Life as a devy fantasy football writer forces you into questionable life decisions every weekend of the college football season. For instance, Week 8 featured me on my couch fully entrenched in Florida State’s contest against ACC-rival Wake Forest. This was 100% due to the presence of Sage Surratt and Cam Akers on each sideline and nothing to do with the inferior college football product on the field.
While that might be the saddest sentence ever written, neither player disappointed in the Demon Deacons 22-20 victory. And thanks to the ability to watch multiple games at once, I didn’t miss any of the actual meaningful contests that were happening at the same time.
Week 9 sets up as a much better viewing weekend with three Top 25 vs. Top 25 matchups on the schedule. Those three matchups are also conveniently spaced out in Week 9 with #3 Ohio State hosting #13 Wisconsin at noon, #2 LSU hosting #9 Auburn at 3:30, and #19 Michigan State wrapping up the night with a primetime matchup against #8 Notre Dame.
With Week 8 of the college football season in the books, it’s time for our weekly stock report and a preview of the best devy fantasy football matchups in Week 9.
Standout players that saw their devy stock increase from the previous week include:
Since returning from a one-game suspension, Kansas running back Pooka Williams has shown why he’s one of the most explosive running backs in the nation. In Week 8, Williams almost single-handily led Kansas to an upset victory over the Top 25 ranked Longhorns with over 200 total yards and two rushing touchdowns.
While Williams excels on the outside where his speed can shine, he’s also a surprisingly good inside runner. Williams has the ability to get skinny and packs more strength than you’d expect for a player his size.
Now before we get too excited about Williams’ devy fantasy football potential, we need to remember the off-field baggage that comes with him. Williams is an exhilarating college football player to watch, but the NFL decision-makers will likely determine his value once he declares for the NFL Draft.
After taking a backseat to Greg Dortch in his freshman season, the Wake Forest wide receiver has undoubtedly taken over WR1 duties this season. Surratt has looked like the best player on the field all season, and he continued that domination in Wake Forest’s 22-20 victory over Florida State.
After putting up 196 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns against Louisville, Surratt followed that performance up with 170 receiving yards in Week 8’s victory. So far this season, Surratt has 881 receiving yards and nine touchdowns receptions after finishing with 581 yards and four touchdowns a season ago.
Instead of going through a sophomore slump, Surratt has made a sophomore jump as the main target in the Demon Deacons passing-game. That means Surratt’s devy fantasy football stock should also take a leap as the 6’3″ pass-catcher has shown to be a difference-maker on the outside.
As a highly-touted four-star recruit, freshman receiving David Bell was supposed to come in to give Purdue a terrific one-two punch with Rondale Moore. Instead, Bell has been forced to step in as Purdue’s WR1 with Moore dealing with a leg injury for almost a month now.
Bell has over 100 receiving yards in three out of four games since Moore went down, including 197 yards and one touchdown scored last week in Purdue’s 26-20 defeat to the Iowa Hawkeyes.
With Bell only a freshman, look for his devy fantasy football stock to fluctuate over the next couple of seasons. While Moore and Bell both likely have outstanding NFL futures ahead of them, it’s hard to imagine Purdue’s quarterback situation allows for both to put up stats every week.
Disappointing players that saw their devy stock decrease in the previous week:
After slowly becoming one of my favorite sleeper quarterbacks to watch over the last couple of weeks, Daniels came back down to reality with a dud of a performance in Week 8. Daniels looked utterly lost with only 25 passing yards on 18 pass attempts in Arizona State’s 21-3 defeat to the Utah Utes.
Daniels struggled all game as Utah’s ferocious defense forced the freshman signal-caller into his worst statistical performance of his young career. Daniels finished Saturday’s contest with a career-low in passing yards (25), completion percentage (22.2%), and passer rating (22.8).
Even with Daniels coming off his worst performance to date, the sky is still the limit for the freshman quarterback. Daniels’ rushing ability allows him to create fantasy points even when he’s struggling through the air.
John Emery Jr.
Entering the season as a consensus five-star recruit and potential RB1 for the 2022 NFL Draft, LSU running back John Emery Jr. was supposed to light the college football world on fire. So far, the freshman running back has barely created a spark.
With only 115 rushing yards and two touchdowns six games into his freshman season, Emery Jr. is probably one of the only disappointments for the undefeated LSU Tigers. Joe Burrow and the passing-game are improving their stock every week.
Part of that disappointment is due to the depth chart in front of him. While we expected junior running back, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, to get the majority of snaps at running back, it’s a bit of a surprise to see fellow freshman Tyrion Davis-Price with more carries and yards than the highly-touted Emery Jr.
While Emery Jr. has been a disappointment so far this season, it’s best not to overreact to these situations too drastically. We have to take notice of Emery Jr.’s struggles, but we have a lot of football to play before the 2022 NFL Draft. His fantasy football stock will be on the rise again soon.
After rushing for over 900 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns in his sophomore season, Oklahoma running back, Trey Sermon entered the season firmly in the mix for a breakout season. So far, he hasn’t received enough carries to improve his devy fantasy football stock.
Sermon only has 362 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns this season, capped off by Saturday’s lackluster 17-yard performance against West Virginia. Truthfully, it isn’t like Sermon is playing bad. The junior running back is averaging over seven yards-per-carry, but he’s yet to receive more than 11 carries in a single game all season.
With Oklahoma’s passing game excelling and quarterback Jalen Hurts averaging 12 carries per game, there just hasn’t been enough opportunities for Sermon to showcase his ability so far this season. That seems likely to change as the season progresses, and better teams appear on the schedule.
Devy Matchups to watch in Week Nine
Wisconsin @ Ohio State
Wisconsin: RB Jonathan Taylor (2020), TE Jake Ferguson (2020)
Ohio State: QB Justin Fields (2021), RB J.K. Dobbins (2020), WR K.J. Hill (2020), WR Chris Olave (2021), WR Garrett Wilson (2022), TE Jeremy Ruckert (2021), RB Master Teague (2021)
Auburn @ LSU
Auburn: WR Seth Williams (2021), RB JaTarvious Whitlow (2020 – injured), QB Bo Nix (2022)
LSU: QB Joe Burrow (2020), RB John Emery (2022), WR Justin Jefferson (2020), WR Ja’Marr Chase (2021), WR Terrace Marshall Jr. (2021)
Notre Dame @ Michigan
Notre Dame: QB Ian Book (2020), WR Chase Claypool (2020), RB Tony Jones Jr. (2020)
Michigan: WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (2020), WR Tarik Black (2020), RB Zach Charbonnet (2022)
Jordan Woodson is a writer for Pro Football Network covering Fantasy Football. You can follow him @Jordan_Woodson on Twitter.