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Ahead of The Game - College Devy Prospects (Week 4 Edition)

Week three was a bucket of joy from a fan perspective. There were one possession games, highly competitive matchups between ranked teams, and even major upsets. And it's a good time to hold onto those memories as we approach week four.

Week four is typically not the best slate of games from a competitive stand point. Traditional powers typically schedule a lower tier team in order to get a final tune up before conference play.

And for the most part that's the case, but for some of the more compelling prospects, there are competitive games this weekend. So today we'll feature a few unknowns, as well as two players in competition for the top spot at their respective positions.

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Drew Lock, QB Missouri

Week 4 - vs Georgia (9/22)

There was a case to be made that Lock could have left following his 2017 campaign, but with that class being relatively loaded, he opted to return for his final season of collegiate eligibility. By doing so, he could turn from a mid-pack QB prospect into the QB1 for the class.

Year G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int
2015 12 129 263 49 1332 5.1 4 4 8
2016 12 237 434 54.6 3399 7.8 7.9 23 10
2017 13 242 419 57.8 3964 9.5 10.2 44 13

Lock enters the week sixth in the nation in passing yard and tied for fifth in passing touchdowns. Lock has improved in nearly every statistical category each season

Year G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int
2018 3 78 113 69 1062 9.4 10.9 11 1

Lock's 10.9 AY/A start to the season is promising because it shows continued growth, but his completion percentage appears slightly unsustainable. Had Lock left school last season, he likely would have been drafted around the same position as Mason Rudolph and Kyle Lauletta. With this year's class much less top-heavy, there's a possibility that he'll be discussed with a first round pick, assuming he maintains his current numbers.


Running Back

Darrell Henderson, RB Memphis

Week 4 - vs. South Alabama (9/22)

It's somewhat rare to identify a member of a true committee as someone potentially special, but Henderson looks the part.

Darrell Henderson G Rush Att Rush Yds Yards per Carry Rush TD Receptions Rec. Yds Yards per Reception Rec. TD
2016 13 87 482 5.5 5 20 237 11.9 3
2017 12 130 1154 8.9 9 24 226 9.4 2

There are a few statistics that jump out when looking at Henderson's 2017 campaign. First is his 8.9 yards per carry which led to him breaking 1,000 yards on just 130 carries. Second is his 2.0 receptions per game with a nearly ten yard average. Lastly, is his 11 touchdowns on less than 160 total touches. Henderson appears to be highly efficient and that's translated this season, as well.

Darrell Henderson G Rush Att Rush Yds Yards per Carry Rush TD Receptions Rec. Yds Yards per Reception Rec. TD
2018 3 36 521 14.5 6 4 90 22.5 1

Henderson is slightly off his 2.0 reception per game average, but there's no slowing down his rushing and touchdown efficiency. Already at 7 touchdowns through 3 games, he appears to be a prolific scorer when he gets the ball in his hands. And while I expect his rushing yardage efficiency to regress, he's still likely to be above eight yards per carry at the end of the year and that will stand out in a crowd.  Henderson's size shouldn't be a concern, but his level of competition might be. If he chooses to declare for the draft, the postseason process will be critical. If his eye-popping stat lines turn into high level athleticism, he could find himself drafted and as a third round rookie pick in dynasty leagues.

Juwan Washington, RB San Diego State

Week 4 - vs Eastern Michigan (9/22)

San Diego State has been producing NFL prospects at the RB position for the past few seasons and they may have found another one in Juwan Washington. He won't have the career success of his predecessors, but if he can maintain his efficiency, he could generate similar excitement.

Juwan Washington G Rush Att Rush Yds Yards per Carry Rush TD Receptions Rec. Yds Yards per Reception Rec. TD
2016 12 55 441 8.0 6 3 72 24 1
2017 13 127 759 6.0 7 3 39 13 0

Washington doesn't have the ideal usage in the passing game, but consecutive seasons at or above six yards per carry helps minimize those concerns. In addition to his efficiency in the run game, Washington has spent some time returning kickoffs and his 24.9 yard average would indicate that he's athletic enough to become a viable option at the next level.

Juwan Washington G Rush Att Rush Yds Yards per Carry Rush TD Receptions Rec. Yds Yards per Reception Rec. TD
2018 3 87 452 5.2 5 5 47 9.4 0

Washington has one more year of eligibility remaining after this season. Based on early indications, it doesn't appear that he'd be highly coveted enough to make the leap a year early, but if he does, there could be some sneaky late-round value .   However, at only five-foot-seven, there will be real concerns about his ability to handle the same workload at the NFL level, but similar questions were raised about Philip Lindsay last season so there's reason to hope.


Wide Receiver

Greg Dortch, WR Wake Forest

Week 4 - vs Notre Dame (9/22)

Dortch may turn out to be my biggest preseason blind spot as he is playing like one of the top receivers in the country. If he continues to amass stats at his current pace, his size may not matter during his evaluation process.

G Rec Yds Avg TD MS Receiving Yards MS Receiving TDs Dominator
2017 8 53 722 13.6 9 0.20 0.28 0.24

Dortch didn't quite reach the ideal 0.30 dominator rating for the season, but his TD share is impressive considering his size. His 20 percent market share of receiving yards leaves a little to be desired, but he's already improved on that during his 2018 campaign.

G Rec Yds Avg TD MS Receiving Yards MS Receiving TDs Dominator
2018 3 28 336 12 1 0.40 0.17 0.28

Dortch is only a redshirt sophomore so while he's eligible to declare for the draft, it's not super likely that he will declare. But if he can produce enough to secure his position on late day two, there may not be a reason to return for another season. Dortch may fly under the radar in dynasty or devy leagues because of his stature, but his usage in 2018 would put him in an elite tier, if he can maintain. If he stays one more season, look to stash him on devy rosters. If he declares for the draft, don't forget about him at the end of round two of rookie drafts.

Penny Hart, WR Georgia State

Week 4 - vs Western Michigan (9/22)

A small receiver out of a non-traditional power. I'm starting to see where my blind spot lies. Hart has been one of the nation's best producing receivers when healthy.

G Rec Yds Avg TD MS Receiving Yards MS Receiving TDs Dominator
2015 13 72 1109 15 8 0.25 0.28 0.27
2016 2 8 61 7.6 1 0.02 0.06 0.04
2017 12 74 1121 15 8 0.35 0.51 0.43

Two 1,000 yard seasons is nothing to scoff at and there's reason to believe that he could have had another successful season during his missing 2016 campaign. Owning more than a 30 percent market share of yards puts Hart among the top dominators in the country and a third year over a 0.30 dominator rating would position him well to be a later-round selection in the 2019 NFL draft.

G Rec Yds Avg TD MS Receiving Yards MS Receiving TDs Dominator
2018 3 12 134 11 1 0.24 0.33 0.28

The biggest concern for undersized small-school prospects is the potential to not receive a combine invite. Historically, failing to receive a combine invite has been a major red flag for future success in fantasy. There's no reason to sound the panic alarms just yet because there's no indication that the NFL is ignoring him, but it's a thing to track. If Hart receives a combine invite, then he should be considered at the back end of rookie drafts.


Tight End

Noah Fant, TE Iowa

Week 4 - vs Wisconsin (9/22)

If you're already plugged into the devy community, then you've been waiting to see this name. And, in the interest of full disclosure, so have I. Fant entered 2018 as the clear cut top TE option for fantasy and we've reached a match up worthy of featuring him.

G Rec Yds Avg TD MS Receiving Yards MS Receiving TDs Dominator
2016 6 9 70 7.8 1 0.04 0.06 0.05
2017 12 30 494 16.5 11 0.20 0.40 0.30

Fant's status as the standout receiving TE in the class is tied to his touchdown prowess in 2017. A 40 percent share of TDs not only stands out among his position, but would be considered great at any receiving position.

G Rec Yds Avg TD MS Receiving Yards MS Receiving TDs Dominator
2018 3 12 140 11.7 2 0.22 0.67 0.44

Fant is almost guaranteed to be the top TE taken in rookie drafts in 2019. He's not the next Vernon Davis, but he's probably going to be considered in the same range as O.J. Howard.  And even in a WR-heavy draft class like 2019, he should be an option at the back end of the first round of rookie drafts.

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