Daily College Fantasy Football RB Picks – Week 1 (Thursday)

Week 1 of the college football season starts 9/3 with the daily fantasy sites featuring 9 games you can select players from. The running back position has some big names at the top, and a few situations where it’s going to be split carries. I’m monitoring a few more selections I haven’t posted here, but might do so once next week rolls around. Be sure to check out my QB picks along with my other selections posted throughout the week.

As with all my list of picks, they are loosely in order of risk, with the ‘for sure’ type plays at the top, and the sleeper/riskier plays towards the bottom. Since it’s week 1, it’s somewhat tough to judge matchup strength, but as the season rolls along, it gets much easier to predict what running backs will have solid games against the weaker defenses.

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Week 1 (Thursday) – QB Picks
Thursday CFB – WR Picks
Thursday CFB – TE Picks

NICK WILSON – Arizona
Wilson was spectacular as a freshman last season, and returns as one of the top RB’s in the country. He’s the consensus #1 RB across the daily college fantasy football sites for the Thursday games week 1. Last reason he ripped up UTSA for 174 yards on 30 carries, and UTSA was a solid team last year. This season, the UTSA roster has been turned over a bit and Wilson should be ready to roll. The only real issue is AZ will likely be blowing out UTSA by halftime, so Wilson might have a limited upside because of this. That being said, I think he’s explosive enough to run in many of your lineups.
LEON ALLEN – WKU
Is the #1 RB on DrafKings, but is #3 on FanDuel. He’s had some off-field stuff pop up this offseason, but is expected to play. Vanderbilt is returning 9 starters on defense, which ranked as a slightly below average giving up 183 yards per game and 23 total TDs to RBs in 2014. Allen is a threat out of the backfield as well, making him a viable option across most of your lineups – but I think I like Allen better on sites like FanDuel which don’t have him ranked #1. The backup RB Anthony Wales is banged up and is questionable heading into Thursday which makes Allen a more attractive play if that’s the case. The only question mark is if Allen gets some kind of disiplinary suspension based on his off-field troubles. Since we haven’t heard anything yet, I think it’s safe to assume he’s good to go, especially if Wales is ruled out.
A.J. OUELLETTE – Ohio
This is the best matchup of the week 1 Thursday daily college fantasy football with Idaho being one of the worst run defenses in college football last year. We’ll give Idaho credit for getting better in 2015, but they likely will still struggle stopping the run. Ouellette is considered the starter, however will likely be spelled by some of the team’s other RBs. On DraftKings, I think Ouellette is a good play because he’s the 9th ranked RB, while on FanDuel he’s ranked 4th – which might price in much of his upside. I doubt I will play backup RB Daz’mond Patterson in any lineups this weekend but he’s worth monitoring because he might get work as a slot WR and RB – which would increase his value as a sleeper RB.
BRANDON WILDS & DAVID WILLIAMS – South Carolina
“Bash & Dash” is what Gamecock fans are calling these two running backs. Both the running backs coach & head coach of South Carolina strongly indicate that both will get time out of the backfield, at least early on in the season. I think you need to assume it’s going to be a 50/50 ~ 60/40 type split between the two. North Carolina was one of the worst running defenses in the country last season, and we’ll assume they won’t be much better this season. South Carolina is also featuring a 1st year starting QB, so it’s highly likely the team runs the ball quite a bit even as teams dare them to throw. Brandon Wilds is a bit cheaper on FanDuel this week than on most other sites – so I like his value more on that site. David Williams is basically a minimum priced RB that I think you can comfortably start as a cheaper/sleeper RB since he’ll likely see plenty of action, especially if South Carolina builds a big lead.
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RALPH WEBB – Vanderbilt
This is a great matchup against a weak WKU run defense and Vanderbilt doesn’t have a ton of depth at RB, so I’d expect Webb to see the bulk of the action. Unless he’s really improved, he’s not much of a threat out of the backfield. Webb is a better value on DraftKings, where he less than $1,000 over average salary. I would consider Webb a ‘safe’ play at RB for week 1, but with some upside given the matchup and lack of depth Vanderbilt has at the position.
DeVONTAE BOOKER – Utah
One of the best RBs on the Thursday slate of games, however we have to assume the matchup is going to be tough. Michigan was near the top of the NCAA against the run last season – and Harbaugh likely will have the bunch playing solid defense again. However, Booker is more than just a runner, he’s a viable threat to catch the ball as well. The head coach has indicated he’d like to get Booker 30 touches per game, so even with the tough matchup, Booker is viable in just about any lineup.
MARTEZ WALKER & DEVON SPALDING
Oklahoma St is a 3+ score favorite, so I’m not recommending these two across the board, but both are pretty cheap RB options this week. Central Michigan likes to run the ball, and the coach has indicated that the team will run a more up-tempo style offense which might lead to more play calls. Walker is listed as the starter, but for now I think it’s safe to assume both will get touches. I could see using one if you needed a really cheap RB option this week (that will likely have low usage rates too) but keep an eye on these two going forward, one might emerge as a nice sleeper play early on this season.
SHAQUILLE POWELL – Duke
I will double check as we get closer to gameday, but it’s possible Powell is one of the only healthy RBs for Duke heading into week 1. If he’s one of the only RBs suiting up, he could make for a spot-start sleeper pick for the Thursday games given that Duke is rolling out a new QB and many other new faces on offense. 9/3 Update: Looks like RB Shaun Wilson is probable while RB Joseph Ajeigbe are questionable. I think this mitigate any really high upside Powell might have had.

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