CFF Waiver Wire Gemstones Week 1 2018

By John Laub
John Laub




                Waiver Wire Gemstones

                     College Fantasy Football: Week 1




Cole McDonald, Hawaii
Fantrax Ownership Percentage: 57%
Last week, McDonald shined brightly against Colorado State and proved that he was not a one-week wonder. Against Navy, he passed for 428 yards and tossed six touchdowns. The Run-and-Shoot offense is in full flight after scoring 102 points in the first two games. In the next three weeks, the Rainbows host Rice, travel to Army and welcome Duquesne. McDonald is available in far too many CFF leagues and is a must pick up this week.

Taylor Cornelius, Oklahoma State
Fantrax Ownership Percentage: 23%
CFF fanatics have enjoyed the weekly production from the Cowboys’ passing game for years under Coach Mike Gundy. Former signal caller Mason Rudolph graduated, and Taylor Cornelius takes control in Stillwater. The 22-year old starter made his first start against Missouri State and illustrated impressive command of the offense. He completed 24 of 34 passes for 295 yards and five touchdowns. In the next three weeks, Oklahoma State hosts South Alabama, Boise State and Texas Tech. Plenty of points will be scored in each, and Cornelius should be plucked off the waiver wire.

Brady White, Memphis
Fantrax Ownership Percentage: 12%
A transfer from Arizona State, Brady White won the quarterback competition in camp after beating out David Moore, who left the program. Nervous to start his first game before kickoff, White overcame butterflies to post the best debut by a Tiger signal caller in school history. He passed for 358 yards and five touchdowns on only 22 completions. Memphis schedule is fantasy friendly over the next three weeks: Navy, Georgia State and Southern Alabama.  


Zac Thomas, Appalachian State
Fantrax Ownership Percentage: 1%
The redshirt sophomore nearly led the Mountaineers to an upset victory in Happy Valley. Zac Thomas completed 25 of 38 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns. He also rambled for 43 yards and a touchdown. At 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, Thomas is a pro-style passer who started his first game and proved his meddle when he got the wind knocked out of him in the fourth quarter and only missed one play. When he returned, Thomas completed two fourth quarter touchdowns. In the Sun Belt Conference, Appalachian State faces weak defenses, and Thomas should thrive in shootouts all season.

Additional Quarterbacks:  


Brett Rypien, Boise State

Sam Hartman, Wake Forest


Quinton Maxwell, Ohio


Running Backs

Artavis Pierce, Oregon State
Fantrax Ownership Percentage: 51%

The Beavers are among the bottom feeders in the Pac-12 and have now lost 20 consecutive road games. For the past two seasons, Artavis Pierce backed up Ryan Nall and now ascends into the starting lineup. A dual-threat ball carrier, the junior runner gained 451 yards from scrimmage on 83 touches and scored once last year. He also earned Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention. Against Ohio State over the weekend, the 5-foot-11 and 201-pounder totaled 168 rushing yards on only 11 carries while scoring two long touchdowns (80 and 78 yards) in the third quarter. He is a good runner in traffic and explosive on the edge. If Pierce is still available in your league, he should be stashed on your roster this week.

Scottie Phillips, Mississippi
Fantrax Ownership Percentage: 9%
While watching the Mississippi-Texas Tech game, Scottie Phillips jumped out of the screeen in a game with lots of fireworks. He rushed for 204 yards on only 16 touches and scored two touchdowns beyond 35 yards. It was also the first time since 2010 that a Bulldog rushed for over 200 yards. After the game, QB Jordan Ta’amu called Phillips “a beast.” A four-star JUCO recruit, Phillips starred at Jones County Junior College and was named NJCAA All-American after averaging 123.6 yards per game last year. A decisive runner, he runs low and packs a punch at 5-foot-11 and 211 pounds. With a quick burst, he easily reaches a fifth gear in the open field. Mississippi State is loaded with playmakers at receiver, and Phillips will have plenty of open running lanes to explode through.

Michael Warren II, Cincinnati
Fantrax Ownership Percentage: 2%
The Bearcats, a 14-point underdog, pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the weekend beating UCLA at the Coliseum. Sophomore RB Gerrid Doaks missed the game with a shoulder ailment, and Mike Warren II took advantage of the opportunity. He earned 35 carries, rushed for 142 yards and scored three times. A three-star prospect in high school, Warren scampered for 7,619 yards, scored 105 touchdowns and recorded 2,000 yards in three seasons. As a true freshman last year, he posted 324 yards rushing on 54 carries and scored once. Both Davis and Warren are likely to earn snaps moving forward for Cincinnati, but CFF owners must keep a close eye on Warren if Davis remains sidelined. 

Additional Running Backs:


Rico Dowdle, South Carolina

Jafar Armstrong, Notre Dame

Nick Brossette, LSU

Tim Jordan, Tennessee


Wide Receivers

Quez Watkins, Southern Mississippi
Fantrax Ownership Percentage: 7%
The Golden Eagles lost receivers Korey Robertson and Allenzae Staggers and must replace 76% of the team’s receptions from last season. Redshirt sophomore Quez Watkins rose to the occasion over the weekend with 8 catches for a career-high 138 yards and three touchdowns. He accounted for 54% of the team’s passing yards and earned the confidence of quarterback Jake Abraham. At 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, Watkins also returns kicks (241 all-purpose yards) and feels fine after suffering a leg injury. 

Rondale Moore, Purdue
Fantrax Ownership Percentage: 5%
Many college football diehards were shocked when Rondale Moore chose Purdue over Alabama and Texas. A true freshman, Moore tantalized a national audience on Friday night against Northwestern. He established a school-record with 313 all-purpose years, scored two touchdowns and grabbed 11 passes for 109 yards. At 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds, Moore can hit a home run every time he touches the football, and Coach Jeff Brohm will surely devise game plans to exploit the skills of his first-year playmaker. 


Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado
Fantrax Ownership Percentage: 4%
I identified quarterback Steven Montez as a Week 1 sleeper, and he passed for over 400 yards and four touchdowns against Colorado State. After losing Bryce Bobo, Shay Fields and Devin Ross, there were some questions regarding the pecking order in the Buffalo aerial assault. Sophomore Laviska Shenault answered the call of duty with a spectacular 11-catch performance. He averaged over 19 yards, totaled 211 yards and reached the end zone. Shenault, 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, was chosen as the Dan Stavely Award winner as the most improved receiver after spring practices. Run to the waiver wire and put a bid in for a big-play receiver who resides in the PAC 12.

Jamal Custis, Syracuse
Fantrax Ownership Percentage: 1%
Redshirt senior Jamal Custis has not excited the Orange faithful during his campus tenure with only 13 career catches for 143 yards and two touchdowns in four seasons. On Friday night, he became a CFF waiver wire gemstone with a dominate performance, catching six passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns. In 2016, Amba Etta-Tawo emerged from near obscurity at Syracuse to become a weekly CFF starter. At 6-foot-5 and 213 pounds, Custis presents a physical presence in the Orange aerial assault and could follow the same path as Tawo to become a viable starter. 

The Twitterverse Responds: Time to hit the Waiver Wire: Who are you targeting at WR this week?

        Player: Votes (Percentage)
          J. Custis: 34 (20%)
          L. Shenault, Jr.: 45 (26%)
          R. Moore: 81 (47%)
          Q. Watkins: 13 (7%)
          Total Votes: 173

Terren Encalade, Tulane
Fantrax Ownership Percentage: 3%
Tulane is not a passing offense CFF managers target for weekly production. However, when a player produces prodigious numbers, he opens the eyes of owners. Terren Encalade snatched eight passes for 189 yards and scored twice. A 6-foot-0 and 190-pound senior, Encalade must be watched closely to see if he continues to earn the majority of targets and catches for the Green Wave.

Tre Nixon, UCF
Fantrax Ownership Percentage: 3%
The former Viera High (Melbourne, FL) product transferred from Ole Miss to UCF to be closer to home. A speedster, he burned the UConn secondary for five receptions for 101 yards and two scores on Thursday evening. Tethered to Heisman candidate McKenzie Milton, Nixon could have a huge campaign for astute CFF owners who grab the Knights’ playmaker. 

Additional Wide Receivers:

Jakobi Meyers, North Carolina State
D’Wayne Eskridge, Western Michigan

Sean Modster, Boise State