Every season we’re reminded why College Football is the best sport in the world. This weekend in a “down” slate, we saw the college football landscape completely change. On Saturday, we had two Top-10 teams lose, including the Pac-12 rising out of the shadows to get a statement-making win with Oregon beating Ohio State. Texas found out what an SEC schedule will feel like after getting outmatched by Arkansas, and we were all reminded why you never bet on Brock Purdy as the favorite in any matchup. EVER.
One other storyline we are seeing related to fantasy is just who we can start counting on in our Devy and C2C leagues. Slowly values are rising and falling based on actual play on the field. Not narratives created by analysts in the off-season. This season I will be bringing you a weekly column on navigating the college football landscape and its ever-changing devy values. Value can be difficult to judge, especially in leagues where there are so many different types of managers. But it’s good to get out in front of your league mates, especially in C2C. Let’s dive in.
WR Wan’Dale Robinson (JR – Kentucky) 5’11″, 185 lbs
In two games this season for Kentucky, Wan’dale Robinson has played exceptionally well and already has ten receptions for 226 yards and two touchdowns. He’s also added 73 yards on the ground. Robinson looked electric on Saturday against Missouri.
On Saturday, I tweeted out the smartest thing he did was leave that dumpster fire of a program at Nebraska. People forgot that Robinson is one of the most explosive talents in college football and one of the most versatile. Kentucky is using him all over the field in their scheme, and it’s opening up the field for their running backs, particularly Chris Rodriguez Jr, who is seeing fewer defenders in the box this season. Robinson and quarterback Will Levis also seem to have a strong connection. He’s averaging 25.5 FPts per game right now, which makes him a must-start in C2C formats. He’s also increasing his draft stock with every game, and he possesses all the necessary skills the NFL is looking for in receivers. The scary part is I don’t think he’s reached his ceiling yet.
WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba (So – Ohio State) 6’0”, 198 lbs
Jaxon Smith-Njigba is someone who I have been high on before his freshman season at Ohio State. The moment I turned on his taupe from high school, I fell in love with everything I saw. He was one of the best receivers to come out of Texas in recent years, where he compiled 5,346 receiving yards and scored 82 touchdowns. He was an absolute monster and produced those numbers against Texas’s largest classification (Class 6A). He’s an elite talent with elite skills. Smith-Njibga could have the best hands on the Ohio State depth chart, and he can be lined up anywhere on the field. He’s a versatile receiver who has the speed to play on the outside but is also a technical route runner who can excel in the slot. Not to mention he’s one of the best athletes at the receiver position.
All those skills were on full display Saturday against Oregon. He had seven receptions for 145 yards and two touchdowns in the Buckeyes loss. But his performance needs to be recognized. Jaxon is my WR2 in the 2023 class. That may be higher than others, but he will have a breakout year this year and should be Ohio State’s WR1 in 2022. I have no doubt he’ll be a star.
RB Rasheen Ali (RS Fr – Marshall) 6’0” 201 lbs
Rasheen Ali is still only rostered in 21% of Fantrax leagues while averaging 26.55 FPts per game. While those numbers are a bit inflated by a four-touchdown performance in week one against Navy, he did follow up that performance with 100 total yards and a touchdown last week in a blowout win. Ali should be someone that everyone is trying to acquire in C2C leagues. As a redshirt freshman, he’s a valuable asset on any roster and could see a rise in value over the next two years. Ali seems to be the preferred running back in the Redzone, and with his receiving capabilities, he’s a must-add. Ali also has a backfield Dominator rating of .59, which is well above the average you want to see from your backs. Get your waiver claims in now.
RB Harrison Waylee (Fr – Northern Illinois) 5’10” 185 lbs
After rushing for 456 yards and one touchdown last season, Harrison Waylee is slowly becoming one of the most exciting players in college football this season. On Saturday, the Huskie freshman recorded his fourth consecutive 100-yard rushing game with a career-high 179 yards on 26 carries versus Wyoming that included a career-long 75-yard touchdown run. Waylee had 18 carries in the second half averaging 10.1 yards per carry. He was named MAC West Offensive Player of the Week for his performance and could very well be the best running back in the MAC.
As a runner, he’s patient and has good contact balance. He’s proven to have top-end speed and has produced numbers against Power 5 programs. Not only is he a C2C asset, but he may also very well become a devy asset. With the MAC schedule coming up, we could see fantasy points galore from Waylee. He’ll be a must-watch as soon as MACtion is back!
Kedon Slovis (JR – USC) 6’3”, 205 lbs
Before the 2021 season, I wrote an article about the riskiest players to roster in Devy/C2C formats. Kedon Slovis was on the top of that list for all the reasons that you saw against Stanford. USC got entirely outmatched by a Stanford team that lost to Kansas State the week prior. The fallout from that loss is still happening, including Clay Helton losing his job yesterday. Slovis was also uninspiring. His stat line was modest. He threw for 223 yards and one touchdown, including one pick-six and almost another that the defender dropped.
While Slovis has shown flashes of his talent, he struggles with accuracy, as demonstrated by a 4.9% drop in completion rate last season. Although that’s alarming, his lack of arm strength concerns me the most, along with his lack of functional athleticism. There is a very real scenario where True Freshman Jaxson dart may end up starting this season for USC. If that happens, we could be looking at Slovis transferring or declaring for the NFL draft. If he does declare, there is no way he’ll earn Round 1 draft capital, which is a death sentence for quarterbacks with his profile. With Slovis, you should be hoping he transfers and finds success somewhere next season. But in reality, you should have traded him when you had the chance.
Kaleb Eleby (RS So – Western Michigan) 6’1”, 210 lbs
Kaleb Eleby was a hot name among devy analysts heading into the 2021 season. Last year he was a Third Team All-MAC player, and he ranked third in FBS in passer rating in 2020 (195.08), trailing only Heisman Trophy finalist Mac Jones and BYU’s Zach Wilson. He also led a WMU offense that ranked among the top-10 nationally in points per game (41.7) and16th in FBS in total offense (479.7 yards per game).
All signs pointed to him having an excellent offensive output this year. Unfortunately, in two games, he was only thrown for 365 yards and two touchdowns. At the same time, we can’t hold his matchup versus Michigan against him even though that defense is suspect. The concerning part is he had a great matchup this last weekend against Illinois State and didn’t fare much better. As you can see below, his numbers have been efficient, but they have left little to be desired in C2C leagues. Right now, he’s not startable in those formats, and with his off-season ADP (QB47), he’s trending to be a bust. Especially with Florida QB Anthony Richardson’s ADP being QB43.