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Offseason Barometer: Derrick Henry Moving Up

Mario Puig

Mario is a Senior Writer at RotoWire who primarily writes and projects for the NFL and college football sections.

Some important parts have moved in the college football world since we made our initial college football content in May, so it's time to review some of the news that has surfaced in the last couple months as we near August.

This would be a good time to mention that, for our up-to-date college football fantasy rankings, users should view our projection-based point rankings ( and our manually-maintained cheatsheets (, as those parts of the site are maintained in real time, whereas past articles address the time frame of their publication dates.


Tyreek Hill, WR, Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy stated that Hill would likely receive 15-to-20 touches per game this year as an RB/WR hybrid. Given his WR eligibility in fantasy football, this makes Hill a potential team-making WR1 if Gundy's statement is sincere. Even if we count a pessimistically high per-game projection of five of those touches coming in the form of kick and punt returns, that still leaves Hill with a projection of at least 10 touches from scrimmage each week. That high of a workload makes him a by-default elite asset at WR, and Hill has the rare athleticism to provide high-upside production as perhaps the fastest player in the country. Gundy's announcement led us to move Hill into the top 10 of our nationwide WR rankings.

Travis Wilson, QB, Utah

It surely seems strange to list Wilson here fresh off an underage drinking citation, but the more important recent development is that Wilson gained medical clearance to play football in 2014. It looked at one point as if a neurological injury would end Wilson's football career, but he luckily received medical clearance this offseason and should take back over as Utah's starting quarterback. He was wildly inconsistent as a passer a year ago, particularly in terms of turnovers, but Wilson is a big, athletic quarterback whose fantasy upside endures despite his on-field liabilities. He'll look to reestablish himself as one of college football's best running quarterbacks this year, and he has one of the nation's best receivers to throw to in Dres Anderson. The underage drinking citation is a concern, but he plays for Utah, not BYU. So long as he doesn't have other infractions weighing on his record, the citation shouldn't elicit much more than some eye rolls.

Jake Waters, QB, Kansas State

Kansas State's much-hyped quarterback competition between Waters and Daniel Sams a year ago turned out to be a draw, with Waters serving as the team's primary passer while Sams made use of his standout athleticism as a running specialist. Sams had higher ambitions than that, though, so he left Kansas State in the offseason, leaving Waters with the entire Kansas State quarterback role to himself. It's a job that tends to produce big fantasy numbers due to the dual-threat workload it demands of its quarterback, and Waters' fantasy output should skyrocket as a result of the promotion. Waters threw for 2,469 yards (9.5 YPA), 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions last year while running for 312 yards and six scores in 13 games. If you give Waters the 53 passes and 152 runs attempted by Sams last year, it'd project to a total of roughly 2,973 yards and 22 touchdowns through the air and 713 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. Waters won't run nearly that many times – many of Sams' carries were basically as a running back – but Waters has the opportunity to throw for 20 touchdowns and run for eight more this year.

Steward Butler, RB, Marshall

Butler dealt with fumbling issues a year ago and has never been able to secure a consistent workload, so he carries some risk with him heading into this year, but Marshall dismissed projected starting running back Kevin Grooms over the weekend, leaving just Butler for proven returning Marshall running back options. Even if consistency isn't his strong suit, Butler's upside is intoxicating since he ran for 765 yards and eight touchdowns on just 87 carries last year, good for 8.8 yards per attempt. With Grooms out of the way, Butler could really go off in 2014.

Nate Sudfeld, QB, Indiana

Tre Roberson's unique ability to run the ball dictated a timeshare between him and Sudfeld, but Roberson had tired of that committee approach and left Indiana in the offseason in search of a true starting quarterback opportunity. That leaves Sudfeld with the Indiana offense to himself this year, and he should be among the nation's most prolific passers as a result. It's very concerning that the Hoosiers lost all of Cody Latimer, Kofi Hughes and Ted Bolser in the offseason, but they bring back steady lead wideout Shane Wynn and a number of intriguing talented young recruits, perhaps most notably four-star prospect Dominique Booth. Roberson threw 138 passes last year, so Sudfeld should break out as a passer after throwing for 2,523 yards and 21 touchdowns last year.

Malcolm Brown, RB, Texas

Johnathan Gray figures to be a bit limited as he recovers from last fall's Achilles' tendon tear, and the Longhorns dismissed two backup runners in Joe Bergeron and Jalen Overstreet. Bergeron's dismissal in particular is great news for Brown's fantasy stock heading into this year, as Bergeron was one of the country's premier goal-line vultures the last three years.

Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor

Coleman possesses a skill set similar to that of Tevin Reese, so he was always the logical replacement for Reese in Baylor's deep-wideout role. Coleman's target count got another boost in the offseason with the dismissal of fellow former high recruit Robbie Rhodes, however, so Coleman's ascent should be particularly smooth.

Kyle Allen, QB, Texas A&M

Even though Kenny Hill is a former high recruit with a year of experience in the Texas A&M system, it appears that Allen, the consensus No. 1 quarterback recruit of 2014, is the favorite to enter this year as the new starting quarterback for the Aggies. Allen is nothing like Johnny Manziel given that he isn't much of a runner, but he's reportedly a significantly more advanced downfield passer than Hill is at this point. If he emerges as starter, Allen would have a lot of talent around him in what should be a high-scoring offense.

Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama

After running for 100 yards and a touchdown on just eight carries (12.5 YPC) and taking a reception 61 yards for a touchdown in Alabama's bowl loss to Oklahoma, a promotion was clearly in order for Henry, who somehow received just 35 carries last year. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound big-play machine is a touchdown just waiting to happen, and it ought to happen more often in 2014, especially in light of the arrest of fellow backup runner Kenyan Drake during the summer. Drake likely won't be kicked off the team, and Henry remains a backup to starter T.J. Yeldon, but Drake's time in the doghouse should allow Henry to strengthen his hold of the top backup role.

Demarcus Robinson, WR, Florida

Robinson has been identified as one of college football's elite receiver talents for at least a year, but he faceplanted as a freshman last year due to inconsistency and character issues. With a reportedly improved attitude as of the spring, Robinson appears ready to capitalize on his rare athleticism as the Gators shift to a more pass-heavy attack led by former Duke offensive coordinator Kurt Roper.


Kenny Hill, QB, Texas A&M

Hill had a significant experience advantage over incoming freshman Kyle Allen, his main competition for the starting Texas A&M quarterback role, and yet it appears that Hill is the underdog heading into the fall. Aggies defensive back Deshazor Everett said Hill checks down “a lot more” than Allen as a passer, which would imply that Allen is more adept at reading and anticipating downfield. Hill has more fantasy upside than Allen since Hill is likely among college football's most talented runners, but he might not get a chance to capitalize if he doesn't improve as a passer.

Dezmon Epps, WR, Idaho

Epps was the best player on Idaho's football team, but he was dismissed from the team earlier this summer.

Terry Baggett, RB, Army

Baggett was a revelation for Army last year running for 1,113 yards and eight touchdowns on just 141 carries (7.9 YPC) during a breakout season, and yet his stock declined significantly over the offseason. That's because former starting Army running back Raymond Maples was granted another year of eligibility, and his return means that Baggett will likely see fewer carries than he did last year. Maples ran for over 1,000 yards in each of the two years prior to last.

Anthony Boone, QB, Duke

The transfer of former red-zone specialist and touchdown-hog Brandon Connette to Fresno State gave reason to hope for a breakout season for Boone, Duke's technical starter at quarterback. Unfortunatley for Boone, Duke still plans to run a two-quarterback system in 2014, simply replacing Connette with Thomas Sirk rather than upping Boone's workload. Boone is unlikely to make much of a fantasy impact this year as a result.

Nick Marshall, QB, Auburn

Marshall was cited for marijuana possession in July, earning him a timeout from SEC Media Day and a potential suspension of some sort as Auburn heads into its Week 1 opener against Arkansas. Although the Tigers once again have National Championship ambitions and won't take Arkansas lightly, they have a talented backup in Jeremy Johnson and probably don't need Marshall's presence to beat the Razorbacks. Marshall's owners should cross their fingers and hope that coach Gus Malzahn exercises competitive caution and lets Marshall off with a non-suspension sort of discipline.

Anthony Jennings, QB, LSU

After leading LSU to a clutch late-game victory over Arkansas and then a (gross, admittedly) bowl game victory over Iowa, it looked like Jennings was locked in as LSU's starter for the 2014 season. That may not be the case, however, as LSU heads into the fall contemplating whether to put Jennings on the bench in favor of high-ranking 2014 recruit Brandon Harris.