2015 College Fantasy Football WRs
2015 College Fantasy Football WRs:
Rankings, Profiles and Projections
The Gridiron Scholar
Summa Cum Laude
1. Keevan Lucas, Tulsa
The Golden Hurricane pass catcher kicked off the 2014 season with an eye-opening, 13-catch, 233-yard, three-touchdown outing against AAC-rival Tulane. When the season concluded, Keevan Lucas caught 101 passes for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns and earned Second Team All-AAC. He exceeded 100 yards receiving in five games, recorded double-digit catches in five contests, finished fifth nationally in receptions per game (8.4) and eleventh in receiving yards per game (101.6). At 5’10” and 198 pounds, the slot receiver owns the best hands in the conference and has a great work ethic. A physical competitor, he possesses good strength for his size and fights for the football. Tulsa hired coach Philip Montgomery, former offensive coordinator under Art Briles at Baylor, to upgrade the program, and he will implement a no-huddle, vertical offensive attack with a strong ground game. Montgomery’s task appears daunting from the outside, but there are pieces in place to succeed. The Golden Hurricanes return four starting offensive linemen as well as quarterback Dane Evans. Of course, the offense will revolve around its elite junior juggernaut.
Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,500 and 14
Total Fantasy Points: 234
2. Rashard Higgins, Colorado State
Last year, the sophomore sensation recorded a season for the ages at Colorado State, earning consensus All-American honors and being named a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award. Higgins led the nation with 1,750 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns, setting school records in both categories, and finished tenth with 96 receptions. Amazingly, his home runs averaged an astonishing 34.9 yards per score, and he logged two 73-yard touchdowns. In eight consecutive outings, Higgins topped the 100-yard barrier and totaled ten 100-yard games in 12 contests, missing the Hawaii game. He caught less than five passes only once and grabbed ten or more in five games. At 6’2” and 190 pounds, Higgins beats defenders vertically and uses speed and quickness on underneath routes. He is also an excellent route runner with terrific hands. The program underwent significant change in the offseason: The Rams lost prominent passer Garret Grayson, leading rusher Dee Hart and coach Jim McElwain as well as three starters on the offensive line. Nicknamed Hollywood, Higgins enjoys the spotlight and wants to earn the Biletnikoff Award. CFF fanatics hope that the true junior reaches his lofty goals despite the dramatic changes in the program.
Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,550 and 13
Total Fantasy Points: 233
3. Josh Doctson, TCU
The top QB-WR duo in the nation may very well be Trevone Boykin and Josh Doctson: The Horned Frogs arguably employ the most explosive offense in the nation and begin the season favored to win the BIG 12. Leading the club in receptions (65), yards (1,018) and touchdowns (11) last year, the game breaker established a single-season school record in receiving yards and averaged over 15 yards per catch. Against Oklahoma State, Doctson illustrated his incredible play-making skills when he scored on 77- and 88-yard touchdowns. He finished the afternoon one-yard shy of the school record with 225 on seven catches. At 6’3” and 195 pounds, the redshirt senior employs long strides to create separation and has reliable ball skills with a large catch radius. Doctson utilizes his lanky frame to body up defenders, easily corralling high throws, and is nimble-fingered in the end zone. CFF owners underrate the TCU receiver, and he may be available at a discounted price compared to other wideouts over the summer.
Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,470 and 14
Total Fantasy Points: 231
4. Corey Davis, Western Michigan
Third-year coach P.J. Fleck guided the Broncos to a seven-game improvement last season, and Corey Davis unquestionably contributed to one of the top offenses (33.8 ppg.) in the nation. The All-MAC First Teamer set personal highs in all major categories: catches (78), yards (1,408) and touchdowns (15). His touchdowns tied for third-best in the nation, and he exceeded 100 yards in eight contests. Davis reached the end zone in every game except one. At 6’3” and 205 pounds, the blazing Bronco is clearly an NFL-level prospect and will want to catch the attention of pro scouts across the country this season. Davis runs crisp crossing patterns and can beat defenders vertically with subtle moves and underrated speed. He also has nice hands and fights for the football. Retaining a terrific set of triplets (QB Zach Terrell, RB Jarvion Franklin and Davis) at Western Michigan, yards and points should be prolific in Fleck’s spread attack. The junior wideout ranks among the elite CFF prospects at the position in 2015.
Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,500 and 15
Total Fantasy Points: 240
5. Tajae Sharpe, Massachusetts
Last year, Tajae Sharpe passed New York Giants star Victor Cruz on the all-time UMass reception and yardage lists and needs 22 more catches and 726 yards to become the career front-runner in both categories. After being overlooked during CFF drafts last summer, the senior wideout catapulted to a starting position on fantasy squads when he corralled 85 passes for 1,281 yards and seven touchdowns. He ranked ninth nationally among FBS players in receiving yards per game (106.8) and eleventh in receptions per game (7.1), earning First Team All-MAC for his labors. With 239 receiving yards against Ball State, Sharpe set a personal high and tied the single-game program mark with 13 receptions. At 6’4” and 200 pounds, the Minutemen playmaker has abundant football speed, great leaping ability and note-worthy hands. A long strider and glider, he fights for catches and ventures over the middle to make difficult receptions. With QB Blake Frohnapfel throwing the pigskin, Sharpe replicates last season’s stellar numbers for CFF coaches.
Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,440 and 11
Total Fantasy Points: 210
6. Nelson Spruce, Colorado
The Buffaloes have only won four PAC-12 games since joining the conference in 2011. Despite the poor play, the aerial assault finally got off the runway last season, finishing 20th in the FBS with 284.6 yards passing per game. Wide receiver Nelson Spruce ignited the Colorado air attack, earning Second Team All-PAC-12. The fifth-year senior caught 106 passes for 1,198 yards and 12 touchdowns. He explored the possibility of leaving for the NFL after the season, but decided to return to school. Not a speed merchant, Spruce is a savvy-route runner and a catch-and-run competitor with pass-guzzling mitts. During the offseason, he has worked on beating press coverage and being quicker in-and-out of breaks. Teaming with junior QB Sefo Liufau, Spruce is one of the nation’s top playmakers, and coach Mike MacIntyre expects the 6’1”, 195-pounder to be a team leader. Colorado’s defense does not have the athletes to slow down PAC-12 passing attacks, and the Buffs will surely be in weekly shootouts, foretelling success for Spruce and CFF managers in 2015.
Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,250 and 14
Total Fantasy Points: 209
7. Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh
Whenever someone is compared with Larry Fitzgerald, CFF fanatics must take notice. After two seasons on campus, Tyler Boyd has mirrored the production of the former Panther and first-round pick: Boyd has surpassed 1,000 yards receiving in back-to-back campaigns and scored 23 touchdowns. He became the first player in conference history to compile 1,000 yards receiving as a freshman and sophomore and named First Team All-ACC after last season. The aptitude to excel in a run-heavy offense with sub-par quarterback play has impressed NFL scouts and college football observers. At 6’2” and 190 pounds, the junior game breaker has an electric mixture of speed and agility and quickly accelerates out of his breaks. With magnificent hands and body control, Boyd has exceptional vision and an innate ability to track the ball. With offensive talent at the skill positions on the roster, including the ACC Player of the Year and an experienced quarterback, opponents will be hard pressed to blanket Boyd. New coach Pat Narduzzi unquestionably highlights the future first-round pick in the game plan, and CFF owners benefit from weekly production.
Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,350 and 12
Total Fantasy Points: 207
8. Corey Coleman, Baylor
Coach Art Briles guides the only team in the country with two 1,000-yard receivers returning: Corey Coleman and K.D. Cannon. An elite athlete, Coleman has logged a 4.38 40-yard dash, 45-inch vertical and recorded a notable 6.62 in the three-cone drill. Last season, the fourth-year junior caught 64 passes for 1,119 yards with 11 touchdowns. The speedster averaged 17.5 yards per catch and delivered 100 yards receiving in five contests. Even more impressive, he produced those gaudy statistics while missing three games. With speed and explosion, Coleman blows by defensive backs on deep patterns, and he is dangerous with great body control and shake-and-escape ability on catch-and-run routes. Despite being categorized as a speed demon, Coleman is a robust competitor and ESPN’s Trevor Matich described the Baylor Bears playing style as “savage and vicious.” One of the favorites for the Biletnikoff Award in 2015, Coleman shouldn’t miss a beat despite a new signal caller (Seth Russell) behind center.
Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,350 and 12
Total Fantasy Points: 207
9. William Fuller, Notre Dame
Last year, William Fuller etched his name in the record books at Notre Dame: The speedster tied the single-season record for touchdown receptions (15) and led the team in receptions (76) and yards (1,094). Eight touchdowns were scored beyond 20 yards, and he scored in 11 of 13 games. The junior wideout posted unprecedented totals in school history for a sophomore. Despite the remarkable campaign, Fuller did not receive many accolades and is overlooked on most preseason award projections. Only eight returning players recorded more receptions than the junior wide out last season. With five catches over 40 yards, his big-game speed confronts defenses weekly and during the Blue-Gold Game in the spring, he scored on a beautiful 68-yard, over-the-shoulder bomb from QB Malik Zaire. Through two seasons, Fuller’s production mirrors former Notre Dame star Golden Tate and the Irish faithful believe that their star wideout deserves national attention. Expectations are soaring at South Bend and in the CFF community on the eve of the 2015 crusade.
Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,270 and 13
Total Fantasy Points: 205
Magna Cum Laude
10. JuJu Smith, USC
During the past five seasons, an impressive group of CFF pass catchers have put on the Cardinal and Gold uniform: Nelson Agholor, Marqise Lee and Robert Woods. As a first-year freshman, JuJu Smith started 12 games and registered 54 catches for 724 yards with five touchdowns. A versatile athlete, the Long Beach product made the Second Team All-PAC 12 as an all-purpose/special teams player and was awarded the John McKay Award (team spirit). Smith is a natural leader with a fantastic attitude, and stupendous work ethic. With pronounced size at 6’2” and 215 pounds, the rising star has good body control, above average hands and runs well after the catch. The USC offense is loaded with fifth-year QB Cody Kessler and a veteran offensive line, including All-PAC 12 center Tax Tuerk. Coach Steve Sarkisian’s up-tempo, passing attack highlights explosive home run hitters, and the extraordinary sophomore will surely enjoy the spotlight in the City of Angels this season.
Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,150 and 12
Total Fantasy Points: 187
11. Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina
At 70-years old, the old ball coach, Steve Spurrier, might be commencing his final season on the sideline and would surely like to ride off into the sunset on a positive note. If the Gamecocks hope to reach double-digit victories, the club will surely need a repeat performance from its First Team All-SEC receiver Pharoh Cooper, who made 69 catches for 1,136 yards and nine touchdowns last year. A gifted and versatile athlete, Cooper excels with the pigskin in his hands. During his campus tenure, he has gained 402 yards rushing, scoring three times, and has also returned 24 punts and 16 kickoffs for Spurrier’s squad. A game breaker, he can score from anywhere on the field and gained 1,411 all-purpose yards, averaging 12.7 yards per touch last year. The junior Gamecock has stunning speed, excellent elusiveness and marvelous hands. He also has the running skills of a ball carrier, turning quick screens into long runs. Spurrier has always devised game plans to feature his explosive playmakers at receiver, and Cooper will surely be heavily targeted this season.
Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,250 and 10
Total Fantasy Points: 185
12. Artavis Scott, Clemson
Coach Dabo Sweeney orchestrates one the foremost talented and youngest offensive units in college football led by quarterback Deshaun Watson and receivers Artavis Scott and Mike Williams. Scott was named to the First Team freshmen All-American squad by USA Today and earned several Second Team All-ACC accolades. He nabbed a team-leading 76 passes for 965 yards and eight touchdowns. At 5’10” and 190 pounds, the smooth competitor is dangerous with the ball in his hands on handoffs, reverses, screens and vertical routes, scoring four times beyond 50 yards. A long strider, he deftly weaves through traffic, bursting into the open field. The sophomore receiver illustrated his remarkable skill set during spring practices to the Tigers fans: swiftly releasing from the line of scrimmage, high-pointing the pigskin in flight and demonstrating incredible body control. Since arriving on campus in January 2014, the Tarpon Springs, Florida native has impressed Sweeney with his work effort, and the coach believes that Scott is going to be even better this year. And astute CFF fanatics concur with the Tigers leader.
Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,100 and 11
Total Fantasy Points: 176
13. K.D. Cannon, Baylor
The splendid sophomore is the other member of possibly the best wide receiver duet in college football. A smooth and speedy athlete, Cannon established six school records for freshmen last year while logging 1,030 yards receiving on 58 catches and scoring eight times. For his efforts, Cannon earned freshman All-America honors and All-Big 12 honorable mention. The ultra-talented Bear also competes in track at school and was named the sixth-fastest player in America by Bryan Fischer, College Football 24/7 writer. In the Baylor offense, Cannon soars on vertical routes and takes advantage of the spacing in coach Art Briles’ high-flying passing game. In the Cotton Bowl, the speedster demolished the acclaimed Michigan State secondary, corralling eight passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns. Despite a change at quarterback, the Baylor offense will remain among the premier units in the nation, and Cannon exceeds last year’s numbers.
Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,200 and 9
Total Fantasy Points: 174
14. Kenny Lawler, California
California finished as the 11th most productive offense in the nation last year, scoring 38.3 points per game and accumulating 495.2 yards per contest. Triggerman Jared Goff masterly executed coach Sonny Dyke’s up-tempo passing attack, and for the first-time in school-history, three receivers caught over 50 passes. By the conclusion of the campaign, Kenny Lawler, Jr., a redshirt junior, ascended to the top of the pecking order in the aerial assault, recording 54 passes for 701 yards and scoring nine touchdowns. At 6’3” and 195 pounds, Lawler is a budding star and his progression as a pass catcher continues to impress onlookers and fans. A physically gifted athlete, Lawler has breathtaking hands and unbelievable body control. As the starting Z-receiver, he presents mismatches on the gridiron with an uncanny blend of leaping ability, breakaway speed and arm length. Entering the upcoming season, Lawler is a national honors candidate in the classroom and escalating VIP on the gridiron. In 2015, CFF owners can’t wait for the swelling on-field performance.
Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,120 and 10
Total Fantasy Points: 172
15. D’haquille “Duke” Williams, Auburn
The Auburn club presents a perplexing paradox for fantasy owners: Tremendous talent litters the roster but the starters are inexperienced. Also, a new quarterback and three offensive linemen foretell a learning curve in the strongest conference in the nation. Despite the changes, the Tigers are favored to win the SEC West and have an explosive receiving corps led by D’haquille Williams. The JUCO transfer led the team in receiving last year with 45 catches for 730 yards and five touchdowns. He paced the team in targets and should see more with a change in offensive philosophy with Jeremy Johnson calling signals. With great height, size and leaping ability, Williams, 6’2” and 224 pounds, has climbed to the summit of NFL prospects at the position. The Louisiana native has been timed at 4.40 in the 40-yard dash and is a physical competitor and compact runner. Merging tenacity and quickness to gain separation, he reminds scouts of Dez Bryant and Terrell Owens. Williams becomes a household name by the end of the 2015 crusade.
Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,060 and 9
Total Fantasy Points: 160
16. Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma
After a disappointing 8-5 season, coach Bob Stoops fired offensive coordinator Josh Heupel and hired Lincoln Riley from East Carolina to implement the spread offense. Riley has the skill-position players to succeed, but is there a triggerman on the roster? One of the foremost priorities will be to get the pigskin into the hands of Sterling Shepard for whoever wins the quarterback battle. Shepard, a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award, captured the Disney Sports Spirit Award and was named Second Team All-Big-12 last year. The sleek senior caught 51 passes for 970 yards and five touchdowns. His numbers were even more astonishing considering that he missed three games due to a nagging groin injury and barely played against Oklahoma State. At 5’10” and 191 pounds, Shepard is lightening quick and appears to be headed for a career-best crusade from the slot in the new passing attack. The senior rates among the cream of the crop prospects for CFF managers in 2015.
Receiving Yards and TDs: 1,110 and 8
Total Fantasy Points: 159
17. Victor Bolden, Oregon State
18. Devonte Boyd, UNLV
19. Dom Williams, Washington State (Sleeper)
20. Hunter Sharpe, Utah State
21. Roger Lewis, Bowling Green
22. Michael Thomas, Ohio State
23. Byron Marshall, Oregon
24. Jordan Villamin, Oregon State
25. Leonte Carroo, Rutgers
26. Gabe Marks, Washington State
27. Mitch Mathews, BYU
28. D.J. Foster, Arizona State
29. Tyler Winston, San Jose State (Sleeper)
30. Mike Williams, Clemson
31. Braxton Miller, Ohio State
32. Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M
33. Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech
34. James Washington, Oklahoma State (Sleeper)
35. De'Mornay Pierson-El, Nebraska (Sleeper)
36. Isaiah Jones, East Carolina
37. DaeSean Hamilton, Penn State
38. Robert Foster, Alabama (Sleeper)
39. River Cracraft, Washington State
40. Teldrick Morgan, New Mexico State
41. Cayleb Jones, Arizona
42. Corey Smith, Ohio State
43. Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
44. Speedy Noil, Texas A&M
45. MeKale McKay, Cincinnati
46. De’Runnya, Mississippi State
47. Jared Dangerfield, Western Kentucky
48. Jaydon Mickens, Washington
49. Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech
50. Carlos Harris, North Texas
51. Jordan Atkins, UCF
52. Daniel Braverman, Western Michigan
53. Donovan Harden, Georgia State
54. Dezmon Epps, Idaho
55. Charles Nelson, Oregon
56. Devin Lauderdale, Texas Tech
57. Dominique Reed, Arkansas
58. Austin Duke, Charlotte
59. Alonzo Russell, Toledo
60. Darius Joseph, SMU
61. Demarcus Robinson, Florida
62. De’Anthony Arnett, Michigan State
63. Robbie Rhodes, Bowling Green
64. J.T. Thorpe, Virginia
65. DeDe Westbrook, Oklahoma
66. Bryce Williams, East Carolina
67. Corey Jones, Toledo
Receiving Yards = 1 point for every 10 yards
Touchdowns = 6 points
Projections are based on the assumption that the prospect stays healthy all season.
With his Masters in history and professional experience as an educator, John Laub is uniquely qualified to research, analyze and discover new insights and trends in college and professional fantasy football. He truly is The Gridiron Scholar.
Twitter: @GridironSchol91 or e-mail: Audibles@aol.com