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NCAA Prospects To Watch: Week 7


We're almost a third of the way through the NFL season, and 2020 Mock Drafts are starting to come out in droves. Which means it's time for people to get to know some of the best college players likely to make a fantasy impact next year. Since I've already covered a lot of teams and their best prospects, I'm going to preview players from a few specific games and then hit the night games together so that I can get you the most useful fantasy news.

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 6's Featured Players

Let’s look at how last week's featured players performed:

Gabriel Davis, WR UCF – 13 catches for 170 yards against a good defense? Yup, that’ll play. Davis is already up to 669 yards and eight TDs on the season. The kid can play. Keep an eye on him moving up draft boards.

Adrian Killins, RB UCF –Maybe it was game script dependent, but Killins simply wasn’t involved for UCF. He carried the ball four times for 23 yards and showed his typically dynamic return skills, but the usage is concerning.

Michael Warren, RB Cincinnati – With Cincinnati up, they rode Warren to 23 carries for 133 yards and four catches for 19 yards. While he didn’t do a lot through the air, seeing continued usage in the passing game will elevate Warren’s stock into the middle rounds.

Brycen Hopkins, TE Purdue – One catch for three yards isn’t going to move the needle. Purdue was outclassed all game, which will likely happen most of the season and keep Hopkins’ value low. I still think he has upside for whichever NFL team drafts him.

KJ Hamler, WR Penn State – Hamler had three catches for 41 and a touchdown and two carries for -9 yards. It wasn’t a great showing, but he didn’t really need to be involved in a blowout.

Justin Herbert, QB Oregon – Herbert had a disappointing showing in a game that was closer than it should have been. Completing 20 of 33 passes for 214 yards with one TD and one INT isn’t going to help him leapfrog into the top quarterback spot. He’s likely still a top-ten pick, but he’s definitely still a starting quarterback in the NFL and a useful, but not league-winning, fantasy player.

Jacob Breeland, TE Oregon – Breeland had five catches for 87 yards in a decent showing. I believe his value will fall as the year and post-season testing continues, but he’ll earn a spot on somebody’s NFL team.

 

Week 7 Matchup to Watch - Virginia @ Miami

Friday 8 PM ET

Bryce Perkins, QB Virginia – It’s hard not to root for Bryce Perkins. The brother of Detroit Lions running back Paul Perkins, Bryce broke his neck during practice in his red-shirt freshman year with Arizona State. After contemplating retiring, he enrolled at Arizona Western before continuing onto Virginia last year and proving to be a dynamic signal-caller. Perkins is a smart quarterback who can diagnose and defense and deliver a pass quickly. He can also create plays with his legs and makes solid throws on the run. He isn’t asked to do much in Virginia’s offense, and his ceiling may be as an NFL back-up, but he’s likely to be drafted and has a fantasy-friendly skillset if he finds himself in an offense willing to give him a shot.

Joe Reed, WR Virginia – An electric return specialist, Joe Reed is now a starting wide receiver on Virginia and has 322 yards and four TDs receiving, plus a kick return touchdown, proving to be a multi-faceted option. He stills needs to grow as a receiver and become more comfortable with a full route tree, but if Reed is able to show that growth, he can be a dynamic fantasy option at the next level.

KJ Osborn, WR Miami – A Buffalo transfer, Osborn was a dynamic returner and deep threat for the Bulls, but he’s been slow to adapt to the ACC. Miami hasn’t been using him as a returner, and he only has 225 receiving yards in the team’s five games so far this year. He also doesn’t seem to be connecting on the deep passes, on which had previously shown strong ability to track the ball and high point a catch. It’s possible that Osborn hasn’t clicked with his new team, but the inability to produce against a jump up in competition is concerning for his NFL outlook.

 

Week 7 Matchup to Watch: Alabama @ Texas A&M

3:30 PM ET

Jerry Jeudy, WR Alabama – Obviously, there are tons of prospects on Alabama that we can mention, but Jeudy could be the best of the bunch. Jeudy is a thin-bodied receiver but a dynamic playmaker. He has exceptional route-running and tremendous deep speed, which, when paired with his strong hands, makes him an elite receiving option. He’ll likely be the first receiver off the board and one of the top rookie fantasy options next year.

Tua Tagovailoa, QB Alabama – Tua is likely the top quarterback off the board right now. He has good pocket awareness and great accuracy; the throws he makes are truly exceptional at this level. He doesn’t have the strongest arm, which we know NFL scouts love; however, he’s a big game player and always seems to make the play when it’s needed. He’ll be a starting quarterback next year and likely a draftable one for fantasy purposes, but he’s not the athlete that Kyler Murray or Josh Allen is, which means he won’t add the rushing stats to provide a safe fantasy floor right out of the gate.

Henry Ruggs III, WR Alabama – Hey, look, another incredibly fast wide receiver at Alabama. Ruggs may run the fastest 40-time at the Combine, which you know will attract scouts' interest, but it’s his body control and ability to make contested catches that suggest a dynamic NFL future. He needs to grow in his route running if he wants to be a top receiving option in fantasy, but even if he doesn’t, he could turn into a Will Fuller type for your fantasy team. Not a bad floor.

Kellen Mond, QB Texas A&M – Kellen Mond is another quarterback with good pocket awareness who can make throws on the run. He does possess a little bit more rushing ability than Tua, and his accuracy has taken a big jump forward this year, which are two signs of potential fantasy value. If he can show that the accuracy improvements will hold up against this top-flight defense then he has a real shot to be a Day Two selection in the NFL Draft with the upside to be a high-upside fantasy NFL quarterback.

  

Week 7 Night Matchups to Watch: 

Louisville - Wake Forest 7:30 PM ET

Jamie Newman, QB Wake Forest – At 6’4” 245 pounds, Newman has great size for the quarterback position. He also possesses sneaky athleticism in that build, already rushing for 262 yards and three touchdowns this season. His 59% completion percentage last year had people thinking that he was in the Josh Allen mold, but he’s improved his accuracy to a 70% clip this year while throwing 14 touchdowns to three interceptions. If he can show this improved accuracy as he steps up in competition, Newman could be a name to watch as an intriguing NFL back-up quarterback with fantasy upside because of his rushing floor, if he were ever thrust into action.

 

Florida - LSU 8:00 PM ET

Joe Burrow, QB LSU – I didn’t cover Burrow when I previewed LSU earlier in the year, but the senior has been on fire to start the year with 1,864 yards and 22 touchdowns in five games. He possesses fine NFL size at 6’4” 217 pounds, but he’s an exceptional mental quarterback, who excels in play-action and doesn’t force many bad throws. When you pair that with his ability to throw on the move, Burrow looks like a quarterback that could sneak into the back half of the first round and find himself in a prime spot as a dynasty quarterback on a good team.

 

Hawaii - Boise State 10:15 PM ET

Cedric Byrd, WR Hawaii – The slot wide receiver in Hawaii’s Air Raid offense, Byrd is a physical player over the middle with enough speed to stretch the field deep. He’s had some issues with drops, but there are enough reports out there that suggest this is simply an issue of coachable technique. If so, Byrd could become a usable underneath target and a deep league fantasy asset.

Cole McDonald, QB Hawaii – With the quarterback class as loaded as it is, it’s unlikely that McDonald comes out this year. However, he is an intriguing name to watch for 2021. He doesn’t have the strongest arm, but he shows good anticipation, which helps him complete passes without elite zip. He also has a little bit of the “fantasy cheat code” with his ability to make plays with his legs, despite his 6’4” 220-pound frame. Last year he rushed for 359 yards and four touchdowns to go along with his 3,875 passing yards and 30 touchdowns. While he may not be draftable next year, fantasy owners should keep an eye on him because he could make for a good fantasy quarterback in 2021 if he winds up in the right organization.

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