Regardless of whether you're in a head-to-head or total points league, we've officially entered crunch time in the college fantasy football season. The playoffs are no longer off in the horizon; instead the second season is approaching with the speed of Jeff Demps in the open field. And I'm right there with those owners who are pondering every possible roster or lineup move in hopes of gaining that extra edge.
In my Big Ten + ND league I'm 5-2 (though leaking oil) and in the other (BCS) I'm in the middle of the pack; and thanks to Colt McCoy's fantasy struggles and Michael Floyd's injury (in addition to many, many questionable draft choices) I've never really left the garage. And as fantasy owners nationwide can likely attest, the waiver wire isn't offering too many options. And my trades over the past week haven't offered too much assistance.
So it's really a case of dancing with whom you brought. Some sure-fire stars in August are now pulling slivers out of their ass, and players drafted simply to provide depth are playing key roles. So we've got to make the best of the situation, knowing full well that every other team in the league has its share of holes.
What do Jimmy Clausen, Mike Kafka, Toby Gerhart and Golden Tate have in common? The answer is I advised owners to sit each last week, and the four averaged a robust 25 points in week eight.
Likewise, what do Zac Lee, Jonathan Baldwin and Collin Franklin have in common? The three recommended starts combined for a total of seven points. Seven freaking points. Weeks like this do two things: they fill up my inbox with hilarious quips from loyal readers, and they allow me to feel like Mike Sherman for a little while.
So as I sit at the crossroads, the question must be asked: why should you listen to anything I have to say? After all, our fancy pants computer is starring on a weekly basis, using its stupid algorithms and variables to predict with frightening accuracy. While I, armed with a six-pack on the table and MLB playoffs as background noise, stumble my way through yet another week of start-sit mediocrity.
I say mediocrity because I did make a few solid selections. Noel Devine was a no-brainer, but Tandon Doss, Nick Foles and Riar Geer were solid start recommendations, right? I know...still stuck on Collin Franklin. And I don't blame you. However we're a country of comebacks. And I'm about to make mine.
I'm bruised and battered, but I've got a friend who has shown a willingness to help me find the way back to a championship level. The only difference is that my friend is in no shape to run on the beach and he isn't Black. I also hope he doesn't die at the hands of a big Russian.
For now, he's taken me under his wing, and has brought back my eye of the tiger.
Thaddeus Lewis, Duke vs. Maryland
Lewis snuck his way into our top ten quarterback rankings for week eight, as he's coming off a bye that was preceded by a 54-point fantasy week output against North Carolina State.
The Terps currently rank 67th against the pass. And it doesn't appear that Ralph Friedgen has any magic left.
Joey Elliott, Purdue vs. Illinois
You reach a point when a player performs well enough for long enough that it's no longer a fluke. Elliott has waited for his chance, and he has a coach that believes in his veteran quarterback.
The Illini are coming to see the world's largest drum, and this game has all the makings of one of those rare defense-optional Big Ten clashes.
Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State vs. Minnesota
I believe in talent. I believe in players that have more God-given ability than others, especially when those players have proper motivation. Terrelle Pryor has seen every move dissected of late, and it's gotten to the point that some are even wondering if the sophomore should spend a little time on the bench. It's time for Pryor to bust out.
The Gophers rank 77th against the pass and 92nd in total defense. But this isn't really about their rankings, it's about catching the Ohio State Buckeyes and Pryor at precisely the wrong time.
B.J. Daniels, South Florida at Pitt
We'll chalk this sit up to expected growing pains. It sure was fun watching Daniels run around like Rocky Balboa chasing a chicken last Thursday night, but he still has a ways to go.
Pitt has a pretty decent defense this year. And their coach has a really cool mustache. Neither should be discounted.
Joe Webb, UAB at Marshall
Look for Webb to struggle in what could be some sloppy conditions in Huntington. And look for the UAB defense to show absolutely no ability to stop the Marshall run game. This means little time for Joe Webb to work some magic.
Jerrod Johnson, Texas A&M at Texas Tech
Last April Mike Leach angered Mike Sherman when the Red Raider coach brought up former Aggie quarterback Stephen McGee, and the fact that the Dallas Cowboys spent a fourth-round pick on him. Leach said that the Cowboys "like McGee more than the coaches at A&M did."
And now these two coaches meet, and one team is coming off a shellacking at the hands of Kansas State.
The Aggie ship is sinking, and Leach and the Red Raiders are ready to climb aboard do a little looting.
Shane Vereen, Cal vs. Washington State
Washington State is last among BCS schools at stopping the run. And Cal likes to run it a litle bit. Jeff Tedford will give starter Jahvid Best a little head start towards 200 yards, and then he'll unleash Shane Vereen on those poor Cougs.
Jeremy Avery and Doug Martin, Boise State at Hawaii
You know who's just below Washington State in run defense? You guessed it there smart guy, it's the Hawaii (formerly Rainbows there Greg McMackin) Warriors.
Brynn Harvey, Central Florida at Rice
Brynn Harvey could only muster 25 yards against the Miami Hurricanes. And there aren't many better rebound defenses to face than our beloved Rice Owls. All will soon be better Brynn.
Andre Dixon, UConn at West Virginia
The desire to capitalize on Dixon's recent hot play (33-153-3 against Louisville last week) will be present. However the West Virginia defense is currently #7 nationally against the rush. In other words, they're not Louisville. And Jordan Todman is still in da mix.
Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State at USC
Last year Jacquizz Rodgers ran over and around the Trojan defense, and the freshman led his Beavers to a stunning home upset of USC. This week Rodgers will travel to sunny Los Angeles to take on a USC defense that has likely watched highlight after highlight of Quizz's evening from a season ago.
USC lost enough defensive talent in last year's draft to devastate a conference worth of teams, let alone one program. And now, after facing some teams that are damn good running the ball, Pete Carroll's boys currently sit 4th nationally against the run.
Carlos Brown, Michigan vs. Penn State
Brown is deemed good to go for Penn State this weekend while Brandon Minor is not...and Minor is the better style of back to face the Nittany Lions.
Look for Brown to struggle to find room against the nation's 6th best team at stopping the run.
Jordan Shipley, Texas at Missouri
Shipley has caught 51 balls for 605 yards and three scores on the season. And he's coming of a 4-22 outing against Oklahoma. A bounce back is in order.
The Tigers aren't horrible against the pass, but we're looking at a UT offense that will soon feel the pressure to earn some style points.
Antonio Brown, Central Michigan at Bowling Green
Brown catapults to the #2 spot in our wide receiver rankings, and we're looking for a wide receiver duel to emerge between Brown and the amazing Freddie Brown. With Dan LeFevour and Tyler Sheehan facing off, expect the footballs to be flying, starting at high noon on Saturday.
Detron Lewis, Texas Tech vs. Texas A&M
Lewis is coming off two consecutive 100-yard receiving games, and now he faces an Aggie defense that has allowed 47, 36 and 62 points over the last three games. Yes, that capitalist pig Michael Crabtree has moved on and the Red Raiders have returned to their socialist ways of spreading the passes around, however Lewis is the best of the bunch.
And the top Red Raider wideout will get his this Saturday, regardless of who's winging the pigskin for Mike Leach.
Blair White, Michigan State vs. Iowa
The Iowa defense knows that Blair White has become the clear #1 receiving target for Michigan State. And defense coordinator Norm Parker will make someone else beat the Hawkeyes deep. The Big Ten's top team ranks 16th nationally against the pass. They have a very good defensive front that teams with a very good secondary to make life difficult for opposing passing attacks.
Toren Dixon, Rice vs. Central Florida
Dixon has been an offensive bright spot in a year where bright spots are hard for the Owls to find. Now I know that UCF has been horrible against the pass, but they haven't faced a defense as bad as the one they'll face on Saturday.
It'll be hard for Dixon to score when his team doesn't have the ball.
Greg Salas, Hawaii vs. Boise State
The Warriors are in for a long day at home. Salas is in the middle of a very nice season (42-791-5) though he's finding some key sidekicks (most notably his starting quarterback) are no longer on the field.
The absences will be felt against this Boise State defense.
Tight Ends and Defenses
Riar Geer, Colorado at Kansas State
Tyler Hansen likes to look for the big fella.
Tony Moeaki, Iowa vs. Michigan State
Run, run, play action. When healthy there aren't any better going.
Anthony McCoy, USC vs. Oregon State
Ride the hot hand.
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Minnesota
Any angry group of Buckeyes return home.
Boise State Broncos at Hawaii
Always dangerous playing a team traveling to the island, but the Broncos can taste the BCS fury that is on its way.