It’s that time of the year again folks. College football starts up this week and it’s more exciting than ever with the creation of LuTV during the offseason. To supplement the shows we’ll hold two to three times a week, I’ll also be including this article with my top plays focusing in on Fantasy Elite, but also including some players available from other sites.
With that being said, let’s get into my thoughts on week one. We have ourselves a very exciting schedule and then a bunch of major duds. One of the perks of playing on Fantasy Elite is not having to worry about those games between top 25 schools and teams like Indiana State.
No offense to the Sycamores, but I’m not trying to put up my hard earned money on games that could be won by 70. I’m going to include some players from those games this week, but I’m not condoning playing these slates. Like hooking up with that rando from the bar, it’s dangerous and I’m not sure I’d even tell anyone about it.
So who tickles my fancy this week?
1. Taysom Hill, BYU – It’s not every day I have a team’s leading returning rusher on my list of top QB plays, but I’m starting week one off with this being the case. Hill ran for 1,344 yards and 10 TDs to go along with 2,938 passing yards and 19 more TDs. His passing skills won’t be better than most guys on this list, but it’s his running and offensive situation that put him atop my QB plays. BYU’s starting RB, Jamaal Williams, is out week one with an injury and this should elevate Hill’s game even more. Williams missed one game last season and in it, Hill ran for 18/165/2 and added 177 yards on 14-19 passing. Against UConn Friday night, he’s a top play for me.
2. Kenny Hill, Texas A&M – I really am not too sure what to expect out of Kenny Hill in his week one matchup, but you have to love his price on Fantasy Elite. He’s super cheap and is a part of a slate with big priced QBs. Hill was a solid prospect out of high school and won the QB battle at TAMU in part because of one more year than Kyle Allen on the playbook. Is it risky in theory to use him against South Carolina? Yes, but the offense is dynamic as a whole and there will be points scored. He looked good in limited action last season and has the ability to use his legs and make him a safe play for the price.
3. Jacoby Brissett, NC State – This is Andrew’s favorite player in 2014 as he’s already said he’s going to win the Heisman, so I have to put him on the list here. Besides the fact that he was a big prospect, he’s in a spot where he can use his legs to make plays and he has a very good matchup right out of the gate. With Georgia Southern transitioning offenses, they’ll no longer drain out the clock as much. They’re also a former FCS team who isn’t fully ready to compete with power five conferences. Brissett’s price makes him enticing everywhere and is something I want to jump all over before everyone else does.
4. Connor Halliday, Washington State – Halliday has to be one of the safest plays of the weekend, and honestly, of the year. The Cougars offense is based around one thing; throwing the football. The Rutgers defense is based around one thing; playing dead. They gave up over 4,000 yards through the air with a TD to INT ratio of 31:8. The Scarlet Knights also allowed four games of five or more passing TDs. Halliday is going to get plenty of chances to put up huge numbers. Just look at his 63% completion percentage 714 attempts in his first year of starting all season.
5. Dak Prescott, Mississippi State – Prescott’s numbers last season passing weren’t too impressive, but his running numbers were much different. He ran for 100+ yards in four of the 11 games he played in and added 13 TDs to go along with it. Against a team like Southern Miss, Prescott should easily repeat great rushing numbers. His progress through the air once rested and healthy make me feel better about his passing. He threw for 283 yards and three TDs in the Liberty Bowl against Rice.
6. S.B. Richardson, Iowa State – I promise this isn’t a typo. I really like Richardson coming into his week one matchup against North Dakota State. NDSU is a very good school that won’t get pushed around and honestly could win this game. What I like about Richardson though is that he had to win this job in the offseason and had some very good games to start the season. He went for 21+ DK points in three of his first four games in 2013. He’s also a threat on the ground where he ran 10+ times in five games even though he wasn’t the starter all season long. Play him where you need value and look to use him on Elite when ISU plays eligible teams.
7. Maty Mauk, Missouri – Mauk is all set to start this season off with a bang. He faces the Aztecs and their passing defense that gave up 31 TDs and just eight INTs in 2013. Now that Franklin has graduated, Mauk should step into those shoes nicely and combine running and passing skills that will make him a top 3-4 SEC QB. In his four starts last season, he ran for 165 yards on 33 carries. He totaled 11 TDs in those starts and is just what he needed to get him ready for 2014.
8. Jared Goff, California – The Golden Bears won one game last season, so it might be odd to see I have a QB from that school on this list. Let me explain why Goff has to be considered in week one. First off, he was a freshman starter who got a ton of reps last season and threw for a ton of yards (3,508). Next, these two teams met in the opener last season and Goff threw for 450 yards and two touchdowns. Also, he’ll have three of his top four receivers back and they’re very talented. To cap it all off, there is a high floor with a guy like him because of Cal’s style of offense which is to throw, throw, and then throw some more.
1. Todd Gurley, UGA – There isn’t much of a need to say why Gurley is ranked here, but I’ll do it anyways. Last season he started the season off with a 12/154/2 game against the Tigers and he didn’t even finish the game. He’ll be fresh to go in week one in a huge prime time matchup and I’m willing to pay whatever it takes to get him I like him that much. He’s averaged six yards per carry in two straight seasons and the Clemson run defense wasn’t as good as the stats show last year. They gave up 2+ rushing TDs in seven of 12 games against FBS teams.
2. Tevin Coleman, Indiana – In 2013 I started the season preaching Coleman with him sneaking in as the starter. Well, he dominated in week one against this same Indiana State team going for 14/169/2. This season Sudfeld is the QB with no backup to distract the offense and his lack of stellar play in the offseason makes me like Coleman this much. Besides the fact that he’s a stud, the Hoosiers will more than likely get the spread run game going and that means Coleman.
3. Cameron Artis-Payne, Auburn – Artis-Payne is the lead candidate to replace Tre Mason and in week one we’ll find out if it’ll actually happen. He had a great year as the second-string RB rushing for 610 yards, six TDs, and 6.7 yards per carry. Before Mason took over as the lead back in 2013, he ran for 154 yards and 1 TD, on 29 carries. To start the season, Auburn opens up with Arkansas and their rush defense that gave up 21 TDs. They also gave up 2,141 yards on the ground and over 200 rushing yards in a game five times including the Auburn game where they gave up 233 yards and four TDs.
4. Myles Willis, Boston College – Willis had a solid 2013 campaign for what little time he played. He averaged 5.8 yards per carry and two TDs sitting behind star Andre Williams. Now that Williams is gone, Boston College will move their run heavy offense on to Willis. This means one hell of a matchup for him against Massachusetts. The Minutemen gave up 23 TDs and a 5.39 yards per carry average last season and should be more of the same here in 2014. Willis will be given the rock like Williams was making him a high upside play for his low price across most sites.
5. Mike Davis, South Carolina – If I knew for certain that Mike Davis was going to be 100% Thursday night, I would have him in the top three of this list. This isn’t the case though, so there’s a little bit of risk here at the price. So, why is Mike Davis worth the risk? Well, TAMU’s run defense gave up 23 TDs, 2,890 yards, and 5.38 yards per carry in 2013. They really have no stars defensively against the run, and Mike Davis has been a consistent back in his career. To go with a consistent run game, Davis added 34 catches to his stat line in 2013.
6. Ezekiel Elliot, Ohio State – When the news that Braxton Miller was out for the season came out, Elliot owners rejoiced. What was likely to be a QB-oriented offense suddenly became one that needed to revolve more around the other skill players. It’s certainly possible that J.T. Barrett plays great for the Buckeyes and I do expect that, but Elliot will almost guaranteed see a heavier workload now. He’s been named the starter and goes against Navy at home. Ohio State ran for 260+ yards and 14 TDs in their four non-conference games last season.
7. Dwayne Washington, Washington – Washington is the guy replacing star Bishop Sankey and he should be just fine to start the season. He’s been named the starter and with good reason. He ran the ball 10+ times in three games last season. In those games, he ran the ball 34 times for 244 yards and three TDs. With Cyler Miles not playing in week one, look for the Huskies to try and get the ground game going with this 6’2, 219 pound beast of a RB.
8. Treyvon Green, Northwestern – When Venric Mark missed the beginning of the season due to injury, Green ran with the opportunity and played great. He struggled towards the end of the season, but showed a lot of talent overall. In 2014, we see no more Mark again and a great matchup against Cal in week one. He ran for 15/129/2 against them last season and I could see him doing that again. Cal’s run defense was atrocious last year giving up 32 TDs and almost five yards a carry per game.
1. Tommy Shuler, Marshall –Shuler was an absolute stud last year. He had 106 catches for 1,165 yards and 10 TDs and in 2014 I could see his numbers go up. Marshall loses a big red zone target for Rakeem Cato and it’s likely that Shuler gets a bump because of that. Well, in week one we’ll find out because Miami (OH) is a really bad team. They gave up passing TDs in just eight of the 12 games last season, but in those eight, they gave up 29 TDs. Those are amazing numbers and in week one against Marshall last season they gave up five. Expect Shuler to get at least 8-10 catches with 100 yards at worst in this one.
2. Deontay Greenberry, Houston – Greenberry has to be one of the top WR prospects coming into the 2015 NFL Draft and with good reason. The guy has the height (6’3) and the hands to be a great prospect. He caught 82 balls last season for 1,202 yards and 11 TDs. In Houston’s offense he’ll be a great option week in and week out. He had five 100+ yard games and has the potential to go full Mike Evans on teams. One big plus to his situation is another year under O’Korn’s belt and Greg Ward being beside him not behind O’Korn on the depth chart. The Cougars QB should be more comfortable and confident in 2014.
3. Chris Harper, California – The more I look at this game, the more I like players in it and honestly Harper is number one for me. He’s got huge potential as he showed at the beginning of last season. He started the season off right against Northwestern going for 11/148/2. Goff and the Bears have a great matchup going against the same defense that allowed three passing TDs and 455 yards through the air in the opener in 2013.
4. Ricky Seales-Jones, Texas A&M – RSJ was a big prospect for TAMU when he came into school last season and if it wasn’t for injuries he might have made a huge impact in 2013. He ran into some trouble off the field as well, but is starting in week one against South Carolina. He gets a tough matchup Thursday night, but he’s such a physical freak it’ll be tough for anyone to contain him. A lot of his numbers will be dependent upon QB play, but as you already know, I think Kenny Hill can make enough happen for RSJ to be a great play for his price.
5. Vince Mayle/River Cracraft, Washington State – Well, I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is one of these two will be great in week one. The bad news is I have no idea which one it’ll be. Mayle is a senior who had four catches or more in five of the last six games while Cracraft is a sophomore who had a monster game in the bowl game last year. The potential is huge against Rutgers who gave up over 4,000 yards through the air and almost three TDs a game via the pass. The only issue is figuring out which guy will pick up the load as the second target in this passing scheme.
6. Corey Davis, Western Michigan – Davis is a real good talent that is only a sophomore, but his one downfall is his QB play. Zach Terrell threw 8 TDs and 8 INTs in nine games, so we need to see improvement for Davis to move up to top 3-5 for WRs. Purdue was actually pretty solid against the pass in 2013, but the stats are skewed. They gave up less than 200 yards passing Iowa, Michigan State, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. What do all of those teams have in common? Their QB play was suspect last year and they love running the ball. Davis had five 100 yard games and will continue to be the number one target.
7. Antwan Goodley, Baylor – Goodley was one of the safest players on the board last season as a key member of the Baylor Bears offense. This season he should be much of the same with Bryce Petty still being around. The Bears are going to score plenty and in week one against SMU it’ll be a whole lot. They’re over 30 point favorites and even though they are missing two or three receivers on their depth chart, they should recover just fine. Goodley scored at least one TD in ten of 13 games for Baylor in 2013.
8. Amari Cooper, Alabama – In some parts of the twitterverse, Amari Cooper is considered a curse word. His talent is obvious, but his consistency is shaky. Part of this is due to offensive style, but some of it has to do with him. He battled injuries last season and should be 100% by week one in a game they should put up plenty of points in. The issue now is who will the QB be and what kind of chemistry does he have with him? Like last season, this play is likely to burn you especially with no concrete evidence of one way or the other, but he’s worth a look in your GPP lineups.
1. Devin Funchess, Michigan – Funchess is a big time player for the Wolverines. He’s 6’5 and was an absolute stud for them as a sophomore. Like any young player, he had some games that were duds, but it wasn’t because of talent. A brutal offensive line mixed with bad QB play from Devin Gardner certainly didn’t help. With Gallon gone, the former #1 target for Gardner, Funchess has to be Gardner’s go-to-guy. You have to love that in week one where he should see plenty of red zone targets against Appalachian State.
2. Tyler Kroft, Rutgers – Coming into this season, Kroft has to be one of the top TE DFS targets there is. And honestly, I’m not even sure Funchess can be considered a TE anymore, but we’ll roll with it for now. Kroft gets a soft defense in Washington State and isn’t priced anywhere like a top tight end. He had 43 catches last season and went for 18 catches in his last four games. He should only get better in 2014.
3. Evan Engram, Ole Miss – Besides slight height differences, Engram reminds me a lot of Devin Funchess. They’re athletic, tall receivers who are called tight ends, but play like wide receivers. Last season Engram was productive right out of the game putting up 21 catches in his first seven games. He even added three TDs and that’s a number should go up this year. I really hope to see Bo Wallace throw for more TDs in 2014 and with Donte Moncrief gone it’s just one less guy standing in Engram’s way.
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