Here are my positional tier rankings, followed by some brief advice as you prepare your college fantasy football lineups for this week.
1. Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech vs. Texas
2. Lamar Jackson, Louisville at Boston College
3. Ryan Higgins, Louisiana Tech at North Texas
4. Seth Russell, Baylor vs. TCU
The buzz: Maybe Mahomes’ arm was tired last week; he attempted only 39 passes against TCU after throwing 88 times and completing 52 for 734 yards and five touchdowns against Oklahoma. This week, he plays a Texas defense that hasn’t stopped anyone. Jackson is coming off a down week but should bounce back against Boston College. Higgins has thrown for at least two touchdowns in every game this season and gets a plus matchup against North Texas. Russell is coming off the best rushing performance of his career, but has had three consecutive poor passing performances. I think his arm catches up to his legs this week.
1. Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee State vs. UT San Antonio
2. Chad Kelly, Ole Miss vs. Georgia Southern
3. Luke Falk, Washington State vs. Arizona
4. Deshaun Watson, Clemson vs. Syracuse
The buzz: Stockstill and Falk play in two of the highest-volume passing teams in the country. Kelly gets a fantastic matchup with Georgia Southern. Watson has been a bit hit-or-miss this season, but I like the matchup against a Syracuse defense that hasn’t matched up well with high-octane offenses this season.
1. Jeremy McNichols, Boise State vs. San Jose State (Friday night)
2. Dalvin Cook, Florida State at North Carolina State
3. I’Tavius Mathers, Middle Tennessee State vs. UT San Antonio
4. Donnell Pumphrey, San Diego State vs. Hawaii
5. Aaron Jones, UTEP vs. Houston Baptist
The buzz: McNichols may be the best rushing/receiving threat in the country. He is a virtual lock to score at least one touchdown every week and a good bet to score two or more this week. Cook scored four touchdowns last week, so I’m playing the hot hand here. Mathers has scored a touchdown in six consecutive games and MTSU’s offense has a good matchup this week. Pumphrey remains the nation’s leading rusher. Jones has scored four of his nine touchdowns this season in the past three weeks. If he gets 20 carries this week, he may score three times.
1. D’Onta Foreman, Texas at Texas Tech
2. Christian McCaffrey, Stanford vs. Oregon State
3. Ito Smith, Southern Miss at Charlotte
4. Kamryn Pettway, Auburn vs. Vanderbilt
5. Myles Gaskin, Washington at California
The buzz: Foreman has rushed for at least 124 yards in every game this season, and I don’t expect that to change this week. McCaffrey has played himself out of Heisman contention, but not out of top-10 running back consideration; I love the matchup against Oregon State. Smith has scored in seven out of eight games and gets a fantastic matchup against Charlotte. Pettway has been one of the breakout stars in the SEC this season, and while the matchup against Vandy wouldn’t appear to favor him, Vandy has struggled defensively against up-tempo offenses. Gaskin is on a four-game hot streak and should make it five this week.
1. Zay Jones, East Carolina at Tulsa
2. Carlos Henderson, Louisiana Tech at North Texas
3. Richie James, Middle Tennessee State vs. UT San Antonio
4. Jonathan Giles, Texas Tech vs. Texas
5. Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech at North Texas
The buzz: Jones doesn’t have a high yards-per-catch number, but remains one of the highest-volume pass catchers in the country and is a good bet to score a touchdown against Tulsa. Henderson and Taylor are both great plays against an overmatched North Texas defense. James is the go-to guy in MTSU’s high-volume passing offense. Giles had a really slow game last week, but I do not expect the same against Texas.
1. Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky vs. Florida International
2. Thomas Sperbeck, Boise State vs. San Jose State (Friday night)
3. Gabe Marks, Washington State vs. Arizona
4. Christian Kirk, Texas A&M at Mississippi State
5. Curtis Samuel, Ohio State vs. Nebraska
The buzz: Taylor has scored a touchdown in five consecutive games and seems to have found his rhythm after a slow start. I expect big numbers from Boise State’s offense this week. Marks is the main target in the high-volume Washington State passing game. Kirk and the Aggies get a matchup against the worst pass defense in the SEC. Samuel is a borderline top-10 play at running back or wide receiver, depending on how your league lists him, every week.
1. Evan Engram, Ole Miss vs. Georgia Southern
2. Gerald Everett, South Alabama at UL Monroe
3. Bucky Hodges, Virginia Tech at Duke
4. Jordan Leggett, Clemson vs. Syracuse
5. Jaylen Samuels, North Carolina State vs. Florida State
(You can follow Tony Smith on Twitter at 1010xlfattony)
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