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FanDuel College Football: Week 1 Picks

Mario Puig

Mario is a Senior Writer at RotoWire who primarily writes and projects for the NFL and college football sections.

I will break down Saturday FanDuel slates into my favorite targets, my fades and my tournament-specific targets.

TOP TARGETS

QUARTERBACK

Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee (vs. Bowling Green) - $10,000


Dobbs is the engine driving the revival of the Tennessee program, and he takes on a Bowling Green team with a vulnerable defense but just enough offensive firepower to push Tennessee into a four-quarter contest. Even with Jason Croom (knee) and Pig Howard (suspension) unavailable, Dobbs will have a talented group of pass catchers to target, and he's one of the best running quarterbacks in the country. Even if Dobbs calls it a day sometime in the third quarter, he's a high-floor, high-ceiling target worth the money. Tennessee didn't call on Dobbs until Oct. 25 against No. 4 ranked Alabama last year, yet he still beasted his way to 1,206 yards, nine touchdowns and six interceptions through the air in six games, adding 469 yards (4.5 YPC) and eight touchdowns as a runner.

Jeremy Johnson, Auburn (vs. Louisville) - $9,100

Johnson is technically unproven as a first-year starter, and this might appear to be an intimidating opponent given Louisville's dominant 2014 defense (21.8 points allowed per game, 26 interceptions), but Johnson is a borderline matchup-proof talent, and Louisville's defense should take a step back this year. The Cardinals lost all but four starters from last year's defense, and Johnson has been unstoppable in his brief appearances behind Nick Marshall. Johnson only needed one half to effortlessly dismantle Arkansas in Week 1 last year while Marshall was suspended, completing 12-of-16 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns. D'haquille Williams will be active, and heading into his third year in Gus Malzahn's system, Johnson is poised to set fire to pretty much every defense he faces this year.

Dane Evans, Tulsa (vs. Florida Atlantic) - $8,900

Evans returns after throwing for 3,102 yards, 23 touchdowns and 17 interceptions last year while adding 58 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. His surrounding cast brings a great deal of continuity, too, including the strong wideout trio of Keevan Lucas, Keyarris Garrett and Joshua Atkinson, as well as lead runner Zack Langer. The arrival of coach Philip Montgomery -- formerly the offensive coordinator of Baylor -- gives reason to expect better numbers from Evans in 2015. Florida Atlantic lost most of its starters at linebacker and defensive back in the offseason, so expect Tulsa to feast in Week 1.

Honorable QB mention: Jaquez Johnson - Florida Atlantic at Tulsa ($8,200)

RUNNING BACK

Alex Collins, Arkansas (vs. UTEP) - $9,400


Collins and Jonathan Williams combined for an average of roughly 40 carries per game last year. Williams is out for 2015 with a foot injury. That means Collins has a good chance to pass the 20-carry mark against a team that allowed 5.24 yards per carry and two rushing touchdowns per game in 2014 -- including 6.4 yards per carry and seven touchdowns in two games against Power Five conference teams. Collins' floor and ceiling are both enormously high.

Christian McCaffrey, Stanford (at Northwestern) - $7,000

It's a poorly-kept secret that McCaffrey is the next great Stanford back, and his price this low is a reflection of the uncertainty some still feel about his role after securing just 42 carries as a freshman last year. But 2014 starter Remound Wright is on the way to the margins after totaling just 601 yards on 135 carries (4.5 YPC), while McCaffrey turned his 42 carries into 300 yards (7.1 YPC). McCaffrey bulked up in the offseason, and Stanford is ready to set him loose in a rushing attack that had a down year in 2014 but will rebound with McCaffrey carrying it.

Honorable RB mention: Ray Lawry - Old Dominion at Eastern Michigan ($9,900)

WIDE RECEIVER

Keevan Lucas, Tulsa (vs. Florida Atlantic) - $9,800


Yes, he's expensive, but he's worth making room for. As a true sophomore last year, Lucas burned defenses for 101 catches for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns. He returns for his junior season with his starting quarteback also back, and he should benefit from some creative scheming from coach Philip Montgomery.

Marquez North, Tennessee (vs. Bowling Green) - $6,200

North normally suffers from inconsistency in a deep Tennessee wideout group, but Jason Croom (knee) and Pig Howard (suspension) missing this game means North should get a greater share of the targets than usual. He'll be looking to establish himself as a top NFL prospect after injuries largely derailed his 2014 season, and he'll be poised for a fast start with Josh Dobbs at quarterback and a MAC defense on tap.

Jordan Westerkamp, Nebraska (vs. BYU) - $5,000

This is too cheap. Westerkamp caught caught 44 passes for 747 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore last year, and the other top three Nebraska pass catchers from 2014 (Kenny Bell, Ameer Abdullah and De'Mornay Pierson-El) won't be involved in this one, due to graduation with the first two and a foot injury for Pierson-El. Westerkamp should get high usage and has good upside for this price.

Honorable WR mention: D'haquille Williams - Auburn vs Louisville ($7,500)

TIGHT END

Hunter Henry, Arkansas (vs. UTEP) - $2,800


Henry caught 37 passes for 513 yards and two touchdowns as a sophomore last year, and this year he'll have more targets with A.J. Derby graduating following a 22-catch, 303-yard season. Playing aginst UTEP isn't too bad, either.

Honorable TE mention: Austin Hooper - Stanford at Northwestern ($3,700)

TOURNAMENT PLAYS

QUARTERBACK

Reginald Bell, Eastern Michigan (vs. Old Dominion) - $8,900


Bell has enormous upside as a runner, as evidenced by his 202-yard, three-touchdown performance as against Buffalo last year. After allowing 38 points per game in 2014, Old Dominion isn't likely to put up a big resistance against Bell, either. But I'm calling him a tournament play because he plays for Eastern Michigan. With Eastern Michigan, you just never know. Outbursts like last year's Buffalo game can happen, but so can unannounced implosions.

Honorable QB mention: Reggie Bonnafon (if starting) - Louisville at Auburn ($5,700)

RUNNING BACK

Roc Thomas, Auburn (vs. Louisville) - $6,800


Thomas surprisingly beat out top junior-college recruit Jovon Robinson for the starting running back role at Auburn. Although Robinson should stay in the picture, especially as a short-yardage runner, Thomas has explosive talent and should thrive in Gus Malzahn's scheme.

Honorable RB mention: Jalen Hurd, Tennessee vs. Bowling Green ($8,300), Jovon Robinson, Auburn vs. Louisville ($6,000)

WIDE RECEIVER

Ricardo Louis, Auburn (vs. Louisville) - $5,300


Quarterback Jeremy Johnson's arrival should create more receiving stats for Auburn than it's had in recent memory and there will be room for an impact fantasy receiver in this offense aside from D'haquille Williams. Louis is an experienced player who heads into his senior year after a season in which he totaled 21 catches for 261 yards and three touchdowns, as well as 18 carries for 220 yards and a touchdown.

Honorable WR mention: Melvin Ray, Auburn vs. Louisville ($4,500)

TIGHT END

Cody Tuttle, Eastern Michigan (vs. Old Dominion)


Tuttle is a former wide receiver who transferred from Nevada, and he inherits the role previously held by Tyreese Russell. Russell caught led Eastern Michigan with 39 catches for 523 yards and three touchdowns last year, and Tuttle might be able to pick up that torch.

Honorable TE mention: Mike Gesicki, Penn State at Temple ($2,300)

FADES

QUARTERBACK

Taysom Hill, BYU (at Nebraska) - $9,900


Hill is obviously a great player and his unmatched skill as a runner give him a big fantasy ceiling most weeks, but I don't like him at this price when players like Dobbs ($10,000) and Johnson ($9,100) strike me as better matchups at similar prices. Hill might not get much help from his backfield with Jamaal Williams no longer on the team, and I'm not sure his receivers will be able to create much separation against Nebraska's secondary.


RUNNING BACK

Aaron Jones, UTEP (at Arkansas) - $8,100


Jones is a good player, but he's an undersized runner who's not used to dealing with physical SEC defenses like Arkansas'. Between the mismatch of skill and the likelihood of Arkansas making this a blowout early on, I don't see how Jones will get the chance to justify this salary.

WIDE RECEIVER

Robbie Anderson, Temple (vs. Penn State) - $7,700


Anderson was awesome in 2013 after missing the 2014 season due to academics, and I fully expect a bounce-back year for the Temple offense, but this doesn't look like the right matchup. Penn State returns most of last year's starting defense, and the Nittany Lions allowed just 5.7 YPA and 10 passing touchdowns in 2015.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Mario Puig plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: rotwireyasiel, FanDuel: rotowireyasiel, FantasyDraft: rwyasiel.