With the calendar turning to October and conference play entering full swing, we are starting to get a firm grasp on which players are breaking out and which players are failing to live up to the pre-season expectations. You can subscribe here and find our full rankings here to see all of the changes over the past two weeks. However, the players below represent some of the most significant risers and fallers and the newest additions.
Bryce Young- QB1
There’s a new number one QB in town after this update. Young was the number one QB and the number two overall player in the class of 2020. Yet, the off-season buzz on him was fairly quiet from a fantasy perspective. His pedigree kept him hanging around the top of rankings, but he was overshadowed by DJU, Spencer Rattler, and Sam Howell. These QBs mentioned above have all had their struggles this season while Young has gotten off to a hot start. Young has completed 72% of his passes for 1,124 yards and a 15:1 TD:INT ratio, and the fourth-best QBR in the country. The impressive start to the season, coupled with the struggles of the other top QBs, has vaulted Young up three spots in our Average Rankings to become the new QB1.
Jake Haener- QB23
Haener’s gritty performance in the upset win over UCLA put Haener in the national spotlight and had draft pundits talking about his NFL future. However, our very own @sharpereview has been the president of the Jake Haener fan club all off-season. The nation’s leading passer with 1,842 yards, Haener is no longer under the radar. He’s become a top-tier CFF QB. His ascension in NFL draft circles has also caused him to rise seven spots to the QB23.
Haynes King- QB30
After winning the starting job this off-season and being the fifth-ranked dual-threat QB in the class of 2020, hopes were high for King. He had an up-and-down first start against Kent State, throwing for 292 yards, two TDs, and three INTs. He then fractured his leg early in the second game and is out indefinitely. Losing significant time and reps as a starter, King’s development is now delayed. He may regain his previous ranking after we see more from him, but until then, he has fallen seven spots to QB30.
Preston Hutchinson- QB56
Hutchinson had an extremely productive 2020 COVID year. He tallied 1,662 yards with twelve TDs and six INTs passing with 206 yards and eight TDs rushing. As the QB7 on a fantasy points per game basis last year, Hutchinson was a popular target for those employing the 0QB strategy outlined by our own Austin Nace. However, Hutchinson has not lived up to the billing so far this year. Hutchinson has been in a frustrating timeshare at QB so far this year, only being given 32 dropbacks through three games to Ben Bryant’s 87 dropbacks through four games. Hutchinson has been a massive disappointment thus far. He has deservedly dropped seven spots to QB56 and may continue to fall if his role doesn’t change soon.
Cornelius Brown IV- QB73
Another popular late-round QB target after finishing last year as the QB35, Brown has struggled so much this season that he was benched after two games. He only managed 197 yards and two INTs on 52.2% completion percentage in his time as a starter. Brown isn’t doing anything for Georgia State on the bench, which means he isn’t with a bench spot on your fantasy team. He has already fallen 14 places to QB73 and is a candidate to continue to fall.
NEW TO THE RANKINGS
Seth Henigan- QB45
Off-season transfer Grant Gunnell was expected to win the starting Memphis QB job with little trouble. However, after suffering a mysterious injury late in fall camp, Gunnell was unable to play in the opener and then underwent surgery. Gunnell’s absence opened the door for true freshman Henigan to start. After a bit of a rough start in the opener against Nicholls State, Henigan has thrown for over 300 yards in two of the next three games, including a 400 yard and five TD game against Arkansas State. Henigan has played well enough so far to hold onto this job even when Gunnell returns. As a true freshman, it’s looking like Henigan will start for four years and improve. Henigan is the QB39 so far on a fantasy points per game basis. With expected improvement and the length of time as a viable starter, Henigan debuts as the QB45.
Payton Thorne- QB55
After starting the last three games of 2020 and struggling before a 325 yard, three TD day in the finale, it wasn’t a lock that Thorne would start in 2021. It was presumed that Temple grad transfer Anthony Russo would earn the starting role for the Spartans entering 2021. It turns out Thorne was the right call as Michigan State is 4-0 and 2-0 in the Big Ten. And while the running game has played a significant role in their early-season success, Thorne’s 909 yards passing and 10:1 TD:INT ratio has undoubtedly been a factor as well. Thorne also brings a little bit of added value with his legs, with 46 yards and a TD on the ground so far as well. Thorne’s stat line so far is good enough for QB31 on a fantasy point per game basis. And while he is entering Big Ten conference play, where he’ll have some challenging games ahead, Thorne has already shown competent play against Northwestern, Miami, and Nebraska. With solid early-season production and another likely two years at the helm for the Spartans after this year, Thorne has earned the QB55 ranking in his first appearance in our Average Rankings.
Cameron Rising- QB89
The once-promising University of Texas recruit, Rising transferred to Utah at the beginning of the 2019 season after redshirting in 2018. Rising won the starting job entering 2020, after sitting out 2019 due to NCAA transfer rules. Then he was lost for the season due to injury in his first game under center. This year, Baylor transfer Charlie Brewer won the starting job exiting fall camp but played poorly and is no longer with the team. Rising now has an opportunity to start again, and as a capable rushing threat at the QB position, it offers some intrigue. He debuts as the QB89 but certainly has the opportunity for Rising up the ranks should he impress.
Jaren Hall- QB103
It was unclear who would be the QB to replace Zach Wilson for BYU in 2021. However, what was clear was that Jaren Hall presented the most intrigue as a Dual Threat prospect coming out of high school. Hall ended up winning the starting job and has delivered on the intrigue so far. His 561 passing yards, 7:2 TD:INT ratio, and 166 added rushing yards through three games have Hall as the QB30 so far this year. While Hall was a member of the BYU 2016 recruiting class and missed two years of football for a mission trip, his CFF potential has earned him the QB103 in his Rankings debut.
Blake Corum- RB24
As a 4-star recruit and the number 12 RB in the class of 2020, Corum entered what appeared to be a crowded backfield with Zach Charbonnet, Chris Evans, and Hasan Haskins ahead of him. His skill and dynamism did earn him some playing time last year as a true freshman. However, after Charbonnet’s transfer and Evans’s graduation, there was suddenly an opportunity for Corum. He certainly seized the opportunity presented and hasn’t looked back since. He is leading the team with a nice 69 carries. Corum has put up an insanely efficient 475 yards and seven TDs on the ground with eight catches for 57 yards and TD through the air to boot. His measurables will be interesting when he finally declares, given his current 5’8″ 200lb listing. However, his size is certainly not prohibitive. His RB5 on a fantasy points per game basis production so far has caused him to skyrocket 24 spots to the RB24 overall.
Kenneth Walker III- RB30
After a season that saw him put up 570 yards and 13 TDs through seven games, Kenneth Walker III elected to transfer to Michigan State and join what appeared to be a bit of a crowded backfield. However, Walker put to rest any questions of who may lead the team in carries after a 264 yards and four TD outburst in Week 1. And while Walker has fought through a minor injury in Week 2 and has only topped 100 yards once since his debut, his production is still good for the RB11 on a fantasy points per game basis so far. Walker has since jumped 26 spots and now checks in at RB30 overall.
Alton McCaskill- RB88
Despite his high 3-star status, McCaskill was still impressive enough to draw offers from 32 teams, including Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State, and USC. McCaskill elected to stay in the state of Texas, choosing Houston over the aforementioned schools. It didn’t take long for McCaskill to show why blue blood schools were recruiting him. Despite only seeing four carries in the opener, McCaskill has more than double the number of carries of any other RB on the roster. McCaskill has 233 yards and four TDs rushing, with eight catches for 70 yards and a TD receiving through four games. That is enough for him to be the RB51 on a fantasy points per game basis. This doesn’t sound particularly impressive until you realize this line includes his 1.5 fantasy point dud in Week 1. Since then, he’s averaging 22.27 fantasy points per game, which would be the RB16. When you add that he’s a true freshman to his recent production, it’s easy to see why McCaskill has risen 16 spots to the RB88.
Jalen Berger- RB42
Hopes were high for the former 4-star recruit after he led the Badgers in rushing yards and was second on the team in carries as a true freshman in 2020. However, despite being dressed on the sideline, Berger didn’t see a single snap in the opener against Penn State. He has seen only 16 carries, good for third on the team behind Clemson transfer Chez Melusi and Isaac Guerendo. Fifteen of Berger’s carries also came in a blowout win versus Eastern Michigan. His lack of usage remains a mystery, but at this point, the three-game sample size is enough to know that Berger has fallen out of favor of the coaching staff. Berger has fallen 11 spots to RB42 overall and may continue to fall if the situation doesn’t improve soon.
George Holani- RB55
After an impressive true freshman season that saw him put up over 1,000 yards rushing and seven TDs on the ground and 26 catches for 206 yards and three TDs through the air, Holani has struggled with injuries the past two years. He does appear to be off of the snap count that he was on to start the season. He has had 12 and 13 carries in the past two weeks. However, the slow start and injury concerns have been enough to cause Holani to fall 16 spots to the RB55. He will have a chance to rebound later if he can prove the injuries and slow start are behind him.
NEW TO THE RANKINGS
Rasheen Ali- RB85
One of the few true out-of-nowhere breakouts this year, Ali was not even rated by 247 composite and had two offers: Marshall and Hampton. After redshirting last year, Ali burst onto the scene in Week 1 with four TDs on 14 carries. He followed that up with eight catches and a receiving TD the following week, demonstrating some versatility. Ali has been a mainstay in the top weekly CFF producers at RB and has been the RB4 so far this season on a fantasy points per game basis. Overdue for a debut in our rankings, Ali checks in at RB85. But as a redshirt freshman with likely another three years of production, expect Ali to continue to rise if he can keep up this torrid pace.
BJ Baylor- RB132
A 3-star prospect stuck in the shadow of CFF superstar Jermar Jefferson for three years, Baylor began his senior year with a measly nine carries for 24 yards but managed two TDs to salvage the day. The following week, however, he garnered the bulk of the carries and broke out with 171 yards and three TDs on 18 carries. Baylor has since distanced himself from the other RBs on the roster with almost triple the number of carries of the next closest RB. The fantasy RB18 checks in at RB132 due partly to his relatively soft early-season schedule and the likely one year of college production for your fantasy squad. But with more performances like the 158 yards rushing against USC, Baylor may appear on the riser list at some point.
Chez Melusi- RB156
The 14th RB and a 4-star prospect in the class in 2019, the former Clemson commit was stuck behind first-round draft pick Trevor Etienne and others early in his career. A change of scenery appears to be exactly what the doctor ordered, however. Melusi entered what we expected to be Jalen Berger’s backfield at Wisconsin. Instead, what we saw was Berger on the sidelines, and Melusi rack up 121 yards and a TD on a bellcow-like 31 carries in Week 1 against Penn State. Melusi still has yet to see less than 20 touches in a game this season. And with Berger still an after-thought in this offense, it was time for Melusi to make a debut at RB156. But if he continues to put distance between himself and Berger, Melusi may check-in higher in our next update.
Khalil Shakir- WR25
This year, Shakir hasn’t caught anyone off guard after he broke out in 2020 with a 44% Weighted Dominator Rating and was the WR12 on a fantasy points per game basis. And while he has dropped slightly to a 40% Weighted Dominator Rating and the WR18 on a points per game basis, Shakir is still producing at a high-end level for your Campus side and checking off the boxes we want to see as an NFL draft prospect. With Shakir off to a hot start in his encore, he is starting to confirm his status as a viable future asset for your Canton side, and he’s risen eight spots to the WR25 in our Average Rankings.
Xavier Worthy- WR45
Originally committed to Michigan, the high 4-star prospect and eighth-ranked WR in the class of 2021 requested to be released from his National Letter of Intent in April. A month later, he resurfaced in Texas in time to join the team for summer camp. After impressing the coaching staff and earning significant snaps in the opener, Worthy has now earned the most snaps out of Texas’ WRs with 109 through four games. He is also taking advantage of the opportunity, posting seven catches for 88 yards and a TD and five catches for 100 yards and three TDs in back-to-back weeks. Worthy’s scorching start to his true freshman season has driven him up 23 spots to WR45. There is room to continue his ascent should he continue the production.
Jaivon Heiligh- WR75
After a breakout 2020 season that saw him record 10 TDs and fall two yards shy of 1,000 on 65 catches, Heiligh was looking to improve upon his WR38 finish in fantasy points per game. And with a TD in every game and 100 yards in every game except his 91-yard performance in Week 3, Heiligh has accomplished just that. The WR12 on a fantasy points per game basis so far, Heiligh has proven to be a high-end producer for your Campus side. He has risen 18 spots to the WR75 as a result.
Justyn Ross- WR28
It was difficult to expect Justyn Ross to maintain his absurd efficiency from his stellar true freshman season, where he put up 1,000 yards and nine TDs on just 46 catches. However, his encore of 66 catches for 865 yards and eight TDs was enough to keep the hype train rolling. Until a congenital fusion in his spine that put his football future in doubt derailed the train completely. Ross, however, was cleared for contact in August of this year, just in time for fall camp. After a full year away from football, it was certainly fair to expect Ross to start this season slowly. But, the entire Clemson offense has looked atrocious this year, leading to disappointing seasons from all of the players involved. Ross still has time to rehab his value and draft profile as he continues to work his way back to his pre-injury form. But with the medical concerns and the lack of production thus far, Ross has fallen eight spots to WR28.
Julian Fleming- WR57
Fleming has yet to live to the hype, the former number one WR and third overall recruit in the 2020 recruiting class. Fleming only played in four games last year and has only played in three of four this year. He’s now behind all three freshmen from the 2021 class as well in terms of snaps with only seven. At this point, it isn’t easy to project much of a role for Fleming in this loaded Ohio State WR room. And as Emeka Egbuka, Marvin Harrison, and even Jayden Ballard continue to rise over Fleming, he continues to fall, down seven spots to the WR57. Unless there is a transfer on the horizon or a dramatic change this season, the fall may continue.
Reggie Roberson- WR58
After back to back 800 yard, six TDs seasons as a sophomore and junior, Roberson suffered an injury in 2020 and has had a slow start to 2021. This year, Roberson is the third leading WR on SMU’s offense, with 17 catches for 211 yards and two TDs through four games. Roberson also has a lengthy injury history after his 2019 and 2020 seasons both ended early with injuries. With Roberson not producing starting quality numbers for your CFF squad, Roberson has fallen 11 spots to WR58.
Brock Bowers- TE9
Buried on the depth chart behind the best TE prospect in the history of the 247 composite rankings and another 5-star prospect in Darnell Washington, it wasn’t easy to project Bowers for much of a role as a true freshman. But after Arik Gilbert stepped away from the team and Washington suffered an injury, Bowers was thrust into a starting role. The 4- star TE seized the opportunity and ran with it. Bowers is the leading receiver for Georgia with 18 catches for 272 yards and two TDs, with a rushing TD. He has high-end athleticism, running a 4.5 40 and a 40-inch vertical, NFL size at 6’5″ 230lbs., and has flashed the receiving chops to be a consistent weapon in the Georgia passing attack. Bowers has risen significantly after his stellar start to the year, up 22 spots to crack the top 10 as the TE9.
Trey McBride- TE7
After a stellar season in the COVID shortened 2020 that saw him record an absurd 70% Dominator Rating and finish as the TE2 behind Kyle Pitts, McBride has picked up where he left off. Through four games, McBride has recorded 36 catches for 398 yards and a TD. He had three straight 100 yard games before facing Iowa’s defense. The clear-cut TE1 this year, McBride is a legitimate receiving threat at the TE position and has NFL size at 6’4″ 260lbs. With high-end CFF production and a likely NFL future, McBride has deservedly risen five spots and cracked the top 10 in our Average Rankings at TE7.
Arik Gilbert- TE10
Saying Gilbert had a tumultuous offseason is an understatement. Gilbert transferred from LSU to Florida before entering the transfer portal again after one month. There were then rumors of him transferring back to LSU before he ultimately ended up at Georgia, but with a twist: he was also switching positions to WR. Gilbert still has yet to play a snap with the Bulldogs and has been away from the team for “personal reasons” since August 14th. At this point, it’s hard to know if Gilbert will ever play again. Despite his solid freshman season and historically good recruiting profile, Gilbert has fallen another six spots to TE10.