Undervalued Devy Players (2021 Fantasy Football)
The hardest part about devy leagues is handling the ever-changing values of college football players.
Unlike the NFL, where players’ values don’t often drastically change from year to year, amateurs can see a dramatic shift in just one season. As a result, we see undervalued assets rise and become first-round picks in fantasy drafts, like Zach Wilson and Javonte Williams. The same thing happened with Joe Burrow and Clyde Edwards-Helaire just a year before.
Devy’s unpredictability is one of the most challenging aspects of the format. However, as a devy manager, finding diamonds in the rough and punching in on that value during drafts is how to build championship contenders every season. So let’s dive into some players who could fit that mold this year.
Note: ADPs from Devy Watch
Carson Strong (JR – Nevada): 6’4″, 215lbs
Current Devy ADP: 47.69 QB10
If you have followed me for the past year, you will know why I put Carson Strong on this list. He was one of my guys to watch heading into the 2020 season, and he did not disappoint. He threw for 2,858 yards and 27 touchdowns and increased his completion percentage from 63.4 percent to 70.1 percent.
While the numbers weren’t eye-popping, his development excites me the most. Strong took great strides in areas that matter — his poise in the pocket and improved decision-making set him apart from his peers. He also improved his ability to read through progressions to make the right throws. All those improvements, paired with his elite arm strength, make me hopeful that he can put himself in a position to go in the first round of next year’s draft.
I have only two concerns with Strong. First, his lack of mobility could limit his fantasy upside; second, he doesn’t exactly face the toughest competition in the MWC.
The tools are there, though, and they should get him drafted fairly high. He is currently going as the QB10 in devy drafts, and that’s a value for a potential first-round pick.
Matt Corral (JR – Ole Miss): 6’1″, 205lbs
Current Devy ADP: 59.94 QB11
Matt Corral is going to be the most debated prospect in the 2022 class. He threw for 3,337 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions for Ole Miss last year. The interceptions might scare you a bit, but he only had three on the year if you take away his games against Arkansas and LSU. While I’m not one to overlook two terrible games, Corral has potential.
He has the dual-threat ability that everyone wants in a fantasy quarterback, and he has rushed for 724 yards and seven touchdowns in his career. Corral can also sling it around the field and routinely makes deep throws look easy. He has the accuracy needed to make those throws. Corral also does a great job of reading through his progressions. Most of his interceptions resulted from off-script mistakes when he tried to do too much; I could see him easily fixing that issue with another off-season under his belt in Lane Kiffin’s offense.
Like Strong, I expect Corral to make his way into the first round of next year’s draft. This makes him a value in devy leagues, especially in Superflex formats. There is a realistic path for him to become the class’ QB3.
Keaontay Ingram (SR – USC): 6’0″, 220lbs
Current Devy ADP: 79.17 RB29
Trying to identify an undervalued running back in devy is difficult. I have found that there is no right process to use to identify breakout running backs. I could have easily put Alabama’s Jase McClellan on this list if we were talking about undervalued assets in the top tier, but I wanted to dive a little deeper.
As such, look no further than USC’s Keaontay Ingram, who just transferred in from Texas this offseason. The former four-star recruit had an up and down career as a Longhorn that saw him lead the team in rushing in 2019 with 853 yards and seven touchdowns, including twenty-nine receptions for 242 yards and three touchdowns. But Ingram couldn’t stay healthy in 2020 and eventually got overtaken by freshman phenom Bijan Robinson.
When healthy, Ingram has the size and strength that you look for in a running back. He has a quick first step and can accelerate through traffic. He may also be the best receiving back in the country, which excites me when looking for players around his ADP. Spotting a skill that the NFL will value can help us when identifying sleeper prospects. With USC’s Stephen Carr transferring to Indiana, we should see Ingram’s value and production increase if he can stay healthy. Look for USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell to get Ingram involved all over the field this season. He is worth the risk at his current ADP.
Zay Flowers (JR – Boston College): 5’11″, 178lbs
Current Devy ADP: 77.33 WR31
My favorite position to scout in college football? Wide receiver. There is so much talent at the position this year, and Zay Flowers has a chance to prove that he is one of the best. He is currently my WR5 in the 2022 class and could climb that list quickly with a breakout year.
Last season, he had 56 receptions for 892 yards and nine touchdowns. He is one of the best vertical threats in college football and is a YAC monster. He has a unique ability to create separation, is a fluid route runner, and has excellent hands for a receiver. Flowers should be quarterback Phil Jurkovec’s top target in 2021 and should lead the team in all receiving categories.
It would not surprise me to see Flowers be a Day 1 or early Day 2 selection in next year’s draft. As the WR31 in devy drafts right now, he is a value, and you should be targeting Flowers instead of USC’s Bru McCoy or Penn State’s Jahan Dotson, who are both going before him.
Jalen Tolbert (JR – South Alabama): 6’3″, 195lbs
Current Devy ADP: 116.78 WR49
Because this is an undervalued assets article, I need to make sure to include one of my favorite devy targets from the group of five schools: the University of South Alabama’s Jalen Tolbert.
In 2020, Tolbert accounted for 1,085 yards receiving on 64 receptions. He also scored and eight touchdowns and averaged seventeen yards per catch. That includes a breakout game against Arkansas State in which he caught ten passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns.
Tolbert is a mismatch nightmare for defenses because of his size. He uses his body well in traffic and should be South Alabama’s go-to receiver in the red zone. He has elite eye discipline and can make tough catches all over the field. His athleticism just pops off the tape. Tolbert also checks all the intangible boxes you want to see from a young receiver and should benefit from improved quarterback play with Jake Bentley transferring from South Carolina. He is my favorite devy sleeper in the class and is someone you should be actively trying to draft or acquire across your leagues.
Whether you’re new to fantasy football or a seasoned pro, our Fantasy Football 101: Strategy Tips & Advice page is for you. You can get started with Starting Your Own Fantasy Football League or head to more advanced strategy – like What is the Right Amount of Risk to Absorb on Draft Day? – to learn more.