Each year, one of the biggest college football matchups fans can watch is LSU versus Alabama; it has become a dynasty rookie spotlight. In the last twenty years, ten times, the national champions in college football were either one of these teams. That sort of consistent dominance is unheard of in most professional sports, let alone college-based ones.
Both coaching staffs have proven they can develop talent. They have produced it at a wide range of positions but especially at the fantasy-relevant positions. These games have seen the likes of Derrick Henry, Odell Beckham Jr., Amari Cooper, and more all dominate these games and ride the momentous wave into the NFL.
In the 2023 installment, both teams are in unique spots regarding devy. Alabama isn’t the lethal passing attack it has been in recent memory and is back into the smashmouth approach on the ground. Instead, LSU picked up the passing baton and ran with it, led by Jayden Daniels and Malik Nabers.
Despite the teams being in different molds, both have plenty of talent to shine the dynasty rookie spotlight on.
Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU
There is no Bryce Young, Tua Tagovailoa, or Joe Burrow in this matchup like in years past, but there is a fun LSU Tiger to monitor. Daniels has come out of his shell this year from being a conservative, almost scared, passer to being someone to push the ball downfield. He has done so by also being able to hit receivers in stride, throwing them open, and has made this offense much more explosive. His overall draft stock and dynasty value remain unknown, but he has certainly helped himself thus far. Daniels has the skillset and development pattern to make things interesting and deserving of a dynasty rookie spotlight.
Jase McClellan, RB, Alabama
The 2024 running back class doesn’t deserve a dynasty rookie spotlight, but maybe more of a flashlight. The group as a whole is deep, but there is not very much talent to the depth. In the case of McClellan, he has waited patiently at Alabama and now is reaping the rewards. He is the bell cow of the Crimson Tide offense that is seeing itself return to its roots in establishing a healthy rushing attack. McClellan doesn’t have the dual threat skillset the NFL may be looking for, but his vision, usage, and overall rushing ability make him a fun day-three pick in the draft. Regarding dynasty value, he could be a late-round pick with a high upside that could be flipped at a value or emerge as a reliable starter.
Malik Nabers, WR, LSU
The most talented player on Saturday and the brightest star under the dynasty rookie spotlight is Nabers. He is everything fans and media alike thought they would get in Kayshon Boutte a year ago. Nabers stays out of the news and makes plays in this Tiger’s offense. His size is used to get advantages over defenders one-on-one, and he has the speed to fly through zone coverages. Where he truly excels is his ability to create with the ball in his hands.
Look for LSU and the NFL to get the ball in his hands in any way possible. He will be a gamebreaker the rest of the year for the LSU Tigers and will be one the minute he is drafted into the NFL.
Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU
It was mentioned above that Jayden Daniels made the LSU offense more explosive in 2023 with his downfield passing attack. The biggest benefactor in that approach has been Thomas. Last year he had 31 receptions for 361 yards and five touchdowns, through eight games this year he has 42 receptions for 732 yards and 11 touchdowns. His average reception yardage has gone up from 11.6 to 17.4 as he has proven to be a legitimate deep threat in the LSU offense. Thomas’ status among NFL evaluators remains unclear but a big game against Alabama would go a long way in helping it clear up.
Jermaine Burton, WR, Alabama
Devy fans should recognize the name, as should most college football fans. Former five-star recruit and Georgia Bulldog Burton is finally fitting into the Alabama offense and showing the tools that made everyone believe in him. He has the size, twitchy movement, and ability to win 50/50 balls against defenders. Has been slow to develop but he started to show that he is on an uptick which is something dynasty players should take note of because the NFL will be for sure.
The fantasy season is in full swing. How are you going to reward the league champ? I’ll tell you – go to Trophy Smack and get that Championship hardware. Use promo code NERDS for a free ring when you order a trophy or belt.