Nov. 10, 2012; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars quarterback Jeff Tuel (10) drops back for a pass against UCLA Bruins during the first half at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Football season is imminent, and bragging rights are approaching. Coug fans have the Apple Cup bravado present for another three months, but fantasy football gives fans the joy of weekly dominance over their friends. Following players once they have left their crimson jerseys behind in Pullman is often a source of pride (with some obvious exceptions).
Throwing former Cougs onto your fantasy roster is not an assurance of success, but leaving them off entirely just seems like abandoning your friends. Wazzu fans have enjoyed a safe pick to fill the obligatory roster spot with Jason Hanson for more than two decades, but this year’s crop of Cougs seems spartan at first glance. Palouse representation on NFL rosters is slim this year, but there are chances for some success on your roster.
Jul 22, 2013; Davie, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Gibson (10) during training camp at the Doctors Hospital Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
Targets: 81 Rec: 51 Yards: 692 TD: 5
Gibson’s projected stats for 2013 are not what one would hope, but with Ryan Tannehill delivering the ball Gibson could step up huge in Miami, especially in a PPR league. As the third receiver Brandon will be matching up largely with nickel backs and safeties, priming him for quick tosses and large production if you spot start him well. There are many weak defenses (10 games against projected bottom 15), so if you can pick up Gibson in late rounds (just over 1% owned, so not difficult), he could pan out for you.
Aug 1, 2013; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets running back Chris Ivory (33) stretches during training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports
Rushes: 40 Yards: 217 TD: 2
Though Chris will never be introduced as a Coug (he transferred to Tiffin University for his seniior year due to ademic issues), he definitely showed some promise during his first two years wearing crimson. Moving from the RB by committee quagmire where Ivory has languished for his career to a run oriented Jets team should provide a boon for the highest rated former Coug. Saying that the Jets have a question mark at QB is an understatement, so the tough as nails Ivory should get plenty of touches all year. Now that Ivory is wearing green, his production is estimated to quadruple. If you want Ivory, look early. He is projected as a seventh round pick, costing owners around $10. Mattouhew Barry says that Ivory will be a #1 fantasy back this year, so take that as you will.
November 25, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints fullback Jed Collins (45) dives to the endzone pylon for a touchdown against San Francisco 49ers inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman (53) during third quarter of their game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
No Rushing Rec: 14 Yards: 70 TD: 2
Collins is loved on the Bayou the same way that he was on the Palouse. Hard nosed blocker and special teamer who occasionally gets the ball in his hands. When he does, good things tend to happen. That being said, he is a spot FA pick up for fantasy purposes. He I s a good reason to tune in to a rogue Saints game, though, as he will be on the field for the majority of offensive snaps.
21/24 FG 39/39 XP
Lindell is the best bet on this group. If you are looking for a Coug, Lindell will score you points. Jason Hanson was a staple in the NFL for more than two decades, and Lindell has made a terrific career for himself. Maybe we can look to Andrew Furney (ranked the number 5 senior kicker) next year to continue the WSU kicker tradition in the NFL.
Aug 11, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Jeff Tuel (8) throws a pass against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Buffalo defeats Indianapolis 44-20. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Last week we would have thought that this write up would be amazingly short. The Bills’ inability to keep their signal callers healthy has necessitated Tuel to study his playbook and examine film at a pace that would make Russell Wilson’s head spin. Tuel will possibly be taking the field against Tom Brady and the Pats next week, making him the first undrafted QB to become an opening day starter in the common era (since 1967). Coug fans were excited that he found a job following the draft, now . . . well who knows? This is by no means an endorsement to pick up Tuel for your team unless you are participating in a twenty team or multiple QB league. Next Sunday morning, get up, shake off the blur from the Cougs beating up on USC, and look to see Tuel take snaps in the Ralph. Could be fun, could be painful.
May 14, 2013; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Marquess Wilson (10) during organized team activities at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Something happened in Pullman last year. We can only speculate on the schism between Coach Leach and Wilson, and fans are divided, but there was a definite question on how well Wilson can weather adversity. So far, this preseason, Wilson has thrived in an offense that will inevitably give him looks. Whether or not he can put these opportunities into fantasy numbers is yet to be seen, but look at him. He has the size and speed to succeed, and it appears that he is quite hungry.
If you chose to fill your roster with Cougs, well, it is your funeral. Throwing someone into the mix, though, can be entertaining. Drew Bledsoe was always an easy guess, and there are more Jerome Harrison’s than Bledsoe’s. Hanson was always a secret joy on a fantasy roster for Coug fans, it is up in the air to see who might step into his shoes this year.