Do you want to be a better fantasy football player? In 35 years of playing, there is no question in my mind that College Fantasy Football (CFF) and DEVY intersect with the more popular NFL Fantasy Football to provide improved insight and expertise into our amazing hobby.
In 2008, I kicked off my CFF passion and jumped into a DEVY league five years ago. I am now addicted to both. Once the summer starts as an educator, I begin my annual sojourn into the CFF player pool and NFL Draft prospects.
My second round of publishing DEVY rankings is now available to readers. I watched nearly every player (except for freshmen) at least once during the college season last year. Game notes are not detailed; yet, provide a snapshot of a scouting report.
I rely more on the production model while putting together my rankings. Over the next two months, I will watch one or two players every day, double-checking previous notes and expanding on the competitors’ traits for future scouting reports.
DEVY Football 101
One of the biggest questions for any DEVY player is how to rank incoming freshmen. I am very skeptical of overrating any high school prospect. In 45 years of watching college football, I have seen more top-rated freshmen fail as college players than succeed; therefore, I am a little bit of a curmudgeon and “show me” grader.
Many DEVY players do not consider the incredible challenge that a high school football star must overcome to succeed. Life intervenes off the field with family and friends, classroom challenges await, a new social environment on campus, trying to navigate the social life at school, and of course, on-field injuries that derail a player’s skills.
In my rankings, readers will observe that freshmen are ranked much lower than other analysts. I prefer to draft sophomores and shorten the window to NFL stardom. Every DEVY player must make their own risk-return calculus when drafting freshmen prospects.
It is easy to start a DEVY league. Assign four to six (just a suggestion) DEVY spots to each team’s fantasy roster and draft college players in a snake format for four rounds. In a 12-team league, 48-60 college prospects will be selected.
When the college season ends, fantasy managers can promote two players to their active NFL rosters. All the players promoted (24 maximum) are no longer in the upcoming rookie draft. It is a great way to add another layer of skill and fun to fantasy. It is important to limit the number of players promoted per team because too many will dilute the rookie draft in DEVY leagues.
DEVY Settings/Directions for Commissioners
Fantrax is the best site to roster your DEVY leagues. Commissioners can allow college prospects to be placed on the reserve/taxi squads. Just follow the directions below:
- Go to League Setup Page
- Hit Player Pool Button
- Scroll Down to Include players from other leagues (Beta)
- Click NCAA Football
- Go to Rosters Button
- Allow 4 to 6 DEVY players from the NCAA Pool via Taxi/Practice Squad
DEVY Quarterback Rankings
I am old school when grading/ranking the signal caller position: Practice repetitions and game experience allow a player to develop his athletic traits and leadership skills. Therefore, games played are factored into my rankings.
I want to acquire a DEVY quarterback who is likely to start within the next two years then wait for a freshman who might be four years away from suiting up on Sundays. Two under-the-radar quarterbacks who possibly may play next year in the NFL are K.J. Jefferson, Arkansas and J.J. McCarthy, Michigan.
Jefferson profiles as a Cam Newton, Dak Prescott, and Anthony Richardson level dual-threat signal caller. He is a much better passer than given credit for in the scouting community and already has played 24 games in the SEC. McCarthy is more of a traits-based and projection ranking. He is so athletic and off the charts traits at times on film. If he puts it all together, McCarthy could garner first-round Draft capital.
I know that many DEVY owners are excited about the current crop of incoming freshman quarterbacks. Only two make my Top 15…
|Rnk||Player||School||Ht.||Wt.||247 Stars||H.S. Class||Games||Pass Yds||Rush Yds||Total TDs||QB Rate|
|2||Drake Maye||North Carolina||6'5"||216||4||2021||14||4410||760||46||158.3|
|3||Michael Penix, Jr.||Washington||6'3"||216||3||2018||30||8838||257||70||141.5|
|6||Jordan Travis||Florida State||6'1"||212||3||2018||31||5959||1784||71||148.8|
|9||Kyle McCord||Ohio State||6'3"||215||5||2021||n/a||606||-12||3||168.6|
|13||Drew Allar||Penn State||6'5"||225||5||2022||n/a||344||52||5||128.5|
|14||Spencer Rattler||South Carolina||6'1"||191||5||2019||33||7621||306||70||154.1|
Twitterverse on Fire
Who is most likely to rise up DEVY rankings and possibly earn first-round NFL Draft capital next spring?
- KJ Jefferson, Arkansas: 16%
- J.J. McCarthy, Michigan: 21%
- Penix, Jr., Washington: 40%
- Bo Nix, Oregon: 23%
“I will be in the minority, but I will go KJ Jefferson. At 6’3” and 250 pounds of absolute MAN, he might excite some NFL squads.” @aceholesrule
“Bo Nix! Auburn days are well behind him. If he didn’t get hurt, he would have been in the Heisman talk last season with his 40-plus total touchdowns, 70% completion rate and 500 yards on the ground. Add Dickey and Bryant, Jr. to Franklin, Bucky and Noah…Bo is back baby!” @NinoBrown_T2T
“KJ and JJ have been two of my guys for a while. I’ll be surprised if any end up as first-rounders. I would lean McCarthy if I had to choose, but Penix seems to be getting the early hype out of the group. Someone will take Nix, but I think the days of early capital are behind him.” @FF_Guitarist
“Devin Leary!” @BiscuitFCP
“Bo Nix was very impressive last year with 3,600 passing yards and 29 TDs to 7 INTs is damn impressive. I could see him making a strong case for the first round if he continues to improve this year.” @d3r1v3d
“Michael Penix would be my choice. Actually, I graded him out as QB No. 3 last year before he returned to school.” @zackzander
DEVY Running Back Rankings
When ranking running backs in DEVY, two factors weigh heavily: level of competition and size. Researching productive fantasy runners in the NFL, I looked at the Top 24 ball carries (PPR format) over the past three seasons. The numbers clearly illuminate the players who weigh over 200 pounds from P5 programs are more likely to be productive as professionals. See chart below:
Running Backs: P5 vs. Non-P5
Running Backs: Over 200 Pounds
|Season||> 200||%||< 200||%|
In the 2023 Draft, the NFL also sought P5 ball carriers who exceeded 200 pounds. Among 18 runners selected only three—Tyjae Spears, DeWayne McBride and Lew Nichols, III—were from the non-P5 schools, and Devon Achane (188) and Deuce Vaughn (179) were the two players significantly below the 200-pound benchmark.
My DEVY rankings are reflective of the NFL industrial scouting community. Two players, TreVeyon Henderson and Bucky Irving, are listed under 200 pounds among my Top 20 ball carriers. I do not have a non-P5 runner in the list below.
The two players that I rank highly over the community are Damien Martinez and Devin Neal. I look forward to seeing both ball carriers continue to perform well on the gridiron and move up DEVY rankings in 2023. I placed only one freshman, Cedric Baxter, Jr., in the Top 20.
|Rnk||Player||School||Ht.||Wt.||247 Stars||HS Class||Yds from Scrimmage||Avg.||Recs||Tot TDs|
|2||TreVeyon Henderson||Ohio State||5'11"||195||5||2021||2159||6.3||31||26|
|4||Nicholas Singleton||Penn State||6'0"||210||5||2022||1146||6.8||11||13|
|7||Trey Benson||Florida State||6'1"||215||3||2020||1156||6.3||13||10|
|8||Damien Martinez||Oregon State||6'0"||216||3||2022||1043||6.1||4||7|
|13||Cedric Baxter, Jr.||Texas||6'1"||215||5||2023||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|14||Kaytron Allen||Penn State||5'11"||218||4||2022||1055||5.2||20||11|
|19||Miyan Williams||Ohio State||5'9"||225||3||2020||1498||6.7||14||17|
Twitterverse on Fire
Among running backs, who is the most fascinating/interesting prospect in your opinion to watch in 2023?
- Trevor Etienne, Florida: 26%
- Donovan Edwards, Michigan: 39%
- Re’Mahn Davis, Kentucky: 9%
- Jase McClellan, Alabama: 26%
“Donovan Edwards: He looks the part at times, but at others, he seems blind to defensive backs and runs into them instead of around. If Edwards can get his open-field vision to match his in-line vision, he could be hell on wheels. If not, he is just a talented guy that gets tackled when he shouldn’t.” @aceholesrule
“Jase McClellan will be the featured back for one of the nations most watched teams and has a terrific athletic profile. I think he goes Day 2 in the next NFL Draft.” @FabFalco
DEVY Wide Receiver Rankings
Unlike the running back position, I am not as glued to the size of a prospect any longer. Over a decade ago, NFL teams sought big X-receivers in the Julio Jones, A.J. Green and Calvin Johnson mold. The spread offense has dramatically impacted the college game, and the receivers recruited into college programs. The WR prospects coming into the league profile very differently than 15 years ago.
In 2023, organizations no longer are drafting receivers based solely on prototypical size. As a fantasy player and DEVY analyst, it is imperative to evolve and identify a new production model to reflect potential draft capital; therefore, improving Dynasty and redraft Fantasy Football worth.
The DEVY rankings are based upon a wide range of statistics in the model: Stars by 247Sports, high school class, receiving yards and average. I also consider breakout age (the earlier the better) and tape study. Viewers will also notice that P5 prospects are ranked higher than non-P5 players.
|Player||School||Ht.||Wt.||247 Stars||HS Class||Recs.||Yds Rec||Avg.||TDs|
|1||Marvin Harrison, Jr.||Ohio State||6'3"||202||4||2021||88||1402||15.9||17|
|2||Emeka Egbuka||Ohio State||6'1"||205||5||2021||83||1342||16.2||12|
|10||Antwane Wells||South Carolina||6'1"||210||n/a||2019||68||928||13.6||7|
|14||Devontez Walker||North Carolina||6'2"||195||3||2019||63||`1,045||16.6||13|
|15||Evan Stewart||Texas A&M||6'0"||175||5||2022||53||649||12.2||2|
|16||Carnell Tate||Ohio State||6'2"||180||4||2023||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|22||J. Michael Sturdivant||UCLA||6'3"||205||4||2021||65||755||11.6||7|
|25||Oronde Gadsen, II||Syracuse||6'5"||215||3||2021||63||993||15.8||6|
Twitterverse on Fire
Among the high school Class of 2022 WR prospects, who ya got at the top of the DEVY rankings?
- Tetairoa McMillan, Arizona: 24%
- Antonio Williams, Clemson: 19%
- Barion Brown, Kentucky: 10%
- Luther Burden, Missouri: 47%
“Tetairoa McMillan for me. He should continue to flourish in the NFL.” @aceholesrule
“TMac all day and twice on Saturday! He had 81 targets with 39 catches for 702 yards and 8 touchdowns, averaging 18 YPC. With an ADot of 16.2. Only three drops all season. With Jacob Cowing now there, Mac will get a lot of 1 vs. 1 matchups… yikes. Top-notch body control and makes difficult catches look easy.” @NinoBrown_T2T
“Tough pick but still think Luther Burden has the most upside.” @zackzander
DEVY Tight End Rankings
In all fantasy football formats, the tight end position is difficult to manage. For years, I dumpster-dived for a starter and worked the waiver wire like an alchemist from the 19th Century seeking to turn refuse into gold. The results were a mixed bag at best.
In DEVY, I am still very weary of spending a top-flight pick on a tight end. I reflect on O.J. Howard, Noah Fant, and Kyle Pitts to remind myself not to inflate the value of the position. The rate of return for a premier tight end prospect is far too risky in my opinion.
Brock Bowers clearly is the current conundrum for DEVY owners. I have ranked the Bulldogs’ All-American as the twelfth-overall player in DEVY drafts. I would not reach too high for Bowers when elite receivers and running backs are still on the board.
|Player||School||Ht.||Wt.||247 Stars||HS Class||Recs.||Yds Rec||Avg.||TDs|
|5||Bryson Nesbit||North Carolina||6'5"||235||4||2021||42||661||15.7||5|
|10||Jaheim Bell||Florida State||6'3"||230||3||2020||56||757||13.5||10|
|12||Theo Johnson||Penn State||6'6"||256||4||2020||43||597||13.9||5|
Seeking deeper DEVY rankings? Check out the Rookie Big Board on Patreon for over 125 players by me and my RBB teammates. It includes the Top non-P5 prospects and many more freshmen for DEVY managers.