Devy Fantasy Football Primer: Week 6 (College Football)
Last week we predicted four of the AP Top 25 would lose. Well, we were close. Three of the Top 15 did lose, but Alabama, Georgia, and Clemson fought hard in their games’ second half and came out with victories. Due to Georgia’s near defeat at the hands of Mizzou, the Tide have taken over the top spot in the polls this week. But both teams welcome SEC West opponents into their houses, so we will see if the rankings stay status quo. As always, CJ Lang and Britt Sanders will guide you this college football season through all the storylines, player profiles, and game previews you will need. Enjoy!
The Red River Ehhh… (CJ)
Texas and Oklahoma come together this Saturday at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas in front of the Texas State Fair for the 118th time. Texas leads the all-time series 62-50-5. But the Sooners have won 10 of the last 13 games. Both of these teams come into this year’s game with 3-2 records, and this is the first time since 1998 that both come into this game unranked. Texas has not won in consecutive games this year, and Oklahoma was ranked in the Top 10 after three straight wins to start the year but got beaten by Kansas State at home two weeks ago and blown out at TCU last week.
This game does not have the rankings implications that it once did, neither team is going to win the Big 12 this season, and with the offseason moves and injuries, this game lacks star power outside of Texas RB Bijan Robinson. Texas QB Quinn Ewers is a game-time decision, but it seems as if QB Hudson Card played well enough last week to allow Ewers another week to recover. And for Oklahoma, with Caleb Williams ditching for USC, new QB and UCF transfer Dillon Gabriel is in concussion protocol after taking a huge hit in the TCU game. With all the news and reaction surrounding Tua from this past week, I don’t think OU head coach Brent Venables plays Gabriel, so now they have unproven QBs to fill that role.
This game means a lot if you are a Texas or OU fan. Bragging rights, the history, and the like, but this may be a difficult game to watch for the rest of us. OU’s defense is a sieve, and Texas has just enough playmakers on offense to put up points. Maybe Texas RB Bijan Robinson can break some single-game records in both teams’ biggest game of the year the rest of the way.
Americas Team: The Kansas Jayhawks (Britt)
The Kansas Jayhawks are finally ranked in the AP Top 25! After going 5-0 to start the season and sneaking out a last-second win this week against Iowa State. QB Jalen Daniels and RB Devin Neal are the front line of the offense for Kansas and are averaging 330 yards a game together. On defense, Kansas has been relatively average. Despite all that, Kansas has found a way to win games against opponents who aren’t just lower competition. Kansas gets TCU this week, who has also been an extremely effective offense. One of these teams’ Cinderella starts is going to end this week, and that’s more than enough for me to tune in and watch how a ranked Kansas plays and if they still have a chip on their shoulder.
Frank Harris was a 3-star prospect out of Texas in the 2017 class and was ranked as an athlete, not a QB. In 2020, he started 11 games for the Roadrunners as QB and has not looked back. Last season he threw for 3,177 yards and had 26 TDs and 7 INTs. He also had 566 rushing yards and six rushing TDs. He was a semi-finalist for the Davey O’Brien Award and broke eight UTSA single-season passing records. This season, he is off to a great start. He currently leads the FBS in total yards gained (1,917), is second in the nation in passing yards (1,724), and is top 5 among all C-USA passing categories. He currently throws for 344.8 yards per game this year and commands the nation’s 2nd ranked passing offense. This week, UTSA welcomes the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in a battle of teams tied for first place in C-USA. This will be a high-scoring affair, as the O/U for this game is 72.5. We will see if Harris can throw for 350+ in this game that pits two top-10 passing offenses against each other.
Jayden De Laura (JR – Arizona) 6-0, 190 lbs. (Britt)
Jayden De Laura has been extremely impressive this season at quarterback, following up a good year playing at WSU. De Laura is a tactile scrambling quarterback. Through five games, De Laura has just over 1,600 passing yards and a passer rating of 144.6. He has an adjusted yard per attempt of 8.2 and a touchdown to interception ratio of 14:6. De Laura also has an extremely exciting receiving weapon in UNLV transfer Jacob Cowing, Dorian Singer, and true freshman Tetairoa McMillan. The three combined have nearly 80% of the teams receiving yards. This week De Laura gets Oregon and will get a chance to test that high-powered offense against a stronger opponent.
Devin Neal (SO – Kansas) 5-11, 208 lbs. (Britt)
Coming out hot from his freshman season with a massive workload, Neal has continued his success this season. Neal is still learning the running back position since he wasn’t a pure running back in high school and was also dealing with an undisclosed injury from last year. Neal has seen a reduction in his rushing work partly due to his quarterback scrambling at such a high rate, but he is also splitting the backfields with Daniel Hinshaw. What is exciting about Neal is that he has had a successful season as a sophomore despite having a lower workload. In the last two games, Neal has been heating up on the ground, jumping from around a 4-yard per carry to above six yards per carry. From a Devy standpoint, Neal is firmly in the conversation to be a top-5 running back in 2024. This week, Kansas faces TCU, a team with a strong offense but a defense that would be turnstile if it were reincarnated into an inanimate object. This is a great opportunity for Neal to continue establishing himself in new head coach Lance Leipold’s offense.
Sean Tucker has put the Orange in a position to upset the big dogs in the ACC this season. Syracuse is currently 5-0 and is tied with Clemson for the top spot in the Atlantic Division. Tucker put himself on everyone’s radar last year after leading the ACC in rushing with 1,496 yards. He has shown he is a complete back as well. Last season over 12 games, he had 20 receptions for 255 yards. This season, he already has 19 catches for 184 yards and is on his way to another 1,300+ yard rushing season. As a redshirt sophomore this year, this may be the last we see of him in the NCAA. He is currently projected as the second running back off the board in the 2023 NFL Draft behind Texas RB Bijan Robinson.
Syracuse is on their bye week this week, but they need it because over the next two weeks, they take on #14 NC State and #5 Clemson, and the rest of their schedule is rough as well, as their opponents are a combined 24-10. If Syracuse is going to win the ACC this year, they are going to earn it!
It’s time we have an uncomfortable conversation. Coming off a hot freshman season Kayshon Boutte was viewed as the best receiver in the 2023 class. He had his sophomore season cut short due to an undisclosed ankle injury. He has been a disappointing Devy and college asset with a new head coach and a new quarterback this season. Through four games, Boutte has seen only 11 receptions for 97 yards. For reference, he eclipsed that yardage mark in three games in his freshman season and twice in his sophomore season. It is hard to tell what the issue is for him, but while QB Jayden Daniels has yet to reach 1,000 passing yards, Boutte is not even one of the top 5 receiving leaders for LSU. Elite players succeed despite their circumstances, they may not put up bullish numbers, but they succeed. Boutte has yet to do that, which puts his draft capital at risk. This week Boutte faces Tennessee, a defense that allows 5.1 yards per attempt. The ship needs to stabilize soon for Boutte, and doing that against the #8 team in the country would be a fantastic start.
Ohio State is a spoil of riches. The amount of talent that they recruit is ridiculous. Like Alabama and Georgia, their first and second teams are full of five and four-star recruits. We can add Emeka Egbuka to that list of spoils. When the team already has Julian Fleming, Marvin Harrison Jr. and Jaxson Smith-Njigba, Egbuka gets added, and you think that there is one football and too many mouths to feed, but OSU makes it work. Egbuka found a role not just as a WR but has shown an amazing ability to return kickoffs and punts. Last year, the 5-star freshman was fourth in the nation in kickoff return average, had 163 return yards in the Rose Bowl Game, and was named a Freshman All-American by Pro Football Focus. This year he is focusing more on being a WR. He has 30 catches for 512 yards and 5 TDs and is 2nd in the Big Ten in receiving. He has at least four catches and 70 yards in every game this year and had three straight weeks with receiving totals of 118, 116, and 118 yards. Ohio State is again on its way to a CFP appearance, with only #10 Penn State and #4 Michigan standing in their way. We will see if OSU QB CJ Stroud continues to pepper Egbuka with targets this week as the Buckeyes travel to Lansing to play Michigan State.
Seydou Traore (SO – Arkansas State) 6-4, 218 lbs. (CJ)
Seydou Traore is a footballer from London, England, who wanted to give American football a shot. Well, it seems to be working out for him so far. After being recruited by schools like Iowa State, Memphis, and FSU, he landed with the Red Wolves and is currently 2nd in the nation amongst tight ends in receiving yards. He is second to only Brock Bowers of Georgia. This is a guy who never played 11-man football a day in his life up until last season. This year over five games, he has 20 receptions for 293 receiving yards and 2 TDs. He leads the Red Wolves in receiving and averages 14.7 yards per catch. At 6-foot-4, 218 pounds, this former soccer goalie has the size to outjump the smaller secondary players and is light enough to be quick off the line. I highly suggest tuning in to this week’s game against undefeated James Madison to see Traore play against a decent defense.
Jaleel Skinner (FR – Miami) 6-5 210lbs (Britt)
Skinner has only played three games this season and only has 2 receptions. Those two receptions have averaged 22.5 yards per reception. The reason I am highlighting Skinner is that he is facing the Tarheels. Which, as mentioned above, is an actual turnstile for a defense. Skinner is also extremely athletic; check out this play. Skinner has shown his ability, now we just have to hope head coach Mario Cristobal chooses to go against his nature and utilize him.
Games Of The Week
#17 TCU (-6.5) vs. #19 Kansas (CJ)
ESPN’s College Gameday will be in Lawrence, Kansas, for the first time this Saturday as the undefeated Jayhawks take on the undefeated Horned Frogs of TCU. Kansas is ranked for the first time in over 12 years, and TCU is coming off a blowout win against a ranked Oklahoma team last week. Both of these teams are peaking simultaneously, and this could be a deciding game of who plays Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Title game. TCU has a high-powered offense. They rank 2nd in the nation in yards per game (549.5) and have scored the 5th most TDs of any team (27). But Kansas can hold its own on offense as well. They rank 4th in the nation in TDs scored with 28 and average 40.4 points per game. But when it comes to total defense, both teams are middle of the road, with TCU ranking 65th and Kansas ranking 79th. So if you are looking for a high-scoring game, this should be the game for you.
This is the start of a big stretch of games for Kansas as their next three games are away at Oklahoma and Baylor, and then they play Oklahoma State at home. For TCU, they already manhandled OU last week, so next week they host two ranked teams, Oklahoma State and Kansas State, at home. This game will propel the winner toward a Big 12 title game and a potential CFP appearance.
#18 UCLA vs. #11 Utah (-4.5) (Britt)
Utah lost to Florida, and we should not forget their two scoreless red zone drives against them. We are used to a Utah team that dismantled teams with sound and aggressive defense and a very run-centric office. Utah QB Cameron Rising has done a fantastic job continuing his momentum from the previous season. UCLA, on the other hand, has continually exceeded expectations. After four weeks of games against opponents unlikely to be considered competitive, they had their first test last week. Playing at home against the ranked Washington Huskies, UCLA head coach Chip Kelly and QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson put on an absolute show. Utilizing their 6-5 athletic wide receiver Jake Volvo to slice and dice a secondary and then utilize RB Zach Charbonnet and Thompson-Robinson’s feet to keep the defense honest.
This game is going to be exciting for a couple of reasons. The first is that it will be a big test for UCLA to see how they can respond after a big victory last week. On the other hand, Utah still needs to prove they can function offensively without their tight end Dalton Kincaid. Last week was a good test against the Oregon State team. This week, Utah will have to lean on their defense to find a way to stop Zach Charbonnet and see if Thompson-Robinson will turn back into a frog or continue his Cinderella game from last week. This should be an exciting matchup that makes the ‘old school’ football guys drool in anticipation.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, 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, which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.