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12 Team Leagues
QB - Jake Plummer, Purdue | 23%
Purdue HC Brian Brohm arrived from Western Kentucky in 2017 with the task of turning around a program that scored 24.7 points per game and allowed 37.3 PPG on defense over the two seasons before he showed up. After taking a year to get settled, HC Brohm’s offenses have been remarkably consistent when it comes to their quarterback’s productivity, averaging 308, 310 and 309 passing yards per game over the past three years.
For his part Plummer got his bearings in 2019, completing 59% of his throws with an 11-to-8 touchdown-to-interception ratio. However in his past five games dating back to the pandemic shortened 2020 season Plummer has emerged as a dependable signal caller, averaging 301 yards per game with a sparkling 14-to-2 ratio in that span. This week he gets a Notre Dame team that has been lit up by Florida State (who lost to Jacksonville State last weekend) and Toledo the past two weeks. He then faces a retooling Illinois and Minnesota before the team’s Week 6 bye. It should be a productive stretch for the Boilermakers’ signal caller, he should be prioritized by any 12-team managers who are in need of a QB.
RB - Blake Corum, Michigan | 22% Owned
A member of Bruce Feldman’s “Freak List”, Corum transformed his body since the end of last year, packing on 10-15 pounds of functional muscle in order to take on a heavier workload for a Michigan program that wants to erase the memory of their 2020 season where the Wolverines allowed 34.5 PPG with a 2-4 record. Corum was immersed in a four-way timeshare for carries last year which suppressed his numbers to 28 carries, 77 yards and two touchdowns as he got acclimated to the speed of the college game.
He announced his presence with authority Week 1 against Western Michigan, Corum cranked out 24 snaps, 14 carries, 111 yards, 7.9 YPC and one touchdown on the ground along with reeling in both of his targets for 11 yards and a touchdown. As impressive as that debut was, he somehow raised the bar last week against a solid Washington defense by recording 39 snaps, 21 carries, 171 yards and three touchdowns on the ground to go with three receptions for 11 yards in the 31-10 victory. In addition to the increase in offensive snaps, Corum was removed from returning kickoffs in order to keep the fledgling RB fresh for his increasing rushing responsibilities.
Corum should be owned in every format imaginable at this point.
RB - BJ Baylor, Oregon State | 1% Owned
Baylor has been biding his time behind Jermar Jefferson for three seasons, accruing 381 yards and five touchdowns on 114 carries in that timeframe while reeling in 7-of-12 passes for 40 yards. Throughout the spring and into training camp, there was a glut of running backs vying for the right to be the Beavers’ lead ball carrier. South Carolina transfer Deshaun Fenwick appeared to have the inside track on the job following spring, with Baylor and third-down back Trey Lowe also in the mix along with highly touted true freshman Damir Collins.
However when Oregon State opened up against Purdue, Baylor earned 25 snaps while Fenwick saw six and Lowe received a game-high 36 backfield reps. He was used in short yardage situations, rushing nine times for 27 yards and two touchdowns while receiving one target that went uncaught. Though Lowe dominated the Week 1 snap count, he actually received less carries than Baylor with six while gaining 27 yards and catching 3-of-4 passes for nine yards through the air.
Lowe’s reps plummeted in Week 2, as he saw just 17 snaps while Baylor dominated with 49 snaps, 18 carries, 171 yard, 9.5 YPC and three touchdowns against MWC foe Hawaii. It appears B.J. Baylor’s patience has paid off and he should be added by any 10-12 team owner in need of a running back.
WR - Jayden Reed, Michigan State | 13%
Originally a signee at Western Michigan, Reed took the MAC by storm as a freshman in 2018 by catching 56-of-88 targets for 797 yards and eight touchdowns for the Broncos. Instead of sticking around to torture MAC defenses for the next three seasons, Reed set his sights on the Power Five and put in his transfer papers to Michigan State. Reed sat out 2019 but quickly established himself as a core member of the Spartans’ receiver room, leading the team by securing 34-of-52 passes for 407 yards and three touchdowns.
With second year HC Mel Tucker now having a full year of prep, the MSU offense is thriving. They rank 10th in the nation in total yardage with a 553 YPG average and are putting up points at a 40 PPG clip. Reed has thrived so far in 2021, catching nine of 12 passes for 245 yards, 27.2 YPC and two touchdowns to go with a sterling 89.9 offensive grade from PFF. With MSU on the rise and a nice set of games coming up against @Miami, Nebraska, Western Kentucky and @Rutgers, Reed is primed to put up big numbers in the coming weeks.
WR - Jeff Foreman, Arkansas State | 9% Owned
It’s hard to overstate just how dominant Foreman was in his last three games of 2020, racking up an astonishing 403 yards by catching 12-of-19 passes and averaging 33 yards per reception with three touchdowns. However entering 2021 there were some questions about what his role would be in the offense. Despite Jonathan Adams and Brandon Bowling departing, Foreman had to compete for reps in training camp with 2020 starters Corey Rucker and Dahu Green as well as Power Five transfers like Tre’Vailance Hunt (TCU) and Akeem Hayes (Kentucky).
Despite the influx of new talent and a new HC in Butch Jones, Foreman continues to thrive, catching 13-of-18 passes for 253 yards, 19.4 YPC and a touchdown in his first two games of the year. He was unstoppable against Memphis last week, catching 8-of-11 for 198 yards and a touchdown. With ASU entering their soft SBC conference schedule in short order, now is the time to grab the ultra-talented Foreman.
TE - Brock Bowers, Georgia | 13% Owned
A highly sought after recruit who was ranked by 247Sports as the third best tight end from this year’s freshman class, Bowers was expected to break in slowly behind LSU transfer Arik Gilbert and Darnell Washington as the Dawgs seek to replace NFL Draftee Tre’ McKitty. Fate had other ideas though, as Gilbert took a leave of absence from the team and Washington sustained an injury that will keep him out for multiple games.
With no suitable alternatives with experience available, Bowers got the start in Week 1 against Clemson and immediately opened eyes by catching all six of his targets for 43 yards in the hard fought 10-7 victory over the Tigers. Though 43 yards doesn’t sound like much, he led the team in receiving for the game, more than doubling the next closest teammate. Bowers followed up his strong debut by nabbing all three of his targets for 107 yards and two touchdowns against UAB last Saturday. It’s hard to imagine he takes a backseat even when Washington returns, as Bowers could be the 2021 class’s version of Notre Dame’s elite young TE, Michael Mayer.
QB - James Blackman, Arkansas State | 2% Owned
If cats have nine lives, then James Blackman’s playing career is the football equivalent of the well worn cliche’. He started 11 games in 2017 for a Florida State team that boasted one of the worst offensive lines in recent history. He then started just one game in 2018, throwing for 421 yards and four touchdowns against NC State in the process. Blackman went on to start 10-of-12 games in 2019 and the first two games of 2020 until Jordan Travis took the starting job and jettisoned Blackman to ASU.
He battled Layne Hatcher for starting duties throughout camp this year and earned the right to start Week 1 against Central Arkansas, but only threw for 169 yards with a 6.5 yards per attempt average. Hatcher started Week 2 against Memphis, but was replaced by Blackman in the second-half, who then posted an astonishing 306 yards and four touchdowns in under a half of game action. If it weren’t for Arkansas State’s non-existent defense, he might have pulled off an incredible comeback.
At a 2% ownership rate, Blackman is well worth a deep-league investment since Arkansas State is one of the most pass heavy offenses in the country and he may have taken the job for himself.
RB - Jarquez Hunter, Auburn | 2% Owned
Despite his unheralded three-star recruiting status, the speedster from Philadelphia, Mississippi has solidified himself as the successor to Tank Bigsby in short order. In just 17 carries, Hunter has amassed 257 yards and two touchdowns on a ridiculous 15.1 YPC over the first two games of the season. While Auburn will not be playing Akron and Alabama State each week, Hunter is still well worth a speculative flier in Dynasty formats.
RB - Damien Moore, Cal | 2% Owned
Last year, Moore worked his way up the Cal depth chart, receiving just four carries in their first game against UCLA, but posted 32 carries in the next three games for 180 yards as deposed starter Chris Brown was jettisoned to the bench. He battled Brown and Marcel Dancy in training camp but came out on top, recording 38 snaps in Week 1 and 36 in Week 2 while Dancy saw 16 snaps in the opener and just three reps last week. Cal has played two quality opponents in Nevada and TCU so far, with Moore rising to the challenge by rushing for 150 yards, 5.2 YPC and three touchdowns to go with three receptions for 16 yards. His advanced numbers back up the production too, as his 3.69 yards after contact average and 10 broken tackles in 29 carries will attest. Moore is the clear lead-dog in the Cal backfield, his paltry 2% ownership rate is insulting. Don’t leave him on the wire any longer.
WR - Devin Maddox, Toledo | 1% Owned
Despite being just 5’9/180 and surrounded by towering 6’3 receivers like Bryce Mitchell and Isaiah Winstead, the slot machine made a distinct impression on HC Jason Candle by catching both of his targets for 91 yards and an 84-yard touchdown reception in only 19 snaps. His part-time status was short-lived however, as Maddox was positively lethal against Notre Dame last weekend. He snagged 9-of-10 targets for 135 yards while slicing up the Irish secondary in the narrow two-point loss.
Accordingly, Maddox’s reps increased from 19 against Norfolk in Week 1 to 56 snaps last week against ND in a very competitive contest. It is clear that Devin Maddox is the primary slot receiver for the Rockets’ potent offense that should approach the 40 points per game mark this season. He should be snapped up with the quickness in all 14-team formats and most 12-team leagues as well.
WR - Nick Mardner, Hawaii | 3% Owned
A towering wideout who measures 6’6/190, Mardner has been on campus since 2018 honing his craft and working his way up the ladder in 2nd year HC Todd Graham’s offense. He played only sparingly in his first three seasons with just 16 catches for 357 yards and three touchdowns. However he received some positive press from local beat writers in training camp this year and carried that buzz over to the regular season. Mardner caught three passes for 35 yards in Hawaii’s Week 0 opener before breaking out by catching four-of-four passes for 97 yards and a touchdown in 20 snaps against Portland State Week 1.
The strong showing against Portland State earned Mardner more playing time last week against Pac-12 opponent Oregon State, and he rewarded HC Graham for it handsomely. The rangy wideout caught 6-of-9 targets for 110 yards, 18.3 YPC and a touchdown while increasing his playing time substantially. Mardner went from 26 reps in Week 1 and 20 reps in Week 2, all the way to being on the field for 53 snaps against the Beavers last Saturday. The Warriors face off against MWC opponents San Jose State, @ New Mexico and Fresno State over the next three weeks and he will be heavily involved in the offense.
TE - Lucas Krull, Pitt | 7% Owned
Despite Pitt OC Mark Whipple using TE Adam Brenneman early and often when he was HC at UMass, the tight end position was persona non grata last season with wideouts and running backs occupying the top nine spots on the receptions leaderboard for the Panthers in 2020. However that aversion to using the TE appears to be a thing of the past, as Lucas Krull has instilled enough confidence in Whipple for the OC to use him prominently in the early going this year.
The towering 6’6/260 tight end has been a vital cog in Pitt’s offense thus far, catching all five targets against UMass in Week 1 for 58 yards and a touchdown and reeling in 3-of-4 passes for 33 yards and a touchdown against Tennessee last week. Just as importantly, Krull has been on the field for almost every play, recording 59 snaps in Week 1, 28 of which were flexed out to a receiver spot as opposed to 31 inline reps. His role increased Week 2 as Krull was on the field for 74 total reps with only 36 of them coming inline. At a low 7% ownership rate, there is little reason to leave Krull on the wire in 12+ team formats for managers in need of tight end help.