My weekly deep league waiver wire column will be focusing on the underserved marketplace of deep and Dynasty CFF league acquisitions. Most, if not all, of these recommendations, will be owned in less than 10% of Fantrax CFF leagues.
Jack Abraham – Jr. – Southern Miss – 7% Owned:
It’s all about the Abraham’s in Hattiesburg, Mississippi as Jack Abraham leads the potent Southern Miss offense that is currently scoring 37/PPG entering the soft underbelly of CUSA play. Abraham has thrown for 806 yards the past two weeks against Rice and ULM. The return of 2017 starter Kwadra Griggs last week led to speculation that the incumbent Griggs would regain his starting job. Abraham’s stellar 428 yard/4TD performance last week seems to have secured his starting spot for the time being. Even if Griggs does eventually regain his starting spot this season, he is still a Senior and Abraham is the clear successor for 2019 in Jay Hopson’s ascending offense.
Kaleb Barker – Jr. – Troy St. – 3% Owned:
After losing their first game to a loaded Boise State, Troy has rattled off three straight victories, including a hard-fought 24-19 victory against Nebraska. The tough games against Boise State and Nebraska depressed Barker’s numbers enough that he’s only owned in 3% of leagues. This past week Barker was magnificent against another upper tier SBC team ULM, leading the Trojans to a 35-27 win. Barker went 23-28/82% Comp%/273 Yds Passing/50 yds Rushing/4 Total TD’s/38 points. Troy plays Coastal Carolina/Georgia State/@Liberty the next three weeks, and Barker will be in starting consideration for all of them.
Quentin Harris – Jr. – Duke – 1% Owned:
David Cutcliffe always seems to exceed expectations as he has led Duke to a bowl 5 of the last six years. However few envisioned the 37.5 PPG output and 4-0 start of the 2018 Blue Devils. Decisive victories on the road against Baylor and Northwestern have Duke eyeing the wide-open ACC Coastal Divison title entering conference play this week vs. Virginia Tech. For that to happen, their new starting QB Quentin Harris needs to step in and take over for the injured Daniel Jones.
So far, so good on that front as Harris has put up 28 and 30 fantasy points respectively since taking over two weeks ago. Though undeniably effective in his two starts, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows with Harris’ passing game. He posted a lowly 40% Comp% against Baylor and 55% against FCS team NC Central. He contributed with 83 yards rushing against Baylor which will certainly bode well for his fantasy floor going forward. I’m willing to look past the early accuracy issues since he just got thrown into the starting QB spot and look for Harris to grow as the year proceeds. In Dynasty leagues he’s guaranteed to be Duke’s QB next season and should prove to be a decent starting option when matchups are conducive.
Kato Nelson – So. – Akron – 3% Owned:
We haven’t seen a “Kato” take the country by storm since the OJ trial of the mid-90’s. After Akron’s stunning upset of Pat Fitzgerald’s Northwestern Wildcats, the CFB community was wondering just who is this new MAC house guest dropping dimes all over the field? Kato completed 61% for 277 yds passing/2 TD/37 rushing yards and proved to be a steady hand in the face of adversity. This past week Akron lost 26-13 against an Iowa State team that won 8 games in the Big 12 last year. However, the Zips have averaged 40 PPG against their other two opponents Morgan State and Northwestern.
Nelson was a top 100 rated QB coming out of his High School class and was considered a huge signing for Akron at the time. As a Sophomore entering their MAC East schedule where defense is purely optional, the only defenses to be wary of going forward are Northern Illinois and Eastern Michigan. Both of whom are in the MAC West, and they manage to dodge Western Michigan and MAC power Toledo. Kato could emerge as a solid matchup-based play in 2018 and a strong keeper option in 2019 if things break right.
Steven Peoples – Sr. – Virginia Tech – 1% Owned:
VT may have gotten embarrassed by Old Dominion 49-35 last week, but don’t blame Peoples for the loss. After recording 13 Carries for 44 yards against Florida State, Peoples caught the eye of OC Brad Cornelsen with an efficient six carry, 55 yd, 34 receiving yards, 2 TD showing against William & Mary. Peoples parlayed that effort into 20 carries for 156 yards and 2 TD against ODU. Now, Justin Fuentes is well known for having never fielded a 1000 yard RB at Memphis, however at a 1% ownership rate; deep leaguers may well want to take a stab at this Senior who is leading the RB room at VT.
SaRodorick Thompson – Fr. – Texas Tech – 0% Owned:
Though highly touted Freshman Ta’Zawn Henry (50% Owned) lit the CFF world on fire against Houston to the tune of 46 fantasy points, it was the other True Freshman RB recruit, SaRodorick Thompson, who led the TT backfield in carries this week with 13 for 57 yards and a TD against a top-20 ranked Oklahoma State. From a Dynasty perspective, I think we could see a 50/50 share develop between Henry and Thompson this season and beyond. You see, Henry is diminutive at 5/7 170 Lbs, while Thompson is more suited for between the tackles work at 6’0, 205 Lbs. I could see Kingsbury opt for a “Thunder and Lightning” approach in 2019/2020, making Thompson potentially as valuable as Henry, but owned in 49% fewer leagues.
Tyler Badie – Fr. – Mizzou – 0% Owned:
Ranked as the #137 RB out of the 2018 prep class, Tyler Badie has already carved himself out a role as the change of pace back in Mizzou’s high powered offense. Badie has received at least 10 carries in all four games Mizzou has played this season, and not just in mop-up time either. Against Purdue, he had 12 carries for 61 yards to go with 1 reception for 20 yards. Last week against Georgia was his real coming out party though, as Badie rushed 11 times for 50 yards and a TD, plus 2 recs for 29 yds receiving.
What doesn’t show up on the stat sheet was an uber-athletic catch and run Badie had in the first half vs. UGA, where he made a great catch that almost went for a 50 yard TD, but his toe just nicked the sideline, negating the play. I guarantee Derek Dooley noticed his athleticism because after Roundtree dropped a perfectly setup screen pass, Badie took the majority of Roundtree’s snaps for the rest of the game. He’s an obvious Dynasty add and good PPR speculative pickup in Mizzou’s potent offense.
Gary Brightwell – So – Arizona – 0% Owned:
While JJ Taylor was running wild against Oregon State’s lackluster Defense, lost behind his production was another solid performance from Zona’s established #2 RB, Sophomore Gary Brightwell. Brightwell put up a robust 13 carry, 113 yds, 8.7YPC, 1 TD performance in relief of JJ Taylor. Taylor is the starter but at 5’6 180 Lbs. He may not be able to handle a full workload and may cede carries to the bigger Brightwell (6’1, 200 Lbs.) as the season grinds on. Taylor missed most of 2016 with an ankle injury and split time with Nick Wilson last season.
Assuming Sumlin can find a way to keep the offensive production of the past two weeks rolling, you could start to see Brightwell get more work in the interior while Taylor works the edges. If Taylor were to get injured again, Brightwell becomes a waiver wire ultra-priority. If you have roster space, there are worse #2 RB’s out there to roster. Anyone that owns JJ Taylor – don’t walk, RUN to your closest neighborhood waiver-wire and grab him.
Adrian Hardy – So. – Louisiana Tech – 4% Owned:
Coming into 2018, the premium Skip Holtz La Tech #1WR position appeared to be settled science, as Teddy “try the” Veal was almost universally ranked in the Top-25 of CFF analysts WR rankings. In 3 games this year, Veal is averaging a mere 55 YPG with ZERO TD’s. Enter Sophomore WR, Adrian Hardy who has emerged as J’Mar Smith’s #1 target with a scintillating 19 recs/365 yds/3TD in only three games this year. That production places Hardy in the Top-10 fantasy producing WR’s on a per game basis this year.
It doesn’t get much bigger regarding finding production off The Wire, and Hardy is still only owned in 4% of leagues! If this La Tech scenario sounds familiar, it should. Heading into 2016, Trent Taylor was ranked even higher in CFF than Veal was entering 2018. Carlos Henderson proceeded to wrest the #1 WR position from Taylor en route to a ridiculous 82 recs/1535 yds/19 TD’s receiving AND 14 carries for 133 yds and 2TD rushing. History appears to be repeating itself. He’s an immediate add in any format imaginable.
Jeremiah Holloman – So. – Georgia – 2% Owned:
With all the talent in the Georgia WR corps, it’s easy to lose sight of what Jeremiah Holloman has done the past two weeks. In addition to catching 4 passes for 151 yds (38 YPC!) and 2 TD’s, Holloman made an acrobatic 61 yard TD reception against Mizzou this week that most of you already saw on the CFB highlight reels.
As the #36 ranked WR coming out of his prep class, the Sophomore Holloman is making the most of his limited opportunities in an upperclassman-laden UGA WR corps. Ridley/Hardman/Godwin are ahead of him in the pecking order currently, but with graduations and declarations looming this offseason, Holloman is poised to step right into a prominent role in a 40PPG offense as early as 2019. Maybe earlier if injuries strike. Owned in only 2% of leagues, he’s an excellent Dynasty add.
DJ Brown – Sr. – Northern Illinois – 1% Owned:
With 3 of their first four games against Power 5 stalwarts Iowa/Utah/Florida State, Northern Illinois has had to navigate arguably the toughest off conference schedule of any Group of 5 school. Even against a brutal opening slate, DJ Brown has proven to be the focal point of the N.Ill passing attack. Brown has recorded at least 4 receptions in each game so far and has broken out the past two weeks with lines of 4 recs/69 yards/1TD against CMich and 7 recs/117 yds/1 TD against Florida State. Outside of another tough game @ BYU October 27th, DJ Brown is a potential starting option at WR every other week going forward for a Northern Illinois team that is expected to challenge for a MAC West division title.
KeSean Carter – Fr. – Texas Tech – 1% Owned:
This is a Dynasty League speculation pickup, as Carter has managed to carve himself out an inside receiver role in the vaunted Texas Tech passing attack as a True Freshman. In 4 games Carter has caught 17 passes for 158 yards and 1 TD while rushing twice for 14 yards. Though listed at only 5’11, 155 Lbs, Carter has shown that he has grasped the timing and precision out of the slot that is vital in Texas Tech’s Air Raid offense.
We’ve seen players such as Danny Amendola, Wes Welker and Jakeem Grant excel in the inside receiver role at TT. With Seniors De’Quan Bowman and Ja’Deion High ahead of him on the depth chart, Carter could be thrust in a major role for TT as early as 2019. Someone to, watch in PPR Dynasty formats.