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Ahead of The Game - College Devy Prospects (Week 3 Edition)


Week three is here and we're starting to get into the matchups that will decide the playoff, this year. We have big-time non-conference games and some conference openers between meaningful teams.

As an admitted Ohio State homer, I'm excited to see the top 15 matchup between the Buckeyes and TCU. But I'm also very intrigued by LSU/Auburn and Boise St./Oklahoma State.

Before we jump into it, I want to send well wishes to both Rodney Smith and Rodney Anderson who suffered season-ending injuries, last week. And also, I want to send positive thoughts to those affected by the hurricane on the east coast.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!

 

Quarterback

Jake Browning, QB Washington

Week 3 - at Utah (9/15)

Jake Browning is both an amazing quarterback and a headache waiting to start. But it's very obvious that he's a talented player and he's made an impact at the collegiate level on a top tier team.

Year G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int
2015 12 233 369 63.1 2955 8 7.7 16 10
2016 14 243 391 62.1 3430 8.8 9.9 43 9
2017 13 230 336 68.5 2719 8.1 8.6 19 5

Losing John Ross from your receiver group will cause some level of regression. 43 TDs in 2016 to 19 in 2017 is not simply caused by the loss of one player. Something was clearly different during the 2017 run that can't simply be written off by a changing group of surrounding talent. He also saw his efficiency take a hit, as shown by the 13 percent drop in his AY/A and eight percent drop in his Y/A. There has also been year over year improvement to his interception total and his completion percentage. But entering 2018, there was plenty of reason to question Browning's NFL abilities.

Year G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int
2018 2 41 69 59.4 609 8.8 7.7 3 3

Through two games, Browning has 60 percent of his total interceptions from the 2017 season already lost and a 3 to 3 TD to INT ratio. His completion percentage is down, but his Y/A is bad at his 2016 level. The takeaway from that change is an increase in lower percentage, higher upside throws. If he can level out his completion percentage, then he could have his best yardage season, yet, but if he continues down this path, his NFL hopes may go out the window. Keep an eye on Washington this week in a quietly difficult matchup against an undefeated Utah team.

 

Running Back

Nick Brossette, RB LSU

Week 3 - at Auburn (9/15)

LSU doesn't have the known elite RB prospect that they've had for the last two seasons which is why there wasn't a clear-cut starter entering week 1, but it appears that Nick Brossette has taken the job and ran with it.

Nick Brossette G Rush Att Rush Yds Yards per Carry Rush TD Receptions Rec. Yds Yards per Reception Rec. TD
2015 7 12 65 5.4 0 1 -1 -1 0
2016 6 15 145 9.7 0 0 0 0
2017 5 19 96 5.1 0 0 0 0

Soooooo, there are quite a few things not to like about Brossette's stat line from the last three seasons. The biggest thing not to like is the complete lack of statistics. But he's off to a strong start in 2018 and that may turn out to be enough reason to reevaluate the prospect.

Nick Brossette G Rush Att Rush Yds Yards per Carry Rush TD Receptions Rec. Yds Yards per Reception Rec. TD
2018 2 41 262 6.4 2 1 12 12 0

Brossette has already surpassed his career high in rush attempts, yards, and touchdowns in only two games which says more about his previous season usage than his production this year. But it's noteworthy that he's averaging more than six yards per carry and is currently on pace for more than 200 carries. Brossette will be tasked with continuing his production against a stout Auburn defense that has allowed just under 75 rushing yards per game.

If Brossette maintains his current rushing pace, there's a chance that an NFL team will give him a look during the NFL Draft process, but his complete lack of production prior to 2018 likely limits his ceiling. At best, Brossette appears to be a day two pick who could warrant a third-round rookie pick if he lands in a decent situation. At worst, he's an undrafted free agent who is cut before the end of training camp.

Mike Weber, RB Ohio State

Week 3 - vs TCU (9/15)

J.K. Dobbins is the big name among the dynasty community but there's another RB in that backfield that ran for 1,000 yards during their freshman season. Mike Weber's summer injury opened the door for Dobbins to become a star in 2017, but it's a shared backfield in 2018 for both of the talented backs.

Mike Weber G Rush Att Rush Yds Yards per Carry Rush TD Receptions Rec. Yds Yards per Reception Rec. TD
2016 13 182 1096 6 9 23 91 4 0
2017 12 101 626 6.2 10 10 94 9.4 0

The step back in 2017 is noteworthy, but Weber's 2016 nearly checks all of the boxes. Ideally, he would have exceeded 200 carries, but he came close and he averaged close to two receptions per game. With only 28 carries through two games, Weber isn't on pace for a 200 carry season, but he's averaging 7.8 yards per carry and has already racked up three TDs.

In similar fashion to Georgia in 2017, there might be too much of a crowd to allow both top RBs to have workhorse usage, but Weber could impress NFL scouts if he maintains his efficiency. Weber was eligible for the draft after last season, but there was no doubt that he'd return. If he continues at his current pace, Weber could be a dark horse option in a RB class that is generally seen as weaker.

 

Wide Receiver

Diontae Johnson, WR Toledo

Week 3 - vs Miami (9/15)

If you love watching college football then you're probably familiar with the joys of MACtion. The mid-week MAC games are a joy and Toledo is one of the best reasons to tune in.  After his first start Mitchell Guadagni is the nation's leader in yards per attempt and if that continues, Diontae Johnson will be back to producing at his 2017 levels.

G Rec Yds Avg TD MS Receiving Yards MS Receiving TDs Dominator
2015 11 12 196 16.3 2 0.06 0.08 0.07
2017 14 74 1278 17.3 13 0.33 0.46 0.4

Johnson's 46 percent of TDs and 33 percent of yards put him in rare air among college football receivers. Another season at that level would point towards a very good NFL prospect. But he's started off slow with just 60 yards on two receptions. While the 30 yards per catch is intriguing, the lack of raw yardage and failure to pull away from his teammates may ultimately be the downfall for Johnson.

While mid-week MAC games are fun, Toledo is tasked with a slightly higher profile game against the Miami Hurricanes on ESPN2. And this is a perfect opportunity for Johnson to shine. Toledo won't have many feature games this season and for Johnson to become a meaningful dynasty prospect, he'll need to put on a show during this game and during post-season play.

Anthony Johnson, WR Buffalo

Week 3 - vs Eastern Michigan (9/15)

Sometimes potential superstars come out of nowhere and that appears to be the case for Anthony Johnson. Johnson spent his first two seasons of eligibility at a junior college and then joined Buffalo to finish his college career.

G Rec Yds Avg TD MS Receiving Yards MS Receiving TDs Dominator
2017 12 76 1356 17.8 14 0.39 0.58 0.49

Johnson's 0.49 dominator was among the best in all of college football in 2017, his 1356 yards was sixth in the nation, and his 14 TDs was only behind David Sills and Anthony Miller. Johnson's 2018 season hasn't started off as fast with only 133 yards through two games, but he has two TDs and a 28 percent market share of yards.

Johnson will likely be one of the oldest prospects in the 2019 draft and he may have been better suited to enter the draft following his breakout 2017 campaign, but if he can come close to replicating his numbers from last year, he could emerge as a day two candidate in the same mold as Michael Gallup. He'll have all the physical tools to be a success at the next level, but the biggest question affecting his fantasy value will be his draft stock. If he can't elevate himself into the top three rounds, history isn't on his side. But if he continues to be a dominant receiver, he may stand out despite his surroundings.

 

Tight End

C.J. Conrad, TE Kentucky

Week 3 - vs Murray State (9/15)

Conrad hasn't been racking up the yards yet this season, but a Kentucky player earned mention after breaking their 31-year losing streak to Florida. And Conrad is arguably the second or third most important player on that offense.

G Rec Yds Avg TD MS Receiving Yards MS Receiving TDs Dominator
2015 6 15 149 9.9 1 0.06 0.1 0.08
2016 10 19 262 13.8 4 0.11 0.24 0.17
2017 7 16 286 17.9 4 0.12 0.4 0.26

Conrad is a prime example of why raw receiving numbers can be misleading. His yardage and TD numbers don't stand out by themselves, but his share of the offense is noteworthy. Scoring 40 percent of the passing TDs and amassing 0.26 dominator at the TE position will stand up against any comparison particularly when you consider the fact that he only played in seven games. Unfortunately for Conrad, he hasn't started off the same in 2018. Through two games, he's caught just 5 receptions for 12 total yards. Not only is the raw yardage disappointing, but with the team's offense improving with new QB, Terry Wilson, his high-level market share is gone.

Conrad was a former four-star prospect out of the state of Ohio and was considered an overall top 300 prospect nationwide. At six-foot-five, 225lbs, there's no reason to question his size, but he'll need to rejuvenate his season. Kentucky has three more games against teams currently ranked in the top 25 and Conrad would benefit greatly from production on a national stage.

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