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College Football Fantasy: Five fades in the Big Ten

K.J. Hamler
K.J. Hamler (AP)

The college football season is starting within days which means you need to put the finishing touches on your college fantasy football team. Here is a look at five players to fade heading into the season. We start with the Big Ten:

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Penn State WR K.J. Hamler

Hamler led the Nittany Lions with 42 catches for 754 yards last season, but he only scored five times and my guess is defenses are going to aim at minimizing his touches this season. With no Trace McSorley at quarterback and a surprise offseason transfer of Tommy Stevens to Mississippi State, the offense will be run by Sean Clifford. Defenses will likely force other receivers to make plays down the field as they focus on stopping Hamler..On top of that, red-zone opportunities figure to go to tight end Pat Freiermuth, who led the team last season with eight TDs.

Maryland QB Josh Jackson

Maryland is still in a heated quarterback battle and while it’s expected that Jackson wins the job, Tyrrell Pigrome is not giving up and is making it more interesting than expected. Even if Jackson wins the job, it would be smart to look elsewhere for fantasy quarterbacks especially after the news that top receiver Jeshaun Jones is out with an injury for the season. Couple that with a new coaching staff (let’s see exactly how things are run first) and an outstanding group of running backs led by Anthony McFarland and it doesn’t look like Maryland’s quarterback is going to put up huge numbers through the air.

Michigan State QB Brian Lewerke

Lewerke should be back healthy and that could make all the difference in the world, but if plays are designed to keep him protected - because we saw when he wasn’t 100 percent that the Spartans’ offense hardly had a pulse last season - then Lewerke won’t be getting out of the pocket as much and that’s a problem.

Two seasons ago Lewerke threw for 2,793 yards with 20 TDs and seven picks but last year he had eight touchdowns and 11 interceptions. WR Felton Davis led the team with four receiving TDs last season and he’s gone. The Spartans averaged less than 19 points per game. In fantasy situations, there are just better options to consider.

Michigan defense

I love Michigan. I think I’m going to love the new offense. I recommend quarterback Shea Patterson and a host of Michigan receivers for your fantasy teams. I think the Wolverines have a real shot at making the College Football Playoff.

But I’m wary of the defense heading into the season after such major losses in Rashan Gary, Chase Winovich, Devin Bush and David Long. Those players are not just replaced and with an offense that could be quick-strike, Michigan’s defense might be on the field more often this season. I trust in Don Brown putting together a great unit, but the Wolverines gave up only 19.4 points per game last season. I bet that number sees an uptick this season.

Iowa QB Nate Stanley

Stanley could end up being one of the most prolific passers in Iowa history, but the Hawkeyes lose a ton of weapons, especially with tight ends T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant gone to th NFL. Stanley could be handing the ball often more than ever this season. Last season, Hockenson and Fant combined for 88 catches, 1,279 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns. Let’s also not forget that Nick Easley, who led Iowa with 52 receptions, is gone, too. Iowa’s offensive line is also good and it returns the top running backs. I just don’t see Stanley putting up huge numbers in a fantasy setting.