Who’s stock is on the decline as we enter spring 2024? College football is more volatile than ever with player and coach movement. Here are some guys who have seen their value decrease for a variety of reasons, including transfers, coaching changes, injuries, etc. Let’s face it, though: the G5 studs moving up are crushing for CFF value.

For players whose stock has risen, check out this article.


QUARTERBACKS

Image courtesy of AP News (editor note: This is not Warren Moon; I had to do a triple take)

Donovan Smith, Houston

No one has ever labeled Smith as a consistent or nuanced QB, but he could always be found in a great CFF QB system. The last two seasons under Zach Kittley and Dana Holgorsen have produced a wide range of outcomes for Smith. He will now be on his fifth OC in as many seasons. His new staff of Willy Fritz (HC) and Kevin Barbay (OC) aren’t nearly as CFF-friendly for QBs from what he’s experienced in the past. Additionally, it doesn’t bode well for Smith that Fritz’s first call to order, once he took the Cougars job, was to hand-pick QB Zeon Chriss from the portal.


Austin Novosad, Oregon

If you thought the talented Elite 11 QB would be the next Duck up after Bo Nix (finally) moved on….oops. Dillon Gabriel foiled those plans. If you thought Novosad would then only have to wait one additional season for Gabriel to move on….oops. Dante Moore potentially foiled those plans. Ty Thompson found himself on this list two years ago in a similar situation. It might be time we start pumping the brakes on Dan Lanning QB recruits, given his propensity to hammer the portal. Hopefully, Novosad doesn’t take as long as Thompson to read the writing on the wall.


Dequan Finn, Baylor

Finn has been Steady Eddie over the last three seasons, finishing right in that QB25-35 range. Some things were given at Toledo- Finn was good for 500+ yards and 7+ TDs on the ground, Toledo would generally be the more talented team on the field, and Finn would face a cupcake schedule. In fact, Finn made starts against just two P5 teams in his three years as the starter. At Baylor, he now has a defensive-minded head coach, an OC who has struggled to produce a relevant CFF QB in his last two stops, and a significant increase in schedule difficulty. Baylor plays six road games and only two non-conference games. Silver lining…Finn averaged 28 PPG in those two starts vs. P5 opponents.


RUNNING BACKS

Dallan Hayden, Ohio State

Things were looking so good for Hayden as we turned the page to 2024. The redshirt sophomore was set to be the alpha nut in the Buckeye backfield, with Chip transferring to Kentucky and Hendo off to the NFL. But it was all a mirage. Hayden had the RB1 Rug ripped out from under his feet with the surprising addition of Quinshon Judkins and the return of Henderson. Hayden, now clearly the RB3 in Columbus, went from a likely top-12 RB to undraftable in standard redraft leagues.


Image courtesy of Campus2Canton

Marcus Carroll, Missouri

297 touches. 297 touches. I repeat…297 touches. That’s what Carroll got last year at Georgia State. He leaves that guaranteed monster situation in the Sun Belt for the SEC. Yes, the coaching duo of Drink (HC) and Kirby Moore (OC) are undoubtedly a kingmaker staff for RBs. However, his RB1 status will not be handed to him at Mizzou as Nate Noel, and his 3,000-yard career, also transfers in. The staff supposedly likes redshirt freshman Jamal Roberts, too. There are certainly worst places for a G5 RB stud to try and test his mettle in the “core four” conferences, but his range of outcomes widens with a much lower floor.


WIDE RECEIVERS

LaJohntay Wester (FAU to Colorado), Robert Lewis (GSU to Auburn), Cyrus Allen (LaTech to Texas A&M), Kris Mitchell (FIU to Notre Dame), George Larvadain (MiamiOH to South Carolina), Ja’Mori Maclin (North Texas to Kentucky)

Straight to jail. All of them. These guys clearly disregard our CFF rosters by selfishly attempting to profit off of their incredible season in the G5 to try and prove themselves in the P4 at historically poor WR systems and/or crowded WR rooms. I kid. I kid. But seriously, though, they couldn’t even move up to a more preferable landing spot like Chris Brazzell (Tulane to Tennessee), CJ Daniels (Liberty to LSU), or Caullin Lacy (S. Alabama to Louisville) did???


Image courtesy of the Houston Chronicle

Matthew Golden, Texas

I won’t pretend Golden had a great 2023. His 12.7 PPG in PPR leagues was okay, but nothing close to the breakout season many (me included) expected. However, the possibility he blossomed into the WR1 while sharing the room with Sam Brown and Joseph Manjack in Houston seemed far more likely than the room he joined in Austin with Isaiah Bond, Johntay Cook, Silas Bolden, Amari Niblack, and a number of other blue chip WRs. If the best you can do is WR3 at Houston when WR Kingmaker Holgo says you are “the next one to be special,” then good luck at Texas in the SEC.


TIGHT ENDS

Image courtesy of Syracuse University Athletics

Oronde Gadsden II, Syracuse

Gadsden was a TE being taken right there with Brock Bowers in the first three rounds of drafts in 2023. A knee injury in week two pretty much kicked off a series of unfortunate events to top-ten tight ends. Had the same staff returned and we got positive reports of his rehab progressing, we could run it back on Gadsden for 2024. However, a new staff member enters, and unlike the last staff member with Jason Beck and Robert Anae, who have proven to be creative with TEs, Fran Brown failed to hire that type of OC. Additionally, the emergence of TE/QB hybrid Dan Villari late in the season only makes things even more murky. If things fall into place, Gadsden still has the ability to be a top-producing TE, but don’t expect him to carry nearly as much value today as he did at any point last season.

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