TAXSLAYER.COM GATOR BOWL
Nebraska vs Georgia – Wednesday, Jan. 1 – 12N ET
For the second straight season, the Cornhuskers and Bulldogs will meet in a bowl game. However, this one has a very different look. Georgia QB Aaron Murray (knee) tore his anterior cruciate ligament in November and is obviously lost for the season, and Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez (foot) is sidelined with a foot injury that cost him most of the season. So with backup quarterbacks running the show, the Fantasy value will be among the running backs. Huskers RB Ameer Abdullah was one of the best backs in the nation, rolling for 1,568 yards and eight touchdowns. UGA ranked 43rd against the run this season, but Abdullah will still be a solid Fantasy option. Bulldogs RB Todd Gurley was good, not only out of the backfield but catching the ball, too. He totaled 15 touchdowns (10 rushing, five receiving), while running for 903 yards and adding 344 yards through the air.
HEART OF DALLAS BOWL
UNLV vs North Texas – Wednesday, Jan. 1 – 12N ET
With a crowded slate of interesting New Year’s Day games, this one will likely be overlooked by most. However, Fantasy owners shouldn’t forget about the HoD. UNLV’s defense ranked 100th overall in total yardage allowed and 112th in the nation against the run. That sets up a very favorable matchup for North Texas RB Brandin Byrd, who posted 1,023 rushing yards and 11 scores, while also adding one receiving score. QB Derek Thompson is so-so, throwing for 2,640 yards, 14 TDs and 13 INTs, but he did run for three scores. He could be a nice mid-level Fantasy play in daily formats. UNT was very good defensively, ranking an impressive 19th against the rush and 27th in total yardage. The Mean Green was also ninth in the nation in points allowed (18.1 ppg). That being said, UNLV RB Tim Cornett (252-1,251-15) is a Fccantasy option that should not be overlooked.
CAPITAL ONE BOWL
Wisconsin vs South Carolina – Wednesday, Jan. 1 – 1:00pm ET
This game has the potential to be a big-time defensive showdown. South Carolina ranks 18th overall in total yardage allowed, 19th against the pass, 34th against the run and 14th in points allowed. Wisconsin ranks sixth in total yardage allowed, 12th against the pass, fifth against the rush and fifth in points allowed. Badgers RBs Melvin Gordon (181-1,466-12) and James White (209-1,337-13) were amazing Fantasy options, but they’ll have their work cut out for them against the Gamecocks sturdy defense. WR Jared Abbrederis (73-1,051-7) is a steady contributor as well. QB Connor Shaw was unbelievable for USC, throwing for 2,135 yards, 21 touchdowns and just one interception, and he ran for 511 yards and five more scores. RB Mike Davis (194-1,134-11) is also a fantastic option for Fantasy owners despite the tough matchup.
Iowa vs LSU – Wednesday, Jan. 1 – 1:00pm ET
LSU turns to freshman QB Anthony Jennings for his first career start in this one. He is pressed into duty after QB Zach Mettenberger (knee) suffered a torn ACL Nov. 29 against Arkansas. Iowa ranked seventh in the country in total yardage allowed, and 11th against the pass, so the frosh will have his work cut out for him. The shaky situation under center hurts the appeal of WRs Odell Beckham Jr. (57-1,117-8) and Jarvis Landry (75-1,172-10). RB Jeremy Hill (175-1,185-14) also faces an uphill battle against Iowa’s strong D. LSU was also fantastic defensively, ranking 20th in yardage allowed, and 18th against the pass. If they are susceptible to the big play, it is on the ground where they allowed 148.8 yards per game on the ground. That might mean an above-average Fantasy day for Iowa RB Mark Weisman (209-938-7).
ROSE BOWL GAME PRESENTED BY VIZIO
Stanford vs Michigan State – Wednesday, Jan. 1 – 5:00pm ET
The Rose Bowl is the first BCS game on the schedule, and the first matchup pitting Top 5 teams. Stanford ranked 15th in total yardage allowed, and ranking third in the country against the rush. However, if Michigan State can find a way to throw the ball with efficiency, they could do well for themselves. Stanford ranked an abysmal 90th in the country against the pass, allowing 247.8 yards per game. Michigan State ranked first in the country in total yardage allowed, first in rushing yardage allowed, fourth in points allowed (12.7) and fifth against the pass. Stanford RB Tyler Gaffney (306-1,613-20) was a fantastic Fantasy option this season, but he faces such a poor matchup. WR Ty Montgomery (58-937-10) would also be one to target normally, but he should find it tough sledding. Sparty RB Jeremy Langford was a stud this season, posting 1,338 rushing yards and 17 scores on the ground, with another receiving TD. As mentioned, though, Michigan State will win or lose based on the performance of QB Connor Cook (201-344-2,423-20-5).
TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL
UCF vs Baylor – Wednesday, Jan. 1 – 8:30pm ET
Baylor’s offense was amazing this season, rolling up 625.6 yards per game to top the charts. The Bears also managed 360.2 yards per game, ranking fifth in the country, while also ranking first in points scored (53.2). The Bears will welcome back WR Tevin Reese (wrist), who is officially probable. He posted 33 receptions for 824 yards and eight scores, and WR Antwan Goodley had 68 grabs for 1,329 yards and 13 scores. RB Lache Seastrunk (141-1,060-11) also should be a tremendous Fantasy play. UCF was a very average 63rd in the nation against the pass, so Baylor should fly high. A Fiesta Bowl stack using plenty of Bears is a great idea. If the Knights get behind, UCF QB Blake Bortels (239-351-3,280-22-7) will be passing early and often.
ALLSTATE SUGAR BOWL
Oklahoma vs Alabama – Thursday, Jan. 2 – 8:30pm ET
Alabama has to settle for the Sugar Bowl after being shocked by Auburn in the Iron Bowl. Make no mistake, though, they will be prepared and focused. QB A.J. McCarron passed for 2,676 yards and 26 TDs with just five INTs, and RB T.J. Yeldon rolled for 1,163 yards and 13 TDs. Both are nice Fantasy options, although Oklahoma did rank 14th in the nation in total yardage allowed. Alabama ranked fifth in the country in total yardage allowed, fourth against the pass, and 11th against the rush. Oklahoma doesn’t have the guns to crack the ‘Bama defense, but if anyone steps up to the plate and has a good Fantasy performance, it will be RB Brennan Clay (158-913-6).
AT&T COTTON BOWL
Oklahoma State vs Missouri – Friday, Jan. 3 – 7:30pm ET
While a few of the matchups above pit great defenses against great defenses, that is not the case in this one. Oklahoma State ranked 46th in the nation in total yardage allowed, and 87th against the pass. Mizzou was even worse, ranking 70th in total yardage allowed, and 101st in passing yardage allowed. Mizzou QB James Franklin threw for 2,254 yards and 19 TDs with just five INTs, and he ran for 474 yards and four more scores. RB Henry Josey (162-1,074-13), WR L’Damian Washington (47-853-10) and WR Dorial Green-Beckham (55-830-12) are all Fantasy options that should be on your radar. For OK State, RB Desmond Roland rolled up 12 rushing scores, while RB Jeremy Smith was good for nine TDs on the ground, and QB Clint Chelf passes for 15 scores and ran for six more.
DISCOVER ORANGE BOWL
Clemson vs Ohio State – Friday, Jan. 3 – 8:30pm ET
Ohio State’s defense looked awfully vulnerable to the big play against a subpar Michigan offense in their regular season finale, and then they were average at best against Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game. In fact, the Buckeyes were an abysmal 106th in the nation against the pass, allowing 259.5 yards per game. A lot of that can be chalked up to the opponent rolling up big numbers late trying to get back into games, but the fact remains Ohio State is still below-average in that area. Look for Clemson QB Tajh Boyd (252-373-3,473-29-9) to take advantage, and his partner in crime WR Sammy Watkins (85-1,237-10) will have a big-time Fantasy performance, too. Clemson was subpar against the run, allowing 152.6 yards while ranking 52nd in the nation. Ohio State RB Carlos Hyde (183-1,408-14) could have a big Fantasy line, and dual-threat QB Braxton Miller passed for 1,860 yards and 22 passing TDs with 1,033 rushing yards and 10 scores.
BBVA COMPASS BOWL
Vanderbilt vs Houston – Saturday, Jan. 4 – 1:00pm ET
Just because this game will not receive the same kind of hype, don’t sleep on the Fantasy options available to you here. Vanderbilt ranked 26th in the country in total yardage allowed, and 42nd against the run. Houston allowed 276.2 yards per game through the air, ranking 116th in the country against the pass. That means good things for WR Jordan Matthews (107-1,334-5) in his collegiate finale. QB Austyn Carta-Samuels (knee) is out, so the starting signal caller duties fall to QB Patton Robinette. For the Cougars, QB John O’Korn threw for 2,889 yards with 26 passing TDs and one more rushing score. RB Ryan Jackson totaled eight TDs (six rushing, two receiving) and WR Deontay Greenberry (76-1,106-10) was spectacular from a Fantasy perspective. He and Matthews might present one-stop shopping in this very underrated game.
Arkansas State vs Ball State – Sunday, Jan. 5 – 9:00pm ET
This is another very underrated bowl game with plenty of Fantasy potential. The Arkansas State defense ranked 81st in the country in total yardage allowed, 73rd against the pass and 83rd against the run. Ball State was 86th in the country in total yardage allowed, 59th against the pass and 94th in the country in rushing yardage allowed. Look for a high-scoring matchup in the undercard before Monday’s main event. Ball State QB Keith Wenning (296-454-3,933-34-6) is the Fantasy headliner here, and he could eclipse 400 yards with multiple scores. RB Jahwan Edwards (184-964-13) was also very dependable this season, as was WR Willie Snead (97-1,429-14). WR Jamill Smith (63-855-8) could also be a nice mid-level Fantasy play that comes on the cheap. Ark State’s RB Michael Gordon (106-717-10) is the best Fantasy option for the Red Wolves.
VIZIO BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Florida State vs Auburn – Monday, Jan. 6 – 8:30pm ET
The big game has a little bit of everything. Florida State QB Jameis Winston was the Heisman Trophy this season with 3,820 passing yards and 38 scores. WRs Rashad Greene (67-981-9) and Kelvin Benjamin (50-957-14) were camped under most of those balls. Also, TE Nick O’Leary (33-557-7) is far and away the best Fantasy option at his position in the later bowl games. In fact, it’s not even close. FSU was third in the country in total yardage allowed, and first against the pass. If anyone is able to break the code of the Seminoles’ defense, it will be RB Tre Mason (283-1,621-22). He was simply amazing, and one of the biggest reasons for Auburn’s miraculous turnaround. QB Nick Marshall passed for 12 scores and ran for 11 more. The dual-threat QB is simply adequate from a Fantasy perspective, however. Against FSU, he could be overwhelmed.