The offseason rolls on, and while it is dynasty month when an idea comes to mind, you have to roll with it. I felt convicted this week, and I wanted to share those convictions for the 2024 season with you. You may have heard me preach about one or two of these from the rooftop, but I felt it was time to put pen to paper. What are those convictions, and who do they involve? Let’s take a look!

Kyle Monangai Is HIM

Ok, we’ve gone over this a bunch at this point, but this is my number one conviction of the summer. Monangai is not only the safest running back in rounds 3-5, but he could easily end up as a top 10 RB in 2024. He’s currently being selected as the RB27, or 57th overall in CFF leagues, which is insanely late for what he’s about to do. I routinely take him at the end of the third round and consider it a great pick every time. 

Courtesy of Rutgers Athletics

Monangai and Rutgers need to face good opponents or worse to be effective, and that’s exactly what they’ll see in 2024. Last season, Monangai ran for 998 yards and 8 TDs on 178 carries against unranked teams. Against ranked teams, that stat line was 64/264/0. The Rutgers 2024 schedule has at most two ranked teams on the docket, with Virginia Tech potentially sneaking into the top 25 before the end of September, and maybe Wisconsin hits that mark by Week 7. They avoid Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State, meaning the defenses they face this season are among the worst in the conference. And when Rutgers faced unranked teams, they scored over 30 points per game compared to just over seven points per game vs. ranked opponents. 

Schedule aside; this team will have the Greek Rifle at quarterback rather than rushing threat Gavin Wimsatt. This means that the 11 rushing TDs we saw from the quarterback position in 2023 are likely all the way down to 2-3. How does an excellent running back in Monangai only score eight times on 242 attempts? The coaching staff remains the same, meaning we should see a heavy dosage of Monangai and one with TDs who need to find a home. That home is Kyle Monangai. 

Malachi Nelson Isn’t

Do I think that Nelson is a good quarterback? Yes! Do I believe that he’s worth rostering in 2024 best ball leagues? Probably not. He has three career passing attempts and goes to an offense focused on handing off the ball to a top-two CFF running back in 2024. Ashton Jeanty is an elite option in college football that will take away from Nelson’s overall upside. Jambres Dubar is an incredible replacement for George Holani, and while I don’t think that’s a 1 for 1 trade, it’s probably closer than we’d like to think.

So, the offense has an elite run game, so what?! Well, the volume isn’t here for a quarterback with no rushing upside to be drafted this offseason. In 2023, Taylen Green, Maddux Madsen, and CJ Tiller combined for 26 passing attempts per game and 20 total passing TDs. If Nelson can’t provide value on the ground, how will he become a quarterback with value at less than 30 attempts per game?

Jacob Zeno is the Best QB Value on the Board

Zeno is a really, really, really, really good value in best ball drafts right now. He’s currently being taken as the QB41, but I have him in the mid-20s regarding QB ranks. I have him over Preston Stone, Miller Moss, Riley Leonard, Noah Fifita, and Shedeur Sanders, among many others. He’s my QB24 as of writing this, and it’s because he’s an average to decent runner who took a big step up in the passing game in 2023. This guy went from a 57% completion rate and 5:3 TD to INT ratio on 102 attempts last season to a 73.6% and 20:9 TD to INT ratio on 379 passing attempts. He improved under the tutelage of Trent Dilfer.

Courtesy of WVTM13

What’s wild about Zeno’s season is that he generated 26+ fantasy points in six of his first eight games last season. He performed well in four of the final five games of the 2023 season but had games of 0, 0, 1, 2, and 5 TD passes. Fantasy production consistency wasn’t there, even though he performed pretty decently as a passer.

Great news on the final stretch of the season, though. The overall schedule is super soft, and looking at the final few games, UAB faces big-time matchups in USF, UConn, Rice, Charlotte, Memphis, and Tulsa in the back half of the season. At the very least, four of those are great matchups for Zeno. 

In my latest Champion Series drafts, he was QB36 (I took him) and QB42 (I did not take him) off the board. 

Jeremiah Smith is a Final Round Pick at Best in Best Ball Drafts

While Smith is an insanely talented freshman likely to be the next Marvin Harrison Jr., he’s not worth investing in this year for best-ball purposes. I say this considering him a starter, too! Emeka Egbuka should be the WR1 in this Chip Kelly offense that, historically speaking, has not produced great WR1 performances, so why should we be drafting their WR2 at all? If it continues to be the Ryan Day offense, there is more appeal here, but not by much. Last year’s WR2 for Ohio State produced a stat line of 41/514/4 in 10 games.

The quarterback battle certainly doesn’t help people feel better about taking Smith in drafts. Will Howard has been unimpressive. In my eyes, Devin Brown has always been a run-first quarterback. The freshman looks like a freshman. With the addition of Quinshon Judkins and the return of TreVeyon Henderson, this team will lean on the run and make it difficult for Smith to be worth much in 2024 best ball drafts. 

Tez Johnson Outproduces Evan Stewart in 2024

Stewart transferred to Oregon this offseason, and it’s like everyone forgot who Johnson is and what he did in 2023. They forget what he did at Troy for the first three years of his career! Stewart is an extremely talented player with more NFL value than Tez, but if we’re talking strictly CFF, give me Tez all day, every day, and twice on Sunday.

Tez goes into 2024 playing essentially hurt-free in his four years of college football (unlike Evan Stewart) and is familiar with the offensive system that Oregon wants to run, going for 86/1,182/10 last season. The knock I see on him is that his brother is no longer the quarterback for Oregon. Sure, nepotism does exist, and I’m sure that being Bo Nix’s brother helped, but did Tez have a brother playing at Troy in 2021 and 2022? He led the team in receptions and yards in those two seasons as a true sophomore/junior. 

I hate being negative, but would we feel the same about Stewart if he didn’t have the big recruiting stars and consideration for the NFL? Stewart was great in the first two games of the 2023 season before not breaking the 60-yard mark in six straight games. Do you know who outperformed Stewart in those games? Ainias Smith went for 71, 78, 88, and 118 yards in four of those “couldn’t break 60” games. Do you want me to believe that a guy that Ainias Smith outshined will outperform Tez Johnson? Hard pass. 

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