Have no fear fellow De-gens. While many of you were off gallivanting through the night pursuing an actual social life late Saturday, I was doing the yeoman’s work of sitting in front of my TV and (perhaps a bit drunkenly) taking in the late night CFB action. And personally, nothing’s better than late night CFB for me, when it comes to having action. I’ve heard it said that DFS players tend to look for more immediate gratification, and as a result are more likely to take players in early games than late ones – but personally, give me that late night comeback any day. Essentially, it’s always more fun being the hunter than the hunted.
That being said, we had some great games late Saturday, and none better than my beloved Arizona Wildcats (FYI, the status of CBF teams in my heart probably goes 1) UGA 2A) Arizona 2B) Texas A&M) taking on the vile Trojans. I thought there was a lot to be learned from this game, but first and foremost it reminded me why I personally play Fantasy Sports. I don’t know if this is the case for everyone, but I think if you boiled it all down into a single word, it wouldn’t be money, adrenaline, relationships, or fandom.
It would be Confirmation.
(And no, this isn’t a Jewish boy talking about a sacrament, in fact, for all of you guesstimating from my last name, I’m actually Catholic.)
Confirmation is why I play Fantasy Sports. Nothing is better than knowing that you were right on a player before everyone else – I mean when you were really, truly ahead of the curve on a guy – that is as good as it gets. Obviously for this to actually play out and come to fruition, it requires playing with a certain level of recklessness (as opposed to just drafting off of someone else’s rankings.) And that is why I’m okay with putting up dud teams from time to time, season to season. If I go down swinging, I want it to be with my players, on my terms – and if I win, I want to know in my heart, that I won because of my own choices. Granted, if you’re rolling out DFS rosters with the goal of making a living through this craft, this probably isn’t the best strategy, but for me, this is a hobby (that I admittedly have a fairly large time, and emotional investment in) and this is how I gain the most enjoyment.
Alright, back to stuff you actually care about. Anyway, my point is that it feels SO great to see how well Anu Solomon is playing, having been in on him from the beginning. Granted, when I drafted my one Dynasty League, I may accidentally confused him for last year’s back-up Javelle Allen, and passed on him as a result of that clerical error, but that was in July, cut me some slack. Anyway, I don’t want to say he looked fantastic last night, but for a Redshirt Freshman, carrying the hopes of an undefeated team on his shoulders, he’s showing an incredible amount of poise. He doesn’t rush throws, doesn’t make bad decisions, and really does a great job of managing drives. Something that I think needs to be highlighted is the awesome relationship he seems to have with my boy Rich Rod. They seem to be on the same page at all times, and I thought RR did a great job game planning to Anu’s strengths (quick throws to the sideline, keeping him out of 3rd a long). Unfortunately, Arizona’s kicking game let them down and dreams of an unblemished season disappeared into the Tucson night – but I think we have more than enough data by now to know that Anu is going to be a fixture of Late Night slates for the next four years.
Unfortunately, Arizona has a bye this week – they should never have byes, ever – but the schedule is tasty down the stretch with, including dates with Wazzu, the Fighting Sefo’s, and Washington. It’ll be interesting to see what Anu’s price will be for the Wazzu game, but I’d venture a guess he’ll 9,300 on DK. And I’d also go so far as to say I’ll pay it whatever it is.
Another development from late Saturday was the continued maturation of Utah State’s quarterback Darrell Garretson. I know many of us are still mourning the loss of Chuckie, but if you haven’t been taking Garretson seriously, I think you need to be. Granted, he did look pretty terrible in Chuckie’s relief last season, but clearly another year in the Aggie system for this youngster has served him a lot good – as he’s now torn up BYU and Air Force in back to back weeks, looking like he’s been running the offense for four years in the process.
I suppose this is more of corollary than a theory since it’s so intuitive, but one thing I love to look for in CFB is QBs who really didn’t show much in their first year of action, but then went on make a quantum leap the following year. I think there can be a predictive nature to it, with the basic elements being a complex, dynamic offense that requires far more than just innate ability to master and a young, inexperienced and a talented quarterback coming on in relief of the former starter. The first time I can really remember noticing this, is when Dan Persa came on for Mike Kafka at Northwestern in 2009 against Iowa. He went 5-9 for 37 yards 1 TD/1 INT. Granted the stats don’t look that bad, but the game tape was significantly worse. He really did look awful. Come 2010, the dude has the starting job and is putting up superstar numbers. What changed? Really, it was just another year in the system. These are 19, 20, 21 year old kids – a lot of whom probably aren’t overly bright. Experience really is there best friend, whether it be in-game, at practice, or just with the coaching staff. So, let’s try and predict a couple of breakouts for next year, using what we have currently available:
Reggie Bonnafon: he really seems like he fits the bill. Bonnafon came to Louisville this year as a four star recruit, and while he’s looked not bad at times, overall the offense has been pretty stagnant with him at the helm. As a true freshman though, I think it’s safe to say that the stage is just too big for him right now, and even if he gets more playing time in 2014, I’m not expecting much. He’s got all the physical tools, plays in a system that is historically very quarterback friendly, and brings that mobile element that we as DFSers always crave. Granted, he’ll probably still have to deal with Will Gardner next year, but I think we’ll be looking at a totally different player in Bonnafon in 2015.
Mitch Trubisky: I know, I get it, Marquise Williams is our friend, he puts up big numbers, and does all sorts of fun things. But, I think if we’re looking for both consistency and ceiling, Trubisky is the way that we should be hoping the UNC coaching staff goes in 2015. Let me just say it straight so we can pan me for it and move on: I think Trubisky can be a Manziel clone. His playing style looks eerily similar to me, he plays in an up-tempo system, and as long as the current regime is in place, that defense isn’t projecting to become a powerhouse, meaning they’ll have to put up points just to hang around. Can we maybe play Williams at receiver? He looked pretty good catching a TD pass this past week, but he’s far too inconsistent for me to put much faith in him.
Patrick Mahomes: Obviously, the PLAN isn’t for Davis Webb to go anywhere – but the plan didn’t include Michael Brewer and Baker Mayfield transferring either. Anyway, in relief of Webb two Thursdays ago Mahomes looked pretty much you would expect a true freshman to look in first action against a solid Oklahoma State defense: overmatched and generally awful. That being said, the Kingsbury offense is a timing based offense that requires excellent anticipation – two concepts that you would expect a true freshman to struggle with. Still, he was a big time recruit who looks to have a lot of physical skill.
It’s very likely you won’t be rolling these guys out into your DFS lineups this year, but I’d suggest filing them away and if an opportunity down the road arises for them, don’t wait for their big game before you pounce, try and get in from the ground floor.
One final thought I’ll leave you with is my elation for the return of the late night Hawaii game! Long a De-gen staple, the midnight Hawaii kick-off game has brought us so many high scoring shootouts in the past, featuring legends such as Colt Brennan, Bryant Moniz, Greg Salas, and Kealoha Pilares. Unfortunately, the 2014 product is not quite as spectacular. Two Hawaii quarterbacks combined for 281 yards passing, and the team had more than 40 rushing attempts. I don’t like to call for coaches’ heads (because hey, they’re just people trying to do their best at their jobs – just like me), but this is an absolute travesty and Norm Chow needs to go, as does his cute little “pro style scheme.” Putting this on a football field at 12 AM EST is like HBO running Sesame Street after midnight – it’s unacceptable and no one wants to see it. There are plenty of qualified candidates who can return to us the glory days of Hawaii football, and honestly, if no one else will do it, sign me up, and I’ll have Woosley throwing so much he makes Connor Holliday look like Angel Santiago.