The coaching carousel is finally cooling down, bowl games have kicked off, and a big-named fantasy receiver declared for the draft. All of this and more in this week’s installment of “This Week In Fantasy College Football.”
Kent State Names Cuse’s Sean Lewis the New Head Coach
Kent State went offensive with their head coaching hire, and with good reasoning. The Golden Flashes finished the year with the nation’s third-worst offense and a 2-10 record. Nate Holley’s unfortunate injury did not help their cause, either. Lewis helped Syracuse lead the nation in plays per game with 87.8 and established the Orange’s 22nd-ranked offense. My only concern: Did Syracuse find offensive success due to Sean Lewis or Dino Babers and Eric Dungey?
FAU to Extend Lane Kiffin for a Long Tenure
Lane Kiffin took the 3-9 Florida Atlantic Owls to a C-USA Championship. He also made Devin Singletary a fantasy college football star this past season. The higher-ups at FAU want Kiffin to stay for a while and are looking to give him whatever he wants to stay. The defense may not be any good going forward, but expect the Owls remain fantasy relevant on offense for years to come.
Mike Leach Extended
The coach we all know and love will remain at Wazzou until 2022. For those fantasy owners that have ridden with Leach over the past several seasons, know that the quarterback reigns supreme in the Air Raid system. Leach has produced guys like Jeff Tuel, Connor Halliday, and Luke Falk. With Falk, Tavares Martin Jr., and Isaiah Johnson-Mack gone, the Cougars will look to rebuild most of the passing game.
Van Jefferson (Ole Miss WR) Is Headed to Gainsville
Jefferson recorded 42 receptions and 465 yards as a freshman for the Rebels of Ole Miss, but after seeing his numbers fall in 2017 and an unexpected coaching change, he has decided to go to Florida. Whether or not Jefferson will sit out 2018 is yet to be seen, but this is a great landing spot for Jefferson with Antonio Callaway declaring for the NFL draft. Should Jefferson play this season, he should see an increased role under Dan Mullen.
Jordan Hoy (ODU QB) Will Transfer
The Fullerton College product played in three games this season, with one start. Old Dominio hasn’t been a big powerhouse for fantasy quarterbacks since Taylor Heinicke graduated, and Hoy will more than likely have to find an FCS program to sign on with. Hoy will have to sit out a season while Steven Williams will likely retain his starting job in 2018.
Ricky Town has Committed to Pitt
The Pittsburgh Panthers seem to be a haven for transfer quarterbacks. Nathan Peterman and Max Browne both transferred into Pitt, and Ricky Town will look to be the third straight transfer quarterback to start Week 1 for Pitt. Starting his career at USC before moving to Arkansas, where he was beaten out by Austin Allen, has made Towns somewhat of a journeyman in college football. It will be interesting to see if he starts over rising sophomore quarterback Kenny Pickett.
Richie James Will Declare For the Draft
Richie James is a fantasy college football monster. With 3,249 yards in 31 games, he was a force to be reckoned with for the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee. This move was unexpected considering his season was derailed early on by a broken collarbone. Ty Lee’s 2018 stock has shot up with the news of James’ departure, especially since he is considered a running back and wide receiver in most formats.
Kerryon Johnson Will Play Against UCF
Kerryon Johnson finished the regular season as a top-five fantasy running back. Considering he was drafted in a later round, Johnson was a pleasant surprise for anyone who drafted him. This is likely to be Johnson’s last game as an Auburn Tiger, as he looks to join Royce Freeman in the NFL Draft.
Bowl Game Takeaways
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
The New Orleans Bowl featured a vintage Brandon Silvers Performance and a Troy win. Silvers threw for 300+ yards and four touchdowns as the Trojans eased past the Green Wave. Mason Fine also stood out in a loss with 300+ yards and three touchdowns, but the two turnovers and -58 rushing yards are sure to repel fantasy owners in next year’s draft.
AutoNation Cure Bowl
Mike White had the passing numbers, but the touchdown total was lackluster. White finished with 351 yards but only two touchdowns. Penny Hart surprisingly finished with only one reception for 27 yards. The Hilltopper running game was atrocious, and no one who carried the ball gave anyone hope for the future. Several Panthers backs made their way across the goal line, but there seems to be no clear successor to Glenn Smith.
Las Vegas Bowl
The defenses in this game seemed to look really good and terrible all at the same time. Oregon allowed 369 yards of offense and 31 points, but somehow managed to force three turnovers and put 14 points on the board. Cedrick Wilson continued his stellar season with a 10-reception, 221-yard, and one-touchdown performance against an improved Ducks defense. Ryan Wolpin played second fiddle to Alexander Mattison for most of the season, but he managed to run for 71 yards and two touchdowns. Justin Herbert threw for 233 yards and two touchdowns, but the Ducks couldn’t establish a run game. One thing to note is that Kani Benoit out-carried Tony Brooks-James.
Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Marshall’s running game was spectacular. Keion Davis and Tyler King combined for 247 rushing yards and two touchdowns and appeared to be unstoppable. Chase Litton threw for two touchdowns, but he needs to find a way to throw the ball to his own players if he is to remain fantasy relevant. The Rams may have found someone to fill Michael Gallup’s shoes next season in Olabisi Johnson. Johnson caught six balls for 116 yards.
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
Middle Tennessee finished off day one of the 2018 Bowl Season with a win over the Arkansas State Red Wolves. Surprisingly, no one really stuck out for the Blue Raiders, as Brent Stockstill accounted for three turnovers and neither Tavares Thomas nor Terelle West could establish themselves as the lead back. Ty Lee caught five passes for 39 yards and no touchdowns. Red Wolves quarterback Justice Hansen topped 300 passing yards for three touchdowns, and Justin McInnis was the main beneficiary with seven receptions, 107 yards, and one touchdown. Hansen has one more season with the Red Wolves and should be an early-round pick after throwing 37 touchdown passes this season.