With the College Football Playoff National Championship finally here, we take a look at the top devy prospects to keep an eye on for #1 LSU’s showdown against defending-champion Clemson. National Championships are naturally going to offer devy fantasy football appeal, but this year’s edition features even more top prospects than usual.
The 2020 CFP National Championship features two franchise-changing quarterbacks with Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow (projected #1 pick in 2020) and Trevor Lawrence (projected #1 pick in 2021) widely expected to be the top picks in the next two NFL Drafts. Both Clemson and LSU have a stable of wide receivers soon to be featured on the next level, while Clemson’s Travis Etienne is the top-ranked player in my latest dynasty rookie rankings.
Without further ado, here are the best devy prospects to watch in Monday’s College Football Playoff National Championship. Be sure to check back after the game and throughout the off-season for never-ending devy and dynasty fantasy football content. You can also find my updated 2020 dynasty rookie rankings for a look ahead at which prospects to scout for the 2020 NFL Draft.
CFP National Championship: Clemson vs. LSU
Date: Monday, January 13th
Time: 8:00 PM ET
Location: Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Clemson: RB Travis Etienne (2020), QB Trevor Lawrence (2021), WR Justyn Ross (2021), WR Tee Higgins (2020), WR Joe Ngata (2022), WR Frank Ladson (2022), RB Lyn-J Dixon (2021), WR Amari Rodgers (2021)
With the National Championship taking place about an hour away from LSU’s campus, Clemson and devy-prospect Trevor Lawrence will have their work cut out for them on Monday night. Luckily for Clemson, Lawrence has an abundance of playmakers at his arsenal in the virtual road-contest in New Orleans.
While Lawrence rightfully gets a lot of the credit for the Tigers offensive success, Clemson’s Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross form one of the most dangerous wide-receiver duos in all of college football. Higgins is a tall, rangy wideout that plays faster than your typical jump-ball wide receiver. Higgins has shown tremendous YAC ability this season on top of his redzone prowess as the Oak Ridge, Tennessee native racked up 1,115 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns on less than 60 receptions.
Even with Ross limping through the season with injury woes, the sophomore still led Clemson with 61 receptions, which he turned into 789 yards and eight receiving touchdowns. While Higgins had the superior 2019 season, we would be foolish to forget about Ross’ performance in last season’s College Football Playoffs. The Alabama-native planted his flag as a top devy prospect with a combined 301 receiving yards and three touchdowns in the semi-final and National Championship victories.
With Higgins widely expected to enter the 2020 NFL Draft, look for Amari Rodgers to battle with current freshmen Joe Ngata and Frank Ladson for WR2 duties behind Ross next season. Ngata and Ladson are both highly-regarded devy prospects that should get more of an opportunity to shine next season with Higgins heading to the pros.
Clemson’s Travis Etienne, one of the best running back prospects in college football, possesses a rare combination of strength and acceleration that makes him nearly impossible to stop in the open field. Etienne’s speed is well-known throughout the devy community, but the running back’s tackle-breaking ability is truly what makes him unique.
With the CFP National Championship expected to be Etienne’s last game in orange and purple, the Jennings, Louisiana native has the opportunity to end his decorated college career with a victory over the hometown team that overlooked him. Backup running back, Lyn-J Dixon is a smooth, upright runner that is more than capable of handling the load if needed. While Dixon lacks Etienne’s speed and explosiveness, the former four-star recruit is as solid as they come as a chain-mover.
LSU: WR Ja’Marr Chase (2021), QB Joe Burrow (2020), WR Justin Jefferson (2020), RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (2020), RB John Emery (2022), WR Terrace Marshall Jr. (2021)
After a solid first season in Baton Rouge, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow engineered an offensive resurrection in 2019 to propel the Tigers to their first National Championship appearance since 2011. Burrow was nothing short of amazing this season as the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner racked up 5,208 passing yards with a mind-blowing 55-6 TD/INT ratio.
After becoming LSU’s first Heisman Trophy winner since Billy Cannon in 1959, Burrow is widely expected to go #1 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft to the Cincinnati Bengals. With elite running back Joe Mixon and above-average slot receiver Tyler Boyd already on the Bengals roster, Burrow will have a couple of weapons in place to succeed immediately. If Cincinnati can find a way to re-sign AJ Green and get the most out of former first-rounder John Ross, the Bengals could be an offense on the rise in 2020 and beyond.
Burrow has a couple of dangerous weapons at his arsenal now with 2019 Biletnikoff Award winner Ja’Marr Chase and likely 2020 day-two pick Justin Jefferson leading the LSU wide-receiver corps.
Chase was downright dominating this season with 1,559 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns, but the 2021 NFL Draft prospect has been quiet thus far this postseason. In the SEC Championship against Georgia and CFP Semi-Final against Oklahoma, Chase had a combined five receptions, 102 yards, and one touchdown reception.
Jefferson, on the other hand, has dominated the past two contests as he looks to overtake Chase on the stat sheet. Jefferson had 14-227-4 TD and 7-115-1 TD receiving lines against Georgia and Oklahoma to push his yearly total up to 102 receptions, 1,434 receiving yards, and 18 touchdowns.
After injuring his hamstring during LSU’s semi-final preparation, running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire played sparingly against Oklahoma, but the versatile running back is expected to be at full strength heading into Monday’s CFP National Championship.
Edwards-Helaire virtually came out of nowhere this season en route to 1,700 total yards and 17 total touchdowns. If Edwards-Helaire suffers a setback before or during the game, look for backup Chris Curry to handle the majority of the rushing load. Highly-talented true freshman John Emery Jr. should be on everyone’s devy radar, but LSU has so far been unwilling to unleash the future dynasty superstar.
Jordan Woodson is a writer for the Pro Football Network covering Devy and Dynasty Fantasy Football. You can follow him @Jordan_Woodson on Twitter.