News & Analysis

Dynasty/devy values: Fantasy stock of the playoff and New Year's bowl entrants

Jan 1, 2018; New Orleans, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Calvin Ridley (3) reacts during the third quarter against the Clemson Tigers in the 2018 Sugar Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Another season is in the books for dynasty owners, but the work is only beginning. Unlike the lazy redraft owner, those who play dynasty and/or devy understand the importance the offseason plays not just in readjusting player values, but also the critical nature of remaining active. Some dynasty leagues have been built around high activity levels while others provide additional milestones to keep owners engaged throughout the offseason.

With the new year comes a new draft class along with new college prospects. As such, owners should find themselves resolving to increase their trade activity in rookie and devy drafts. This bowl season has provided plenty of fodder for owners looking to build (or rebuild) their teams along with those mining for the next addition to their 2017 championship team. This is the second of two articles (find the first here) diving into the bowl season and in honor of 2018, there are 18 takeaways overall. Here is the second half.

Bryan Edwards is trying to get noticed

The potential 2019 class at wide receiver could become crowded at the top as South Carolina’s Bryan Edwards is looking to muscle his way in. He certainly has the size (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) to push some people around and finished the 2017 season strong with four touchdowns in his last five games, including one against Michigan in the Outback Bowl. Edwards can make people miss, managing to be one of just 38 receivers with ten or more forced missed tackles. Another season where he can show big play ability, especially with tight end Hayden Hurst leaving, could put him in the day one conversation.

Plenty of weapons but no trigger man

Michigan is facing an interesting dilemma this offseason. They have a pair of (soon-to-be) sophomore receivers in Donovan Peoples-Jones and Tarik Black who are both highly regarded. While Black suffered an early foot injury that ended his season, Peoples-Jones led the team in receptions (six) at the Outback Bowl and was just three behind team leader Grant Perry despite being just a freshman. However, the quarterback situation is unsettled with Brandon Peters sputtering against South Carolina last week and uncertainty around new transfer, and former five-star recruit, Shea Patterson’s status for 2018. Devy owners should be watching this situation closely.

Where does the Charknado touch down?

For those looking to find the next big play wide receiver, LSU’s D.J. Chark certainly fits the bill. He had six receptions for 40-plus yards and 45 percent of his receptions went for at least 20 yards. Chark ranked first in yards per reception (21.8) among receivers with at least 40 catches and was one of 20 players with a yards-per route-run average greater than three (3.02). A similar frame (6-foot-4, 198 pounds) to Martavis Bryant (6-5, 201) when he entered the draft, Chark could quickly become an NFL team’s field stretcher and create an early impact for risk-taking fantasy owners.

Equivocating Equanimeous’ equity

Before the 2017 season, some saw Notre Dame’s Equanimeous St. Brown as the top wide receiver in the upcoming NFL draft. After a tumultuous season including games of one catch for three yards, one catch for nine yards, and zero catches for zero yards, St. Brown was watching his draft stock become more volatile than Bitcoin. Fortunately, a few strong games to end the season, including a bowl game against LSU that featured a 35-yard catch, has him back on the radar. Expect St. Brown to use the offseason as a launching pad in an effort to see his name back among the first-round prospects.

Kerryon my wayward son

Auburn’s season had many bright spots, even if it ended with a bowl loss to Central Florida, and Kerryon Johnson was perhaps the brightest. He led the SEC in rushing yards (1391 yards) and ranked 13th with 48 forced missed tackles on runs. The comparisons to Le’Veon Bell note his patience and versatility while some have pegged Johnson as a possible second-round NFL draft pick. With over 200 routes run this year (ranked 34th), Johnson could become a potential bell-cow option for an NFL team in need.

Stacks of Oklahoma backs

For those with a short-term memory, Oklahoma featured both Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon in 2016, with both heading to the NFL after the season. Meanwhile, Rodney Anderson, a former four-star recruit, was recovering from yet another season-ending injury. Fast forward to 2017 and Anderson finished as PFF’s 15th-rated running back as he accumulated 18 total touchdowns and over 1,400 yards of offense. He is a big-play threat as he finished 16th in breakaway percentage (46.2 percent) on runs and 17th in yards per route run (1.59). He also managed over 200 yards rushing against a very tough Georgia defense in the Rose Bowl. All that’s left is declaring for the draft, but Anderson does have the option to return to school with another year of eligibility remaining. Either way, he should be a name to track.

Georgia’s back up!

No, not in the championship game. That is over. In this case, it is referring to reserve running back Sony Michel, who may have been stuck behind Nick Chubb and Todd Gurley for his career, but was still able to show his abilities. Michel had the 10th-highest elusive rating among running backs this year, one spot below Chubb while also averaging nearly identical yards after contact per attempt (3.77 vs 3.76). He was also fourth in breakaway percentage at 55 percent with only Bryce Love, Rashaad Penny, Saquon Barkley, and Josh Adams ahead of him. That’s great company to have, hopefully evaluators start to recognize his talent in the offseason leading up to the draft. He could be a strong addition to an NFL backfield.

Oh brothers!

One is off to the NFL while the other made a major statement in his climb up the depth chart. This is the story of the Ridley brothers, as older sibling Calvin capped off a nice career and now looks to be a first-round pick. As for Riley, he led all receivers in receptions (six) and yards (82) in the championship game including several key third-down conversions. With Terry Godwin draft-eligible and Jake Fromm gaining valuable experience, the 6-foot-2, 201-pound receiver should have the opportunity to shine in an offense that is also expected to lose its top two running backs. Look forward to some big plays and acrobatic catches from the younger Ridley.

Start or sit?

That will be the question for Alabama at multiple positions. The obvious one starts at quarterback, where Jalen Hurts was outplayed by freshman Tua Tagovailoa, setting up an intriguing offseason battle. At running back, the team is dealing with an (ongoing) embarrassment of riches. Sophomore Josh Jacobs showed some big-play ability but saw a drop in playing time (from 23 percent of offensive snaps to 15). Ballyhooed freshman Najee Harris saw similar snap rates as Jacobs (15 percent) and led the offense in rushing yards with 64 on just six carries in the national championship game. Harris actually gained 59 of those 64 yards after contact, showing his ability to make plays. Likely, this could be a two-headed backfield, but Alabama typically prefers to feature one runner more. Who will it be?

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