An Introduction to Devy Leagues (2022 Fantasy Football)
As we begin introducing Devy content to FantasyPros, we thought it would be prudent to make sure that some new people to the Devy game understand what a Devy is. If this is your first time playing Devy, then this would be an excellent resource for you to use for your upcoming drafts and what someone means if they ask you to join a Devy league.
We want all of you to be the best Devy player in the future and give you as much content as we can for you to make those informed decisions with your Devy drafts, trades, and the like. So, let’s do a little Devy 101 for the masses. Even if you are an experienced Devy player, you may learn something here.
A Description of Devy
So, what is a Devy? Devy is short for a developmental player. It can be a kid playing high school football through being a senior in college. These are players that are not in the NFL yet.
For example, Kayshon Bouttee, the talented WR from LSU, could be considered a Devy. Jadyn Davis, a junior in high school right now who is the No. 1 ranked QB in the nation in the 2024 recruiting class, according to 247Sports, is also a Devy. Typically, once you “Devy” a player, they sit on your taxi squad until they mature, and by “maturing,” we mean becoming eligible for the NFL draft.
Once that player is drafted to the NFL, then they are automatically promoted to your team, and you don’t have to waste a draft pick on them. Because of that, some of your rookie drafts going forward could be “watered down,” as we like to say because if it is a one-player copy league, that player is no longer eligible to be drafted. But Devys and Devy draft picks can be traded, just like anything else in most league formats.
Devy Ranking & Resources
So, what goes into how you rank and draft devys? For resources, I use FantasyPros and 247Sports as my primary research sites. There are so many talented Devy analysts out there to gain help from too. I’m a huge fan of Brandon Lejeune. He has great film cut-ups, an awesome Devy Dashboard, and always gives us names you’ve never heard of. Ray Garvin has his Destination Devy brand, which houses much of the same type of info. As I mentioned, we here at FantasyPros will bring you Devy content regularly, so make sure to use us as much as you can to make yourself the best Devy player possible.
When ranking, just like the NFL, some fantasy players like to organize No. 1 through whatever number. Other likes to rank on a tier-based system. It’s a bit harder to make tiers for Devy players than for NFL players, mainly because they still have so much to learn going from high school to college. They could move up or down the depth chart within a couple of games in the early years of their college careers, or their opportunities might not always be consistent.
We saw this with Wisconsin football last season. Jalen Berger was slated to be the lead running back, and with Wisconsin’s strong history of producing NFL backs, many Devy players drafted him. Yet, Clemson-transfer Chez Mellusi saw the bulk of carries, and Berger disappeared. So much so that he transferred to Michigan State this past offseason. Alabama is also notorious for giving playing time to so many different players. We saw this with Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs while at Alabama. It looked as if Damien Harris might go off the board first, but Jacobs ended up going to a sweet spot in Oakland in the first round, and Damien got buried in the third round on New England’s depth chart.
Now, once a Devy player becomes a junior or senior in college and starts preparing for the draft, it’s easier to rank them and get them into those tiers. We’ve already seen enough out of Bijan Robinson from Texas to know he is a tier-one player, but when you look at the WRs from this class, most of them could end up in any different number of tiers.
Rethinking How You Value Devys
When I was a Devy noob, I would go to a website, sort by the highest star, and complete my Devy draft based on that list. Just straight laziness. There was no film watching, article reading, research… nothing but star count. The numbers may surprise you if you look historically at the five-star players in college and those who hit in the NFL. In fact, would it surprise you to know that these NFL players who finished in the top five of their position group in 2021 were three-star recruits: Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, Jonathan Taylor, and Justin Jefferson. Even Ja’Marr Chase was a four-star recruit.
Luck also plays a massive role in playing Devy. Look at someone like Jordyn Adams, a wide receiver who played for North Carolina. He had a first-round NFL draft grade but signed a contract with the MLB before the NFL draft. He was a four-star recruit with over 1,000 receiving yards and 16 TDs his senior high school season. He was the third-best overall WR prospect in the nation who signed with North Carolina. So many people devied the 6′ 2”, 175 lb. WR, and then in 2018, the Angels drafted him 17th overall, and he skipped football to sign a $4 million entry-level deal with MLB. All those people who devied him lost out.
We also remember the heart attacks that Kyler Murray gave us after his senior season at Oklahoma. He was a top-five MLB draft pick by the Oakland Athletics before eventually declaring for the NFL draft and going to the Cardinals. Landing spots matter, but ultimately, it’s just a luck thing. Many great college football players either don’t get drafted or don’t pan out, i.e., Trent Richardson.
Hopefully, that gives you a little insight into what a Devy is. Check back all season as FantasyPros turns up the heat on its Devy content, and let us know if you have any questions as the college football season gets closer!
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.
Christian Welch is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Christian, follow him @EvilEmpireFF.