College Fantasy Football: Five pieces of advice
College football season is right around the corner, which means college fantasy football drafts are coming up as well. Here are five pieces of advice on the upcoming season that could help when picking your fantasy teams.
Covet Alabama's weapons because they will be unleashed
Alabama got hammered in the national championship game, coach Nick Saban essentially called out some former assistant coaches and there have been questions whether the Crimson Tide has seen their best days with Clemson taking over as the nation’s top program. All of this plays perfectly for Saban to unleash all of Alabama’s weapons this season - and that should be music to the ears of fantasy owners. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is going to be one of the first players taken in fantasy leagues, but the Crimson Tide have so many receivers worth an early look in not only Jerry Jeudy but also Henry Ruggs, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle to start. Plus, running back Najee Harris should have a breakout season and freshman Trey Sanders cannot be counted out, either. The schedule is perfect for fantasy as well with Duke, New Mexico State, South Carolina, Southern Miss and Ole Miss on the early schedule. Alabama is going to run it up and fantasy owners could have a field day.
Still love Missouri
Offensive players at Missouri were a gold mine for fantasy owners last season and it’s shaping up to be that way again this year. The Tigers are going to score a lot of points, have a really appealing early-season schedule and the defense should be better, especially in the front seven, so there is a lot to like about the Tigers. Quarterback Kelly Bryant should put up huge numbers as the offense fits his style and he has a point to prove after losing the Clemson starting job. An early shot on him in fantasy leagues could be an outstanding selection. Running back Larry Rountree III won’t be splitting as many reps with Damarea Crockett so that’s good news in the backfield, and then the receiving corps is loaded with Johnathan Johnson, Jalen Knox, Jonathan Nance and Albert Okwuegbunam, maybe the country’s best tight end. Load up with Missouri players, it’s a smart move.
Feel great about Michigan
A lot of excitement has cooled around what coach Jim Harbaugh can do at Michigan after a late-season collapse that saw the Wolverines torched by Ohio State and then Florida in their bowl game, but let’s not forget a few things: First, in seven of Michigan’s wins last season it scored 38 or more points including against Wisconsin and Penn State and the Wolverines put up 56 on Nebraska as well. And secondly, the offense will go faster this season under coordinator Josh Gattis with a core group of players that should be able to run that style seamlessly. Quarterback Shea Patterson should be perfect in an uptempo offense. Receivers Donovan Peoples-Jones, Tarik Black, Nico Collins and others could benefit big-time from the offensive change in fantasy leagues. I don’t know if Harbaugh is ever going to beat Ohio State and win a national title in Ann Arbor. For fantasy purposes, I don’t care. This is about maximizing value and scoring points and Michigan should do a lot of that again this season.
Be careful with South Carolina
I don’t like how the fantasy season could shape up for South Carolina, so staying away from the Gamecocks and picking other players to win your league might be smart. Quarterback Jake Bentley has put up nice numbers in his career but he’s also turned it over a lot, and with an emphasis on keeping turnovers down this season taking chances downfield might be more limited. South Carolina is also not busting out with big-time playmakers at receiver - at least not yet - so fantasy points might be tough to come by. And then there is the migraine headache of a schedule. The opener against North Carolina could be tricky. Alabama, at Missouri and Kentucky round out September, followed by at Georgia, Florida and at Tennessee. The cherry on top? Finishing the season at Texas A&M and then hosting Clemson. No thanks.
Nibble on Virginia Tech players
After a frustrating and disappointing 6-7 season, Virginia Tech players won’t be high on many fantasy boards, but in the later rounds some steals could emerge. First, I like that the Hokies’ defense was so surprisingly bad last season because coordinator Bud Foster will make sure that does not happen again. A lot of three-and-outs means Virginia Tech’s offense will have more chances to score. Quarterback Ryan Willis will have some major targets in receiver Damon Hazelton and Tre Turner, who could continue putting up major numbers. Running back Deshawn McClease could have a breakout year in the backfield as well. Plus, the schedule looks promising with games against Old Dominion (which beat Virginia Tech last season), Furman and Rhode Island by mid-October. If coach Justin Fuente can’t score lots of points and win games this season, then there could be real problems in Blacksburg.