Baylor vs West Virginia in 2012, Pittsburgh vs Syracuse in 2016, Western Michigan vs Buffalo in 2017, and USF vs UCF in 2017 all allowed players to have an ungodly number of fantasy points at the conclusion of the game. As we continue to preview the 2018 season, here are three games each week that will be a goldmine for fantasy points.
Honorable Mentions: North Texas vs SMU, Ole Miss vs Texas Tech, Texas vs Maryland
Biggest Game: Florida Atlantic @ Oklahoma
Although I don’t see FAU escaping Norman with a win, I could definitely see this game topping 100 total points scored. For Oklahoma, this will be the coming out party for Kyler Murray and the beginning of Rodney Anderson’s Heisman campaign as they run all over the atrocity that is the Owls defense. For Florida Atlantic, Devin Singletary will continue to be the best player in fantasy football by pounding the rock on a depleted Sooner defense. The quarterback position has not yet been decided for FAU, but Chris Robison or DeAndre Johnson is more than capable of holding their own with their athletic skill sets. North Texas and SMU should be a close second with Sonny Dykes Ari Raid system taking on the North Texas offense that returns a huge quarterback/receiver duo in Mason Fine and Jalen Guyton.
Honorable Mentions: Arkansas vs Colorado State, Memphis vs Navy, Georgia Tech vs South Florida
Biggest Game: Houston vs Arizona
Week 2 features two teams with very similar quarterbacks. Khalil Tate is likely to be the Heisman favorite for most analysts going into the season due to his electrifying on-field production. Houston’s defense was bottom-50 in college football last season despite the blessing the Ed Oliver is on the defensive side of the ball, so Tate will likely be able to do whatever he wants to do. If there’s one thing I can say sarcastically, it’s that Kevin Sumlin can put a good defense together. Arizona had one of the 15 worst defenses in the nation last year and may improve slightly, but not enough to stop D’Eriq King from racking up rushing yards. Memphis and Navy have the potential to take the top spot in Week 2, but it’s yet to be seen how good Memphis is at quarterback with Riley Ferguson gone.
Honorable Mentions: Arkansas vs North Texas, Oklahoma vs Iowa State, UMASS vs FIU
Biggest Game: Purdue vs Missouri
This game didn’t exactly go according to plan last season when the Boilermakers demolished the Tigers 35-3. Missouri would go on to have one of the most prolific offenses in college football behind Drew Lock during the later portion of the season. Jeff Brohm doesn’t have a guy like Mike White at quarterback, but it’s still a Jeff Brohm offense. This matchup seems like one that will go down to whoever scores last, which is always good for fantasy football. The Oklahoma and Iowa State matchup has potential to be just as valuable for owners of Zeb Noland, Kyler Murray, David Montgomery, and Rodney Anderson if it plays out similar to last season.
Honorable Mentions: Texas Tech vs Oklahoma State, Nevada vs Toledo,
Biggest Game: Florida Atlantic vs Central Florida
I’ve already written about the offensive prowess that FAU brings to the field behind the offensive genius of Lane Kiffin. When the Owls travel to the home of the reigning national champions, it’s sure to be nothing less than phenomenal. The Knights are trading out offensive mind Scott Frost for offensive mind Josh Heupel, which may create a bit of a learning curve, but UCF brings back one of the best offensive players in college football in McKenzie Milton. The UCF defense may take a step back this season as Heupel learns to coach defense, which only makes this game a huge game from a fantasy perspective. Nevada and Toledo have potential to make headlines in Week 4, but no one can be sure until we see how well the Rockets acclimate to the loss of Logan Woodside.
Honorable Mention: Florida Atlantic vs Middle Tennessee, Ohio vs UMASS, Iowa State vs TCU
Biggest Game: Louisiana Tech vs North Texas
North Texas came close to having a fantasy game of the week, but the FAU vs Oklahoma matchup may overshadow them. Week 5 is coming up all Mean Green with a high-profile conference game against Louisiana Tech. Mason Fine and J’Mar Smith combined for 7,026 yards and 47 touchdowns in 2017, and their leading receivers (Teddy Veal and Jalen Guyton) combined for 1,725 yards and 16 touchdowns. Last season’s matchup may not have lived up to par, but the development of J’Mar Smith and the continual improvement of the North Texas offense could mean big things in Week 5. Middle Tennessee fell off late last season, even with Brent Stockstill’s return, and should they return to prominence this season, their matchup with FAU could be one for the ages.
Honorable Mentions: Missouri vs South Carolina, Fresno State vs Nevada, SMU vs UCF
Biggest Game: Iowa State vs Oklahoma State
This one didn’t quite break 100 last year, but it did give us huge games from Mason Rudolph, Justice Hill, Marcell Ateman, and David Montgomery. The loss of Rudolph hurts the Cowboys, but the addition of Dru Brown from Hawai’i will make the transition much easier for Mike Gundy to keep up the string of incredible offenses. Iowa State retained Matt Campbell in the offseason, and that’s reassurance enough for them to compete with the Big 12’s best. The Cyclones return David Montgomery, who is one solid season away from cracking the top-10 all-time rushers for Iowa State, and gunslinger Zeb Noland, who took over for Kyle Kempt against Oklahoma State last season and came up just short of a victory. Fresno State and Nevada is the other game to watch this week with Ty Gangi taking on Marcus McMaryion.
Honorable Mentions: UCF vs Memphis, Middle Tennessee vs FIU, Ohio vs N Illinois
Biggest Game: Ole Miss vs Arkansas
The other two games listed have potential to top this one, but with so much uncertainty, it’s hard to place any above Ole Miss and Arkansas. Ole Miss finished with a top-20 offense behind the revelation of Jordan Ta’Amu and 1,000 rushing yard season from Jordan Wilkins. Arkansas is on the radar for most football fans with the hiring of Chad Morris. Morris may not have all the pieces in place right now, but he did a lot more with less in his first season at SMU. Ohio vs Northern Illinois is also interesting with incredible talents Nathan Rourke and AJ Oullette going up against the mobile Marcus Childers. Northern Illinois’ defense may be too talented to put this game at the top, but both are sure to be fun to watch.
Honorable Mentions: Wake Forrest vs Florida State, Houston vs Navy
Biggest Game: Memphis vs Missouri
This matchup has all the potential in the world to be something special depending on Memphis’ ability to develop a quarterback. Missouri returns Drew Lock, a man who threw for close to 4,000 yards last season and scored 44 touchdowns through the air. Memphis vs Missouri has the potential to top 600 passing yards in a high-scoring, pass-heavy, and long-running affair. Willie Taggart might have things running well by Week 8 against the Wake Forest Clawfense, and if he does, then Noles vs Deacs could be an incredible high-profile matchup in the Atlantic Division of the ACC.
Honorable Mentions: Clemson vs Florida State, Lousiana Tech vs FAU, Wake Forest vs Louisville
Biggest Matchup: Oregon vs Arizona
Let’s just call Oregon’s bowl game loss to Boise State a fluke and say that Mario Cristobal gets things back on track for the Ducks. If so, the showdown of Justin Herbert and Khalil Tate could be one for the ages. Herbert is looked at as a possible first-round talent and has shown signs of improvement every year he takes the field. Khalil Tate is the west coast version of Lamar Jackson. In the running game, JJ Taylor looks to be the guy for Arizona and will be a feature player in the Sumlin offensive system, similar to Trayveon Williams, Keith Ford, and Tra Carson before him. Cristobal brings in an Alabama offensive background, which likely means that the Ducks will pound the rock against an atrocious Arizona run defense. LA Tech vs FAU has potential to be the game of the week should J’Mar Smith continue to develop over the season and FAU remains healthy.
Honorable Mentions: Oregon vs UCLA, Wake Forest vs Syracuse, FAU vs FIU
Biggest Matchup: Ohio vs Western Michigan
We’ve already established what Ohio has on offense in Nathan Rourke and AJ Oullette. Western Michigan may not be rowing the boat anymore, but Western Michigan’s run game ranked 21st in the nation last season with Jarvion Franklin and Jamauri Bogan in the backfield. Ohio’s run defense ranked fairly high last season, but their passing defense was one of the nation’s worst. Ohio will likely come out on top by more than one score, but don’t sleep on the Broncos giving the Bobcats more than they bargained for. Syracuse and Wake Forest have potential to claim Week 10’s biggest matchup if they can duplicate last year’s 64-43 game in the Carrier Dome.
Honorable Mentions: Navy vs UCF, Louisville vs Syracuse
Biggest Matchup: Oklahoma State vs Oklahoma
Of course, it’s the Bedlam Game. Oklahoma brings in players such as Heisman hopeful Rodney Anderson and potential star Kyler Murray to take on the Justice Hill, who you can almost assure tops 1,000 yards this season, along with Hawaii quarterback transfer Dru Brown, who was one of the best Mountain West quarterbacks over the past several seasons. This one may not be as high scoring as it has been over the Rudolph-Mayfield Era, but it’s sure to be the most fun game to watch in Week 11.
Honorable Mentions: Ohio State vs Maryland, West Virginia vs Oklahoma State
Biggest Matchup: FAU vs North Texas
Not too much left to say about this matchup. FAU and North Texas feature the best two offenses in the Conference USA, and this would be a rematch of the 2017 CUSA Championship game. Ohio State and Maryland could be huge if either Tyrrell Pigrome or Kasim Hill can stay healthy long enough to take on Dwayne Haskins and the Buckeyes.
Honorable Mentions: Ole Miss vs Mississippi State, Maryland vs Penn State, Arkansas vs Missouri
Biggest Matchup: Kansas State vs Iowa State
With Week 13 being rivalry week, I’m sure that this prediction will likely be incorrect. We’re going to ride with it anyway. Iowa State’s offense under Matt Campbell last season was as plug and play as they come considering their feature quarterback was a walk-on. Skylar Thompson has a high ceiling under Bill Snyder, and if he plays next season like he did against Oklahoma State in 2017, then this game at the end of the season can be a display of all the Big 12 has to offer en route to a chance at a conference championship.