We are less than a month away from the opening kickoff of the college football season and many of you are getting ready to draft your teams. Having the edge on the under-the-radar guys is always a plus and can lead to success in any fantasy league. If your league uses all FBS teams or has a wacky format where you use only the Sun Belt and the MAC, this article is for you. There are plenty of guys that could probably make this list but I wanted to highlight some of the guys I am watching heading into this season.
Matt Linehan (Idaho)- As a Boise State fan, I really don’t want to ever give a Vandal any credit, but Linehan may be in for a very nice season in 2015. The main reason I believe he can be really good this year is the return of stud wide receiver Dezmon Epps. Epps was kicked off the team and missed all of 2014 after having a strong 2013 season. He tallied 77 receptions for 971 yards and four touchdowns. Obviously, we’d like to see more touchdowns in 2015 but I really think Linehan will be throwing often for the Vandals this year.
Max Wittek (Hawaii)- I’m not sure if this one quite counts as a sleeper but this former USC QB could make a lot of noise on the island this season. After sitting out 2014 due to transfer rules, Wittek has already been named the starter heading into fall camp and looks to have quite a few weapons at his disposal. Two receivers come to mind in Quinton Pedroza and Marcus Kemp. They combined for 115 receptions, 1,471 yards and six TDs in 2014. I expect the numbers to tick upwards with a talented QB on the roster in 2015.
Phillip Ely (Toledo)– The former Alabama QB opened the 2014 season with a four touchdown performance against New Hampshire that put him on many waiver wire lists a year ago. After tearing his ACL in the team’s second game against Missouri, Ely is back and ready to lead the Rockets in 2015. He has some very nice weapons at his disposal in running back Kareem Hunt and wide receivers Alonzo Russell and Corey Jones. Look for Ely to be a very solid quarterback as long as he stays healthy.
Michael Birdsong (Marshall), Shuler Bentley (Old Dominion), Kyle Pohl (Akron), Taylor Lamb (App State)
Devon Spalding (C. Michigan)- I was not high on Spalding but multiple concussions led to the Chippewas starter, Saylor Lavalli, to retire. This opens the door for Spalding, the teams 2nd leading rusher in 2014 as a freshman. Although he may split time with junior Martez Walker, expect Spalding to get the majority of carries. Also, another big factor in Spalding’s favor is that Central Michigan lost star wide receiver Titus Davis to graduation.
Jeffrey Wilson (North Texas)- The reason I have Wilson listed is mainly because many thought Antoine Jimmerson would just assume the starting role this season. This isn’t the case as Wilson is currently listed as the team’s starter at the running back position. Wilson rushed for just 224 yards and a touchdown on 49 carries in 2014 but was only a freshman buried on the depth chart. Look for him to get quite an increase in production in 2015 as the Mean Green are looking to bounce back after a very rough 4-8 season.
Chris Hairston (East Carolina)- After projecting Breon Allen to put up elite numbers in 2015, I was humbled by his 2014 season. After seeing what Vintavious Cooper did in 2013, I expected Allen to just step right in and continue the production. However, Allen’s stats were far from bad as he had nearly 100 fewer carries than Cooper had in 2013 and still put up 869 yards and eight touchdowns in 2014. If Hairston may get a nice workload this season as the team moves on from two of its most prolific player in its history in QB Shane Carden and WR Justin Hardy. Hairston may had very nice value to your team in 2015 as the Pirates try to continue their recent success.
Teddy Williamson, Darian Green (Ball State)- This duo is still working itself out in fall camp but this job is something to really keep an eye on. Williamson has been getting first team reps with Green stepping in often. The would be starter, Horactio Banks, learned that his college career would be over after having surgery for a lower leg stress fracture in the spring. This job is open for the taking and has been held by since graduated Jahwan Edwards. Edwards racked up 4,558 yards in four season with the Cardinals so obviously there are big shoes to fill.
Sam Craft (Memphis), Trayion Durham (Kent State), Shadrach Abrokwah (UMass)
Robbie Anderson (Temple)- Many of you may recognize this name and if you have been playing CFF for a few years then you should. Anderson emerged in 2013 as Temple’s primary receiver hauling in 44 passes for 791 yards and nine touchdowns in just the final nine games of the season. After sitting out in 2014 due to academic issues, Temple’s passing attack took a hit. Now that Anderson is back, look for P.J. Walker to capitalize and get back to what they had going in 2013.
Chance Allen (Houston)- Allen, the former Oregon receiver, has gained immediate eligibility after transferring this January. Look for him to excel in this new offense head coach Tom Herman is bringing from his national championship winning Ohio State team. This is considered to be one the deeper sleepers but for those of you in the deeper leagues, he could be worth a shot.
Brandon Swindall (Utah State)- Now, this guy may only be valuable for the first couple weeks of the season due to the Hunter Sharp suspension, but I think he could be worth a shot in the deeper formats and DFS. The Aggies are dying for the senior to stay healthy as they wide receiver group has had a rough offseason. They have lost leading playmaker Jojo Natson, Hunter Sharp for the first two games, and also Demarco Robinson possibly for the first couple of games due to injury. Swindall is a veteran that has connected with Chuckie Keeton before so keep an eye on this one.
Chaz Anderson (Boise State)- This one is my boom or bust pick. He may have some massive games this season followed by a complete dud. He is the Broncos’ deep threat in this offense and showed glimpses last season of taking his game to the next level. In 2014, his production was limited as he was buried on the depth chart but averaged 21.7 yards per catch on his 21 catches. Obviously, Shane Williams-Rhodes and Thomas Sperbeck are the main targets but Anderson has a chance to be a very sneaky DFS play for sure.
Courtland Sutton (SMU)- The 6’4, 218 lb. redshirt freshman has a chance to be dynamite in the Chad Morris offense. Look for Sutton to take full advantage of his big frame and have a very productive season. He and senior receiver Darius Joseph should form a nice tandem for potential star QB Matt Davis in the American Athletic Conference.
Hyleck Foster (Marshall), David Washington (Old Dominion), Jalin Robinette (Air Force), Kendal Keys (UNLV), Malachi Jones (App State)