Big fish in a small pond. Hidden gems. Next man up. However, you want to phrase it, here are some deep options that aren’t being talked about much but could hold significant value in dynasty formats with minimal cost.
Dalvin Smith, Western Kentucky, WR, Eligibility Remaining – 3 years
Those connected to the Hilltopper program have always thought highly of Smith, but unfortunately, his career has been marred by injuries. Spring reports indicate he is finally feeling 100% healthy, as demonstrated by winning the WKU spring MVP. He has shown a knack for making the big play with seven TDs on just 15 career catches in his limited opportunity. But the natural hidden beauty with Smith is that he split time at TE during his freshman season and still carries that dual eligibility on Fantrax in many leagues. The same goes for Boise State’s Austin Bolt and LaTech’s Devonta Lee.
Sieh Bangura, Ohio, RB, Eligibility Remaining – 4 years
Bangura was able to preserve his redshirt in 2021, but not without giving us a glimpse of his ability with 12 carries for 93 yards with two TDs and five catches for 68 yards. Head coach Tim Albin described the 210 lb. RB as “explosive with great vision and elusiveness.” He was the first guy mentioned when asked about the RB room and said Bangura had a “great spring.” De’Montre Tuggle moved on, and the offensive line should be improved as Albin also reported it would be one of the strengths of the team. He was stuck behind blue-chip Marshawn Lloyd his junior year, Covid prevented a senior year, and then he sat behind Tuggle as a freshman. The path is now clear.
Devontez Walker, Kent State, WR, Eligibility Remaining – 3 years
Two of Kent State’s top three receivers move on, and over 100 receptions and 1,300 yards leave with them. Dante Cephas will be looking for a running mate opposite his boundary spot, and the prolific Golden Flash offense has the firepower to support multiple productive receivers. Tez Walker, at 6’3″ and 175 lbs, seems primed to be the man for the job. He had a terrific spring, and he’s an athletic freak. He’s been clocked at 21.9 mph, has a 42-inch vertical leap, a 10’7″ broad jump, and a near 32-foot standing triple jump!
Jay Maclin, North Texas, WR, Eligibility Remaining – 4 years
Labeled as a “breakout star” in the spring, Jeremy’s little bro could see some significant action. How soon do we forget that Jaelon Darden went for 1,200 yards and 19 (!) TDs in nine games during the 2020 Covid season playing the slot for the Mean Green. It is a deep WR room, but questions abound with the injuries and depth chart. Maclin is versatile enough to play inside or the boundary and resides in a strong bounce-back offense that costs next to nothing to see the flop knowing there is potential to make a winning hand.
Lexington Joseph, FIU, RB, Eligibility Remaining – 2 years
“Flex” Joseph will battle with EJ Wilson to replace D’Vonte Price, who is off to the NFL. Flex has been an all-conference performer as a returner and will now get a chance to follow up his 105-yard performance to finish 2021 and showcase that explosiveness as the lead back. David Yost’s offenses have been a mixed bag for RB production but better at the G5 level than at Texas Tech. Additionally, head coach, Mike MacIntyre, was at Colorado during Philip Lindsey’s run with the Buffs.
Billy Dozier, Northern Illinois, RB, Eligibility Remaining – 3 years
NIU coach Hammock feels Dozier, a former WR, has found his more natural position at RB. After a 90-yard TD run in the spring scrimmage, Hammock said, “Billy has had a tremendous spring, and we think he can do multiple things with his versatility. We will use him as a chess piece in this offense.” Obviously, Waylee and Brown stand in his way, but NIU was fifth in the country in neutral game script rush rate so that they can support multiple backs. If you think he is buried on the depth chart, consider where Waylee and Brown were a year ago this time and the value they carry now.
NyNy Davis, Utah State, WR, Eligibility Remaining – 4 years
What Davis lacks in size at 5’8″ and 155 lbs., he makes up for with his speed. The Alabama native was a track star in high school, carrying state records in the 200 meters, and was the sprinter of the year in Alabama. He is a big play waiting to happen, and that showed in the Utah State spring game, where he had four catches for 91 yards and two touchdowns. Terrell Vaughn (another guy that could have made this list) will likely start at the slot, but NyNy will get time in four wide sets and has a bright future in Blake Anderson’s system that recently produced a very similar receiver in Deven Thompkins.
Caden Veltkamp, Western Kentucky, QB, True FR
Veltkamp is the highest-rated recruit of the incoming WKU class and one of the highest QB recruits in program history. He has received glowing reports from the coaches. Maybe that has to do something with his dad being on staff, but perhaps it is also because he has a live arm at 6’5″ and 215 lbs. Should the Hilltoppers remain fantasy-relevant post-Zach Kittley and the staff intact, Veltkamp could be a huge fantasy asset to those willing to stash and wait a year or maybe two.
Mehki Fox, Colorado State, WR, True FR
In program history, the 4-star WR on 247 is the highest-rated WR recruit to sign with Colorado State. He was initially committed to UCLA and had multiple P5 offers, including Oregon and Florida. “Flip” Fox comes in at 6’1″ and 195 lbs. and looks absolutely dynamic with the ball in his hands on his high school film. He is very raw and may need a year to develop as a route runner, but outside of Tory Horton, there aren’t many boundary receivers that stand in the way of playing time in a very, very WR-friendly system.