The difference between the top two teams in the country right now and everyone else is astronomical. Alabama and Georgia are the best two teams in college football, and it’s not even close. Those two programs picked up two great wins this weekend against Ole Miss and Arkansas, respectively. After those two teams, the picture gets a bit murkier. We will see Penn State play Iowa this weekend in a battle of top 5 teams, but after those programs, the real question will be who can compete for that fourth spot. This could be the year that Cincinnati can make the playoff, but their schedule is not easing up, and they could very realistically lose to SMU at the end of the year. Regardless of that outcome, the race for the playoff should be exciting, even though it might not matter.
This season I will be bringing you a weekly column on navigating the college football landscape and its ever-changing devy values. Value can be difficult to judge, especially in leagues where there are so many different types of managers. But it’s good to get out in front of your league mates, especially in C2C. Let’s dive in.
WR Makai Polk (JR – Mississippi State) 6’3″ 200 lbs
While everyone talked up his teammate Jaden Walley this past off-season, the team’s real star has been Cal transfer Makai Polk. On Saturday, Polk had 13 catches for 126 yards, and two touchdowns against 15th ranked Texas A&M. He was just two catches shy of Kylin Hill’s single-game record. This season Polk has caught 46 balls for 430 yards and four touchdowns. He has emerged as a star this season in Mike Leach’s offense.
Polk uses his big frame well and can win jump balls. He’s stepped right into Leach’s offense and learned the system well. He has proven to be a good route runner and can create separation in that offense. As far as a C2C asset, he is gold right now. Polk is an easy plug-and-play guy, and based on his ADP, he was a steal in drafts this off-season. He may start generating some devy buzz as well. If he can continue to produce, he has a chance to improve his draft capital.
QB Tanner McKee (SO – Stanford) 6’6” 228 lbs
Before the season, I wrote a very long piece on Stanford QB Tanner McKee. In the article, I talked about his long journey to Stanford and his missionary work in Brazil. I also wrote that he was a must draft in C2C leagues based on his ADP and potential upside. So far, McKee has proven me correct.
During their week one game against Kansas State, he took over the starting job and hasn’t looked back. He has thrown for 1,093 yards and 11 TDs with no interceptions. McKee has thrown for three touchdowns in back-to-back games and has proven himself to be a very viable starter in C2C formats. He has looked more comfortable as the year has gone, and given that he is still only a sophomore, he is a very valuable asset. His strengths lie in his decision-making and his quick release. He seems to understand the offense completely, and he excels at making the right play each time. Time will tell if he can turn himself into a devy asset, but he’s a solid producer on the C2C side of the ball for now.
George Holani (SO – Boise State) 5’11” 205 lbs
Holani is an asset that hit his peak in 2019. Holani burst onto the scene his freshman year, finishing the season with 1,014 yards at 5.3 yards per carry. He scored ten touchdowns on the year (seven rush, three receiving) and caught 26 passes for 206 yards. Since then, he was being drafted as a fairly high devy asset, but unfortunately for Holani managers, he hasn’t reached his potential. In 2020 he only rushed for 108 yards and dealt with a barrage of injuries, including an MCL tear.
This season there was hope that 2020 was an outlier, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. He has only rushed for 123 yards this year and has lost snaps to other running backs on the roster. In their loss to Nevada, he only got four carries and was out-sapped by Cyrus Habibi-Likio and Andrew Van Buren. It looked like Holani also got injured in the game. Holani seems to be trending away from an asset altogether and is one of the most disappointing devy players this season.
Ainias Smith (JR – Texas A&M) 5’10” 190 lbs
Smith came into the year with a ton of hype. There was an honest debate whether or not he or Wan’Dale Robinson was the better pro prospect. So far this season, that answer has been Wan’Dale easily. In 2020, he led the Aggies with 564 receiving yards off 43 receptions and six touchdowns and rushed 49 times for 300 yards with four touchdowns on the ground. He was a true threat whenever he touched the ball and had many devy analysts thinking he could get high draft capital come 2021.
Unfortunately for Smith, he has dealt with injuries and poor quarterback play this year. When starting QB, Haynes King went down in the second game of the season; it changed the entire direction of the A&M program. Smith hasn’t had more than 35 receiving yards since the first game of the season, and his value has completely tanked. Smith may need to return for his senior season if he wants to have a shot of high draft capital.