Before I get to the picks. I just want to say, good luck to everyone this year. The continuous stream of emails we've received the last few months of appreciation, disappointment, disbelief and even a little outrage has been hard. Just as our decision not to continue on with the in-season content was. We are going to miss it. But most of all we are going to miss interacting with you guys.
We weren't planning on doing a sit/start piece this week -- and no there won't be any surprise weekly projections -- but there seems to be a steady flow of questions regarding certain players. Obviously this is not a comprehensive list, just the guys that seem to be popping up the most this week.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon - He's been the hottest topic the past two weeks. Is he a safe start? Will Bryan Bennett steal snaps? What about DT and Kenjon Barner vulturing scores? All very possible. But I'm not going to stress out about something that none of us know the answers to until they actually play.
If Bennett was named the starter, I'd have some reservations about drafting or starting a Duck QB. But we've seen this many times before. When the young buck usurps the veteran, it almost always signals a definite and permanent changing of the guard. While it's not exactly the same situation, Oklahoma State's Zac Robinson comes to mind. There is a reason why Mariota is getting the start over what looked like a very good quarterback last fall. Kid has serious talent.
Will Bennett see snaps? Yeah. How many? I have no idea, but the Ducks are likely to paste 8+ touchdowns on the Red Wolves this weekend and Mariota is a good bet to be apart of the fun. I like upside guys and Mariota has plenty of it. But if you're not a risk taker, sit him. He's no guarentee for success this week or for the season. He could bomb, but I'm not afraid to take the shot down field.
Isaac Bennett, RB, Pitt - Sounds like Ray Graham might play this week. But I just don't see them giving him a full workload against Youngstown State, even if he is ready to go.
James White, RB, Wisconsin - Same deal as Bennett
Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama - Sounds like the ankle/knee isn't an issue. Michigan's front four is probably the weakest spot on the team. Bama's OL might be the best in the country. 2+2 = start Lacy.
Keith Price, QB, Washington - He seems to be showing up on a lot of questions. I'm following Jim's lead and saying start him.
Your Stud vs. a Patsy - This comes up every year at this time. Do I start my guy against Southwest Elon State? Besides the cases where an injury is a factor, I don't subscribe to the theory that starters will get pulled early against the FCS teams. Teams have to score points to be able to rest their starters. And if they are scoring points, it is probably because of your stud player. It doesn't matter how quickly they do it. Stop out thinking yourself and just start your stud. Some may not put up huge numbers, but that can happen on any week and a large portion will post numbers you'll be happy with.
New Starting QBs, RBs and WRs - I know this flies in the face of what I just said regarding Mariota. Every rule has it's exceptions. But I would hold off on starting any other new starting QB, RB or WR unless your damn sure he's going to start and be a stud. I posted this last year regarding guys like Logan Thomas, and it took a couple of weeks for him to get going. Note, I wouldn't put guys with plenty of game experience like David Piland in this category.
New Starting Kickers - The above is especially true regarding new starting kickers. Information on kickers is very limited. I wouldn't start a kicker in Week One that wasn't a starter last year.
Houston WRs - The depth chart has been all over the map. I've drafted a few, but I don't feel comfortable playing them, even with a weak opponent on tap.
Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan / Brett Smith, QB, Wyoming - There will be lots of games where these two will tear it up. But the matchups this week blow. With so many teams playing cupcakes, there are probably better options out there.
Brandon Oliver, RB, Buffalo - He'll probably see 20+ carries, but it could be for a 3.5 ypc.
Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson - I'm not feeling Clemson in this one, or for the season for that matter. But maybe I'm wrong.
Orleans Darkwa, RB, Tulane - An ankle injury has dogged him all camp.
Darrin Moore, WR, Texas Tech - There has been no word that Moore will serve any type of suspension this week. If fact he's listed in the starting lineup. As Brian said in an email exchange we had earlier this week, ""He's practicing and Tommy Tubs' seat is hotter than hell. No way he sits at all." But that doesn't mean he won't be. Week One is always the worst for unreported suspensions and injuries. It is a part of college fantasy football. UPDATE: Decision coming tomorrow?
Cameron Marshall, RB, Arizona State - Doesn't seem like he's been 100% healthy in camp, but they could just be resting him.
David Fluellen, RB, Toledo - Sounds like he was back at practice, but this is a road trip to the Pac-12 and we don't know just how healthy he is. We'll keep digging.
Ryan Aplin, QB, Arkansas State - I could argue this one either way. An option as a QB2 depending on who else is on your roster.