Daily Blog •September 1, 2011

Finally the College Football season starts tonight with 14 games on the schedule. Two years ago I started a weekly blog that included my surprise fantasy picks for each week of the college football season. Each week I picked the players that were flying under the radar and I am pleased that I finished my first year at a very successful 83-29-7 (74%). Last year I had another successful year with a winning week every week and an overal 103-45-17 (70%) record.

This year I will again be giving you the surprise fantasy picks each and every week in my Thursday daily blog and here are my picks for Week 1. Keep in mind you will not find players like Andrew Luck, Denard Robinson, LaMichael James or Justin Blackmon in my picks. These are strictly surprise picks of players who are flying under the radar.

Surprise Fantasy Players of the Week


My QB’s of the Week: James Franklin, Missouri, Tino Sunseri, Pittsburgh, Barrett Trotter, Auburn and Austin Davis, Southern Miss

James Franklin, Missouri- Blaine Gabbert is off to the NFL and the new starter for the Tigers is James Franklin who is a PS#19. Last year he got in 10 games (11-14, 106, 1-1) as the Wildcat QB. He is strong armed and elusive and keep in mind he is surrounded by top flight skill position players as the Tigers return their top 3 rushers and their top 4 WR’s who all had at least 39 receptions last year. Gabbert who was a #1DC only had a 16-9 ratio last year so there is a chance that Franklin actually could post better numbers this year with so much depth and experience around him. This week they take on a Miami, Oh team that gave up 51 pts to the Tigers last year and my computer projects 288 pass yards for the Tigers. A near 300-yd game and a big win should be deemed a very successful first start for Franklin.

Tino Sunseri, Pittsburgh-Sunseri was the clear-cut starter in 2010 and while he struggled early, he improved midseason including 272 vs ND, 281 with 4 td’s vs Syracuse and 307 vs Rutgers. He threw for 2,572 (64.5%, 16-9 ratio) on the year and now should put up much bigger numbers in HC Graham’s new QB friendly system. This week’s opponent Buffalo must replace all four starters in their secondary and have just 9 career starts. My computer projects 285 pass yds for Sunseri in what should be a great start to the season.

Austin Davis, Southern Miss-Davis is one of the most underrated QB’s in the country and already is the #2 career passer in Southern Miss history having already topped Brett Favre and Lee Roberts as the career td pass leader (53). I think he should have his best season yet and this week’s opponent Louisiana Tech only finished #95 in my pass defense rankings last year. My computer calls for 305 pass yards and no doubt Davis and the Golden Eagles will put up more points and pass yards than LY’s game vs LT (13 and 233).


My RB’s of the week are: Lamar Miller, Miami, Fl and Brandon Bolden, Mississippi

Lamar Miller, Miami, Fl-Miller was a 3rd Tm Fr AA last year after running for 646 (6.0). This year I think  the Hurricanes could uncover their first 1,000 yd rusher S/’02 and with Miller penciled in as the starter he could be the guy to end the drought. With QB Jacory Harris and several Miami players suspended for the game look for the Canes to rely heavily on Miller and their ground game. I think there is a good shot he eclipses the 100-yd mark.

Brandon Bolden, Mississippi-Bolden is one of the most underrated players in the country and ran for 976 (6.0) last year while tying a school record with 14 rush td’s. This year Bolden is running behind my #2 OL in the country that has all 10 players back who started at least one game last year. Ole Miss QB Barry Brunetti (PS#9) will be making his first start and the Rebels will rely heavily on the ground game and my computer projects 222 rush yds which means Bolden has a great shot at topping the 100-yd mark.


My WR’s of the week are: Theo Riddick, Notre Dame, Tavon Austin, West Virginia and Royce Pollard, Hawaii

Theo Riddick, Notre Dame-When you think ND WR’s, the first name that clearly comes to mind is Michael Floyd who will hold every major Notre Dame school record for WR’s at the end of the year. However, a player to keep an eye on is Theo Riddick who was ND’s #2 receiver last year with 414 (10.4) despite missing 4 games. Riddick was used as a Wildcat QB in the bowl win over Miami, Fl and will return punts and kicks as well with HC Brian Kelly using him in a variety of formations. It would not surprise me if Riddick had close to 150 all-purpose yards in this game, which would make him easily one of the breakout fantasy players of the week with defenses keying on Floyd so much.

Tavon Austin, West Virginia-Austin was a 2nd Tm BE performer last year with 787 (13.6) and 8 td’s. Insert new HC Dana Holgorsen and his high-flying offense and Austin should have an outstanding season. This week my computer is calling for the Mountaineers to have 358 pass yards which means Austin has a solid shot at topping the 100-yd mark.

Royce Pollard, Hawaii-The Warriors lose their top two receivers from last year in Greg Salas and Kealoha Pilares who together combined for an incredible 3,195 yds (15.4) and 29 td’s. Pollard was their #3 rec with 901 (14.1) and 7 td’s and will get a lot more balls thrown in his direction this year. Hawaii’s pass happy offense is going up against a Colorado pass defense that finished #113 in my PDR last year and lost a #1 and #4 draft choice. My computer calls for 385 pass yds for the Warriors and look for Pollard to top the 100-yd mark.


My Top Defenses of the Week: Pittsburgh and Texas

Pittsburgh vs Buffalo-The Panther defense has allowed just 19.8 and 19.0 ppg the last two years and this year returns 8 starters and is my #1 rated D in the Big East. They have my #14 rated DL in the country that will be facing my #12 OL in the MAC! My computer forecasts just 38 rush yds and just 198 yds total for the Bulls with just 9 points and I think the Panther defense gets off to a strong start in 2011.

Texas vs Rice-Normally you would not find the Horns put in the surprise defense category as traditionally they have fielded one of the top defenses in the country. Last year due to such a poor offense the Horns allowed 23.7 ppg (7 ppg more than ’09) and lose DC Muschamp to Florida. However, Mack Brown made a great hire in getting Manny Diaz and naturally have VHT’s at every position. I think Texas makes a statement in this opener that last year is over and hold Rice to under 250 yds and no more than 14 pts.

UPSET OF THE WEEK: 5 straight winners to end last year!

Mississippi over BYU

1st meeting between these two schools. BYU is just 2-7 in road openers and Ole Miss is 7-0 SU in season openers the year after missing out on a bowl game. Ole Miss only has Southern Illinois on deck so this is a very important game and they have the heat and humidity edge of the South vs the high altitude Cougars. Both teams are much stronger than LY’s editions. This is a hungry SEC team with a good sized upgrade on talent and experience over their 4-8 squad from LY and even vs an underrated BYU team with a QB in Jake Heaps that improved each week LY the SEC home team gets the win.


A special thanks to our friends at CollegeFootballGeek.com for providing us with their Sneaky Plays for Week 1

CollegeFootballGeek.com’s Sneaky Plays – Week 1
By Kevin Mount, CollegeFootballGeek.com

With the summer over and the fantasy drafts finished, its time to pour over your roster and make those opening week lineup decisions. While some owners may have struck gold on draft day, others may be looking for a “sneaky” play that could pay big dividends in the first week of the season. Here is a look at a group of players that fantasy owners may overlook and have very productive opening weekends.


Tajh Boyd Clemson QB vs. Troy: With former Tulsa offensive coordinator Chad Morris on board, the Tigers will run a more up tempo offense and Boyd will be the trigger man. Boyd is a very good fit for the offense with his passing and rushing skill set and should show them both off the first week against Troy. This game has the makings off a high scoring affair that Boyd should have a big part in. A game with 300 total yards and a few scores may be well within the realm of possibility for this Tiger on the opening weekend.

James Franklin Missouri QB vs. Miami Ohio: This dual threat quarterback has the keys to the fantasy friendly Missouri offense and appears ready to do something with them. This game against Miami Ohio should provide a solid platform for Franklin to hit the ground running and showcase his skills. Look for a solid effort yardage wise and a few scores from the Missouri signal caller in Week one.
Seth Doege Texas Tech QB vs. Texas State: While the high flying Texas Tech offense may not put up video game type numbers anymore, it is still a place fantasy owners should target. Doege will be the man pulling the trigger in this offense and should put up solid totals against a cupcake in Texas State. He may only play one half of football, but that should be enough time for Doege to drop around 300 yards and three scores.
Barrett Trotter Auburn QB vs. Utah State: The Cam Newton era is over and Trotter will be given the first opportunity to lead the Tigers offense in 2011. Any quarterback playing in the high-powered Gus Malzahn offense is worth a shot and Trotter is no exception. While it is his first start, he will be facing a Utah State defense that ranked 100th in total defense last season. The defending national champions should be able to move the ball at will and Trotter could have a very nice opening act.

Running Backs

Jesse Callier Washington RB vs. Eastern Washington
: The door is wide open for Callier to have a big game with starting running back Chris Polk sidelined with a knee injury. Add in the fact that Washington is facing an overmatched Eastern Washington squad, and you have the recipe for some big numbers out of Callier on the opening weekend. He could very easily top 100 yards on the ground and add a score or two for good measure.
Savon Huggins Rutgers RB vs. North Carolina Central: The future of Rutgers football is now and Huggins appears to be the face of it all. This highly touted recruit has been dazzling this summer and looks to be the starting back right out of the gates. He should find some huge holes to run through against such a weak opponent and that equates to a big game fantasy wise. This could be the start of something special for Rutgers and fantasy owners alike. Look for Huggins to hit the century mark and likely a score I this contest.
Andre Williams RB Boston College vs. Northwestern: Williams will be filling in for the injured Montell Harris in Week one and should do so nicely. He did sprain his ankle in a recent scrimmage, but is expected to start against Northwestern and get the bulk of the carries. He will be facing a Northwestern defense that ranked 92nd against the run last season, so fantasy owners should be liking his chances. Williams could certainly top 100 yards on the ground and throw in a touchdown or two.
Joe Banyard RB UTEP vs. Stony Brook: Banyard showed some flashes last season as he ran for over 600 yards and eight scores. He is expected to be the feature back this season and should see a ton of carries. A match up with Stony Brook should be just what he needs to start the ball rolling and churn up some big
yardage. Anything less than 100 yards and a score would be disappointing in Week 1.

Wide Receivers & Tight Ends

Corey Johnson WR Troy vs. Clemson
: With the loss of the top three receivers from last season, Johnson has a chance to become a big contributor to the Troy offense in 2011. He is a big kid with very good speed and has a solid quarterback in Corey Robinson throwing him the rock. The opening game against Clemson could turn into shootout and Johnson may see many balls thrown in his direction. He is a bit of a gamble, but could pay big dividends in the end.
Theo Riddick WR Notre Dame vs. South Florida: There has been recent buzz that Brian Kelly will use Riddick all over the field and try to get him a bunch of touches per game. The Golden Domers offense should be improved this season and Riddick might have a large hand in that improvement. It’s quite conceivable that Riddick could total 100 yards and a score against South Florida with the increased touches in the offense.
Corey Brown WR Ohio State vs. Akron: The off-season has not been kind to Ohio State as we all know, but it has opened up opportunity for playing time for younger players like Brown. This sophomore has nice speed and can be a big play guy filling in for the suspended DeVier Posey. He should find plenty of open space against Akron as they ranked 113th against the pass last season and gave up a staggering 29 touchdown passes. Look for Brown to hit at least one home run ball in the first game.
Thomas Roberson WR Tulsa vs. Oklahoma: Roberson is likely to be the receiver who will benefit from the recent suspension of star wide out, Damaris Johnson. This lanky sophomore hauled in 30 passes as a freshman and should expand upon that greatly with Johnson out indefinitely. The Hurricanes will have to throw the ball early and often if they have any chance of keeping pace with the Oklahoma offense in Week one. Roberson should see many passes come his way and hopefully will take advantage of the opportunity.
Gavin Escobar TE San Diego State vs. Cal Poly: The Aztecs lost their top two receiving options from last season and 136 receptions went with them. While some receivers will almost certainly fill some of the void, it’s likely that Escobar will be counted on to produce at a higher level. He had 29 receptions in 2010 and could almost double that if it all falls right. He should find it pretty easy going against a Cal Poly team that will have a difficult time stopping the San Diego State passing attack.

Sneaky Play Defenses

Wisconsin vs. UNLV
Louisville vs. Murray State
Central Michigan vs. South Carolina State
Toledo vs. New Hampshire
Connecticut vs. Fordham
Georgia Tech vs. Western Carolina
Utah vs. Montana State
Air Force vs. South Dakota
North Carolina vs. James Madison
Oregon State vs. Sacramento State
Stanford vs. San Jose State
NC State vs. Liberty
Virginia vs. William & Mary
Arkansas vs. Missouri State
UCF vs. Charleston Southern
Kansas State vs. Eastern Kentucky
Texas Tech vs. Texas State
Arizona vs. Northern Arizona
San Diego State vs. Cal Poly

There you have it everyone, enjoy this week’s action and always remember to have fun playing college fantasy football. Good luck this week!


For more college fantasy football information, visit CollegeFootballGeek.com:


CollegeFootballGeek.com is your home for 2011 college fantasy football content!  Draft kit, injury reports, player news, player projections, player rankings, mock drafts, community forums, and much more!

A special thanks to our friends at CollegeFootballGeek.com for providing us with their Week 1 Player Rankings

Rank Name School Rank Name School Rank Name School
1 Landry Jones OU 1 Marcus Lattimore SCAR 1 Justin Blackmon OKST
2 Denard Robinson MICH 2 David Wilson VTECH 2 Ryan Broyles OU
3 Geno Smith WVU 3 Ronnie Hillman SDSU 3 Alshon Jeffery SCAR
4 Bryant Moniz COLO 4 Montee Ball WISC 4 Cody Wilson CMU
5 Austin Davis SMISS 5 Trent Richardson ALAB 5 Juron Criner ARIZ
6 Brandon Weeden OKST 6 Marcus Coker IOWA 6 Tavon Austin WVU
7 Zach Collaros CIN 7 Lance Dunbar NTEX 7 Eric Page TOLE
8 Andrew Luck STAN 8 Adonis Thomas TOL 8 Robert Woods USC
9 N. Scheelhaase ILLINI 9 Ray Graham PITT 9 Kamar Jorden BG
10 Taylor Martinez NEB 10 Stephan Taylor STAN 10 DJ Woods CIN
11 Case Keenum HOU 11 Bobby Rainey WKEN 11 Patrick Edwards HOU
12 Seth Doege TTECH 12 Taurean Poole TENN 12 Michael Floyd ND
13 Nick Foles ARZ 13 James White WISC 13 Marquess Wilson WAZZU
14 Jeff Godfrey UCF 14 LaMichael James OREG 14 Jordan White WMU
15 Tyler Wilson ARK 15 Rex Burkhead NEB 15 Royce Pollard HAW
16 Brock Osweiler AZST 16 Brandon Bolden MISS 16 TY Hilton FIU
17 Chandler Harnish NIU 17 Silas Redd PSU 17 Jeff Fuller TXAM
18 Kriss Proctor NAVY 18 Vick Ballard MSST 18 Roy Roundtree MICH
19 Tino Sunseri PITT 19 Andre Ellington CLEM 19 Justin Hunter TENN
20 Jeff Tuel WAZZU 20 Cyrus Gray TXAM 20 Greg Childs ARK
21 James Franklin MIZZU 21 Lennon Creer LTECH 21 Lance Lewis ECU
22 Tyler Bray TENN 22 Michael Dyer AUB 22 Derek Moye PSU
23 Robert Griffin BAY 23 Cameron Marshall AZST 23 Chris Owusu STAN
24 Ryan Tannehill TXAM 24 Rodney Stewart COLO 24 Mike Davis TEX
25 Logan Thomas VTECH 25 Jesse Callier WASH 25 Kelvin Bolden SMISS
26 Ryan Radcliff CMU 26 Ronnie Wingo ARK 26 Jeremy Ebert NW
27 Tim Jefferson AFA 27 Doug Martin BOIS 27 Demarlo Belcher IND
28 Collin Klein KSU 28 Isaiah Pead CIN 28 Kendall Wright BAY
29 EJ Manuel FSU 29 Bernard Pierce TEMP 29 Darius Johnson SMU
30 Alex Carder WMU 30 Antwon Bailey SYRA 30 Billy Ray Stutzmann HAW
31 Matt Barkley USC 31 Joseph Randle OKST 31 Conner Vernon DUKE
32 Darron Thomas OREG 32 Spencer Ware LSU 32 BJ Cunningham MSU
33 Dominique Davis ECU 33 Jasmin Hopkins NIU 33 AJ Jenkins ILLI
34 GJ Kinne TULS 34 Savon Huggins RUTG 34 Marvin McNutt IOWA
35 Tahj Boyd CLEM 35 Lamar Miller MIA 35 D. Christopher UTAH
36 Ryan Aplin ARKST 36 Jonathan Franklin UCLA 36 Mike Shanahan PITT
37 Alex Gillett EMICH 37 Jason Ford ILLINI 37 TJ Moe MIZZU
38 Dayne Crist ND 38 John White UTAH 38 Stedman Bailey WVU
39 Mike Glennon NCST 39 Raymond Sanders KENT 39 Keenan Allen CAL
40 Tevin Washington WASH 40 Eric Stephens TTECH 40 Chad Bumphis MSST
41 Kyle Padron SMU 41 Darriet Perry FIU 41 Mohammed Sanu RUTG
42 Barrett Trotter AUB 42 DJ Shoemate CONN 42 Theo Riddick ND
43 Chris Relf MIST 43 Michael Shaw MICH 43 Nick Harwell MIAO
44 Austin Dantin TOL 44 Andre Williams BC 44 Cole Beasley SMU
45 Jakes Heaps BYU 45 Ryan Houston UNC 45 Dwight Jones UNC
46 Ryan Lindley SDSU 46 Christine Michael TXAM 46 Dan Buckner ARIZ
47 Kellen Moore BOIS 47 Davin Meggett MARY 47 Mark Harrison RUTG
48 Kirk Cousins MICHST 48 Perry Jones UVA 48 Josh Cooper OKST
49 Dan Persa NW 49 Albert Williams TULN 49 Kendall Thompkins CIN
50 Russell Wilson WISC 50 Keola Antolin ARIZ 50 Joe Adams ARK
Rank Name School Rank Name School Rank Team
1 Michael Egnew MIZZU 1 Daniel Hrapmann SMISS 1 Alabama
2 Ladarius Green ULL 2 Dustin Hopkins FSU 2 Nebraska
3 Tyler Eifert ND 3 Jimmy Stevens OU 3 Penn State
4 Lucas Reed NMEX 4 Derek Dimke ILLINI 4 Iowa
5 Drake Dunsmore NW 5 Dan Conroy MICHST 5 Ohio State
6 James Hanna OU 6 Justin Tucker TEXAS 6 Virginia Tech  
7 Orson Charles UGA 7 Zach Hocker ARK 7 Michigan State  
8 Jordan Reed FLOR 8 Quinn Sharp OKST 8 Florida State  
9 Josh Chichester LOU 9 Will Snyderwine DUKE 9 Stanford
10 Ted Bolser IND 10 J. Williamson STAN 10 Rutgers
11 David Paulson OREG 11 David Ruffer ND 11 Wisconsin
12 Dion Sims MICHST 12 Abel Perez SDSU 12 Arkansas
13 Gavin Escobar SDSU 13 Randy Bullock TXAM 13 Arizona State
14 Dwayne Allen CLEM 14 Grant Ressel MIZZU 14 North Carolina
15 Georga Bryan NCST 15 Nick Cattoi UCF 15 Connecticut
16 Coby Fleener STAN 16 Tyler Bitancurt WVU 16 Tennessee
17 Jake Stoneburner OSU 17 Casey Barth UNC 17 Cincinnati
18 P. Lutzenkirchen AUB 18 Ross Evans TCU 18 NC State
19 Jacob Pederson WISC 19 Nathan Freese BC 19 Utah
20 Kyler Reed NEB 20 Kyle French WISC 20 Texas
21 Brandon Barden VAND 21 David Basil OSU 21 Florida
22 Zach Ertz STAN 22 Carson Wiggs PURD 22 Pittsburgh
23 A. Umuolo SDSU 23 Caleb Sturgis FLOR 23 Texas Tech
24 C. Gragg ARK 24 David Carona TTECH 24 Air Force
25 Vance McDonald RICE 25 Eric Soderberg AFA 25 Boise State
Scoring System Used for CFG Rankings:
4 points per passing touchdown
6 points per rushing/receiving touchdown
25 passing yards = 1 point
10 rushing/receiving yards = 1 point
1 interception = -2 point
1 reception = 0.5 points