We here at C2C have decided to run through multiple best ball drafts this summer in hopes of killing time but also passing along thoughts and information in the form of investment. When money is on the line, your real opinions come to life! And this past week, the team completed the first draft. I wanted to take a look at major takeaways as well as my favorite (and least favorite) picks from this draft. See below for the first of two articles digging into this draft!

Jordan McCloud at Texas State Taken in Top 5 Rounds

McCloud was impressive at James Madison and so when he hit the transfer portal, we were all wondering where he’d land. Well, he’s taking his talents to Texas State and that means early draft capital in CFF drafts. I have him as my QB9, but in this draft, he came off the board at 5.02 (QB5). That’s a little steep for me, but I can see why the love here.

He’s shown the ability to run in previous seasons but isn’t going to run for 600+ yards this year. McCloud found the end zone eight times on the ground in 2023 on 73 true rushing attempts (23 times sacked). Those two points are why I lean on other options inside my top eight QBs instead of McCloud. 

Texas State does return a ton of snaps in 2024 at the offensive line position, which should help keep sack numbers from being detrimental to McCloud’s fantasy potential. Ultimately, Texas State should continue to be a top 30 passing attack with upside for the top ten with McCloud under center over TJ Finley.

This isn’t a bad pick by any means, thanks to McCloud’s high floor. His offensive style, combined with his skill set, is extremely appealing. 

Do Your Homework at Tight End

If you do your homework at tight end, I really think you can get a nice edge in your drafts. This group of tight ends doesn’t have elite names like Brock Bowers and (healthy) Oronde Gadsden/Brant Kuithe, so we’re seeing this position being waited on. Gadsden was the first one taken at 4.01, followed by Harold Fannin at 8.10. No other tight end was taken in the first 11 rounds of the draft. 

While the elite options at the position just don’t seem to be there, I do think there are a ton of interesting guys that are being taken past round 20. Volume Pigs recently discussed Michael Harrison as an intriguing option (21.02). Kuithe was elite before injury last season and was just taken at 23.04. Tanner Koziol (23.07) was another great option in 2023, but his QB play killed him. Two Georgia tight ends were taken in the back third of the draft (Ben Yurosek and Oscar Delp).

As you can see, some impressive names are being taken late in drafts. Each has obviously pros and cons, and those who can dig into what’s most likely to happen in 2024 with these types are going to hold an edge over the rest this season. 

What Do We Do With USC WRs?

Lincoln Riley QBs are always fantasy assets in CFF, so why is it that we’re not seeing much draft capital spent on Trojans’ receivers? Three were taken in this draft, Zachariah Branch (5.08) and Duce Robinson (22.02), even though the USC QB is almost guaranteed to finish with 3,500+ passing yards and 30 TDs. While I know target share and consolidation of usage into limited players is important, those two numbers would be 30th most (passing yards) and 16th best (passing TDs) in 2023. 

Last offseason, I had a rule: draft the USC WR that lasted the longest of the big three (Rice/Tahj/Mario). These WRs produced the following:

Tahj: 59/1,062/8

Rice: 45/791/12

Mario: 29/305/2

As you can see, two were valuable to their CFF teams, especially since Mario Williams was drafted first, with Tahj and Rice routinely picked in round 15 or later. I think we need to move forward with this strategy again in 2024.

The problem is determining who those three (or four) guys are. Obviously, Branch and Robinson are the top two guys to consider based on what we’ve seen so far, but who should be the third and fourth options? Makai Lemon and Ja’Kobi Lane had nice bowl game performances, and Kyron Hudson is the “old” guy who also had a decent enough game against Louisville last year (2/16/1).

WR Isn’t the Only Position With High Upside Mid-to-Late in the Draft

The WR position typically has the higher upside guys mid to late in drafts, but here, I see plenty of guys at the RB position that could finish worthy of top 5-6 round draft capital when it’s all said and done. We have some battling left to do in productive schemes that are giving us this potential value early on. Below are some really appealing names that I think have really great upside and were taken in the mid-teens rounds or later:

-Nathan Carter, MSU – 11.11
-Jeremiyah Love, Notre Dame, 12.05
-Corey Kiner, Cincinnati – 13.09
-Freddie Brock, Georgia State – 16.09
-Quali Conley, Arizona – 17.04
-Ulysses Bentley IV, Ole Miss – 18.07
-Logan Diggs, Ole Miss – 26.12
-Jaylon Glover, Utah – 30.09

Those are just a few of the names I find very appealing that could be big time CFF players in 2024. These guys are all being taken here for good reason, but that won’t be the case in a month or two.

Will Michigan State’s offense be good enough to make a Bellcow-type RB like Carter valuable? Who wins the Ole Miss RB job that is typically great for CFF? Does a Utah RB become a fantasy mainstay again? We have limited answers to these questions at this time but will likely have a good feel for them with more practice reports that come out.

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