Opportunity is the most important factor to consider when analyzing fantasy football. Whether it’s at the NFL level or in college, the more pass attempts, carries, and targets that a player gets, the better. It’s far from an exact science. But last year’s opportunity reports highlighted the likes of Eno Benjamin, Jalen Reagor, Hakeem Butler, and Miles Sanders as targets in devy leagues set to see a boost in value.
In last year’s set of articles I profiled two or three specific prospects at each position. This year I’m going to take a more holistic look at the opportunity landscape in each power five conference. In doing so I hope to cast a wider net of potential beneficiaries of vacated opportunity. Not every name mentioned here will end up panning out. But each prospect should have a chance to boost their potential draft positions this season and beyond.
Let’s explore the Big-12.
To see the other entries in this series, check out the following links:
The QB battle to replace Taylor Cornelius at Oklahoma State between senior Dru Brown and redshirt freshman Spencer Sanders looks like it could go on for a while. Sanders has the clear edge in recruiting pedigree but also carries a history of knee injuries. For devy purposes, Sanders is the clear choice based on age. At West Virginia, it looks like Oklahoma transfer Austin Kendall is the favorite to replace Will Grier. He was solid1on limited attempts (39) in his three seasons in Norman and could rise in national prominence if given the keys to a perennial offensive juggernaut.
Fresh off a miraculous performance against Georgia in last season’s college football playoff, Jalen Hurts now inherits the starting job at Oklahoma replacing the last two Heisman Trophy winners. In three seasons at Alabama, Hurts averaged 8.6 adjusted yards per attempt, 5.6 yards per rush, and threw an interception on just 1.7% of his attempts. I’m in on Hurts for this season and believe he deserves more chatter as a potential NFL QB. I’m also looking to acquire freshman Spencer Rattler. He’s a top-flight recruit serving as Hurts’ direct backup this season and is also the likely starter in 2020.
James Gilbert and Jordon Brown, transfers from Ball State and North Carolina respectively, will compete to replace Alex Barnes at Kansas State. Gilbert exploded as a sophomore (251-1332-12) but is smaller, older, and the less accomplished receiver. Brown tested well in high school and has averaged 1.6 receptions per game in three seasons for the Tar Heels. If he can wrangle the clear starting role he could become a late riser in the 2020 draft process. Chuba Hubbard is well know across the devy community. But as the heir apparent to Justice Hill at Oklahoma State, he’s set to become a household name. Hubbard was dynamic as a redshirt freshman last season averaging 6.6 yards per touch with 9 touchdowns. He’s primed for a major jump in draft stock.
David Montgomery‘s absence at Iowa State opens the door for two talented freshman to potentially make an immediate impact. Breece Hall and Jihrel Brock both have solid recruiting pedigrees and have impressed this spring. With other more experienced RBs on the roster it might be a slow burn for Hall and Brock. But now is the time to buy. Keaontay Ingram’s workhorse status will always be tenuous with Sam Ehlinger siphoning away carries but he’s the clear RB1 at Texas. Trey Sermon and Kennedy Brooks should split carries at Oklahoma, but Rodney Anderson’s departure does free up additional touches. Ingram, Sermon, and Brooks are all mid-tier devy prospects with upside.
McLane Mannix is one of my favorite transfers eligible to play in 2019. A solid athlete now moving into the Power Five, Mannix should thrive as the primary slot receiver at Texas Tech. West Virginia’s WR room is a bit of a mess after losing Gary Jennings Jr. and David Sills V. T.J. Simmons will be counted on as the most experienced WR coming back but I’ve got my eye on redshirt freshman Bryce Wheaton. While athleticism doesn’t guarantee production, you’d be hard pressed to find a more athletic WR on the Mountaineers’ roster.
At Texas, Collin Johnson should absorb some of Lil’Jordan Humphrey’s vacated target share. But watch out for Devin Duvernay as well. His career production profile to this point (0.13 msREYDS) relegates him to dart-throw status. But a breakout season in 2019, coupled with a strong combine in 2020, could be a recipe for success. Iowa State added a few transfers to fill Hakeem Butler’s position but there’s still no clear replacement. Sophomore Tarique Milton caught 34 of his 38 targets last season while sophomore Joseph Scates will look to live up to his prior recruiting hype.
Depth and a system designed to spread the ball around makes it tough to peg a singular breakout at Oklahoma. Jadon Haselwood, Theo Wease, and Trejan Bridges are true freshman who should see immediate playing time and should be priority targets in devy leagues. Charleston Rambo could be the immediate Marquise Brown replacement at Oklahoma but with CeeDee Lamb still in town it’s difficult to envision anyone clearly separating themselves in 2019. But this is shaping up to be a very fruitful situation for 2020 and beyond.
Image Credit: David Flowers/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Chuba Hubbard.
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- 71.8% completion rate, 8.3 adjusted yards per attempt, 154.3 passer rating (back)