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MAC Daddy Series - Wide Receivers
A list of potential CFF league-winners in the MAC at WR
Out of chaos comes order
- Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher
For those unfamiliar, the Mid-American Conference (MAC) can be described as the wild-wild west of college football. It is the living embodiment of Nietzsche’s quote “out of chaos comes order”. That is—there is pure chaos throughout the season (particularly during MACtion), and in the end, an ordering of the teams by wins and losses is formed. I, for one, love the MAC, and I wholeheartedly believe that had he been alive today—Mr. Nietzsche would have too.
While there may not be an overwhelming amount of big names at WR this year in the MAC, there is a strong group returning, led by Akron’s Alex Adams and Ohio’s Sam Wiglusz—each were strong CFF assets in 2022. Throw in dark horse Trayvon Rudolph returning after missing the entire season last year and some sneaky hidden gems—and the MAC’s got everything thing you need at WR… So without further adieu, let’s get into it.
Akron WR Alex Adams — 6’1, 190
2022 FPG: 18.4
In 2022, Adams was arguably the WR2 for the Zips. While he led the team in receiving TDs, it was Shockey Jacque Louis (University of Pittsburgh transfer) who led the team in receptions (74) and receiving yardage (931) with 112(!) targets over his 12 games. This makes the fact that Adams averaged over 18 FPG even more impressive. Now, his primary competition for targets is gone, vacating just over 9 targets a game, and so I expect Adams’ levels of volume to increase in 2023. I suppose there is always the risk that someone else steps up in Louis’ absence (Daniel George, perhaps), but as of now, I like where Adams stands in this offence.
By any definition of MAC standards, Alex Adams is an athletic freak. The 6’1, 185-pound Mississippi native originally played for LSU in 2020 and 2021 before transferring to Akron in search of more reps. His first campaign was a successful one, as he brought in 63 passes to the tune of 855 yards and nine (!) TDs in 11 games. I add the exclamation besides 9 because Akron’s starting QB—DJ Irons, only threw 10 passing TDs, and his backup—Jeff Undercuffler Jr. (who filled in when Irons was unavailable with an arm injury), only threw five TDs. Of those five TDs, three of them were to Adams. I am comforted by the fact that it appears both QBs have a connection with Adams. As is the case with all dual-threat QBs like Irons, the risk of injury looms large. It’s nice to have assurances that both QBs like to funnel targets to the WR of interest.
Indeed, in 2022 it didn’t matter who was playing QB for the Zips, Adams was a textbook volume pig. In his 11 games, he was targeted 88 times (8 targets per game) and averaged 5.7 catches, 77.7 yards and 0.81 TDs a game. He finished 2022 averaging 18.41 FPG (1-ppr) on a team that went 2-10 and only passed for 15 total TDs. Now ask yourself a question: what do you think he’s going to do if Akron improves their efficiency?
Adams’ current ADP stands at 68.5, which is about the sixth round. That’s criminal, but I hope his ADP stays that way—I want him in every league I’m in.
Ohio WR Sam Wiglusz — 5’11, 185
2022 FPG: 16.2
The former Ohio State Buckeye had himself a breakout season catching passes from the arm of QB Kurtis Rourke in 2022. If you believe in Rourke dominating the MAC once again this season (I do), you have to believe that a player like Wiglusz will be a safe floor prospect.
I wrote about Rourke in the QB version of this series a few weeks ago, and in it, I reiterated my belief that Ohio might be the best team in the MAC, and certainly has one of — if not the best — offences in the conference in 2023. The Wig-man scored 20 or more FPs in a game six times out of 14 games last season, garnering a total of 99 targets in the season (just over 7 a game). He finished the year with 73 catches for 877 yards and 11 TDs. He also attempted two rushes, of which he ran for 23 yards.
His ADP currently sits at 43.9, which is around the fourth round in 12-team drafts. I think he’s worth that range, bonus if you manage to stack him with Rourke.
NIU WR Trayvon Rudolph — 5’10, 185
2022 FPG: NA
Rudolph unfortunately went down with a season-ending injury late in the summer of last year. As such, he has no FPG average from 2022. However, those of you who were around in 2021 will remember that Rudolph broke out in October 2021 with a monster 36.7 point game vs. CMU. He followed that up with a cosmic 62.9 point performance vs. Kent State the following week. All told, he finished the 2021 season with 51 receptions (87 targets) for 892 yards and 7 TDs (14.3 FPG). He also rushed nine times for 113 yards and a score.
As with any player returning from a major injury, there are question marks regarding how strong Rudolph will return in 2023. NIU struggled to move the ball in the air last season in Rudolph’s absence, so he should be able to secure to a prominent role in the offence once again. What will his ability be like? Who’s to say. The talent he flashed in 2021 makes him worth a dart throw, in my opinion. We know NIU are going to run the ball with high frequency this season, but there should still be solid pass volume for a player that was once thought to be a league-winner in 2021.
His ADP is 178—which is about the 14th round. I probably won’t be the one to take a chance on him, but I understand those who do.
Toledo WR Jerjuan Newton — 5’11, 192
2022 FPG: 13.4
Well, when there’s a QB returning that has everyone excited, usually there’s a WR (or two) who are viable CFF assets. In Newton’s case, he’s even more than viable. He was a solid asset last season, catching 53 passes on 91 targets for 830 yards and nine TDs in 14 games (13.4 FPG).
The Florida native is entering his fifth year of college football with the Rockets, and he seems poised for a dominant year in the MAC. His build suggests he’s probably a slot receiver (I didn’t watch much of Toledo last season, sorry), which is probably a good thing with De’Quan Finn playing QB.
In 2022, he was a very high floor asset. He only went under 10 points four times in 14 games. He went over 20 points in three of those 14 contests. I love the upside here.
His current ADP is 199.7 according to C2C. Thats about the 16th round. Count me in at that price.
UB WR Nik McMillan — 6’1, 224
The redshirt freshman McMillan finished UB’s spring game with over 130 yards receiving and a pair of TDs on four catches. This is a team that is going to be passing the ball a lot, and with last year’s WR1 and WR2 leaving (vacating 203 targets, 125 receptions, 1580 yards, and 14 TDs), McMillan has a massive opportunity to make himself a household name by the end of next season.
The Bulls open the season with Wisconsin, which will be rough (probably), but then get FCS program Fordham, and G5s Liberty, and Louisiana Lafayette to round out their out-of-conference schedule. That’s not too bad, in my opinion. And then, of course, we reach MACtion, where McMillan could potentially singlehandedly win games for CFF managers in late October and November.
I’m also hoping that returning starter QB Cole Snyder will take a step forward in year two. Still, he supported Quian Williams and Justin Marshall to 12.64 and 15.52 FPG in 2022, respectively.
Mac Daddy McMillan’s ADP is currently 195, meaning he’s going un-drafted in most standard leagues. Personally, I like him, and will try to get him late when I can. At the very least, this is a strong watchlist player.
WMU WR Jehlani Galloway — 5’11, 185
2022 FPG: 5.2
Would you believe me if I told you that in one league I was in last season, WMU’s Corey Croom’s was the only WR I had drafted that made it to the end of the season still rostered. The participants of this league were no slouches, by the way, and that team finished with the second most points scored in that league (thank you Rome Odunze, Tyrin Smith and Jalin Hyatt). But Crooms came up clutch multiple times too, and was a solid contributor all season.
While I generally just enjoy watching MAC football, I made sure to watch a lot of the WMU games last season (at least, the ones I could find online), and so I got a first hand look at some of the other WRs. Galloway caught my eye due to the fact that he looked similar to my boy Crooms on the field. His best game of the season came against Miami of Ohio—catching six passes on 10 targets for 51 yards (11.1 points). He finished the season with 28 receptions (53 targets) for 344 yards. But that was as the WR2 (at best). Crooms vacates a cool 108 targets with his absence, targets that will require someone else to step up and help the Broncos do better than they did in the piss-poor campaign they called the 2022 season. It’s not a guarantee that it will be Galloway who does so, which is part of the reason why few people have mentioned him this offseason.
Accordingly—judging by the ADP data (he has none), I’ll assume he’s going un-drafted in most leagues. He’s a watchlist candidate for me.
BGSU WR Odieu Hilaire — 6’0, 180
2022 FPG: 13.4
Hilaire, a native of Belle Glade, FL, joined the BGSU program by way of the FCS program Alabama A&M in 2022. As mentioned above, his first season in the MAC was a success, as he led the Falcons in receiving. The year prior, Hilaire caught 71 passes for 918 yards and nine TDs in only eight games with AAMU, where he played from 2019 to 2021.
Now, in year two with the Falcons, Hilaire has an opportunity to take the next step and dominate inter-conference play in 2023.
Side note: I found this tweet about Hilaire, which I thought was amusing whilst perusing on Twitter:
Heeding that advice, I decided to look at the fabled Toledo game. Indeed, Hilaire had a monster performance, scoring 44.6 FPs as he caught eight passes (12 targets) for 246 yards and two TDs.
His performance vs. Toledo even landed him on Kirk Herbstreit’s top performers list for the week of Nov. 21.
He also had strong performances in weeks two and three, as he scored 23.5 FPs in each.
However, Hilaire will have to be more consistent in 2023 to lock down a spot on the All-VP squad. During the 2022 campaign, in five out of the twelve regular season games, Hilaire scored less than five FPs. Some volatility is inherent to the WR position, but we would ideally like to see him hover around the 15-point range with a tighter variance.
Hilaire’s ADP is 158.4. He’s another one that is worth a shot in the final rounds of drafts, in my opinion.
Other Notable Names
BGSU WR Abdul Fatai Ibrahim
Akron WR Daniel George
CMU WR Jalen McGaughy
EMU WR Tanner Knue
Ohio WR Jacoby Jones
Toledo WR Devin Maddox
I’m curious what you think…
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