Start or Sit: Week Three
Following what many would deem a lackluster week two slate of games, the third week of the 2008 college football campaign promises to provide great games/fantasy matchups, starting at 12:00 EST, and continuing long into the evening. Sure we have the great traditional matchups: USC vs. Ohio State, Fresno State vs. Wisconsin, Oklahoma vs. Washington, BYU vs. UCLA, and Purdue vs. Oregon. However fantasy owners realize that the big games don’t deal solely with ranked teams.
Exactly how many points will SMU and Texas Tech post? Can Akron’s Chris Jacquemain keep up with Nate Davis and the Ball State Cardinals? Are we really, seriously excited about Arkansas State and Southern Miss? As we move closer to conference play, fantasy owners are looking at putting another early win on the board, or creating a little distance between themselves and those teams a bit south in the standings.
Hopefully Week Three’s version of Start or Sit will help serve as the compass in your journey up the standings.
QB Graham Harrell, Texas Tech
Never thought we’d need to include him on this list, however there is some trepidation over on the Ask the Insider board. Friends, it’s Graham Harrell, and things are about to turn around. Were we a bit too ambitious when we mentioned the possibility of 60 touchdowns? Yep. Will Harrell still have a huge season? Yep.
Eventually Mike Leach and June Jones will battle on the recruiting trail for the same type of players. Until then, Leach is the big man on the block. He’ll flex his muscles against SMU.
QB Daryll Clark, Penn State
He’s one of the breakout stars of 2008, and he's headed to Syracuse to face an Orange team so hapless that they’re benching their best player, Andrew Robinson, rather than face the fact that the entire team really is that bad. Last week it was Evan Royster’s show, and this week Daryll Clark will take over.
QB Nate Davis and Chris Jacquemain, Ball State and Akron
I have a little crush on the MAC, so I’m a bit excited about Ball State’s trip to tackle the Zips. We all know what Nate Davis, Dante Love and Darius Hill can do, however this writer thinks Akron will keep up with the Ball State offensive machine, at least for a little while. This makes Chris Jacquemain one to consider.
QB Jevan Snead, Ole Miss
We love gritty, multi-dimensional quarterbacks almost as much as two-putt birdies, and Jevan Snead is pretty damn gritty.
Something clicked for Snead in Winston-Salem, and we get the feeling that a star was born, even in the loss. Snead’s talent has never been an issue. However many forgot about him as he sat out last season. The season off followed a close loss to Colt McCoy in a QB battle in Austin.
While Snead is the type of quarterback that will follow up a few great performances with an absolute dud, this dud will not occur against Samford.
QB Juice Williams, Illinois
The Juice is loose. Following two weeks of impressive performances, Williams will look to roll over Louisiana-Lafayette. One little concern: fellow dual-threat quarterback Kellen Lewis had a tasty tilt against an overwhelmed foe in Murray State last week, however he let others do the damage. While it’s not likely that Williams will be held out of the end zone, games like this sometimes are too good to be true.
QB Joe Ganz, Nebraska
I’m feeling a breakout against New Mexico State.
QB Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame
QB Matt Stafford, Georgia
Stafford’s shot at making a fantasy name for himself came in games against Georgia Southern and Central Michigan…and he accounted for four scores. Now Stafford and his Dawgs travel to South Carolina, and I can tell you exactly what will happen.
Stafford will control the game. He’ll make the tough throws, make the big throws, and he’ll lead Georgia to a victory in another hard-fought SEC slugfest. And his numbers will be about 205 yards passing and two scores. You can do better.
QB Chris Todd, Auburn
Todd has been named the starter for the Tigers, and now maybe he’ll throw a touchdown. After a good, yet touchdown-less performance last week, offensive coordinator Tony Franklin deemed Todd his guy, with the caveat that Kodi Burns will see snaps. Mississippi’s State’s defense is solid at worst; so don’t expect this to be Todd’s big explosion.
QB Matt Grothe, South Florida and Todd Reesing, Kansas
The Jayhawk’s defense, albeit against weak competition, has been pretty stout to start the season. South Florida has been pretty good as well. Will each team hold the other below its per game average thus far? Not likely. But this will be more of a defensive struggle than many seem to believe.
QB Chase Holbrook, New Mexico State
There are much better opening-game opponents than the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Holbrook and the rest of the offense could struggle.
QB Chase Clement, Rice
Vandy often takes its lumps during SEC play, however one must remember the Commodores are comprised of SEC athletes, the same athletes that just knocked off South Carolina. Certainly if Clement is your only option, you could do much worse. However we see Vandy’s D giving the Rice quarterback fits.
RB Jahvid Best, California
DeSean Jackson departs, and now Cal may have its first legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate. Best has been nothing short of spectacular, and he and his friends travel cross country to take on a Maryland team fresh off a tough road loss to…Middle Tennessee State. Kevin Riley and his burgeoning receiving group keep the Terps honest, and Best breaks a few more.
RB Charles Scott, LSU
It seems like forever and a day since we could recommend starting an LSU back. We may finally have another Tiger workhorse. The physical back has shown the ability to run away from people, and he’ll have a few Mean Green defenders in his rear view mirror.
RB Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State
If it wasn’t obvious already, it appears that Jacquizz Rodgers has become the running back at Oregon State, and he also appears the lone weapon on offense. The Hawaii Warriors come to the mainland, and the Beaver burner should have some fun.
RB Nicolas Grigsby, Arizona
We were a bit concerned about Grigsby when he jacked a teammate during a summer practice. However the way he responded verbally, and now, on the field, shows that burst of emotion was more fired-up leader than hothead. Coming off a 125-3 performance that was the final dagger against me in one league, I’m now a believer. New Mexico will be too.
RB Shannon Woods, Texas Tech
It’s a little bit wild and crazy to put Woods, who has been in Mike Leach’s doghouse so often that he sleeps on a piece of carpet when he’s home, on this list. However he’s seeing the field with frequency, and he’s yet to become a part of the passing game in a fashion similar to great Tech fantasy backs of the past. Call it a hunch. Based on some of my recent hunches, I’ll apologize to Shannon in advance.
RB Chris Wells, Ohio State
He’s banged up. His team is coming off a lackluster performance and now they get to travel cross-country to take on the nation’s number one team. And you should start Chris Wells. This is why you spent the first round pick on the Ohio State back. You plug him in and don’t think twice. **UPDATE** Wells has been deemed doubtful this week against USC. WOTS from our guy Kev down in C-Bus is he could be out a couple of weeks. Forget what we said above and keep him on your bench.
RB Marlon Lucky, Nebraska
When word broke that Bo Pelini was keeping the west coast offense intact we were stunned that he’d do that, but also thrilled that it meant another big season from Marlon Lucky. We had no idea how much Pelini loved platooning his running backs. The Coach has commented on his desire to keep all of his backs fresh, and unless something crazy happens, it may be time to toss Lucky back into the pond.
RB Tyrell Fenroy, Louisiana-Lafayette
Fenroy took a shot to the head last week, and his team is dealing with travel woes thanks to another hurricane on the horizon. Couple this with a trip to a Big Ten venue, and the normally-steady Fenroy becomes one to rest in week three.
RB Da’Rel Scott, Maryland
I like Mr. Scott, and he’s been pretty solid thus far for Maryland. However I’ve seen Cal’s linebackers first-hand, and I can assure you that he’s not seen speed like this in his first two games, and he won’t see speed like this during the ACC season. Cal rolls, and Scott struggles.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention
RB Damion Fletcher, Southern Miss
Damion Fletcher is a damn fine back, and his numbers (even considering he played a game against Auburn) speak to this. However my buddy, and resident stat man, Jim, sent a little fact my way. This week Southern Miss takes on Arkansas State, and the Red Wolves held the Texas A&M ground game to 133 yards in their week one upset. Take that for what it’s worth kids.
RB Jeremiah Johnson, Oregon
We’re strongly leaning towards a sit for the Oregon starting tailback. While it’s been said he’ll play, and we think points will be scored in West Lafayette, his shoulder injury from a week ago has us a bit tentative. Couple this with the depth the Ducks possess at tailback, and you should go with a healthier back on your roster. If you don't agree, start him.
WR Arrelious Benn, Illinois
I was giddy, yes giddy, when I saw Arrelious Benn taking two runs into the end zone, one where he split about 4 defenders and then took another couple in for a ride. He’s a physical specimen, and these running opportunities ensure he doesn’t have to rely as much on a sporadic Juice Williams to get him the ball.
WR Dante Love, Ball State
Head Coach Brady Hoke was reportedly given a token look at the head job at Michigan, and at some point a bigger program (remember, we love the MAC) will come calling. Until then he’ll continue to lead one of the most prolific offenses in the Midwest. There may be no better fantasy triumvirate than Nate Davis, Dante Love and Darius Hill. Love will give Akron’s defense fits.
Every single Texas Tech wide receiver
The Mike Leach offense has failed to pass for its typical number of touchdown passes. We think this changes against an SMU defense that will be horribly over-matched.
Kevin Jurovich, San Jose State
Held relatively in check (4-84) in Lincoln, we’re expecting Jurovich to break out in a big, multi-score way against a San Diego State squad patting themselves on the back over almost beating the Fighting Irish.
Stephen Williams, Toledo
Like Jurovich, Williams and his Rockets were a bit in over their heads last week as they went out to Tucson. However Ypsilanti should provide a little easier time. Eastern was pounded into submission by Michigan State in week two, and now Toledo will attack the Hurons through the air.
The Rutgers Boys: Britt and Underwood
Of course the season is still an infant, but we’re a little worried about the Law Firm of Teel, Britt and Underwood. The loss to Fresno State raised some serious red flags, and we’re a bit leery about what may transpire in that football hotbed of Chapel Hill.
Ross Lane, Northwestern
One of my expected sleepers, Lane has struggled out of the gate. Lane has zero touchdowns after games against powerhouses Syracuse and Duke. This puts him on pace for zero touchdowns on the season, which isn’t very close to the seven we projected.
Michael Jones, Arizona State
Count me a member of the Michael Jones fan club, but with a tweaked Achilles tendon and Nevada on tap, and especially with Georgia on the on-deck circle, expect Coach Erickson to give his talented wide receiver a break.
And no we’re not contradicting ourselves
Jarett Dillard, Chris Williams and Emmanuel Sanders all face tough foes; in fact we’ve warned about each quarterback that will be tossing these three the ball. However owners of these fellas should not bench them in favor of less-talented WR’s…remember a WR only needs about 85 yards and a score to be considered productive, and these numbers are certainly within reach for all of the above. Unless you have some very good alternatives, you play them.
TE James Casey, Rice
As we covered with Chase Clement, the matchup is less than ideal, but as a TE James Casey is simply in another category. Casey’s guaranteed to get a ton of looks and his catches, and with a position that’s as unpredictable as this one, looks and catches are good enough. Odds are you don't have a better option than Casey on your bench.
TE Travis Beckum, Wisconsin, Tony Moeaki, Iowa and Cody Slate, Marshall
The above three are all coming back from injury, and each SHOULD play. If this were any other position on the field we may tell you to sit each. However if you’re torn between Travis Beckum, in a huge game out west, or a freshman TE who may not see a catch anyway, be sure and go with the potential All-American.
TE Rob Gronkowski, Arizona
Gronkowski is looking to return from a bout with strep throat, and Coach Stoops claims he’ll play. Why then is listed here and not with the other stud TE’s? Because Arizona should be able to handle New Mexico without their star tight end.
It was impossible to rank defensive units this week. Sure, you have the top teams like LSU and Bama playing teams that they should dominate, however those of you who are looking at usually sound defenses with decent opponents, it’s difficult to say which units will prove week three’s top choices. Still, we’ll give it a whirl.
D Florida State Seminoles
Just like old times. Yes, we know they’ll be without four defensive starters, and last week’s impressive defensive performance came against a 1AA opponent. Still Tennessee-Chattanooga doesn’t exactly strike fear in our hearts.
Quarterback woes make the Bulldogs a must start.
D Utah Utes
One would think that a game between Utah and Utah State would have fierce rivalry written all over it, but the Utes should handle their in-state foes with ease.
D California Golden Bears
We like the Bears for their defensive speed, and because they’re taking on a Maryland team that has downward spiral written all over it.
D Wisconsin Badgers
Strange things happen when Big Ten teams head out west. Among other things, they usually give up boatloads of points.
D Virginia Tech Hokies
Georgia Tech claims they’re still learning the ropes with the triple option. I don’t want to be around when it really clicks, so I’m going to lay off the Hokies this week.
A few Random Guys to Watch out for this Week
Besides the above, we'll be keeping a close eye on a few others this week. All have shown flashes, have favorable matchups this week and could be in for a coming out party: QB Randall Cobb, RB Dujuan Harris, RB Mark Ingram, RB Brandon Bolden and RB Kordell Young.
Fill the fridge. Lock the door. Take the phone off the hook. Week three is full of great matchups that will last all day and night.
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