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College Fantasy Football: Five risky picks

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These five players could have huge seasons. Or they could be headaches all year long. Proceed with caution. Here is a look at five players heading into the college football season who each have tremendous potential but also risk factors in a fantasy football setting.

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JALEN HURD, BAYLOR WR

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Jalen Hurd
AP Images

Jalen Hurd had a strong career as a running back at Tennessee before transferring to Waco and switching positions to wide receiver. Hurd has one season to make his mark at his new spot and he could have a huge year since Baylor’s offense should be much better and Big 12 defenses are nothing like those in the SEC.

But there are also risks.

The Bears have a bevy of talented receivers already in Denzel Mims, Pooh Stricklin, Chris Platt and others. Hurd is new to the position and still learning how to excel there in game situations. He’s a physical specimen who could be dynamic in Baylor’s offense. Or he could cause a lot of heartache for fantasy owners as the ball is distributed elsewhere.

JT DANIELS, USC QB

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JT Daniels
Nick Lucero/Rivals.com

First, JT Daniels has to be named the starter. It’s hard to believe while competing with Jack Sears and Matt Fink that the former five-star quarterback who graduated from high school a year early will not earn the nod. Daniels was highly productive in high school throwing for more than 12,000 yards and 152 touchdowns in his prep career. USC has a bunch of young, talented receivers including Daniels’ former high school teammate, five-star Amon-Ra St. Brown, Tyler Vaughns, Michael Pittman and others. Daniels could be prolific and put up big numbers right away. But there could also be an adjustment period and a learning curve early on, especially with games at Stanford and Texas in September.

KELLY BRYANT, CLEMSON QB

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Kelly Bryant
AP Images

Kelly Bryant threw for 2,802 yards with 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions, and also rushed for 665 yards and 11 scores last season in helping lead the Tigers back to the College Football Playoff. The passing stats are not monumental by any stretch and now former No. 1 prospect in the 2018 class, Trevor Lawrence, is on campus. That is unquestionably added pressure on Bryant since Lawrence is a phenomenal talent who should see the field sooner rather than later at Clemson.

With some inexperienced but talented receivers, Bryant could put up big numbers if he can hold onto the starting job. But Lawrence isn’t going to stay on the sidelines very long.

SHEA PATTERSON, MICHIGAN QB

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Shea Patterson
AP Images

The spark Michigan’s offense desperately needs could come from Shea Patterson, a highly talented former five-star quarterback who is a skilled pocket passer and – unlike many recent Michigan quarterbacks – can also escape pressure and prolong plays with his feet.

There are some dangers with taking Patterson in fantasy leagues though. In 10 games over two seasons at Ole Miss, Patterson threw for 3,139 yards with 23 touchdowns but also 12 picks. Coming into a new offense with new receivers, immediate chemistry could be an issue. And there will always be questions about just how much coach Jim Harbaugh and his offensive staff will try to throw the ball downfield instead of grinding it out on the ground and winning with defense.

KELLER CHRYST, TENNESSEE QB

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Keller Chryst
AP Images

Keller Chryst was 11-2 as Stanford’s starter but he also never completed more than 56.6 percent of his passes in the Pac-12 and playing in the SEC is an entirely different ballgame. There is a quarterback battle brewing in Knoxville and Chryst didn’t transfer to the Vols to sit on the sidelines so the motivation is there but Jarrett Guarantano and others have talent as well.

A talented group of receivers should help whichever quarterback wins the job. But first-year coach Jeremy Pruitt might lean toward more ball control and shy away from firing passes all over the field. Plus, games against West Virginia, Florida and Georgia before the end of September is brutal.

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