There is a growing movement in the Dynasty community toward “devy” players. The term “devy” refers to developmental players carried on the dynasty league rosters. These devy players are usually college players but can even be high school athletes. Each week of the offseason and season, we looked at a different set of devy rankings.
As we survey devy prospects, we examine traits, abilities, and skill sets that will translate to the NFL. This week, our final edition of the season, we will look at the top 10 devy running backs eligible for the 2019 NFL Draft. We value the players who will contribute at the professional level higher than the younger players.
10. Rodney Anderson (Oklahoma) – After carrying the ball just once in 2015, Anderson did not play again until 2017. He missed the 2016 season with an injury suffered in August 2016. The Junior had a solid season in 2017 with 1,161 yards and 13 touchdowns on just 188 carries. He added another 281 yards and 5 scores through the air. Expectations were high coming into the season for the Junior. However, Anderson injured his knee earlier in this season and now will be sidelined until 2019. Given his injury history, there is a chance Anderson goes pro after the season. His ability as a runner and receiver will be attractive to NFL teams.
9. Benny Snell, Jr. (Kentucky) – Entering his Junior year, Snell had carried the ball 448 times for 2,424 yards and 32 touchdowns while leading the Wildcats ground attack. In a conference with several great running backs, Snell was named first-team all-conference by the Associated Press. Many will question the athletic ability of the 5-foot-11, 223-pound runner but he is deceptively quick at the line of scrimmage. Snell has been productive in the tough SEC and will be in the discussion for a committee role in the NFL. His father, Benjamin, was a draft pick by the Baltimore Ravens in 1998. He could be drafted higher than most think, especially after the stellar showing in the upset of Mississippi State on Saturday. In that game, Snell carried the ball 25 times for 165 yards and 4 touchdowns. It was a strong game for Snell and his chances of a high NFL draft pick.
8. Travis Homer (Miami) – Homer has battled injuries through his three-year Miami career. He has high-end speed and can break off long runs any time he touches the ball. Homer played behind Mark Walton last season and is just as good of a prospect as the Bengals fourth-round pick. The poor quarterback play for the Hurricanes has hurt Homer’s numbers. Also, Homer often shares the backfield with speedster Deejay Dallas and Freshman star Lorenzo Lingard. The Junior from nearby West Palm Beach, Florida is an NFL prospect who could light up the NFL Combine without ever topping the 1,000-yard mark in college. He is now up to 276 yards on the season after gaining 114 and a touchdown on just 13 carries against Florida International on Saturday.
7. Mike Weber (Ohio State) – While J. K. Dobbins gets more publicity, it is Weber who is the back the Buckeyes turn to late in games. Dobbins is thick and rugged with better-than-expected speed. He has averaged over 6 yards per rush attempt and is a good receiver out of the backfield. Weber is a player most take for granted but he has a legitimate NFL pedigree and could be a viable fantasy starter.
6. Justice Hill (Oklahoma State) – The Cowboys had not used Hill much this season before Saturday’s game against Texas Tech. In his first two seasons in Stillwater, Hill carried the ball frequently in crowded backfields. He toted the rock more than 200 times each season and still averaged 5. 5 yards-per-carry each year. The Junior picked up 111 yards and a touchdown on only 12 in the loss to Texas Tech Saturday. Hill is from Booker T. Washington high school in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This is the same school that has produced many NFL players. Hill was the Oklahoma high school player of the year and totaled 3,364 yards and 54 touchdowns throughout his high school career, with 32 of those scores coming his Senior year. For a between-the-tackles runner, Hill lacks bulk (5-foot-10, 190 pounds), but is slippery with outstanding vision. He has the potential for a Warrick Dunn-type of NFL career.
5. Damien Harris (Alabama) – The Senior has been the best back in the Alabama backfield the past couple of seasons. While others get more press, it is Harris who consistently makes plays. He is from small-town Berea, KY, but he was highly recruited out of high school. Many recruiting services had the 5-foot-11, 220-pound runner as the top back in the recruiting class. He came to college more polished than most youngsters, possessing speed, explosiveness, and the vision to cut back and find a lane to break open a big play. As crazy as it sounds, we had Harris ranked closely with Saquon Barkley and Derrius Guice in 2016. He showed THAT level of potential early on. After rushing for 1,040 yards on only 145 carries in 2016, Harris had an even 1,000 yards on only 135 carries last year. Remarkably, Harris scored on 11 of those carries a year ago. In a crowded backfield, he has played well again in 2018. With a strong campaign, Harris has a shot at being one of the top backs drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft.
4. Devin Singletary (Florida Atlantic) – Many see Singletary’s size (5-foot-9, 200 pounds) and think he is too small for the NFL. Yes, he is short. But, the Junior is thick and shifty. He carried the ball a whopping 301 times last year for 1,920 yards and 32 touchdowns for the Owls. In high school, Singletary had 4,975 rushing yards for American Heritage in Delray, Florida. In just four games this year, Singletary has 10 touchdown runs on just 78 carries. In the loss to Central Florida on Friday, Singletary racked up 131 yards and 3 touchdowns on 25 carries. This is strong production against a quality opponent. He is a player few discuss as a top player in the devy community but has big-time potential.
3. Myles Gaskin (Washington) – Gaskin is a bit undersized (5-foot-10, 193 pounds), but has carried a large workload for the Huskies. In his first three seasons at Washington, Gaskin carried the ball 786 times for over 4,055 yards and 45 touchdowns, with 21 of those scores coming in 2017. He is the focal point of the Washington offense with Dante Pettis now in the NFL. The Washington offense needs a strong running game to make it deep into the NCAA playoffs.
2. Bryce Love (Stanford) – The Senior surprised most NFL Draft experts by choosing to come back to school after 2017 season was over. Last year, he took over the role of Christian McCaffrey vacated by leaving for the NFL. During his first two seasons at Stanford, Love ran the ball just 141 times. But, he exploded onto the scene in 2017 as the lead back with 2,118 yards and 19 touchdowns on 263 carries. Though he is undersized (5-foot-10, 202 pounds), Love carried a heavy workload last year. We expect a larger role in the passing game in 2018 as Love only reeled in six passes last year. Given the relative soft defenses of the PAC12, Love will have some monster games as the season rolls along. He has elite speed, reportedly clocked a 4. 30 in the 40-yard dash. With another strong season, Love will be a second-day pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
1. David Montgomery (Iowa State) – The stout (5-foot-11, 222 pounds) Junior burst into the spotlight and carried the Iowa State offense last season. He was not highly recruited as a dual-threat quarterback with offers from only Ball State, Miami (OH), Buffalo, and Iowa State. Montgomery chose the Cyclones due to a chance to compete in the Big12. He has put up big numbers on the ground and through the air. In 2017, Montgomery carried the ball 258 times for 1,146 yards and 11 touchdowns. He added 36 receptions for 296 yards through the air. The stout ball carrier was able to do this damage while facing stacked boxes, but the sledding has been more difficult this season. The game against arch-rival Iowa was a difficult outing for Montgomery. The next week against Oklahoma was more of the same. He will rebound. Montgomery is our top ball carrier eligible for the 2019 NFL Draft. It is not his fault that the Cyclone offense lacks firepower.