USC football in the NFL: Best Trojans to pick for fantasy football

Former USC football WR Robert Woods. (Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Former USC football WR Robert Woods. (Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Which USC football stars in the NFL should you target for fantasy football?

So you’re a USC football fan who is getting your gridiron fix through the NFL this year? Chances are you’ve got a fantasy football team to manage.

There won’t be Trojan football this fall, but you can still connect to the cardinal and gold by populating your fantasy team with Projans.

But who are the best picks to show loyalty to USC without tanking your team? We’ve got you covered.

USC football fantasy football pick: Quarterback

If you want a Trojan quarterback on your fantasy team there is really only one viable option: Sam Darnold with the New York Jets.

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And that’s hardly a strong pick unless you’re in a large two-quarterback league. He sits 27th in ESPN’s fantasy football player rankings.

You may love Darnold but the Jets are still the Jets and his numbers are probably going to be limited. Optimistically, he has some new receivers to work with in Denzel Mims and Breshad Perriman. Things could get better.

USC football fantasy football pick: Running back

Ronald Jones II’s is 30th in ESPN’s PPR rankings for 2020, but don’t be dissuaded from snatching him up. He’s actually one of the top players with sleeper potential in the late rounds of a fantasy draft.

Jones has a much-improved sophomore season in 2019 with nine starts, 724 yards rushing and six touchdowns. He caught 31 passes for 309 yards as well.

Take note of that last stat because Tom Brady has arrived with the Buccaneers. They’re expected to continue targeting the running back in the passing game. Since opposing defenses will have their work cut out for them blanketing Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard, Jones could benefit as another option for the offense.

USC football fantasy football pick: Wide receiver

Let’s face it, if you’re going to use a slot in your fantasy team for Trojans, it’ll be at wide receiver. There are just too many good options.

Start with JuJu Smith-Schuster. Okay, so maybe you were burned by Smith-Schuster last year when his stock was at its highest and his production took a nosedive. On the plus side, a disappointing 2019 season could make it far easier to pick up Smith-Schuster in your draft with plenty of value to justify it. Don’t forget, Mason Rudolph was the one throwing passes for the Steelers and the return of Ben Roethlisberger could mean big things for his No. 1 wide receiver.

If Smith-Schuster is already off the board, or you’re a Rams fan, you can next turn to Robert Woods. He is No. 15 in ESPN’s fantasy rankings, just one spot behind Smith-Schuster.

Woods is certainly a safer choice than his Trojan counterpart with the Steelers. Last year he had his second 1,000-yard season in a row, with 90 catches to his name. That’s gold in a PPR league even if his two touchdowns leave something to be desired. So long as he remains one of the top two targets in Los Angeles and on the field most of every game, he’ll have fantasy value.

Okay, let’s say you couldn’t justify a middle-round pick for Smith-Schuster or Woods, but you still want to target a Trojan wideout in the late rounds? Why not take a flyer on Michael Pittman Jr.?

RELATED: Pittman on the path to continue WRU tradition

The rookie Colts receiver was a fantasy sleeper pick by Bleacher Report because of his college talent and where he fits in the offense in Indianapolis. T.Y. Hilton will command most of Phillip Rivers’ attention, but Pittman already looks likely to serve as WR3 at worst. He’s a potential red zone monster.

Next. Ranking USC's 15 Best WRs