Week 9 of the 2019 college football season featured top prospects Laviska Shenault and CJ Verdell reminding devy fantasy football scouts of their enormous potential while running back Jonathan Taylor and a trio of quarterbacks disappointed in key conference matchups.
For the third consecutive week, college football fans witnessed a Top 10 team losing to an unranked conference foe. After #3 Georgia and #6 Wisconsin suffered upset defeats in Weeks 7 and 8, it was Oklahoma’s turn in Week 9. The Kansas State Wildcats defeated their Big 12 rival 48-41 in front of a raucous crowd in Manhattan, Kansas.
With Week 9 of the college football season in the books, it’s time for our weekly stock report. Be sure to check back later in the week for my preview of the best devy fantasy football matchups to watch in Week 10.
2019 Devy Week 9 Prospects
Standout players that saw their devy stock increase from the previous week include:
CJ Verdell – After an excellent freshman season in 2018, CJ Verdell reminded Duck fans in Autzen Stadium why he’s one of the best running backs in the nation in Oregon’s narrow 37-35 victory over Pac-12 rival Washington State.
With quarterback Justin Herbert having an average game, Verdell put the Ducks on his back with over 250 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. The versatile running back also had a team-high four receptions, which he turned into 56 receiving yards.
The 2021 NFL Draft prospect has continued to excel in Oregon’s run-heavy offense this season. After rushing for 1,018 yards and ten touchdowns a season ago, Verdell already has 753 rushing yards and five touchdowns so far during his redshirt sophomore season.
After struggling through injuries during his freshman campaign, Verdell added weight this offseason to prove he’s a more durable back, and his 89-yard touchdown run in Saturday night’s contest might prove he didn’t’ lose any speed in the process. While Verdell might not get the hype as other 2021 or 2022 running backs, he has every tool in his arsenal to be a successful prospect in fantasy football.
Jauan Jennings – Tennessee wide receiver Jauan Jennings’ career has been a roller-coaster of extremes, but the Vols top pass-catcher might be at the peak of his college football career right now. Jennings brought in seven receptions for a career-high 174 yards and two touchdowns in Tennessee’s 41-21 beat down of South Carolina.
It wasn’t always this easy for the wide receiver from nearby Murfreesboro, Tennessee. After a successful sophomore season that saw him finish the year as the Vols second-leading receiver, Jennings would soon find himself briefly dismissed from the football team after an unfortunate Instagram post of his criticizing the Tennessee coaching staff went viral.
Jennings eventually worked his way back on the Tennessee football team after following a strict list of rules set for him by Volunteers head coach Jeremy Pruitt and athletic director Phillip Fulmer. Jennings’ first season back in Knoxville wasn’t exactly smooth-sailing as the wide receiver fought through injuries that led to him only catching 30 passes for less than 500 receiving yards.
The 2019 season gave Jennings one last chance to get his career on track, and so far, he has responded in a big way. The Tennessee prospect already has a career-high in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns with at least four more games remaining on the schedule.
While the University of Tennessee wide receiver might not be a day-one or even day-two pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Jennings have a successful career in the National Football League. Jennings is a unique prospect with the size and play-making ability to be a difference-maker in both the NFL and devy leagues.
Laviska Shenault Jr. – With 172 receiving yards and one touchdown, wide receiver Laviska Shenault did everything in his power to lead Colorado to their first victory over USC in program history. It just wasn’t enough with USC scoring the last 14 points of the game to escape with a 35-31 victory last Friday night.
After a string of disappointing performances, Shenault needed an excellent showing to cement his status as one of the top wide receivers in the 2020 NFL Draft. With only 514 receiving yards and three touchdowns all season, Shenault is far removed from his impressive 2018 season that saw the wide receiver finish with over 1,100 total yards and 11 total touchdowns.
While Shenault is due for a disappointing statistical season, he’s still considered one of the top wide receivers prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft. Jerry Jeudy of Alabama and CeeDee Lamb of Oklahoma are the clear creams of the crop, but Shenault probably leads that second-tier of wide receiver prospects available. Shenault should be a high draft pick that is destined for the first round of 2020 devy and rookie dynasty drafts.
Disappointing players that saw their devy stock decrease in the previous week:
Jonathan Taylor – Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor is so good he’s matchup-proof, right? As the great Lee Corso of College Gameday would say, “not so fast, my friend.”
For the first time all season, Taylor struggled on the ground in Wisconsin’s 38-7 defeat to the Ohio State Buckeyes. Entering the contest with a season-low of 80 rushing yards, Taylor was expected to be the workhorse that gave Wisconsin a chance at the upset victory.
Ohio State’s defense, led by future top-three pick Chase Young, held one of the nation’s leading rushers to a 20-52-0 line in Wisconsin’s second consecutive conference loss. Taylor had a season-low 52 yards on 2.6 yards per carry against the talented Ohio State defense with three first-round picks in Pro Football Network’s latest mock draft.
Fear not, Taylor truthers. One bad performance against a superior team doesn’t hurt the talented running back in the long run. Taylor is still a consensus top-three running back in the 2020 NFL Draft along with Clemson’s Travis Etienne and Georgia’s D’Andre Swift. You may also want to keep an eye out on running backs J.K. Dobbins of Ohio State and Florida State’s Cam Akers as they look like the best available in the next tier behind the big three.
With a stacked class of running backs and wide receivers, the 2020 NFL Draft is set up as one that could drastically change fantasy football futures across the globe. There are so many talented players available that even second-round picks in 2020 devy or dynasty drafts have first-round value.
Sam Ehlinger – Don’t let the passing yardage fool you. Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger was somewhat dreadful in the Longhorns 37-27 loss to Big-12 rival TCU.
Ehlinger did amass 321 passing yards in the contest, but the Texas quarterback also threw a career-high four interceptions that led to 13 TCU points. Entering the game with only three interceptions on the season, Ehlinger was due for a regression to the mean. He found it in the worst way in Texas’ third loss of the season.
While Ehlinger has shown to be a pretty good college football player, it’s still doubtful that he’s fantasy football relevant at the next level. Ehlinger is excellent at making plays with his legs when plays break down, but he’s inconsistent with his passing accuracy. The Texas quarterback is destined to be a late-round pick or UDFA that will have to work his way up from the practice squad.
Justin Herbert & Jordan Love
Neither Justin Herbert of Oregon or Jordan Love of Utah State were particularly awful in Saturday’s night conference matchups. They also weren’t very good as they continue to fall behind LSU’s Joe Burrow for QB2 status in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Herbert was up-and-down in Oregon’s narrow 37-35 victory over Washington State, but he did make a couple of big plays down the stretch in the Ducks comeback victory. Love continued his junior slump with another “meh” performance in Utah State’s 31-7 loss to Air Force.
This season, Love is far removed from his impressive sophomore season that saw the quarterback complete 64% of his passes with a 32-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Love only has 1,600 passing yards on the season while he has thrown more interceptions (9) than touchdowns (8).
I still love both quarterbacks’ potential in fantasy football and the National Football League, but I have to admit I’m a bit concerned about their play this season. I’d like to see improvement from both prospects, especially Love, down the stretch of the college football season.
Jordan Woodson is a writer for the Pro Football Network covering Devy and Dynasty Fantasy Football. You can follow him @Jordan_Woodson on Twitter.