College Fantasy Football: Weekend guide
The opening weekend of college football is here. Let’s take a look at some important things to follow in regards to your fantasy football league.
MORE COLLEGE FANTASY FOOTBALL: Rivals fantasy home | Top WRs to play in Week 1 | RBs to watch for Week 1 | QBs to watch for Week 1 | SEC advice | Pac-12 advice | ACC advice | Big 12 advice | Big Ten advice | Five risky picks | Top 20 sleepers | Potential busts | 15 players on verge of stardom | 25 freshmen worth drafting | Top offensive lines that add value to running backs | What to expect from first-year coaches | Meet the new coordinators | Defenses to watch in Week 1
ALABAMA QB WATCH
It is uncertain what’s going to happen with Alabama’s quarterbacks this season, so from a fantasy perspective it’s probably best to steer clear. One person I talked to said he has heard that Jalen Hurts will start and then Tua Tagovailoa, who brought the Crimson Tide back to win the national title game, would come in for the second series. He had also heard that Tagovailoa would start, and if he was performing well then he would stay in the game. Who knows what’s going to happen? Louisville’s defense is weak, but it’s probably not best to start a quarterback who could be on the sidelines for half the game.
JT DANIELS’ FIRST START
JT Daniels is supposed to be a senior this season at Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei, which quite honestly might put up a better fight against USC this weekend than UNLV should. Instead, Daniels has been named the Trojans’ starting quarterback as a freshman and he has an arsenal of weapons around him. Stephen Carr and others are in the backfield, Tyler Vaughns, Michael Pittman and former Mater Dei teammate Amon-Ra St. Brown should be some favorite receiver targets. If Daniels opens with a big performance, that will be good for fantasy owners, but Stanford and Texas are coming up.
OHIO STATE MINUS MEYER
Coach Urban Meyer is suspended for the first three games due to his handling of the Zach Smith domestic abuse allegations, and assistant Ryan Day is in charge. The Buckeyes open against Oregon State as 38.5-point favorites, so Vegas is expecting Ohio State to have its way all day long. Running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber should have their way, quarterback Dwayne Haskins could have an easy opener and Ohio State should score lots of points. Even without Meyer on the sideline, play the Buckeyes’ skill players.
WATCHING OLE MISS WRS
Ole Miss’ backfield has been thinned by injury (D’Vaughn Pennamon) and illness (Eric Swinney), so JUCO transfer Scottie Phillips is expected to receive the bulk of the carries Saturday against Texas Tech. That’s if Ole Miss decides to run much. The passing game could be so stellar with quarterback Jordan Ta’amu having A.J. Brown, DK Metcalf, DaMarkus Lodge and others on the outside that running the ball might not be in focus. Texas Tech’s defense finally has a heartbeat, but the Rebels have so many weapons at receiver that fantasy owners should put them on the field.
IS WVU FOR REAL?
West Virginia is a double-digit favorite against Tennessee when the two teams meet in Charlotte this weekend, and it’s mainly for one reason that I can figure - the Mountaineers have quarterback Will Grier throwing to a bunch of outstanding receivers and the Vols’ cornerbacks are unproven and have question marks. That should bode well for fantasy owners thinking of starting Grier and top receivers Gary Jennings and David Sills. The over/under is 61 or so in this game, so Vegas thinks WVU is going to put up lots of points.
U-DUB GOES TO ATLANTA
One of the more interesting games this weekend is when Washington plays Auburn in Atlanta. It could be a game to sidestep for fantasy owners: Grab an adult beverage and just enjoy it. Washington quarterback Jake Browning is looking to bounce back after a sub-par season stat-wise and running back Myles Gaskin could put up huge numbers this season. But will he against Auburn’s front? And what does the Tigers’ offense look like against a quality Washington defense? I’ve talked to people who love Washington in this game, others who really like Auburn, so this might be a stay-away game from a fantasy perspective, with the over/under dropping into the high 40s.
Michigan’s offense last season was so bad that five-star receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones had no touchdown catches, which is still hard to believe - and there were many other issues. But Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson could alleviate some problems if the coaching staff gives him freedom to open things up a little bit. A good first test comes Saturday at Notre Dame, and receiver Tarik Black will be out because of injury, but the Wolverines still have a lot of weapons. More than anything, it will be interesting to see how coach Jim Harbaugh and the offensive staff change things, if at all.
LABOR DAY BONANZA
Sunday is the Miami/LSU matchup. Monday is the Virginia Tech/Florida State ACC showdown. Thank God for holiday weekends. From a fantasy perspective, I was pretty close to recommending the Hurricanes’ defense this weekend because that unit could be phenomenal and could help Miami to a run at the ACC title. Who knows what we’re going to get out of LSU’s offense and what kind of cohesion there will be?
As for the Hokies/Seminoles, I’m surprised FSU is still a 7-point favorite. Virginia Tech’s defense lost some really key pieces but there is tremendous talent there, although some questions in the secondary. FSU has named Deondre Francois the starter and he’s got weapons, but some are questionable heading into Saturday. In a fantasy setting, there are just a lot of other ways to play Week 1.