Eight weeks of the 2021 college football season are in the books. By now, the playoff picture is probably shaping up across the campus side of your C2C leagues. If you’re in the hunt, that’s great! I hope some of our advice this season has helped get you to that point. Traditionally, six teams make the playoffs in a typical twelve-team league. If I did the math correctly, 50% of all teams are on the outside looking in.
If you have enough teams, odds are at least one has disappointed you this year. Maybe you couldn’t avoid the injury bug, losing players like Cam’Ron Harris, Kayshon Boutte, and Donavon Greene without enough depth to compensate. Perhaps you have the 2021 All-Disappointment Squad on your rosters, with DJ Uiagalelei, Michael Penix, Jaden Walley, and most of the UGA offense all mocking you from your bench.
We talk a lot about moves that contending teams should make at this point in the season to bolster the playoff run, but there’s a lack of advice for teams on the opposite end of things. The nice thing about college fantasy is that it’s easier to rebuild a slumping squad. The turnover each offseason coupled with 130 rosters to choose from gives a vast player pool that is constantly changing. So have no fear! Here is the Unofficial Campus2Canton Guide for Teams That Are Bad But Want to be Good SomedayTM.
If you are one of these aforementioned struggling teams, there are some moves that you MUST make before your trade deadline closes. The first big piece of advice I’d give any such team: trade away all of your CFF seniors. These players are not of any use to you at this point, and if they don’t have a significant NFL future, they will essentially retire on your team. Below is a non-exhaustive list of players that should net you a draft pick in round five or better for 2022:
- Bailey Zappe, QB – Western Kentucky
- Hendon Hooker, QB – Tennessee
- Ronnie Rivers, RB – Fresno St.
- Tyler Badie, RB – Missouri
- Mateao Durant, RB – Duke
- Calvin Turner, RB/WR – Hawaii
- Deven Thompkins, WR – Utah St.
- Justin Hall, WR – Ball St.
There are plenty of other seniors you should consider moving, and they might not bring a significant return. That’s fine, though; even a 13th round pick is better than losing players for nothing. Be careful trading away seniors that may hold some standalone value in the NFL like Calvin Austin III, Kenny Pickett, or Brian Robinson Jr. I don’t know how the NFL will value some of these guys yet, which may make a trade risky.
The acquisition phase should be similar to the approach you’d take in a typical dynasty league; shed the older guys on the roster and get younger. Beyond draft picks, several young players are probably not helping teams win this season. Here are some of my favorites from that group:
Evan Pryor, RB – Ohio State: Pryor was wholly overshadowed by teammate TreVeyon Henderson this offseason, but he’s a strong prospect in his own right. The No. 6 RB in the 2021 class, Pryor, has solid size at 5’10” and 198 lbs. and possesses a well-rounded skill set. We got to see Pryor a bit this past weekend against Indiana, and he looked solid, running 11 times for 48 yards. Pryor may establish himself as the second back at OSU this offseason, which holds decent value. If he doesn’t, the odds are strong that he transfers elsewhere. Either scenario is a nice boost for him, and you can probably get him as a throw-in.
Deion Smith/Brian Thomas Jr./Chris Hilton/Malik Nabers, WRs – LSU: LSU’s 2021 receiver class was overshadowed by Bama’s, but it was strong in its own right. All four of these receivers were in the top 40 of the 247 Composite, including three in the top 15 (Smith, Thomas, and Hilton). They’ve all flashed at times this year, but LSU’s up-and-down season has ultimately held back their production. A new head coach may shake things up, but the talent on the roster could compete immediately with the correct hire.
Evan Prater, QB – Cincinnati: The manager currently rostering Prater likely knows what they have, so you don’t have to slow-play your intentions. Prater is very similar stylistically to current starter Desmond Ridder and will almost certainly step into his place in 2022. With his rushing upside, Prater could be a top 15 CFF QB next season, which makes him a shiny target for teams offloading senior talent. A team desperate to compete could be convinced with the right package.
Others I’m enquiring about:
- Clay Millen, QB – Nevada
- Donaven McCulley, QB – Indiana
- Kamarro Edmonds, RB – UNC
- Adonai Mitchell, WR – Georgia
Not all leagues function with weekly waivers on the campus side, but it’s time to take advantage of this setting if they do. There will always be seniors that can’t be traded because they aren’t appealing enough to spend real capital on. Those guys can all be cut and replaced with some youth.
AJ Green, WR/RB – Arkansas: Green has rotated in at running back for Arkansas this season and has flashed his big-play ability. Green has excellent size at 5’11” and over 200 lbs. and is a plus athlete. The Arkansas backfield has a lot of bodies, but current leader Trelon Smith should be gone this offseason, freeing up touches. Green’s versatility should get him 10-15 touches per game and make him an intriguing prospect when the NFL comes calling. Only 6% rostered on Fantrax; check that wire to see if he’s still floating around out there.
Stefan Cobbs, WR – Boise St: Boise’s leading receiver Khalil Shakir is headed to the NFL this offseason, opening a major fantasy role for someone. My money is on Cobbs, a dynamic player who can also contribute on special teams. Cobbs is on the wire in 5/14 of my leagues, and I hold him in two others, so the availability is fairly high. He could be a significant contributor in 2022.
Carson Steele, RB – Ball St.: While Ball State does not have a high-end rushing game this season, they’ve been a strong rushing team in the past. True freshman Carson Steele has slowly taken over the backfield this year and is in line to take over entirely in 2022. Steele is 6% rostered on Fantrax but is an excellent stash as we head into the offseason.