Why to Love College Fantasy Football
It’s Just Like Going To The Cheesecake Factory
For those of you who have been to the Cheesecake Factory. Wait a minute. Some people haven’t been? Well, then you have to go. As in today.
In addition to a seemingly endless number of delicious cheesecakes that they offer, the menu includes two different types of egg roll appetizers, several different burritos, Chinese chicken salad, steak, seafood, and pasta. Plus a whole lot more.
Well, college fantasy football offers essentially the same thing. You have a significant multiplier of players to choose from at each position compared to pro fantasy football. Yes it can make choosing your roster a challenge but it’s all a matter of perspective. Do you go with Caleb Williams, Michael Penix, Jr., Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels, or one of several dozen others as your quarterback? And after all that you get to select your other position players, defense, and a kicker. It’s just awesome!
Yes, Grammarly is going off like a smoke detector right now, but what’s wrong with a little shout-out to Will Ferrell for his George W. Bush impressions during his SNL days? Of course, we’re talking about college fantasy football strategy. Yes, it’s a thing.
For the purpose of discussing strategy, we will use a salary cap format since most college football fantasy sites use that. The Head2Head sports platform is great because it’s very user-friendly and offers live scoring. You’re given a hypothetical salary cap number to be at or under when you select your roster. This is a head-to-head format where your objective is to outscore your opponent each week.
It is as close to imperative as you can get that your flex player is a second quarterback. There is a much higher percentage of dual-threat quarterbacks in college than in the pros. At least one of your two must be a dual-threat guy like Caleb Williams or Jaylen Daniels. If you get a touchdown-throwing, yardage machine like Michael Penix, Jr., that works very well too.
You can also go for a low-salary cap quarterback like Byrum Brown from South Florida as a dual-threat guy. Just keep in mind that his success on a weekly basis is more matchup-driven than the others referenced above. This format allows you to trade some of your players each week but you will have to pay for them so it’s important to use your trades wisely.
Running Backs/Wide Receivers
For running backs and wide receivers, you are looking for value since you’re going to use significant salary cap space on your two quarterbacks more often than not. Obviously, you need players with reasonably low cap numbers especially since non-quarterbacks with high salary cap numbers are very risky. Most importantly, you need guys that get the ball a lot.
That is, running backs who get the majority of their team’s carries with at least some upside with receptions as most college fantasy contests are PPR (points per reception). Jonathon Brooks, Jordan Waters, and Cameron Skattebo are great examples so far this season.
Avoid running back by committee as there is no need to handicap by picking up a quality running backs in weekly contests. Cody Schrader from Missouri is having a good fantasy season so far even though he shares carries with Nathaniel Peat, but he is the exception to the rule.
The same thing applies to wide receivers. You want players who get a significant percentage of their team’s targets. Malik Washington from Virginia is a great example for this year. Even better that their team is poor so there’s a need to throw the ball all four quarters of the game.
Be advised that tight ends are not a separate category as they fall under wide receivers.
Last season, Dalton Kincaid would have been a great pickup as his cap number was reasonable and he was consistent. He also found the end zone quite a bit. A word of caution with your offensive skill players. There are a lot of blowouts in college football so be aware your players may be sitting in the second half of one-sided games which will cost you a lot of points. Also, a week or two after the middle of the season on the Head 2 Head platform the salary cap numbers are adjusted either up or down for each player based on their performance. That means you will be looking for value in different places than during the first half of the season.
Your choice of a defense/special teams should be mostly match-up based. You can select the defense of an average-to-poor team if the opponent is worse or has a bad offense. Mid-level FCS opponents early in the season can get you high fantasy points without spending a lot of cap space. You can use a high-cap dollar defense against a really bad opponent. Penn State last week against UMASS is a good example. The Nittany Lions shut out the Minutemen, had two punt returns for touchdowns, and had a bunch of sacks.
Other than the fact that you have to have a kicker, do not under any circumstances spend significant cap dollars on a kicker unless you make the fantasy playoffs. Kickers won’t win you many if any games, you just don’t want a kicker who gives you zero points in a given week. So stay away from teams with bad offenses. Just find a kicker that appears to have job security.
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The NFL has a Thursday night game, plus games from 1 p.m. on Sunday until about 11:30 P.M. College football has multiple games on Thursday and Friday nights. But the action starts earlier at noon and lasts all the way until 1:30 AM the next morning.
Imagine this. It’s late November of 2022. It is, in fact, 1:30 Sunday morning. Your fantasy team is finished for the day. You’re ahead by six points. Your opponent has Oregon’s defense. Late in the fourth quarter, Oregon leads Utah, 20-17. Utah has the ball and is driving to either tie or win the game. A sack and an interception not returned for a touchdown gets you a fantasy tie. Two sacks and no pick gets you a win. But a pick-six by Oregon and you lose.
In reality Oregon didn’t get any sacks on the last drive but they did get an interception. The Oregon defensive back did not have a clear path to the end zone but he didn’t go down right away either. He was looking for that clear path. Finally, his teammates convinced him to take a knee. You held on for a two-point fantasy win. And in all the excitement you stayed up to watch College GameDay Final.
The bottom line is that college fantasy football offers more choices, more strategic options, and of course, more football than the pro version. More people need to play college fantasy football. Also, using identical scoring methods, the overall scores in college fantasy football are higher than for pro fantasy football. So if you’re facing a big deficit there is still hope for a big fantasy comeback. It’s such a blast.