college football, in any format.

Laviska Shenault, Colorado

Colorado will need to replace a ton of vacated production in 2018. There are 175 receptions that accounted for 2,085 yards and twelve scores that are gone from last year’s team. There is an excellent opportunity for one or two players to rise to the occasion. The player that impressed the most in Colorado’s spring scrimmage was Laviska Shenualt. From the Buff Zone, “The true sophomore caught two passes for 38 yards, turning both into touchdowns. The first came on a pinpoint pass from Steven Montez down the right sideline. On the second touchdown, Shenault caught a short pass to the right, and then flashed his short-area quickness. She shed a tackle from Nick Fisher, avoided Davion Taylor flying in for a tackle and then out-raced everybody for the final 11 yards to the end zone. “Laviska Shenault has been impressive all spring and he showed it again today,” said co-offensive coordinator/receivers coach Darrin Chiaverini. Shenault, who caught seven passes for 168 yards last season, is physically impressive at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, and he was named the team’s most improved receiver this spring. He’s one of several receivers that could be in line for a big season. “We’ve had some good players (at receiver),” Montez said. “If he keeps continuing to work and gets a few more years of experience, he’ll definitely be an NFL guy. I don’t think that’s a question at all.” Juwann Winfree will be senior in 2018 and is my vote to become the Buff’s WR1. After he departs, Shenault will have every opportunity to be their primary breadwinner. A case could be made that he assumes that role in 2018, but I’m more confident in that happening in 2019 and 2020. This is a potentially explosive offense that features a very toolsy, albeit inconsistent, quarterback in Steven Montez. I think his gunslinger mentality actually pairs well with Shenault’s skillset and the two should stay tethered through the 2019 season. Darrin Chiaverini will be a first-time play caller in the fall for the Buffs, which brings an element of the unknown. His background as an outside wide receivers coach at Texas Tech should be beneficial for Colorado’s pass catchers. There isn’t clarity surrounding the exact nature of this offense, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it operated with some air-raid-principles. There are some scenarios where I could see Shenault not emerging to significant significance in CFF, but I think he is currently a cheap flex option with a lot of upside. Shenault scored on his first collegiate touch so it could be all downhill from there or an omen for a fruitful career!

Warren Jackson, True Sophomore, Colorado State

The WR1 at Colorado State carries tremendous value in CFF. Michael Gallup went for 76-1272-14 in 2016 and then 100-1413-7 in 2017. The Rams will likely emphasize their running game in 2018, but I believe there will be an opportunity for another mega-producer in 2019 and 2020. Jackson is poised to be their WR1 and will be the beneficiary of playing with one (or two) of the best quarterbacks in the group of five, either Collin Hill or Patrick O’Brien. Jackson became internet-famous last season after making two acrobatic touchdown grabs in Tuscaloosa against the Crimson Tide. Randy Moss even gave him a shout-out on ESPN following his “Mossing” of former Alabama, and current NFL DB, Anthony Averett. Later that fall, Michael Gallup had this to say about Jackson, ‘”I don’t even know why Warren asks me questions most of the time. It’s like ‘Mike, you think I ran that slant right?’” Gallup said with a sly smirk on his face. “And I’m like ‘dude, you did that better than I ever did. Just keep doing what you’re doing.’ He’s a good player. He’s going to be a great player here. He’s going to be in the record books, for sure… He’s 6-5, I’m throwing it to him every time. That’s just being smart… He’s a good dude, on and off the field. He’s going to be great.”’ Jackson flipped his commitment from the University of Arizona to Colorado State and produced as a true freshman in 2017. He finished the year with 15-265-2 and should see an increased role in 2018. He played all three receiver positions in the Rams’ offense, and he should start alongside Preston Williams and Bisi Johnson this year. They both will exhaust their eligibility, and we should get to see just how high the ceiling is for Jackson in his junior and senior seasons.

Justin Shorter, True Freshman, Penn State

Justin Shorter was one of the top-ranked wide receivers in the most recent recruiting class. From Penn Live, ‘“Shorter is a 6-foot-4, 226-pound pass catcher who is training with junior and expected 2018 receiving leader Juwan Johnson, and the two nearly mirror each other. The Monmouth Junction, N.J., talent arrived at the normal starting point about three weeks ago but has quickly learned the ropes. “Justin is Justin,” Galt said. “He’s the best receiver in the country coming out by some prognosticators. “Don’t really have as much time with him. We’ve only had a week with him, but here’s where it helps to have Juwan Johnson here, because Justin walks in here as a 226-pound, 6-foot-4, 4.4 [second 40-yard dash] guy, and then he turns around and sees Juwan Johnson, who’s 6-foot-5, 230, and has got some good stuff already happening on Saturdays and he’s an absolute monster workout wise, so Justin certainly comes in and he’s in a good place having a really good group of receivers around him.”’ Justin Shorter should have the opportunity to step in and produce as a true freshman. Penn State vacates 185 catches, 2,368 receiving yards, and 24 touchdown catches. That includes their WR1, RB1, and TE1. As was referenced in the Penn Live article, there are quite a few similarities between Shorter and Johnson. Many analysts have been waiting on Johnson’s breakout season for several years now, but it has yet to come. I believe 2018 is the year (!), but I’m not sure who will be the quarterback once Trace McSorley graduates after this season. I feel pretty confident that Penn State can procure a talented passer, but I’m also tempering my expectations. Shorter is likely to be drafted in the top 60 picks of a CFF dynasty startup, which is probably a bit rich for my taste. If he were to fall a couple more rounds, then I would be tempted. He is an elite athlete, in a potentially explosive offense, that should contribute for three or four seasons.

Isaiah Graham, Redshirt Sophomore, Louisiana Tech

The former four-star recruit initially committed to TCU. He played sparingly as a freshman and sophomore in 2016 and 2017. Graham elected to transfer back to his home state and play for Louisiana Tech. His timing is excellent as the Bulldogs will be looking to replace Teddy Veal in the 2019 season. Veal, also a transfer, led the team in 2017 with 74-950-7. Finding the WR1 (and sometimes WR2) in Skip Holtz’s offense can be a CFF gold mine. In 2016, Trent Taylor had an incredible 136-1803-12. Carlos Henderson had a massive year as well, finishing with 82-1535-19! Quarterback play took a step back last season, but I’m optimistic that J’Mar Smith can take steps forward in both 2018 and 2019. Graham will have two years of eligibility remaining, starting in 2019. From News-Star, “Also, Louisiana Tech fans won’t get to see him this upcoming season, but Isaiah Graham is good. Really good. He’ll fend off any notion of a dropoff once Veal departs after the 2018 season.”

Damonte Coxie, Redshirt Sophomore, Memphis

We just got a glimpse of what an NFL talent at WR can do in this offense. Anthony Miller was targeted 148 times, and he made 96 catches for 1,462 yards and scored 18 touchdowns. Memphis will need to replace Miller and their starting quarterback in 2018. The likely replacements are Damonte Coxie and Brady White. There has been much discussion this offseason about replacing Miller. According to the Commercial Appeal, “Coxie has the pedigree to be a potential No. 1 receiver, but it will be up to him to take that leap. The good thing is coach Mike Norvell’s offense is fluid to work around his players’ talents more than forcing his players to do what their predecessors did. Coxie doesn’t need to be the next Miller. As wide receivers coach Desmond Lindsey said in March, he only needs to be first Coxie, and that will be enough for the Tigers.” Offensive Coordinator, Kenny Dillingham went on to say, “ It’s a big offseason for them to get in shape and mentally get ready for 50-60 snaps a game at that high level… Last year they were asked to play 20 snaps a game.” Coxie was once an LSU commit that took a unique route to end up in Memphis. He camped at Alabama, and his play caused Nick Saban to ask, “Who the hell is that?” Bad grades and a knee injury later, Coxie is in place to be one of the top wide receivers in the nation in 2018. If he has a great season, he could go to the NFL, but he will have eligibility at Memphis through 2020. There is much discussion in the media about this being a committee effort, but I think Coxie will be the guy.

Kadarius Toney, True Sophomore, Florida

Kadarius Toney is a converted quarterback. He first caught my eye during Florida’s 2017 spring game, in which he was playing quarterback. Truthfully, I wouldn’t mind seeing what he could do running point in Dan Mullen’s offense. However, a move to inside wide receiver is best for his future at the next level. According to SEC Country, “I think it’s most likely Mullen finds more ways to get Toney the ball in space and let him shimmy, shake and spin his way to significant gains while also getting his share of carries, be they on jet sweeps or wildcat looks, etc. That said, the aptest comparison may well be Percy Harvin, who was 5-foot-11 and 192 pounds coming out of Florida. Granted, Toney has a ton to prove before that’s a fair comparison, but perhaps the way Harvin was utilized during Mullen’s tenure as offensive coordinator of the Gators provides some clues. Harvin produced nearly equal rushing and receiving yards in each of his three seasons at Florida from 2006-08, punishing teams with his speed and athleticism in every which way. It’s not hard to see Toney having a similarly versatile role and a breakout season in that same offensive scheme next fall, which may be yet another reason why his future is not at quarterback.” Let’s take a look back at Percy Harvin’s production as a Gator. In 2006, he had 41-428-3 rushing and 34-427-2 receiving. Those aren’t bad numbers for a potential young, flex player. Things got interesting in 2007 when he ran for 83-764-6 and caught 59-858-4. In a full PPR format, that’s nearly 26 points per game, which would put him in contention for the overall CFF WR1. In 2008, he ran for 70-660-10 and had 40-644-7 as a receiver. That’s roughly 22 points per game and enough to be the cornerstone of any CFF team. There is a ton of speculation, and perhaps naivete, when using Harvin as a benchmark, but it’s one possible outcome and one that forces me to consider drafting Toney on all of my teams. Perhaps another ambitious career arc and trajectory would be former Kentucky Swiss Army Knife, Randall Cobb. The true sophomore will have three years to try to grow and develop into the versatile weapon that Harvin was. Based on his price and potential, he should be a target in the later rounds in every single draft.

Rondale Moore, True Freshman, Purdue

According to the Courier-Journal, “He’s off to a good start. A multi-faceted skill player at Trinity who could fill different roles from wide receiver to running back in college, the 5-foot-8 Moore heads to Purdue this season as the biggest prize in coach Jeff Brohm’s first full signing class with the Boilermakers…”I feel like I can be lined up anywhere,” Moore said after signing with Purdue. “Wherever they put me, I feel like I can contribute.” “He can do a lot of things for you. He’s got a lot of dynamic playmaking ability,” Brohm said of Moore. “We’re going to give him every opportunity to play this first year and to do his thing and give him a chance to showcase what he’s all about right from the get-go.” Moore is the crown jewel of Brohm’s most recent recruiting class. He surprised many by selecting Purdue over Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Penn State, Texas, and a whole host of others. In 2012 and 2013, when Brohm got started as an OC, he didn’t have any fantasy relevant receivers. That began to change in 2014 at Western Kentucky. He had two guys go for 69-825-11 and 45-767-7. 2015 was a banner year as Taywan Taylor finished with 86-1467-17 and four of his teammates each had at least six touchdowns as well! Taylor followed up that terrific season with 98-1730-17 and Nicholas Norris had 76-1318-14. Anthony Mahoungou had 40-688-8 for Purdue last year in Brohm’s first year. I don’t anticipate that we will see any receivers post numbers like Taywan Taylor, due to competition level, but I do think there is room for a pass catcher to have significance, and I believe the most attractive player on this roster in dynasty formats is Moore.

Ty Jones, True Sophomore, Washington

To borrow the figures again that I cited in regards to Isaiah Hodgins: In 2016, Dante Pettis and John Ross went for 53-822-15 and 81-1150-17. Pettis followed that up in 2017 with 63-761-7. Jonathan Smith left to take over at Oregon State. One of his former co-workers, Bush Hadman, who coached receivers when Pettis and Ross had record-breaking years, will return as the Co-Offensive Coordinator. According to his bio, “Hamdan spent the 2014 season as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Davidson, where he coached starting QB J.P. Douglas to a 66-percent completion percentage and a 130.41 pass efficiency rating. Wide receiver William Morris caught 98 passes for 1,224 yards, a Davidson record. The Wildcats had five players earn postseason honors from the Pioneer Football League, including running back Jeffrey Keil, the offensive freshman of the year.” He joins Matt Lubick as his Co-Offensive Coordinator. Lubick was in this same role last season, so the offense really shouldn’t change very much. This is an excerpt from the Kitsap Sun on March 29, 2018, “”Yeah, Ty Jones has been doing a good job all winter and that showed today,” Browning said. “But Day 1 versus Day 15, he’s gotta keep building progress and something special could happen. Right now, he had a good Day 1. I think a lot of people had a good Day 1 but who’s going to have a good Day 2, Day 3, Day 4?” There was a point when the quarterbacks and receivers broke away from the rest of the group on the practice field to do some work on the Husky Stadium turf. Jones, a sophomore, and junior Andre Baccellia were in the first pairing to go through drills and largely worked with Browning. UW’s rotation led to freshman quarterback Colson Yankoff getting a chance to throw to Jones. Yankoff, a four-star recruit, threw a 30-yard pass Jones effortlessly chased down and captured in stride. Later on, Browning threw a pass in Jones’ direction. As cornerback Austin Joyner was closing in, Jones made a diving catch drawing everyone’s attention. “Just a little bit of solid work in the offseason starting to pay off but gotta lot of film work to do. Lot more work to do,” Jones said after practice. “I’m up in pounds for sure. Speed definitely increased. I’m running a 4.5 (40-yard time) versus a 4.6 last year, so, just trying to put on as much pounds as I can and compete.”’ As a 6’4” true sophomore, Jones will have the opportunity to step up and be the primary red zone threat and assume the dominant WR1 role that both coordinators have a demonstrated track record of producing. There is much debate about who will assume that role. Jones is where I’m putting my money and have pushed the chips in on redraft, best ball, and dynasty formats this summer. The cost is cheap, and the possible payout is rich.

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kfrancis

Senior Director of College Fantasy Football. College football, all year.

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