FanDuel NCAA Football Picks For September 3


Dec 21, 2013; Albuquerque, NM, USA; Detailed view of a Washington State Cougars logo on an official Nike football on the field during the game against the Colorado State Rams during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Since ESPN has axed their College Football Challenge, I have decided to take my prognosticating to FanDuel. The format is a little different at FanDuel since there is actually a salary cap, but being somewhat confined isn’t always a bad thing. It may make you look at some players that you would otherwise ignore.

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There are nine games to kick off the 2015 season on Thursday night and they are all eligible for the tournament. That leaves us some good options for the night. The question becomes, do you play the ones that will obviously be playing in a blowout scenario?

I will answer those and other questions as we get ready for kickoff! Here are my FanDuel NCAA football picks for September 3:

Next: Which QB Is The Best Bet?

Nov 22, 2014; Bowling Green, KY, USA; Western Kentucky Hilltoppers quarterback Brandon Doughty (12) looks to throw the ball against the UTSA Roadrunners at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports


Best Bet:

Brandon Doughty, Western Kentucky ($10,100): Yes, I know he is playing an SEC school, but Vanderbilt is a SEC school in name only. Their team is not very good. Doughty led all of NCAA football last year with 4,850 passing yards and 49 touchdowns. That is a whole mess of points! His low mark in the 2014 season was 3.06 against Louisiana Tech. The next lowest was 21.2. He will likely get you around 20 points in a worst-case scenario, which makes him a slightly better pick than TCU’s Trevone Boykin against a solid Minnesota defense.

Honorable Mention:

Anu Solomon, Arizona ($9,900): Solomon had an outstanding freshman campaign, leading the Wildcats to the Pac 12 Championship game. He will be taking on a UTSA team that lost more than half of their team to graduation. It will be a rough season for the Roadrunners, and Solomon will help start it off that way. The only question I have is how much will he actually play in the second half? Still, I trust one half of Solomon more than Marquise Lee against a South Carolina defense littered with future NFL players.

Dark Horses:

Derrius Vick, Ohio (8,200): Recognize the name? You should. He is the younger brother of NFL quarterback Michael Vick. He has won the starting job for Ohio, and Idaho was in the bottom five of FCS in total defense and points allowed last year. He is worth a shot if you are looking to go cheap.

Justin Holman, Central Florida ($7,700): UCF is a well-coached team, and Holman did a good job taking over for the school’s best ever QB last year (Blake Bortles). The Knights have a good offense, and Florida International is very generous on defense. Holman no longer has the services of Breshad Perriman, but there is enough returning talent for him to have a good season. That will likely start here.

My Pick: Holman

Next: On To The Running Backs!

Nov 22, 2014; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Utes running back Devontae Booker (23) runs with the ball during the first half against the Arizona Wildcats at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Running Backs:

Best Bets:

Leon Allen, Western Kentucky ($9,000): Allen’s backup, Anthony Wales, will miss the game. Rushing yards will be a little harder to come by against a decent Vanderbilt front, but the Hilltoppers have literally nothing behind Allen. He is in line for at least 30 carries, which makes him my favorite for the night. Allen had three games last year in which he saw 30 or more carries. His rushing totals from those games were 182, 345, and 237.

Nick Wilson, Arizona ($10,100): Wilson was a beast last year, running for 1,375 yards and 16 touchdowns. He should see plenty of action against an inexperienced UTSA team. That makes him a good play, just don’t expect to see him on the field in the fourth quarter. Still, if he gets 20-25 carries, he is a strong bet for that many points as well.

Honorable Mention:

Devontae Booker, Utah ($9,300): Utah has claimed that they want to give Booker at least 30 touches per game this season, which could make him great in college fantasy games. Michigan does not have an elite defense, but they are good enough to make Booker work for his yards, which leaves him a notch below the elite for the opener.

A.J. Ouellette, Ohio ($8,900): Idaho makes any Ohio player a good play for tomorrow night. They are that bad. This is not a baseless pick though. Ouellette ran for nearly 800 yards last year as a freshman, and scored 131.4 FanDuel points in his last six games of the season as the unquestioned starter. He is a strong bet for 25 points, which puts him right up there with the elite picks.

Dark Horses:

Shaq Powell, Duke ($6,900): Powell is the only Duke RB that is not banged up heading into the first game, and he gets a porous Tulane defense. Powell should have a healthy workload, and ample opportunities to be a huge bargain tomorrow night. Shaun Wilson will be in uniform, but don’t expect to see a whole lot of him, even if this does get out of hand.

Chris Carson, Oklahoma State ($7,900): Carson won the starting RB job, but Rennie Childs could still see quite a few touches. This is far from a situation set in stone, but both RB’s will get a chance to have an impact, and Central Michigan’s run defense is not very good. They are both the same price, but I put Carson a touch higher since he is the starter.

My Picks: Allen and Powell

Next: Let's Check The Receivers!

Nov 28, 2014; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats wide receiver Cayleb Jones (1) against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the 88th annual territorial cup at Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats defeated the Sun Devils 42-35 to win the Pac-12 south title. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Wide Receivers:

Best Bets:

Cayleb Jones, Arizona ($8,100): Jones was a favorite target of Anu Solomon last year, and he will be again this year. With the beat up UTSA defense trying to guard him, it won’t be pretty. For the money, Jones is probably the best option out there. I don’t trust Josh Doctson’s “undisclosed injury” that hampered him for most of the summer so far. I also don’t trust Pharoh Cooper’s QB situation. It will sort itself out at some point, but for that price, I want more of a sure thing.

Jared Dangerfield, Western Kentucky ($8,100): Dangerfield got no respect for the lofty numbers he put up last year. He is Brandon Doughty’s favorite target, and will likely come close to 100 yards in every game. Even against a SEC team like Vanderbilt. The Hilltoppers throw the ball a lot, and I don’t see Vandy’s corners shutting down Dangerfield.

Brandon Sheperd, Oklahoma State ($7,300): Sheperd quickly became Mason Rudolph’s favorite target last season after he was named the starting QB. Sheperd racked up 51.36 points in the last two games, and should pick up where he left off last season since Rudolph is still under center.

Honorable Mention:

Latevius Rayford, Vanderbilt ($6,800): For as prolific as the Hilltopper offense is, their defense is just as bad. With C.J. Duncan now out for the year, Rayford is the number one receiver. He led the team in receiving last year, but he could have some problems if Johnny McCrary can’t get the ball to him. He comes with a bit of a risk, but for that price, he could give you a nice reward.

Samajie Grant, Arizona ($6,400): Grant is the deep threat for Arizona, and there should be plenty of real estate open deep against UTSA. He is not an every week play, but he should have no problems getting open deep in this game.

Max McCaffrey, Duke ($6,000): McCaffrey moves to the head of the class with Jamison Crowder and Issac Blakeney gone. QB Thomas Sirk is not as much of a passer as his predecessors were, but McCaffrey will be his most reliable target. He is less of a risk, but doesn’t have the huge upside of Grant.

Dark Horses:

Kolby Listenbee, TCU ($5,900): Listenbee becomes an intriguing option if Deante Gray sits out. He has done well when he has had chances.

Amara Darboh, Michigan ($5,300): So far Darboh seems like the favorite to fill the void left by Devin Funchess. It won’t be easy against Utah, but Darboh could be a sneaky play if he proves to be the top target for either Jake Rudock or Shane Morris. He is a shot in the dark for week one, but could be a suitable option if you spend big elsewhere.

Drew Wolitarsky, Minnesota ($5,000): Wolitarsky could be targeted a lot with Mitch Leidner’s security blanket, Maxx Williams, gone. Wolitarsky missed the last five games of last year, but he is the only returning starter at WR, and Leidner will be looking for him with TCU’s defense breathing down his jersey the whole game.

My Picks: Sheperd, Grant, Darboh

Next: Is TE Really A Crapshoot?

Sep 13, 2014; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines tight end Jake Butt (88) makes a catch to score a touchdown in the third quarter against the Miami (Oh) Redhawks at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Tight End:

Best Bet:

Jake Butt, Michigan ($3,500): Jim Harbaugh’s offenses make good use of tight ends, and when you consider the lack of experience at WR for Michigan, Butt could have a huge first few games while the receivers get up to speed. He will likely be the Wolverines’ top target tomorrow night.

Honorable Mention:

Jonnu Smith, Florida International ($4,000): I’m not crazy about the matchup against UCF, but Smith was one of the top scoring fantasy tight ends last year. There is no reason for him not to be again this year.

Dark Horse:

Brandon Lingen, Minnesota ($2,200): Mitch Leidner loves his tight end. Maxx Williams was the leading receiver on the team last year. With Lincoln Plsek out for the opener, Lingen will be the starting tight end for the Gophers. He is not the prolific player that Williams was, but he is a huge target for a QB that is going to be running for his life against TCU. Lingen will see plenty of targets for a really low price.

My Pick: Lingen

Stay tuned for the odds and predictions coming up tomorrow morning!

Next: ESPN College Pick Em Picks For Week 1

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