2020 College Fantasy Football Awards & Trends for 2021
Our first podcast in 2021 takes a look back 2020 college fantasy football with positional awards, breakout players, new trends that impact fantasy, and discussing what we learned. We also tease our special project for 2021 which will be a fantastic data-based tool for setting college fantasy lineups and optimizing college DFS lineups. Lastly, we talk about how the trends will impact fantasy football in 2021.
Joining me (Brian McElfresh) on the podcast are Zach Tow (Host) and long-time friend and co-commissioner Matt Knowles.
We look forward to our next few podcasts as we’ll focus on 2021 Next Man Up, Early 2021 College Fantasy Player Rankings, and 2021 sleepers. Enjoy!
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Podcast Topic Chaptering
Zach Tow: Hey guys, welcome to the CFB Dynasty podcast. I am Zach Tow with me I have Matt Knowles.
Matt Knowles: What is going on everybody.
Zach: And owner and creator of CFB Dynasty, Brian McElfresh. What is going on guys?
Brian McElfresh: Hey, how are doing Zach.
Zach: I am doing all right. We got a lot to talk about here in a short amount of time. But first, let us kind of give an introduction to ourselves. Matt, why do not you start, tell everybody a little bit about yourself.
Matt: Sure. My name is Matt Knowles. I am one half of Insymmetry Creations. We are comic writing, content creation company, but as far as this podcast is concerned, I played fantasy football for over twenty-five years. I have been playing college fantasy football for over thirteen years. Brian and I both Co-commissioned the CFBDynasty college fantasy football leagues and a huge fan of college football, big North Carolina State fan, but I just love college football and I am really glad you guys have me on the show tonight.
Zach: Awesome. And you guys know each other for a while but Brian, why do not you tell us a little bit about CFB Dynasty and how you got it started?
Brian: Yes. Sure. So in addition to CFB Dynasty, I own and run a digital marketing agency called Searchalytics and that has been a big part of my background in addition to college football. I was born in Gainesville, big Gator fan and yes, the CFB dynasty was kind of born out of need like Matt said he and I have run this league for about thirteen years and six years ago started this website to kind of help other people with all the information I was compiling anyways to help set my lineups and helped draft College fantasy football players. So we have been providing that for six years and this year we are doing something really cool with building out our own algorithm that is going to push out average or projected points per game for every player every week going into the season, so that is going to really help you in DFS, optimize your lineups, it is going to obviously help you in standard fantasy leagues, but it is going to be really cool. It is going to tie into whether in all kinds of stuff we will have more coming out about it as it gets completed, but it is in the works now.
Zach: Yeah, you have talked with me behind the scenes about a lot of this stuff and it is pretty impressive the stuff that is coming. So stay tuned for all of that. I am not going to reveal any of it, so do not worry about that. I guess a little bit about me real quick. I am a huge college football fan. College fantasy football has been something I have been really passionate about for at least ten years now. I remember in high school I would make like spreadsheet fantasy teams and leagues and everything and keep up by hand and it was probably totally unnecessary, but that just showed you where my passion was and Brian got a hold of me this past year, and really we kind of talked about it and we decided this podcast was a good idea, so here we are. With that, I want to go ahead and jump in. Let us go ahead and talk about our Primetime performers this past season. Our College fantasy football awards. Let us start with quarterback, whichever one you go first, Brian, you want to go the first name here.
Brian: Sure, sure. We are going to start out with quarterback for me after saying I was from Gainesville, but I am going to select Kyle Trask.
Brian: Yes, yes. So going into the season, I was one of the fools who were like, “yeah, let us see Emory Jones a lot more” and that is what I wanted, but it was clear early on that him having well, was a really weird offseason to be the starter for the first time, he put in the work and they were great. It was just a good collection with him in the receivers, but going into the fantasy season, so according to fan tracks, he had an average draft position of a hundred and twelve and finished in the top five. It will be hard to find any better value than that. So aside from me being a Gainesville guy, the data kind of led me to Trask also.
Zack: Yeah, there is definitely nothing wrong with that pick. Matt, who you got?
Matt: So in a lot of these categories night, I am going to be the one that is going to play the straight man. I am going to take some of the obvious people that are out there. Matt Jones coming into this season with the names that have come out of Alabama when you are talking about Jalen Hurts and [inaudible], Matt Jones had a lot less talk about him than the two guys that preceded him and all he did was have by a mile the most fantasy points in college fantasy football this year. You do not normally expect that an Alabama quarterback is going to be the player that is going to lead your team to victory in fantasy points, and he just did so well this year. It was very difficult to not give him the top honors as far as I am concerned.
Zach: Yes, again, there is nothing wrong with that either and my pick is a little bit different, but as far as fantasies concerned, I know all the teams that had him were darn good Malik Willis from Liberty and I know it is kind of the contrarian pick, but man, he did it running, throwing, whatever, it was just he was just that guy. You look for that dual-threat every year, he kind of was it this year because Matt Jones, he is not running anywhere. Kyle Trask could run but that is not what he did best. So that was kind of my contrarian pick, but I think it was fair to say.
Brian: So, yes, I do not think it is contrarian at all. Really, if you look at the data for last year, not everyone played twelve games. It was a weird season where some people played eight, some teams played six, blah blah blah. Malik Willis had the most points per game outside of Dustin Crum according to this fan tracks data that I am looking at here.
Brian: Dustin Crum average thirty-seven points, seven points per game. He only played a handful of games, but Malik Willis played a ton more games and averaged thirty- five points a game, a little bit higher than Trask, and Trask was a little bit higher than Matt Jones, but yes, all three good picks, key guys to have on your college fantasy football roster last year.
Zach: And I am pretty sure everybody probably knows this but what we are saying is we are not saying the best player we are saying the best fantasy player, yeah. I do not think Malik Willis is better than those other two guys. I just think that as far as you are looking at stats and what he did for your fantasy team, I think he was fantastic.
Brian: Yes for sure and going into the year, obviously, Justin Fields was a big target somehow Sam Ehlinger, Spencer Rattler, Trevor Lawrence, but all three of the guys we mentioned outscored these guys and you could trap them a lot further down. And another one, yes, Zach Wilson who certainly needs to be mentioned as someone who you could have got really good value in and those are people to kind of pick out and there are certain things that you can look at to kind of spot trends here when you look at Malik Willis’ coach, Kyle Trask’s coach, Alabama as just-
Brian: Yes, juggernaut into has really the game for them as they transitioned over from a running offense to a passing offense and those are some of the things that you can kind of pick out and observe as you look into ranking players or Finding Diamonds in the Rough or 20 21.
Matt: Well, I think two. I am glad you brought up Zach Wilson. I think he probably had one of the most interesting seasons in 2020 because if you look at the ACC or the SEC, a lot of the conferences were like “Hey, we are going to play conflicts only schedules.” BYU being an independent, their schedule changed so often that as a quarterback, you want to go and prepare for the team that you are going to be playing and they had teams that were getting out a lot of their schedule. They played Coastal Carolina on like what was it two or three days notice.
Matt: And the kind of things that he would have to do to prepare for his schedule changing with their season started, they had basically a trash schedule. They just had seven games. They just found whoever they could get as opponents and by the end of the season like they were there making some changes to their schedule in mid-October. For him to be able to put up the kind of numbers he did where he had no clue who he was going to be playing week to week was very impressive.
Zach: I am glad you brought that up and this is a topic for another day, but I want to kind of just mention it. These colleges make schedules five to ten years in advance when BYU and Coastal decided they would play in less than a week. So it makes you wonder why cannot this happen more often? Why cannot we match up good teams when it is needed versus playing an FCS or a cupcake if you will.
Brian: As we get into translator on in this pod, yes, I agree and I think that is something that needs to happen and I say that as I celebrate, Florida is going to play Notre Dame on the road in 2031 and I am very excited about that a decade from now, but yes, I agree.
Zach: All right. Now, we will move to running backs. There was a lot of really good ones, but Matt, why do not you kick us off with running back, who would you pick.
Matt: So I am going to go to a guy that only played half the season but in the half the season he played, I know firsthand that in the two leagues that I am a part of in CFP and MVP, the performance of this guy had actually changed the semis and put teams into the finals and that is Jaret Patterson from Buffalo. Nobody had more of an impact as a running back in the six weeks that he played than he did when he was sniffing the all-time record for most yards, I mean, I had some [inaudible] when he set that record for Oklahoma, and it seemed like it was going to be a foregone conclusion that he was going to get over five hundred yards in that game versus Kenny ended up with a [inaudible] four hundred nine yards rushing, but the kind of performance-
Brian: Eight touchdowns.
Matt: Yes, and eight touchdowns, a kind of performance that he put out there was unbelievable, and when he did it. It completely changed the landscape of the playoffs for most leagues and so that is why I think Jaret Patterson had the most impact on the games that he played in the season.
Brian: Yes, I am going to have to agree. I mean Patterson scored in most leagues in a normal scoring format. He scored a hundred points and what was the championship of most leagues. So, yes, Patterson played half the year but scored so many points. He is got to be the guy. He is mine as well, but I will also mention Najee Harris. He was one that going into the year I thought was a really interesting player given the fact that you know two was gone. Will they run the Baltimore since they have Matt Jones coming in to start for the first time, the answer really was not a no, it was yes and no, their offense was amazing, so they did run it a lot more. Najee Harris had a great fantasy year and then Mohamed Ibrahim also came out on fire and if you had them on your league or on your team, I think he was scoring forty a game until the end of the year. So I would have to go with Patterson for the reason of just he was a flat-out amazing and one people titles if he was on your team in the championship. How about you Zach?
Zach: Yeah, I was leaning Najee Harris, but I also want to mention Breece Hall for Iowa State. If you wanted a guy that was steady throughout the season, he is your guy. He probably won you or kept you in every matchup you were in. He scored at least once in every game. He ran for fifteen hundred almost sixteen hundred yards this season. I like the more steady performer throughout the season like did not have the real bad game, you can have the three hundred yard game than the fifty-yard game to follow it. He did not really have one of those. He had a couple where he dropped under a hundred yards, but he still scored at least once so that is something you want in a running back. I do not know about you guys. I prefer all my performers so I can trust them week in, week out versus the Boomer bust guy.
Zach: It is nice to have the Boomer bust guy because when he booms he really booms, but the bust can kill you, you can lose because of him. You were not losing because of Breece Hall, just put it that way.
Zach: All right, so that is running back. We will quickly jump to wide receivers. There is a bunch there. Obviously, the one that everybody is going to talk about here is Devonta Smith, look he was above everyone else, clearing away the best receiver, and if you guys want to talk about him some more that is cool. I am going to go ahead and lead off the receivers. I was torn picking this but I went with Elijah Moore from Ole Miss. Now, he only played in Eight Games, but he was second in the nation in receptions behind only Devonta Smith. I have to believe if he plays the full twelve games, he is going to be up there probably passing Devonta Smith in receptions, and look I just think that I like guys that get a lot of targets, get a lot of catches, do a lot of work with those targets, and he is my guy.
Brian: I like it. So, the average draft position for Elijah Moore was a hundred and twenty-seventh, so there is great value there when Devonta Smith going into the year was already known as the main guy there with him and Waddle, so he was a first-round pick, and then you have Jaelon Darden who I will go with was ATP fifty-six, average thirty-four points a game. Senior receiver out of North Texas was flat-out incredible. Kick it to you, Matt.
Matt: So who I will talk about before we got on the show Devonta Smith, obviously, that is only my top wide receiver, but my MVP, I am going to actually go to another player that only played half the season that was not even on the radar when the season started but did the same thing that Jaret Patterson did and completely flipped a lot of Fantasy games and that is Romeo Doubs from Nevada.
Brian: Yes, yes.
Matt: When he came in, he jumped in and you talk about consistency, over a five-week span, he had thirty-six receptions and nearly eight hundred yards split almost evenly across a five-week span with nine touchdowns in there as well. If you had those two guys that came in in mid-October and ended up on your roster, you were the terror of your leagues and I know that both of those guys in the leagues I was were guys that were in the playoffs. So that is why I am going to go with Romeo just because he was the most influential player at that point, not MVP for the year, but most influential wide receiver in the time that really mattered at the second half of the season.
Zach: That is a really good point. I like the way you break it down because we are talking about the season but some seasons were shorter than others this year and those weeks mattered a lot, especially come to the end of the season when you were pushing for playoffs, or maybe you were a five hundred team midway through the season and then you caught fire those last three or four week, five weeks of the season and carried home with a title, so I like that point of view, honestly. I did not really look at it that way but the more you talk about it. I like it. So we have talked about our QB, running back, receivers, but if you had to pick and I will be back up, in honor of the NCAA football game, EA coming out with an NCAA college football video game if you had to pick your cover athlete, who is it?
Matt: I would say absolutely-
Zach: I am going to be putting you on the spot, but go ahead.
Matt: Absolutely, far away, it is got to be Devonta Smith this year because of how infrequently a wide receiver wins the Heisman and wins it in the way that he did. I mean, the guy was the MVP of the national championship game and he played it half. He had so many times this year. He just went absolutely nuts and was at the top of his game you are like surely he cannot top that and to be the MVP of a national championship, the year that it comes out, I think you kind of have to give it to him.
Zach: Before you answer Brian, I want to say this too. I do not hate the pic, I like it, but with the new name, image, lightness, rules coming out, it does not necessarily have to be somebody who is leaving.
Zach: Right? Could it not be somebody was looking toward next year as being that guy like in Madden, okay like Lamar Jackson wins the MVP and he is on the cover I get it, but they also have the benefit of him playing again next year, whereas in the NCAA football game, it is usually the guy who leaves and then they can pay him, but if they were going to do it now, they can pay a current college kid to do it, does that change your decision?
Brian: I think that is what is going to happen. I was going to say exactly the same thing. I think it is going to be difficult. I think, well, obviously, Trevor Lawrence if he was coming back so-
Zach: It does not have to be a guy that is still there. If you like the Devonta Smith, that is cool.
Brian: Not at all.
Zach: I just wanted to throw that point out because I think that is something that is coming.
Brian: No, I agree with that point. So I would go with probably someone similar who is going to be in school and you got a potential star running back out of Notre Dame Kyren Williams that I think they would give some love to because the NCAA always loves giving love to Notre Dame. So I will go with Kyren Williams as someone who could potentially be on the next cover. It would not be like my personal favorite, but-
Zach: No, I have a lot of. I am putting myself on the spot to. I have not really thought about this to be totally upfront here, but I think Sam Howell would be a good one to put on the cover.
Zach: As far as looking forward, his expectations were high. I know you are an NC State guy, you probably do not really like it.
Matt: Yes. There is no way, no way I would go to let you [inaudible]. No way.
Zach: I understand it.
Brian: What if it is like a magazine where you get a regional or it could happen.
Zach: Yes, fair enough. [inaudible] Kyle Pitts on the cover down there and then you know. Anyway, but no, I think Sam Howell, his expectations were always way up high and you look at his numbers this year. He was pretty darn good. It just was not Heisman good like we wanted him to be or maybe not you Matt. I know you probably wanted him to be terrible, but in just the college football world like he was I would say probably top three to five Heisman hopefuls going into the season and he did not live up to that but I still think he could be that and I think that is moving forward that is who I would put on the cover if I were picking right now, so I would pay.
Matt: Well, I would say too and Brian be having Searhalytics and being an SEO optimization company. I think that Madden is probably going to be approached the same way the NCAA game I am not mad, but excuse me, NCAA game, they are going to say what is going to be the name that we can put on here that is going to have the most familiar to the layperson that is out there in the world. It may not be the person that like the die-hard college guy is going to know, it may be the person that the guy that only maybe watches the NFL on Sundays.
Brian: That is fair.
Matt: What is the name that they might associate be like, hey, I am now a fan of this guy. Oh, he was on the college game, how are they going to be able to bring these guys over and get these Madden players to also go pick up the college game as well. I think that is probably going to play a part because they want to get sure things. They do not want to have another Mike Alstott situation where he is on the cover of the game and then fizzles out after that.
Zach: Yes, Peyton Hillis.
Matt: Peyton Hillis, excuse me. Peyton Hillis.
Zach: Yes, yes, yes. The same exact type of player, but yes cool
Matt: Yes, my bad, my bad, Peyton Hillis, put him on the cover and then have him completely fall apart. They want a name that is going to be the top of their game and be a sure thing if they are going to be marketing this game that has not been around for already seven years possibly ten years before we see the next iteration.
Zach: That is fair. That is a good point. This is a fun topic to talk about.
Brian: [inaudible] to come out. I cannot believe it. They did that to us and then we find out it is two to three years lunch.
Zach: They said that? I did not see it.
Brian: Yes, that is what an EA guy said in an interview but-
Zach: I expected next year.
Brian: They could have at least given us twenty-four hours to just have that joy and think of that it is going to come out this year, but-
Matt: Two different years gives us far too much time to have unbelievable expectations to then get the game and have the ridiculous situations like the guys being able to block Ponce all the time or the broken plays. Believe me, everything that is a side note that Brian and I used to also have an NCAA dynasty league that we would run and we had twelve guys in there. Most of which are guys that are in the CFP dynasty, college, or Pro leagues at we were tenth. We were in tenth. Brian was by far the guy that knew all the cheat codes and when I say cheat code, I mean just to have the ability to make it look like he was using cheat codes. I was the kind of guy that would get attached to all my players. I would literally rename every single player on my team every single year and I would get a chance to guide. I would really hate having to make that late-season cut off a guy because I grew to see how he did as the seasons went on. There were times we call people, we play a game and it will be two o’clock in the morning. Bmac you are not going to believe this, I just beat such and such a [inaudible] will give me a voice mail two o’clock in the morning. There has been a huge void in our lives for the last seven years.
Zach: That is fantastic.
Matt: Looking forward to NCAA football coming back, but I do not think any of us are looking forward to the broken things that were in the game. Hopefully, they take these two to three years to fix those things.
Matt: I have been [inaudible] these days.
Zach: A part of me believes they are taking the time to sort out the name image [inaudible] issues because I think as Florida it goes into effect this year, right?
Brian: This summer, yes.
Zach: So now you had four to do-
Brian: Yes, they just launch their program, so that they have got like and surely they are going to use in recruiting but yes, let us talk about it later.
Zach: Listen, you want to talk about that because this is new to me.
Brian: Yes, where they are launching a player branding program. So they have got people that will help them create their brand and use their voice on social and all that stuff and that is going into effect now as they plan for that for the summer.
Zach: So yeah, I think that is the big reason why it is being delayed. I think they could put out a game in three months if they really wanted to. You cannot tell me that they have not been developing one back behind the scenes for years. I refuse to believe that they just said “all right, we are not touching it for seven years.” Like they have the bare bones of a game, they just have to-
Zach: -add the finishing touches on it like Madden’s the same game every year, they just tweaked a little bit here, add this little ability here, change the rosters and you are good.
Brian: Yes, they have added the college teams into that Madden mode, but yes, we will do a full pod on the video game, certainly, coming up soon.
Zach: Sorry. I kind of went off on that table, I think it was something good to talk about.
Brian: That I all right. That is all right. We will dive right back in. So let us talk about some of the top freshmen that played last year and guys that are coming into the new year obviously as key top players in our rankings that will be unveiled here pretty soon, but for me quarterback, we can just run through it super quick. So quarterback Grayson McCall, man, their offense was innovative and so much fun to watch it. Coastal Carolina kind of a mix of your classic option with the read-option offense and just the flash.
Zach: Great option.
Brian: Yes, it is just a blast to see.
Matt: I think we are to see Grayson McCall because I got to follow him as a player on my team this year. It was how Coastal Carolina’s team going to operate next year when you have a more traditional schedule. If they have a traditional schedule, one of the things this year that makes some of these rankings a little more difficult as we do not have that period of time at the beginning of the season where your group of five schools is playing against Power five schools and getting completely waxed and not being able to put up the stats and then getting into their conference season where they get their stats kind of get run-up. Coastal Carolina other than BYU did not really play anybody until the bowl game where they played Liberty. Being able to see some of these guys like Malik Willis or Grayson McCall be able to have three or four power five schools at the beginning of their feather schedule, are they going to be able to continue to perform at that top-level? But absolutely, Grayson McCall is my top freshman far and away, so Brian, I do not like you for stealing that from me.
Brian: And Rattler, obviously, got to mention Spencer Rattler, but going into the year’s most surprised, it is Oklahoma, and he had a good year. It was really good for a freshman, but it did not quite meet up to the expectations of where people drafted him and how well he performed but he played really well overall.
Zach: Yeah, it is funny. I wrote him down here. He was my pick but like you said it was a good year. If you look at it on paper, it was a good year, especially for a freshman, but it was not Baker Mayfield. It was not Kyler Murray. It was not Jalen Hurts good and I think that is what people somehow expected just him stepping in and being that guy and I do not think that was really fair to him although, he did live up to me and my eyes lived up to expectations because I expect him to struggle a little.
Zach: I would not expect anybody to come in and just light it up as a true freshman. He is a redshirt freshman, right? Redshirt freshman.
Brian: Redshirt freshman, yes.
Zach: Okay, yes. So, I still it is your first game action like I that, that is pretty impressive what he did. He is through twenty-eight touchdowns and seven picks. Like that is pretty solid for anybody. Maybe not in Oklahoma, but I think it is good, but I am going to go a little off the beaten path here with a freshman quarterback, Graham Mertz from Wisconsin.
Zach: I know it is Wisconsin. It is Wisconsin, but that first game of the season, he lit up Illinois. He had one incompletion, had five touchdowns in that game. Now, covid hit them hard because they had like two or three like multi-week absences where they did not play.
Zach: And I think that hurt them as a team like progressing and getting better because they did not really know when they were going to play. If they are going to play that week and then it get canceled and they have to do it all over again next week, it happened again, but overall, as a freshman, I thought he looked pretty good especially for a Wisconsin quarterback. I think they might have somebody serious there moving forward.
Brian: Yes for sure. At running back just to name a few before I give mine. So, Ty Jordan, sad story, but a great season for him as a freshman at Utah. Vaughn from — where did he play?
Matt: Kansas State.
Brian: Kansas state is Vaughn, yes, sorry about that. Jahmyr Gibbs was incredible when he played Tank Bigsby. He will be my pick Tanks Bigsby from Auburn was absolutely incredible and a beast did not look like a freshman. And then another one to throw in there as someone who will be a key player going into college fantasy rankings this year will be Jalen Berger out of Wisconsin. Looks to have won the job and was really incredible when he was on the field.
Matt: Well, after naming all those running back, I am surprised you did not name Bentley from SMU.
Zach: Yes, that is my guy.
Matt: I am sorry, dude. I did not mean to say that.
Zach: No, go ahead, go ahead.
Matt: Bentley from SMU, coming into that offense, they have been producing some fantasy caliber players over the last couple of years. Once they get it from being really really bad and him being a freshman out there I think he is probably the best freshman running back I think out there in the country right now. Since I am looking forward to seeing what he does in the next coming years.
Zach: Yes. I had two or three of those guys on my list so I do not really have much of a list anymore, but my guy was Bentley. I think that offense always says a sneaky good running back that people overlook, seemed like every year they overlooked, and if you go back and look at the end of the season, he is one of the top ten running backs, every year whoever that may be SMU, sometimes two different guys are doing it there. So I would have gone with Bentley. So that is who I am going to go ahead and stick with him.
Brian: All right receiver, Jordan Addison, great season out of the pit. He was really good. He is not my pick. Do not worry Zach and then Marvin Mims was flat-out incredible but Kayshon Boutte, I think, at least. Mims was really impressive, but Boutte really took over as they had people opting out throughout the season. A lot of moving parts and weird stuff happening at LSU, but he looks like he is going to be a star.
Matt: I will let you go first because I went the last time.
Zach: Okay. Yes, I will be going to go with Jordan Addison at the pit. Like I said earlier in the podcast, I like guys who get consistent targets, then do something with those targets. As a freshman, he had sixty catches this year, did not have a ton of yards but still as in the offense, it is not really explosive. He showed something that maybe he can be that guy moving forward that we look at and say okay he is now going to take that step to from sixty catches, he is going to go to eighty, ninety, maybe even a hundred caches because he is going to be the focal point of the offense.
Brian: The focal point of the offense is the key right there, so for Oklahoma specifically if you look at their data in the receivers, they really have one guy typically, sometimes there are two that have a really good fantasy value output. Now, if you are looking at like high value for like a third receiver in a DFS lineup or someone that you can throw in randomly when you are having by week troubles or whatever, you can get that wide receiver two or three from Oklahoma, but yes Mims looks like he is got everything at being that high volume guy.
Matt: And the thing about Mims to is it Mims coming into the season was the number five wide receiver on the depth chart.
Matt: And right from week one, Mims came in as a freshman and just lit it up. Now, he may not have had as many catches as even somebody like Romeo Doubs did but you can tell like you said he was the number one guy, whether he was number five on the depth chart or not, maybe there was chemistry between him and Rattler being both the young guys, but Mims, definitely, looks like the guy who is going to be jumping off the page for the next couple of years, very surprising in that Oklahoma stocked offense.
Zach: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yes, I guess we do not want to keep every way too long here, but I think we should talk about kind of what we have learned this year. This was a different year. We had a lot of ups and downs, a lot of cancellations, postponed games. What would you say that we learned the most this year, Brian, what would you say?
Brian: Well, I guess it is something that is more of a question than something I learned is as will opt-outs become a trend and really as a college football fan, I really hope not because it is really sad that people, if your team, at some point, loses a couple of games and they are out of the playoff, you are quitting on your team and you are really hurting everyone else there and that is
really sad to see from a just college football fandom in general. So that is one thing that seems like it is becoming a trend but really, I do not know how it is going to impact the NFL draft and how these players are going to perform seeing players just decide to sit out a year like a Ja’Marr Chase who I have got in fantasy and I hope he does well in the NFL. He certainly is going to be a high draft pick. Yes. [inaudible] the rest will be there, I have no idea.
Matt: When we were doing the set up in the warm-up for this, we got the questions and all that. That was one that really stuck out to me is opt-outs going to become part of a trend. Opt-outs have already been a trend before this year. It just did not have that name. You look at D’Eriq King. You know what Houston is not going to be good, so I going to sit out. I am going to go transfer somewhere else because my team is not going to be that good this year. Bradley Chubb from NC State set out the bowl game. A lot of guys will sit out their bowl game. They will just say we are just going to sit out so I can go prepare for the NFL draft. I think that the bigger question is as Commissioners in fantasy football leagues, how do we handle how opt-out started to be a phrase for people opting out of covid-19 reasons and then it turned into every time someone who sits out is going to be called an opt-out and I think that there is a big difference between a guy sitting out for health reasons or a guy sitting out to just you know what forget it, I just want to go prepare for the NFL draft. Are we going to be able to treat those things differently? Are we going to look at our rosters differently because of this? I think that is the biggest question that we really do not have an answer for it now unless Zach Tow decides to come up with the answer right now ready to go.
Zach: I cannot put that on me. As a commissioner of a twenty team Dynasty League, it was a struggle this year and this is where I am going to lead into what I learned. As a commissioner you are not going to please everybody, I think you knew that already, but there is so many things that would come up like are we playing or they not playing. Who is playing? Who is not playing? When are they going to play? Like Pac-12 was not playing and then all of a sudden now, they are playing. Do we use those players? Do we not use those players? It seemed like it was just a never-ending hail of bullets coming at you. Like you did not know what was the right thing to do and look I hope everything gets back to normal soon, the vaccine and everything, all that stuff, but I think moving forward the opt-outs like you said, they are kind of always been a thing. They have been called something else but this year was different, you had opt-outs that they were not opting out in June saying “Hey, I am sitting out this season.” They were opting out a week before the season started and saying, “you know what? I am not going to play.”
Matt: Hey, Joe [inaudible] opted out an hour before our Fantasy Football Draft. We are sitting in the room-
Zach: That is what I am saying.
Matt: Brian when he dropped it out.
Zach: Yes and then you have that happen and look I do not blame the kid like but could not you have done that a few weeks earlier and I am not saying that for draft purposes. I am not saying that selfishly. I am saying that more so for the team really because now, they have to scramble to who is stepping into that role? Who are we putting in? Like they have backfilling everybody and Marshall did the same thing, right?
Brian: Yes, he did.
Zach: Like midway through the season.
Brian: Midway through the season, yes.
Zach: And I just wonder if this was just a special circumstance that they allowed people to do that, but I guess you cannot let them do it, that you cannot make them play I suppose but is it going to continue like you know what week seven, I do not think I am going to play anymore.
Zach: Or it is just going to be about the bowl game thing.
Brian: That combine with the transfer portal and it is just really rough like you have players that just seems the first sign of negativity they just bounce and I do not think that about-
Zach: well, I do not want to put that on people. Like everybody’s situation is different and I always remind myself that like I might say, “oh, he is had it tough. He is getting out while it is tough. He wants an easy path.” But at the same time, you do not really know what is going through that kid’s head as he could be from Florida and he can be playing at Utah and he is like, you know what? I do not know anybody here. I do not really think this culture is just different here. Like living in Utah so much different, I miss being closer to home and I do not ever want to put that on like, “Oh they are bailing on their team,” but I do not know what happens, but I want to stay away from that but as far as like moving forward, the draft is such a big part of those decisions and I get it. If I am going to be a multi-millionaire in a couple of months, you know what maybe I probably do not play and get hurt. They would be hard for me to play, but at the same time, you love playing, right? Like that is why you were at where you are. You have to love it to be where you are.
Brian: And I think you saw that love in that four teams that really performed well combined with
Senior leadership in a weird year where there was not a lot of practice, no spring for most teams at all, weird fall, I really think that that kind of showed and that was another trend that I noticed this year in a weird year where there was less practice, some of these defenses that were just flat out bad out of nowhere, stayed bad all year and I think that is just a lack of leadership or exuberance or absorbed an amount of youth on some of these teams where it is weird you have someone so just to reference someone from Florida, Kaiir Elam is going to be one of the top quarterbacks going into the draft next year very likely. He has not played in Spring yet. It is weird to say that he is going into his junior year. This will be his first spring assuming they have it.
Brian: So, that was another thing that that I saw Alabama had a terrible defensive game against Ole Miss who is really good on offense all year, but they clean things up for it on the other hand and there is most teams out there that kind of had a worse than normal defense and you kind of saw that in the NFL too.
Zach: Right. Matt if you got – Okay, go ahead.
Matt: I would say one of the things that I learned if we take it back to the fantasy football side is that we talked about before the broadcast, there were some guys that did not want to play, they were not sure if they wanted to play. For most people, it was just to give us a way to be able to play the game. We have had a crappy year as it is, stuck in our houses, we cannot go out and do anything. Find a way for there to be some normalcy. When we all heard that there were going to be games and nobody was going to be in the stands in most cases were like well, this is going to be weird. What is it going to be like if there is nobody in the stands and we have seen it across college basketball, pro basketball, college football, pro football, it is the game is still the game and when it comes back to Fantasy Football, it was how can we make this work? Brian and I are very big and Brian key a phrase a long time ago that I feel like is a key phrase for everybody that commission any League, never make a rule that specifically impacts one team negatively just for the sake of impacting them. “Oh, Zach Tow’s team is too good. We have to make a rule just to affect his team.” Make a rule that everybody has the opportunity to benefit from or have an issue with equally and this year more than any year because the conferences came in, what we thought the rules were going to be at the end of the draft changed two days later and then rules we thought were going to be dead set, there is no way they are going to change twice or three times as the year went on and some people are ready to roll with the punches. “Hey, we just want to play. Help us to be able to play.” Some people question every single move that was made, just understand “Hey, we got to roll with the punches.” Just like BYU scheduling in less than a week to play Coastal Carolina. BYU is changing its schedule seven times. The Big Ten coming back. The Pac-12 coming back. Everybody just has to be like, “Hey, the goal is let us figure out a way to play and have fun with it because that is why we are here.”
Zach: Right. I think it is a good point. And I do not want to forget this. It was something we meant to talk about. Real quick, can we go over underachievers this year. People who just did not perform like we expected them to whether it was their draft position was here and they performed way below that or just people you thought personally were going to be better than they were.
Matt: I think the biggest disappointment to me by far this fantasy season was Chuba Hubbard at Oklahoma State. He could do no wrong coming into the season and he could do nothing this year. I was excited that he came back for his senior season thought he was going to absolutely blow up the stat sheet, thought he was going to solidify himself as a top end of the first-round NFL draft pick, and Chuba Hubbard could not stay on the field. I mean there were teams or built around Cuba Hubbard and you saw them suffer because he just could not do anything this year.
Brian: It is weird too the backup came in and crushed it. Like I really do not know what that was there. It is a weird situation. So one guy that I follow throughout the year as I was watching North Carolina was Dazz Newsome and he just did not do anything really going into the year. I kept seeing him. I did not have them in any of my leagues but DFS’s value would continually go down every week. So I would throw him into a lineup once in a while and he was very volatile and that was weird, but then to [inaudible] who was mostly like a second, third, fourth-round pick in most leagues average less than ten points per game and [inaudible] kind of had a rough year and a transition year and things are hopefully going to turn around for them as they have some more familiarity with the coaching staff and everything, but yes, rough year for [inaudible].
Zach: All right. I am going to have two guys. One is an underachiever. One is a disappointment. My underachiever is K. J. Costello. I think we had all these lofty expectations fair or not that he was going to go down with Mike Leach and just throw it all over the place and throw for four hundred yards a game. And that first game you thought holy crap. They are going to do this, are not they and then everybody figured him out and it was just like he just tanked. He was not good. So that was kind of disappointing because I wanted to see it work. I am not saying it will not work moving forward. I just think that that was my underachiever and my disappointment is Jamie Newman at Georgia. Like the hype for that was so real and like I look back at his Wake Forest days and I am thinking “man, this guy was good,” but then we are hyping this guy up like he is Jalen Hurts. We are hyping this guy like he is Michael Vick, but anyway, Georgia needed a quarterback. They needed a spark and him not playing really kind of cast a shadow over that team because I think they really were counting on him this year.
Matt: Well and to dovetail back into something Brian said earlier, who knows how these guys are going to perform that opted out. I do not know if you guys saw the Senior Bowl, but he was absolutely terrible in the Senior Bowl. He looks so uncomfortable in the Senior Bowl and wearing a Wake Forest helmet in the Senior Bowl which I thought was very weird after opting for it as a Georgia quarterback. He wore a Wake Forest helmet in the Senior Bowl. He looked absolutely terrible and I was like man, this does not bode well for Penei Sewell and Ja’Marr Chase, guys that opted out at the same time he did. I am like he is not a very good poster child for guys that set out the whole year because he was like the eighth-best quarterback out of six that were there.
Brian: Yes and while we are in Georgia, they had to watch their former quarterback go to the national championship game and Justin Fields.
Brian: So, that is a kind of a painful year for them but they look great.
Zach: Yes it was a painful year for all of us really.
Brian: They look great going into 2021.
Zach: The fact that we had College football. I think we just count our blessings and hope we can keep this thing going, but I think that is all we got today. We have got plenty more podcasts coming up. I am not sure when we will do our next one. I would think in the next week or two. We will probably put out another one, but until then, Zach, Matt, Brian, good talking with you guys, next time.
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