Pac-12 Conference Profile: Devy Sleepers
Every off-season, devy managers are tested to see if they can determine which players will be breakout candidates in the upcoming year. If you want to succeed as a devy manager, knowing which players have a chance at that breakout and drafting them before their value increases is key to achieving long-term success.
To help you with those tough decisions, I broke down key players at each position that are primed for a breakout type year and are worth keeping an eye on in your devy leagues. In this edition of devy sleepers, I took a deep dive into the Pac 12 Conference.
Jayden Daniels (JR – ASU): 6-3¨, 185lbs
People forget that Jayden Daniels came out of high school as the #2 ranked dual quarterback in the 2019 class. He was a four-year varsity starter at Cajon High School in high school, where he threw for a California Southern Section record of 14,007 yards and 170 touchdowns in his career. He also rushed for 3,645 yards and 41 rushing touchdowns.
As soon as he stepped foot on Arizona State’s campus, he was given the keys to the team. Since his freshman season, he has thrown for 3,644 yards and 22 touchdowns with just three interceptions. Daniels has also rushed for 578 yards and seven touchdowns. Those numbers may not look amazing for two seasons, but Arizona State only played four games last season due to COVID-related issues. Daniels has shown to be a top-level athlete, and in fantasy, he checks the Konami code quarterback box that everyone is in love with. He also reads defenses well and plays within the offense. When he gets time, he also can push the ball downfield and put pressure on defenses vertically.
The areas of weakness that he needs to improve are his strength and his consistency. If there’s any way he can get to 200 lbs, that would be ideal. But his weight isn’t a deal-breaker for me. The talent is there. Arizona State is in the middle of an NCAA investigation, but knowing how slow the NCAA is at penalizing teams, I don’t see much of an impact this year. If he can get an entire season in, we could see him getting drafted in the 1st round in next year’s NFL Draft.
Keaontay Ingram (SR – USC): 6’0¨, 220lbs
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. But there is one running back that I believe fits the criteria. 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 29 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.
Devon Williams (SO – Oregon): 6-5¨, 205lbs
Devon Williams originally committed to USC out of high school, where he was ranked the sixth overall wide receiver recruit in the country. After not getting enough playing time at USC his freshman season, he transferred to Oregon and sat out the 2019 season. In the COVID shortened 2020 season Williams showed flashes of his talent and led the Ducks with 15 receptions for 286 yards and two touchdowns. Those are not eye-popping numbers, but Williams showed he has potential, and in a wide-open wide receiver room, he should be the front runner for WR1 on the depth chart.
The first thing that stands out about him as a prospect is his size. He has a 6-foot-5, 205-pound frame that he uses well. When watching his tape from high school to last year, his athleticism allows him to win most 50-50 balls thrown his way. His size gives him an advantage over smaller cornerbacks, and he is a threat in the red zone. His best strength is his ability to be a home run threat and putting pressure on defenses over the top. At USC, he averaged 19.6 yards per reception, and at Oregon last season, he averaged 19.1 yards per catch. As far as potential weaknesses, he’ll need to work on his route running and drop issues.
Williams should lead Oregon in targets this season. True freshman Troy Franklin will challenge him for the WR1 spot, but he should see the usage needed to breakout. The real question is who will be throwing him the ball. Oregon has a wide-open quarterback competition. Depending on who wins the job, it could limit his upside, but I expect graduate transfer Anthony Brown to be their starting quarterback. If that’s the case, we should see him and Williams connect early and often in games.
Cade Otton (JR – Washington): 6’5¨, 240lbs
Cade Otton is a prospect that I have been touting since the beginning of his sophomore season. He is a player that has always had the physical tools to be special. He just needed the opportunity to showcase his skills and had been buried on the depth chart. In high school, he set school records for career receptions (95), receiving yards (1,705), and receiving touchdowns (33). Otton was always a great player when he got his opportunity, and he earned that early in his junior season. Last season in just four games, he had 18 receptions, 258 yards, and 3 TDs.
Otton excels at finding openings in the defense, and he excels at reading coverages. He is a big-time threat over the middle of the field. He runs a tremendous seam route and is quick enough to get an open release on the line of scrimmage. He has excellent size, and he is athletic enough to gain yards after the catch. All season long, he proved to be a threat to run after catching short hitch routes in the open field, and it’s a real underrated part of his game. With his size and athleticism, he also is a red zone threat. He doesn’t possess many weaknesses as a pass-catcher but could be a better blocker. Otton has problems getting to the second level of defenses and lacks a fundamental technique to run blocking.
Otton could realistically be a day two draft pick next year. There is a lot to like about the young man, and I have him ranked as my #2 tight end in the 2022 class. He has all the physical tools you want to see from a tight end, and he reminds me of a young version of Jason Witten.
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.