Welcome to part two of two in my discussions surrounding the first of potentially four best ball drafts within the Campus 2 Canton family. Last week, I took a look at the overall draft strategy and theories. Today I took a look at my favorite (and least favorite) picks at QB/RB/WR in the draft. I did my best to avoid picks of mine and also wanted to look at picks from the top 15 rounds. Let’s get to it! 

Quarterbacks

Favorite Pick: Riley Leonard, 11.04

What a great QB group we have this year. This is my type of year, with so many running QBs out there in good offensive systems. Leonard fits that mold being at Notre Dame with no stud RB to vulture him. In 2022, Leonard ran for nearly 700 rushing yards and 13 TDs. He followed that up with an injury-riddled year that resulted in 352 yards and 4 TDs in seven games. It’s crazy to think with his lower body injuries he still put up decent enough numbers on the ground. I suspect he can repeat 600+ rushing yards at Notre Dame and think he’s in a prime touchdown spot, considering the pieces around him. His schedule is rather enticing facing just FSU (at home) and at TAMU as his most difficult matchups in 2024. I have Leonard as a top 15 QB, and this drafter got him as QB 22.

Least Favorite Pick: Nico Iamaleava, 6.12

Courtesy of Knoxville News Sentinel

Nico comes into the 2024 season with a lot of upside but also enough question marks to make me not a fan of him being the QB10 off the board. Taken at the end of the sixth round, the drafter took him as his first QB, a bold strategy considering how risky of a play he is with his limited snaps. The biggest reason why this pick wasn’t my favorite was because of the other QBs on the board at the time. Kyron Drones, Jaxson Dart, and Jackson Arnold were still on the board and taken a round later. Even waiting to the tenth round, a similarly high-risk high, reward Jalen Raynor from Arkansas State was still on the board. If you’re looking at both Nico and Raynor, is there really a 3-4 round difference?

Running Backs

Favorite Pick: Jo’Quavious Marks, 11.05

Marks is a guy who will end the offseason with top-six-round ADP, yet this drafter landed him in the 11th round. Lincoln Riley has produced some great fantasy RBs in the past, the last being Travis Dye. Last season, Riley toyed with us by utilizing MarShawn Lloyd and Austin Jones in an RBBC. Together, these two combined for 201 carries, 1,297 rushing yards, and 16 rushing TDs. Caleb Williams and his double-digit TDs are off to the NFL Draft along with Lloyd and Jones, opening up an elite opportunity for Marks in 2024.

Quinten Joyner and A’Marion Peterson are among the returning RBs for 2024. Talk about a group that doesn’t intimidate me. Moving forward, Marks will be on my radar, starting with the fifth round when it comes to drafts. 

Least Favorite Pick: Chez Mellusi, 9.10

This one was tougher than I thought it would be. I didn’t really hate any of the RB picks in the draft, so I’m going with Mellusi in the single digits. Wisconsin RBs are always cool and Phil Longo is always a fun OC to hitch your wagon to, but I think the RB competition will be tough up in Madison. Tawee Walker transfers in, and Jackson Acker is solid in his limited action. Mellusi is coming off a season-ending injury, and I wasn’t all that impressed by his 2023 season (61 rushing yards or less in three of four games). I have taken Mellusi in drafts, but none as high as the ninth round. I think it’s very likely he will win the job, but I’m not willing to invest a pick in the ninth round over guys like Dylan Sampson, Marks, and Kadin Feagin, among others. 

Wide Receivers

Favorite Pick: Joey Hobert, 3.09

Courtesy of the Portal Report

Hobert was an interesting pick before McCloud committed to Texas State, but at this point, it wheels up for him. He had 90+ yards in five of his first seven games last season with TJ Finley under center, and now he has the reigning Sun Belt player of the year throwing him footballs. McCloud made Elijah Sarratt and Reggie Brown great CFF options in 2023, and I expect more of the same at Hobert. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he ends with 90+ catches, 1,000+ yards, and 10+ TDs in 2024. At pick 3.09, his floor with that upside is just too good to pass up.

Least Favorite Pick: Zachariah Branch, 5.08

I started the year thinking Branch was a great pick in this range, but the more I think about it, the more I want no part of a USC WR in the single-digit rounds. The last five years of Lincoln Riley WRs have not produced the stars we saw at Oklahoma with Hollywood Brown and Ceedee Lamb. I’m not concerned about Miller Moss as a QB, but I am worried about drafting Branch at 5.08 and him going for 45 catches, 500 yards, and four TDs. He could easily be Dorian Singer of 2023 putting up a putrid stat line.

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