As we turn our calendars over to August, the college fantasy football season is kicking into high gear. Are you prepared?
Athlon Sports has teamed up with college fantasy veterans CollegeFootballGeek.com to help you dominate in 2015! Over the course of the preseason, CFG will be providing insight into their player rankings, as well as helping you identify sleepers and breakout candidates to bolster your lineups.
Whether you play daily or season-long college fantasy football, CollegeFootballGeek.com(@CFFGeek) prepares you to win with the best advice, tools and customer service in the industry — they've been doing it since 2008. Click here to learn how you can subscribe to CFG for FREE.
Below, you will find CFG writer and AthlonSports.com contributor Mike Bainbridge's top five potential fantasy busts for 2015. To see the full in-depth article, make sure to check out CollegeFootballGeek.com. *Note: The goal of this article isn't to sway you away from drafting these players early on, but to identify the significant risks attached to these fantasy stars.
Rashard Higgins (WR, Colorado State)
CFG Preseason rank: 6
About the only thing that is remaining the same on offense this season for the Rams is Higgins, their All-American wide receiver. Colorado State will be breaking in a new head coach, new running back, new quarterback and three new offensive linemen with the hopes of continuing its offensive success from a year ago — ranking second in the Mountain West in scoring (34 ppg) and first in passing (322 ypg).
New head coach Mike Bobo will not be overhauling the offensive system, bringing in a pro-style attack that will not deviate far from what the Rams ran a season ago under now-Florida head man Jim McElwain. That is not necessarily good news for Higgins. Not once in the eight seasons that Bobo was offensive coordinator for Georgia did a receiver top 1,000 yards receiving. Let me repeat — NOT ONCE. And it is not like those teams were devoid of talent, with the likes of Matthew Stafford, A.J. Green, Kris Durham to name a few. Does that mean Higgins won’t reach that benchmark? Of course not. But that fact, in addition to all the new pieces on offense, raises a ton a red flags surrounding Higgins and the CSU offense heading into 2015.
*For more talk on Higgins and his potential bust factor, check out the “Shooting the Breese” podcast where CFG’s own Todd DeVries joins Michael Calabrese to discuss that and much more.
Taysom Hill (QB, BYU)
CFG Preseason rank: 8
Hill can be one of the most exciting quarterbacks in all of college football with his running ability from the pocket, but injuries are a major concern for the senior quarterback. Since 2012, two of the three seasons he has played have ended because of injury — derailing BYU and fantasy teams alike in the process.
While his passing numbers improved significantly last season (up to 67 percent completion percentage in 2014), Hill’s running ability remains his bread and butter, but often leaves him susceptible to frequent hits from defenders. In addition to the injury concerns, BYU’s early-season schedule is as formidable as there is in the country with three out of the four on the road, including trips to Nebraska, UCLA and Michigan. The only home game in that stretch is against former Mountain West foe Boise State, which is far from a push over.
If that isn’t enough, BYU closes out the season with road games against Missouri (neutral site) and Utah State — both of whom finished in the top third of the country in total defense a season ago. The Cougars will rely heavily on Hill to navigate them through the early portion of the schedule, but that strategy has proven to take a toll on his health in year’s past.
Jarvion Franklin (RB, Western Michigan)
CFG Preseason rank: 7
This time last season, Franklin was not on anyone’s radar. Unranked by most recruiting services, Franklin had a total of only four offers coming out of high school — primarily MAC schools — but wound up as the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year with over 1,500 yards as a true freshman.
With those kinds of numbers, you can bet he is on the radar of Mark Dantonio and the Michigan State Spartans for Week 1 when Western Michigan travels to East Lansing. But that is exactly why Franklin could get off to a rocky start in 2015. The Broncos not only open up on the road against the Spartans (1st in the entire country in rush defense last year), but also travel to Columbus in Week 4 to face off with the defending champs. The schedule will lessen significantly following the matchup with the Buckeyes, but Franklin may find the rushing yards difficult to come by in early September. Keep in mind as well that Franklin already has some tread on those tires, racking up 300-plus carries last season. That workload began to damper his production in the latter portion of the year, as Franklin did not top 100 yards in any of the final four games. Not a surprise considering Franklin was just a freshman and had not been used to playing that long of a season coming from high school.
As a result, might we see the coaches put Franklin on a rep count to sustain his production through the entire season? Good for the team’s success, sure… but would it be for Franklin’s fantasy owners?
Joshua Dobbs (QB, Tennessee)
CFG Preseason rank: 19
With consecutive Top-5 recruiting classes, and their first bowl appearance in five years, Rocky Top is a trendy pick to possibly make an appearance in the SEC Championship Game in 2015. The primary reason for the skyrocketing expectations is that Butch Jones looks to have finally settled on a quarterback in Dobbs , who lead the Volunteers to a 4-1 finish to close out 2014. In those four wins, Dobbs was remarkable with 15 total touchdowns, including eight on the ground.
While no team should apologize for wins, three of the four victories came against Vanderbilt, Kentucky and South Carolina — all of whom finished behind Tennessee at the very bottom of the SEC East. Tennessee’s bowl win came at the expense of a reeling 7-6 Iowa squad that failed to live up to expectations. So while some of the hype surrounding Dobbs and the Volunteers is certainly warranted, let’s wait and see how they fare against the heavyweights of the SEC.
Patrick Mahomes (QB, Texas Tech)
CFG Preseason rank: 13
Mahomes has been pegged by many, including CFG, as the favorite to win the starting quarterback job for the Red Raiders, but that is far from a sure thing with Davis Webb still around. Webb was the opening day starter last year for Texas Tech, but injuries and interceptions forced him to the sidelines. In came Mahomes, and after a slow start, the true freshman blew up in the final three games with 14 touchdowns and just two interceptions.
That finish to the season, coupled with the offensive system under Kliff Kingsbury are the key factors as to why Mahomes is slated 13th at the quarterback position in CFG’s preseason ranks. The ranking is the true definition of a projection, though, as Mahomes has just four starts under his belt and is not even guaranteed to start with a proven competitor waiting in the wings in Webb. Tread carefully with the Texas Tech QB’s until one separates himself in the fall… hopefully.
— Written by Mike Bainbridge, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Bainbridge is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and current writer for CollegeFootballGeek.com. Make sure to follow him on Twitter @MikeBainbridge2.