WSU’s new OC brings an elite system with him from WKU – this WR (and your CFF team) could be major beneficiaries of this in 2023!
You guys just pull out all the stops. You really do. Whenever I stay at a White Lotus, I always have a memorable time. Always.
– Tanya, White Lotus
That quote reflects the experience we want you to have here at C2C and VolumePigs when reading these articles — entertaining yet informative is the goal. The quote derives from the fictional White Lotus character Tanya McQuoid, who says this to the hotel manager upon her arrival in Sicily. I was contemplating using a different quote of hers to open the article today. Another favorite of mine: “Do you have any Oreo cookie cake?” Tanya asks this of one of the Lotus staffers during the breakfast buffet. It’s an absurd request, but when you pride yourself on delivering the highest quality, you do what you have to do to keep your constituents happy. Today I am pulling out all the stops to highlight a recent JuCo transfer who found his way onto the Washington State Cougars (WSU) roster this offseason: DT Sheffield.
I know there will be some groans upon seeing the title of this article. I know many in the CFF community have been enjoying an extremely low price tag on Sheffield this offseason. With the spotlight on him, the price might be a little steeper. But, if it brings you any comfort, many in the CFF community still do not read VP articles (which perhaps makes this a good time to plug my platform and suggest that you spread the word). Our guy will still be a late-round sleeper for you to acquire in most formats of your leagues. That’s good news because he offers a lot of upside in an offense that could see a major improvement from last season.
Now, I don’t know if the familiar structure of these articles bothers the readers (feedback is welcome). As someone who spent a lot of time in the pure mathematics department in my undergrad, I try to apply the techniques I saw professors use when introducing new material from their classroom to mine. That is — following a familiar structure that hopefully teaches the viewer how to think about the task laid before them. By placing emphasis on the system first, I want the reader to understand that a lot of what makes or breaks the CFF profiles of these players is simply the circumstances that they’re in — not necessarily their raw ability or where they’re going to get drafted in the NFL. That’s usually a big eye-opener for many new CFF players, especially those who come from the training wheels version of fantasy *cough* I mean NFL fantasy. So with that being said, let’s get into it.
Coaching & System
First and foremost, I should say that I have written about WSU’s QB Cam Ward already, and the article is on VolumePigs. If you have a high interest in investing in the Cougs this season, I suggest giving that one a look too. In it, I do a breakdown of the staff, focusing on their previous QB production. Today we’ll do the same but from the WR angle.
Starting at the top, WSU head coach Jake Dickert took over from Nick Rolovich in 2021. With a background in coaching on the defensive side of the ball, I won’t spend much time going through his history.
The latest addition to the Cougs’ staff is OC Ben Arbuckle. Arbuckle was formerly the co-OC and QBs coach at Western Kentucky (WKU) in 2022 and the offensive quality control coach in 2021. He served in the same role with Kittley at FCS school Houston Baptist (HBU) in 2018 and 2019.
Admittedly, I always like when the coach in question is a fairly new commodity in college football. It means less research and writing in these articles (hurray!). In our case today, Arbuckle has only been the play caller once, which was last season. In that campaign, Arbuckle’s lead receiver — Malachi Corley (slot receiver), was targeted 141 times, catching 101 for 1,293 yards and 11 TDs (21.8 FPG). The season was no fluke. The year prior, while running the same WKU offense, Kittley (2021 WKU OC) ran a system in which slot receiver Jerreth Sterns caught 150 passes for 1,902 yards and 17 TDs. Arbuckle now brings that system to WSU.
If there’s one main takeaway from this section, it should be that the slot receiver in this offense is usually very productive.
WR DT Sheffield — 5’9 “, 170
Sheffield attended Northwest Mississippi CC out of high school between 2020 and 2022. He was named NJCAA All-America Honorable Mention in his third season while appearing in 12 games. He caught 58 passes for 776 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging 13.4 yards-per-catch and 11.3 yards-per-punt return on 20 punt returns, including one for a touchdown. His 2021 season was better from a numbers standpoint. In 12 games, he accumulated 1,089 receiving yards and ten touchdowns on 57 receptions. He was rated a three-star prospect by ESPN.com, Rivals.com, and 247Sports.com and rated the fourth-best junior college wide receiver in the country by ESPN.com.
Judging by his build, I’d say it’s a good bet that he will be the slot guy in this offense. He’s already been making moves this spring — when asked about WSU’s playmakers during camp earlier this year, Dickert had this to say:
I think DT Sheffield has been a really bright spot in our offense . . . who is going to pick up that slack in the slot — he’s done a good job making some big, explosive plays. And today, we finally see him do some things with the ball in his hands and making people miss.
DT, Carlos, Josh Kelly is another one that has brought a lot of consistency to our wide receiver play
Sheffield caught three passes for 121 yards and a touchdown in the spring game; fellow WSU WR Josh Kelly also had a big day, with three grabs for 82 yards.
With Cam Ward entering year two, this offense should be more effective than last year. That will be good news for all of the WRs but especially our guy Sheffield if he’s the main target man from the slot. Sheffield currently offers CFF managers massive upside at a relatively low cost (sorry in advance if the ADP jumps), so I’d say his CFF profile is very attractive headed into 2023.
- He is jumping up several levels in competition. It’s one thing to go from JuCo to the G5 level. Our guy is going straight to the highest level in the P5. We saw Ward take time to adjust last year, and truthfully, the jury is still out on him, so some caution needs to be applied in drafting Sheffield.
- WSU brought in a lot of WRs this offseason — there is UNLV’s Kyle Williams, the aforementioned Sheffield, and Fresno State WR Josh Kelly. I’m going to assume this offense is going to be so heavy in pass volume that it will be sufficient to feed multiple mouths, so to speak, but that’s me projecting based on the WKU offense.
- I am banking on Ward taking the next step this season. If he continues to struggle, then the situation is less attractive, but there is probably still some value due to the system alone.