Dream League Playoffs: Justin Jefferson is automatic

Justin Jefferson shows UP in big games. In LSU’s dominant two-game College Football Playoff romp, Jefferson collected 23 passes for 336 yards and four touchdowns. And, apparently, virtual Justin Jefferson also performs in big games, as in an elimination playoff game, Jefferson caught three touchdown passes from Trevor Lawrence to help Cal eliminate Andrew, 37-27. Andrew’s miserable Dream League campaign ended with a dismal 1 win and 8 losses. Cal improves to 5-4 and will have a chance to take down Nathaniel’s 7-1 squad in a best-of-three championship series held this weekend. 

Cal 37 Andrew 27

Jefferson’s dominance allowed Cal to jump out to a 34-14 halftime advantage. Lawrence scrambled for another touchdown, and Jonathan Taylor, who pounded his way to 106 rushing yards, ran in Cal’s fifth and final touchdown of the half. Andrew’s ground-and-pound approach kept him close for a while, but despite 105 rushing yards from Travis Etienne, and 86 from J.K. Dobbins, he simply could not keep up with Cal’s red-hot offense. Late in the fourth quarter, Jalen Hurts hit Jamar Chase for a 25-yard touchdown pass to pull Andrew within ten points, but the two-point conversion failed. Cal ran most of the remaining four minutes off the clock, extinguishing any potential rally. 

Cal will visit NDL in the championship series opener on Friday night – stay tuned for updates.

Dream League Days 6-7: Ground and pound – Jonathan Taylor and Ohio State defense boost Cal

We’re officially into the stretch run of the dream league, and the standings are lining up nicely. The current standings are:

1. Nathaniel’s SEC East All-Stars (5-1)

2. Cal Christoforo’s Team (3-3)

3. Andrew’s 2Peaters (1-5)

After splitting their first two contests, Cal slaughtered Andrew in their third game against each other, slamming the cellar-dwellers 55-9. Jonathan Tayor ran for 161 yards and caught three passes for 68 more en route to claiming Game MVP. Cal’s Ohio State defense, which has been dominant for large portions of the season, held Andrew to three field goals.

Nathaniel would add to Andrew’s misery the next day, as after Andrew surprising kept likely league MVP Joe Burrow at bay, tying the game 20-20 in the third quarter, Nathaniel pulled away with 17 straight points for a 37-20 win. After a wild comeback victory in the season opener, Andrew sits at 1-5, and he’s nearly clinched last place for the regular season.

Nathaniel finally took his first loss of the season, as he tried to outduel Cal at home by once again benching Joe Burrow for Lynn Bowden. Cal set the weather to 40 degrees to help out his run-heavy offense, and his defense had no issues in shutting down Bowden, who didn’t generate much with his legs, and was just 3-11 with a pick through the air. Cal cruised, 43-6. With Heisman winner Joe Burrow on the bench, Nathaniel drops to 5-1, missing his first of three chances to clinch first place and a bye into the championship round.

2020 NFL Draft Features: Cole Kmet, CeeDee Lamb, Jonathan Taylor

In another series of articles to pass the time while we wait for sports to restart, we will profile a few players who entered the 2020 draft. Today we covered three higher profile, skill position players, but we will also be focusing on lesser-known names and linemen and defensive prospects as well.

Cole Kmet 

Cole Kmet is a junior tight end from Notre Dame, and he is regarded as the top player at his position. At 6’6 and 262 pounds, he’s a projected 2nd-round pick, ranked 60th overall on CBS’s draft board. In 2019, Kmet was a top target in the passing game for the Irish, catching 43 passes for 515 yards and six touchdowns. He has played in 35 of 39 career games at Notre Dame. 

Teams that figure to be targeting a tight end early in the draft are the New England Patriots and Washington Redskins, while the Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals may also be in the mix. Another team may try to scoop Kmet up as the best available prospect, but those four teams appear to be the most needy for a tight end as the draft approaches.

Prediction: 2nd Round, Pick 12 – Indianapolis Colts

CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma

CeeDee Lamb is a junior wide receiver out of Oklahoma and universally considered one of the top two receivers in this year’s draft, along with Jerry Jeudy from Alabama. Lamb measures in at 6 feet, 2 inches, and weighs 198 pounds. An elite receiver all three years with the Sooners, Lamb cemented himself as one of the best in the nation this year, gaining All-American status. He snared 62 receptions for 1,237 yards, leading the FBS in yards per catch, helping lead the Sooners to the College Football Playoff. He is a projected first round pick. 

Lamb would likely go in the Top 10, but there are not many teams drafting early in need of a premier wide receiver. The first true receiver-needy team is picking eleventh, as the Jets will likely be looking to replace Robby Anderson. The Raiders and 49ers, both looking to add a dynamic playmaker, select 12th and 13th, so the likelihood is Lamb will not be on the board past that point. The Broncos (15th) and Eagles (21st) will most likely need to trade up if interested. 

Prediction: Round 1, Pick 11 – New York Jets

Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

Jonathan Taylor is a junior running back from Wisconsin, and he will likely be one of the first backs off the board this year. He’s won the Doak Walker award in both his sophomore and junior seasons, and he’s been an All-American in all three seasons. At 5’10 and 226 pounds, Taylor features electric speed that he has put to use as both a runner and receiver on the gridiron, while also running for the Wisconsin track team in the spring of 2019. He averaged 6.2 yards per carry, while also grabbing 26 receptions for 252 yards in the passing game. He’s likely to go in the second round of the draft, especially with a lack of teams making running back their top priority. 

While few teams will consider drafting a running back in the first round, there are a bevy of teams that will be interested in Taylor and others in the middle rounds. The Bills, Buccaneers, Rams, and Dolphins are among those likely hunting for an early-to-mid-round selection at the position. Ultimately, I think the Bucs will be the first one to snag a running back, and the decision likely comes down to Jonathan Taylor or De’Andre Swift from Georgia. I’m saying the Bucs snatch up Taylor to give Tom Brady a dynamic window as they enter their window to win. 

Prediction: 2nd Round, Pick 13 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers