Saturday Rewind: Week Eight
I’m not breaking new ground. I’m not saying anything that fantasy owners haven’t thought about in recent seasons. But as the 2008 college fantasy football season nears playoff time, it’s becoming crystal clear that a good quarterback performance simply isn’t good enough. 300 yards and three touchdown passes likely please the coach, pacify the alumni and provide for team victories. However these numbers will fail to placate those demanding fantasy owners.
With the increased emphasis on the passing game, which naturally is minimizing ground game dependence, an owner who sees his quarterback throw for 300 and three on Thursday will likely head into the weekend with a need to play catch up in order to emerge victorious come Saturday night.
Yesterday saw twelve quarterbacks account for at least four touchdowns, and seven of those sling the pigskin in BCS conferences, so it isn’t just Tulsa and the like "running is optional" offenses that are blowing up. And these quarterbacks are providing the key difference in fantasy results across the country.
Imagine you had Chase Daniel and your opponent was starting Mark Sanchez in week eight. For all intents and purposes, both players only played one half of football: Sanchez because he was playing one of the worst BCS teams in history, and Daniel because his team’s OSU hangover was magnified by a Texas buzz saw.
Daniel’s fourth quarter, one-yard touchdown run cut the Texas lead to 25, and pretty much ended the Mizzou’s quarterback day with 28 fantasy points. By the time Sanchez had finished his work he had accounted for over 38 fantasy points. As playoff positioning continues, ten point differences are magnified. Daniel’s owners are unaccustomed to seeing their quarterback outscored by ten points, and these owners are left to hope for production beyond the norm for the rest of their lineup.
College football 2008 has seen quarterback expectations change. Seasons that were once record-breaking campaigns turned in by the likes of Ware, Klingler, Detmer and Symons are becoming more and more commonplace, and owners left with quarterbacks who put up good numbers will be looking forward to next season before Election Day.
Where did that come from?
My Big Ten fantasy season (mind you, I’m trying to reload following a 2007 title) is in shambles, so I’m forced to scour the waiver wire in hopes of finding a running back…a starting running back. Buddies make flyers mocking me and hand these out at tailgates.
This week I looked to the Fighting Illini to provide some points at tailback, and I took a flyer on a freshman back. I was certain that bruising Mikel LeShoure would put up a few points…
Illinois freshman running back Jason Ford, starting in place of Daniel Dufrene, blew up to the tune of 172 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Ford combines very good speed with impressive size (220 lbs.) and he looks like the potential solution to the Zooker’s problem of trying to replace Rashard Mendenhall.
Ford has surpassed LeShoure on the depth chart, and it looks like he’s relegated Dufrene to backup status. And with a week 11 contest against Western Michigan sandwiched between some very tough defenses, Ford could be worthy of a waiver pickup, even if it is for just one key week. Look for Ford on our waiver wire report later tonight.
By the way, LeShoure did average seven yards per carry, finishing with seven yards.
Now that’s coming out in style
Southern Miss super freshman Deandre Brown had his version of the debutante ball, coming out to the tune of twelve catches, for 221 yards and four scores against a Rice defense that can’t stop anyone. Brown has let the world know that he’s a very eligible fantasy wide receiver.
We were thrilled when Brown decided to head to Southern Miss, as the combination of his skill and lousy defensive units in Conference USA seemed a match made in college fantasy football heaven. Following a relatively slow start Brown finally displayed the talent that made him such a sought-after prospect.
Brown still has some tasty games left on the slate, and while he’s likely unavailable in most leagues, he may reach must-start status, and for owners that likely wrote him off until 2009, this bonus could really pay off down the stretch.
More Random Week Eight Musings
Chris Wells is running like a man possessed, and his stiff arms have become a guilty pleasure, as he casts aside running backs in a fashion similar to Matt Dillon running against Warren and his friends in There’s Something About Mary. In fact, I’m thinking that if football were no holds barred, Chris Wells would, just for kicks, grab opposing defensive backs by the facemask and drag them 20 yards or so into the end zone. The Midwest chill is upon us, and with Ohio State seeing Northwestern, Illinois and Michigan in the final three weeks, the Buckeye back’s best games will likely come in playoff time.
If I had told you that one quarterback would have a 2008 season that resembled Tim Tebow’s 2007 campaign, how may guesses would it have taken you to come up with Josh Freeman? While Freeman will certainly not come close to the overall production of the Heisman Trophy winner, the fact that he’s on pace to run for 20 scores is incredible. He’s accounted for 25 total touchdowns (12 on the ground) and he’s only thrown two interceptions. And yet Kansas State sits at 4-3 with the most difficult part of its schedule still to come.
LeSean McCoy’s second-half push has begun, and he may be THE back to ride from here on out.
Robert Griffin was on my watch list this week, and I watched him struggle. Still the super talent has shown an ability to avoid interceptions, and this is often one of the last talent young quarterbacks display. He’ll have his freshman struggles, but this kid is well ahead of any curve.
With RB Mark Ingram’s solid performance for Bama Saturday, Glen Coffee’s owners were shown the dangers of relying on a Nick Saban running back. Some of Saban’s best collegiate teams have utilized a by-committee approach to the ground game, and can cause definite problems for fantasy owners.
The battle between Dez Bryant and Michael Crabtree for Big Twelve wide receiver supremacy is going to be a great battle to watch, and when these two square off on November 8th those fortunate enough to own both players may be looking at an touchdown over-under around five.
I wonder if James Rodgers threatened to give Jacquizz a steady diet of wet willies and wedgies if little brother didn’t stop taking all the touchdowns. James’ three scores were a relief to owners.
I’m loving “Touchdown” Toby Gerhart, however with a bye week and games against USC, Oregon and Cal remaining don’t give up too much in a trade deadline deal to get him. Of course, he does get to play Wazzu in two weeks, so maybe this makes any deal worth it.
Now that’s the Rodney Ferguson we know and love. The bruising back’s four score performance against San Diego State brought his season total up to 11, and it help signal the end of the Chuck Long era in Aztec land.
Behind battering ram Shonn Greene, I see Penn State having a heck of a time in Iowa City, and I also see the Iowa Hawkeyes coming from nowhere to play in a major bowl game very close if not on January 1. This Hawkeye squad beats the hell out of opponents.
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