Stars Look to Bounce Back in College Fantasy Football

Caleb Couturie FishWrap, FishWrap Archive

To get this out of the way now … I have lost my place as No. 1. It was a great run while it lasted, but for now I have been banished to (I hate to even speak it out loud) fifth place. I didn’t have a bad week necessarily; I finished with 178 points, which was actually my third-highest scoring output overall.

My problem was that a lot of people simply had better weeks than I did, and it’s because most people chose Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin and Todd Gurley of Georgia as their starting backs. They both had enormous weeks, and although those picks are boring because everyone else takes them too, I guess you gotta do what you gotta do to win.

I, instead, chose Ameer Abdullah of Nebraska as my RB1. He performed exceptionally well and finished as the third-highest-scoring RB in all of College Football this past week. My second RB, Tevin Coleman of Indiana, failed to perform at his traditionally high level. He did fine, managing 120 yards and a touchdown against a tougher-than-expected Maryland team, but that only equated to 18 points. That kind of performance isn’t going to keep me on top.

Even more disappointing, however, was Matt Miller and the Boise State offense. Thank God I didn’t take Jay Ajayi this week, since Air Force held Ajayi, Miller and this potent BSU offense to only 14 actual points, not fantasy. Coming into this week a lot of players should be looking fresh and well-rested after much needed bye weeks, especially our Oregon Ducks who are heading into another Pac-12 shootout, this week looking for revenge against Arizona. Anu Solomon leads a ‘Zona offense that put up 49 points in its last outing. This should be a big week in fantasy, and with that, here are my picks.

Mariota is the epitome of dual-threat QBs in all of College Football right now.

Mariota is the epitome of a dual-threat QB in College Football right now.

Quarterback 1: Marcus Mariota, Oregon Ducks As always, I resolve to have at least one member of the Ducks — and I’m still not 100% sold on Devon Allen, yet. Mariota is coming off a huge performance against another weak pass defense up at Washington State, and this week he leads the Ducks into a game against a ‘Zona secondary that watched Jared Goff give them nightmares.

It’s scary to imagine what Magic Marcus could do in this game — not to mention that this is the first home game of the season where all the students are back in school and Autzen should be rockin’.

Home field momentum, a weak secondary, and the fact the game is on my birthday (good karma) should all play into another dominant performance by the Heisman favorite.

Quarterback 2: Taysom Hill, BYU Cougars Sure hope you didn’t forget about this guy. A dark horse candidate for the Heisman who isn’t looking very much like a dark horse anymore, Hill is absolutely putting on a show this year. The junior signal caller has already run for more touchdowns (seven) than thrown for (six). He’s averaging 100+ yards per game on the ground, and he’s led the once-laughable Cougars to a 4-0 record.

This week BYU plays cross-state rival Utah State, in what should be a grudge match-esque game with an almost certain BYU win as the result. Hill is the ideal fantasy QB, mixing an excellent blend of arm strength and skill, with athleticism and quickness outside the pocket.

I’m starting two QBs this week both of whom know how to run the ball, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they can both find the end zone often this week.

Running Back 1: Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin Badgers Maybe something finally clicked with Wisconsin offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig, but Gordon got to carry the ball 32 times against South Florida this past week. His previous season high was 17. I guess that’s what running for 253 yards and five touchdowns on 13 carries will do for you (see below).

I think Wisconsin has finally figured out that QB Tanner McEvoy is not its best offensive weapon, it’s Gordon — who should be the one leading this offense as the year plays out. If Gordon continues to see reps in the high 20s to low 30s – like I think he will – he immediately becomes one of the top go-to options in all of College Fantasy. He’s too good not to play with that kind of a workload, and this week he should help Wisconsin run over Northwestern. Running Back 2: D.J. Foster, Arizona State Sun Devils Even though Foster is coming off a terrible game against UCLA, I’m taking him here. UCLA is known for always having a tough D-line and run defense, and ASU got so far behind in that game they had to abandon the run game early. Foster and ASU get to play USC this week, a team that gave up 452 yards and five touchdowns on the ground to Boston College just two short weeks ago.

A lot of things play in to this decision, but I just don’t believe Foster will have two disappointing weeks in a row. Before last week, Foster was averaging 150 yards on the ground and nearly two touchdowns, to boot. Watch out for Foster this week; he and the rest of the Sun Devils are hungry following last week’s drubbing from UCLA.

Wide Receiver 1: Nelson Spruce, Colorado Buffaloes No reason that I can see to stop playing him. Spruce has a ridiculous 10 touchdowns through the first five games, and there’s no reason to believe that an Oregon State defense will be able to slow him down this Saturday. He’s also amassed more than 170 yards for two weeks in a row, and he just seems to be a matchup nightmare. Not much more to say other than he is a no-brainer start until he proves otherwise.

Wide Receiver 2: Antwan Goodley, Baylor Bears Well, he’s back. Goodley returned from a quadricep injury to light up the Iowa State defense. He snagged six passes for 114 yards in limited action, and I’m sure Bryce Petty was happy to see his star receiver back (not like he needed him, though). Baylor still has the most potent offense in all of College Football, and with Petty’s favorite weapon back, the Bears look very hard to beat. Goodley brings experience, elite speed, and big play explosiveness (as shown below). In a game against Texas, who has all but given up on its season, I expect Goodley and the Baylor offense to have a field day. Defense: Temple Owls This defense just knows how to put up fantasy points. They may not be the best team, they may not win all their games, but they sure do know how to turn their opponent over. With eight interceptions and seven fumbles on the season, Temple has excelled as a fantasy defense.

The  Owls play Tulsa this week, a team that shouldn’t be any more of a threat than Vanderbilt, on whom they put up 30 fantasy points. Going with the hot hand here, and letting the Owls show me what they’ve got.

Place Kicker: Baylor Bears They score a lot. That’s all there is to it. If you score a lot of touchdowns, you kick a lot of extra points. My kickers haven’t been performing well recently, so, might as well take the team that is guaranteed to at least give me eight or nine points from PATs alone.

Dark Horses:

QB: Deshaun Watson, Clemson Tigers;  J.T. Barrett, Ohio State Buckeyes

RB: Leonard Fournette, LSU Tigers; Derrick Henry, Alabama Crimson Tide

WR: Jordan Payton, UCLA Bruins; Jesus Wilson, Florida State Seminoles

I’m looking to reclaim my No. 1 spot, and I think this is a great week to do it. A lot of favorable matchups, and I’m hoping my players will take advantage of that. As always, leave your comments below.

Top Photo Courtesy of Kevin Cline

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