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NCAA Football Prospects to Watch: Week 6


After last week’s exciting and eventful weekend of college football, this week, with its minimal top 25 showdowns, might seem like a letdown. However, there are still enough intriguing prospects to watch for both fantasy football fans and fans of dismal NFL franchises who are already looking towards the draft.

This series will cover players featured in nationally televised games who could likely emerge as fantasy assets after next year’s draft.

First, let’s look at how last week’s featured players performed:

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Week 5's Featured Players

Let’s look at how last weeks featured players performed:

T.J. Vasher, WR Texas Tech – Vasher caught one ball for two yards on only two targets in a major letdown. His size makes him a matchup nightmare, but he’s going to need to produce in major Big 12 competition to prove he’s more than a late-round lottery ticket.

CeeDee Lamb, WR Oklahoma – Lamb had the exact opposite day from Vasher, catching seven passes for 185 yards and three TDs. This kid is so dynamic. I would look for him to be a first-round pick as of right now. He’s a game-breaker.

Jalen Hurts, QB Oklahoma – Hurts carved up Texas Tech, completing 17 of 24 passes for 416 yards and three TDs, while also rushing for 70 yards and another TD. Some of his gaudy numbers were because of Tech’s awful tackling and poor secondary play, but Hurts is showing that he’s a big-play quarterback and cementing himself in the Day Two conversation.

Travis Etienne, RB Clemson – Etienne had 67 yards on 14 carries, while also scoring a TD. He contributed next to nothing through the air, and Clemson didn’t use him enough. It was a disappointing game as it raises questions about whether his team trusts him enough to carry more of a load.

Tee Higgins, WR Clemson – Higgins was the focal point for Clemson on Saturday, catching six passes for 129 yards and a touchdown. He made a good adjustment on his TD grab, showing solid hands and the ability to make plays in space. He’s in the first-round conversation with CeeDee Lamb; although, I prefer Lamb right now.

Dazz Newsome, WR UNC – Dazz Newsome did nothing. He caught only two passes for 16 yards and didn’t field the only kickoff the Tar Heels were able to return.

JarTavious “BooBee” Whitlow, RB Auburn – Winslow found the end zone three times, while also gaining 55 yards on 10 carries. He wasn’t asked to do a lot, but he showed that he has great power and would be a clear 1st and 2nd down running back in the NFL.

Osirus Mitchell, WR Mississippi St In a game where the Bulldogs were trailing throughout, Mitchell only caught two passes for 33 yards. He did secure a TD, which showed his red zone value, but he’s a Day Three option.

 Kylin Hill, RB Mississippi St Hill was bottled up with 45 yards on 17 carries. It was a stiff test against a defense full of NFL prospects, and he didn’t rise to the challenge. I’d expect him to return for his senior year given the talent at the running back position that might declare this year.

 

Week 5 Matchup to Watch - UCF vs. Cincinnati

Friday 8 PM ET

Gabriel Davis, WR UCF At 6’3” 220 pounds, Davis is a big receiver with good hands and strong production. He returned as UCF’s top playmaker in the passing game and already has eight touchdowns in five games. He’s not particularly explosive, but he’s a smart receiver who seems to get open consistently. Think of him as a Day Three prospect who will become a better real-life NFL player than fantasy player. However, he is beginning to display some elite red-zone ability, which is something to watch for.

Adrian Killins, RB UCF Killins will make an NFL roster; I have little doubt about that. He’s an electric athlete with tremendous speed. He’s also 5’8” and 165 pounds. He’s a strong runner and an asset in the return game, but he’s clearly not big enough to big an NFL feature back. However, he’s averaging over 20 yards per catch this season, which suggests he could emerge as a Tarik Cohen-type of option in an NFL offense.

 Michael Warren, RB Cincinnati Warren is often overshadowed in an elite running back class, but he’s certainly an NFL talent. After rushing for 1,329 yards and 19 touchdowns last year, Warren has reasserted himself as a feature back this season. He doesn’t have the athletic upside of guys at the top of the draft class, but he’s a smart runner who is tough to bring down. He also caught 25 passes last year, so he’s not just a bruising back. He’ll likely begin his NFL career as a backup, but if he gets an opportunity, he could be an unspectacular but effective option – like current Frank Gore.

 

Week 5 Matchup to Watch: Purdue @ Penn State

12:00 PM ET

Brycen Hopkins, TE Purdue At 6’5” 245, Hopkins is a cross between a big wide receiver and a tight end. It’s part of what makes him exciting. He’s averaged 16.1 yards per catch in his college football career in part because of his strong athleticism, as evidenced by his ability to go up and get passes:

He’s under used in a mediocre Purdue offense, but I believe he could be next year’s Dawson Knox as an athletic tight end without much college pedigree that shows immediate NFL skills.

KJ Hamler, WR Penn State At 5’9” 175 pounds, Hamler is another shorter wide receiver. He’s also another elite athlete. As a redshirt sophomore, it’s unclear if he will declare, but he’s coming off a season where he broke Saquon Barkley’s Penn State record for all-purpose yards for a freshman, and it doesn’t seem like he’ll slow down. He’s shifty in space, speedy in the open field, and strong with his hands. He can work himself into the Day Two conversation and could emerge as a Tyler Lockett-type of weapon that can be used all over the field.

  

Week 5 Matchup to Watch: California @ Oregon

8:00 PM ET

Justin Herbert, QB OregonYou all know about Justin Herbert, so I won’t be long winded here. The 6’6” senior is possibly the top quarterback off the board and has a good shot at being a top-five overall pick. He’s thrown 14 TDs and no interceptions through the first four games and shouldn’t get a major challenge here. It’s just one of the only chances East Coast fans will get to watch him on national television at a reasonable hour.

 Jacob Breeland, TE OregonBreeland’s name is mentioned a lot in draft conversation, but I have to think it has more to do with being tied to Herbert. Yes, Breeland has five touchdowns already, a 16.4 career yards per reception, and a 6’5” frame that makes him a good red-zone target. I just don’t see the athleticism to be a feature tight end at the NFL level. He has good hands but isn’t physical enough to disengage from linebackers in coverage or agile enough to consistently beat them in space. To top it off, he’s only an average blocker, which will mean he doesn’t stay on the field enough at the next level. I think he’s a Day Three pick when all is said and done and likely a timeshare tight end.

Kekoa Crawford, WR California – Even though he’s a junior, I don’t expect Crawford to come out this year. However, I wanted to highlight the Michigan transfer because I think he has some intriguing upside now that he’s on a team that will allow him to consistently get on the field. Crawford is 6’2,” has 4.4 speed, and has displayed impressive body control and awareness in his short time on the field so far in his collegiate career. He’s caught two TD passes for the Bears so far, and in a game in which they’ll likely be trailing, he could see a fair bit of action his way.

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