A week ago, my lovely wife and I attended our first wedding in over two years. My co-worker tied the knot on a beautiful Sunday evening with the New Haven Harbor in the background. Waking up a little late the next day, I was pumped to dive into college fantasy football wide receivers. Before researching, I wanted to look backward and then move forward.
In 2015, five wideouts were selected in the First Round of the NFL Draft. Among the Top 10 receivers in college football the previous fall, three of the first-rounders finished among the campus leaders in the nation: Amari Cooper, Alabama, Kevin White, West Virginia, and Nelson Agholor, USC.
Five receivers from Group of 5 programs—Rashaad Higgins, Colorado State, Justin Hardy, ECU, Corey Davis, Western Michigan, Tajae Sharpe, UMass, and Keevan Lucas, Tulsa—ranked in the Top 12 playmakers. Scouting and identifying CFF receivers from the Group of 5 programs is one of my favorite aspects of this incredible hobby, and I have done your homework.
In search of this year’s college fantasy luminaries, I placed the wide receiver profiles in tiers—Summa Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, and Cum Laude—to provide options for CFF coaches based on their league’s scoring format, roster construction and starting lineup requirements.
It is clearly more appropriate to provide college fantasy footballers with player tiers. In addition, Nicholas Ian Allen, @CFBWinningEdge, has provided projections for receiving yards, receptions, touchdowns and fantasy points per game.
For more on these wide receivers and all of CFF, please check out my 2021 CFF Player Rankings!
College Fantasy Football provides alternative-reality zealots, NFL Draftniks, and Dynasty and Devy owners a competitive advantage against their opponents. What are you waiting for this summer? Get off the sideline and into the game on Fantrax. We guarantee that you will not regret playing in a CFF league this fall.
2021 CFF Wide Receiver Rankings, Profiles, and Projections
Enjoy my fellow CFF diehards!
Summa Cum Laude
David Bell, Purdue
When WR Rondale Moore missed time in 2019, David Bell stepped into the alpha role in coach Jeff Brohm’s passing game. The true freshman became a Big Ten celebutante among astute college football fans. Bell subjugated opponents throughout October and November of his first year on campus without Moore on the field.
When the campaign concluded, Bell secured 86 passes for 1,035 yards and eight touchdowns while averaging 12 yards per catch (ypc). He was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week four times, AP First-Team Freshman All-American, and Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
Last year’s Big Ten crusade did not kickoff until October 24, and Bell continued right where he left off. Against Iowa, the sophomore corralled 13 passes for 121 yards and three touchdowns. In six games, the Purdue playmaker totaled 53 passes for 625 yards and eight touchdowns. He exceeded 100 yards in four games, earned First Team All-Big Ten and Academic All-Big Ten.
“I call him Mr. Consistency (Bell). He’s smooth. I don’t know if he’s going to blaze by most cornerbacks, but he’s got enough speed. He’s good up in the air when it’s a one-on-one situation. I like his ability in and out of routes. He runs great routes. He’s polished as a sophomore which is really crazy. It’s only going to get better for him,” former Boilermaker WR Seth Morales proclaimed (saturdaytradition.com).
In high school, 247Sports, Rivals and ESPN all awarded Bell a four-star grade after he was named 2018 Gatorade State Player of the Year (Indiana). In two years on campus, Bell, 6’2” and 205-pounds, has ascended up to the top of my college fantasy football rankings. Without any reservation, a CFF diehard can build a championship roster around Bell as a first-round selection.
Receiving Yards: 1,351
Fantasy PPG: 26.1
Treylon Burks, Arkansas
Watching Treylon Burks catch passes leaves a lasting impression. At 6’3” and 225-pounds, he physically imposes his will on opponents and wins with a deadly combination of speed, strength, and size. My first in-depth analysis of the Razorbacks’ dominator coincided while viewing QB Matt Corral and WR Elijah Moore last October. Against Mississippi, Burks corralled a season-best 11 receptions for 137 yards and a touchdown. I was hooked immediately.
By the end of the season, Burks established career bests with 51 catches for 802 yards and seven touchdowns while averaging 16.1 ypc. He earned Second Team All-SEC, and in the classroom, Fall SEC Academic Honor Roll.
As a freshman, Burks returned punts (12 for 130 yards) and kicks (10 for 226 yards) and was named Second Team All-SEC as a PR/KR. On offense, he caught 29 passes for 475 yards, averaging 16.4 ypc.
“With his size, physicality, and speed, Burks was a hard man to tackle, averaging 7.6 yards after the catch and breaking nine tackles on 50 receptions in 2020. Those traits have helped him vertically, as well. Over the past two seasons, he has been responsible for 17 receptions of 20-plus yards, the 10th-most among Power Five receivers,” wrote Anthony Treash (arkansasrivals.com).
In my first 2021 CFF draft, I built my roster around Bell and Burks with my first two selections, and it remains my favorite among my first ten drafts. With a second-round ADP of 20th overall, I am drafting Burks in as many CFF drafts as possible. So are razor-sharp CFF diehards this summer.
Receiving Yards: 1,152
Fantasy PPG: 20.5
Kayshon Boutte, LSU
I know it is not wise to scout the uniform. Nonetheless, it is so difficult not to be mesmerized by the talent that has worn the Purple and Gold at LSU. Over the past decade, Odell Beckham, Jr., Jarvis Landry, D.J. Chark, Justin Jefferson, Terrace Marshall, Jr., and Ja’Marr Chase all played in Baton Rouge, LA, and were drafted by the NFL.
When Marshall opted out last fall after seven games, Kayson Boutte stepped into the lineup and played like an All-American the final three games of the Tigers’ season. He burned opponents for 27 catches for 527 yards and four touchdowns. For the year, the true freshman snagged 45 passes for 735 yards and five scores. He was appointed to the Freshman All-SEC team.
After a disappointing campaign, coach Ed Orgeron remodeled the coaching staff and tweaked the offensive scheme in the winter. “It’s easier this year. Last year we didn’t have an offseason. This offseason we can work on getting better, and focus on that. They (coaches) added a lot of stuff when Jake Peetz (offensive coordinator) and D.J. Mangas (passing game coordinator) came in. I played mostly X (position). (Now) I can play X, Z and in the backfield,” Boutte stated in the offseason (crescentcitysports.com).
CFF diehards are thrilled with the possibility of Boutte lining up all over the formation. At 6’0” and 185-pounds, the sensational sophomore is a versatile playmaker who quickly defeats opponents off the line of scrimmage and gains chunks of yards with the ball in his hands. He effortlessly snags the ball out of the air and breaks tackles to explode upfield. Boutte is a first rounder and a worthy anchor on a CFF roster.
Receiving Yards: 1,213
Fantasy PPG: 21.1
Magna Cum Laude
Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
For many programs, the loss of its quarterback in the first round of the NFL Draft would reset the clock. Not at Ohio State. The Buckeyes have so many explosive receivers that whoever throws the football will likely be successful. With Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave returning, coach Ryan Day can lean on the most dynamic duo in the country.
As a high school recruit, 247Sports graded Garrett Wilson as a five-star prospect and a top 15 player in the country. As a junior, his numbers were silly: 98 catches for 1,774 yards and 32 total touchdowns. He missed some games as a senior and only accumulated 1,151 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns.
Since arriving at Ohio State from Austin, Texas, Willson has continued to flourish. In the past two campaigns, he has recorded 73 passes for 1,155 yards and 11 scores. At 6’0” and 193-pounds, Wilson plays much bigger than his size indicates, and is a field stretcher with stupendous hands. The Buckeyes’ speedster is determined to be even better and willing to line up wherever the coaching staff requests.
“Honestly, I’ve played outside for so long that I think I’m liking (the) slot a lot more right now. I can get some favorable matchups and take advantage of them. But being able to go inside and outside is something that I want to have in my game,” Wilson declared last season (lettermenrow.com). More opportunities and targets is music to CFF diehards.
When there are two terrific receivers available on the same team in fantasy drafts, I tend to select the one with the lower ADP. Currently, Olave is acquired first and Wilson comes off the board a few selections later. I have participated in ten CFF drafts already and the Buckeyes’ junior ranks among my most drafted wide receivers. I cannot bypass Wilson when he slips into the fourth round of drafts this year and neither should readers.
Receiving Yards: 1,012
Fantasy PPG: 17.9
Khalil Shakir, Boise State
Big changes on “The Blue” turf in Boise, Idaho. Since 2006, only Chris Petersen and Bryan Harsin have coached the Broncos. In 2021, Andy Avalos takes over the program. After a recent stint at Oregon as the Defensive Coordinator and ILB coach, Avalos returns to Boise State and is familiar with the school and football culture.
A defensive-minded coach, Avalos must jump-start an offense that finished the 2020 campaign ice cold, scoring only 37 points in the final two games. The offensive line returns four starters, and the passing games can count on Khalil Shakir to get open downfield.
A four-star prospect from California, Shakir begins his season with an impressive resume. In the fall of 2019 and 2018, the senior earned Academic All-Mountain West in the classroom, and in 2019, was named Honorable Mention All-Mountain West on the gridiron. In 2021, many national publications identified Shakir as a preseason First Team All-MW candidate.
“I love it when the ball is in my hands, I think everybody knows that. I just did whatever I could whenever the ball was thrown my way to keep the offense pushing. I love when guys are depending on me to do those kinds of things and do what I do,” Shakir trumpeted upon announcing he is returning to campus (idahopress.com).
At 6’0” and 188-pounds, Shakir has been very productive over the past two campaigns. He has registered 115 catches for 1,591 yards and 12 touchdowns while averaging 13.8 ypc. A dual-threat, he has carried the pigskin 50 times for 284 yards and four scores in three years. The Broncos’ senior is poised to produce his most productive campaign on “The Blue” field, and CFF owners are thrilled.
Receiving Yards: 1,214
Fantasy PPG: 22.6
Twitterverse on Fire!
Let’s look at a quartet of Group of 5 wide receivers: Who Ya Got in College Fantasy Football?
- Dante Wright, Colorado State: 19%
- Jalen Cropper, Fresno State: 33%
- Justin Hall, Ball State: 19%
- Corey Rucker, Arkansas State: 29%
“I love Dante Wright but give me Jalen Cropper with the points he likely scores at his value and ADP.” @SportsfanaticMB
“I love Jalen Cropper, but have a man-crush on South Alabama WR Jalen Tolbert. I could roll with him as my WR No. 1. Schedule is very favorable.” @JustinNottingh6
Calvin Austin, III, Memphis
Two words best describe Calvin Austin: BLAZING SPEED! When observing the Tigers’ wideout, he is always the fastest player on the gridiron. Austin conquers opponents with quickness, acceleration, explosiveness and shifitness.
A track and field competitor, Austin was raised in Memphis and dreamed of playing football for the Tigers. Woefully, the school recruited the speedster to run track, not football. He went to work and became an elite sprinter. In 2018, he earned honorable mention All-America, and in 2019, Second Team All-America in 4×100 relay by USTFCCCA. While excelling on the oval, he continued to strive for his gridiron aspiration.
“Dual sport guys, you see the shiftiness on the field. There’s all this research that dual sport athletes in high school have a higher success rate in the NFL. I do think it shows his competitive nature. Let’s start with that. A guy that’s able to run track and also be a football player and do it at a high level is kind of eye-opening,” affirmed Tigers’ first-year coach Ryan Silverfield (wmcactionnews5.com).
In 2020, Silverfield expected to design his offensive scheme around RB Kenneth Gainwell and WR Damonte Coxie. By October, both players had opted out, and Austin embraced the opportunity to show his skills. He secured 63 passes for 1,053 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging 16.7 ypc., and was named First Team All-AAC.
Memphis’ home run hitter is a great anchor to build a CFF wide receiver corps in 2021. Lindy’s Sports identified Austin as a preseason First Team All-AAC, and I expect another 1,000-yard campaign with double-digit touchdowns.
Receiving Yards: 1,167
Fantasy PPG: 20.4
Jaylon Robinson, UCF
Since 2017, the Knights have provided college fantasy footballers a fantastic four of playmakers: Tre’Quan Smith, Gabriel Davis, Tre Nixon, and Marlon Williams. Smith and Davis catch passes in the NFL, and Williams and Nixon left campus after last season. In 2021, Jaylon Robinson steps into a fantasy-friendly role in the Knights’ aerial assault.
Last year, Robinson flashed early. Against ECU, the redshirt junior corralled nine passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Shrewd CFF diehards plucked him off the waiver wire. He opened his first campaign at UCF with four consecutive 100-yard games and posted six outings—the most at UCF since Brandon Marshall in 2005–by the end of the season.
Robinson, 5’9” and 163-pounds, garnered First Team All-AAC honors (The American) after recording 55 receptions for 979 yards and six touchdowns. He was also added to the Biletnikoff Award watch list as the campaign progressed.
In high school, Rivals rated Robinson as a four-star recruit and 247Sports identified him as the 46th best athlete in the nation. Originally enrolling at Oklahoma, the redshirt sophomore transferred to UCF and worked with the scout team in 2019. “I thought it was a good fit for me. [I saw] their speed on offense and I’m a speedy guy, so I wanted to be where the speed is. They’re very explosive and I like the way they run their routes,” Robinson said in March 2020 (orlandosentinel.com).
New coach Gus Malzahn can lean on a veteran offensive line, and the QB-WR duo of Dillon Gabriel and Robinson to score points and win games in 2021. A preseason First Team All-AAC by Lindy’s Sports, the speedster will continue to flourish in Orlando, FL this fall.
Receiving Yards: 1,040
Fantasy PPG: 18.6
John Metchie, III, Alabama
It appears that John Metchie, III is a polarizing player in college fantasy football. I am a simple analyst and identify the elite offensive schemes to select players every season. Is there a better wide receiver factory over the past two seasons than Alabama? Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, Devonta Smith, and Jayden Waddle all were selected in the First Round of the NFL Draft.
Entering training camp, Metchie stands atop the depth chart in Tuscaloosa, AL. I am very intrigued with the upperclassman’s upside in coach Nick Saban’s passing attack despite the turnover at quarterback.
A four-star recruit, the junior exploded on the CFF scene last year after Waddle was sidelined with an injury. Metchie logged 55 catches for 916 yards, averting 16.7 ypc., and scored six touchdowns. In early CFF drafts, the Alabama speedster is the 14th wideout off the board, and I like the ADP discount very much.
Receiving Yards: 1,070
Fantasy PPG: 20.8
Jalen Tolbert, South Alabama
Among NFL draftniks and Devy players, Jalen Tolbert has meteorically risen over the past four months. Even ESPN’s Mel Kiper ranked the Jaguars’ wideout as the No. 9 WR prospect in 2022—the only Group of 5 competitor in Kiper’s Top Ten.
In CFF leagues, Tolbert deserves to be selected among receiver aristocracy in college football. The senior, 6’3” and 195-pounds, surpassed the 1,000-yard mark on 64 receptions with eight touchdowns last year. In three seasons, Tolbert has averaged 17.4 yards per catch and scored 14 times.
Quarterback Jake Bentley transferred to South Alabama and has been named the starting quarterback in the fall. The former South Carolina Gamecock would be foolish not to target Tolbert often. The All-Sun Belt playmaker will surely shine in college fantasy football once again.
Receiving Yards: 1,155
Fantasy PPG: 20.1
Romeo Doubs, Nevada
At Nevada, it is a crowded pass-catching locker room with Romeo Doubs, Elijah Cooks, and Calvin Turner. Luckily, there is enough production for all three members of the Wolf Pack. Offensive Coordinator Matt Mumme’s offense totaled 441.4 ypg., posted 319.1 passing ypg. and scored 30.8 ppg. With quarterback Carson Strong throwing darts, Nevada is projected as the Mountain West Champion in 2021.
Doubs led the MW in receiving yards (1,002) and shared the lead in receiving touchdowns (9) on 58 catches. At 6’2” and 200-pounds, he averaged 17.3 ypc., and earned First Team All-MW honors. During his campus tenure, Doubs has logged 145 receptions for 2,213 yards and 15 touchdowns in three seasons. I have already pinpointed Strong and Doubs as must-watch prospects this fall, and expect the senior to repeat last year’s numbers for CFF diehards.
Receiving Yards: 1,198
Fantasy PPG: 20.5
Marvin Mims, Oklahoma
Looking at Marvin Mims’ production from high school is mind-boggling: As a senior, he recorded 117 catches for 2,629 yards and 32 touchdowns…Wow! He established a Texas high school career mark with 5,485 receiving yards. A four-star prospect by 247Sports, Mims enrolled at Oklahoma and continued his dominance at the college level as a true freshman last year.
An explosive athlete, Mims was the first wide receiver in school history to earn FWAA Freshman All-American status. He also gained Second Team All-Big 12 honors. Mims paced the team in yards with 610 and touchdown catches with nine, which established a program record for freshmen.
Mims, a home run hitter, recorded four touchdowns of 45 yards or more (45, 50, 58 and 61). A dynamic runner in the open field, he returned 13 punts for 162 yards, which ranked eighth nationally. Without question, Mims is one of the elite wideouts in college fantasy football.
Receiving Yards: 903
Fantasy PPG: 17.7
Twitterverse on Fire!
Let’s look at a quartet of Power 5 wide receivers: Who Ya Got in College Fantasy Football?
- Chris Autman-Bell, Minnesota: 37%
- Jordan Whittington, Texas: 9%
- Jordan Addison, Pittsburgh: 42%
- Renard Bell, Washington State: 12%
“Close between Jordan Addison and Chris Autman-Bell for me! However, if Jordan Whittington lives up to his potential under a coach Steve Sarkisian offense, he could be the best out of this group!” @CFF_Jared
“Jordan Whittington is always hurt, and I will believe it with him when I see it.” @DFS_CFBGuru
“I’ll go with Jordan Addison for CFF and C2C. Granted Chris Autman-Bell had to contend with Tyler Johnson and Rashod Bateman, Addison’s breakout last year looks like something to build on.” @FF_banterman
Reggie Roberson, SMU
I really wanted to rank Reggie Roberson among the top dozen wide receivers before doing my research. When I took a deeper look at the SMU speedster, I could not overlook injuries that derailed both of the past two campaigns. In 2019, Roberson endured a season-ending foot injury, and last year, he suffered a non-contact knee injury versus Memphis. He has only suited up for 13 games since 2018.
As a sophomore, Roberson snagged 52 passes for 802 yards and six scores. He also returned five kicks for 206 yards and a touchdown. In 2019, the West Virginia transfer dominated opponents—43 catches for 803 yards and six touchdowns—before the injury.
In the spring, Athlon Sports named Roberson to its preseason First Team All-AAC. At his current ADP (No. 24 overall), I have not selected the Mustangs’ fleet-footed home run hitter. Not willing to embrace the risk.
Receiving Yards: 1,157
Fantasy PPG: 20.6
Drake London, USC
Drake London arrived on campus and suited up for both the football and basketball teams in 2019-2020. The junior did not play hoops last spring and is now dedicated to the gridiron. With Amon-Ra St. Brown and Tyler Vaughns pursuing professional careers, London is now the go-to receiver for OC Graham Harrell and QB Kedon Slovis.
An Uber athlete, London stands 6’5” and 210-pounds and imposes his size, strength and physicality against smaller slot defenders. In two seasons, he has accumulated 72 receptions for 1,069 yards, averaging 14.8 ypc., and scored eight times. In 2020, London was named First Team All-PAC 12 by PFF, and in 2019, Third Team Freshman All-American by PFF. London will earn more accolades in 2021.
Receiving Yards: 1,121
Fantasy PPG: 18.9
Twitterverse on Fire!
Let’s look at under-the-radar wide receivers from among the Power 5 teams: Who Ya Got in College Fantasy Football?
- Quentin Johnson, TCU: 39%
- Braylon Sanders, Mississippi: 37%
- Erik Ezukanma, Texas Tech: 16%
- Elijah Canion, Auburn: 8%
“I’ll be taking the #1 WR in the Ole Miss offense, Braylon Sanders!” @CFF_Jared
“Erik Ezukanma my dude!” @NFL_Zack
“As an Auburn fan, Elihah Canion could be in line for a good year. All depends on QB Bo Nix’s growth.” @ffShaneB
“This is the toughest one yet…I love Quentin Johnson in C2C leagues. For CFF, I think I’d go Erik Ezukanma in hopes of QB Tyler Shough just feeding him and feeding him…all great plays though.” @FF_banterman
“Everybody would already know the name Braylon Sanders if he hadn’t battled injuries. He is stupid talented when healthy. He should have a big year coming up.” @jacobdfrench
Zay Flowers, Boston College
The Eagles’ receiver soared to new heights in 2020. In Boston College’s first game of the season against Duke, Zay Flowers descended on the college fantasy football community. He corralled five passes for 162 yards and a touchdown, and some sagacious CFF diehards, like myself, plucked Flowers off the waiver wire. A First Team All-ACC member, Flowers nabbed 56 passes for 892 yards and nine touchdowns.
How did Flowers fly so high? A new coach, Jeff Hafley, and offensive coordinator, Frank Cignetti, scrapped the ground-and-pound scheme of Steve Addazio for a more modern aerial assault. With the addition of QB Phil Jurkovec behind center, the Eagles scored 27.8 ppg. and totaled 284 passing yards per game. With a favorable schedule in 2021, Flowers likely establishes career highs across the board.
Receiving Yards: 1,085
Fantasy PPG: 19.9
Jaquarii Roberson, Wake Forest
Wake Forest does not have name recognition or a big national following. Coach Dave Clawson does not recruit four- and five-star prospects to wear the Gold and Black. He enrolls three-star players and immerces them in his system. Many stay at the school as “super seniors” and in 2021, 19 starters return to Truist Field.
One of the returning upperclassmen, Jaquari Roberson blossomed running routes out of the slot in Clawson’s scheme last year. A three-star recruit, the redshirt junior snagged 75 passes for 1,080 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 14.4 ypc. He ended the season on a hot streak: in five of the last six games, he accumulated over 126 yards receiving and scored seven times in the final four contests.
In the Duke’s Mayo Bowl versus Wisconsin, he beat defenders for eight receptions for 131 yards and three touchdowns. Roberson was named Second Team All-ACC by Phil Steele. Heading into training camp, Athlon Sports forecasted the sleek Demon Deacons’ wideout to earn First-Team All-ACC, and I expect Roberson to reach expectations.
Receiving Yards: 1,087
Fantasy PPG: 18.9
Justyn Ross, Clemson
In March of 2020, Justyn Ross ran a slant route in practice and collided with a linebacker. He had an X-ray and was diagnosed with a congenital spinal condition, which sidelined him all of last year. It was not even clear if Ross could play again.
In 2021, reports are positive that the junior will be able to suit up. Coach Dabo Swinney has stated that the team plans on playing Ross in the slot when he returns to the gridiron. “That’s one of Justyn’s gifts. I mean, he is so gifted. When you’re in there (slot), it’s a quick change of direction. And then you get a big body like that, he’s unique,” Swinney stated in the spring (thestate.com).
I am clearly more optimistic about Ross’s comeback and fantasy potential than other CFF diehards. In Rounds 5 or 6, I cannot allow Ross to fall any further. The Tigers’ wideout continually makes my CFF roster. I know there is a risk in selecting the junior. Even so, the reward compels me to draft Clemson’s playmaker.
Receiving Yards: 1,020
Fantasy PPG: 19.1
Josh Downs, North Carolina
In the past two campaigns, the Tar Heels relied on a potent pair of receivers: Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome. Both are no longer on campus after being drafted. Fortuitously, coach Mack Brown has recruited well at the receiver position, and Josh Downs aspires to be the vertical threat in Chapel Hill, NC.
An early enrollee and four-star prospect, Downs tallied 187 receptions for 3,019 yards and 32 touchdowns over his final three prep seasons in high school. He was listed as the nation’s No. 94 player, the nation’s 17th-ranked wide receiver, and the No. 13 player in Georgia by 247Sports. A member of the ESPN300, the Tar Heels playmaker earned an invite to play in the All-American Bowl.
As a true freshman last year, Downs appeared in 10 games and accrued seven catches for 119 yards and three touchdowns. In the Orange Bowl against Texas A&M, he set season highs with four catches for 91 yards and two touchdowns, including a 75-yard score. With Sam Howel throwing pitches, Downs surely becomes a weekly starter in CFF leagues.
Receiving Yards: 967
Fantasy PPG: 17.5
Chris Olave, Ohio State
As a lifelong Michigan fan, it is disheartening that two Ohio State receivers are top twenty college fantasy football prospects. What makes it worse? The Wolverines have not employed a viable CFF wideout in nearly a decade while the Buckeyes’ annually produce home run hitters and elite NFL prospects.
For the past two seasons, Olave dominated the Big Ten and was rated by many draft experts a top ten WR prospect. Yet in early January, the senior announced that he will return for another campaign at Ohio State. Along with teammate Wilson, the Buckeyes challenge defenses to defend every blade of grass on the field.
Olave already possesses an impressive resume: He has secured 110 catches for 1,766 yards and 22 touchdowns. At 6’1” and 189-pounds, the skillful route runner easily gains separation and assaults secondaries vertically. An All-Big Ten preseason nominee, Olave establishes career highs in every receiving category and is a future first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Receiving Yards: 1,012
Fantasy PPG: 18.7
Jalen Cropper, Fresno State
How loaded is the Mountain West Conference at receiver? Among preseason All-MW projections, Jalen Cropper does not make either the first or second teams. Behind an emerging passer in QB Jake Haener, the Bulldogs trot out one of most explosive aerial attacks in the country
In the passing game, Cropper ascended to the top of the pecking order in targets last year. At 6’0” and 170-pounds, the junior secured 6.17 receptions per game, totaled 86.7 yards per game while catching 37 passes in six contests. He finished the campaign with 520 receiving yards and five touchdowns while being named honorable mention All-MW. Despite competing against stellar contemporaries, Cropper could rise to the top of the playmakers out west this year.
Receiving Yards: 987
Fantasy PPG: 17.5
Jaivon Heiligh, Coastal Carolina
As a high school senior in 2017, Jaivon Heiligh set Florida state single-season records in receptions with 131, yards with 2,159, and touchdowns with 32. A three-star recruit, Heiligh enrolled at Coastal Carolina and played in all 12 games as a freshman. Nevertheless, the Chanticleers wideout did not flourish until last season.
With a change at quarterback and renewed dedication, Heiligh netted First Team All-Sun Belt accolades. At 6’2” and 190-pounds, the senior recorded four 100-yard games, logged three games with multiple touchdowns, and totaled 998 yards receiving on 65 catches. “Details on route running and being an actual full receiver. I’m a lot better this year than I was the year before and my confidence has grown a lot more.” Heiligh stated (heraldtribune.com). In the final two games of the year, his work ethic paid off in spades against Troy and Liberty: 24 receptions for 316 yards and two touchdowns.
Coastal Carolina averaged 37.2 ppg. and 449.8 ypg., and the Chanticleers return their entire offensive line, including nine offensive starters. Grayson McCall and Heiligh are one of the more spirited pitch-and-catch duos in the country. The sleek-footed game breaker is a Round 5 pick in CFF drafts, which has enticed me all spring.
Receiving Yards: 956
Fantasy PPG: 17.2
Justin Hall, Ball State
Last year, Ball State captured the Mid-American Conference with a 6-1 record and defeated San Jose State in the Arizona Bowl. The Cardinals’ explosive offense posted 34.2 ppg. and totaled 447.2 ypg. The aerial assault soars with an electric pair of wide receivers: Justin Hall and Yo’Heinz Tyler.
After four campaigns, Hall ranks atop the Cardinals’ all-time leader board with 257 receptions and kicks off the season as the active pacesetter in the nation. He only needs 258 receiving yards to position himself as the kingpin at Ball State in both receiving categories.
As a true freshman in 2017, he immediately impressed college football fans with 78 catches, earning ESPN Freshman All-American. Over the past two years, Hall was named First Team All-MAC. A zestful playmaker, the 5’9” and 186-pounder has earned 85 carries for 610 yards and four scores. He has totaled 3,382 scrimmage yards and crossed the finish line 17 times. D’Wayne Eskridge, a MAC product, was selected in the third round of the NFL Draft by the Seahawks. Hall, the next MAC riser, will garner lots of buzz next spring during the draft process.
Receiving Yards: 1,027
Fantasy PPG: 17.5
Ty Fryfogle, Indiana
In 2020, Ty Fryfogle helped me win many 50-50 cash games in CFB DFS. During a three-game stretch (Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State) in mid-season, the fifth-year receiver snagged 29 passes for 560 yards and six touchdowns. In Big Ten history, Fryfogle became the first wideout to record consecutive games with over 200 yards receiving. He concluded the campaign with 37 receptions for 721 yards and seven touchdowns.
Despite competing against David Bell, Garret Wilson, Chris Olive, Jahan Doctson, Rondale Moore, and Rashaad Bateman, Fryfogle was awarded the Big Ten Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year. He also gained First Team All-Big Ten and one of 11 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award. At 6’2” and 205-pounds, Fryfogle excels making catches in traffic and producing yards after the catch in bunches. I just acquired the Hooser’s premier playmaker in the seventh round of a CFF Best Ball draft, and could not be more ecstatic.
Receiving Yards: 1,076
Fantasy PPG: 18.4
Jahan Dotson, Penn State
In my current CFF Best Ball league, I acquired my first shares of Jahan Dotson this season. I had not avoided the senior game breaker. He just never appeared to be a value as the drafts unfolded. In Round 5, he remained on the board, and I scooped Dotson up.
At 5’11” and 184-pounds, the speedster lettered in basketball and track and field in high school. He won Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) state championships in the 4×100 relay and the long jump in 2016. Since arriving on campus as a four-star prospect, his career has unfolded in a linear manner: Dotson’s catches have increased from 13-to-27-to-52 and yards skyrocketed from 203-to-488-to-884.
Last year, Dotson was named Third Team All-Big Ten by coaches and media and Honorable Mention All-Big Ten as a punt returner, averaging 24.6 yards and scoring once. One of the sneaky QB-WR combos when stacking in CFF Best Ball leagues is the QB Sean Clifford-Dotson duo, which I am stacking with WR Parker Washington when possible.
Receiving Yards: 1,050
Fantasy PPG: 18.7
Jaden Walley, Mississippi State
Over the past decade, CFF aficionados fancied quarterbacks and receivers in coach Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense. In 2008, I selected WR Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech in the first round of my first ever CFF draft. In two seasons for the Red Raiders, he grabbed 231 receptions for 3,127 yards and 41 touchdowns. Regrettably, none of Leach’s receivers have come close to Crabreee’s numbers.
Leach transferred from Washington State to Mississippi State last year and implemented his pass-happy scheme in the SEC. The first year did not work so well: The Bulldogs posted a 4-7 record while scoring only 21.4 ppg. and 296.3 passing ypg.
A true freshman in 2020, Jaden Walley closed out the regular season with four consecutive 100-yard games, snagging 29 passes for 520 yards and two touchdowns. He garnered Freshman All-SEC and Second Team Freshman All-American by the Athletic. A three-star prospect, Walley was also played baseball and quarterback in high school.
In the Maroon and White game in the Spring, the sophomore receiver injured his leg and limped off the field. Leach never provides any clarity on injuries, and CFF diehards must watch for updates during training camp. While I do not forecast a Crabtree-like performance, Walley is a tremendous selection at current ADP—with a high ceiling—in college fantasy football drafts.
Receiving Yards: 995
Fantasy PPG: 16.8
*Fantasy Projections by Nicholas Ian Allen, @CFBWinningEdge
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