2019 CFF All-American Team and ADP Review
2019 First & Second Team CFF All-Americans:
While Hurts and Fields were considered true blue-chip QB's, Burrow and Gordon were able to be acquired with significantly less draft capital. Though there was much hype surrounding LSU's move to a more modern spread offense, fantasy owners had a "show me, don't tell me" mentality towards Burrow on draft day. With Gordon, it was assumed all offseason that transfer Gage Gubrud would be the next Gardner Minshew. However HC Mike Leach let the QB competition extend well into August, not giving any indication as to the front-runner until a week or so before their first game. Hence many CFF drafts were either concluded or in motion when the news of Gordon winning the starting gig broke. Many Gordon/Burrow owners tasted CFF victory thanks to their wise investments.
Jonathan Taylor set the all-time record for rushing yards through his junior season and Chuba Hubbard was a mere one point behind him, as the pair were undoubtedly the best CFF RB's in the country. Dobbins finally emerged from a timeshare with Mike Weber in his first two seasons to be the true bell-cow RB he had been predicted to be upon his arrival in Columbus. The real CFF draft value in this group is Gainwell, who benefited from an early-season injury to starter Patrick Taylor and proceeded to exceed all expectations for his redshirt-freshman season. He is likely to be the only returning starter of this group and will be a highly pursued commodity in 2020.
The wide receiver position in CFF is the toughest position to predict on a yearly basis since there is a steeper learning curve than RB, and WR is dependent on accurate ball placement from their QB. Omar Bayless and Ja'Marr Chase were the only 300-point WR's in college fantasy and both were drafted in the 300-400 pick range and in many leagues weren't selected at all. Devin Duvernay (#338), Isaiah Hodgins (#186) and Michael Pittman (#134) were all selected in the middle-to-later rounds as well. The point i'm making is - WR is more unpredictable than RB, so be aggressive with WR's on the CFF waiver wire early in the year.
Bryant and Hopkins were the clear top two TE's in CFF, no one else was even close. Bryant had a productive 2018, so he was a top-10 TE selection in most drafts. Hopkins (#169) flew under the radar in many leagues and rewarded his owners with elite-level TE production from a modest draft investment.
D - Alabama - 184 Points/Utah - 183 Points
Defenses are generally chalk at the top of the standings, as it's generally easier to predict an entire unit than it is to project an individual.
DL - D'Angelo Malone - WKU - 157 Points/Alex Highsmith - Charlotte - 154 Points
LB - Evan Weaver - Cal - 213 Points/Carlton Martial - Troy - 193 Points
DB - Amik Robertson - La Tech - 175 Points/Chazz Surratt - UNC - 163 Points
Evan Weaver was an absolute wrecking ball at LB for Cal, winning the coveted Eric Froton CFF Defensive Player of the Year Award. Middle linebackers at the life-blood of every successful IDP defensive unit, as they are the most consistent tacklers on the defense and tackles are much easier to project than sacks...Interesting that Chase Young led the nation in sacks, but the two missed games cost him CFF All-American status as he finished just behind the DL leaders with 144 points...D'Angelo Malone is the classic case of a LB who also qualifies at DL and proceeds to rack up 90 tackles to go with 11 sacks. In CFF, 90 tackles out of a DL is certifiably vicious...And let's not forget the IDP contributions from Amik Robertson, whose stat line is legitimately gaudy from an IDP DB - 60 tackles, 1.0 Sack, 16 PD's, 5 INT, 2 INT TD's. He recently declared for the NFL Draft, so we sadly won't get to see Robertson terrorize C-USA offenses any longer.
The following assessments are based on 20-Team CFF PPR Leagues along with Fantrax Draft and ADP Percentages:
Top Free Agent Pickups:
WR - Ja'Marr Chase - 27 PPG, Omar Bayless - 27 PPG, Tutu Atwell - 20 PPG, Jaelon Darden - 18 PPG, Jadan Blue - 17 PPG, Dyami Brown - 18 PPG, Whop Philyor - 18 PPG, Lucky Jackson - 16 PPG, Brandon Arconado - 19 PPG, Dante Wright - 16 PPG
It's illustrative that power-5 QB's are scrutinized so much that the best free agents are almost universally from G-5 programs, with the exception of Slovis who took over due to J.T. Daniels' early-season injury. The same is true with RB's, as every single top free agent RB is from a G5 school. At WR however you see a more even distribution between the P-5/G-5 schools, as Chase/Atwell/Philyor/Arconado all produced at an elite level despite their CFF free agent status.
This leads me to believe you can prioritize P5 talent early in drafts since their recruiting pedigree helps our ability to project their performance, while the G5 players are more vulnerable to fluctuations in playing time and role reductions from year-to-year. Then in-season, prioritize G5 on the waiver wire as the depth chart movement shakes out in the first few games.
Players who under-performed their ADP:
D'Eriq King deserves an asterisk since he chose to redshirt, but Adrian Martinez was a classic bust given the outrageous hype he and Nebraska received in the offseason...Injuries and ineffectiveness doomed Juwan Washington, as SDSU failed to produce a CFF-worthy RB for the first time in seemingly forever...Larry Rountree felt the effects of Drew Lock's departure, as Kelly Bryant's inconsistency in the passing game simply couldn't keep teams from stacking the box against Rountree...Ricky Slade was victimized by a crowded PSU backfield and Spencer Brown was intermittently injured all-season...Jalen Reagor's off-the-charts athleticism had CFF prognosticators salivating, but TCU started a greenhorn true freshman QB Max Duggan all year which affected Reagor's production...Lipscomb found Riley Neal to be a poor replacement for departed QB Kyle Shurmur and his numbers were affected drastically because of it.
Players who over-performed their ADP:
QB - Joe Burrow - ADP #194 - 35 PPG, Anthony Gordon - ADP #343 - 35 PPG, Caleb Evans - ADP #112 - 30 PPG, Brock Purdy - ADP #154 - 29 PPG, Ian Book - ADP #172 - 27 PPG, Shane Buechele - ADP #142 - 27 PPG, Mike Glass III - ADP #206 - 26 PPG, Jamie Newman - ADP #167 - 26 PPG
WR - Michael Pittman - ADP #134 - 23 PPG, Sage Surrat - ADP #165 - 25 PPG, Lynn Bowden - ADP #180 - 22 PPG, Isaiah Hodgins - ADP #186 - 23 PPG, Devonta Smith - ADP #187 - 21 PPG, Gabriel Davis - ADP #196 - 22 PPG, Easop Winston - ADP #295 - 20 PPG, Devin Duvernay - ADP #338 - 24 PPG, David Bell - ADP #394 - 19 PPG
Burrow, Gordon, Purdy, Book, Buechele, Glass, Newman, etc. formed a superb class of mid-to-late round QB's who provided rock solid production for their astute CFF owners. LSU players have been heavily featured in this column, and CEH is no exception...Jaret Patterson's late-season surge won many CFF owners their championships...Jonathan Ward bounced-back from an injury-marred 2018 to thrive in HC Jim McElwain's offense...Will you look at all the WR values! It's clear that you can fade WR's early and still put together a dominant WR group if you do your homework and take the proper calculated risks.
In summation, I hope this column helped illustrate to my fellow CFF'ers how you can identify value in later rounds and use the available data to modify your approach for next year's 2020 CFF drafts.