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The Pig Market - CFF Week One Waiver Wire Adds
In the market, knowledge and cunning are worth more than gold, and VP's got you covered on both fronts this week!
The art of trading lies in timing and opportunity…
- Leonardo Fibonacci, mathematician
Welcome, my friends, to the Pig Market. Here, CFF manager frantically scour the streets—inspecting each and every merchant carefully in hopes of unearthing a hidden volume pig, or engaging in hellacious bidding for the fattest pigs at auction. A place where savvy buyers prove their mettle with extreme cunning, and first-timers unload their entire wallets on the latest cochon-du-jour.
I promised in my offseason content that I’d have you covered for waiver wire information each week and I plan to make good on that promise with yet another series (how many is it now? I’ve lost count…). Here, I will highlight players that I think are notable and that are also not highly rostered in standard leagues; or are not known commodities already. I’ll try to provide at least a few names at each position group per week.
On a non-CFF related note, before proceeding I just want to take a moment to remind the readers of the sacrifices content creators in this space often have to make to produce this type of content on a timely basis, so — while this article is free — any support from subscribers is greatly appreciated, and goes a long way in justifying to ourselves (and our loved ones) making said sacrifices.
(Tulsa) Cardell Williams — Freshman QB Williams subbed in for the injured Braylon Braxton when he went down with an ankle injury in the first quarter. Williams was a pleasant surprise, throwing three TDs on 14 pass attempts. I don’t know if he’s going to remain the starter, that depends on the extent of Braxton’s injury, but in the meantime Williams could be a value under new HC Kevin Wilson (former Ohio State OC). Tulsa have a rough two weeks coming up, but after that the schedule is pretty favourable.
(Cincinnati) Emory Jones — One of the most notable performances that deserves some attention was QB Emory Jones’ seven(!) TD performance. Granted, this was vs. FCS opponent Eastern Kentucky. Still — for those unaware — new head coach Scott Satterfield joined by way of Louisville this offseason. At Louisville, he had QB Malik Cunningham, who has a very similar skill set to Jones, and who topped CFF charts in 2021. This offence is one you’ll want to keep an eye on going forward. However, a word of caution for those interested in picking him up: the schedule over the next few weeks is rough, so you may end up stashing him until October. On the other hand, we should get a good barometer of how good Jones can be in this offence vs. opponents like Oklahoma and Pitt. As it happens, I wrote about Jones having a potential renaissance season back in April here.
(Fresno State) Mikey Keene — Keene tore up the Purdue Boilermaker defence in his first game with the Bulldogs—a promising sign for his prospects this season in the MWC. 70.5% completion on 44 passing attempts is notable, and so is four TDs to only one INT. Unlike the above two options, Keene actually has a favourable schedule over the next month, and then we get into in-conference play. He’s a guy I like a lot if you need to plug a hole right away.
(Texas State) TJ Finley — I wrote about Finley’s colleague Malik Hornsby this offseason as a player you’d want in CFF due to the system being put in place by new head coach GJ Kinne. That sentiment was dependent on Hornsby winning the job, of course. As it turns out, it would appear that former LSU/Auburn QB TJ Finley has taken the reigns. He didn’t disappoint in his first start—passing for just under 300 yards and three scores to zero INTs, plus an additional 18 yards rushing and a score vs. P5 opponent Baylor. Like Keene, Finley doing that against that level of competition bodes well for his prospects in-conference.
(Tulsa) Jordan Ford — Ford led Tulsa in rushing in its first game, carrying the rock 19 times for 110 yards and a score. The next leading rusher received only nine carries. As mentioned in the QB section, new Tulsa HC Kevin Wilson was formerly the OC of Ohio State, which is a program that produced a few notable volume pigs at RB during Wilson’s era. Notably—JK Dobbins ran for over 2000 yards in 2019. TreVeyon Henderson also broke out in 2021 as a true freshman with over 1000 yards.
(Georgia State) Marcus Carroll — Carroll might be the one that caught my eye the most on Thursday, as his carry volume was not only good (23 carries) but the only other RB that saw a carry for the Panthers was KZ Adams, who ran once for -1 yards (he might have gotten injured on this play, I’m not sure). Being a true volume pig is not just about the raw carry volume that the player is receiving, but the volume others in the room are getting too. Carroll might be in for a massive season if he’s going to be leaned on as the sole rusher in that backfield. Oh, and I guess I should mention that he ran for 184 yards and three TDs on those 23 carries too…
(WMU) Jalen Buckley — If Thursday night was any indication on how he’ll be used, he’s in for a monstrous campaign. Buckley took 30 carries for 194 yards and a score, also adding a reception for four yards. I have an extended article on WMU’s offence coming out later this week, in which I will go into more details on my thoughts regarding Buckley.
(Troy) Kimani Vidal — Vidal rushed 25 times for 248 yards, while the next two leading rushers on Troy finished with five and six carries. Vidal finished with a total of 302 yards when including his receiving work. There aren’t many true volume pig RBs that emerge on the wire, but Vidal is showing that he could be one of them. Granted this performance was vs. an FCS opponent, so again, keep that in mind when coming up with your valuation of Vidal.
(Fresno State) Elijah Gilliam — While the TDs weren’t there, the volume put me on notice. Gilliam carried the rock 20 times and added a reception to finish the day with 21 total touches. Many speculated that the RB1 of this team might be Malik Sherrod, well, he finished with eight carries for 17 yards (2.1 ypc) but did score a TD. It remains to be seen how involved each will be, but EG looked to be the guy in the backfield on this night. He ended up with 93 yards rushing, so his score won’t top the charts when you filter in Fantrax, but this is someone you’ll want to take a chance on if you need a RB. Let the others in your leagues bid themselves out of pocket on the four names above, we’ll go stealth mode and acquire potential budding volume pig Gilliam.
As always, there was a crap-ton of promising WRs that emerged in week one. While the number of true volume pigs at the RB position emerging appears to be sparse (as usual), we have a plethora of attractive options at WR (also as usual).
(Minnesota) Daniel Jackson — If you missed Jackson’s highlight reel catch on Thursday night, do yourself a favour and go take a look. That’ll probably be a catch of the year candidate when all is said and done. More importantly, Jackson led the Gophers in targets with a colossal 16(!), of which he brought down nine for 68 yards and a TD. Show me any FBS WR seeing 16 targets, and I’ll tell you that’s a player who will score a lot of points, whether he knows what he’s doing with the ball in his hands or not. Shoot, you could give me 16 targets a game and I’ll probably find the end zone every now and then just by chance. The main red flag here is the QB’s efficiency. Still, I like Jackson this week off the wire.
(Fresno State) Erik Brooks — Brooks appeared to be new FSU QB Mikey Keene’s top target on Saturday securing a strong nine catches on 12 targets for 170 yards and two scores. This is an offence that has been good to the WR position in the past, so naturally CFF managers were interested in who would emerge. It appears Brooks is that guy.
(Fresno State) Jalen Gill — If you’re in a league with FAAB, a prudent move might be to let others expend their budgets on Brooks while you — like a stealthy ninja — secure Gill behind the scenes. Gill finished the day with eight receptions on nine targets—not far off Brooks’ volume, making him an intriguing (and likely cheaper) option. Gill converted those opportunities to 65 yards and a score.
(Ole Miss) Tre Harris — Don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure Harris had himself three TDs before the first quarter was even over. This Ole Miss program under Kiffin has had a lot of success at the WR position, so I suppose its not surprising that a player would emerge. In general, Ole Miss had its way with lowly opponent Mercer, so again I suggest proceeding with caution in your valuations. Thinking more pragmatically, Harris saw only eight targets, a good number, but expecting four TDs each week on that target volume is probably a stretch. The TDs are unpredictable, on the other hand, the volume is not. He’s a good option on the wire, but there are other players I’m prioritizing over him.
(WSU) Lincoln Victor — Victor would be one of those players I’d be prioritizing the most this week. There was much speculation in the offseason about who would be taking over the coveted slot position in Ben Arbuckle’s (formerly of WKU, where he had Malachi Corley and Jerreth Sterns) offence. Many of us, including myself, thought early on that it might be DT Sheffield. The language out of camp was positive in that direction, however — at least after one game — it would appear that Victor has secured this role. The slot man in this system has been absolute money in CFF over the past few seasons—giving us a bit more security in projecting Victor’s ability to last as a sustainable stud over the course of the season amongst some of the other current options that have more question marks. Victor was targeted 14 times in this game, and went over 100 yards receiving.
Colorado WRs — Heavy and concentrated volume is the perfect formula for success in CFF. If week one is any indication on how things are going to play out this season, the Buffs are going to have a lot of CFF-relevant assets. Not only did QB Shedeur Sanders look good, but his top three WRs—Xavier Weaver, Jimmy Horn, and dual position standout Travis Hunter, each went over 100 yards, including a fourth 100-yard receiver in RB Dylen Edwards. Hunter led the way with 14 targets, Horn followed with 13 and Weaver had eight. I don’t know if Hunter will survive much longer at the pace of snaps he saw on Saturday, so — despite being targeted second most behind Hunter — I would prioritize fellow WR Jimmy Horn out of this room.
(Miami of Ohio) Gage Larvadain — Larvadain finished the opener with 8 receptions for 80 yards. The receiver showed good rapport with QB Brett Gabbert, and was actually targeted an eye-brow raising 12 times. The Redhawks were overmatched in this one vs. Miami, but you can imagine what a player like this could do once in MACtion. If he continues to see that kind of volume, he could be a valuable stash that provides dividends later on.
(Tulsa) Marquis Shoulders — Shoulders caught five passes for 132 yards and two scores in the opener. He showed good rapport with fellow freshman QB Cardell Williams, which bodes well for his outlook going forward. Notably, this performance was in the absence of expected WR1 Malachai Jones, so we’ll have to wait and see what the split looks like with the room at full potential.
(WVU) Devin Carter — Carter led the Mountaineers in receiving with 6 catches for 90 yards. I wrote about Carter this offseason, who was making heavy waves in training camp. In it, I remarked that he wasn’t a player I’d draft in normal leagues, but I wanted to monitor week one for a waiver play. It seems he’s answered the call. While he probably won’t be at the top of your WR priority this week, he looks like a solid play in deeper leagues or if you miss on your top targets. He was targeted in this game eight times. They may not be throwing it much next week vs. FCS opponent Duquesne, but this WVU team projects to be trailing in many of their games in 2023, so having the main target man could prove lucrative.
(Arizona State) Xavier ‘X-Man’ Guillory — The ‘X-Man’ showed a strong rapport with freshman QB Jaden Rashada in the opener, bringing down five passes for 73 yards and a score. Guillory had been making noise in camp this offseason, so I guess it’s not much of a surprise he’s continuing to make plays. What’s important is the volume at the end of the day, and Guillory led the Sun Devils in this capacity with eight targets. The next leading receiver was Elijah Badger, who was targeted five times, bringing down three for 19 yards. If X-Man continues to pace the team in total target volume, he should be a value going forward for a team that is likely to be playing from behind often.
Other notable names: KLS (Penn State), Xzavier Henderson (CINC), Roman Wilson (Michigan), Gary Bryant (Oregon), Jamaal Bell (Nevada), Ali Jennings (VTech), Robert Lewis (Georgia State), Tyrone Howell (ULM), Joey Hobert (Texas State), Andrew Armstrong (Arkansas), Ty Robinson (Ball State), Cole Harrity (UB), and Deion Burks (Purdue).
(Stanford) Ben Yurosek — Yurosek torched the Hawaii secondary with nine catches for 138 yards and a score. He was targeted a monstrous 11 times, which is rarefied air for the TE position. Yurosek was always a CFF relevant TE, but with the new system in place, his value might have shot up significantly. I always preach caution after one game, however, as we saw with SDSU’s Mark Redman, who had a breakout game in week zero, only to fall flat the next week.
(Baylor) Drake Dabney — ‘Drizzy’ aka 6-God Dabney saw a team-high nine targets in Baylor’s opener vs. Texas State. He was a rare bright spot on an offence that seemed to distribute volume fairly evenly across its position groups. The Dab-man converted those targets to six catches for 101 yards and two scores. I’m all about the volume at every position, and TE is no exception. Nine targets is what’s got me hooked here. The caveat always being it was only one game.
(Colorado State) Dallin Holker — Sometimes I forget that certain players are available in most leagues that I’m not involved in, as Holker is one I hoarded this offseason. He finished CSU’s contest vs. WSU with five receptions on seven targets for 47 yards and a score. Head coach Jay Norvell has been known to utilize the TE position heavily in the past (see former Nevada TE Cole Turner), so Holker presents an intriguing profile. Consider that WSU is likely one of the Rams’ toughest opponents this season, and Holker’s performance looks even better. I wrote about Holker here.
Other notable names: Jared Wiley (TCU), Ben Sinnot (KSU), Cade Conley (Marshall) and Cade Stover (OSU).
Colorado RB Dylan Edwards — Every year in CFF the week one waiver wire is rife with fool’s gold. Savvy CFF managers generally understand the red flags to look for, and it saves them a lot of trouble in sifting through the trash in search of true value. In the case of Edwards, he had a total of six rush attempts on Saturday. He also caught five of his five targets for 135 yards and 3(!) TDs. Four total TDs on a total of 11 touches is not sustainable over the long term. I’ll also remind the reader that RB Alton McCaskill is coming back soon from injury. Edwards is a frail player at 5’9, 170 pounds, so it’s unlikely he’ll be used heavily between the tackles, but the aerial usage was encouraging. This should be a high octane offence, so I’d expect this won’t be the last time we hear from Edwards, but he’s not a player I am prioritizing on the wire this week. Another thing to note is that TCU is likely to be a very bad team this year (this isn’t the type of program that reloads after losing a dozen or so players to the NFL in one offseason). So I wouldn’t get too carried away by the Buffs’ numbers in week one. This is a player that I’m happy to miss out on if it turns out that he’s productive, given the information we have currently.
TCU RB Trey Sanders — Coincidently, there’s another runner from the TCU-Colorado game that is on the Fool’s Gold list this week. That player—Trey Sanders, rushed for an eye-popping three TDs vs. the Horned Frogs. However, he was splitting carries with Emani Bailey, who ran for over 160 yards and yet remarkably managed to never score. Bailey sliced through the Buffs’ defence, averaging over 11 ypc, while Sanders struggled with 3.1. I know there are still many out there holding out hope on Sanders—a once promising five star prospect out of IMG Academy, but this isn’t a player I’m prioritizing this week.
Other names on the list this week: Blake Watson (Memphis), Noah Thomas (A&M), Jordan James (Oregon), Dylan Sampson (Tenn) and Isaiah Ifense (Cal).
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