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Devy League Primer (2021 Fantasy Football)

by Jeff Bell | @4WhomJBellTolls | Featured Writer
Jun 9, 2021
Spencer Rattler

This piece is part of our article program that features quality content from experts exclusively at FantasyPros. For more insight from Jeff Bell, head over to GoingFor2.com.

Allow me to start on a limb. By clicking on “Devy League Primer,” I will assume some familiarity with the term Devy. But new friends are always welcome. Devy is assigning college players to your Dynasty League draft picks. Introducing this concept opens up the Dynasty can of worms for those yet to make that leap; think “full Keeper roster.” I could go one more layer into the Keeper League explanation, but this style intro is nothing new, and the reader deserves the benefit of the doubt.

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So Why Play Devy?

Interest in all levels of football is the primary reason to dive in. By locating this article, you are a fantastic candidate to explore Devy. If you can blend the enjoyment of fantasy football at a deep level with college football fandom, you have the right ingredients. Now it is time for the nudge.

To start, Devy gives you a leg up on the competition in your standard league of choice. Play in one league, and your rookie knowledge expands exponentially. This advantage allows you to position early in the offseason for rookie drafts or identify breakout rookies like Justin Jefferson in a redraft format.  If you find yourself drawn to a player like Ohio St. WR Garrett Wilson, you can begin to position yourself in other formats.

For the college fandom portion of the equation, the answer is stickier.

The College Conundrum

College football has always been a regional sport. However, the Southeast’s dominance over the last 15 years has caused the gap between the haves and have nots to widen. The result is increasingly large portions of college fandoms feeling disenfranchised. A school like Michigan boasts a proud fanbase, but championship expectation does not blend with an annual Outback Bowl trip.   

Devy mitigates the annual disappointment.

As a long-suffering Bills fan, I can speak on fantasy football’s ability to carry you through a long season. And almost every fantasy player has flipped on a Thursday Night Football Titans – Jaguars game to monitor Derrick Henry‘s performance. Fantasy invests you in a game at a level beyond casual fandom. A disenfranchised college fan can quickly become re-invigorated in the sport with a renewed interest. You find yourself flipping on an Oklahoma game to watch the excitement QB Spencer Rattler can provide to your team.

The Changing College Landscape

Time for some numbers. Statista places the value of the fantasy football industry at approximately 7 billion dollars. On the opposite side of the equation, Forbes estimates college football generates 4 billion dollars across the Power 5 conferences. The exciting element is currently little overlap between the markets. A primary hindrance has been the legality around player likeness and compensation. Some sites have waded into the market, but college football fantasy is essentially an untapped market.  

A different era is on the horizon.

Change is bubbling from the Southeast. Several states, including Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi, have moved to enact legislation on player compensation. Given the competitive landscape of college football, other states and the sport as a whole are sure to follow. Legal issues have prevented the release of EASport’s popular NCAA videogame series. The fantasy arena is a sticky minefield for many fantasy sites. Clearing the roadblock can open the floodgates.

The daily fantasy boom of the last decade can show how quickly money can rush into a new area. Players continue to push for new and different challenges, with roadblocks cleared for more prominent involvement, the player pool and investment will continue to grow. The potential for change presents a fantastic ground floor opportunity.

How To Play Devy?

First off, some fantastic resources exist on the subject from FantasyPros’ own Kevin Coleman and Raju Byfield. They both do a tremendous job of outlining available resources and introduce you to the strategies involved.

Your strategy comes down to your dynasty roster needs and league requirements. A solid rule of thumb is to invest in running backs; the position churns more than any other, and volume is king, lending a greater level of predictability. Quarterbacks and be notoriously unpredictable, 2019 saw the single-season ascension by Joe Burrow from obscurity to the top of the class, followed by Zach Wilson‘s similar rise in 2020. Juxtapose that with a player like Matt Barkley, who the college football community was high on but saw the bottom fall out of his value on draft day.

As for additional specific 2022 targets, look for Texas A&M running back Isaiah Spiller and Arkansas WR Treylon Burks to top the draft board. Bottom line, predicting talent a year in the future can be a tricky endeavor with a fantastic reward. Diving into Devy can position you for future success and sharpen your eye for talent. Ultimately, we all win more as interest and excitement in the game grow.

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