My name is Eric Froton - I have been playing College Fantasy Football for 20 years and I will be writing a weekly waiver-wire column focusing on Dynasty and Deep league availability. Many college leagues have a keeper format of some kind attached to it and I intend to slant my coverage towards those formats if possible. Ownership percentages are from Fantrax.
QB - Kenny Pickett - Junior - Pitt - 4%
In 2018 Pitt went 7-7 and won the wide-open ACC Coastal Division before being sacrificed to the almighty Clemson Tigers in the ACC Championship Game. Heading into 2019, HC Pat Narduzzi had a problem to overcome -- their plodding offense was outdated in the current modern Air Raid/Spread-happy offensive landscape. Pitt averaged only 23.9 PPG in 2017 and 25.6 PPG in 2018 respectively. Last year, the Panthers ran for 228 YPG to only 142 passing yards per game, as Pitt ranked 127th in adjusted pace on the season.
In the offseason Pitt hired former UMass HC Mark Whipple and his pass-oriented system that averaged 298 PYPG over the last two years for the Minutemen. Success? Over the last two weeks Pickett has thrown for 321 yards against Ohio and 372 yards at Penn State. Pittsburgh only scored 30 points combined in those contests, but the touchdowns will presumably follow as the team enters their Clemson-free ACC Coastal schedule. Maurice Ffrench and Taysir Mack are capable playmakers on the outside and I see Pickett slotting in as a matchup-based QB3/4 in 20 team leagues.
RB - Ty'Son Williams - BYU - Senior - 11%
Williams (6'0/217) was a top-40 ranked running back recruit who spent three seasons in South Carolina's RB quagmire before transferring to Brigham Young this offseason. The opportunity to prove himself as the Cougars' lead back must have been incredibly appealing after being stuck in a four-back rotation with Rico Dowdle/Mon Denson/AJ Turner at SC, rushing for only 328 yds/4 TD's in limited action. In the Cougars' Week Two upset of Tennessee, Williams logged a 17/92/2 line and followed that performance up with a strong 19/99/5.2/0 showing in their huge upset of USC over the weekend. BYU faces Washington at home this week, but then takes on @Toledo/@USF/Boise St/@Utah St/Liberty/Idaho St./UMASS/@SDSU. There are going to be some huge weeks for Williams in this slate.
RB - Kobe Lewis - Central Michigan - Sophomore - 1%
Similar to 2018, after showing promise, Central Michigan starting running back Jonathan Ward is injured. New HC Jim McElwain had established a strong, CFF-worthy starting running back legacy during his tenure at Colorado and whoever is carrying the rock for his offense deserves attention in CFF circles. Lewis (6'0/194) received limited work behind Ward and Romello Ross in 2018, but seized on his starting opportunity by dropping 27/146/3 in his first career start against Akron this year. The only other running back who received a carry in the contest was true freshman Lew Nichols with seven. It appears McElwain has chosen his new bell cow. Scoop him up in all 12 Team+ leagues. Deep/Dynasty leaguers may even want to insure him with Nichols who is a highly touted 2019 recruit.
WR - Amari Rodgers - Clemson - Junior - 4%
What more can be said about the Rodgers' miraculous comeback from a spring ACL tear to rip off a highlight-reel 87-yard touchdown jaunt this past Saturday against Syracuse? He's superhuman possibly? Rodgers posted a solid 55/575/4 line in 2018 while working as the tertiary option in the Clemson passing attack. His short to intermediate routes open up the deep shots for Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross. Rodgers has a solidified role in one of the most prolific offenses in the country, is healthy once more and should be owned in any 14+ team league where he is still on the wire.
WR - Osiris Mitchell - Mississippi State - Junior - 2%
Entering 2018, the Miss St. camp was buzzing about incoming number seventh ranked junior college transfer WR Stephen Guidry. The CFF community took note and Guidry was being drafted as a top-40 CFF wide receiver last summer. Unfortunately due to the forward-pass challenged Nick Fitzgerald helming the Bulldogs offense, Guidry would lead with only a 19/440/4 receiving line. A close second in receiving yards with 427, and first in catches with 26 was Osiris Mitchell (6'5/215). Still the Fitzgerald era, coupled with the changeover to the HC Joe Moorhead regime, dropped the Mississippi State WR corps to the latter stages of 2019 CFF drafts.
New QB Tommy Stevens has really allowed Moorhead to open up the passing playbook and it has shown in the production of his number one target. Mitchell has caught a touchdown in every game so far this year. He received nine targets in last week's loss to Kansas State. Deddrick Thomas received 4 targets and was the only other Bulldog who saw more than two. The only concern I have is what happens if Stevens is injured considering his replacement is a true freshman in Garrett Shrader who went 4-for-12 passing in relief of Stevens last week. Mitchell appears to be the clear focal point of MSU's passing attack and should continue to produce in all formats so long as QB Stevens is healthy.
TE - Xavier Gaines - Marshall - Junior - 2%
Last week, Marshall's dependable number two running back Tyler King was dismissed from team, leaving starter Brenden Knox as their clear bell cow with an unestablished set of backups behind him. After a dominant first half where he racked up 133 yards on 16 carries, Knox was injured leaving Marshall thin in the backfield. Sheldon Evans stepped up to log 17 carries for 77 yards, but it was Xavier Gaines who provided a spark in the backfield carrying three times for 52 yards and a touchdown. Oh, and he also caught three passes for 53 yards and a receiving touchdown to boot. The prospect of a tight end getting goal line carries evokes memories of Jaylen Samuels at NC State, and the glorious flood of points he would rain on his lucky CFF owners on a weekly basis. Get Gaines if he's available, as tight end is a fluid position this season and he could fill the every week starter role once Marshall starts CUSA play.
QB - David Moore - Central Michigan - Junior - 0%
After 20 years of analyzing CFF, I have been dogmatic about following successful offensive coaches as they climb the ranks of CFB. So when HC Jim McElwain racked up 35+ PPG for half-a-decade in the MWC and won MWC COY and then departed for Florida, I was willing to give his Florida teams the benefit of the doubt from a CFF perspective. I was wrong. However McElwain is now attempting to rebuild his resume at CMU and was quickly faced with an injury to P5 transfer starting QB Quinten Dormady. McElwain turned to another highly touted junior college transfer in David Moore, who previously lost the Memphis job to Brady White. Moore responded by completing 20-of-31 passes for 316 yards and two touchdowns in a 45-24 victory over Akron on Saturday. The MAC is averse to defense and CMU plays the 122nd-ranked schedule in the country. Moore has talent and is in an emerging offense that has enough potential where he is worth a deep league pickup.
RB - Demontre Tuggle - Ohio - Freshman - 1%
Buoyed by the backfield tandem of junior QB Nathan Rourke and senior RB A.J. Oullette, Ohio rushed for 258 YPG and scored 40.1 PPG in 2018. HC Frank Solich's program has been a model of G5 consistency for 15 years, so it would stand to reason that CFF'ers would be watching the competition to replace the departed Oullette intently. O'Shaan Allison and Julian Ross appeared set for 1A/1B workload with JuCo transfer Demontre Tuggle (5'9/185) serving as their third down back. Tuggle made the most of his carries in a 41-20 opening week win against URI by taking three carries for 65 yards and two touchdowns. Week 2 against Pitt, Julian Ross got hurt on his second carry. Tuggle took over the No. 2 back role against a tough P5 defense and turned his four carries into 20 yards and Ohio's lone touchdown for the game. Last week Allison received 15 totes for 60 yds/three recs for 14 yards to Tuggle's 10 carries for 45 yards/2 recs for 28 yards and a touchdown. Tuggle has scored in all three of Ohio's games this season and looks locked into a significant role in Bobcat's potent offense for at least as long as Ross is out.
RB - Re'Man Davis - Temple - Freshman - 3%
Temple returns five starting offensive linemen who have accounted for 85 career starts and produced a first-team All-AAC running back in Ryquell Armstead (who departed over the offseason). Heading into fall camp many predicted highly touted redshirt freshman Kyle Dobbins to win the job and lead the Temple backfield against a tasty 98th ranked schedule. Week 1 against Bucknell, Dobbins received only two carries while pedestrian senior Jager Gardner led the backfield with 10 carries. However it was new HC Carey's biggest offseason recruit signing in Re'Man Davis who shined with nine carries for 60 yards and a touchdown, along with two receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown in the air. This week in Temple's 20-17 upset over Maryland, Davis carried 15 times for 92 yards, while Gardner got 16 totes for 82 yards in the contest. Temple's upcoming schedule is very enticing -@Buffalo/GTech/@ECU/Memphis/@SMU. I see Davis taking the bulk of work in the Temple backfield sooner rather than later and is a must have in 20-team leagues with upside for more.
WR - Tutu Atwell - Louisville - Sophomore - 4%
New HC Scott Satterfield accepted the unenviable task of resurrecting a Louisville program in which their 2018 head coach literally closed his door and refused to interact with his team in a successful attempt to force his firing from the university. In their first game loss to Notre Dame, Louisville completed on 12 passes, five went to Atwell. The diminutive Atwell (5'8/156) then caught two passes for 53 yards and a touchdown in a Week 2 blowout of EKU. It was Louisville's 38-21 win over WKU where Atwell really got to showcase his skills, as he turned four receptions into 141 yards and three touchdowns against a demoralized Hilltoppers secondary. The second-leading receiver had only 23 yards in the game and Atwell also chipped in two carries for 10 yards. Tutu is a primary weapon for HC Scott Satterfield and should be owned in all 14+ team leagues.
WR - Taysir Mack - Pittsburgh - Senior - 3%
As the aforementioned newly hired OC Mark Whipple transitions the Pitt offense into a more pass-heavy attack, Taysir Mack has established himself as the preferred possession receiver opposite home-run hitter Maurice Ffrench. In this weekend's 17-10 loss to PSU, Mack caught 12-of-16 targets for 125 yards against a top-20 caliber defense. Mack consistently ground out tough contested catches over the middle and should have ample opportunities to provide PPF value while receiving around 10 targets a game. Mack is best viewed as a high-floor PPR WR3/4 in a 20-team league, but will be reduced to bench work in non-PPR formats since his red zone role has yet to be defined.
TE - Cary Angeline - NC State - Junior - 2%
Angeline was ranked as a top-10 tight end recruit out of high school and originally committed to USC before transferring and sitting out in 2018. Angeline only caught one pass in the opener against ECU a few weeks back, but he posted a line of 4/47/1 TD in a Week 2 laugher against WCU before flourishing for 4/74/1 TD in a 44-27 loss to West Virginia this past weekend. Angeline has all the talent in the world and should receive five or six targets a game as the starting tight end in a pass oriented offense. He should be picked up in all 20+ team formats.
Dynasty quick hits
QB - Patrick O'Brien - Colorado State - Junior - 0%
Colin Hill and Patrick O'Brien were deadlocked in a battle for the starting QB position this fall before the incumbent Colin Hill eventually won the job. Hill looked promising in the first two weeks, throwing for 374 and 367 yards in each start before succumbing to a lower body injury against Arkansas over the weekend. Nebraska transfer O'Brien was inserted and led the Rams on two scoring drives, completing 7-of-10 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown. HC Mike Bobo's offense threw for 292 yards per game last year, so if Hill is out for an extended period of time, then O'Brien would make for a decent deep league flier for teams in need of QB help.
RB - Rhamondre Stevenson - Oklahoma - Junior - 2%
With all the preseason press surrounding Kennedy Brooks and the injury to T.J. Pledger, highly touted JUCO transfer Rhamondre Stevenson (6'1/225) is opening eyes in his backup duty. Stevenson has carried only 21 times for 182 yards and three touchdowns in three games. For comparisons sake, starting RB's Trey Sermon and Kennedy Brooks have only one touchdown a piece. Should either get injured, the successor would clearly be Stevenson. In dynasty leagues - Sermon is potentially off to the NFL this offseason meaning Stevenson could have a feature role in 2020.
WR - Bryan Thompson - Utah - 1%
The Utes fall camp reports were very bullish on Thompson (6'2/205), who was ranked as the 65th best wide receiver out of his recruiting class in 2017 and has an athletic frame to utilize on the outside where Utah is sorely lacking a big receiver. Thompson didn't catch a single pass Week 1 against BYU, but showed flashes against NIU by reeling in two passes for 66 yards. It was this past week against Idaho State where he emerged, though, as he caught two passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-0 rout. Ordinarily I wouldn't want to read too much into this performance against inferior competition, but Utah's staff wants Thompson to be their go-to outside wide receiver that they've been missing since Darren Collison graduated. Worth a flier for WR needy teams in deep/dynasty leagues.