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CFF Sell Series - Part 2 (one-month anniversary edition)
Xavier Worthy, Devontez Walker and Trey Benson are on the black list this week.
What better way to celebrate the one-month anniversary of VolumePigs than to do it with another Sell Series article?
These articles tend to ruffle some feathers, and that’s by design! I want to stir the pot and ignite the discussion on CFF topics. If you read this article and come away thinking: VolumePigs is an idiot, the best way to let me know is by hitting the ‘like’ and ‘subscribe’ buttons below (insert wink face).
Today I am going to discuss Texas WR Xavier Worthy, UNC WR Devontez Walker, and Florida State RB Trey Benson. So settle in, grab your favourite drink, and get comfy as we examine the CFF profiles of three of the CFF community’s favourite players.
Xavier ‘X-Man’ Worthy - 6’1, 165
2022 FPG: 15 (1-PPR)
Cool nickname aside, there is a lot to like about Worthy’s game. He’s extremely fast and is a very twitchy player. He’s also playing for the same coach who helped Devonta Smith become the first WR to win the Heisman Trophy since 1991. Worthy broke out as a freshman in 2021, securing 62 passes for 981 yards and 12 tuttys.
Like many, I thought he’d be in a for a big year in 2022 under year two of the Sark regime. Not so, it turns out. However, there could be reason for this, as there are rumours that he was dealing with a hand injury throughout the 2022 season.
That maybe so, but his 2022 play is not the reason I am ‘out’ on Worthy this offseason.
There’s a lot of ways I could start this article but let’s start with addressing the elephant in the room — I don’t like that AD Mitchell transferred from UGA to Texas (for some reasons more than others…). It’s sort of a weird move to process for me as a UGA fan and CFF degenerate, I don’t like it from either angles to be honest. The first reason is obvious, the second is that this WR room is going to be crowded next season.
Worthy and Mitchell won't be the only pass catchers vying for targets, too. Jordan Whittington, a former five-star recruit from Cuero, TX (who has some of the best high school tape you’ll ever see, by the way) is also returning. Though Whittington’s career has thus far been hampered by constant injuries, he is a very good player when he is playing. He’ll be occupying the slot most of the time.
Then there’s the guy everyone forgets about — Isaiah Neyor, who had a very good season at Wyoming in 2021 before deciding it was time to hit the Power Five (P5) circuit. As with all players who are coming back from a season-ending injury we should set our expectations low for Neyor’s role this upcoming season. Yet, even in a small capacity, Neyor represents another mouth to feed on that Texas offence.
Finally, we can’t forget about jumbo athlete TE Ja’Tavion Sanders, who will also be demanding targets, particularly in the redzone. Sheesh! The term ‘crowded’ doesn’t even do this room justice, honestly.
All of that would be fine, too, if Worthy wasn’t being drafted so high in mock drafts. As with all players I write about the calculus here is a measure of the upside vs. the price required to obtain the asset. I see Worthy is being selected in the top three-four rounds typically in mocks, at that price I’m always going to be out on him. Part of that has to do with the uncertainty at QB.
I remain skeptical on Quinn Ewers
Unfortunately, our guy QE is catching a stray bullet here. I like Quinn and the awesome mullet he had in 2022, but I have to say I am unconvinced on his ability to play football. I think he is primed to have a good season, but I don’t know that he is a good player at this point and that concerns me about Worthy’s upside if he is going to cost a round two or three selection.
I would rather not play the guessing game in the early rounds of CFF drafts and between the crowded room, question mark at QB, and steep price, I simply do not think Worthy is worthy of it (it’s okay if you’re cringing at that last line). Especially when you consider that every year, there are many elite CFF WRs that emerge on the waiver wire, there's just no reason to reach for receivers like Worthy in CFF re-drafts (maybe now’s a good time to plug my WR Sleepers article from last week).
Devontez Walker - 6’3, 175
2022 FPG: 18.6
Devontez Walker could have been a prime candidate for my Transfer Target series this offseason, but he's on my blacklist this week. All things being equal, I'd be happy to have him on my squad, but I suspect I won't own any shares of Walker this fall based on where I see him being drafted in mock drafts. This is more a reflection of the CFF community's valuation of him than his actual talent.
I am very pro-transfer players in CFF, but that is based on the fact that they typically go under-the-radar amongst the CFF community and thus offer hidden value. In Walker’s case, the word is out, apparently, and people are comfortable taking him in the top three or four rounds. That may change as we go through spring ball and summer camp, but as of writing this article I would not advise drafting Walker that high. I get it, though. Drake Maye returns at QB, and the past production of WRs at UNC has been good. Let me explain my trepidation.
Walker enters a crowded WR room and is making a big jump in competition level
Look, I love the MAC, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that it’s the lowest level of play amongst Division 1 FBS conferences. Walker did damage in the MAC in 2022, and he actually had some great games vs. P5 opponents Washington (4-56-1) and UGA (7-106-1). We know he is talented, but one still has to wonder how well he will translate to the P5 level. We may suspect that he will translate well but we don’t actually know at this point, as we haven’t seen him play a full season at the P5 level before. When looking at the recent track record of productive G5 WRs transferring to the P5, it doesn’t paint a pretty picture for Walker. So that’s a big risk factor right off the bat when assessing Walker’s CFF profile.
In addition, the room at UNC looks to be pretty loaded headed into 2023. Star recruit and rising sophomore Andre Green Jr. (3-26-1) returns, as does Kobe Paysour (29-324-4), rising junior J.J. Jones (24-434-2) also returns to Chapel Hill, and we can’t forget about incoming transfer Nate McCollum (60-655-3 with Georgia Tech), who will likely occupy a different role than Walker in the offence, but presents another straw in the milkshake nonetheless. Green and Jones offer similar builds to Walker and will likely be competing for snaps at the boundary, so I would, at the very least, like to see how the WR hierarchy shakes out in the spring game before deciding to invest in Walker. If Walker falls out of the top five/six rounds of CFF drafts, then I think we could reassess his value.
There’s a new system in town
If you're considering drafting Walker and thinking about how previous Tar Heel receivers like Josh Downs and Dyami Brown excelled in CFF, it's worth reconsidering that notion. The offensive coordinator who orchestrated those offenses, Phil Longo, has since moved on to Wisconsin, and is now replaced by Chip Lindsey, who served as UCF's offensive coordinator in 2022.
In his sole season as UCF OC, the Knights saw three separate WRs go over 600 yards receiving. In the three seasons prior during Lindsey’s time as head coach at Troy, the Trojans saw zero 1000-yard receivers, with their closest player, Kaelon Geiger (5’10 slot receiver by the way) accumulating 873 yards in 2019. As an OC, Linsdey has yet to produce a 1000-yard receiver since 2015, in which Mike Thomas (no, not that Mike Thomas) produced 1391 yards receiving at Southern Miss. Prior to becoming head coach at Troy, in 2017 and 2018 he served as Auburn’s OC. Auburn did not have a 1000-yard receiver in either of those seasons. His 2016 season at Arizona State also did not see a WR break 1000 yards. All told, in the last seven seasons (2016-2022) there have been zero WRs break 1000 yards under Chip’s watch.
As of now, I advise any to pump the breaks on the Walker hype train. You probably don’t need to take this big of a risk in round two or three when there are often many valuable CFF WRs to be had in the mid to late rounds. I know that that can be said to some degree for every position in CFF, but if you compare WR to a premium position like RB for example, its been my experience that there are typically far fewer high level RBs that emerge on the wire or in the later rounds of drafts compared to wideouts. If I have to take a risk on a G5 transfer in the P5 level, I’d rather it be on a potential volume pig tailback than on a WR in a crowded room.
Trey Benson - 6’1, 215
2022 FPG: 13.72
Trey Benson certainly looks the part coming off the bus, though he doesn’t have a cool nickname like Worthy does. The Mississippi native was quite productive last season as he carried the rock 154 times for 990 yards and 13 TDs, while also catching 13 passes for 144 yards. Despite a solid stat line his 2022 production should be considered volatile, as he scored less than 8 fantasy points in 6 of his 13 games. He had a stronger finish to end the season though, rushing for over 100 yards in 4 of his last 6 games. The trend appears to be up, right? Well, not so fast.
With Xavier Worthy my trepidation was that the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze, per se, as he still has immense CFF upside. I feel the same way for Benson if he continues to be a top five/six round selection. Perhaps counterintuitively it has nothing to do with what he offers as a player. If you’ve been reading my previous articles you know how much I fixate on systems. The volume is everything in CFF, and in Benson’s case it appears that he’s going to be capped by head coach Mike Norvell’s philosophy toward running back by committee (RBBC). Since Norvell has been at FSU, the RB1 has carried the ball 151, 143, and 81 (shortened season - 9 games) times. The numbers lead me to believe that the FSU RB1 in 2023 will fail to breach even the 200 carry threshold, and likely will not see enough sustained volume to create the output necessary to justify a high round selection.
Now I know what you’re saying, but VolumePigs, look at Norvell’s track record at Memphis! Indeed, in 2019 and 2018, there were some fantastic seasons for the lead RBs. He hasn’t taken that approach in his three seasons at FSU though, and new OC Alex Atkins didn’t change the RBBC way in 2022. I’m more so inclined to forecast 2023 based on the latest offensive strategy I see under Norvell, as opposed to what he did at Memphis.
As always there’s a chance coaches change their philosophy (or revert back to a previous philosophy in Norvell’s case), or a player is so good that they can’t help but feed him. As of now, I do not foresee that happening next year and I expect Benson to see somewhere between 150-180 carries, he may amass 1000 yards rushing on that but he will need to be extremely TD-efficient to justify any kind of selection in the first six rounds if you ask me. For those reasons, I am shorting Benson this fall.
Sidenote. In case FSU fans out there are up in arms over my Benson slander, let me just say that I am pretty high on the Seminoles as a program in 2023. I think this team has a legitimate chance at making a college football playoff. That wouldn’t be great for my Dawgs, as south Georgia (an area many believe to be the mecca of college football) is an area both programs hit hard in recruiting. Indeed, many of FSU’s best teams in the past have been fuelled by the syphoning of elite south GA athletes to Tallahassee, and these pesky Seminoles are already looking to do it again in 2024.
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