Blake LaRussa – Old Dominion – Jr. – 4% Owned:
Old Dominion is a team whose players simply aren’t getting enough respect in the CFF community. Blake LaRussa is the latest ODU Monarch to languish on waiver wires during important mid-season weeks where many top notch QB options are on bye, and credible backups are scarce. ODU shuttled between starter Steven Williams and backup LaRussa for the first two weeks to poor effect. Finally, HC Bobby Wilder stuck with LaRussa against Virginia Tech who orchestrated a magical 49-35 victory. Since taking over, ODU has averaged 34.2 PPG in his 4 starts against solid opponents VT/Marshall/@FAU and faces a bevy of underwhelming defenses in @WKU/Mid. Ten/N Tex/VMI/Rice down the stretch. Even with a sluggish start, ODU still ranks #65 in Total Offense, accounting for 410 YPD/23 TD’s. For perspective – USC has 14 total TD’s, Michigan State has 15TD, Utah has 19TD, TCU has 18TD. LaRussa himself is averaging 357.7 YPG in his 4 starts…and he’s only owned in 4% of leagues. LaRussa is well worth a shot in Deep/Dynasty formats as a matchup-based QB for his soft remaining schedule. Plus he’s a Junior, and if ODU keeps up this pace for the rest of the year, he’s a potential keeper option.
Zach Wilson – BYU – True Fr. – 1% Owned:
BYU mercifully relieved the college football watching public of Tanner Mangum, and inserted True Freshman Zach Wilson as their starting QB. Wilson was rated as a Top 70 2018 recruit who enrolled early to participate in spring camp. The change was desperately needed as BYU ranks #124 in YPG with an unacceptable 306/YPG and 15 total TDs. Providing a much-needed spark to BYU’s lackluster offense, Wilson posted a solid 66.7% Comp%/194 yds/8.1YPP/3TD/1 Rushing TD against an overmatched Hawaii squad. Wilson looked a little shaky at times and will experience some growing pains, but BYU is capable of scoring 30 PPG and 400 YPG like they did every year from 2013-2016. Their closing stretch of Northern Illinois/@Boise St/@UMASS/NM St/@Utah offers a few potential starting opportunities for Wilson. I would take a wait and see approach to Wilson in Standard and Deep leagues under 20 teams. Owners with 4 or more losses in Dynasty Leagues should consider cutting bait on underperforming Seniors and consider this Highly Touted True Freshman as a flyer down the stretch.
Mike Glass III – Eastern Michigan – Jr. – 1% Owned:
Backed by a solid defense that allowing only 24.5 PPG, each of Eastern Michigan’s 4 losses have been by 1 score or less. Thus far the engine of the E Mich. offense has been Mike Glass III, who has been splitting time with pocket passer and Senior Tyler Wiegers. Though Wiegers has played every game, it’s been Glass III who has separated himself as a fantasy asset by delivering performances of 33/18/28/29 points respectively. The 18 point showing is misleading since that came against San Diego State’s #14 ranked defense. Glass III’s value lies most in leagues where rushing TD’s are 6 points, and Passing TD’s are only 4 points, as he has scored a rushing TD in his last 4 games and has rushed for 100+ yards in his last 2. Additionally, Eastern Mich has already faced the toughest portion of their schedule, having played Purdue/Buffalo/N Ill/San Diego St/Toledo/W. Mich. Their remaining slate is excellent as they face @Ball St/Army/C. Mich/Akron/Kent St. Nobody sets out on CFF Signing Day to target a 2-QB rotation in a 26 PPG offense. However, in 4-Point Passing TD leagues, there’s an allure to running QB’s. I’m going to recommend a Deep Dynasty Only pickup for teams out of contention looking to clean the slate and move forward. As things currently stand, Glass III is too risky to start right now. However Wiegers graduates this year, and if Glass III gets the job all to himself, he could be a Top 50 QB in 2019.
LaMichael Perine – Florida – Jr. – 10% Owned:
I held off putting Perine in my column last week because I wanted to make sure I got him off the waiver wire in my Deep/Dynasty leagues. In 2017 Perine led Florida’s meager rushing attack with 562 yds/8TD/4.1 YPC. However, much of the pre-season camp talk centered around Malik Davis’ promising 526 yds/2TD/6.7 YPC, and the return of Jr. RB Jordan Scarlett who was suspended for all of 2017. Perine received only 13 touches for 53 yds/4.1YPC/0TD in the first 2 games of 2018. However, when Davis broke his foot against Miss St. in week 3, Perine was asked to step up in his place. In the last 2 weeks, Perine has taken charge of the Perine/Scarlett/Pierce backfield rotation, with 17/85/5.0/2TD against LSU followed by a mammoth 23 carries for 121 yds/5.2/1TD with 4 Rec/93 yds/23.3YPC in the air. Mullen has this much-improved rushing attack rolling at 5.2 YPC on the season. Florida has a bye this week, followed by a favorable slate of UGA/Mizzou/SoCar/Idaho/Fla St. to finish the season. Perine is an immediate Standard & Deep League Pickup, but his long-term value is capped with the return of Davis looming.
Darrynton Evans – Appalachian State – So. – 0% Owned:
We all watched the heartbreaking footage last Tuesday night on ESPN, as Star CFF RB Jalin Moore dislocated his ankle and promptly retired shortly after that. The App St. RB position is a true Cadillac legacy position in CFF as they currently rank #7 in the country in rushing YPG with 264/YPG/6.49YPC/16 Rush TD. The clear successor to Jalin Moore in Darrynton Evans who stepped right into the role and excelled vs. Arkansas St. to the tune of 16 Car/115 Yds/7.2YPC/1TD. Appalachian State is a Group of 5 powerhouses and this Sophomore steps right into the driver’s seat. Evans is fantasy gold and needs to be picked up in every league on Tim Tebow’s Green Earth.
Rakeem Boyd – Arkansas – So. – 4% Owned:
Boyd is an elite JuCo transfer, signed by new HC Chad Morris, who ranked as the 16th Overall Junior College player in the country this year. Though Devwah Whaley started the year as the feature back, it’s Boyd who has emerged as the most fantasy relevant. Arkansas hasn’t had an intimidating rushing attack the first 7 weeks of Morris’ regime, averaging 169 YPG/4.5YPC/8TD and ranking #71 overall in rushing offense. However, Morris has this offense headed in the right direction, scoring 33 points this week vs. Ole Miss and 31 last week vs. Alabama. A huge cog in that offense has been Boyd, who has rushed for 100+ yards in each of those games and averaging a superb 9.6 YPC. That’s only half the story, as Boyd has been deadly in the passing game securing 14 of 15 Targets for 132 yds/9.4YPC over the last 4 games. Boyd shouldn’t be cast as a 3rd down back either, as he’s well suited for every down work at 6’0 205 Lbs. Rakeem Boyd is still a SO and is poised to take charge of this developing Arkansas offense sooner or later. In PPR leagues of 14 teams or more, he’s a good low-floor option with some upside. He’s a very attractive option in Keeper/Dynasty leagues where you can afford to wait and see how Arkansas looks in year 2 of Chad Morris’ system.
Isaac Zico – Purdue – Sr.- 4% Owned:
Brian Brohm’s 2nd year Purdue offense has transitioned into a yards machine reminiscent of his Western Kentucky teams of 2014-16. Purdue ranks 10th in the country with 510/YPG, sports a 7.0 YPP Avg and is running 73 plays per game in the grind-it-out Big 10. Though Rondale Moore is the Freshman star of this WR unit, Senior Isaac Zico has emerged as David Blough’s reliable #2 WR. In the 4 games since Blough took the starting QB job from Elijah Sindelar, Purdue is averaging 393/YPG passing. Zico has been a direct beneficiary of the change, as he has received 7.75 Targets per game in that span, that he’s turned into fantasy performances of 14/13/10/29 Points. In that span, Zico is averaging 95.5/YPG, but has only scored 2 TDs. With the kind of volume Zico is seeing, I expect that TD number to rise. Purdue does have a tough final stretch, facing Ohio St/@MSU/Iowa/@Minn/Wisc/@Indiana so he could be a risky start in a few of those games. Zico is a Senior, so he’s a relevant option in PPR deep leagues where you need WR help.
Jalen Greene – Utah State – Sr. – 0% Owned:
Oh, how I love the Utah State offense this year. I can’t wait for them to storm into Boise State November 24th with the MWC Mountain Division title on the line and dismantle the Smurfs. They’re averaging 71 plays per game, 53/PPG, ranked 23rd nationally averaging 478/YPG and 9th nationally in TD/s per game. Greene has been a steady producer in this offense, hauling in 18 of 24 targets over the last 4 games. He’s taken a step forward the last 2 weeks, posting a receiving line of 5/53/1TD against BYU and then 5/132/1 this week against UNLV. Utah State plays @ Wyoming this week, then they face a dream stretch of New Mexico/@Hawaii/SJ St/@Col. State before @Boise St 11/24. Greene will be a pretty safe starting option during a stretch where Utah State will be scoring 50/PPG. Owners in Deep leagues that start more than 3 WR’s could do much worse and should take a flyer if in need of WR help.
John Hightower – Boise State – Jr. – 9% Owned:
Sgt. Hightower, while not partnered with his sidekick Tacklebury, has been a multi-purpose weapon for the Boise St. Smurfs. Hightower arrived on campus this year as a Top-100 Overall JuCo transfer and the #1 rated signing of Bryan Harsin’s incoming class. He has proved to be an explosive weapon for the Broncos, recording fantasy lines of 33/14/17/6/19 points over the last 5 weeks, including logging 8 carries in that span for 163 yards/2TD. His ability to hit home runs in both phases of the game keeps him involved in Boise’s quick pace offense that records an average of 78 snaps per game and is ranked 19th in total offense. Boise has spread the ball around the WR corps, but in the passes thrown his way Hightower has caught 19 of 21 Targets over the past 5 games. Which is all the more impressive considering his downfield tendencies, as he averages 14.6 YPC and 20.4 Yards Per Rush. Hightower is a coveted weapon in the Boise St attack that is most valuable in non-PPR leagues since he only averages 4 catches per game and does a lot of damage on the ground. He’s a worthy add in 14+ Team Non-PPR formats and all 20+ team Deep Leagues.