Last week, I dropped an article regarding some players you should be trying to acquire. Players that are likely to see a spike in value and guys that can probably be acquired inexpensively. Especially now, with everyone having freshman fever.
This week, I want to cover some players that may be at the highest value or players I see that will eventually bottom out. A few from each position that I don’t want to get left holding the bag on.
Once again, I will refer to Campus2Canton Devy rankings – we are in an overhaul on ours here at the Nerds currently.
Cade Klubnik, QB Clemson – QB9
One of the top dozen quarterbacks in devy, Klubnik, is handed the reins now that former “next stud” DJ Uigaleilei is playing in the Pacific Northwest. But can Klubnik avoid the pratfalls that doomed DJU?
It's official. It's Cade Klubnik's team now. pic.twitter.com/g4c2MKAnHu— Brandon Lejeune (@DevyDeepDive) December 4, 2022
They are much different prospects; Klubnik is a natural at the position that can make all the throws and plays unders control. He doesn’t rattle easily, and when a play breaks down, he maintains composure and can make throws on the move. Klubnik is a clean prospect and projects to be an early draft pick in 2025.
Why am I lower on him, then? I see a solid NFL quarterback at best, but I don’t think he’s got the upside to be special. Clemson did a decent job with Trevor Lawrence, who was a nearly perfect quarterback prospect when he arrived on campus. I am not sure they can develop Klubnik and surround him with an offense to make him grow. At QB9 price, I’d rather take a shot at the immense upside. Not someone that’s safe, and that’s it.
JJ McCarthy, QB Michigan – QB13
The Michigan signal-caller is garnering some buzz heading into the season as a potential NFL early draft pick in 2024. Seeing McCarthy at QB13 is a bit of a shock; I thought most people in the devy space were down on McCarthy.
The kid has some wheels, and he’s a lot of fun to watch as the play breaks down. McCarthy is quick as heck and is dangerous as a runner. He can make plays with the ball as a passer when plays break down also. But it’s up until that point of plays that I don’t like. McCarthy isn’t consistent as a passer, reading defenses, or using the pocket. He’s definitely best when he’s on the move.
If I could get QB13 value out of McCarthy, I would advocate moving him incredibly quickly. I don’t see an NFL starter, and I don’t want a career backup when I could possibly have an RB or WR with at least a shot to start.
Branson Robinson, RB Georgia – RB5
Robinson looks like an NFL running back. He’s got that thick lower build, with massive thighs and a steak-like posterior. And he’s at RBU – so what’s not to love?
He’s got power and is a bruising runner, excelling between the tackles and motoring through contact. Robinson has pretty good burst through holes and athleticism for his size. But he’s got little breakaway speed and has not displayed any ability to catch passes. I don’t doubt he can be an NFL back, but I have trouble projecting Robinson for even day two draft capital at this point.
Andrew Paul was the player to own in the class at Georgia, but his history is murky due to injuries. Robinson is the RB5 – I want a potential three-down back ready to take on 250 touches with that price tag. He could develop, and that is what you are banking on; I get it. Robinson needs to be closer to ready for me to call him the RB5. And Robinson is not that.
Braelon Allen, RB Wisconsin – RB6
In the same vein, Allen is right there for me too. I’m not going to elaborate too much because it’s a similar write-up.
.@BadgerFootball running back Braelon Allen (6-2, 235) hit 20.1 mph on his record-breaking 96-yard TD against Illinois State on Saturday. Allen’s touchdown is the longest run in #Badger history. pic.twitter.com/ULa5F7KVbJ— Reel Analytics (@RAanalytics) September 5, 2022
Allen does have more breakaway speed and big-play potential than Robinson but has limited pass-catching experience. Allen isn’t as strong of a runner, but nearly there. He’s got power, contact balance, and then the speed to take it to the house.
Still, I want to see a more well-rounded skillset to invest in this highly. I think Allen will be productive in the NFL but not as productive as we want from our devy RB6.
Blake Corum, RB Michigan – RB22
Another player I don’t want to pile on, Corum, is your RB22, and I don’t see him even justifying that value. The community as a whole is down on Corum, but I feel like I need to mention this if you are a more casual devy owner.
Corum will likely have another massive year in 2023, Michigan will feature him, and he’s a lock for 1,500 yards and a load of touchdowns if he stays healthy. He’s an electric back in space and has the ability to cover a lot of ground in a hurry.
Corum is smaller, true, but what holds him back for me is the lack of pass-catching and his ability to create on his own. He doesn’t run inside and find creases or make plays when all blocking breaks down. He’s the benefactor of massive lanes created by Wolverine hosses. I’m not saying Corum can’t have a role because he absolutely will. But I can’t see him ever being a steady fantasy contributor in the NFL.
Xavier Worthy, WR Texas – WR11
I don’t want this to feel like I am beating dead horses here, but I have been out on Worthy since his great freshman season. I actually started to come around on him as we’ve seen the success of another light receiver, Devonta Smith, in the NFL.
Quinn Ewers to Xavier Worthy.— CJ Vogel (@CJVogel_TFB) April 15, 2023
Worthy’s game is speed, and he’s got it in every element of his game. He’s fast off the line, in and out of breaks, and then has a gear very few don’t when he’s in the open field. Worthy is a speed specimen. But the drops worry me, and they point to aspects of his game that could hold him back. He’s got the speed, but his ball tracking isn’t particularly amazing. That leads to some of his drops.
Worthy will be a successful receiver in the NFL, but I don’t think he’s going to be special. There’s a bevy of freshmen and sophomores I would rather take a shot on. Or guys I know will secure WR2 roles in the NFL. Maybe not as sexy as Worthy, but sometimes the sure shot is what your fantasy team needs.
Makai Lemon, WR USC – WR13
This one is more of a gut feeling, and we have some very good freshmen receivers coming into the fold this year, and Lemon at WR13 feels like a gamble. Here’s why.
Talent-wise, Lemon belongs with all of these guys. He’s not as refined as Brandon Inniss, Carnell Tate, or USC teammate Zachariah Branch. Not many are. Lemon has great ball skills and is dangerous with the ball in his hands. He showcased a good route-running portfolio in high school, and his instincts are top-notch.
To me, Lemon seemed inconsistent, though, and at times, he would disappear and play lackadaisical. I wasn’t wowed when watching full games and left wanting to see more. Lemon is also in a very crowded room at USC, and if he doesn’t find a way to stand out – he’s going to be transferring to Oregon State in two years. That worries me at the WR13 price.
Devontez Walker, WR North Carolina – WR20
The former Kent State phenom comes in at Campus2Canton’s WR20 in the rankings, and his projection is enticing. He’s entering a proficient offense with a Heisman candidate at quarterback, and he’s essentially been handed the WR1 role.
Walker is a talented player, too, with speed, great footwork, and an understanding of how to manipulate defenders to gain leverage and separation. He’s got a limited route tree and isn’t the most physical player at the catch point. Plus, this is Walker’s fifth season removed from high school.
He’s going to gain loads of yardage and score some touchdowns, I am pretty sure I could be proficient with Drake Maye throwing me the pigskin. And I could see Walker sneaking into Day Two draft talk with a monstrous season. I’m just not ready to anoint the guy the “next big thing,” and I have questions about his translation to the NFL. You likely just picked up in your most recent devy draft, and I would capitalize on his value as soon as you can.
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