We are starting to shake off the cobwebs after a long hard day of tailgating and football. Bruised and battered, Brian and I have decided to play a little Iron Sheik and Nicolai Volkoff...we're going to tag-team this weekend's version of Saturday Rewind and Waiver Wire.
From Lane Kiffin deciding to settle for a 'chip shot' 44-yard field goal, to Iowa's last second touchdown to remain undefeated, week eight was not without its drama. I'm not sure which is worse for UT fans, Kiffin not being more aggressive in his play calling and trying to move the ball closer with 50 seconds left on the clock, or his jittery explanation in the post-game interview. You've got the #1 team in the country (sorry #2 team) on the ropes, you've got to go for the kill.
Is there going to be a hotter coaching name in December than Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly? He simply gets his quarterbacks ready to play.
While news that running backs Bernard Pierce and Ike Nduka would not play on Saturday probably kept them on the benches of many owners, it is interesting to see them showing 50% or better availability in U-Sports leagues. Same with Eddie Wide. There is no time to wait on these guys if they are still available in your league.
It is unknown on how long Cincinnati quarterback Tony Pike will be out, but there is certainly no harm in grabbing Zach Collaros. It doesn't seem to matter who is playing quarterback for Brian Kelly. They just produce.
Speaking of production...or lack thereof... Texas Tech's Taylor Potts found himself on the bench after throwing two picks and fumbling in the third quarter. Seth Doege took over and completed 18-of-25 passes for 146 yards, but failed to score. Besides the drubbing of Rice, Potts has not looked great this year, and I suspect we'll have another week of trying to figure out who is going to start at quarterback for the Red Raiders.
Case Keenum hasn't lived up to our back-to-back #1 rank in our weekly projections. The Cougars got it done on the ground and with special teams. Unlike the Tech quarterback situation however, I wouldn't worry too much about Keenum. Keep plugging him in.
Besides Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the list of top five fantasy point getters this week is not exactly a who's who of college football: QB Colin Kaepernick - Nevada (66pts), QB Ryan Lindly - San Diego St. (56pts), QB Dwight Dasher - Middle Tennessee St. (50pts), WR DeMarco Sampson - San Diego St. (43pts) and RB Cyrus Gray - Texas A&M (41pts).
Besides Sampson, here are a couple of other receivers that are red hot right now and prime for the taking: Alshon Jeffery - South Carolina, Juron Criner - Arizona, Zeke Markshausen - NW,
Our computer has been picking on Eastern Michigan's rush defense all year. I just wonder how many people trusted MiQuale Lewis. Lewis nearly doubled his rushing output on the year, gashing Eastern for 301 yards on the ground.
Waiver Wire Help: Da Stretch Run
Looking for roster help? Check out this week's top available players on our waiver wire.
Brian's Deep Thoughts:
As the season enters "money time" and the playoffs are this close, a look the week eight stats make one thing abundantly clear: owners need a non-BCS quarterback to win in an All-120 league. It's nearly impossible to withstand a 66-point barrage from Colin Kaerpernick, 56-point outburst from Ryan Lindley or 50 points from Dwight Dasher. This is especially true when BCS quarterbacks like Colt McCoy and Jimmy Clausen appear to have a ceiling in the mid-20's, and Tim Tebow continues to engage in slugfest after slugfest.
It's too easy to let Heisman polls or media coverage play a role in determining your starting lineup. After all, the Colt McCoys of the world are subjects of feature stories, while Colin Kaepernick is seemingly forgotten by the non-college fantasy football world after he struggles in the season opener in South Bend.
However while the big boys are led by coaches that become a little more conservative as the weather turns chilly (after all no coach wants to make an overly-agressive move that costs a lucrative automatic bowl slot) those that lead the "little guys" are willing to say to hell with it, fully aware that their best chance at winning involves featuring their top playmakers and rolling the dice.
Next week is week nine, the next-to-last week in many regular seasons. And it's time to look past the headlines and Hesiman hype and start the quarterback with the highest ceiling. If your opponent is expecting 40 points from his signal caller, you've got to give yourself a shot to at least keep it interesting.
Eastern Michigan and a little Rice: The perfect recipe for any opponent
How bad is the Eastern Michigan defense? They allowed 300 yards rushing and one score to MiQuale Lewis, and he wasn't even the highest-scoring fantasy back...on his own team. Fellow Cardinal Cory Sykes ran 23 times for 203 yards and three scores as Eagles were, once again, gashed on the ground.
Now Rice wasn't quite as accomodating this week to fantasy owners. Sure, they allowed 49 points, however we expected much more from Brynn Harvey, who only saw 12 carries for 71 yards. So instead UCF threw for four scores on the way to a 49-7 cakewalk.
Now statistically Eastern hasn't been the worst defensive team nationally. They currently rank 90th of 120 teams. And Rice is 116th. But what these two programs have in common is the fact that play teams with fantasy factors on a weekly basis. Rice tackles SMU in two weeks, and while the shoulder injury to Bo Levi Mitchell adds some uncertainty, we can certainly expect Shawnbrey McNeal to find yards in chunks. And next week Eastern Michigan heads down to Arkansas. Oh my.
David Bailiff and Ron English are good football coaches. Bailiff is rebuilding after some huge personnel losses on offense. And Ron English is trying to recusitate a program that's been in decline for a long, long time. But for fantasy owners today, both the Owls and Eagles should be viewed as a a get-rich scheme that actually works.
Who are these wide receivers?
As Alex mentioned a few paragraphs above, the week's list of top fantasy performers is hardly a who's who. And this is cetainly the case out wide.
San Diego State's DeMarco Sampson (15-257-3), Max Komar (10-136-3) and Maurice Shaw (5-183-2) of Idaho were three of the top four fantasy wide receivers this week. And you'll be forgiven if you're wondering just where in the hell these guys came from. After all, Sampson has played second fiddle to teammate Vincent Brown, and the Idaho offensive attack has been The DeMaundray Woolridge Show. So it's understandable the only fantasy owners that likely started any of the three did so after uttering, "Whatever...I guess I'll start this dude..."
Every preseason, after we've dedicted countless man hours projecting the nation's top college fantasy footballers, we're fully aware that a nice percentage of college gridders will come from nowhere and emerge.
This was our Preseason Preview of DeMarco Sampson:
If the spring game is any indication (6 catches for 181 yards), Sampson is ready to break into the starting lineup for the Aztecs. With Ryan Lindley throwing the ball, Sampson has some decent upside.
And this was our Preseason Preview of Max Komar:
30-445-4 as a sophomore became a junior campaign of 26-298-0. Add these two seasons together and multiply by 1.5 and we've got a player worthy of fantasy consideration. See if you can draft Komar 07 + 08 X 1.5
We didn't even write anything on Shaw.
So we're not patting ourselves on the back by any means. We'll start doing this when we can write in August that a wide receiver will have a huge performance in week eight of the upcoming season. Then we'll really have something.
A Few Saturday Observations:
Kellen Moore has emerged as one of the nation's finest. And while it may prove difficult for the Boise senior to duplicate his performance at Hawaii on Saturday night, we should expect more huge numbers on top of his 21 touchdowns against two picks to date.
Yesterday was the perfect example of why C.J. Spiller is such a maddening fantasy performer. Any running back that can run that kind of wheel route and get it done in so many ways just makes his statistical inconsistencies that much more bewildering.
Have we written enough about Lance Dunbar?
Ole Miss wide receiver Dexter McCluster touched the ball 29 times from scrimmage. Who does he think he is, Freddie Barnes?
Remember how I said I can't figure out Texas A&M? Yep, can't figure out Texas A&M. The six touchdowns combined from Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael is yet another example of some great fantasy talent that's as stable as a dude that builds flying machines in his backyard.