College Fantasy Football: Weekend in review
Week 2 of college football is in the books. Here are some takeaways and opinions from a fantasy football perspective.
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PLAY MURRAY WHILE YOU CAN
Kyler Murray won a heated starting quarterback competition right before the season and he’s proving to be a gem in Oklahoma’s offense. The Sooners are moving the ball just as well, if not better, under Murray so far as they did last season with Baker Mayfield and Murray was fantastic again in Oklahoma’s win over UCLA. In what’s believed to be his last season before becoming a professional baseball player, Murray threw for 306 yards with three touchdowns and he was the game’s leading rusher with 69 yards and two scores. Iowa State could be tricky but Oklahoma’s offense looks unstoppable.
MISSISSIPPI STATE IS FOR REAL
The thing that impressed me most about Mississippi State’s 31-10 win over Kansas State was just how the defensive line completely dominated and how the Wildcats could not do much at all on offense. Manhattan is a touch place to play but coach Joe Moorhead’s club is still underrated in my estimation and it’s led by the defense. That group should be an easy start each week through September with Louisiana, Kentucky and Florida coming up. Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald threw for two touchdowns but didn’t rush for any as Kylin Hill had two. That should change so Fitzgerald still seems like a quality quarterback to play in fantasy leagues.
PLAY PATTERSON AT YOUR OWN RISK
Saturday was a feel-good day for Michigan fans who finally saw the offense look alive as the Wolverines blasted Western Michigan, 49-3. After a season-opening loss to Notre Dame, it must have been nice for Michigan fans to enjoy the day. But I wouldn’t do anything crazy to pick up Michigan’s offensive players. Quarterback Shea Patterson threw three touchdowns sure, but he had only 125 passing yards. No receiver had more than 44 yards. If you’re dead set on playing Michigan players, running back Karan Higdon is still the best option. And I’ve loved the defense of course and will continue to do so especially through the rest of Michigan’s September schedule.
NO IDEA ON TATE
I don’t know why Arizona’s coaching staff has decided to limit quarterback Khalil Tate the way they have but it’s a complete joke and it’s really unfortunate for fantasy owners. For some unknown reason, Tate hardly ran in a season-opening loss to BYU and then the Heisman hopeful who seems to see that idea disintegrating more and more each week, injured his lower leg against Houston and was limited in his running again. Don’t give up on Tate just yet. With Southern Utah and Oregon State coming up, there might still be some juice to be squeezed out if coach Kevin Sumlin and offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone want to utilize arguably the best playmaker in college football.
KEEP AN EYE ON HARDMAN
There was so much hype about South Carolina possibly upsetting Georgia or the Gamecocks at least covering a 10-point spread. Neither happened as the Bulldogs boat-raced South Carolina in Columbia and a big reason was because receiver Mecole Hardman had such a big day. As Terry Godwin works back into the offense after a calf injury, Hardman had six catches for 103 yards and a touchdown. He has become quarterback Jake Fromm’s favorite target early in the season. A bunch of running back options are being utilized but Hardman is probably the way to go if you want to play someone on Georgia’s offense. Through at least mid-October, Georgia’s offense should be cooking.
BE CAREFUL ON WEST VIRGINIA
I love West Virginia quarterback Will Grier. I think he’s a fantasy dream because there are so many outstanding wide receivers in Morgantown. This is not just Gary Jennings and David Sills as T.J. Simmons and Marcus Simms are just two other options for Grier in the passing game. And Sills has delivered in the first two weeks with 761 yards and nine touchdowns so far. But NC State could be tough and then the Mountaineers host Kansas State, always a tough team to figure out. If West Virginia blows the doors off either of those teams watch out because Texas Tech and Kansas are coming up so Grier should have a field day against those teams.
LOOK OUT FOR TEXAS A&M
Quarterback Kellen Mond really came into his own in Saturday’s loss to Clemson, throwing for 430 yards and three touchdowns against one of the best defenses in college football. And wide receiver Kendrick Rogers has become his favorite target. Both would be valuable additions in fantasy leagues, especially Rogers, who had seven catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns and looks to have superstar potential. Watch out for Alabama on Sept. 22 but the rest of the schedule leading to the bye week looks great for the Mond-Rogers duo.
FLORIDA STATE RUNNING BACKS DISAPPOINT
Cam Akers is one of the best running backs in college football. He had 1,024 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in his freshman season a year ago. But the former five-star is off to a really slow start just like the Seminoles, who got blasted by Virginia Tech in the opener and just slipped by Samford this past weekend. Akers has only 158 rushing yards and no touchdowns in two games. No Florida State running back has scored a TD yet. Things could open up a little bit against Syracuse, Northern Illinois and Louisville coming up but Florida State just does not look very good right now.
MONTEZ IS THE MAN
Colorado quarterback Steven Montez might be worth serious consideration for your fantasy team. He’s been awesome through two weeks - including in a win at Nebraska this past weekend. Montez leads the Pac-12 in passing yards per game at 344.5 and he has seven TD passes, only two fewer than Oregon’s Justin Herbert, who has put up big stats against Bowling Green and Portland State. Montez has dominated in wins over Nebraska and Colorado State, which has a bad defense but at least beat Arkansas this past weekend.
LOOK OUT FOR PHILLIPS
There has been so much discussion about Ole Miss’ receiving corps and rightfully so because A.J. Brown might be the best receiver in the country, D.K. Metcalf is a huge outside target, Braylon Sanders has emerged as a top pass catcher and DaMarkus Lodge had a big opener. But running back Scottie Phillips has been a fantasy prize as well. He leads the SEC with 311 rushing yards and four touchdowns even though he has 16 fewer carries than Kentucky’s Benny Snell Jr. The only problem: Ole Miss faces Alabama and LSU in two of the next three weeks.