Complete Player Rankings & Projections l More Sit & Starts
You know what’s worse than giving good advice? It’s giving good advice, then not taking it yourself.
As I watched Matt Barkley throw touchdown pass after touchdown pass Friday night, I wondered just what the guy I picked to start instead – Kansas State’s Collin Klein –was going to do to come close. Well, he came close, but late Friday night the words “moron” kept rolling through my head.
In terms of these composite scores, I usually target 23 points as the breaking point between valuable and less valuable. Fortunately, Barkley, Kellen Moore and Zac Dysert jumped above the number on my starts chart, while four of the seven sits were below that number. I have to give props to Minnesota’s Gray, who has put some games together of late. Is he blossoming into the dual-threat quarterback we all hoped? We’ll see.
Of my disappointments, Collaros and Robinson just cut my heart out. Just looking at the opponent and the recent body of work, I kind of thought they’d both be around the 30 point mark – but no. In terms of sits, I was most pleased with pegging Thomas and Daniels as struggling. I’ve seen a lot of Oregon the last couple years, and I can categorically say that Thomas does not look right.
Last Week's Starts:
Matt Barkley, USC (46), Jared Barnett, Iowa State (17), Zach Collaros, Cincinnati (18), Kellen Moore, Boise State (38), Corey Robinson, Troy State (10), Zac Dysert, Miami-Ohio (29)
Last Week's Sits:
MarQueis Gray, Minnesota (32), Ryan Tannehill, Texas Tech (24), Jon Hays, Utah (19), Darron Thomas, Oregon (10), Matt Christian, New Mexico State (2), B.J. Daniels, South Florida (16), Kolton Browning, Louisiana-Monroe (31).
With Week 10 done, let’s see who tempts us for the coming week – and why.
Tyler Hansen, Colorado
Oh baby, this is a risky one. But at this point in the fantasy season, if you’re not set at quarterback, you’re looking for guys who can really impact your lineup week to week – in a positive fashion. Well, Hansen has had some moments of brilliance sprinkled around some real stinkfests. Fortunately, he’s got a visiting Arizona team coming to town with its 112th ranked pass defense; he’s got running back Rodney Stewart back and star receiver Paul Richardson has returned. Additionally, it looks like enigmatic receiver Toney Clemons has climbed out of his shell to put his big boy pants on and be the big-play receiver this team thought he’d be. I like Hansen to score in the 24-to-28 fantasy point range at the expense of the Wildcats defense – a defense that just gives and gives like a Groundhog Day Christmas morning.
Taylor Martinez, Nebraska
No stats for you, no words of wisdom, just the feeling that even though the Cornhuskers are visiting Penn State this weekend, the trauma that has spilled into the football offices thanks to the child sex scandal will reverberate so loudly and so emotionally, that Martinez will simply throttle the Nittany Lions defense. I’m basing this one purely on emotion – an emotion that will not be salved by a yelling crowd of the imploring of coaches to “put it behind us and come together.” This one cuts deep and it will take Penn State some time to get it behind them. Martinez will only open the wound more on land and through the air.
Tevin Washington, Georgia Tech
Coming off the win over then No. 5 Clemson, and with an week’s rest due to a bye, I love Washington and this running game to do some heavy damage at home against visiting Virginia Tech. Watching the Yellow Jackets dispatch Clemson 10 days ago, I got the sense that Washington and the offense rediscovered themselves after two straight losses. I don’t have anything against the Virginia Tech defense, a defense that while not up to some of the standards of years past, is still a quality unit. However, I think the extra week of preparation and the confidence that comes from slapping Clemson down in such a find manner will resonate with Washington. I’m honestly looking for three, possibly four touchdowns from Washington along with 200-plus total yards.
Riley Nelson, Brigham Young
Sorry, but I’m on the dual-threat quarterback carousel right now, and I think Nelson may be the best sleeper play of the week. He accounted for nearly 300 total yards rushing and passing in the loss to TCU, but visiting Idaho isn’t the defensive team that the Horned Frogs were – not even close. And, the Cougars are also coming off a bye week where they got a chance to really get Riley tuned into what they want to do. With all the upheaval of the Jake Heaps experiment ending and Nelson ascending to the top spot, I think people have been looking at this guy with a desire to nab him, but a little trepidation about what he brings to the table. Against Idaho this weekend, he should bring a full offensive banquet to the table.
Brett Smith, Wyoming
I know the game is on the road; I know that Air Force is 12th nationally in pass defense, but I think that’s more a product of teams running successfully on them rather than the Falcons having a bunch of ball-hawking athletes back there. Smith has proven me wrong a couple of times this season, and he has shown a penchant for playing well on the road. Smith doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, even on the road, for a freshman. I think Air Force wins this game, but I think Smith throws for two scores and runs for a third in this one. This is a guy who will be very good in the coming years, but will toil somewhat out of everyone’s consciousness because he’s in Wyoming. He’ll show you why this week.
Ryan Radcliff, Central Michigan
Yes, the Chippewas are struggling a bit this season, but the one bright spot has been the play of Radcliff, who has thrown for nearly 2,700 yards and 20 scores. Central Michigan’s problem is that its defense can’t stop anyone, which means that even though East-leading Ohio is coming to visit, the chances for Radcliff to throw the ball around a lot are very real. CMU is 2-4 on the West side of the MAC, but have lost two league contests by less than a touchdown – 13 points from 4-2 and right in the thick of things. This is a pretty good team – at least offensively – that’s being hidden behind some tough losses. Radcliff will have a big game in this Thursday tilt.
Spencer Keith, Kent State
Keith tore Central Michigan’s heart out last week with 281 yards and three scores and should find the going much easier against a one-win Akron squad this weekend. Don’t be fooled by Akron’s 42nd place standing nationally in defending the pass (208 ypg), they are a bad team that gets run on a ton. Keith will do a little of both as Kent State takes Akron apart series by series. Even though this one’s at Akron, I expect some big numbers from Keith.
Darron Thomas, Oregon
Don’t be tempted, people. Thomas has not been the same since being injured and struggled more than his numbers would indicate against Washington. Yes, perhaps a week’s more work will get him back on track, but Stanford on the road is in no way the same as Washington on the road. The Huskies were celebrating the final game in Husky Stadium, the Cardinal are looking at the final hurdle to a Pac-12 championship game and a possible shot at a national title. In truth, I don’t trust Thomas to rise up at this point.
I suppose the one saving grace in that analysis would be the Ducks get down big early and Thomas throws a ton and thereby helps fantasy owners by sheer volume. Well, I still don’t trust the guy to big big-time in this one.
Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech
I see the talent, I see a couple of big games, but I don’t see anything resembling consistently high-level play from Thomas. On the road at Georgia Tech, I really struggle to see a big game from this guy this week. What I see is Georgia Tech running that option offense effectively, eating up the clock as they grab a lead and Thomas is forced to throw more than the offense wants. And that’s when the inconsistency I mentioned jumps up and bites him. Love the talent, don’t love the sporadic production.
Jacory Harris, Miami
Let’s just say that throwing the rock around for three touchdowns against Duke isn’t the same as throwing it around successfully against Florida State – on the road. Harris is the ultimate tease – he has weeks where you swear he’s turned the corner and you can lock in three scores every game, only to be followed by a game where you wonder if he remembers the color of his own uniform. Against Florida State and its 22nd-ranked pass defense, I think we see the latter Harris. Here’s another quarterback who stats test just enough to seduce you into his inconsistent web. Resist, friends.
Kevin Prince, UCLA
Suddenly, the Bruins are the toast of the Pac-12 South, having staked their claim to the top spot after last week’s win over Arizona State. Look, this is a house of cards built on the brittle bones and overly-stretched ligaments of Prince, a guy who hasn’t met an injury he can’t get. The Bruins are on a bit of run, but I think their trip to Utah will have plenty of surprises, not the least of which is that the Utes have found a formula that works for them. What really bothers me is that Prince really isn’t a great passer and that he’s being encouraged to run the ball more. It’s been successful the past two weeks, but one has to ask how long that can last – or can Prince last for that matter? I’ve got a feeling about Utah rising up in this one, and I think Prince not only falters statistically, but may get hurt again. I love the way Utah is playing defense now and that’s going to pay dividends against a suddenly “hot” quarterback.
Casey Pachall, TCU
You’ve done well so far, Casey, but there’s a certain moment of reality you need to embrace – it’s called on the road at Boise State. Don’t for a minute think the Broncos haven’t noticed teams bouncing over them in the BCS standings. This is essentially their last real opportunity to thrash a team that’s at least generally regarded as a quality opponent. I’m a Pachall fan – feel he’s stepped in and really been a quality young quarterback, but he’s about to plop his young quarterbacking butt onto a hornet’s nest this weekend, and he’ll pay a price for it.
Nick Fanuzzi, Rice
I’d love to be swayed by Fanuzzi’s 405-yard, three-score output last weekend against UTEP, but I don’t see Northwestern being as easy to get rolling on – particularly at home. No, Mr. Fanuzzi, your moment of glory last weekend was a wonderful moment for you, but you’re about to step up in class against a team that’s better than many people realize. Fantasy players who fall in love with you and your statistical onslaught against poor UTEP are about to pay a heavy price in lack of productivity. Maybe later, Nick.