It is very important to understand that the lists you will find below are not what you would find within a typical play-and-fade article. The purpose of highlighting these players is in identifying potential for present and future success. The selected individuals will, however, be chosen from the pool of players that will be available from those released for useduring Saturday’s slate of games. Although, some may not be facing an exploitable matchup, others may require a few weeks for their situations to play out, and some are being tagged for a 2016 breakout.
Aggressive gunslingers targeting receivers on 20-plus yard (deep) attempts
Vernon Adams Jr. ($7,700) – Oregon vs. California
The addition of Adams to this list has been in the works since Week 7. It should be noted that his return to the lineup from a broken index finger on his throwing hand coincided with the reinstatement of WR Darren Carrington. In Week 7 against Washington, Adams completed 5-of-6 20-plus targets in which he hit Carrington with a 36-yard TD strike within the first two minutes of the game.
An outlier? Not even close. Adams waited until the second quarter to connect with Carrington on another long TD pass against Arizona State, hooking up for a 39-yard bomb. Week 9 saw Adams connect on 5-of-9 vertical targets, saving his final deep completions for overtime TD passes of 25-yards, and finally 20-yards to secure the victory. Week 10 brings the California Golden Bear Raid attack that employs an up-tempo offense and that will provide the Ducks with ample possession time for Adams to continue the trend.
Sean Maguire ($5,400) – Florida State at Clemson
Maguire took the field against Syracuse to give the incumbent starter, Everett Golson, the chance to recover from a recent concussion, and left with many backing his claim to the job. There is no denying that Golson has been one of the best game-manager’s in the entire country, but is that what the Seminoles need? In FSUs first eight games, Golson completed 8-of-22 deep attempts, adding 242 yards of his 1,659 yards, and three TDs.
Maguire has only played in one game, yet he managed to connect with Seminole receivers on 4-of-8 vertical shots, for 174-of-395 yards, and … three TDs. An entire dimension to the offense is missing without the ability to accurately target receivers downfield. In Week 10, Florida State will face the newly anointed No. 1 in Clemson, a defense with exploitable holes to the deep pass in the secondary.
Quinton Flowers ($5,700) – South Florida at East Carolina
When the season began, South Florida was not expected to make much of a splash in the AAC. To an extent, not much has changed. What has been a pleasant surprise is the efficient, and ever-improving, play of Flowers. The one area of his game that had yet to materialize was successfully finding his receivers downfield. Facing off with one of the stingiest passing defenses in the country in Navy, Flowers found his wideouts on 4-of-7 20-plus yard targets for 142 yards. He did not see any of those passes reach the endzone, but leaves plenty of promise for the future.
Previously discussed: Paxton Lynch, Christian Hackenberg, Jerrard Randall, Deshaun Watson, Sefo Liufau, Phillip Ely, Connor Cook, Brad Kaaya, DeShone Kizer, Baker Mayfield, Brett Rypien, Cardale Jones, Hayden Moore, Brent Stockstill, Josh Rosen, Jerrod Heard, Dane Evans, Matt Davis, Luke Falk, Greg Ward Jr., Tanner Mangum, Matt Johnson, Chad Kelly, Joe Hubener
Quarterbacks who simply dominated opponents with pinpoint accuracy. These signal callers will be chosen based on the PFF College metric termed Accuracy Percentage: (Completions + Drops) / (Attempts – Throw Aways – Spikes – Batted Passes – Hit As Thrown)
Deshaun Watson ($7,900) – Clemson vs. Florida State
The loss of WR Mike Williams in Week 1 was a significant setback for the Tigers’ scheme and changed the entire personality of the offense. Williams had been a top-five vertical threat in 2014 and, while his absence had consequences, Watson has been able to transcend the loss. His Week 9 opponent, North Carolina State, presented a significant, well-balanced challenge. Watson took his competition in stride while completing 23-of-30 attempts, for an 82.8 accuracy percentage, and 49.72 DraftKings points. He’ll face another stiff challenge in Week 10 against Florida State, but one that should again produce usable stats worthy of lineup inclusion.
Kyler Murray ($7,400) – Texas A&M vs. Auburn
The decision by HC Kevin Sumlin to sit Kyle Allen in Week 9 came with a good amount of scrutiny. The performance put forth by Murray put a stop to those complaints and should actually be a lesson to all coaches in college football. Play your best players – period! When a quarterback is able to submit 156 rushing yards and a TD, the floor is set so high that any additions through the air can literally be considered a bonus. Murray gave his owners exactly that type of bonus after finding a home for 20-of-28 passing attempts, a 75.0 accuracy percentage, and finding WR Josh Reynolds for a 22-yard scoring strike.
Jake Browning ($5,400) – Washington vs. Utah
It’s been an up-and-down 2015 season for Browning and the Huskies, proving a significant challenge in translating Browning’s historic high school numbers to college play. One of the most-underowned value plays of Week 9, Browning took a big step to realizing his potential after connecting on four TD strikes, and adding an additional TD on the ground. While he “only” completed 16-of-24 passing attempts, two were dropped, and another thrown away. He ended the day with a 78.3 accuracy percentage and a good amount of momentum heading into a tough matchup with Utah.
Previously discussed: Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan, Joel Lanning, Paxton Lynch, Nate Sudfeld, Joel Stave, Greg Ward Jr., Everett Golson, Brandon Harris, Mason Rudolph, Blake Frohnapfel, Nick Mullins, Skyler Howard, Brett Rypien, C.J. Beathard, Nate Peterman, Blake Kemp, Greyson Lambert, Skyler Howard, Drew Hare, Jacoby Brissett, Malik Zaire, Will Grier, Mike Bercovici.
The homerun ability of a running back is, in its nature, a game altering addition to an offense, and DraftKings gold in your pocket. These are the backs who emerged with the most production on 15-plus yard (long) runs
Kalen Ballage ($4,700) – Arizona State at Washington State
After overcoming an early-season illness, it became immediately apparent that Ballage was a force out of the running back position. While, prior to Week 9, he was unable to furnish a breakout performance to draw attention to his play, he was able to establish a short-yardage role. Facing an underrated Oregon run defense in Week 9, Ballage broke off the fourth-most runs of 15-yards or greater, and used them to accumulate 66.9 percent of his yardage total.
C.J. Jones ($4,300) – Central Florida at Tulsa
UCFs season has basically descended into an evaluation mode for the 2016 season and Jones has succeeded in making a very positive impression. He had previously been given a healthy carry total of 19 against Temple, but was unable to succeed against the 10th-ranked Owls run defense. In Week 9 against Cincinnati, Jones displayed impressive skills en route to 123 rushing yards, and two runs of 15-plus accounted for 57.7 percent of that total.
Gerard Wicks ($3,400) – Washington State vs. Arizona State
With the elite passing attack displayed by the Cougars each week and an improving defense, a breakout at running back would be huge to future success. We may have seen a hint of just that in Week 9 facing off against the 28th-ranked run defense of Stanford. Wicks generated 78 yards on the ground, with three of 15-plus, and a 64.1 breakaway percentage. If he can continue to produce with the carry total that has steadily increased since Week 5, Wicks could find his way into lineup consideration.
Previously discussed: Kenneth Farrow, Joe Mixon, Ronald Jones II, Christian McCaffrey, Anthony Wales, Saquon Barkley, Jordan Canzeri, Travon McMillan, Mike Warren, Ezekiel Elliott, L.J. Scott, Alex Collins, DeAndre Washington, Matt Dayes, Wendell Smallwood, Samaje Perine, Adam Hine, Larry Rose III, C.J. Prosise, Brian Hill, Boom Williams, Ray Lawry, Tre Maddon, Soso Jamabo.
Depending on long runs can be a fruitless endeavor, but the ability to elude defenders is a talent these running backs have mastered, and in reliable fashion. These backs generated dominant Elusive Ratings (a runner’s success beyond the point of being helped by his blockers)
Jacques Patrick ($5,200) – Florida State at Clemson
Easily one of the top breakouts of Week 9, Patrick took the opportunity to start when superstar-RB Dalvin Cook was forced to sit, and provided his owners with 49.4 DraftKings points. In the process, Patrick was able to shed 10 tackles, six on the ground, and four following receptions. With 3.67 yards after contact per attempt (Yco/Att), he accumulated a 122.2 elusive rating that will provide the Seminoles with some insurance behind Cook.
Demario Richard ($6,800) – Arizona State at Washington State
While not in any way a breakout, Richard was already on many draft lists and DFS rosters prior to Week 9. The news of relevance is a successful return from a recent knee injury. He not only returned, he did so with a vengeance as evidenced by a 129.8 elusive rating. Ably avoiding seven tackles on 19 carries is impressive and 3.89 Yco/Att proves Richard has fully returned to health.
Wendell Smallwood ($6,400) – West Virginia vs. Texas Tech
With the poor run defense of Texas Tech up next, Smallwood will likely be a heavily owned player in Week 10. A week prior, Smallwood faced off with a normally laxed run defense of TCU, while still posting over 100 yards, but finding his team fall to a significant early deficit. Digging deeper, we find that Smallwood was able to break a tackle once every four rushing attempts, and furnished a solid, considering the circumstances, 77.4 elusive rating.
Previously discussed: Matt Dayes, Soso Jamabo, Jamarius Henderson, Myles Gaskin, Travis Greene, Robert Martin, Shannon Brooks, Conor Hundley, Dare Ogunbawale, Brian Hill, Wayne Gallman, Nick Scott, Vic Enware, Elijah Hood, Kelvin Taylor, Saquon Barkley, Joseph Yearby, Justin Silmon, Dalvin Cook, Terrell Newby, Chris Carson, Shaun Wilson, De’Veon Smith, Jahad Thomas.
A list of the receivers who furnished the weekends best performances on tracking down (deep) targets traveling greater than 20 yards
Travis Rudolph ($4,400) – Florida State at Clemson
Another Seminole making a significant splash in Week 9 against Syracuse, Rudolph erupted for 191 yards after finding little success this season. Having Sean Maguire under center provided the catalyst, with 174 of those yards and all three TDs furnished on deep completions.
Ricardo Louis ($5,300) – Auburn at Texas A&M
Louis had his breakout three weeks ago against Kentucky after the dismissal of Duke Williams from the Auburn program. He continued that recent success against the formidable Ole Miss secondary in Week 9, securing all three of his catchable targets of 20-plus yards, accumulating 121-of-137 yards, and a TD.
Antonio Callaway ($3,800) – Florida vs. Vanderbilt
It was only a matter of time before a favorite target of QB Treon Harris would be chosen and we may have received that answer. With Will Grier at quarterback, we saw a glimpse of Callaway’s potential in Week 4 against Tennessee when he racked up 112 yards and a TD. Although, it wasn’t until Harris took over that he truly emerged, posting back-to-back 100-yard efforts against LSU and Georgia. Securing both of his catchable deep looks from Harris, Callaway averaged 47 yards per vertical target, and took one 66-yards to paydirt.
Previously discussed: Keyarris Garrett, Chris Godwin, Anthony Miller, Artavis Scott, Taywan Taylor, Allen Lazard, Leonte Carroo, Tim White, Jerome Lane, Kenny Lawler, Marcell Ateman, DeAngelo Yancey, Ed’Marques Batties, Demarcus Ayers, Thomas Sperbeck, Aaron Burbridge, Jordan Westerkamp, Carlos Harris, Roger Lewis, Trevor Davis, Tyrain Taylor, Gehrig Deter, Courtland Sutton, Braxton Miller.
While many of the nations receivers are capable of producing high yardage output with a large number of targets, this list will highlight the players who generated the most efficient use of each snap in route
Johnny Holton ($4,000) – Cincinnati at Houston
It has been a rotating carousel of breakout performances from the Bearcat receiving unit and Week 9 was no different. No less than six receivers from this offense has the potential to erupt and Holton was that individual facing Central Florida. While a 78-yard TD reception provided most of the work, Holton was still able to accumulate the highest yards per route run (YPRR) value on the weekend at 9.13. He tracked down five receptions and 146 yards on 16 snaps in route.
Justin Hobbs ($4,800) – Tulsa vs. Central Florida
Joshua Atkinson was banged up and played at far less than 100 percent, providing Hobbs with an opportunity to step into a featured role. He successfully transitioned to the starting lineup with 150 receiving yards, catching all seven catchable passes, and providing the sixth-highest YPRR in the FBS from Week 9.
Ryan Switzer ($4,200) – North Carolina vs. Duke
Another rotating group of wide receivers and another quarterback still searching for a preferred target … the North Carolina offense may actually be better served seeing that trend continue. Any talk of benching QB Marquise Williams is a thing of the past and he successfully established a connection with another of his talented receivers in Week 9. Opposing a Pittsburgh program with eyes set on big things, Williams found Switzer on five occasions, producing 126 receiving yards, and submitting the 12th-best YPRR from Week 9.
Previously discussed: Britain Covey, Cayleb Jones, Robby Anderson, Ricardo Louis, Anthony Miller, Kermit Whitfield, Deon Cain, Stacy Coley, Hunter Sharp, KaVontae Turpin, Calvin Ridley, Dede Westbrook, Laquon Treadwell, Christian Kirk, Drew Morgan, Isaiah Ford, Ricky Jones, Trent Sherfield, Quincy Adeboyejo, Mitchell Juergens, Matt VandeBerg, Rashawn Scott, Johnell Barnes, Bug Howard.