2018 CFF Post-Draft Analysis
Summa Cum Laude Mock Draft:
Draft Date: June 14, 2018
For teachers, there are not many better feelings than hitting Submit: Final Grades for the year in PowerSchool. I finished my fifteenth year in an urban school system and am so excited for summer vacation. It is time to sleep late, cook outside on the grill, enjoy time with the family and prepare for both the NFL and college fantasy football seasons.
In order to kick off the upcoming crusade, I assembled a CFF All-American team to partake in the fifth annual Summa Cum Laude Mock Draft. All of the experts are listed below along with their Twitter accounts and web sites:
- Mike Bainbridge, @MBainbridgeCFF, Athlon Sports Contributor, patreon.com/mbainbridgeCFF
- Scott Bogman, @BogmanSports, inthisleague.com
- Josh Chevalier, @CFFguys
- Joe DiSalvo, @theCFFsite, theCFFsite.com
- Justin Heiesey, @JustinHeisey, Fantrax.com
- John Laub, @GridironSchol91, FootballDiehards.com
- Mark R. Lindquist, @markrlindquist, Rotoworld.com
- Nathan Marchese, @CFFantasyNate
- John McKechnie, @Johnnymckechs, Rotowire.com
- Thor Nystrom, @thorku, Rotoworld.com
- Mario Puig, @NFLDraft_RW, Rotowire.com
- Blasé Sinopoli, @lord_blaser, inthisleague.com
Copy and paste link below for the Summa Cum Laude Draft Results on Google Docs:
1. Other than your club, pinpoint the owner with the best draft.
I don’t see any weak links in Nathan Marchese’s roster: Three high-potential quarterbacks in Justice Hansen, Jawon Pass and Tyree Jackson. A Top 10 running back in A.J. Dillon and my top TE in Grant Calcaterra. Also, he drafted an array of talented wideouts to start every week. Nice work here Nate!
My favorite team from this draft was Thor Nystrom's squad. The starting lineup is especially strong with Kyler Murray, Trace McSorley, Stephen Carr, Zach Moss, A.J. Brown, T.J. Vasher, Tay Martin and Noah Fant.
For top to bottom, Nate Marchese had a fantastic draft. He did a good job of mixing it up by targeting both proven and high-end, upside players. His team would also be a good template to follow in a dynasty startup as well.
After analyzing the mock draft results, Thor Nystrom had the best draft of the group. If Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray is as good as I predict, he was a great addition in Round Two after selecting Ole Miss WR AJ Brown—theCFFsite’s No. 1 Preseason fantasy receiver—three picks earlier in Round One. Plus, he got tremendous value in his fourth-round pick, selecting Penn State QB Trace McSorley, a preseason Top 10 quarterback, as his second signal caller. He may not have drafted any top tier running backs, but he has quality depth at the position.
Whenever drafting against experts, it is difficult to identify one owner above the others. Nevertheless, Justin Heiesey, my partner on the CFF: On Campus Podcast, returned the opening kick off for a 102-yard touchdown. In the backfield, running backs Rodney Anderson, Lexington Thomas and Travis Homer are a terrific trio, and the quarterback depth with Drew Lock, Mason Fine, Eric Dungey and Brent Stockstill would be the envy of any CFF manager entering the season.
The team that jumped out to me after the draft was that of Blase Sinopoli, who I feel has probably the strongest combination of quarterbacks and running backs with Khalil Tate and Tua Tagovailoa and Justice Hill, David Montgomery and Miles Sanders. He's not quite as strong at receiver, but Greg Dortch was torching the world before he got injured last season, and Ahmon Richards obviously has tremendous upside if he can stay healthy.
Mark R. Lindquist
I will give a slight edge to Josh Chevaliar. It is a tough call though as I liked a number of rosters a lot, including Scott Bogman’s team. Josh has really nice dual-threat QB options with McKenzie Milton and D’Eriq King and was able to get good value later in the draft with Brandon Wimbush. Good depth at WR with high-upside players with Antonio Gandy-Golden and Tee Higgins. Myles Gaskins is good for 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns while ball carriers Shamari Brooks and Darrell Henderson should get their points as well. Wisconsin also is a top five Defense.
I thought Nathan Marchese’s team looked extremely strong. He acquired a ton of upside guys who could end up being kingmakers that were taken rounds 4-8. The Demetris Robertson situation stinks but Jalen Reagor, TCU being his third wide receiver is a fine consolation.
CFF is a wild game where anything can happen. Studs emerge out of nowhere, former stars disappear due to unforeseen circumstances, and far less information is available than in NFL leagues to deal with the week-in, week-out chaos. Therefore, I’m big on depth. I like to have the best bench in each of my leagues. And that’s why I really liked Nate Marchese’s draft. His starting lineup is super strong—Justice Hansen, AJ Dillon, Jon Ward, Devin Butler, Juwan Johnson, Grant Calcaterra and Travis Etienne compete talent-wise with any team in the league—but so too is his bench. Some see Jawon Pass as a top-10 CFF QB, Clyde Edwards-Helaire is a strong sleeper back, and Jalen Reagor and Demetris Robertson are both receivers that I like a lot.
I really like Justin Heisey’s team. Lock and Fine are very capable QB's and he acquired studs at running back, wide receiver and tight end. Thor's team is a close second.
2. Identify the top sleeper candidate this season.
In 2018, my top sleeper is WR De’Quan Bowman, Texas Tech. Bowman is projected to take over the same spot in the lineup as previous CFF studs Keke Coutee and Jakeem Grant. Yea, I will take that kind of production in my lineup.
I consider that one of the Washington State receivers Tay Martin or Kyle Sweet, who are both going late in drafts, will be the best sleeper in CFF this year. Washington State runs the Air-Raid aerial assault with Mike Leech at the helm and someone has to catch the ball.
Bowling Green running back Andrew Clair is a player that I love this year. Clair quietly had a solid second half of the season on a bad team as a true freshman last year. A three-down back with a high floor, he is a solid pass catcher. The only downside with Clair is that the Falcons have a difficult non-conference schedule.
I’m not sure if I would consider Virginia WR/RB Olamide Zaccheaus my biggest sleeper, but I believe he is tremendously undervalued. In 2017, he caught 85 passes and had over 1,000 yards from scrimmage. This year, Zaccheaus should be even more dangerous now that he is paired with dual-threat QB Bryce Perkins.
One of my favorite strategies is to acquire an undervalued wide receiver, who catches passes from a big-time quarterback. In Missouri, J’Mon Moore graduated and senior Emanuel Hall returns as the Tigers’ top playmaker with senior Drew Lock calling signals. On only 33 receptions, Hall emerged as one of the countries best home run hitters last year, averaging 24.8 yards per catch. He scored eight touchdowns with six from beyond 50 yards. At 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, he has worked with receivers coach A.J. Ofodile to improve his route running and pass catching during spring sessions. I am buying Hall as often as possible in 2018.
I really like TCU QB Shawn Robinson. The Horned Frog's offense was all sorts of up-and-down with Kenny Hill running things over the past few years, but we saw the kind of upside that offensive attack can generate during Trevone Boykin's reign in Fort Worth. I think Robinson's going to end up sparking them in a similar fashion.
Mark R. Lindquist
Receivers Dez Fitzpatrick and Antonio Gandy-Golden are two that came to mind, but I’ll say my top sleeper is Penn State RB Miles Sanders. He ended up as the twenty-seventh rusher off the board, but has potential to be Top 10 ball carrier. No, he is not Saquan Barkley, but I’ve seen enough tape on Sanders to know that he is outstanding in his own right. The coaching staff says he’s a team leader, and he should benefit from an improved offensive line. He also has the ability of be a factor in the passing game.
The steal of the draft was WR Dillon Stoner in the eleventh round, and the sleeper was running back Andrew Clair of Bowling Green.
Miles Sanders fits the bill. He’s stepping into the Saquan Barkley role in an explosive offense and should put up big numbers immediately. Sanders is a former top-50 overall recruit. Had he signed anywhere else, you’d know all about him by now. Because he sat behind Barkley, he'll be fresh as a daisy for the bounty of touches coming his way.
Clemson ball carrier Travis Etienne…Yes, he's still going to split carries, but he's already the starter, and my goodness, he is electric. He would get a boost if Kelly Bryant is not the starting quarterback, stealing rushing TD's. Lots of question marks but high ceiling.
3. Select one player who will become a weekly CFF starter drafted in the tenth round or later this season.
Syracuse receiver Nykeim Johnson is similar to De’Quan Bowman. Johnson is the projected favorite to assume the slot position in the pass-happy Syracuse offense. That spot has averaged 90 receptions over the last two seasons.
LSU RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire will become a weekly starter in CFF. The Tigers have produced a 1,000-yard rusher every year since 2013, and Edwards-Helaire is in line to lead LSU in carries at this point.
Houston receiver Courtney Lark would also fall under the ‘sleeper’ category. He had good chemistry with QB D’Eriq King in the limited time that they were on the field together last fall. He also had a monster spring game, as the Briles’ offense seems to cater to his skill set. Lark was a four-star recruit coming out of high school so he certainly has the talent to succeed in the AAC. Houston’s schedule is pretty easy so he should be a starter every week from that perspective.
Someone will emerge as a weekly starter at Auburn, and if it is JaTarvious Whitlow, my fifteenth-round selection, he could end up being the most productive player selected in the tenth round or later.
After drafting Emanuel Hall, I placed Texas A&M receiver Jhamon Ausbon in the queue for my next selection in the eleventh round. Unfortunately, Mark Lindquist drafted the Aggie wideout two picks before my next selection. Last year, Ausbon snatched 50 passes for 571 yards and three touchdowns, earning Freshman All-SEC honors. With Christian Kirk no longer on campus, the 6-foot-2 and 220-pound sophomore will be the main target for quarterback Nick Starkel. I am bullish on Ausbon this year.
Michigan State RB L.J. Scott was selected by Thor Nystrom in the thirteenth round. While Scott doesn't fit the mold of an under-the-radar back—everybody and their mother knows who he is—it's important not to put too much weight into his down season a year ago. He's coming back for another season and it is a good sign for where his head's at entering training camp. I think Michigan State's offense is going to be rock solid this season. I would not discount the possibility of 1,200 yards and 8 to 10 touchdowns.
Mark R. Lindquist
Syracuse senior Eric Dungey is the obvious choice since he technically qualifies having been drafted with the first pick in the tenth round, but I’d like to mention Mike Bainbridge’s pick of Texas Tech WR De’Quan Bowman late in the twelfth round. He’s been stellar during the spring and could really push to take over the void left from the departure of Keke Coutee. Look for him to be a solid starter in ppr-scoring formats as a safety valve for the new quarterback that the Red Raiders will be starting. Bowman could rack up lots of receptions.
There will be two every week starters taken after the tenth round: Texas A&M WR Jhamon Ausbon and Michigan State QB Brian Lewerke. And we will all be kicking ourselves for letting Miami WR Jeff Thomas go undrafted.
Can I be a homer and state that WR Davontavean Martin, my eleventh round pick? The pass-happy Cougars are in the middle of restocking their WR corps after losing Tavares Martin Jr. and Isaiah Johnson-Mack (130 catches combined last year) over the offseason. Martin Jr. and Johnson-Mack both played outside receiver, and Tay Martin looks like the frontrunner to assume WR1 duties on the outside in Wazzu’s offense. Martin is big (6’3) and extremely athletic.
I believe that wide receiver Marcus Green will shine with quarterback Caleb Evans at the UL Monroe this season.