College Fantasy Football: Best Strength of Schedule
We are all looking for players with high upside going into fantasy draft season. Any advantage you can find is a good one, and knowing which players have the easiest schedules can certainly put you ahead of the curve. This article will look into strength of schedule and opposing team FPIs to determine which superstars have the most favorable schedules this season.
WR Preston Williams, Colorado State
Toughest Matchups: Florida, Boise State, Utah State, Air Force, Wyoming
Preston Williams is one of the top transfers in all of college football for the 2018 season. Colorado State has become a bit of a farm school for wide receivers over the past several seasons, and Williams seems to be the guy to take over that spot this year with the way his coaches have talked about his playmaking ability and leadership skills. The biggest obstacles in Williams’ way are the Florida Gators, who produce NFL defensive backs better than almost any other team in the nation, and Wyoming’s defense, which forced 38 turnovers last season and returns 11 of their 15 best tacklers. Outside of those two games, Williams has the right matchups to really do some damage in the Mountain West, especially with Washington-transfer KJ Carta-Samuels coming in to play quarterback.
RB Sharif Seymour, Toledo
Toughest Matchups: Miami (FL), Fresno State, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan, Nevada
Last season, Toledo proved to all college football that they can maintain an incredible rushing game without Matt Campbell at the wheel. Terry Swanson rushed for 1,363 yards as the first option, and the then-freshman Seymour was able to rush for 702 yards as the two option. Seymour is now the sole member of the Toledo backfield, and he could be in for a big year if they find a half-competent quarterback to throw to the Rockets’ excellent receivers and open up the run game. Seymour will likely struggle against the quick Hurricane defense and a really good Fresno State defense, but he should post huge numbers the rest of the season. His ceiling is as high as Eli Peters or Mitchell Guidagni can make it.
RB Juwan Washington, San Diego State
Toughest Matchups: Stanford, Boise State, Arizona State, Fresno State, Nevada
This one is more obvious, but he fits the bill of a good player with an easier schedule. Juwan Washington falls into a line of successful Aztec running backs and is already looking to top his predecessor. And with his 2018 schedule, it shouldn’t be hard to succeed if he’s as advertised. Boise State held Penny to 53 yards in 2017, while Fresno State held him to 69 yards, and both teams return most of their defensive squads in 2018. Outside of those two games, however, the rest of the defenses on the schedule struggled to stop the run last season, and that includes Stanford, who finished 68th overall in run defense. The world is Washington’s oyster this season as he carries the Aztec torch.
RB Jalin Moore, App St
Toughest Matchups: Penn State, Arkansas State, Troy, Georgia Southern, Southern Mississippi
After a slow start to the 2017 season, Jalin Moore took off for 588 yards and nine touchdowns in a four-game span. Moore has to go against a tough Penn State defense in Week 1, but he shouldn’t have to face a defense that’s even close to that good the rest of the season. Arkansas State mostly relies on its offense, while Troy is in a rebuilding year. If App can find a halfway decent quarterback and Jalin Moore plays like he did late last season, then he will be a hot commodity in 2018.
QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
Toughest Matchups: Washington, Stanford, California, Utah, Arizona
Oregon was an interesting team in the Pac 12 North last season until a broken collarbone put a stop to it. Herbert is back to full health and ready to go for the Ducks this season, and he gets a strength of schedule that ranks 122nd in football. His toughest matchup is against Washington, and Utah always finds ways to mess with opposing offenses. But outside of Week 7 and 11, Herbert should post an easy 20+ fantasy points each week. Stanford’s defense isn’t as good as it has been over the years, and Herbert’s game against Khalil Tate is sure to be a fantasy owner’s wildest dream.
QB Justice Hansen, Arkansas State
Toughest Matchups: Alabama, App State, Tulsa, ULM, UNLV
Justice Hansen tore apart teams last season by passing for 3,967 yards and 37 touchdowns with another seven scores on the ground. It’s a bit precarious that a team that plays Alabama would make this list, but outside of that game, it’s smooth sailing. After losing so much fantasy talent last year, Hansen appears to be one of the top five returning options this season. His lack of ground game will likely drop him to the second or third round in fantasy drafts, but don’t let that persuade you to pass on Hansen. Barring injury, he is only going to improve upon his 2017 season. Even if you have to bench him in Week 2, he will kill it every other week of the season.
QB Nathan Rourke, Ohio
Toughest Matchups: Northern Illinois; Western Michigan; Virginia; Miami (Oh); UMASS
Nathan Rourke shocked the fantasy world by scoring 359 fantasy points last season as a freshman. Rourke is likely a first- or second-round selection in most fantasy drafts this season, and with a schedule like this, it’s hard to argue against it. The Ohio Bobcats have a strength of schedule that ranks 128th, they return three offensive linemen in addition to AJ Oulette, and best of all, they lost a lot on defense, meaning they’ll have to rely more on Rourke to compete in the MAC. Virginia has a solid passing defense, finishing seventh overall last season, but they also finished 107th in rushing defense, which bodes well for Rourke’s skill set. Expect Rourke to be among the nation’s best as a fantasy player this season.
Check back next week for analysis on top-flight players with difficult schedules for the 2018 season.
Also, go check out both parts of my Full-FBS Spring Analysis. Over 9,000 words of content, reviewing almost all 130 FBS teams going into fall camp.