Well, here we are folks. In all of my leagues, and presumably all of yours, it's the last week of the regular season. Depending on your rules, it may be the last opportunity of the year to adjust your roster - so it's time to load up for nice playoff matchups, or drop a senior and take a flier on a freshman or sophomore whose best days have yet to arrive. It's worth noting the names for this week are just a snapshot of the options out there. With just a few real games remaining, coaches are giving younger players a look. Don't be afraid to look for some breakout performances from "no name" players; they'll probably get more opportunities.
This Week's Additions
Chris Coyer, QB, Temple - The newly-anointed starter in Philadelphia, Coyer's performace against Ohio was remarkable; 123 yards passing, three touchdowns and 184 yards rushing remarkable. He's officially been tabbed the man for this week, and doesn't figure to be the flash in the pan Maryland's C.J. Brown was recently. Coyer added a passing aspect this offense has been missing all season, and should finish the year strong with Miami (OH,) Army and Kent State remaining.
Jonas Gray, RB, Notre Dame - It's been hard to recommend Gray simply because of his timeshare with Cierre Wood, but the track record, and Gray's opponent this week scream "all in." Gray has scored in six straight (nine total TDs in that span) and the Irish travel to our nation's capital to take on a Maryland Terrapins team that can't stop anyone on the ground (115th nationally, 233 ypg.) Add him, and start him!
Jeff Demps, RB, Florida - This is simply one more reminder about Florida's Week 12 opponent - Furman. Demps isn't a terrific play this weekend at South Carolina, but he's coming off a 23-carry, 158-yard performance against Vandy, and he is obviously healthy. He could get that kind of yardage in a half against the Paladins, and that would make your semifinal opponent plenty nervous.
Jaz Reynolds, WR, Oklahoma - He's the obvious (and possibly only) beneficiary of Ryan Broyles' season ending injury. He's scored in four straight, just be reminded he's strictly a playoff addition here as Oklahoma is off this weekend. Reynolds is just a junior, and he belongs in the bottom portion of this piece as well.
Da'Jon McKnight, WR, Minnesota - Welcome back to fantasy relevance Mr. McKnight. After finding the endzone ten times a season ago, McKnight had just one score all season coming into last weekend. After a 9-174-3 performance against Michigan State, McKnight may be poised for a strong finish. He's just seven catches and 121 yards short of his 2010 totals, so his season hasn't been as miserable as it would appear. With Wisconsin and Northwestern as his next two opponents, it's reasonable to expect some high scoring outings, and more scoring chances for the 6-foot-3 senior.
Eye on 2012: Wide Receivers
As I've previously mentioned, finding running back underclassmen proved challenging, which makes finding future pass catchers even more difficult. Adding to this task is the plethora of new quarterbacks we will usher in next fall - who knows who will emerge as the favorite target in Houston? And finally, it doesn't take a brain to know some of the top freshman receivers out there. What we are really searching for are those likely to slide into a larger role. Da'Rick Rogers at Tennesee is a good example, as his freshman year flashed some potential before ushering in a nice leap in productivity this year.
Kasen Williams, Washington - The ideal 2012 version of Da'Rick Rogers. Williams was a big time recruit, had a tremendous camp, but has spent most of his freshman year learning. The Huskies will lose their top two receivers (Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar) and Williams should slide right in and be the top receiver in Seattle next season.
Tracy Moore, Oklahoma State - An important reminder that keeper options don't have to be underclassmen. The Pokes will have a glaring hole to fill with the expected departure of Justin Blackmon, and Moore is the obvious option to lead the charge. He won't come without risk however, as there will be a new quarterback in Stillwater. And two years ago following the departure of Dez Bryant, we expected Hubert Anyiam to take the reigns, not Blackmon.
Cobi Hamilton, Arkansas - The Hawgs lose Jarius Wright, Joe Adams and Greg Childs, but head coach Bobby Petrino and quarterback Tyler Wilson will likely be back in Fayettville for another season. There will be lots of new names here, with Marquel Wade and Julian Horton probably worth a look as well, but Hamilton's combination of size, speed, and experience make him the offseason favorite to take over the lead role here.
Tim Smith, Virginia - The pickings are pretty slim in the ACC, and Smith is already the Cavalier wideout to own. He's proven healthy after missing 2010 with an ankle injury, and now that the Wahoos have settled with Michael Rocco at quarterback, we're seeing Smith's production become steady. He's scored in three of his last four, and should see increased looks after Kris Burd leaves Charlottesville.
Darius Millines, Illinois - There seem to be a lot of decent options within Big Ten circles, but I'll stake my reputation on Millines' health. If you aren't feeling like gambling, Iowa's Keenan Davis, and Indiana's Kofi Hughes have already shown us what they can do. Davis is an obvious beneficiary of Marvin McNutt's graduation. But Millines is the 3rd leading receiver on the Illini despite playing (sparingly) in just five games. A.J. Jenkins' void will be immense.
Der-rikk Thompson, SMU - We've read weekly about his speed, and Thompson finally showed his potential this past weekend. Darius Johnson returns for the Mustangs next year, but Cole Beasley does not. It's a guess with the Mustangs, but at least it's an educated guess that Thompson sees some growth in opportunity next year.
Mark Roberts, Houston - Did I mention we have no idea who will emerge for the Cougars already? Even still, it's worth taking a guess, as the top four receivers in southeastern Texas are graduating. The mere fact that Roberts has worked his way onto the field as a rookie bodes extremely well for his future. This is a classic example of a low risk, high reward addition this late in the year.
Not enough names? Central Michigan's Titus Davis, Ole Miss' Nickolas Brassell and Boise State's Matt Miller are already proving their value. Michael Floyd will be moving on from South Bend. By the end of 2012, I feel good about freshman DaVaris Daniels, who is redshirting this season, becoming the Irish's go-to receiver. Alabama's DeAndrew White has a chance, and don't forget about Oklahoma's Trey Metoyer, should he make the grade. Had he qualified, he figured to be an immediate impact player this year, but should still be in most player pools. Finally, former Florida Gator Chris Dunkley is slated to resurface at South Florida.