Strategy Note: I tried to cover all the matchups that were available, but can’t possibly go through them all. I will be updating this list with more names & moving guys up/down based on information I gather this week. The daily fantasy websites break out early/late college games differently and there are more cupcake matchups you can draft from on DraftKings over FanDuel. I think there are some good sleeper running back options which I list at the bottom.
Indiana State at Indiana – TEVIN COLEMAN
I LOVE this matchup and I LOVE that on this site he’s listed as doubtful … which might turn some people away from selecting him. The only issue I really see with Coleman is the game could get out of hand early, but he’s a big-play type RB so he only needs 10 – 15 touches to have a big game.
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Florida Atlantic at Nebraska – AMEER ABDULLAH
Nebraska is going to have a young QB (who played some last year) but the team will likely rely on Abullah to get the job done. Backup RB Imani Cross should get looks, but likely not enough to effect Abdullah’s value too much.
Clemson at Georgia – TODD GURLEY – KEITH MARSHALL
Certainly not a cupcake game, but the O/U is about 57 and it’s supposed to be close. I could see Georgia grinding down Clemson late in this game on the ground. Gurley should get the bulk of the carries and Marshall is a guy that should have value, but I’ll likely avoid him this week.
West Virginia at Alabama – T.J. YELDON & DERRICK HENRY
So T.J.’s the starter and he’s a great player. Alabama should roll Tide this week as Vegas has them as a 27 point favorite. Last season West Virginia’s run-D was poor. That’s all good news, now starting Yeldon does come with risks named Derrick Henry – who came on late last year. Given fellow backup RB Kenyan Drake is suspended for the time being …. I think Alabama spreads the carries in this game among Yeldon, Henry and even RB Jalston Fowler. I might wait a week to start an Alabama RB because they still have good matchups to come.
LTECH at Oklahoma – KEITH FORD – ALEX ROSS
With starter RB Joe Mixon out of the picture, who knows who will get the bulk of the carries but only Ford & Ross have experience carrying the ball. Both are cheaper plays week 1 with some upside considering the soft opponent. I’ll certainly be checking the Sooner news wire for info on these two leading into gametime.
Youngstown State at Illinois – JOSH FERGUSON
Cupcake matchup, coach wants to get him the ball more … this is a guy to keep an eye on all season long.
More Week 1 Daily College Fantasy Football Picks:
Ohio State at Navy – EZEKIEL ELLIOT
Last season on only 30 rushes … had 262 yards and 2 TD’s. Against Florida A&M (during a 76-0 route) he had 14 rushes for 162 yards + 2 TD’s. He had 3 receptions and 1 TD last season as well in spot duty. He injured his wrist and had to have surgery … but apparently is ready to go. That knocks his PPR value down a little, but Ohio State should rely on the run a bit more than if Braxton Miller was still healthy. Double check his health status on Saturday before starting Elliot … if he’s 100% healthy I think you can tick him up a few notches.
South Dakota at Oregon – BYRON MARSHALL – THOMAS TYNER – ROYCE FREEMAN
Picking which one will have the best game in this blowout will be anyone’s guess. I’ll probably avoid the trio this week, but certainly with any injuries any one of these guys could be a must start.
Virginia at UCLA – KEVIN PARKS
Parks is an effective rusher and pass catcher, and should be involved in the Virginia offense the entire game. There’s some question marks up front as the offensive line has lost 2 starters to the NFL.
Wisconsin at LSU – MELVIN GORDON – COREY CLEMENT
Gordon is a #1 NFL prospect and I think his value is a pumped up a bit because of that. The local newspaper always seems to bring up Corey Clement when talking about the backfield – so I don’t think it will be the Melvin Gordon one man show. Personally, I think Gordon is a bit too expensive against a good team on the road. I’ll monitor the situation, I just think there will be better times to start Gordon and/or Clement given all the other cupcake games that you can pick from week 1.
Florida State at Oklahoma State – KARLOS WILLIAMS
Interesting matchup here. Williams isn’t super expensive and I think has upside in a game where Florida State will likely want to run some clock later on in the game.
Northern Iowa at Iowa – MARK WEISMAN
I’m not super high on Weisman for the season, but his matchup is good enough this week to at least consider him. Looks like the coach will work in some other backs including RB Damon Bullock – and Weisman is not a PPR guy … so he relys on volume to deliver upside.
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Sleeper Running Back Picks
Western Michigan at Purdue – RAHEEM MOSTERT – AKEEM HUNT
Apparently Mostert is a track star and BR Akeem Hunt has also been getting time at slot WR and making plays in the backfield during scrimmages. Looks like the coach is trying to work both into the game at the same time. Last season Western Michigan was 121/124 teams in rushing defense. UPDATE: Looks like Hunt is lining up at WR.
Fresno State at USC – JAVORIUS ALLEN – JUSTIN DAVIS
If RB Tre Madden is out … he was seen recently in a boot, likely Allen will get lots of touches but Davis could provide the ultimate sleeper RB upside since he’s the cheapest of all three; and should see some mop-up duty at least in this one. 8/28 UPDATE: Looks like Madden is OUT for a month.
UTEP at New Mexico – NATHAN JEFFERY – AARON JONES
Sources say it’s 1a 1b type situation for carries. This is a 67 pt O/U 1 score shootout according to Vegas, so being apart of it is not a bad idea. Leading up to gametime, I’d check on the health just in case someone got hurt. Last season New Mexico was one team from the bottom in terms of rush defense.
Marshall at Miami (OH) – STEWARD BUTLER
Kevin Grooms robbed someone and got kicked off the team. That likely leaves Butler as the man. Last season he had 17 carries for 107 yards against Miami (OH).
Marshall at Miami (OH) – DAWAN SCOTT
On FanDuel they have Scott listed with the RB’s even though he’s a WR. He probably provides a little upside at his price because Miami (OH) will be down in this game and likely will be throwing all game.
Cal at Northwestern – TREYVON GREEN
Okay … so Venric Mark got suspended, then trasferred and Stephen Buckley is injured (but might play). Green could be considered a sleeper just because of the oppenent. Pundits think Green is more of committee guy, so I’ll probably avoid him, but interesting situation here with RB Warren Long and RB Justin Jackson possibly emerging as well.
Portland State at Oregon State – STORM WOODS – TERRON WARD
Both can be played in the early games on DraftKings – both a decent in PPR formats so both are an option as cheap #2 RB if you blow all your money elsewhere.
Wisconsin at LSU – LEONARD FOURNETTE
Shhhh …. he’s cheap this week. Les Miles mentioned his name in the same sentance as Adrian Peterson and Michael Jordan.