Welcome to the inaugural Pulse of the CFF Nation! The plan is to hit on five items each week that should be pertinent, actionable information. This isn’t intended to be a waiver wire or sit/start article, but rather just some musings for you to apply to your leagues how you see fit. Now that we have a couple of weeks to use as data points, let’s discuss a few trends I am seeing that could impact the season moving forward. This week’s Pulse of the Nation will focus primarily on players that I am warming up to or cooling on as we head into Week 3.
Four Players That You Should Be Cooling On
Drake Maye, QB North Carolina
This may come as a surprise to some, but not those who read my pre-season stock-down report. There is no doubt that Maye is an unbelievable QB. However, this staff wants to be more balanced in order to give the defense a fighter’s chance (Instead of the DC wanting to fight the OC like last season). Additionally, UNC simply doesn’t have the stud WRs that Maye had last year. Imagine playing an entire game in regulation last year against App State and Maye not getting a single TD. That happened a week ago. Maye will certainly have his moments, but it could become difficult to count on him as your QB1.
Diego Pavia, QB New Mexico State
Pavia has been seemingly teetering on the edge of benching in all three games so far. His Jekyll and Hyde performances within each game are a major cause for concern. NMSU brought in Eli Stowers over the offseason, and the former A&M QB/ATH is good enough with his legs to run the same system as Pavia. His leash should be shorter than an Oompa Loompa after the six turnovers in losses to UMass and Liberty. Don’t be surprised if Jerry Kill gives Pavia the hook or rotates QBs soon if this inconsistent play continues.
DJ Irons, QB Akron
Things aren’t looking great for the Akron offense, and Irons is at the heart of that concern. Yes, plays per game are down across the country, but Akron is averaging 15 fewer plays per game than last season through games two games this year. Volume was always the appealing thing of the JoMo QB, but Irons only has seven designed runs/scrambles. The poor OL play has led to sacks that resulted in -23 rushing yards so far. Yes, he did miss a half vs. Morgan State, but that is part of the concern with Irons. He can’t seem to stay healthy, and this OL isn’t able to protect him. Even if you are waiting for MACtion, Akron’s 274 total yards/game vs. Morgan State and Temple isn’t much of an endorsement for conference play.
Nakia Watson, RB, Washington State
Watson is currently averaging over 11 PPG, so you may not be alarmed yet if you drafted him. But Watson has 76 total yards on 23 touches through two games. Maybe we see a positive regression with his abysmal 2.3 YPC, but OC Ben Arbuckle has a short but wretched track record with RB1 production. Add in a clear use of the QB run game around the goal line, as we saw with three designed QB run TDs in week 1, and there is certainly cause for concern here.
So, Who Are We Warming Up To???
Kevin Concepcion and Juice Vereen, NC State
The freshman receiving duo for the Wolfpack made major strides from Week 1 to Week 2 and are trending in the right direction. They saw their snap count rise from 43 for Concepcion and six for Vereen in Week 1 to 53 and 38 snaps in Week 2. Uncoincidentally, their targets increased from five and zero in Week 1 to eleven and seven targets in Week 2. The game script likely played a role in the change, but the two freshmen getting so much run and 18 targets in a big spot against Notre Dame means something moving forward.
Thank you for joining me on this week’s Pulse of the CFF Nation. Expect the pulse to be taken weekly, covering a variety of CFF-related topics.