It's hard to believe we are already heading in to Week 6. In fact, it's downright depressing. Especially when I realize I haven't been tailgating yet! While that is about to change, hopefully your roster isn't in need of drastic overhauls, because this week's pickings are slim.
Conference play is starting to shake things out, and we're seeing fewer breakout stars with lasting potential. As we move into the meat of the season, playing the hot hand and keeping your fingers crossed becomes imperative for those who didn't draft enough depth, or those poor fellas or gals that have bitten by injuries. So, plan accordingly, look ahead, and take some risks - what do you have to lose?
Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State (29% owned) - One week into the 2011 season, Klein looked like a bottom tier Big 12 quarterback, and the Wildcats struggled to beat Eastern Kentucky. Since then, Klein has scored ten times, thrown for 353 yards, and rushed for 345 in three games, and the Wildcats are 4-0 and nationally ranked for the first time in quite a while. Klein is the Wildcat offense, plain and simple. You have to love the 66 rushing attempts he's had during this three game stretch, and K-State plays every week through Week 12. We believe, and you should too.
Johnny McEntee, QB, UConn (0% owned) - It took the better part of four weeks, but the Huskies have found their quarterback. On the plus side, McEntee has thrown for six touchdowns in the game and a half in which he's been the unquestioned leader of the offense. The downside is that these numbers came against Buffalo and Western Michigan. I'm not suggesting anyone go "all in" on McEntee, especially given how deep the quarterback position is nationally. That said, he's one of very few folks emerging this far into the season, and if you are in a deep league, or simply desperate because John Brantley is hurt, give McEntee some consideration.
Dustin Garrison, RW, West Virginia (0% owned) - Short of Oklahoma RB Dominique Whaley's Week 1 performance, no player figures to elicit as many questions as Garrison. Entering October, the freshman had 13 carries, 65 yards and two touchdowns. Then came last weekend's 32-291-2 performance against Bowling Green, and suddenly Garrison is one of the most-talked-about players in fantasy football. While there is no way of knowing if Garrison is for real, we know the Mountaineers need a running back to complement their passing game. History has also shown us that you simply have to claim a kid who explodes like this, and let everything else sort itself out in time. It has worked out well with Whaley, so grab Garrison and hope for the best.
James Washington, RB, North Carolina State (0% owned) - It's hard to get overly excited about Washington, because I feel as if the 'Pack's offense is heading the direction of their rival Blue Devils in rapid fashion. But for just one week, NCST had a balanced attack after finding success on the ground. While I think it's more of a reflection of Georgia Tech's inability to stop the run, there are a few factors working in Washington's favor. Mustafa Greene remains out with a foot injury, and Curtis Underwood is banged up as well. The 'Pack play Central Michigan before heading in to a bye week, so it's reasonable to assume Underwood gets some additional healing time. Washington makes sense as a bye-week plug in, with the potential for more if things break the right way.
Marqise Lee, WR, Southern Cal (0% owned) - Let's start with the bad news. Southern Cal is entering a bye week. Lee is also a freshman, so while his growth is exciting, you can still expect inconsistency. Now, the good news. Lee has scored in three-straight contests, and is coming off the best game of his career: an eight-catch, 144-yard outing against Arizona. The Trojans have proven they will be passing often, and with Robert Woods demanding most of the attention, Lee should see lots of single coverage against an opponent's #2 and #3 corners. It's a recipe for success.
Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin (0% owned) - Maybe your roster simply needs a morale boost. There is such a thing in fantasy football, right? Abbrederis is one of the best feel-good stories of the season, as the former walk-on who has formed an immediate chemistry with new quarterback Russell Wilson. Abbrederis has already topped his yardage total from a season ago, and has now scored in two straight. I never thought it was possible for the Badgers to have two fantasy-worthy receivers, but Wilson is making that happen, and Wisky rarely stops scoring.
J.J. McDermott, QB, SMU (0% owned) - Who saw this coming? Former starter Kyle Padron hasn't thrown a pass in two weeks, and McDermott has chucked if for more than 700 yards and seven touchdowns. Even while splitting snaps, McDermott hasn't been under 244 yards in any of the Mustangs' five tilts. Head coach June Jones can't be trusted, and Padron could find himself back in the lineup if McDermott gets INT happy, but there is no reason not to add McDermott. SMU is off this week, but it's your last opportunity to get a guy with top 15 potential.
Jasmin Hopkins, RB, Northern Illinois (18% owned) - If you've ever watched NIU play, you'll know their offensive line generates enough push that this author would have success running behind it. Now realize that Hopkins is a much greater physical specimen than yours truly, and has six touchdowns over the past four weeks. He's not the team's first option on the ground, as quarterback Chandler Harnish owns that distinction, but Hopkins gets more than enough touches to threaten 100+ each week.
Chleb Ravenell, WR, Western Michigan (0% owned) - As the Broncos' offense is heating up, Ravenell has been the biggest beneficiary. Need proof? Check out these splits: In Ravenell's first two games (he missed Week 2) the 6-foot receiver had five catches for 34 yards and a touchdown. In his last two, Ravenell has gone for 195 yards and three scores on 14 receptions. That my folks, is a trend, and the Broncos' offense shouldn't slow down much now that they enter conference play.
Dwayne Frampton, WR, Arkansas State (43% owned) - This week's "Captain Obvious" selection, Frampton is still owned in less than half of the leagues out there. He's had at least five catches in every game this season, and has already amassed 62% of his yardage total from a season ago. Games with Illinois and Virginia Tech are in the rear view mirror, and it's full steam ahead towards LA-Monroe, North Texas and Florida Atlantic, amongst others. A 1,100-yard season is well within range here.
Malcolm Beyah, WR, Middle Tennessee State (0% owned) - Last week, we featured Raiders' quarterback Logan Kilgore. Well, it stands to reason if Kilgore is going to be a stud, he'll need someone catching his passes. That someone is Beyah, who has similarly shined in all games not against Georgia Tech. In those three contests, Beyah has 250 yards and four scores. There's value to be had here, and a Kilgore-Beyah duo in your lineup will look nice weekly against the Sun Belt.
Ryan Otten, TE, San Jose State (10% owned) - A bonus pick this week, as tight ends are a nice commodity, and a rare find on your waiver wire. Otten was slow out of the gates, sitting out Week 2 at UCLA, but has returned to the lineup with vengeance. In his three outings since, Otten has 20 catches, 245 yards and three touchdowns. I'd take those numbers from a wide receiver, and to get them from your tight end is gravy.