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 - Sam Hartman - Wake Forest - Sophomore - 3%
Heading into the 2018 season Hartman battled Kendall Hinton and Jamie Newman for the right to succeed departed three-year starting QB John Wolford. Hinton was suspended for the first three games and transitioned to WR while Hartman won the starting gig over Newman. Hartman started the first nine games completing 161-of-291 passes (55%) for 1984 yards and a 16/8 TD/INT ratio until he was injured and lost for the remainder of the season. Jamie Newman took over and led Wake Forest to their first road upset of a ranked team since 2008 when they defeated 22nd ranked NC State 27-23. Newman went on to throw for 328 yards in their 37-34 Birmingham Bowl victory over Memphis to give him a leg up on the 2019 QB competition.
Newman outlasted Hartman in a hotly contested competition heading into 2019 and has led Wake's offense to the fourth-most yards per game in the nation with 540 and 39.7 PPG. Late in Wake Forest's game against Louisville on Saturday, Newman exited with a left shoulder injury and did not return. Sam Harman entered the game down 17-points with five minutes left and proceeded to lead the Demon Deacons on three touchdown drives in the next four minutes before Louisville finally ran out the clock on their 62-59 win. Hartman is a battle-tested QB in a powerful offense that faces the hapless Florida State this weekend. Pick him up everywhere as he is an auto-start if Newman can't play.
RB - Tra Barnett - Georgia State - Senior - 10%
Barnett has been a consistent presence in the backfield for a 4-2 Georgia State team that is averaging the 19th most yards per game in the country with 478 YPG, with 253 of those yards coming on the ground, which is good for 8th in the country. He has rushed for over 100 yards in three of his last four games and averaged 6.6 YPC in the process while hitting pay dirt three times as well. Sophomore RB Seth Paige rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown last week in a 31-21 victory over Coastal Carolina, but Barnett has received more carries than Paige in every game this season, making Barnett the clear lead back for the Panthers. GSU faces a stifling Army defense this week before facing Troy/@ULM/App St./South Bama/GaSo to end the season. Barnett could be a quality starting option down the stretch for teams encountering CFF playoff bye-week issues.
RB - Breece Hall - Iowa State - Freshman - 7%
Johnnie Lang led the Cyclones in rushing in three of the first five games, including a 16 carry, 72 yard, two touchdown performance against TCU two weekend back. However Lang hadn't rushed for over 100 yards in ISU's first five games, so HC Matt Campbell decided to give true freshman Breece Hall a crack at the starting gig. Hall carried 26 times for 132 yards and three touchdowns in their 38-14 win over West Virginia as he forcefully staked his claim on Iowa State's RB1 spot. Hall was a consensus top-50 rated running back coming out of high school this year and provided a much-needed spark for a Iowa State team that is averaging a modest 156 rushing yards per game this season. The RB1 for Iowa State is an attractive spot that could become very valuable if at talented back like Hall can take the reigns there. Hall should be owned in all 12-team leagues.
WR - Damon Hazelton - Virginia Tech - Junior - 24%
Hazelton led VT in receiving last season with 51-802-15.7-8 for a Hokies offense that produced 29.8 PPG and 254 passing yards per game as the Hokies primary receiver heading into 2019. However in fall camp Hazelton injured his hamstring which caused him to miss Virginia Tech's first three games of the season. Hazelton returned against Duke Week 5 and caught a 72-yard touchdown pass on his first reception of the year. Last week Tre Turner missed the game with injury, as Hazelton finally broke-out with five catches for 93 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-17 win over URI. Virginia Tech has one of the most favorable schedules in the country and face a favorable stretch run of NC/@Notre Dame/Wake/@GT/Pitt/@UVA. Hazelton is worth a stab in 12-team leagues for teams looking for an established, yet under-owned wideout.
WR - Austin Watkins - UAB - Junior - 10%
Keeping up with the favorable schedule theme, UAB has the 130th ranked pre-season schedule in the country according to Phil Steele. As such the Blazers are facing inferior competition on an almost weekly basis, which has worked to the advantage of Watkins who has led the Blazers in receiving four of the first six games this season. This past week Watkins exploded for 6-167-27.8-1 in a 33-14 rout of UTSA, as he has caught five touchdown passes in the past five games for a season line of 26-534-20.5-5 for UAB. The remaining schedule is also favorable as the Blazers face ODU/@Tennessee/@Southern Miss/UTEP/La Tech/North Texas to round out the season. Watkins is their most consistent wide receiver and is a dependable low-floor options for teams looking to cover for stretch-run bye weeks.
TE - Jack Freudenthal - Wake Forest - Senior - 2%
Freudenthal caught 15 passes for 205 yards and four touchdowns last year as Wake Forest's starting tight end. This year Freudenthal had a steady seven catches for 76 yards in his first two contests before getting injured and missing the next 2 games. He was subsequently released in most leagues and forgotten about until he came back with another solid, but unspectacular, showing of 4-37-9.3-0 line in a 27-24 win over BC. Though Freudenthal's usage was consistent, it wasn't until he caught five passes for 51 yards and a touchdown this past week in a 62-59 loss to Louisville this past week. Freudenthal is the very essence of a low-floor tight end option with the possibility of more. He is a safe pickup for 12-20 teams league that are having issues finding consistency from their tight end position.
QB - Chase Cord - Boise State - Sophomore - 1%
As Brett Rypien's understudy in 2018, Cord was thought to have the edge on the Boise State starting QB job over highly-touted incoming freshman QB Hank Bachmeier, who ended up winning the starting gig after a heated camp battle that went right down to the wire. Through the first five games of the year Bachmeier held up his end of the bargain by navigating the Broncos to an undefeated record while also receiving an inordinate amount of punishment in the pocket by taking 12 sacks in that time span. Last week in the first-half against Hawaii, Bachmeier scrambled out of the pocket and took a hit to his hip that knocked him out of the game, giving Cord his long-awaited chance. Cord responded by completing 12-of-18 passes for 175 yards and three touchdowns as Boise comfortably handled Hawaii 59-37. If Bachmeier misses time, Cord would face a second-half slate of @BYU/@SJSU/Wyo/New Mexico/@USU/@Col State and would be a quality starting option for whichever games he gets the nod for the G5 power.
RB - Deshawn McClease - Virginia Tech - 2%
McClease has received 14 or more carries in four of the last five games for the Hokies rushing attack and has gone over 100-yards in two of his last three as the lead running back for HC Justin Fuentes. As alluded to when discussing Hazelton, VT has an extremely favorable 86th ranked schedule in the wide-open ACC Coastal division. Tech is averaging a middling 162 rushing yards per game thus far but there aren't many entrenched starting RB's available on 20-team waivers with a 2% ownership rate, so he's a no-brainer pickup in such formats.
RB - SaRodorick Thompson - Texas Tech - Freshman - 3%
Thompson played behind fellow freshman Ta'Zhawn Henry in 2018. However regime-change in the form of new HC Matt Wells wiped all previous depth-charts clean and allowed everyone to compete for playing time with a clean-slate. Henry fell down the depth chart quickly, only receiving 6.5 carries per game over his last four contests. However Thompson has gradually gained the trust of the coaching staff and received 25 carries over the previous two games before carrying the ball 28 times for 153 yards and two touchdowns last week in their 33-30 loss to Baylor. Thompson has clearly been the most effective back for the Red Raiders and should be picked up everywhere as Texas Tech enters the soft underbelly of their Big-12 schedule.
WR - Shane Hooks - Ohio - Freshman - 0%
Hooks has gradually worked his way into the Ohio receiver rotation and earned the trust of HC Frank Solich's coaching staff by catching touchdowns in three-of-his-last-four games. Entering last week's game against MAC rival NIU Hooks had only 8 catches in his first five games of the year. However Hooks was called upon often as Ohio tried to keep pace with NIU, catching seven passes for 131 yards and a touchdown in the gutsy performance. Ohio's toughest opponents are in the rear-view mirror and face Kent State/@Ball St./Miami/WMU/@BGSU/@Akron to round out the season. Every single one of those opponents are appealing matchups and Hooks is well worth the investment in dynasty leagues as an emerging cog in the potent Ohio offense.
WR - Bailey Gaither - SJSU - Senior - 1%
SJSU is coming off a 1-11 season where HC Brent Brennan's offense could only produce a measly 21.3 PPG and 322 yards of offense. However in year three of Brennan's system the Spartans are starting to show some life, as they have averaged 28.7 PPG over their last four games with Gaither reaping the benefits. Gaither has at least 90 yards and a touchdown in each of the past two games and has shown the ability to take the top off of defenses with gains of 60 and 80 yards in that span. SJSU will continue to pass and Gaither is a decent speculative add for WR needy 20-team CFF owners.
TE - Ryan Luehrman - Ohio - Junior - 1%
It's amazing that Luehrman is only 1% owner considering how productive he has been the last four weeks in the talent-starved positing of tight end. Luehrman has caught at least four passes for 50 yards in three-of-his-last-four games, capping it off with a 4-53-1 showing in Ohio's last game against NIU. He has developed into a dependable safety-blanket for All-MAC QB Nathan Rourke and is sure to do more damage this week when Ohio welcomes the lowly Kent State Golden Flashes to town.