Devy Primer: Week 8 (2021 Fantasy Football)

In Week Twelve, the playoff race predictably tightened after Oregon lost to Utah.  Major shifts rippled throughout as Ohio St’s 56-7 win over Michigan St showed the committee enough to jump the Buckeyes above Alabama for #2. Week thirteen is rich with rivalry games, primarily featuring Ohio St traveling to Michigan, Alabama taking on Auburn, and Oklahoma against Oklahoma State.  Kevin Coleman, Christian Williams, & Jeff Bell guides you through the Week Thirteen action.

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Favorite Storylines

Rivalry Week! ( Jeff

)

The Game.  The Iron Bowl. Bedlam. The names are well known, and the fanbases hold bragging rights over friends and family for the year. This year the stakes are higher.  Oklahoma and Oklahoma St are both clinging to a thread for playoff hopes, and a Sooners victory would mean an unprecedented rematch.  In the Iron Bowl, Alabama is simply hoping to avoid an upset from a struggling Auburn team.

Meanwhile, the winner of Ohio St vs. Michigan comes close to clinching a playoff spot.  Elsewhere, the Civil War between Oregon and Oregon St could decide the Pac 12 North champion, and the Paul Bunyan’s Axe will see Wisconsin attempt to clinch their Big Ten West championship participant.  Weekends like this are why college football breeds rabid fans. 

The Importance of Head-to-Head Matchups ( Christian

)

Over the last few weeks, there has been a nationwide discussion about the importance of head-to-head matchups in the committee’s eyes. Oregon remained higher than Ohio State for a few weeks and Cincinnati higher than Notre Dame, but Michigan’s loss to Michigan State was seemingly irrelevant. The only one that will remain contentious is Cincinnati over Notre Dame. As Notre Dame heads for a 1-loss season (with their only loss coming to Cincinnati), there’s a real chance they make the College Football Playoffs. After all, they are a Power Five team that has been playing good ball. But they need Cincinnati to win out and Alabama to lose. It sounds strange saying, “we need the team that beat us to make the playoffs” to make it, but it certainly feels like that is the case. A loss to one-loss Cincinnati hurts their resume. A loss to undefeated, playoff Cincinnati could give the committee the impression that Notre Dame is one of the four best teams in college football.

Michigan Football ( Kevin

)

As the resident Michigan fan on our show, The Devy Royale, I feel obligated to write about the big game this Saturday versus Ohio State. Ohio State opened as only a seven-point favorite which must have been an oversight somewhere. I’m not saying Michigan has no chance in this game, but it’s a very slim chance. While it’s a slight chance, Jim Harbaugh needs to make sure this game isn’t a blowout if he wants to keep his job. Michigan has lost 17 of 19 games against Ohio State this century, and Wolverine fans are desperate to win. Harbaugh still hasn’t won, and if you can’t beat Ohio State, you shouldn’t keep your job at Michigan. All eyes will be on the game at the Big House this Saturday. But I wouldn’t expect an upset. 

Player Spotlights

Quarterbacks

Jaxson Dart (FR – USC) 6’3″, 215 lbs

After an incredibly disappointing first start in which he threw two interceptions and lost 62-33, Jaxson Dart has a prime opportunity to show his future head coach why the USC job is one of the more appealing ones available. Dart entered USC as the QB10 in the nation, per 247Sports, and expectations were high. Kedon Slovis was supposed to start all year, but various factors have put him on the bench. Dart was supposed to get some time. That time has run out, and now Dart enters the final game of the regular season needing to show improvement. Luckily, BYU is susceptible through the air. Dart showing better decision-making and poise could impact who is coaching him next year. Is that fair? Probably not. But is it true? Absolutely.

Hendon Hooker (SR – Tennessee) 6’4″, 218 lbs

As the analytics darling of the 2022 NFL Draft, Hooker has been a popular player to discuss (which is why this is his second entry in this series). Hooker has talent; that shows in the metrics. He’s 14th in the nation in touchdowns, 8th in interceptions, 13th in QBR, 4th in yards per attempt, and 14th among QBs in rushing yards. He has been phenomenal for the Tennessee offense. He also has some film concerns that will likely remove him from the first-round discussion. Hooker will be divisive because he probably dominates Vanderbilt and enters his bowl game as one of the best statistical quarterbacks in college football.

Running Backs

B.J. Baylor (JR – Oregon St) 5’11”, 205 lbs

Oregon St has quietly produced a string of NFL talent at the RB position over several years, between Ryan Nall, Artavis Pierce, and Jermar Jefferson.  Baylor patiently waited through the past three seasons before seizing his opportunity.  He has turned his chance into 1,200 rush yards that rank 9th nationally, with 12 touchdowns.  Through his legs, he has Oregon St uniquely placed with an opportunity to beat rival Oregon and win the Pac 12 North for the first time in school history.  Baylor has the speed to break off runs, showcased by his 6.1 ypa, and has shouldered a heavy load despite his light weight.  A primary concern on any path to an NFL roster is pass game utility; with only six receptions on the season, he has been a complete zero in that area.  He is not likely to get drafted, but with the school’s recent history of putting backs on NFL rosters, he is a player worth watching. 

Braelon Allen (FR – Wisconsin) 6’2″, 238 lbs

Following week four, the Wisconsin Badgers stood at 1-3, with the likelihood of classifying the season as a minimal success.  The offense was abysmal, averaging 18.5 ppg, a number that would put them into the bottom ten nationally in scoring offense.  A running game led by Chez Mellusi and Jalen Berger struggled to meet the program’s high standards.  Enter Allen, who has dominated in averaging 144 ypg.  Wisconsin has not lost since and finds itself able to beat Minnesota for the Big Ten West championship.  For a true freshman with this success and this size, Allen demands attention.

Wide Receivers

Makai Polk (JR – Mississippi State) 6’3″, 200 lbs

If you’re looking for a wide receiver to watch on Thanksgiving, look no further than Makai Polk. Polk and his team will be taking on Rival Ole Miss in the annual Egg Bowl. While everyone talked up his teammate Jaden Walley this past off-season, Cal transfer Polk, the team’s real star. This season Polk has caught 88 balls for 891 yards and nine touchdowns. This season, he has emerged as a star in Mike Leach’s offense, stepping in and immediately learning the system. Polk uses his big frame well and can win jump balls. Polk has proven to be a good route runner and can create separation in that offense. As far as a C2C asset, he is gold right now. Polk is an easy plug-and-play guy, and based on his ADP; a steal in drafts this off-season. He may start generating some devy buzz as well. If he can continue to produce, he has a chance to improve his draft capital and is someone to keep a devy watch on moving forward.

Khalil Shakir (SR – Boise State) 6’0″, 190 lbs

Shakir is one of the most accomplished players in Boise State history. Since his sophomore season, he has been their best receiver, and he’s saved his best for his senior year. Shakir has 71 receptions for 1,043 yards and six touchdowns. He is by all accounts going to be a slot receiver in the NFL and plays that position almost exclusively in college. Out of the slot, he has a great release. His first few steps allow him to create the separation needed for his routes. He doesn’t have great speed but does possess just enough acceleration to cause problems for slower defensive backs. Shakir doesn’t have a fantastic route tree, but he is deadly on slants over the middle and comeback routes on the sideline. His biggest asset comes from his ability to get YAC. Boise gets him the ball in many different ways, especially WR screens to utilize this skill. Even with his lack of speed, Shakir should find himself a role in the NFL. He marks all the intangible boxes you want to see from a receiver. Shakir is a tremendous blocker, and all of his coaches rave about his work ethic at Boise. He’s a team leader, and his coaches have come out saying he’s the team’s hardest worker. These are all things that you want to hear when considering Shakir later in your draft.

Games Of The Week

#2 Ohio St (-8.5) at #5 Michigan

The Game.  On the weekend filled with rivalry games with catchy names, that title stands out.  These two teams have met ALMOST annually since 1897, but it has been five years since a game carried as much weight on both sides.  That 2016 contest produced a barn burner that ended in an Ohio State overtime win.  The winner of this game faces one more obstacle in the Big Ten championship between them and a playoff appearance.  The loser may need some luck to make the Rose Bowl.  

Offensively, Ohio St should have a decided advantage.  That is not a knock to Michigan; this Buckeyes offense would have an advantage in nearly any game they played.  QB CJ Stroud is looking to cement a Heisman season fresh off a 432 yard, six-touchdown blowout of Michigan State. Michigan’s defense is a step up from the unit that Stroud shredded, with ends Aidan Hutchison and David Ojabo representing the stiffest test this Ohio St offensive line has seen.  But the Buckeye’s ease in beating Michigan St should raise a red flag as Michigan’s offense is unlikely to keep up in a shootout.  Rivalry games end up closer than experts typically expect, but an 8.5 line gives Ohio State plenty of leeway to pull away and cover late in a competitive game.  

#2 Alabama at Auburn (+19.5)

The Crimson Tide is not unbeatable this year. Their touchdown victory over Arkansas in Week 12 was their 3rd game that was decided by one score this season. It felt as though Arkansas was going to do what Texas A&M did earlier this season; pull out a close win after matching the Crimson Tide on the physical side of things for much of the game. Alabama prevailed and now head into their rivalry game as 19.5-point road favorites. Auburn is riding a three-game losing streak, lost their starting quarterback for the season, and ultimately, look uninspired and defeated, which is precisely the formula that causes teams to overlook them, despite the long-standing rivalry between these two football teams. Auburn has talent, and they have athletes, the recipe for keeping up with Alabama. The Crimson Tide are a far superior group of football players and should win this game handily. But this is a trap game, with the SEC Championship against #1 Georgia looming large, and there’s a genuine possibility Alabama could slip up.

#13 Oklahoma at #9 Oklahoma State (-4.0)

These teams are outside of College Football Playoff; both want to beat their rival, and the Sooners are fighting to play for a Big 12 Title. The Cowboys, who are 9-1 against the spread this season, have one of the best defenses in the Big 12 and will be looking to shut down Caleb Williams. The Cowboy’s defense has only given up 14.9 points per game while only giving up 261.3 total yards per game. The Cowboy’s primary defensive unit hasn’t allowed a touchdown since October 23rd at Iowa State. History is on the Sooners’ side, though, having beaten a higher-ranked Cowboys team five times, including last year’s game. The Sooners also haven’t lost in Bedlam since 2014. If the Cowboys are going to win, it will be on the strength of their defense. It will be a close matchup, but I’m going to go with the team with the better quarterback, and that’s Oklahoma. 

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Source : https://www.fantasypros.com/2021/11/devy-primer-week-13-2021-fantasy-football/

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