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CFF Targets - Don't look now, but Duke has TWO potential VOLUME PIGS at WR
The Blue Devils' WR duo Jalon Calhoun and Jordan Moore are on pre-season all-VP watch
Boy that's just a straight shooter with upper management written all over him
- Bob Slydell, Office Space (1999)
If there’s one phrase to encapsulate the feeling CFF managers feel about current Duke QB Riley Leonard, it would be something along the lines of “that’s just a straight shooter with upper management written all over him”. The straight shooter part representing the firearm Leonard currently sports on his right shoulder; upper management is… his likelihood to be promoted to the NFL? I don’t know, this analogy was always going to be a stretch. But you know what isn’t a stretch? The Duke Bluedevils (that’s right—the basketball school) might actually be a sneaky strong team in the ACC this season (in football!)—well, at least the offence should be, and leading the charge are two strapping young men by the names Jordan Moore and Jalon Calhoun.
After all, if Leonard is going to have the season many expect him to have, someone(two) has got to be on the other end of that line. We talking all you-can-eat offence with room service included? Oh yes, there will be plenty of service to go around, and the two leading WRs are in line to be well-fed and then some, leading some (me) to believe that there could be not one, but two potential volume pigs in this rotation.
I’m going to need those TPS reports ASAP…
Not right now, Lumberg, I’m kind of busy—in fact, we’ve now reached the precise moment in time where I would like to invite the reader to join me in the next section—see you there.
Coaching & System
Current head coach Mike Elko joined the program in 2022. He applies his trade on the defensive side of the ball, spending time as defensive coordinator for Texas A&M, Notre Dame and Wake Forest within the last decade. As such, I’m not going to delve into his patterns.
The OC—Kevin Johns, also joined the program in 2022. Prior to Duke, Johns spent time as the OC for the Memphis Tigers (2018-2021), Texas Tech (2018), Western Michigan (2017), and Indiana (2014-2016).
Johns’ 2021 Tigers squad had 1000-yard receiver Calvin Austin III (5’9, 170), who caught 74 passes for 1149 yards and 8 TDs from the slot position. The season prior, Austin accumulated 63 catches for 1053 yards and 11 TDs. The 2019 Tigers squad had Damonte Coxie (6’3, 200), who caught 76 passes for 1276 yards and 9 TDs.
If you’re keeping score at home, that’s three out of three seasons that Johns’ Tiger teams had a 1K yard receiver. Not bad.
Johns’ Texas Tech team in 2018 also had a 1000-yard WR; Antoine Wesley (6’4, 200) paced the Red Raiders with 88 catches for 1410 yards and 9 TDs.
The streak of 1000-yard receivers ends in 2017, Johns’ WMU Broncos were a much more run-heavy outfit. Of his time at Indiana, Johns had one WR break 1000 yards in three seasons.
Those patterns are pretty good, if you ask me. So it’s no wonder that CFF managers are excited about the prospects of this offence. Let’s take a look at personnel.
WR Jordan Moore — 6’0, 190
Jordan Moore was a three star prospect in the class of 2021 out of Maryland. From the looks of things, he spent his freshman season primarily as a quarterback, as he did not register any receptions through 10 games, but did rush 44 times for 221 yards and 3 TDs, and passed for 95 yards and a score.
This past season, as a full-time WR, Moore finished his 13 games with 60 receptions (88 targets) for 656 yards and 5 TDs (12.2 FPG). As far as I can tell, he plays on the boundary in this offence. Notably, Moore ended the 2022 regular season campaign on an extraordinary high note—Moore was targeted 20(!) and 13 times vs. Pitt and Wake Forest, respectively. He scored 39.9 (1-ppr) and 21.6 points in those games. Outside of those two performances, Moore’s best game was probably vs. Temple—Moore caught 6 passes on 6 targets for 77 yards and a score. He was also used as a rusher on occasion, Moore rushed twice vs. Northwestern and Kansas for 23 and 10 yards.
WR Jalon Calhoun — 5’11, 190
Calhoun is the elder statesman in the Duke WR room, entering his fifth year of college football. The South Carolina native actually had a strong freshman campaign, averaging 10.1 FPG in 1-ppr formats in 2019. He caught 46 passes for 420 yards and 4 TDs.
In 2021, he averaged 12.6 FPG, with 56 receptions (73 targets) for 718 yards and 3 scores. His best statistical season came in 2022, catching 62 passes (92 targets) for 873 yards and 4 TDs (13 FPG). He averaged 7.07 targets per game in 2022, and like Moore, finished the season particularly strong with 10+ targets in four out of his last five games, and the one that wasn’t, was 7 targets. He only went over 100 yards twice, but did finish three other games with 94, 93 and 90 yards.
By his size, I’m guessing he’ll operate out of the slot (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong). Not that it matters too much, as we saw in the C&S section that this staff has had 1000-yard receivers come in different shapes and sizes, but the latest volume pig in Johns’ offence was the diminutive slot receiver Calvin Austin.
According to C2C’s ADP tool, Moore does not have an ADP currently. Calhoun has an ADP of 219.5 (~ 18th round in 12-team leagues). I’m interested in both. If you believe that Riley Leonard is truly a dark horse Heisman candidate, then at least one of these WRs should be on your radar. I think the staff have a pretty good pattern of usage, but choosing which of the two to buy is probably more a matter of preference. The problem is that neither are going anywhere, so they might eat into each other’s production.
Is it worth drafting both of them at current cost? It probably depends on how deep the format is. In a bestball format there is more value here, in re-draft, having two WRs potentially average 13 and 12 FPG in a world where you don’t know which will pop off each week is not ideal, but one thing is almost for certain: there will be some monster games for both of these players by virtue of the fact that Leonard will likely have multiple monster performances this season. Who’s to say that they both can’t eat in a year where Leonard takes another step forward? Duke opens the season with Clemson week one, so — on one hand — we should know right away just how good Leonard and the Dukes are, on the other hand that’s probably the toughest defence they will face all season so I wouldn’t hit the panic button if things don’t go to plan week one with these WRs. They then play Louisiana Lafayette, a turbulent Northwestern program, and UCONN. September should be good to the Dukes.
Something to note is that both of these WRs finished the season strong in conference play. So I am not worried about whether this offence can get the job done vs. teams like Louisville, Wake Forest and UVA. Florida State and NC State give me some pause, and they also play Notre Dame in week five. That’s not ideal, but on the other hand, maybe that just means they’ll be forced to chuck it all game, who’s to say? What we do know is there will be mucho fireworks coming out of Duke university this season, so in a sense we all win as college football fans. Oh, and remember, next Friday is Hawaiian shirt day!
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