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Ahead of the Game - College Devy Prospects to Watch (Week 2)

The first week of college football started the season off with a bang. Not only were there matchups with playoff implications, but there was excitement in several of the lower-profile games to make up for some of the lopsided wins in the showcase games.

Week 2 isn't the best slate of games with only one top-25 matchup, but they should still give us an opportunity to see some key players for the first time.

So whether you're tuning in to the first quarter of a blowout or watching two unranked teams battle it out, check out some under the radar players who could have dynasty relevance.

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Justice Hansen, QB Arkansas State

Week 2 - at Alabama (9/8)

If you play College Fantasy Football, you are definitely familiar with Justice Hansen and Arkansas State. He had the eighth-most pass attempts in 2017 and had the ninth-most yards.

Year G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int
2016 13 197 340 57.9 2719 8 8.1 19 8
2017 12 305 487 62.6 3967 8.1 8.2 37 16

For Hansen, maintain his completion percentage from 2017 will be the key for his evaluation. The system's pace and his utilization will help him rack up yards and TDs, but if he falls below 60 percent again, there will be plenty of questions about him as a potential prospect.

A matchup against Alabama wouldn't appear to be the best opportunity to show off, but a mid-afternoon game on ESPN2 is the perfect introduction to this offense. Hansen has the necessary size for the NFL and has back-to-back season above a 7.0 AY/A. While it could be system-driven production, another year of high-level production could turn him into the "out of nowhere" QB prospect of 2019 in the same vein as Kyle Lauletta.


Running Back

Trayveon Williams, RB Texas A&M

Week 2- vs. Clemson (9/8)

Sometimes the most intimidating matchups are the most critical and for Trayveon Williams he'll need a good showing against arguably the best defense in college football.

Trayveon Williams G Rush Att Rush Yds Yards per Carry Rush TD Receptions Rec. Yds Yards per Reception Rec. TD
2016 13 156 1057 6.8 8 19 91 4.8 0
2017 12 173 798 4.6 8 20 192 9.6 0

As a freshman, Williams had an impressive 6.8 yard per carry average and eclipsed 1000 yards. But as a sophomore, his efficiency plummeted and he fell well short of the 1000 yard threshold. He opened the 2018 season with 240 yards on 20 carries. While he won't maintain a 12 YPC average, any sustained improvement over six YPC would improve his stock significantly.

Williams won't turn 21 until October and he will be one of the youngest RB prospects in the class, should he choose to declare. While his dip in rushing efficiency is concerning, his improvement in receiving efficiency and overall usage is somewhat promising. In both his freshman and sophomore years, he averaged at least one reception per game and doubled his yardage efficiency in his second season. He caught only one pass in the opener so it appears that his workload isn't going to improve dramatically, but his draft profile will improve if he stays over 1.5 receptions per game.

Lexington Thomas, RB UNLV

Week 2 - vs. UTEP (9/8)

The Mountain West has produced meaningful RBs in recent years and Thomas could continue that trend if he can expand upon his production.

Lexington Thomas G Rush Att Rush Yds Yards per Carry Rush TD Receptions Rec. Yds Yards per Reception Rec. TD
2015 12 81 506 6.2 3 10 100 10 0
2016 10 124 642 5.2 8 6 83 13.8 2
2017 12 211 1336 6.3 17 8 143 17.9 0

2017 was arguably a breakout campaign for Thomas. Not only did he eclipse the 200 carry threshold, but he improved his 2016 rushing efficiency back above six yards per carry. And to top it all off, he scored nearly 1.5 touchdowns per game. If there's one complaint about Thomas's production, it's his limited usage in the passing game, but in his limited usage, he's exceeded ten yards per catch two of three years.

Thomas is a small RB, but his 200 carry season is a decent indicator that he can handle a full workload. But if he fails to manage more than one reception per game during his final season, there will be real questions about how he'll transition to the NFL. He started off his 2018 with 14 carries for 136 yards and a TD and he added one reception. If he can continue this production, he could become a viable NFL prospect.


Wide Receiver

Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR Liberty

Week 2 - at Army (9/8)

Liberty made their FBS debut last week against a Conference USA opponent. It may have been surprising to the casual fan, but they scored 52 points on route to a big win and Antonio Gandy-Golden was a big part of that win. As over nine point underdogs this week, he'll need another stellar performance for his team.

Year G Rec Yds Avg TDs MS Yards MS TDs Dominator
2016 11 21 315 15 3 0.14 0.16 0.15
2017 10 69 1066 15.4 10 0.31 0.34 0.33

Gandy-Golden broke out with a 0.33 dominator in 2017. He reeled in six receptions for 53 yards and three touchdowns in the first game of 2018 so it appears he's well on his way to another productive season. One noteworthy aspect of his production is his 15 yard per reception average.

Gandy-Golden has enough size at six-foot-four to be seen as a reasonable NFL prospect, but he'll likely need a huge season to be seen as truly viable for NFL teams. While his accumulated stats at a small school against lower level talent, he'll need to replicate the same production in the FBS. If he has a second 1000 yard season with similar TD production, it wouldn't be surprising for the two-star prospect to take his shot at the NFL. If you're looking for a player to stash next season, this could be an ideal candidate.

Deebo Samuel, WR South Carolina

Week 2 - vs. Georgia (9/8)

Following a 9-4 season under new head coach, Will Muschamp, there are high expectations in Columbia. And coming off of a season with only three games, Deebo Samuel is expected to play a big role in the offense as Jake Bentley's primary target.

Year G Rec Yds Avg TD MS Yards MS TDs Dominator
2015 5 12 161 13.4 1 0.06 0.06 0.06
2016 10 59 783 13.3 1 0.28 0.08 0.18
2017 3 15 250 16.7 3 0.09 0.17 0.13

There are several red flags on Samuel's college resume. He's never played a full season. He's never eclipsed a 0.3 dominator rating. His highest share of yards falls short of the 0.29 threshold. It will take a big 2018 to erase the previous year concerns. He started off 2018 strong, however, with a seven reception, 56-yard and one-TD performance against Coastal Carolina.

Samuel will enter the season over the age of 22 years old and will be over 23 by the 2019 NFL draft. As one of the oldest WRs in the draft, the former three-star prospect will have serious concerns about him as a prospect. If Samuel can elevate himself over his teammate, Bryan Edwards, as the primary receiving weapon, he could be an interesting day three draft pick.


Tight End

Dax Raymond, TE Utah State

Week 2 - vs. New Mexico State

The tight end class isn't likely to be as deep as prior years, but Raymond was one of the top returning TEs in terms of yardage. Coming out of Utah State, Dax Raymond could be the little-known college player who turns into a late-round NFL talent.

Year G Rec Yds Avg TD MS Yards MS TDs Dominator
2015 5 4 72 18 0 0.03 0.00 0.01
2017 12 41 456 11.1 1 0.16 0.06 0.11

Over three receptions per game and 400 yards is decent for a TE, but his touchdown production is unimpressive. He started his 2018 campaign 76 receiving yards on seven receptions.

Raymond was a relatively unrecruited two-star prospect as he was the 143rd ranked prospect in 2013. He'll need a bigger 2018 to be a non-Day three or UDFA prospect, but he has ideal size for the NFL and he's proven capable as a receiver.


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