College Fantasy Football: Looking ahead to Week 1 in the Big Ten
The first full week of college football is coming up, which means it’s time to set your fantasy rosters. Here are some players to love heading into the week and others to consider putting on the bench. We look today at the Big Ten.
If you didn’t get an elite quarterback in your fantasy draft, then picking up Clifford could make a whole lot of sense for the season opener against Idaho, which had just a downright bad defense last season. The Vandals gave up 79 points to Fresno State in the first game a year ago. They allowed 44 to UC Davis, 62 to Idaho State, 46 to Montana and 63 to Florida to close out the season. Building confidence for a new starter in Clifford will be important and the Nittany Lions have some weapons at receiver.
The first game in the Mike Locksley era should go really smoothly for Maryland’s offense and especially McFarland, who should get the ball often against a Howard defense that allowed 5.4 yards per rush and 22 rushing touchdowns last season. McFarland is a game-breaker who had more than 1,000 rushing yards a year ago and with questions about Maryland’s passing attack, McFarland is a great pick for this weekend.
There is a good chance Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez will put up monster stats this season and Spielman is going to be his top target. That is especially good news against a South Alabama defense that allowed nearly 39 points per game and gave up points in the run and pass game. Stanley Morgan had 70 catches for 1,004 yards and seven touchdowns last season so Spielman should pick up a lot of those stats. The opener should be a blowout and Spielman could have a big day.
NOT SO SURE
Minnesota’s starting quarterback went down with an injury in the preseason and while backup Tanner Morgan is no slouch, South Dakota State is actually a tough opponent in the season opener and the Golden Gophers could be leaning heavily on their running attack. South Dakota State only gave up around 22 points a game last season and for fantasy purposes there could be a lot of better options. Morgan might rely heavily on Johnson, and if so then this recommendation will have been wrong, but let’s see how Minnesota’s offense looks in the opener.
Michigan’s new offense will be exciting to see and there is a very good chance the Wolverines will put up major points in the season opener, but I want to see it first and then gauge how valuable Patterson will be in fantasy settings. Patterson has outstanding receivers around him, but there are still question marks at running back so if Middle Tennessee’s secondary (which should be solid at safety) can get some stops then the Wolverines might not be scoring as often as I’d like to be recommend starting Patterson in fantasy leagues. Let’s play wait-and-see in Week 1 and then determine Patterson’s value after closely watching the offense.
Ball State’s defense was atrocious last season at times but there is a ton of experience back and when that unit played well, it played really well. Indiana is going to score points, but with quarterback Peyton Ramsey and a bevy of talented receivers, the Hoosiers could be airing it out and scoring that way. I don’t expect Indiana to ground-and-pound against Ball State, which has some talented and experienced linemen back, so maybe wait for another spot to utilize Scott in fantasy leagues.