The following players are available in less than 10% of Fantrax CFF leagues. These players are taken directly from the Thor Nystrom 50-Team Super League and 22 Team Industry Dynasty League waiver wire.
Brandon McIlwain – SO – Cal – 1% Owned:
As a former Top-10 ranked QB out of his high school class, McIlwain was originally a South Carolina recruit who played in 3 games for the Gamecocks before transferring to Cal. Originally Chase Garber and McIlwain formed a committee with Garbers handling the majority of passing work, while McIlwain took over in running situations. However OC Beau Baldwin’s tandem QB experiment was jettisoned when Garbers started off their week 5 game vs. Oregon 4-9 for 44 yds and 2 costly INT’s. Insert McIlwain who led Cal to 21 points against a solid, Jim Leavitt led, Oregon defense. His passing numbers clearly need improvement, posting a pedestrian 11-21/128 yards/1TD-2INT line. However McIlwain’s strength is his ability to make plays with his legs as he ran 15 times for 123 yards and a TD while providing a spark off the bench for the listless Cal offense that has yet to score more than 24 points against a power 5 opponent this year. The QB tandem approach that was being utilized is clearly not working, it’s McIlwain’s job for now. With a strong pedigree and exceptional mobility, McIlwain will now get the opportunity he has been waiting for since his South Carolina days. He is worth a speculative pickup since he is a Sophomore who could improve with more reps in Baldwin’s offense that produced yearly 40 PPG offenses during his tenure at Eastern Washington.
Ryan Willis – Jr – VT – 0% Owned:
When Josh Jackson went down with a season-ending injury in their loss to ODU, many were ready to write off Justin Fuentes’ Hokies chances of competing in the ACC Coastal as they faced a relentless Duke defense that stymied Baylor, Northwestern and Army as Duke cruised to 4 straight double-digit victories to open the season. Enter Ryan Willis who calmly posted 17-27/332 yards/3TD and 31 points against the Duke defense, leading VT to a decisive 31-14 victory in a spot where most analysts predicted VT would crash & burn. Willis is more than merely a clipboard holder, as he was a Top-50 ranked QB out of his prep class. While he doesn’t have the legs of Jackson, Willis opened up the passing game with explosive throws of 67, 36, 33, 27, 25, 24 yards. Though VT plays a rugged Notre Dame Defense this week, they follow up ND with games against NC, GT, BC and Pitt. Look for Willis to serve as a respectable #2 QB option against these middling ACC opponents.
Eli Peters – SO – Toldeo – 0% Owned:
Sure enough, after touting him last week, Mitchell Guadagni got injured in the first half against Group of 5 power Fresno State. In steps Eli Peters, the highly touted #68 ranked QB out of his prep class and a huge signing for Toledo at the time. Though he narrowly lost the QB competition to Guadagni to start the season, Peters completed 10-21/179 yards/2TD-1INT in just a half of work against a solid defense. Peters proved to be a capable starter going forward should Guadagni be forced to miss additional time. With a fleet of capable receivers and a perennial 35+PPG system under his direction, Peters is poised to dominate the MAC portion of Toledo’s schedule. Their next 5 opponents are Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Buffalo, Western Michigan, and Ball State. You’re going to see a series of 30 points per game performances here if Peters is conducting this orchestra he is an immediate add in most formats.
William Brown – True Freshman – SMU – 3% Owned:
When Sonny Dykes took over for Chad Morris last December, he made the unusual decision to leave his position as special offensive assistant at TCU (which is reminiscent of Dwight Schrute’s job title in The Office), so he could coach SMU in their bowl game vs. Lousiana Tech who proceeded to baptize SMU to the tune of 51-10. From the moment Dykes stepped on campus and implemented his Air Raid system, it appeared Ben Hicks’ days were numbered as Sonny turned over the previous roster. After a couple of lackluster performances by Hicks, Dykes turned to his hand-picked recruit, true freshman William Brown, to run the show. The decision paid immediate dividends as Brown led SMU to their first victory of the season with a gutty 21-29(72%)/150 yards/2TD-0INT performance in a 31-30 Overtime win against AAC foe Navy. Brown followed up the navy victory with 12-20/309 yards/2 TD’s against FCS Houston Baptist. SMU now mercifully enters AAC play and faces UCF/Tulane/Cinci/Houston/UCONN/Memphis/Tulsa for the rest of the year. In a dynasty format, Brown is an easy pickup in Dykes’ Air Raid that has produced huge QB numbers at LT and Cal. Even in deeper formats, Brown is worth a speculative pick even with Hicks still taking a couple of series per game as Dykes eases the True Frosh into game action.
Lopini Katoa – rFr – BYU – 1% Owned:
2 weeks ago against McNeese State, BYU incumbent starting RB Squally Canada fumbled on BYU’s second drive of the first quarter. From that point forward, Lopini Katoa has been in a 50/50 timeshare with Canada in the BYU backfield and has surpassed Canada’s production in that timeframe. Against McNeese Kato rushed for 64 yards and 2 TD’s, while Canada accounted for only 57 yards and No TD’s. This past game against Washington wasn’t even close as Katoa was the lone bright spot for BYU, rushing for 8 carries, 27 yards and 1 TD, while catching all 7 of his targets for 66 yards. Canada managed only 7 carries for 13 yards and 1 catch for 4 yards. Projecting forward, BYU faces Utah State/Hawaii/Northern Illinois/Boise/Massachusetts/New Mexico St. That is a stark difference in strength of opponent from Arizona/Cal/Wisconsin/McNeese/Washington. Look for BYU to reassert themselves against the soft portion of their schedule. Katoa is the clear successor to Canada in 2019 and likely sooner. Grab Katoa in any deep format and he is a must-add for Dynasty.
Kennedy Brooks – rFr – Oklahoma – 2% Owned:
When Rodney Anderson went down, it appeared obvious that Trey Sermon was going to handle the majority of reps in Oklahoma’s backfield. That was certainly the case against Army, as Sermon was the only RB to record a carry, rushing 18 times for 119 yards in their narrow victory. This week vs. Baylor was another story however, as Sermon ran 8 times for only 19 yards. Kennedy Brooks came in as the 2nd RB and emphatically announced his presence with 8 carries, 106 yards, 2 TD’s and caught both of his targets for 17 yards. Marcelias Sutton is too small and has been passed over, TJ Pledger was originally thought to take over the #2RB role, but he has been barely involved in the offense. Kennedy Brooks is the current #2 RB in Lincoln Riley’s offense that has shown it can support 2 strong fantasy running backs. Kyler Murray takes a lot of air out of the fantasy potential for Sermon and Brooks, however next year we could see Brooks ascend when a less mobile Austin Kendall takes over. Brooks is a quality Dynasty pickup and a depth add for Trey Sermon owners in seasonal formats.
Devine Ozigbo – Sr – Nebraska – 2% Owned:
Entering the season Ozigbo was slated to be part of a committee with Marcus Washington and Greg Bell. He carried 14 times for 60 yards and a TD vs. Colorado but recorded 15 carries for only 30 yards in the following 2 games. It appeared Ozigbo was getting lost in the shuffle, which led to him being dropped by anxious owners and being owned in only 2% of leagues. This weekend Nebraska faced off against the soft Purdue defense and ripped off 17 carries for 170 yards and 2 TD’s while catching 2 of 5 targets for 28 yards.
Most importantly, with Washington banged up Ozigbo recorded every Running Back carry except for Greg Bell’s 2 carries for a woeful 2 yards. Nebraska has one of the toughest schedules in the country, as they face Wisconsin/Northwestern/Minnesota/Ohio State/Illinois over the next 5 weeks. If Washington isn’t able to suit up, Ozigbo is a solid add in deep and some standard leagues as he appears to be the workhorse in Scot Frost’s developing offense.
Joshua Kelley – Jr – UCLA – 1% Owned:
Joshua Kelley originally enrolled at UC-Davis, but after 2 successful seasons in Northern California, Kelley wanted to fulfill his dream to play RB at a Power 5 school. So in order to make that happen, he emailed highlights of his tenure at UC Davis to the UCLA RB Coach and proceeded to call the coach every single day for 2 months to see if the coach had watched it and wanted to bring him aboard. Well with a Chip Kelly system change coming to town, Joshua Kelley got the opportunity he dreamed of and became a member of the UCLA Bruins. Kelley got moderate run in the first 2 games before missing UCLA’s game vs. Fresno State 2 weeks ago. Upon Kelley’s return this week vs. Colorado, he received 12 carries for 125 yards along with catching 3 of 6 passes for 10 yards. I got the opportunity to watch most of this game and Kelley jumped off the screen compared to the other plodding UCLA backs. Chip is looking to establish an identity with his new team. DTR has major accuracy issues, which is to be expected with a true freshman starting QB. He has 2 hand-me-down RB’s in Olorfunmi and Jamabao who don’t fit the Chip Kelly RB mold. Kelley is the most dynamic runner in the group and should get the opportunity to be the #1 back in a struggling UCLA offense that will be better next year. Grab Kelley now in Dynasty/Deep formats and see if he can run with the opportunity in a fantasy RB friendly system.
Justin Jefferson – SO – LSU – 1% Owned:
I’ve had the opportunity to watch a few LSU games this year, and every time I lookup it’s Justin Jefferson doing damage in the receiving game. One of the most difficult aspects of college fantasy is finding WR’s that you can feel comfortable starting in difficult matchups. In recent years it was a safer play to start a #3WR in an air raid offense against a soft opponent than the LSU #1WR. However with a solid, if unspectacular, QB at the helm in Joe Burrow, LSU has been respectable through the air this year. My favorite aspect of Jefferson’s play so far has been his propensity for raising his game to the level of his competition. Against inferior opponents Southeast Louisiana and Lousiana Tech, LSU focused on their advantage up front, pushing around overmatched defensive lines and running all over them. In those games Jefferson barely showed up on the stat sheet. However when LSU has had to throw the ball more against stouter front 7’s, Jefferson shined. He caught 5 of 8 targets for 81 yards vs. Miami, 5 of 9 targets for 97 yards against Auburn, and this week caught 5 of 6 passes for 99 yards and 2 TD’s vs. Ole Miss. Still only a Sophomore, Jefferson has distinguished himself as an indispensable part of the LSU passing attack and worth an add in deep and dynasty leagues alike.
Isaiah Wright – Jr – Temple – 7% Owned:
Wright was a trendy pick in drafts for those speculating on Temple’s ability to build on last year’s 7 win season in year 1 of Geoff Collins’ tenure. Expectations were understandably high on Wright who showcased impressive versatility in 2017, catching 45 passes for 668 yards and 4TD’s, running 25 times for 188 yards and 1TD and taking 2 special teams returns for TD’s as well. However, Wright was practically the invisible girl from Fantastic 4 in the first few weeks as Temple struggled early on and then leaned on Ryquell Armstead last week against Tulsa. This week Temple needed to score points to keep up with Boston College, and Wright came alive in the process, catching 7 of his 14 targets for 114 yards and rushing twice for 8 yards. Now that Temple is in AAC play, they face ECU/Navy/Cinci the next 3 weeks as the offense hits its stride. I like Isaiah Wright to be productive going forward and is worth an add in deep formats.
Rhashid Bonnette – Jr – La Tech – 1% Owned:
Much like last week’s Lousiana Tech recommendation, Adrian Hardy, Bonnette has been quite productive as the #2 WR in La Tech’s high scoring offense. Teddy Veal disappointed once again this week, and it was Bonnette’s turn to light it up as he caught 7 of 8 targets for 103 yards and a TD. In 2 of the last 3 games, Bonnette has gone for 100 yards, with the previous 5 catch, 101-yard showing coming against Southern in week 3. Coming off a huge inter-division win against North Texas this week, the schedule lightens up considerably as they face UAB/UTSA/UTEP in the next 3 weeks. Bonnette will put up numbers in at least 2 of those games and should be a quality deep league replacement when by weeks strike your WR corps.
Riley Miller – Jr – Ball State – 2% Owned:
Entering 2018 it appeared Justin Hall, and his 78 returning catches and 801 yards would be the alpha dog of Ball State’s WR corps. However with Riley Neal now healthy, Ball State’s 2nd year HC Mike Neu has been able to open up the playbook and start passing more. The direct beneficiary has been Junior WR Riley Miller, who has posted double-digit fantasy points in 4 of 5 games this year, capped off with an absurd 11 catches on 16 targets for 208 yards and 1 TD against Kent State this weekend. The previous week against Western Kentucky, Miller caught 8 of 12 targets for 112 yards as the featured WR in this offense. Ball State faces NIU/C Mich/EMU/Ohio the next 4 games, and Riley Miller is an easy add in standard/deep/dynasty formats.