This article is part of our College Football Fantasy Five series.
Even though there's no college football currently being played, it doesn't mean that we can't start preparing for the 2021 fantasy college football season. I've scrubbed the current headlines and here's a countdown of the top five stories with significant fantasy implications.
5.) DC Jim Leonhard Decides to Stay at Wisconsin
There were many who felt that the Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator position could be a dream job for the up-and-coming Leonhard who is from the state of Wisconsin. That turned out to not be the case when he reportedly turned down the job this past week. Perhaps he wants to help the Badgers meet their full potential or he's holding out for a head coaching gig in the college ranks. At just 38 years old, he has a bright future as he's produced a top-ten defense for the Badgers in three of his four years on the job. It's truly amazing what he has done, considering Wisconsin has had no defensive players taken in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft over the last three years (seven combined selections in later rounds from 2018-20). From a fantasy college football perspective, this means you should continue to avoid playmakers opposite of the Badgers in your DFS lineups and potentially swap them out for a match-up with Wisconsin in season-long formats.
4.) Clemson Extends OC Tony Elliott & Has Tons of Fantasy Appeal for 2021
Compared to my first storyline, holding on to a successful offensive coordinator brings even more fantasy impact. That's exactly what Clemson has done as they extended Tony Elliott through the 2025 season and gave him a salary bump to $2MM annually. That's a lot of money, but it's what was needed as he was involved in talks for the Tennessee job. The Tigers' offense has been clicking on all cylinders while averaging at least 43.5 points per game in each of the last three seasons. Players such as QB D.J. Uiagalelei, RB Lyn-J Dixon, WR Justyn Ross should be extremely high on draft boards. I see a real opportunity here too as fantasy players have become accustomed to discounting Clemson playmakers because of blowouts which means you can get them slightly later in fantasy drafts or for cheaper prices in DFS with the caveat that they have unbelievable upside.
3.) RB Zach Charbonnet Heading Home to UCLA
Former Michigan RB Zach Charbonnet is heading back to California where he played high school ball. He'll play under Chip Kelly at UCLA in an offense that likes to feature the running back. In a shortened season, Demetric Felton (headed to the NFL) saw high usage with 132 carries for 668 yards and five touchdowns on the ground to go along with 22 catches for 159 yards and three touchdowns through the air. If Charbonnet can hold off Brittain Brown for the lead-back role, he should have an immediate impact for the Bruins and could potentially play three seasons with UCLA when deemed eligible. This is one of those transfers that seem to have the perfect player going into the perfect system as Charbonnet is big and powerful with speed.
2.) EA Sports Announces Return of College Football Video Game
I'll admit that it was a relatively quiet week for college football news outside of Signing Day 2021 which was covered by John McKechnie with his winners and losers. With that said, EA Sports finally announced that a college football video game will return for the first time since the 2014 edition when Michigan's Denard Robinson made the cover. While this doesn't have a direct impact on the upcoming fantasy football season, I do think it will help expand the game overall with younger players. This will indirectly make college fantasy football more popular in the long-run which is a win-win for everyone. There are not many details on the upcoming game, but nonetheless, it's a big win for the expansion of the college football game. Running over opposing defensive lines with various Badgers running backs was a big part of my childhood and why I love the college fantasy game!
1.) Florida Nabs TE Arik Gilbert from Within the SEC
The Gators were one of the best stories in the weird 2020 season as they lit up the world with Kyle Trask and Kyle Pitts highlighting an explosive offensive attack. With Trask and Pitts heading to the NFL, one of the SEC's premier programs will need to reload. It was a bit surprising to see them grab a 2020 five-star recruit from within the conference as Gilbert made his announcement to transfer from LSU. While LSU mostly had an embarrassing season, Gilbert flashed in eight games with 35 catches for 368 yards and two touchdowns as a true frosh. The tight end position is typically extremely shallow in the college football game, so if he receives a waiver for immediate eligibility from the NCAA, this could be a steal late in fantasy drafts. This would mean stock down for Keon Zipperer, but I do think he would still have some value as the Gators are replacing almost all of their receiving production for the 2021 season.