We know that fantasy football is extremely important to most football fans. But the biggest part of fantasy football is the players and their skill-sets. That’s where the annual NFL Draft comes into play. I love watching college football and evaluating its talent and how the talent projects to the NFL. College football trumps the NFL every day of the week, which means going forward, we’ll be previewing some quality college football games and the top 2016 NFL draft prospects playing. Let’s take a peek at some of the top tier games from Week 3’s NCAA football schedule:
Playoffs On the Line
#14 Georgia Tech @ #8 Notre Dame
Who’s going to stop the Yellow Jackets ground game on this ACC schedule? Notre Dame is welcoming the challenge, despite losing their starting QB for the remainder of the year. Georgia Tech wins this game by 10+. Can Justin Thomas be an NFL quarterback? Where does a player like FB Patrick Scov fit in the next level?
Most importantly to draft fans as OT Ronnie Stanley and LB Jaylon Smith will be on display against this Georgia Tech team that has a legitimate shot to run the ACC and earn a playoff gig.
#18 Auburn @ #13 LSU
This is a hard match-up to predict. You can never count out such a talented Auburn fan, yet watching them take Jacksonville St to overtime was quite deflating. LSU isn’t anything special either, however, as they ride RB Leonard Fournette to wins. If a team manages to shut him down, they’ll struggle to score points and lose. But so far Fournette has been flawless, which doesn’t matter since he’s not available until 2017’s draft. CB Tre’Davious White, who’s started since he was a freshman, has been a lot of fun to watch with his ability to flip his hips and show off that recovery speed.
A lot of people like this guy WR Duke Williams for the Auburn offense, but we can’t get much action when Heisman hopeful QB Jeremy Johnson is throwing interceptions. Williams is big and makes big plays down field a la Mike Evans at Texas A&M. Johnson looks like he needs one more year no matter what the rest of the season brings.
DE Carl Lawson is my guy on defense to focus on. #55 can get around the edge in a hurry and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty against the run. He’s still a bit raw, but his motor is there. Can he stand up at the next level?
#15 Ole Miss @ #2 Alabama
This game likely won’t be as close as people think. That being said, the Rebels have played Bama quite tough in recent years. The Tide will lean heavily on RB Derrick Henry to create scoring opportunities. Senior QB Jake Coker hasn’t performed poorly, but he’s hardly a top 100 pick at this moment. TE O.J. Howard needs to become Coker’s best friend since he can scoot so well after the catch.
Defensively the Tide are set with DT/DE A’Shawn Robinson and ILB Reggie Ragland leading the front seven into the face of opposing quarterbacks. Ragland has truly become a defensive leader.
My boy WR Laquon Treadwell has all the physical tools to become the next stud in the NFL. Injuries shortened his 2014, but he’s been as good as advertised since being a top prospect three years ago. Not much to see here offensively otherwise except that QB Chad Kelly does have upside. We won’t get to see OT Laremy Tunsil due to NCAA investigations.
DT Robert Nkemdiche hasn’t brought the same national attention that he did since he reneged on his deal with Clemson, but he’s certainly a big, athletic body with a sky-high ceiling. SAF Tony Conner always finds the ball and I’m also intrigued by SAF Mike Hilton playing the hybrid “Rover” role for the Rebels.
#19 BYU @ #10 UCLA
This game will tell me a lot about UCLA freshman QB Josh Rosen. The kid has had an incredible start to the season, and while he’s not eligible until the 2018 NFL draft, I still want to check it out. Rosen does get to work with the talented WR Devin Fuller and fourth year RB Paul Perkins who can make plays out of the backfield.
ILB Myles Jack is quite the stud in the middle of the UCLA defense who lost Eric Kendricks to the 2015 draft. He possesses a lot of the physical tools you want in a 34 linebacker. Part of Jack’s success comes from the very talented DT Kenny Clark in the heart of the Bruins defensive line. He’s a proven play maker that makes things easier for his secondary.
BYU’s defense plays quite fast and also runs that dreaded 34 defense that a lot of schools are moving to. LB Manoa Pikula, SAF Michael Wadsworth and SAF Kai Nacua are all key contributors to this defense that plays smart and loves to force turnovers. Nacua mostly known for getting knocked out by a Memphis player in the bowl game brawl last year, then getting up and taking a cheap shot at a different Memphis player. He returned a TD in BYU’s week two victory.
BYU’s offense is what I question with fellow freshman QB Tanner Mangum getting just his second start. OT Ryker Mathews on the left side is an intriguing talent, while WR Mitch Mathews (no relation) has outstanding size and strong hands as a fifth year player.
Favorite Unranked Match
Florida @ Kentucky (SEC Bias in this article much? Weird coming from a Buckeye fan)
There’s a lot of excitement for both schools as they roll into the season 2-0. I’ve been quietly cheering for the Wildcats as I think it’d be fun to see a consistently solid Kentucky in the SEC. Florida really has quite a bit of talent though, which makes this a very underrated game to watch.
Florida has an outstanding back in Kelvin Taylor (son of Fred) who should start seeing more carries. Don’t sleep on TE Jake McGee as a guy flirting with a mid-round status. Florida’s secondary is led by play making Vernon Hargreaves who reminds us of just a slightly taller Tyrann Mathieu.
We can’t have RB Stanley Williams until 2017, but when RB Jojo Kemp gets into the game, something fun is likely to happen. Being used sparingly now, he certainly showed that he can carry the load against South Carolina in 2014 with an insane second half performance.
There’s some fun on the defensive side of the ball as well with CB Cody Quinn, SAF A.J. Stamps and strongside back Jabari Johnson.
California @ Texas
Another hard game to predict as Texas has talent sporadically placed on the team, but they’ve yet to put their game together and play as a unit. Can they get it done against Cal’s QB Jared Goff who’s looking to make a play into the first round if he elects to leave after his third season? Goff’s completing over 73% of his passes currently.
Goff also has some nice targets to make plays to with WR Trevor Davis and WR Bryce Treggs in their last season trying to make it count. Davis is making nothing but big plays downfield with his 6’2 190 pound frame.
Cal’s defense benefits from guys with awesome names like DT Mustafa Jalil and OLB Jalen Jefferson. But seriously, both of these guys can make plays, but can they make more of them consistently against better talent? We’ll see as the season progresses.
Texas is going forward with Jerrod Heard with his first ever start. Tyrone Swoopes is just… awful. He’s your next converted tight end with a 6’4 240 pound frame. OG Sedrick Flowers and OC Tanner Doyle run the interior offensive line and have been improving together. Playing with two 18 year old additional lineman isn’t helping, however.
CB Duke Thomas has big play ability, but doesn’t get a lot of help from his pass rush and is also a bit undersized with 5’9 being generous in the program. Damn he’s quick though. DT Desmond Jackson can be fun to watch at defensive tackle. He’s not huge, but he has shown flashes of playing like he’s 350 pounds. Consistency is key here for both Jackson and Thomas.