With two weeks in the books, we have an extensive list of players solidifying their 2011 status, and a handful of others flashing to offer us secondary options. Sooner than later, your options will be relegated to injury replacements or slowly-developing freshmen. So don't wait to make moves on your roster...time to fix things is running out!
Kevin Parks, RB, Virginia
Meet the Cavaliers' 2011 version of Keith Payne. One year ago, Payne vultured his way to 14 touchdowns, five of which came in the first two games of the season. Guess how many times Parks has scored in two outings this year? Last week showed us Parks' yardage potential, this week helped define his role. Listed at 5-foot-8, 195 pounds, Parks runs low to the ground, and straight forward like a novice bowler. He's going to do the dirty work in Charlottesville, and shouldn't have trouble scoring 12 times this season.
Giovanni Bernard, RB, North Carolina
I really don't wont to get overly excited about a kid who had 3/4 of his 80 yards on one carry this week, but this goes a little deeper. Anyone who watched the Tar Heels can see the spark Bernard provides, and conversely see how plodding Ryan Houston looks. There is a changing of the guard going on here, and as long as Bernard stays healthy, he looks like the right choice to lead the 'Heels ground game. I'm not giving up on Houston as a scoring machine, but Bernard has earned the bulk of the touches here.
Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M
Here is your sneaky pick of the week. The Aggies didn't play in Week Two, so most owners probably ignored Michael's first week success, and now don't see him when sorting for top performers. Michael is healthy and has Idaho on the horizon. It's not unrealistic to think he can regain his starting role from a year ago, and even if he doesn't, he can be a top Big 12 running back. He's a great pick up for you after others go hog wild on one-week wonders. Ask yourself who you'd rather have right now...Michael or Curtis Underwood?
DeAnthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
The Ducks seem hell-bent on getting their other D. Thomas consistent touches. He's getting ten chances per week to make plays, and has scored three times to date. Call him Chris Rainey (2011) light, and revel in the fact that Thomas gets the ball often. Now look at their schedule and tell me where you see a roadblock. You can't feel terrific about starting Thomas weekly, but you can take the gamble on a player who only needs one chance to earn you ten points.
Aaron Pflugrad, WR, Arizona State
Last week's 3-50-2 line opened our eyes. This week's 8-180-2 showed us he's the Sun Devils' top receiver. Quarterback Brock Osweiler is establishing himself as a legitimate quarterback, and he likes throwing towards Pflugrad. And you should enjoy his reliability.
Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest
It might be harder to find a player whose stock has increased as much as Givens' has since the season kicked off. Two weeks ago, his hamstring and coach made us question whether he could match the pedestrian-like 600 yards he's put up each of the past two seasons. Thanks to a miraculous recovery, and tremendous growth from quarterback Tanner Price, Givens has 13 grabs for 281 yards and two scores to date. Gardner-Webb comes calling before the schedule picks up. Get in while the getting is good now, or wait a month before Wake's schedule settles. But Givens is worthy of a roster spot.
Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado
11 catches, 284 yards, two touchdowns in one game. Against Cal, not the Little Sisters of the Poor. Need I go on? He also scored twice on three grabs in the season opener. Richardson gets little to no respect nationally, and it's time for that to change.
Chris Relf, QB, Mississippi State
Relf's development is obvious to even the most casual viewer. His passing has improved and he can still run. It's honestly that simple, and it's beyond time to stop doubting this guy. LSU is on the docket, and only a fool would want to start Relf in Thursday night's tilt. He'll receive little attention other teams and that makes it the perfect time to pounce. Add him now, feel safe in your depth, and enjoy the safety net Relf provides for the long haul.
Brett Smith, QB, Wyoming
Smith's career has started against Texas State and Weber State, so I won't blame you for being a doubter. But he has seven total touchdowns, and a schedule that is manageable outside of a Week Four matchup with the Huskers of Nebraska. He's run 22 times to date, and that makes me feel really good about his chances moving forward.
Anthon Samuel, RB, Bowling Green
When a freshman blows up in Week One against Idaho, why take notice? When he does it again against Morgan State, does it matter? Yes, it does. He's averaging 8.3 yards and has rushes of 52 and 47 yards in two tilts. The Falcon offense looks like a completely different unit, and while I'm still concerned about Jordan Hopgood's 30 carries (Samuel has 33), I'm a sucker for a spurned Florida rookie who ends up in the MAC.
Branden Oliver, RB, Buffalo
One number matters here, 50 carries through two games. Oliver is a workhorse on a team that is determined to run the ball. Add him, and let them force carries.
Taveon Rogers, WR, New Mexico State
Honestly, this space belongs to Bowling Green's Eugene Cooper, who has six scores to date. But I'm not confident enough in the Falcon attack to list two of their stars, and I think Samuel has more staying power. Thus, we give you Taveon Rogers, who reminds you that bad teams can have great fantasy players. Starting him makes you nervous...but so should playing against him.