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College Football Week 8 Devy/Dynasty Stock Report

Will Shipley

Will Shipley

Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

Stock Up

Will Shipley, RB, Clemson - Class of 2024

The second year all-purpose back rushed for 159 yards on 27 carries against Syracuse last weekend, both career highs. Despite his 5'11/205 billing, Shipley has logged 20+ carries in three of his last five games, surpassing 100 rushing yards in each of his 20 carry workloads, with his 3.89 yards after contact rating 20th best nationally. He’s also an ace in the passing game, catching 19-of-20 passes for 153 yards and 1.23 Y/RR. Here is every touch Shipley logged in his career-high rushing game vs. the Orange:

Bolstered by a starting role in a national power program and five-star recruiting pedigree, Shipley entered the season as a consensus top-5 2024 Devy/Dynasty/C2C RB, going 22 overall in The Program C2C league 4 startup this summer for perspective. Watching him this year, he is a solid, well-rounded starter who shows the ability to contribute in all phases. However projecting his skill set to the next level, there are real questions about Shipley’s ability to handle an NFL workload. His tape in this game shows why, as he prefers to slip tackles rather than finish them, which is going to be significantly more difficult to replicate in The League. He rarely delivers a decisive, concussive blow to overpower an opponent, especially when compared to watching Clemson RB2 Phil Mafah who is a much more physical compliment to Shipley. He’s arm tackled a bit too easily and doesn’t have special traits to compensate for his lack of ideal NFL size like a Devon Achane and his elite speed. While his 27-carry showing certainly helps when it comes to projecting workload, I still have my doubts about his ability to be a consistent NFL fantasy producer.

Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon - Class of 2024

Entering the season Troy Franklin‘s star had faded slightly, as he caught 18-of-32 targets for a 56% completion rate, 209 yards and two touchdowns with a 63.0 PFF receiving grade in his freshman season. Though he avoided the dreaded “Year One Zero”, Franklin was seen as being close to on par with teammate Dont’e Thornton as opposed to the top of the Devy/Dynasty receiving ranks, as he was selected in the middle of Round 6 in the aforementioned C2C The Program startup. However Franklin is reeling off highlight-reel-worthy plays on a weekly basis, as the new coaching staff and QB Bo Nix are feeding the budding superstar. He was incredible again this week, with the always excellent videographer and Devy guru Brandon Lejeune cutting up Franklin’s complete receiving day against UCLA here:

His catch on the left sideline where he stops, pivots and twists to make the acrobatic reception with a defender draped all over him had an apex degree of difficulty. He also roasted UCLA field corner Devin Kirkwood for a 49-yard scoring strike while securing 8-of-9 targets for 132 yards and two touchdowns. His 3.02 yards per route average ranks 11th in the Power Five with Franklin sporting a near-perfect 158.3 passer rating when targeted. At 6'3/178 the one real concern I have about him is his ability to put on some functional weight to alleviate some potential BMI flags, but outside of that Franklin is a top-flight 2024 receiving option who is trending as a first-round selection in 2024 look-ahead Dynasty/Devy mocks.

Marshawn Lloyd, RB, South Carolina - Class of 2023

Lloyd was ranked as the fifth-best running back and 43rd overall recruit from the 2020 prep cycle. However injury issues restricted the blue-chipper to just 64 carries, 3.6 YPA and 228 yards over his first two seasons. However in 2022 Lloyd has finally looked healthy and back to form, with Lloyd ramping up his workload by logging at least 15 touches in each of his last four games and scoring a rushing touchdown in all but one game this year. He was a vital component of SC’s victory over Texas A&M on Saturday. Here are all 20 of his touches from the contest:

I’m really impressed with his ability to make sharp, flash cuts at near full speed and finish off tacklers with a shoulder instead of trying to dance around them. Despite having a strong, compact frame Lloyd is surprisingly quick and creates bad angles for tacklers, earning a 142.3 elusiveness grade from PFF that ranks 14th in the Power Five thus far. Throw in his 17 receptions on 23 targets for 170 yards out of the backfield, and I think you’ve got a real path for Lloyd to elevate himself among the 2023 RB class. I really like what I’ve seen so far and view Lloyd as a top-10 caliber 2023 RB.

Israel Abanikanda, RB, Pitt - Class of 2023

Few backs have taken the CFF/C2C world by storm over the last several weeks like Abanikanda, who i’ve nicknamed “The Anaconda”, with the 5'11/215 tailback rushing for at least 129 yards in five of his last six games. He has greatly benefitted from pass-happy OC Mark Whipple departing for Nebraska in the offseason with OC Frank Cignetti Jr. returning to Pitt with a penchant for establishing the run. When he gets a crease Abanikanda has made the most of it, as you can see in this ACC Network highlight reel embedded in my tweet:

Here’s another game clip from Brandon Lejeune chronicling Abanikanda’s career game earlier this season:

He does a great job once he bursts through a hole and hits the second level while being a pretty fluid runner, but he seems a bit reliant on his blocking to excel. Abanikanda also seems to be a little smaller to me than his billed 5'11/215, thinking closer to 5'9.5/207 which would drop him a tier based on his ability to handle the NFL grind. That belief is backed up by his disappointing 2.78 YAC and 21% broken tackle rate, both concerning indicators for his transition to the NFL. I’m not going out of my way to add Abanikanda to my Devy/Dynasty teams, but am interested to see how he finishes the 2022 campaign and believe he has some projectable traits.

Oronde Gadsden II, WR, Syracuse - Class of 2024

There is some conjecture as to whether Gadsden II is a tight end or a wide receiver, as he is listed as a TE on the team depth chart, but a WR on the team’s site. With Syracuse playing him inline on just six snaps all season long compared with 95.6% of his snaps in the slot or wide, I respectfully am considering him as a wide receiver. Gadsden II has excelled in the “Big Slot” role frequented by 2022 NFL draftees Drake London and Treylon Burks, securing a superb 37-of-45 passes for an 82% completion rate, 593 yards, 16 YPC and five touchdowns. The imposing wideout ranks at the top of 2024 wide receivers with a 36.8% Weighted Dominator and 3.22 receiving yards per team pass attempt (courtesy of @jerrickbackous) and has thrived in traffic, reeling in 7-of-10 contested targets. Take a look at Gadsden’s day against Clemson’s elite defense:

Gadsden was such a dependable weapon for Syracuse that they actually triple-teamed him to ensure QB Garrett Shrader couldn’t throw the ball to him again. He did anyway, resulting in the game-ending interception, but it speaks to Gadsden’s potency that CU went to such lengths to stop the former three-star recruit. He only has one drop all season and you see how refined his approach is, always catching the ball with his hands instead of his body, as you’d expect from an offspring of the great Dolphins wideout Oronde Gadsden Sr. For a player who was left to C2C waiver wires entering the 2022 season, Gadsden has raised his profile perhaps more than any other receiver in the country.

Stock Down

D.J. Uiagalelei, QB, Clemson - Class of 2023

While DJU has been a competent game manager for most of the season, improving his NFL Passer Rating from a ghastly 69.8 last year to 104.3 while also boosting his PFF passing grade from 64.4 to a respectable 83.0. He has also straightened out a disastrous 9-to-10 TD/INT ratio to a much more solid 17-to-4. However none of those numbers matter on Saturday after Dabo Swinney made the call to pull DJU after these two horrific back-to-back passes in the second half:

Dabo simply did not have the luxury of riding it out with DJ and instead turned to true freshman QB Cade Klubnik to lead the Tigers’ double-digit comeback against the Orange on Saturday. HC Swinney has stated that DJU is still his starter, but forgive me if I’m calling BS on that claim. Uiagalelei’s disastrous showing last Saturday has likely annihilated all of the positive momentum his 2022 start had generated. He’s borderline waiver fodder at this point.

Zach Evans, RB, Ole Miss - Class of 2023

Evans missed his first game of the season last week, but it’s hardly the first time he has missed time over his three years in college, as his 100 carries is already a career-high while his 4.30 YAC from a year ago has plummeted to 3.42. Perhaps just as concerning is freshman sensation Quinshon Judkins seems to have taken over the RB1A role from him, as Evans coasts his way towards the offseason when he can declare for the NFL and begin Combine preparation. Don’t get me wrong, Evans has a smooth, easy running style that is more fluid than violent with the ability to lower his pads a truck someone when necessary. However if Evans cannot stay on the field for 12 games in college, how does he survive 17 games in the NFL as a feature back?

Freshman Phenoms

Luther Burden, WR, Mizzou - Class of 2025

Despite a pretty good usage rate in the early going, I wanted to wait until Burden had a real breakout game to post him here, and he did not disappoint against Vandy last weekend, catching 4-of-5 passes for 66 yards and a touchdown, while also taking an end-around 10-yards for a rushing score. Here are Burden’s top plays from the game:

Love how Burden comes back to the ball and fights for the reception here before turning upfield:

That touchdown reception illustrated Burden’s ability to score from anywhere on the field. He is still my 2025 WR1 despite some impressive year-one showings from players like Barion Brown, Antonio Williams and Evan Stewart.

Damien Martinez, RB, Oregon State - Class of 2025

CFF enthusiasts were treated to weekly reports about how great Damien Martinez has looked in fall camp for the Beavers. While Deshaun Fenwick maintained the starting job heading into the season, Martinez has taken advantage of a Fenwick injury to steal the RB1 job by performing far better than his predecessor had in that role pre-injury. The 6'1/216 bruiser has been the Beavers’ bell cow over the past two weeks, rushing 38 times for 289 yards and three touchdowns against P12 foes Wazzu and Colorado. Take a look at his breakout performance against the Buffaloes in Boulder on Saturday:

His power and talent are evident, as Martinez has earned an excellent 86.3 PFF rush grade as a true freshman. While there is still plenty of time to let the 2025 class’s cream rise to the top, Martinez is putting up legitimate freshman breakout numbers if he can keep up his torrid pace down the stretch.

Honorable Mention: Cade Klubnik, QB, Clemson - Class of 2025

While Klubnik was basically a glorified handoff artist for most of his day against Syracuse, going 2-of-4 for 19 yards in relief of DJU, he did make this eye-opening two-point conversion throw under duress: