College fantasy football is growing in popularity.
And while most of the elite players in college football are already owned, there is an opportunity for savvy owners to scoop up true freshmen who could continue to contribute in leagues with deep rosters. There are also some players owners should look to avoid.
I’ll try to use my knowledge as SB Nation’s college football recruiting czar to provide some insight.
- J.T. Daniels, USC: I probably don’t need to tell you about USC’s starting QB. He’s very talented. Moving on.
- Trevor Lawrence, Clemson: Lawrence does not have the full-time job yet. He shares it with Kelly Bryant. But he is absolutely worth a stash on the bet that he’ll be the starter later in the year. Lawrence is one of the highest-rated recruits ever. He owns a ton of Georgia passing records and has a great combination of floor and ceiling.
- Sam Hartman, Wake Forest: Hartman has thrown for 620 yards and four touchdowns, while adding 128 on the ground and a score. But Wake Forest QB Kendall Hinton comes back from a suspension next week, so don’t use a roster spot on Hartman. Plus, Wake’s offensive line has been hurt by injury.
- Zack Annexstad, Minnesota: Annexstad has constantly exceeded expectations. At IMG Academy, he was expected to sit behind star transfer Art Sitkowski, but he ended up earning a lot of playing time. The three-star recruit then won the job as a “walk-on” and has thrown for almost 400 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. After October 13, the Gophers face a very weak slate of defenses: Nebraska, Indiana, Illinois, Purdue, and Northwestern.
- Leddie Brown, WVU: Brown was a multi-position athlete in high school. He has a thick frame at 210 pounds, and so far, has received 23 carries for the Mountaineers. Given the lack of size of some of the defenses in the Big 12, WVU may be looking for more of a power element. If Brown is the top back, he should be owned.
- Keaontay Ingram, Texas: Ingram was one of the best backs in the class of 2018. He ran for more than 4,500 yards and 69 touchdowns in his final two high school seasons. Nice. Ingram is currently dealing with a bone bruise and MCL issue, but if someone in your league drops him, pick him up for the second half of the season.
- Jermar Jefferson, Oregon State: Beavers’ starting RB Artavis Pierce is likely out for a month. Jefferson, who played for Redondo Beach (Calif.) Narbonne HS was by far the highest-rated player in Oregon State’s 2018 recruiting class. And he already has 317 all-purpose yards. And the defenses he’ll face in the next month include Nevada, Arizona, Arizona State, and Washington State.
- Stevie Scott, Indiana: Indiana is feeding Scott the ball. He has 51 carries and 274 yards through two games. Scott was a three-star recruit who missed much of his senior high school season due to injury.
- KeSean Carter, Texas Tech: Carter has caught 10 balls in the first two games, and he has legitimate track speed.
The Woodlands prospect finished first in the 100-meter dash, Texas’ highest classification, with a time of 10.32. The time was .17 seconds shy of the all time national record.
- Rashod Bateman, Minnesota: Bateman is for real. The staffs at Georgia and Florida State badly wanted him down the stretch, but he stuck with his commitment to the Gophers, who had been with him since the beginning. Bateman is much more talented than the prospects Minnesota typically signs, and he’s polished. He already has 10 catches and 130 yards. If you’re in a college dynasty league, Bateman should be must-own.
- Rondale Moore, Purdue: You probably already know about Moore. He was the jewel of Purdue’s 2018 class, and has already been electric despite QB issues. Moore has 253 combined rushing/receiving yards, plus another 123 kickoff return yards. Purdue will look to do everything it can to get him the ball.
- Jeshaun Jones, Maryland, and Shocky Jacques-Louis, Pitt: I know these two receivers quite well. In my opinion, they were four-star caliber athletes whose exposure was limited by Hurricane Irma hitting Southwest Florida in September 2017, leading to the cancellation or rescheduling of multiple games. Jones has 124 yards rushing/receiving on just five touches, and has already caught, rushed for, and thrown a TD. Jacques-Louis is one of the most dynamic athletes on the Panthers, and they are making every effort to get him the ball via the run game (60 rushing yards on five touches), plus 24 receiving yards. He’s also a return threat.
- Brevin Jordan, Miami: Jordan has been targeted a lot already this year. The four-star from Las Vegas (NV) Bishop Gorman is an excellent receiver and should be the recipient of many more this year. He already has seven catches through two games.
- Jaylen Waddle, Alabama: As the fourth or fifth receiver for Alabama, Waddle does not get enough touches to justify the pickup in most leagues. But if your league includes return yards, he is probably must own. Waddle is averaging 12 yards per return on punts, and Alabama forces a ton of punts.