College Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 3 Gemstones
I cannot count the number of times I have stated that playing “college fantasy football is the best way to learn, and scout, all of the future NFL Draft prospects.” On Saturday, a few freshmen (Will Shipley, TreVeyon Henderson and Jaxson Dart) made huge impacts on the gridiron, showcasing precious skills, and are now available on the college fantasy football waiver wire… Get ahead of the competition, and pick up the top freshmen this week.
Speaking of getting a head start, I thoroughly enjoyed the shootout between Virginia and North Carolina. I took copious notes of quarterbacks Sam Howell and Brennan Armstrong—who is also on four of my CFF teams—for future draft profiles. While neither are free agents in college fantasy football, the Cavaliers’ dual-threat signal-caller is undervalued in the Devy community and needs to be placed on rosters. He will shoot up Draft rankings very soon.
Not all the news or outcomes were roses over the weekend. Unfortunately, many CFF diehards, like myself, lost UCF quarterback Dillon Gabriel indefinitely after he suffered a clavicle injury. And many are waiting for an update on the availability of USC signal-caller Kedon Slovis after he left the game against Washington State. Don’t fret…JD Yonke, @YonkersCFB, and I have identified the top quarterbacks, and other position players, to target off the college fantasy football waiver wire this week.
College Fantasy Football provides alternative-reality zealots, NFL Draftniks, and Dynasty and Devy owners a competitive advantage against their opponents. What are you waiting for this summer? Get off the sideline and into the game on Fantrax. We guarantee that you will not regret playing in a CFF league this fall.
Week 3 College Fantasy Football Waiver Wire
Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh (Laub)
Fantrax Ownership: 31%
Yards Per Attempt: 9.1
It is rare for any quarterback to be mentioned in the same breath as former Panthers’ field general Dan Marino. Yet. Kenny Pickett has earned a spot in the Pittsburgh’ record books alongside the NFL Hall of Famer.
Now in second place among passing leaders, Pickett has thrown for 8,923 yards, surpassing Marino and Tino Sunseri and trailing only Alex Van Pelt in school history. More importantly, he is the eighth-most productive quarterback in college fantasy football. Against Western Michigan on Saturday, Pickett tossed six touchdowns and passed for 382 yards. In the three-point loss, he also rushed for 54 yards.
The senior has scored 125 fantasy points and produced 32, 36, and 56 points in the first three contests this year. He has completed over 71% of his passes and recorded a 10:1 TD:INT ratio. He has also passed for 939 yards and scrambled for a team-best 107 yards with a touchdown.
How explosive is the Panthers’ offense? Pitt has scored 133 points (44.3 ppg.) in three games, which is the highest total after three contests since 2014. For the first time ever, Pitt has scored 40-plus points in three consecutive games to open a season. In the next two weeks, the Panthers host New Hampshire (FCS program) and travel to Georgia Tech afterwards. There is no reason not to expect more fireworks with Pickett leading the charge.
Jaxson Dart, USC (Yonke)
Fantrax Ownership: 11%
Yards Per Attempt: 8.5
After Trojans’ starting quarterback Slovis went down to injury on the very first drive of the game, freshman Jaxson Dart came into the game and put up monster numbers. On the day, he completed 30 of his 46 pass attempts for 391 yards and four touchdowns. Those numbers didn’t lie, either, as he looked composed in the pocket and appeared very comfortable leading this Trojan’s attack.
It’s unclear as of this time when Slovis will be able to return, but it’s safe to say that there will be fierce competition for the starting spot even if he is able to return immediately. It sounds like Slovis may be able to practice this week, so picking up Dart is a high-risk, high-reward maneuver. The downside is that Slovis could immediately retain his starting role. The upside is that you could be getting yourself an elite producer at the quarterback position for a team operating a modified air raid attack.
If you are unsure about any of the quarterbacks on your roster, you need to add Dart right away—especially if you’re a Slovis owner and can send him to the IR in order to roster both.
Dart is a dual-threat (six rushes for 32 yards) who should provide some rushing stats as well going forward. He’ll need to clean up the turnovers, though, as he tossed a pair of interceptions.
USC threw the ball 44 times per game a year ago and are currently chucking the ball 42 times per game this season. It doesn’t hurt to have one of (if not the) best receivers in the country in Drake London to throw the ball to. All signs are pointing toward Dart being a fantasy-relevant player. While Slovis’s health may determine Dart’s fantasy utility, the upside is simply too high to consider leaving Dart on the waiver wire.
(After going to print, coach Donte Williams announced that Dart was day-to-day with soreness in his knee.)
Twitterverse on Fire!
After Week 3, Who Ya Got at quarterback?
- Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh: 19%
- Austin Kendall, Louisiana Tech: 13%
- Jaxson Dart, USC: 55%
- K.J. Jefferson, Arkansas: 13%
“KJ Jefferson has played great, but that’s a brutal schedule coming up with Texas A&M and Georgia the next two weeks.” @copieps
“If I knew that Jaxson Dart would definitely take over as the USC starter. I would take my shot on him. However, Pickett has been a solid starter every week and is a reliable weekly option.” @FabFalco
“DART!!! WHAT A DEBUT!!!” @aceholesrule
“Unfortunately, Jaxson Dart has become a necessary handcuff if Slovis owners can grab him.” @Dave_MaGee
“I think that I’ll be throwing plenty of Darts this week!” @CFF_Jared
Connor Bazelak, Missouri (Laub)
Fantrax Ownership: 20%
Yards Per Attempt: 8.0
While watching Missouri football this month, it is clear that running back Tyler Badie has become the star of the team on offense. Nevertheless, college fantasy footballers need to begin looking at quarterback Connor Bazelak. In the 59-28 demolition of Southeast Missouri State, Bazelak only played the first half of the game and still posted nice fantasy numbers.
The Tigers’ pitcher accumulated 346 passing yards and three touchdowns in the first half. “You hope within two quarters that you play well enough and put enough points on the board. We did. I’m kind of glad I got to sit out the second half,” Bazelak revealed after the blowout (Associated Press).
In three games, the 6’3” and 212-pounder has totaled 897 passing yards and accumulated a 9-1 TD:INT ratio while leading Missouri to two victories. Last year, the redshirt sophomore passed for 2,366 yards, completed 67% of his throws, and tossed seven touchdowns.
Bazelak looks much improved this year, and possibly, living up to the glowing scouting reports in high school. A four-star prospect in 2019, he was the No. 10 quarterback in the nation and No. 5 overall recruit in Ohio by ESPN. I’m old enough to remember when Chase Daniel and Drew Lock dominated opponents at Missouri, and Bazelak appears to be the next impact fantasy quarterback to wear the Black and Gold.
Austin Kendall, Louisiana Tech (Yonke)
Fantrax Ownership: 13%
Yards Per Attempt: 8.1
Don’t look now, but after three full weeks of college football Austin Kendall has been one of the Top CFF quarterbacks in the country. Kendall, the No. 4 ranked pro-style quarterback in the country according to Rivals when coming out of high school, played sparingly at Oklahoma and West Virginia before eventually transferring out of both spots. He’s always had the talent, but had yet to find a home where he could secure the starting job.
Fast forward to 2021, and Kendall has thrown for 837 yards and seven touchdowns over the first three games of the season. He likely popped up on more people’s radar after a thrilling duel with SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai this past Saturday in which the two Oklahoma transfers combined for 817 total yards and 10 touchdowns. Hard to ignore those numbers! (Hopefully you didn’t ignore this column last week when we advised picking up Mordecai, but alas.)
Not only has Kendall impressed through the air, he’s actually ran for a touchdown in each game this year as well. There’s always been untapped CFF potential for this Louisiana Tech scheme, as they recruit well at the skill positions, have attempted 35-plus passes for three years and counting, and aren’t shy about running the quarterback.
Will Kendall be the one to bring forth that untapped potential? Initial signs point to the answer being “Yes”.
Sean Tucker, Syracuse (Laub)
Fantrax Ownership: 30%
Last Thursday, I identified Sean Tucker among my CFF Serendipitous Starters for Week 3 on Twitter. I pinpointed his matchup against in-state institution Albany as a smash spot for the sophomore tailback. Never did I think he would finish the day as the top CFF running back.
Tucker carried 13 times for 132 yards and scored a whopping four times. In addition, he seized three passes for 121 yards, including a sensational 72-yard catch and run. When he finally took his helmet off, the Orange runner produced well over 50 fantasy points in any scoring format.
Even coach Dino Babers, who is a tough grader, was impressed: “It was good to see Tucker finish some runs and then also be extremely explosive in the passing game and be able to get those balls to the middle of the field. He turned those passes into home runs,” Babers declared after the game (dailyorange.com).
The 5’10” and 210-pounder has toted the pigskin on 65% of the team’s attempts among running backs and scored six times on the ground while averaging 7.2 ypc. Tucker has produced 13 first downs and five runs of 20-plus yards. He also has seven carries in the red zone and scored twice. A multi-dimensional competitor, he has corralled all seven passes thrown to him for 148 yards…Bazinga!
In the next three weeks, the Orange host Liberty, travel to Florida State, and welcome Wake Forest into town. If CFF managers need a backfield starter, Tucker is among the top free agents this week.
Jaylen Warren, Oklahoma State (Yonke)
Fantrax Ownership: 7%
If you’ve been playing CFF for any period of time before this season, then I’m sure you’re aware how valuable Mike Gundy’s top runner can be at Oklahoma State. Remember: this is the same scheme that saw running back Chuba Hubbard explode for 2,094 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns in the 2019 season. No, those stats aren’t typos!
The volume is especially appealing. Hubbard had a ridiculous 328 rushes during that season, evidence that Gundy loves himself a bell-cow runner and then rides the player until the wheels fall off. The RB No. 1 role for the Cowboys was in flux heading into the season, as LD Brown got the first crack at the job but faltered and began ceding reps to Warren.
Jaylen Warren appears to be headed for a huge workload going forward, as he took 32 carries for 218 yards and two touchdowns against Boise State on Saturday night. What do you do with Warren after such a performance? You pick him up immediately in the hope that you’ve found the next fantasy star at running back for Oklahoma State.
Is Warren a sure thing? Certainly not. However, the transfer from Utah State is currently locked into massive usage in a scheme proven to be exceptionally fantasy-friendly.
CFF All-Americans: Week 3
- QB Matt Corral, Mississippi: 56.2 points
- QB Malik Willis, Liberty: 45.4 points
- RB Sean Tucker, Syracuse: 55.3 points
- RB TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State: 46.2 points
- WR Drake London, USC: 42 points
- WR Josh Downs, UNC: 40.3 points
- WR Jalen Cropper, Fresno State: 40.2 points
- TE Gerrit Prince, UAB: 28.6 points
- Flex Calvin Austin, Memphis: 37.5 points
CFF Player of the Week: TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State vs. Tulsa
Will Shipley, Clemson (Laub)
Fantrax Ownership: 26%
After nearly a decade of rostering Clemson players on fantasy rosters, it is strange to see the Tigers’ offense produce below-average numbers and have few stars. The CFF community has been spoiled with the likes of Deshawn Watson, Trevor Lawrence, CJ Spiller, Travis Etienne, DeAndre Hopkins, and Mike Williams leading teams to championships.
Looking at the Total Offense team statistics, CFF managers must scroll far down the rankings to find Clemson. The Tigers are scoring only 22 points per game and accumulating a paltry 322.7 yards per game. Shocking after over a decade of dominance by coach Dabo Swinney’s club.
On Saturday, Clemson might have identified the one offensive playmaker who demands a roster spot on CFF teams. Against Georgia Tech, Will Shipley scampered for 88 yards on 21 carries and caught two passes. The freshman also secured the victory with a fumble recovery for a safety with eight seconds remaining in the game.
“Every time Shipley gets the ball, he runs like his life depends on it. That’s just how he plays the game. As the game continues to slow down for him and he gets more and more experience, he’s going to become a great one. No doubt about it,” Swinney declared earlier in the season (greenvilleonline.com).
A five-star prospect by 247Sports, Shipley leads the team in attempts (33), yards (175) and touchdowns (4). (On Tuesday, Lyn-J Dixon announced he is leaving Clemson and entering the transfer portal.) In the Tigers’ backfield, the fantastic freshman is now the undisputed starter. It is time to acquire the runner and place him into starting lineups at the flex position moving forward.
Twitterverse on Fire!
Who Ya Got at running back after Week 3?
- Sean Tucker, Syracuse: 18%
- Rasheen Ali, Marshall: 12%
- Treyson Potts, Minnesota: 58%
- Billy Kemp IV, Virginia: 12%
“Treyson Potts has stepped right into a respectable version of Mo Ibrahim who was a Top Five RB pick this summer. He’s locked in as a weekly starter on most fantasy rosters in my opinion.” @FabFalco
“Potts has picked up where Mohamad left off. He is an outstanding add.” @aceholesrule
“I expected to see Jaylen Warren on this list.” @copieps
Honorable Mention Gemstones
QB N’Kosi Perry, Florida Atlantic
Fantrax Ownership: 8%
- QB Payton Thorne, Michigan State
Fantrax Ownership: 4%
- RB Rasheen Ali, Marshall
Fantrax Ownership: 32%
- RB/WR Billy Kemp IV, Virginia
Fantrax Ownership: 13%
- WR Stanley Berryhill, Arizona
Fantrax Ownership: 13%
- WR Dontayvion Wicks, Virginia
Fantrax Ownership: 3%
- WR Jayden Reed, Michigan State
Fantrax Ownership: 41%
Charleston Rambo, Miami (Yonke)
Fantrax Ownership: 42%
Team Target Share: 34%
A transfer from Oklahoma who was finding it difficult to be a reliable CFF producer for a crowded Sooners receiving corps, Rambo had a coming-out party of sorts this past weekend against Michigan State. Although most of the team struggled to find success in the embarrassing 38-17 home loss to the Spartans, Rambo established himself as the go-to target for quarterback D’Eriq King in 2021.
Rambo saw a massive 17 targets in Week 3, which tied for the third-most of any player in the country. He produced mightily in those chances, finishing with 12 catches for 156 yards and 2 scores. It appears as though Rambo has found his home and will be a weekly producer for a Hurricanes team struggling to find its footing.
Rambo gets a nice bump in PPR leagues, where he should be a weekly starter or flex option as a player garnering plenty of targets. Although they’ve stumbled out of the gates to begin the season, this is still a team that returns eight starters offensively and threw for 277 yards per game a year ago. Own Rambo with confidence going forward.
Calvin Jackson Jr., Washington State (Laub)
Fantrax Ownership: 6%
Team Target Share: 23.2%
Last Chance U is my favorite reality show of all time. In Season 3, Calvin Jackson, Jr. played for Independence Community College in Kansas. During his two seasons at the school, Jackson corralled 74 passes for 1,030 yards and nine touchdowns while being named Second Team All-Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference both years.
In 2018, Jackson joined the program at Washington State and took a redshirt campaign in 2019. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in 2020 and came back for one final campaign as a graduate student.
The Cougars’ Y-receiver is clearly taking advantage of one final season both off and on the field. “Excited to announce my first Official Partnership with the Best CFB Page & Designer in the Industry: College Football Edits. Everyone go help him hit 75,000 followers! We got some big things coming together!” Jackson announced on Instagram in early July (spokesman.com).
In three games, Jackson has produced over 16 fantasy points in each contest. He has logged 18 catches for 262 yards and a touchdown, averaging over 14 yards per catch. The Cougars will continue to sling the football, and Jackson, 5’10” and 194-pounds, will earn plenty of targets the remainder of the season.
Twitterverse on Fire!
At wide receiver, Who Ya Got after Week 3?
- Nathaniel Dell, Houston: 29%
- Charleston Rambo, Miami: 17%
- Dontayvion Wicks, Virginia: 23%
- Jonathan Mingo, Mississippi: 31%
“Give me Jonathan Mingo. I want the guy getting looks from Matt Corral in that high-scoring Mississippi offense.” @FabFalco
“Nathaniel Dell has been very consistent with his touches. Tough call between him and Mingo, but I’ll go with Dell.” @aceholesrule
“I’ve been on the Charleston Rambo train for the entire off-season. Glad to see it pay off in some way! Hopefully, he can keep it up and it’s not just a one off. I went to Dontayvion Wicks this week. Second week in a row that he’s gotten consistent work for UVA!” @CFF_Jared
Xavier Weaver, USF (Laub)
Fantrax Ownership: 1%
Team Target Share: 26.3%
The Bulls have fallen on hard times over the past two seasons, posting a 5-16 record. And kicked off the 2021 crusade with back-to-back losses against North Carolina State and Florida. South Florida finally got into the win column with a victory over Florida A&M.
Before the triumph on Saturday, my CFF teammate, Matt Hicks, @theFF_Educator, identified Xavier Weaver as a sleeper at wide receiver on our weekly show The Blitz: College Fantasy Football. He proposed that our viewers insert the Bulls’ speedster into their lineups. Hope many took his advice.
Weaver snatched five passes for 77 yards and a touchdown against the Rattlers. In three games, the big-play receiver has registered nine receptions for 218 yards and a touchdown while averaging 24.2 ypc. At 6’1” and 178-pounds, the junior warrants a long look by CFF managers.
Weaver is optimistic that the Bulls can turn around the program, and he is clearly rising to the occasion. “Our community is still so positive and so together that it really is amazing. It might take a little time, but it’s going to happen. We are going to turn this thing around, and I want to be part of that,” Weaver stated before the Florida A&M contest (tampabay.com).
The Bulls have a challenging matchup at BYU next week. Fortunately, the AAC schedule begins the following week, and USF plays SMU, Tulsa, and Temple to open Conference play. Place Weaver on your radar for the rest of the 2021 campaign.
Ryan O’Keefe, UCF (Yonke)
Fantrax Ownership: 7%
Team Target Share: 16.7%
There was a lot of conversation this offseason about what the UCF offense would look like under new head coach Gus Malzahn. Was he going to bring in a power-running spread scheme, similar to his time at Auburn? What would the pace of play look like? This is a UCF team that has been producing CFF stars year in and year out, so the uncertainty that comes along with a coaching change was an important topic of debate.
After three games, we appear to have some answers, and they’re mostly positive. This is still a team that is going to score plenty of points (44.7 per game) and play at a fast tempo (78.3 plays per game). They’re averaging a robust 554 total yards of offense per game—that’s a fantasy gold mine!
Ryan O’Keefe has been the leader in targets out wide for the Golden Knights, garnering 22 targets in three games. Always a dangerous speed threat, O’Keefe is looking like a more well-rounded wide receiver this year that the UCF passing game can lean on. He was a dual-threat quarterback in high school and ran for over 1,800 yards and had 28 TDs as a senior in 2018. It’s understandable that he’s been maturing into a full-time wide receiver, but he has taken a step forward and is going to be an every-down player that defenses must account for.
The main concern is that UCF quarterback Dillon Gabriel suffered a broken clavicle on the very last play of the game against Louisville this past weekend. Still, a team averaging 554 yards of offense will provide CFF goodness even without Gabriel, and O’Keefe appears to be a player primed to step up.
As a bonus, likely new starting quarterback Mikey Keene may be worth a look in your leagues as well.
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