For college fantasy purposes, there is not a division deeper than the SEC West. Loaded with NFL talent from Tuscaloosa to College Station with stops in Death Valley and Oxford on the way, the West is the best. And we have saved the best for last.
- Fantasy Relevant
- Roster Fillers
- Player to avoid at ADP
All teams are listed in alphabetical order.
ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
Can I just say the whole team? It starts with sophomore QB Bryce Young, the second-ranked player in the 2020 recruiting class. He’s incredibly dangerous when plays break down and has an All-American squad of receivers and backs to throw to.
Brian Robinson Jr., senior RB, finally gets the chance to lead the team and be productive. He will likely not be an NFL asset, and should he be less than stellar, Robinson has a few younger backs nipping at his heels.
John Metchie III, junior WR, had over 900 yards and six scores in 2020 while playing second fiddle to Heisman winner Devonta Smith. Metchie is now the WR1 and should have a big season. He’s got quick feet, speed, and creates separation at all levels.
Head Coach Nick Saban doesn’t typically play freshmen, but Agiye Hall will break that trend. This is not confirmed by anyone at the program, but Hall has the skills to produce right away and is one of the most talented in the WR corps. I think he sees the field and doesn’t leave once he makes a few big catches. Hall needs development, but he has the alpha dog mentality I love to see in receivers.
It’s tough to find fillers on this roster full of future NFL talent. Most are either relevant or stashes. Explosive speed is the calling card for transfer sophomore Jameson Williams, and he will have a role in the offense. I am not sold on him being enough of a complete receiver to succeed at the next level or be consistent enough for college fantasy.
On the edge of Fillers and Stashes lies the number one back in the 2019 recruiting class, Trey Sanders. If Robinson falters, it could be Sanders getting the ball If he gets a full shot and can stay healthy, he’s a stash and producer. But if he gets a chance and can’t hold the job, he is a roster filler. Sanders has the talent, but time is running out for him to prove it.
In a different world, Jalen Milroe would be in a much better spot to see the field. He’s a dangerous running QB who improvises and has a nice arm. But he’s mired behind Young and will not likely see the field until 2023 at the earliest – unless he transfers.
The same holds for sophomore RB Jase McClellan. He’s likely the most talented back in the Crimson Tide’s war chest, but he’s waiting his turn. McClellan’s average ADP is 22.8, a full 100 spots higher than Robinson’s (131), and everyone seems to know McClellan is the stud back. Tell it to Saban! Behind him, the Tide brought in a freshman 5-star, Camar Wheaton, and he’s the next after McClellan. Sophomore Roydell Williams, a 4-star, also lurks somewhere in the depth chart. The cupboard never gets bare at Alabama.
At WR, there are a few crazy talented freshmen who will likely see some work in 2021 but then be starters next season. Jacorey Brooks, a 5-star and the third-ranked WR in the class, is a big receiver that runs crisp routes and has phenomenal hands. He’s a perfect fit to be the X-receiver for the Tide but could take a year to see a full snap count. Brooks could emerge this season if I am wrong on Hall.
JoJo Earle, a 4-star from Aledo, Texas, will likely see time this season on returns, but I could see Saban and new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien creatively finding a way to get Earle the ball. He’s an athletic freak, capable of breaking big plays on every touch. Earle has ridiculously fast feet and can change directions without losing speed.
The fourth member of the insane freshmen class, 4-star Christian Leary, has good speed and route running, but I wasn’t overwhelmed by his tape. He could find a role; it’s a popular school of thought that he could transfer as well.
Players to Avoid at ADP
Treylon Burks, a 4-star WR from Warren, Arkansas, is the unquestioned star for the Razorbacks. He only caught 51 balls for 820 yards and seven TDs in 2020, so it doesn’t look like much on paper. Especially with the numbers Devonta Smith and Ja’Marr Chase had the past two seasons.
Burks is every bit as dominant but on an offense lacking explosion and a true difference-making QB. He is the WR1 in our ADP, off the board around pick 10, and tied in the WR1 spot on our rankings with Kayshon Boutte. Burks is a big dominant receiver with speed. He plays similarly and has nearly the same athletic profile as D.K. Metcalf. Burks has the alpha dog mentality; the ball is his when thrown in his area, and he loves to get physical. He will be one of the top WRs in the 2022 draft, but unfortunately, his offense limits him some for college fantasy.
Trelon Smith is a redshirt junior RB, formerly played at Arizona State, and may be able to get you some college production. He’s a smaller back at 5’9” and 190 pounds, had 710 yards rushing at a 5.3 YPC clip with 22 receptions in 2020. Smith should see a sizeable workload and produce in 2021, but I don’t see him being an NFL asset.
Redshirt sophomore K.J. Jefferson is the starting QB, and he’s a big dude at 6’3” and 245 pounds. He has the athleticism to be dangerous running but doesn’t run often and needs to improve his accuracy drastically to be a college fantasy asset. Jefferson is worth a roster spot and could have some decent games.
Freshman Ketron Jackson could fill in for Burks after he departs for the NFL. Jackson has strong hands and a long stride, which allows him to cover ground quickly. He’s a bit raw, but the potential is there, and I like him for a stash.
The man they call “Rocket,” freshman RB Raheim Sanders, could push for playing time this season, and he’s a fun prospect. Sanders has elite speed once he gets to full speed, and his ability to cut and change direction makes him very dangerous. He has a three-down back size at 6’1” and 220 pounds and could be one of the best backs in the SEC with development.
Another freshman, A.J. Green, is down on the depth chart but has the tools to climb it very quickly and possibly start as soon as 2022. Green is a phenomenal athlete with serious speed and the ability to break through tackles. He’s another raw guy, but the 4-star RB has serious potential.
Players to Avoid at ADP
Is it possible we are too high on Burks? He’s a monster, but players with his skill set don’t always succeed, and the NFL has gotten away from big receivers more. I still think he will eat at the next level, but I can understand apprehension taking him as the first WR in C2C and Devy.
Auburn released its two-deep depth chart this Monday, and a few names could find their way onto your squads. The big name in Auburn is sophomore RB Tank Bigsby. He lives up to his name but is more than just a power back. Bigsby should be one of the top five backs taken in devy and C2C leagues. He has good footwork, cuts, decent top-end speed, and is a smooth pass-catcher. Bigsby is another of my favorites and worth breaking the bank for – he is going to be a three-down back at the next level.
Former 5-star recruit Bo Nix is the QB and butt of many jokes, mainly due to not living up to the pedigree with good talent around him. Every year we are teased of him making improvements and realizing potential. Is this the year?
Senior Demetris Robertson, a 5-star and WR1 in the 2016 class, is one of the wideouts hoping to emerge after the departure of Seth Williams. So is sophomore WR Ze’Vian Capers, a 4-star and another big target for Nix. Ahead of him is another senior, though, Shedrick Jackson. Should any emerge and garners attention from Nix, they could be college producers, but I wouldn’t bet on any at this point.
Dematrius Davis is the next in line after NIx leaves, and he is a playmaker. Davis is a bit short at 5’10” for QB, but we have seen that not matter as much in recent years. He can make plays with his legs and arm and could inject some excitement into an Auburn offense that needs it.
A name garnering buzz in camp and listed on the two-deep, freshman WR Tar’varish Dawson is a speedy cat with impressive skills. The departure of Anthony Schwartz left the Tigers with a need, a need for speed. Can Dawson fill it this season? Keep an eye on Auburn and Dawson.
Players to Avoid at ADP
I wanted to say Bo Nix, but I will be nice. Nobody to avoid here!
As Bubba Sparxx would agree, it’s all about the Boutte – superstar sophomore WR Kayshon Boutte. This is the season we see a meteoric rise for the future NFL wideout. We all remember the 14 catches for 308 yards with three scores against Ole Miss to cap LSU’s regular season. Boutte is capable of that every week and capable of being the most dominant player in college football. He’s quick off the line, accelerates and cuts on a dime, and can be moved all over.
Sophomore QB Max Johnson was at the helm for that big game and is primed for a huge season. An injury to Myles Brennan handed the job over to Johnson, but I am one of many who thought it should have been his job anyhow. He threw for 674 yards, eight TDs, and only one pick in the final two games. More importantly, the team won those two games versus Florida, and Ole Miss. Johnson is a winner and has a strong NFL pedigree, son of former NFL QB Brad Johnson (talk about making me feel old).
Juniors Tyrion Davis-Price and John Emery Jr. are listed as co-starters, but Davis-Price may miss the beginning of the season. If Davis-Price comes back and gets the lion’s share of the carries – I think both of these backs belong in this category. If Emery balls out versus UCLA and doesn’t look back, I will breathe a sigh of relief, and he could be fantasy-relevant this season. Emery has the pedigree, a former 5-star and RB2 in the class, but hasn’t been able to put it together. He’s an impressive athlete, and I’m not out entirely. But time is running out, just like I said above, with the RB ranked ahead of him in that class – Trey Sanders.
Opposite of Boutte, junior Jaray Jenkins has received the starting nod. He’s a lanky receiver who flashed a little last season, but I don’t know if he can hold off the freshman duo below.
Freshman Brian Thomas Jr. is pushing to be a starter already and may not even belong on this list. Thomas was a player I was down on, but he is impressing and is listed as a possible starter versus UCLA. I thought he might need some more time to develop after a senior year in which his production dipped. His quickness and large catch radius are phenomenal, and we will see them this season.
Another freshman and one I thought could see the field, WR Deion Smith, is a name to stash as he should see the field soon too. He’s got a great first step and acceleration, plus the long gait which eats up space quickly. Smith is more of a vertical threat but could develop into more. Chris Hilton is also waiting in the wings, and he projects more as a dangerous slot guy with speed to destroy defenses after the catch. He’s dangerous as a route runner and in tight spaces but tracks the ball well also. These LSU freshman receivers, man, Ohio State and Alabama get all the press, but the Tigers have a nasty trio too.
Oh, there are highly regarded RB freshmen too. Armoni Goodwin and Corey Kiner are both 4-stars and bring different, yet impressive skillsets to the Tigers. Goodwin is the burner but not only a burner. He can run inside and get long gains but then if he gets in the open field… he gone. Kiner will bring the thump. He has a strong, compact build and loves to run through people. He can cut and finds lanes quickly and decisively. These players give LSU something to build on, and either could emerge – my money is on Goodwin.
Lastly, why not throw a 4-star freshman QB in the mix? Next season, Garrett Nussmeier could have the job if Johnson doesn’t impress and Brennan never returns full strength. Nussmeier is an accurate passer who can make throws to all levels. He’s not a runner but has quick feet and moves around well, throwing on the run with accuracy. Ultimately, a season to learn and bulk up would help, and Nussmeier could be ready to be the man in Baton Rouge.
Players to Avoid at ADP
Most of the Tigers have ADPs that reflect how unsure we are of them going forward, and most could end up being huge values.
MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS
Normally a Mike Leach offense would be ripe with, at the very least, college production. The starting QB for the season is not even determined, and it’s between sophomore Will Rogers and JUCO transfer Chance Lovertich. Leach is not committing to either on the first two-deep depth chart.
I don’t have much faith in the offense, except for sophomore RB Jo’Quavious Marks. Marks caught 60 passes in his freshman season, albeit at only a 4.5 yards per reception mark. He is listed as a co-starter with sophomore Dillon Johnson. Neither have NFL builds, but Leach has featured backs with immense pass-catching numbers in the past – we haven’t forgotten you, Max Borghi – and at the least, Marks will be a fantasy asset.
I would also be remiss, not to mention sophomore Jaden Walley, the apple of our own Austin Nace’s eye. Walley had an impressive freshman season, with over 700 yards on 52 catches. He should be the dominant pass catcher and capable of fantasy-relevant weeks, but I would like to see more QB stability before starting him consistently.
I wish I was more excited for receivers like Makai Polk, Malik Heath, and Jamire Calvin, but they aren’t moving the needle – even as roster fillers. The offense could score, but I see a distribution amongst the WRs for this season. Not one guy dominating the target share. If one did, it would be Walley.
Freshman QB Sawyer Robertson was a phenomenal recruit for the Bulldogs to land, and he is the future for Mike Leach. Robertson ran a spread offense in high school and had really nice touch and accuracy. It’s the first piece Leach needs to build the offense as he wants it.
Players to Avoid at ADP
OLE MISS REBELS
Redshirt junior QB Matt Corral is the biggest fantasy asset on the Rebels and a possible Heisman candidate. Corral is a gunslinger – the good and the bad – he can throw with the best QBs in college football but is also prone to games where he can turn the ball over three or more times. He is my QB3 in the 2022 eligible class, and I think he cleans it up this season. Corral is going to have a huge 2021 season.
Braylon Sanders will be fighting with a few other receivers for targets, but Corral has shown a good rapport with the senior WR. I would put money on Sanders leading the team in targets and having a huge fantasy season. Sanders is versatile and has great hands and will fill the void left when Elijah Moore took his talents to the Big Apple.
The running back with the most fantasy relevance will be junior Jerrion Ealy. The 5-star RB is a tad small at 5’10” and 200 on the nose, but he is phenomenal. Ealy is explosive, and his ability to change direction and cut with speed is potentially elite. With a full workload, Ealy could have a huge season.
I have seen too many teams drafting junior RB Snoop Conner, and I don’t see it. He’s a filler in all my leagues and should be dropped. Beyond Ealy, Conner isn’t even the backup.
The backup is sophomore Henry Parrish Jr., and he’s got the ability to be a productive college back, but it will likely have to wait until 2022. He has to add some weight to be three-down at the next level, but Parrish is a fun, explosive back and good late pickup.
I feel like every team in the SEC has a 4-star freshman QB, and Luke Altmyer is Ole Miss’s version. He’s a lanky QB with good touch and accuracy, and once Corral departs – Altmyer should be the man.
Bralon Brown is a big, physical freshman I like a lot to become a good college WR. I’d like to see more speed and quicks from him, but Brown is an imposing receiver prospect.
Players to Avoid at ADP
I like the ADP for the Ole Miss players – Corral (40.9), Ealy (58.9), and Sanders (301.1).
TEXAS A&M AGGIES
Haynes King, redshirt freshman QB, gets to take over the reins, and he should be really good for college fantasy. King showed impressive touch and ability to make plays on the run but didn’t impress in the spring game. I am a little more apprehensive about him going into the season, but he will have every chance to prove me wrong. King will be good for fantasy, and his rushing upside adds value.
Junior RB Isaiah Spiller, my top RB in the 2022 eligible class, he’s a lock to be one of the most consistent backs in college fantasy. Spiller is a patient back and can make people miss, with the ability to cut back and run over people too. He has caught 20+ passes in the previous two seasons. Chalk Spiller up for 1,200 yards, 10 TDs, and 30- receptions.
The Aggies like to keep junior RB/WR Ainias Smith involved; he had nearly 100 touches in 2020 and scored 10 times. He had a near-even split with rushes and receptions and can be used all over the formation. Smith has some wheels, with acceleration and burst, and Jimbo Fisher’s staff loves to keep him involved creatively. Smith is a solid fantasy asset with potential for huge games.
The only TE in the SEC that is a must-start, junior Jalen Wydermyer is locked in as TE1 in the 2022 eligible class. I love his size, and he is a nearly complete TE – he loves to block and has the athleticism to be a weapon in the passing game. Wydermyer could be a day one selection in April and is one of the top-20 TEs in college fantasy too.
Sophomore RB Devon Achane gets involved, I don’t see enough consistency in his role to start him. Achane can be used all over and has phenomenal acceleration with quick feet. He could have a role at the next level as a third-down specialist.
Demond Demas, ah yes, the prodigal one. The redshirt freshman and WR3 in the 2020 class was supposed to be the player that elevated the offense to the next level. But instead, he has not seen the field and is suspended for 2021. Demas is a hard pass for me. Guys can mature and evolve, but there are way too many red flags for me.
L.J. Johnson is the freshman who will lead the backfield when Spiller departs. Johnson is a complete back – the power to run over people, speed to pull away, and vision to find the holes. Johnson’s high school tape is impressive, and he has the potential to be the best back in the class. If you stash one freshman in the SEC West, it’s Mr. Johnson.
WIth some bloodlines rooted in a prior NFL receiver, Moose Muhammad III, could be the receiver the Aggies hoped Demas was. Muhammad has strong hands, good speed, and understands how to play WR. I could see him getting targets early in his career and developing quickly into a reliable option.
A few interesting options at TE are behind Wydermyer. Freshman Eli Stowers is a 4-star recruit who came in as a QB but has been moved to TE. He’s got some speed and athletic ability, and it could be fascinating to see him develop. And if he moves back to QB, Stowers has a powerful arm and a lot of raw ability. The other TE is former TE1 in the 2019 recruiting class, Baylor Cupp. Injuries have derailed him, but if he can stay healthy and put it all together – watch out for Cupp. Any prospect Charles Power of 247Sports compares to Travis Kelce has my vote of confidence.
Players to Avoid at ADP
Demas had an average ADP of 67.9 as of August 1st and was taken at pick 58 in a recent mock. No thank you. I can’t pay that price for a player who seems to be taking the bonehead route through college.