Pos: Running Back
Draft Eligible: 2025
Devy Dilemma: Jaydn Ott
Jaydn Ott’s freshman season at the University of California, Berkeley ended with a total line of 897 yards on 170 rushing attempts, for an average of 5.3 yards per carry, and 8 touchdowns in 12 games. He added 36 receptions for 321 yards and 3 more trips to the end zone. His 1218 yards from scrimmage was 4th in the Pac-12, behind fellow running back Zach Charbonnet and wide receiver Xazavian Valladay, both NFL draftees, and Oregon sophomore Bucky Irving. Ott was a consistent highlight throughout Cal’s lackluster season, but what should we do with him in Devy leagues?
Ott’s debut at Cal was a flag plant. He rushed for over 100 yards and caught a pass for a TD against (my hometown) UC Davis in Week 1. From that point forward, Ott showed major flashes of talent. As the focal point of the offense in Week 4 against Arizona, he carried the ball 19 times for 274 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns, including runs of 73 and 72 yards. That put him 3rd all-time in school history for rushing yards in a game and set a freshman record. Ott ran up 120 total yards and 2 TD against USC and his 148 scrimmage yards and TD helped Cal beat Stanford in their all-important rivalry game. Ott’s finish saw him ranked 5th in the conference in rushing yards and 8th in touchdowns. Ott is as complete a back as you could hope for. He crashes holes inside and can turn the corner outside. He is also more than competent as a pass-catcher. According to scouting analysis he has good burst through the line to go with breakaway speed. He’s tenacious and will fight through tackles and for yards after the catch. As the standout of the Cal offense he will get plenty of opportunity to show what he can do as he progresses through the next two seasons.
Ott’s opportunity earned may also contribute to a statistical slide to average or worse. Cal doesn’t have much going for it on offense and defenses can commit to stopping Ott and the running game. It remains to be seen if he can overcome stacked boxes or focused coverage. While he showed flashes as a freshman, his season wasn’t exempt from struggles. Against Notre Dame Ott managed a season low 2.5 YPC, rushing for 33 yards on 13 carries. Oregon State stifled him as well, holding him to 26 total yards on 12 touches.
Additionally, Ott is still a little bit light in weight. Ott weighs a listed 200lbs, but that assumes accurate measurement which we likely won’t have until the 2025 combine. With few exceptions, fantasy success for running backs is predicated on BMI. 220 pounds is the ideal mass for predicting top 12 success and Ott has yet to fill out to that level. At 6 feet tall he very well could have the frame to add 20 more real pounds.
Ott is currently ranked in our Devy Rankings as RB22 and RB7 among 2025 draft eligible backs. The 4 running backs in his class ranked directly behind him all come from schools with more balanced attacks who may have the ability to produce without being focused upon.
As is the standard in the Devy community, after you leave the consensus of the top 20, rankings can be all over the place. I’ve seen Ott listed as RB65, RB35, 65 overall, and I’ve seen him drafted at pick 50.
If you are in a Devy startup draft and Ott is available to you in the 5th round or later, I say he’s definitely worth the upside shot.
If you own him, hold for now. Weight gain over the next two years could reward you.
If he is currently rostered in your Devy league, I would wait and watch as his sophomore season takes shape and jump on any value dip. He has plenty of upside based on his skill set and a tough season at Cal could be to your advantage. Ott should be a high value asset at some point, whether that is as a producer in your lineup or as a trade piece a few years from now.
Brendon is from Northern California and has been playing fantasy sports for over 25 years. He started sports writing 10 years ago. He is an alumnus of Arkansas Tech University, and follows the UC Davis Aggies, Cal Bears, and Arkansas Razorbacks in the NCAA. He is a die-hard fan of the Raiders, wherever they are, the San Francisco Giants, and Sacramento Kings. To fill his time outside of sports, he acts, writes and directs, and does sketch, improv, and stand-up comedy.