Fantasy overwhelm: All 130 FBS teams? Seriously? How about just the SEC?
I’m diving in to the 130-team pool known as fantasy college football. That’s a serious deep end, and I will probably drown in it.
I like fantasy sports. I’ve had a fair amount of success in MLB and NBA leagues. But my main reason for delving into college fantasy is to expand my knowledge of the game so as to better do my job here at Saturday Down South. Nothing fuels one’s quest for knowledge like putting one’s pride, or a few dollars, on the line.
Plus, after going through a draft with a player pool drawing from all of the FBS schools, I figured out that I could set up an SEC-specific league. It’s just for fun, and there is room for a few people to join. If you’re available for a draft Sunday at 9 p.m. ET (8 p.m. CT), jump in. Hopefully, that league will keep me sane and serve my purpose a little better.
Fantasy leagues have become wildly popular for the NFL and other pro sports, but it’s still anyone’s guess if that will ever translate to college sports. We’re trying to gauge that here at Saturday Down South, so please tell us what you think.
In the daily games, math geeks and computer programmers win big jackpots without necessarily ever watching a game or rooting for a team. Especially in daily, salary-cap games, the trick is finding the hidden gems at places like Tulane, Army and Utah State. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack if you’re trying to do it without a computer program.
Trust me, I’m not that guy. I will try to throw a little knowledge, logic and gut instinct at them, and see what happens.
To find fantasy gems, one looks for places where skill and opportunity intersect. You want players who own their position outright on teams that should score a lot. Then, depending on the configuration of the league/game you’re playing, you might also look for a favorable matchup.
Sometimes, SEC players are less highly regarded once league play begins because they have to play against SEC defenses.
Still, there are a number of SEC players the fantasy world loves, especially for Week 1:
SEC studs for Week 1
Nick Fitzgerald: The Mississippi State dual-threat quarterback ranks third by average draft position in fantrax.com leagues, behind Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and South Florida’s Quinton Flowers. Considering that Fitzgerald plays at home against Charleston Southern in Week 1, he could rack up big numbers.
Derrius Guice: Ranked No. 1 among running backs by rotowire.com and on fantrax.com, LSU’s Guice opens the season with a Saturday night game against BYU. With Leonard Fournette now in the NFL, everyone seems convinced the junior Guice will be a workhorse this year. Fantasy sites are projecting him for over 1,800 rushing yards.
Studs playing against SEC
Richie James (below), Middle Tennessee: Vanderbilt opens the season against the consensus best fantasy receiver in the FBS. Per rotowire: “He has 3,456 yards and 25 touchdowns from scrimmage in his first 26 career games, a preposterous pace that he might somehow maintain this year since Middle Tennessee brings back star quarterback Brent Stockstill.”
Ito Smith, Southern Miss: Look out Kentucky, Ito is coming. The senior is a top 10 fantasy running back and a major threat running or receiving. The Golden Eagles are breaking in a new quarterback, which could be good or bad for Smith depending on how it shakes out.
Jalin Moore, App State: The reigning Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year is the fourth best fantasy running back in the country, according to rotowire.com. It says here he’s going to run into a dose of reality against Georgia.
Outside the SEC
I’m biased because I’m a Penn State grad and fan, but how can you not love the Nittany Lions’ Saquon Barkley (above) against Akron? … Heisman-winning QB Lamar Jackson and Louisville travel to take on a Purdue team that is expected to be pretty darn bad. … Quinton Flowers, who ranks just below Jackson on QB lists, leads South Florida against the Seawolves of Stony Brook. That should be fantasy gold.