Big names, as well as some smaller ones, were doing big things in Week 1 as college football returned with a full slate.
Don’t Get too Excited…Yet
There are a couple of categories of these performances based mostly on level of competition. Some guys put up some studly statlines, but they did so against a bunch of nerds and 17 year olds. Justin Herbert put up 6 total touchdowns against Bowling Green and Trayveon Williams blew up for 240 and 3 scores against Northwestern State. Sweet numbers, but I certainly take them with a grain of salt. Rodney Anderson straddles this category and the next because he was playing Florida Atlantic, but he only needed the 5 touches they gave him to rack up triple digit rushing yards and 2 touchdowns and that’s nasty.
Stock Up Performances
The next category is the big names who showed out to a point that it may affect their draft stock, especially in fantasy. Guys like Will Grier, who shredded the Tennessee defense for 425 yards and 5 touchdowns, really showing us what he can do and putting it all together to start this draft eligible season off right.
Mike Weber scored 4 times, with 3 on the ground and 1 through the air against Oregon State. This is a big game for me proving that he provides the best option for Ohio State in that backfield with JK Dobbins breathing down his neck. If Weber can hold on to that starting spot all year and keep even a semblance of this level of production, he will jump right up my draft board in a big way.
The guy though, who has peaked my interest and put himself firmly on my must watch list for the rest of the season, JJ Arcega-Whiteside. A guy I wasn’t terribly fond of after watching a few games. He didn’t jump off the page athletically despite substantial size and good production last year with 9 scores. In the first week, against a San Diego State team that isn’t terrible, Arcega-Whiteside put up 226 yards and 3 touchdowns, but that isn’t even the most impressive stat. The man did it on 6 catches. That is an average of almost 38 yards per reception. Damn. With the rushing game bottled up, the Cardinals looked to the air and this man delivered in a huge way. While I still don’t think he will test well, he has proven to be a prospect worth further investigation. Any improvement in the athletic numbers could send this guy up my draft board in a hurry.
Players You Don’t Know, That You Need Too Know
The final category is a couple players who weren’t even on the radar. This could be for a number of reasons. Underclassmen, guys who weren’t heavily recruited, or just guys who haven’t had other chances to break out. A freshman wideout for the Maryland Terrapins, Jeshaun Jones, was only a three star recruit and he balled out. This man ran for a touchdown, caught a touchdown and threw a damn touchdown all in the first half. Say hello to Mr. Jones everybody.
Scottie Phillips is a transfer from Junior College to Ole Miss and he had a day against Texas Tech rushing for over 200 yards. He posted good numbers in JuCo and is already showing he belongs at the next level. It looks like there should be no worries surrounding athletic testing. More high level production could plant him firmly in fantasy rookie draft conversations after Bowl season.
And finally, a guy who stood out who may have a shot at the NFL was true freshman Rondale Moore who I watched in person break the Purdue all-purpose yardage record in his first game against Big Ten opponent Northwestern. Moore rushed for 80 yards and caught 11 balls for 109 scoring once in each category as well. Unfortunately it didn’t translate to win for the Boilers, but Moore was a revelation even for us fans who knew his name and what he might bring to the table. He is burner fast and unbelievably quick and shifty in space. He is on the small side, but he gave a Big Ten defense the business in the first game of his college career. Color me stoked.