Devy fantasy football and future rookie value is a combination of talent evaluation and draft capital projection. Those factors change quickly throughout the college football season, so it is important to stay up-to-date and ahead of your league mates.
Week 4 of the college football season was filled with standout performances, making it tough to identify just three risers this week. After four weeks of the season, it is time to be realistic about two highly touted running backs that haven’t lived up to preseason expectations.
Devy Fantasy Stock Up Players
Cam Ward, QB, Washington State
The 4-0 Washington State Cougars are off to a red-hot start, with two ranked, early-season victories against Wisconsin in Week 2 and Oregon State in Week 4. Quarterback Cam Ward is the foundation of that success.
Ward (6-2, 223) has completed 74% of his 142 passing attempts for 1,390 passing yards over his first four games. He has thrown 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Ward has also rushed for 109 yards and three touchdowns.
Ward played his first two collegiate seasons with FCS Incarnate Word. He transferred to Washington State in 2022 with a lot of hype, coming off a 4,648-yard and 47 touchdowns season that led to him being named the winning the Walter Payton Award. That hype is now building into a legitimate first-round NFL Draft conversation.
Ward has a big arm that he combines with impressive deep-field accuracy. He leads his receivers around the field with consistent anticipation. Ward displays good processing; taking what the defense gives him while ensuring he puts the ball in a spot where defenders can’t get it.
Ward’s mobility provides a unique fantasy football upside; he isn’t a pure rusher but is a mobile athlete who can give defenses headaches on broken plays and designed runs.
Rome Odunze, WR, Washington
Rome Odunze (6-3, 215) is the centerpiece of the most explosive passing attacks in the country. Through four games, the Huskies have outscored their opponents 199-68. Odunze’s speed, ball-tracking ability, and twitchy athleticism are key to their offensive success.
Odunze has tallied up 27 receptions for 544 receiving yards and four touchdowns so far this season. He comes with enticing big-play potential, averaging over 20 yards per reception and having catches of at least 40 yards in each of his last two games.
Odzune started the season as a borderline Day 2 NFL Draft pick for me. I have been impressed by his improvement in ball-tracking and ability to separate downfield consistently.
The 2024 wide receiver class is shaping up to be very strong, but if Odunze continues to perform at this level, he will have a shot to be selected in the first round of the draft. If that happens, he will be locked into first-round fantasy football draft capital.
Tyler Brown, WR, Clemson
The Clemson wide receiver room is filled with high-profile recruits that are scattered across my devy rankings. True freshman Tyler Brown (5-11, 180), though, was not on anyone’s radar heading into the season.
The undersized three-star recruit from Clemson’s backyard has stepped up and claimed a role within the evolving passing attack under new offensive coordinator Garrett Riley.
Brown pulled in five receptions for 84 yards (16.8 yards/reception) against Florida State. He flashes great speed with the ability to separate while moving into the deep third of the field. He is a fluid route runner and has shown good ball-tracking ability in contested-catch situations. Brown has also shined as a punt returner; ripping off a big 44-yard return against Florida Atlantic in Week 3.
We won’t see Brown in our rookie drafts for at least another three years. Still, it is important to take notice of breakout performances by true freshmen. When an 18-year-old can standout out in a room full of players with top-100 draft potential, it means he comes with high fantasy football upside.
Devy Fantasy Stock Down
Trey Benson, RB, Florida State
Florida State running back Trey Benson (6-1, 223) was a trendy devy draft selection this offseason. He showed flashes of potential in 2022 when he ran the ball 154 times for 990 yards and nine touchdowns. His performance led then-lead running back Treshaun Ward to transfer to Kansas State. Benson, though, has underwhelmed all expectations through the first month.
Benson has just 40 carries for 189 yards through the first four games of the season. He does have four touchdowns, but three of those came against Southern Mississippi. A significant part of the appeal with Benson was his bell-cow potential, but he is averaging just 11 touches a game.
I dodged Benson in my devy drafts this offseason. His 2022 tape shows an indecisive runner who gets caught behind the line of scrimmage too often. He displays good lower body strength and contact balance but lacks game-changing athleticism or breakaway speed.
Florida State is off this week but plays a weak Virginia Tech defense in Week 6. If you currently have Benson on your roster, I would hold onto him in anticipation of a big performance against a down Hokies defense. When the highlight clips start to circulate, flip him for the equivalent of what you paid in future draft picks.
Quinshon Judkins, RB, Mississippi
Quinshon Judkins (5-11, 210) has been one of the most disappointing devy prospects from the month of September. Judkins was a consensus top three Superflex startup devy selection this offseason after rushing for 1,567 yards and 16 touchdowns as a true freshman.
Judkins has rushed for 201 yards on 57 carries (3.5 yards/attempt) through the first four games of the season. He is being outrushed by teammate Jaxson Dart, who is not known as a mobile quarterback.
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As a true freshman in 2022, Judkins displayed great play strength, burstiness, impressive contact balance and decisive vision. So far this season, his athleticism looks limited and he has struggled to power through opposing defenses.
If you drafted Judkins this offseason, you have to hold onto him and hope for a rebound in performance as he gets into the SEC schedule. It’s possible that he is battling through an injury; there have been rumors leading up to each of the last two weeks that he wouldn’t play but has suited up for each game.
Fantasy managers should hold out hope for a big October from Judkins, who will play Arkansas, Auburn, and Vanderbilt — three relatively beatable SEC defenses.
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