This article is part of our Fantasy Elite Football series.
Baylor at Buffalo, Boise State at Connecticut, UCF at Missouri, East Carolina at Virginia Tech
Friday's Fantasy Elite draft offers three players priced more than $20,000, and all look like strong byes. Boise State running back Jay Ajayi leads the way, and given how many touches he's getting weekly (69 total through two games,) he's well worth his $27,965 price tag. If given a choice, shying away from Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty ($26,866) in favor of Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk ($24,670) seems wise. Petty will carve up a Buffalo defense, but coming back from cracked bones in his back, Petty may be pulled before stuffing a stat sheet. This slate of games offers lots of value picks, allowing owners to splurge on two of these three.
QB - Joe Licata, Buffalo - $5,000
Licatta has completed 69.8 percent of his passes for 699 yards and eight touchdowns in two games. While the opponents have not been on the level of the Bears, the Bulls will be forced to throw the ball often if they have any hope of keeping the score close. And they'll likely still be throwing when trailing by large amounts in the second half. Licatta is an excellent choice to pair with one of the top options, so much so I'd consider taking him with my first pick. Clearly, I'm not deterred by the fact that Baylor has allowed 215 yards passing, total, in two games.
QB - Justin Holman, UCF - $12,705
Holman was sensational once relieving Pete DiNovo two weeks ago against Penn State, completing 9-of-14 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for two scores. He's more than double the price of Licatta, but is the safer selection as your second quarterback.
RB - Marshawn Williams, Virginia Tech - $5,000
Williams hasn't exactly found much running room through two weeks, as he's averaging 2.5 yards on his team-high 24 carries. But he's scored in consecutive weeks and has a solid chance to open his career with a third straight score. Shai McKenzie ($6,729) has also scored in consecutive weeks. The Hokies have done a great job of splitting carries evenly, and both freshmen look like solid buys. Williams gets my nod simply because of his lower price tag.
RB – William Stanback, UCF - $11,106
Stanback remains a bit of an unknown after missing the season opener against Penn State due to a foot injury. He's expected to be healthly against Missouri, and while the team was impressed with how Dontravious Wilson practiced since the season opener, the fact remains Wilson ran for 34 yards on 21 carries. Stanback's pricetag is a little high when he could split carries, but the middle tier of running backs is not overly plentiful.
WR – KD Cannon, Baylor - $12,216
Cannon erupted for six catches, 223 yards and three touchdowns last week, albeit against Northwestern State. He also caught all of his passes from backup quarterback Seth Russell with Bryce Petty sidelined. The Bears' receiving rotation hasn't fully sorted itself out due to injuries at both receiver and quarterback, but Cannon has the potential to explode again.
WR - Ron Willoughby, Buffalo - $5,000
If you're willing to roll with Licatta, it makes sense to give his top receiver a look. Willoughby has 187 yards and two scores in two weeks. He took a bit of a back seat to Marcus McGill ($5,000) last week, but there's good reason to think he returns to the end zone. McGill makes a decent choice at the same price.
TE – Bucky Hodges, Virginia Tech - $5,000
This slate of games features a solid number of $5,000 options, so looking for a tight end as a cheap flex option won't be required. But Hodges is the third Hokie freshman listed here who has scored in his first two collegiate games. He's caught eight passes, ran twice and came to school as a quarterback, suggesting a trick play could be in his future. If you need to save money, and have exhausted other options, Hodges will do in a pinch.
Georgia at South Carolina, Arkansas at Texas Tech, Kansas at Duke, Illinois at Washington
Unlike the Friday slate, Saturday's first batch of games features lots of star power, and high prices that come along with it. Thus, some bargain shopping is required, or a roster full of mid-tier talent will be your strategy. The good news is, outside of quarterback, there are plenty of bargains to be had.
QB - Dylan Thompson, South Carolina - $19,021
Thompson is the choice here almost by default. He's cheaper than four other quarterbacks, but has the statistical history to back up his pricing. Thompson has 632 yards and five touchdowns in two games, and while some thought can be given to Georgia's Hudson Mason ($15,105) or Arkansas' Brandon Allen ($14,866), Thompson seems like a nice choice. Paired with Washington's Cyler Miles ($20,749) still leaves managers with over $9300 to spend on their remaining seven players.
RB - Alex Collins, Arkansas - $8,980
This is an absolute no-brainer. Collins is averaging 8.7 yards per carry, and the Hawgs figure to run as often as possible in order to keep the Red Raiders pass attack on the sidelines. Texas Tech has also allowed an average of 224.5 yards rushing over their two games; against UTEP and Central Arkansas. It's a matchup made in heaven, and Collins should very likely be the first player selected.
RB - Jonathan Williams, Arkansas - $7,879
Miss out on Collins? No problem, as Williams has averaged a robust 16.1 yards on his 11 carries to date. Don't be alarmed by the overall lack of touches. Williams will be ready to go against Texas Tech, and should see more than enough work to merit an early round selection. I'd even consider Arkansas' third running back, Korliss Marshall, for the bargain basement price of $5,000 as one of your last selectins.
RB - DeAndre Washington, Texas Tech - $9,815
Last week's performance was a bit disheartening, but I'm not ready to jump off of the Washington train just yet. Freshman Justin Stockton still has only 14 carries to Washington's 32, and without last week's 75 yard burst, Washington would have roughly 70 yards more through two games.
WR - Bradley Marquez, Texas Tech - $9,118
Until he stops scoring, Marquez has to be a desired selection. He caught three passes for 33 yards last week, but all of them went for scores and he now has five in two weeks.
WR - Issac Blakeney, Duke - $6,064
Though not as prolific as Marquez, Blakeney has found an affinity for scoring through two weeks as he's done so three times on nine catches. He's 6-foot-6, and figures to have a great shot at a jump ball or two against the Jayhawks.
WR - Isaiah McKenzie, Georgia - $6,692
McKenzie looks like a worthwhile gamble due to injuries to the Dawgs receiving corps. He may actually be a little overpriced given he has just one collegiate game under his belt, where he caught two passes for 11 yards, but he could quickly emerge in Columbia Saturday.
SATURDAY PRIME TIME
UCLA at Texas, Rice at Texas A&M, Tennessee at Oklahoma, USC at Boston College
Committees, and at least on paper, mismatches, dominate the prime time slate. As a result, exploiting these mismatches and loading up on a system (Texas A&M) seems to be the right strategy.
QB - Justin Worley, Tennessee - $13,861
Worley is playing with a lot of confidence through two games, completing 64.5% of his passes and throwing five touchdowns to one interception. I don't have a lot of faith in the matchup at Oklahoma, but there is no question the Volunteers have enough weapons around Worley that could produce a few scores. There are some solid options under center here, and I'd recommend avoiding Boston College's Tyler Murphy ($19,541) due to a tough matchup and a severe lack of offensive talent in Chestnut Hill. Conversely, Eagles' wide receiver Josh Bordner ($8,964) is listed as a quarterback, and could snag a few passes if you're really desperate. Oklahoma tight end Blake Bell ($5,901) falls into the same category.
RB - Paul Perkins, UCLA - $13,111
Perkins has been one of the surprises in the early going of the year, having virtually made a perceived three-man committee into his backfield. He's carried 39 times over two games, and has scored twice, and matches up with a Longhorns rush defense which ranks 85th nationally after two games.
RB - Javorius Allen, USC - $22,099
There is little reason to think Allen can't batter the Boston College defense in a similar way to what Pittsburgh's James Conner did last week, when Conner ran 36 times for 214 yards and a score. Allen has eclipsed 133 yards in each of the team's first two outings, rushing 22 and 23 times. He's fairly priced and will provide steady production.
RB - Brandon Williams, Texas A&M - $8,182
Brandon Williams lands here over Trey Williams ($10,718) and Tra Carson ($9.857) just as a value option. Carson has become the team's closer, and gets the goal line work, while Trey has scored in consecutive weeks. Brandon however has not scored, a trend you'd be gambling on changing in a likely third straight easy win for A&M.
WR - Ricky Seals-Jones, Texas A&M - $8,900
While Malcome Kennedy dominated against South Carolina in Week 1, Seals-Jones has been more consistent over two games, and his 6-foot-5 frame makes him a threat to score weekly, which he has done so far this season. Rice's defense allowed 295 yards passing in their only game of the year to date.
WR - Speedy Noil, Texas A&M - $8,852
See above; Seals-Jones, Ricky. Noil is a talented freshman who has five and four catches in his first two games. He's yet to find the end zone, a trend that could change against Rice.
WR - Edward Pope - Texas A&M, $5,000
Noticing a trend? Pope has caught four passes and a touchdown in each of the team's first two games. Drafting all three of these receivers won't completely cover you with the Aggies' passing attack, but these three look like nice bargains over the higher priced Malcome Kennedy ($16,540) and Josh Reynolds, who looks over-valued at $8,533.
Arizona State at Colorado, Nebraska at Fresno State, Nevada at Arizona
With only six teams in the mix here, there won't be many options to choose from once the draft has wrapped up. Securing top options with your first few picks will be of paramount importance. With that in mind, six teams also leaves very little room for bargain hunting. Budget management looks challenging with these selections.
QB - Sefo Liufau, Colorado - $16,654
Why not? Liufau is the cheapest known starter as Fresno State has not confirmed Brandon Connette ($13,004) will play all four quarters. Liufau has at least two touchdown passes in five straight games dating back to last season.
RB - D.J. Foster, Arizona State - $23,165
Foster has been a one-man wrecking crew through two games, rushing 34 times for 363 yards and four touchdowns, while adding seven catches for 80 yards. When compared to the Saturday AM options of Todd Gurdley ($33,282) and Mike Davis ($23,527), Foster looks like an absolute steal. The Buffaloes defense is also allowing 185.5 yards weekly on the ground.
RB - Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska - $21,010
Yes, I'm not messing around with the running back position here. With Foster and Abdullah, you're taking the two most expensive backs on the board. You're also getting ideal matchups for dynamic players. Fresno State ranks 122nd nationally against the run, allowing 267.5 yards through two games, and Abdullah averages 7.5 yards per carry. It will cost you to secure both, leaving just under $8700 per player left, but would you want to face a team with Abdullah and Foster as its core?
RB - James Butler, Nevada - $6,363
Butler looks like a decent value. He's scored twice in his first two games, and while Don Jackson remains the preferred started for the Wolfpack, they are rotating Butler in enough to where you can hope he finds his way for six points again. Arizona's Nick Wilson looks cheap at $13,989, but I'd like to see one more impressive showing from him to confirm he's the featured back for the Wildcats. Using Butler and Jackson to eat up to roster spots instead of one of the top backs seems wise, and will give you much more cap flexibility.
WR - Jaelen Strong, Arizona State - $13,900
The Sun Devils have completed 36 passes in two games, and 20 of them have got to Strong and D.J. Foster. If you've got money to spend at receiver after splurging on running backs, I'd look here over Colorado's Nelson Spruce ($18,256). Teammate Cameron Smith looks like the best choice amongst $5,000 options.
WR - Aaron Peck, Fresno State - $7,559
Peck seems to have found solid rapport with quarterback Brandon Connette, catching four passes for 67 yards last week at Utah. Connette has not been anointed the team's full-time starter yet, but again, if you spent on your backfield, you have to look for cheap receivers, and Peck fits the bill.