Week 1 of college football is in the books, and the season has already produced some unlikely, fantasy-relevant performances from players that likely were not on rosters to begin the season.
A successful college fantasy football season hinges on a keeping a close eye on the waiver wire and AthlonSports.com will be the place each week during the year to find the top pickups for your roster.
Below are the top waiver wire selections following Week 1.
Jalen Hurts (QB, Alabama)
Oh Nick Saban, you sneaky, sneaky man. During the week prior to Alabama’s opening matchup against USC, Saban had announced to reporters that Cooper Bateman and Blake Barnett had separated themselves from the pack, and were the two quarterbacks the staff was getting ready to play in Week 1. Well, it certainly didn’t work out that way as Hurts received the majority of the snaps and made the most of his opportunity – combining for four touchdowns in the convincing win. Hurts looks to be the guy moving forward and his dual-threat abilities (plus his absurdly talented receiving corps) makes him a must-add this week.
Aaron Duckworth (RB, Idaho)
It was imperative for the Vandals to find a replacement for departed starting running back Elijhaa Penny, who accounted for a combined 22 rushing touchdowns the previous two seasons. One may have appeared this past weekend in Duckworth as the junior rushed for 108 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Montana State. It’s too early to say Duckworth can match Penny’s production from the previous two seasons, but this was certainly a promising start for the first-year starter.
Justin Crawford (RB, West Virginia)
Crawford was the forgotten man during fantasy draft season as it seemed true freshman Kennedy McKoy was making moves towards the No. 2 spot behind starter Rushel Shell. But it was the former highly-touted JUCO recruit who had himself a game against a tough Missouri front seven, as Crawford ran for 101 yards and a touchdown while filling in for an injured Shell (leg cramps). Head coach Dana Holgorsen stated after the game that Shell would be fine for next week, but Crawford looks to have sealed up the backup job and should receive his fair share of carries in the coming weeks.
Anthony Scott (RB, East Carolina)
New Pirates head coach Scottie Montgomery was known for using multiple backs during his days as the offensive coordinator at Duke, but he may have found his full-time starter in Week 1 with the emergence of Scott. On just 11 carries, the junior Scott rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown while also adding in nine catches for 90 yards and two more scores. That kind of versatility in the passing game makes Scott a must-add in PPR leagues.
Devin Gray (WR, Cincinnati)
Cincinnati had to replace its top six wide receivers from a season ago, leading to some uncertainty at the position entering 2016. While the Bearcats did have their struggles offensively against UT-Martin, Gray made a big impact with five receptions for 111 yards to lead the team. A No. 1 wide receiver in a potential top-20 passing offense is a valuable player to have in fantasy football, so Gray should be snatched up immediately.
Amba Etta-Tawo/Ervin Phillips (WR, Syracuse)
All the hype amongst the Syracuse receiving corps this offseason was centered on starters Steve Ishmael and Brisly Estime, yet it was Etta-Tawo and Phillips who led the way for the Orange against Colgate. Phillips, who spent time at running back last season, started in the slot and led the team with 14 receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown. Etta-Tawo, a graduate transfer from Maryland, now leads all of college football in receiving after Week 1 after his 210-yard performance. Head coach Dino Babers’ offense produced plenty of fantasy standouts during his tenure with Bowling Green and it already looks like that will be the case at Syracuse as well.
Taj Williams (WR, TCU)
TCU was another team that provided college fantasy players with a conundrum during draft season as the Horned Frogs had around 10 possible starters amongst their wide receiver corps. We all knew about sophomore KaVontae Turpin, but other than that, it was a guessing game as to who would emerge as the No. 2 option with so many others vying for the role. That question may have been answered in the form of Williams, the highly-touted junior college transfer. In his TCU debut, Williams caught 11 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown against South Dakota State. It’s early, but the similarly built (6-3, 180) Williams looks more than capable of filling the hole left by Josh Doctson. And with the way TCU throws the football, that means Williams should see plenty of targets in the coming weeks.
— Written by Mike Bainbridge, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Bainbridge is a graduate of Northern Illinois University. Make sure to follow him on Twitter @MikeBainbridge2.