The 2017 season is nearly upon us and before we do there is one thing every fantasy college football “tout” must do. They must plant their flag in a few players and declare them theirs. No, I’m not talking about the Marcus Mariota, Lamar Jackson or Leonard Fournette’s of the world, but lesser known players that have yet to reach stardom. There are rules to picking these players and they are as follows:
- The player must not be a well-known commodity in the fantasy college football world.
- No defensive players.
- At least one of the players has to be one you’ve never actually seen play before.
- There has to be something fun about them – a quirky name, number or being tiny/huge will suffice.
- Being an underdog/undervalued player is a plus.
- Seriously, no defensive players.
With those rules stated, here are my seven players chosen to be my man crushes in 2017. You have been given notice, so keep your hands off of them!
Jacques Patrick, RB, Florida State – Jacques fits the mold of man crush for many reasons. He’s got a name similar to Ichiro, Nene and Pele in that when someone in the fantasy CFB world says “Jacques” everyone knows whom you’re talking about. His stardom has not yet been achieved and even has a super cool freshman in Cam Akers that everyone thinks will overtake him as starting running back. Even though he’s been named the FSU starter, he’s very much the underdog. I’ve been a fan of Jacques since I drafted him in round two of my very first dynasty draft a few years back.
Demari Simpkins, WR, Utah – Simpkins started five games last year and didn’t do anything crazy, but with a new offense focused on passing first Simpkins really excites me this season. While I’ve never actually seen him play (rule number three!), he fits the mold of slot receiver in a pass heavy offense (5’10 with great agility). Utah’s depth chart isn’t out for week one, but I would be very surprised if Simpkins wasn’t a starter in the slot position.
Will Grier, QB, West Virginia – Grier is possibly my best-known man crush for the 2017 season thanks to his success at Florida in 2015. Once he transferred to West Virginia he officially jumped on my radar and I even drafted him in the industry dynasty I’m in. It led to ridicule, but I can’t help but be excited about what he’ll do in the same offense that made Skyler Howard extremely relevant the past few seasons. His game is strong and people seem to be down on a player I think could vault into talk for winning the Davey O’Brien Award.
Will Hastings, WR, Auburn – Will Hastings is my ultimate man crush this season and will so many great reasons. Let’s start it off with my favorite Hastings fact of them all: he came to Auburn as a walk-on kicker! He’s currently in contention for the slot position role and has been a staple pick of mine late in dynasty drafts. The junior is listed at 5’10, but honestly I’m sure they gave him 2-3 inches of help there. After watching the A-Day game this past spring I fell in love with his potential. The final reason why I enjoy rooting for Hastings is that there are so many talented receivers around him and nobody is given him a chance. He is the ultimate underdog story.
Tyler Vaughns, WR, USC – Vaughns was a highly recruited receiver in the 2016 class, but redshirted last season. Just about everyone knew that would happen and the desire to stash him was only jumped on by yours truly. Now, we see that he has impressed USC coaches so much in practice that he is slotted in as a starter at receiver. He has made me a proud man over the last few weeks and I expect that feeling to continue.
Chris Evans, RB, Michigan – Evans jumped onto the scene last season with some big plays and a few games where he really showed some talent. He heads into this season as the starter at running back for the Wolverines, but there doesn’t seem to be much chatter about him. This could be because of lack of confidence in him or lack of confidence in the offense as a whole, but I’m all-in on Evans. He’s a little undersized for a Harbaugh running back, but with a lot of beef in front of him and an offense that has shown to be run first I love Evans’ potential this season.
Kalil Pimpleton, WR, Virginia Tech – Pimpleton might be the last man crush listed, but he might be my second favorite. This freshman receiver is just 5’7, but has a real chance at finding time in the slot this season. He fits many of my rules for picking a man crush like the fact he’s pretty tiny, no one really knows who he is and the fact his name is awesome. Oh, and he goes to my alma mater, Virginia Tech. It is Pimpleton that has inspired many of my fantasy team names this season (Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy).
That’s it for my list of man crushes for the 2017 season and beyond. I hope you’ve learned something about this important topic and are now ready to pick your own for this season. Remember, nobody remembers the man crushes you missed on, but they surely do remember the ones you’ve been on since the start.