Start or Sit: Week Twelve
You were well aware but willing to overlook it back in August. It was a risk you were ready to take, because it was only one week, even if the bye would fall right smack in the middle of the playoffs. After all, the chance to nab a Graham Harrell, Sam Bradford, DeMarco Murray, Javon Ringer or Michael Crabtree was too much to pass up, and someone, anyone, would emerge to plug the huge Week 12 gap in your lineup. Now, following a season of fantasy success, you’re suddenly staring at a very tense Saturday without the services of your fantasy star, the player that has carried you to this point. And while college football fans lament a Saturday lacking in primetime matchups that have dominated recent headlines, college fantasy football fans are gearing up for the biggest week of the season.
Late Saturday you’ll either be celebrating pivotal lineup moves, or lamenting the points (and season) lost thanks to ill-timed bye weeks. Hopefully we can provide a little assistance as you look to make some shrewd lineup decisions.
I shook up the Start or Sit a week ago, as I decided to compare comparable players from each tier in a head-to-head fashion. The goal was to change things up a bit, and to help owners reach a conclusion on decisions that often leave fellas changing their minds about 16 times between Thursday and kickoff on Saturday. And I chose the right guy in seven of nine comparisons, as I missed when I predicted Zac Robinson would outperform Juice Williams, and I expected Michael Floyd to put up more points than James Rodgers. This week we return to the tried and true format.
While college presidents and old guys who organize parades cannot see the light, college fantasy owners are rabid with playoff fever. The player rankings are up, and while we’ll have to deal with Texas Tech and Oklahoma withdrawal, we’ll still get our fix as it’s do or die time.
For those that are just joining us for playoff time, I want to emphasize what this list of players is all about. The start part is a list of guys I’m expecting to exceed expectations. However the sit list isn’t comprised of guys that you should necessarily put on the bench. Rather it’s a list of guys that I’m worried may fail to meet expectations. To be fair, I pick one player from each tier. Yes, we call it the “Start or Sit” list, but that’s to keep it nice and tidy.
QB1: Colt McCoy at Kansas
Normally when a quarterback says that he’s been reluctant to tuck it and run (as the Texas Colt did this week) it gives fantasy owners cause for concern. Not in this case, as owners should want the Texas junior to sit back and wing it at every opportunity. Penn State’s loss returns the Longhorns to a very prominent spot in the national title race. And they travel to Lawrence to face a Kansas defense that is only better than Nevada and North Texas when it comes to pass defense.
Allowing over 276 yards per game passing, the Jayhawks have struggled against all those pass-happy offenses in the Big XII. In their four losses to date, the Jayhawks have allowed 37, 45, 63 and 45 points. Do you think Texas will beat Kansas? Then look for the Longhorns to put up exactly 47.5 points, and look for #12 to lead the way.
QB2: Kellen Moore at Idaho
As Boise has moved towards more of a passing team, it’s been tough watching Ian Johnson struggle through his senior year. 525 yards and eight scores weren’t what many had expected, and redshirt freshman quarterback Kellen Moore has seen his numbers benefit from the ground difficulties.
Moore has thrown for three scores on four separate occasions, and with the Vandals and their horrible pass defense up next, expect Moore’s strong play to continue.
QB3: Jevan Snead vs. Louisiana-Monroe
We were all giddy and stuff following Jevan Snead’s gutsy four score performance in the week two loss to Wake Forest. Texas transfer + Houston Nutt + dual threat seemed to spell great fantasy potential, both this year and beyond. However soon thereafter the SEC slate began, and Snead has only had one game with at least three scores since that performance against the Demon Deacons.
Some things make it all better: mom’s chocolate chip cookies, an open bar wedding in your hotel, and a late-season contest against Louisiana-Monroe.
QB1: Max Hall at Air Force
While BYU has surpassed the forty-point mark in the three games since their debacle against Texas Christian, my guess is BYU’s quarterback and offense will struggle to put up the points this weekend. It’ll be a battle of stout defensive units this weekend in Falcon Stadium. Air Force and BYU are both hanging around the top twenty in total defense, and this game just has slugfest written all over it.
It’s difficult to sit a guy who has averaged four touchdown passes in his last three games, and again, I’m not telling you to do so if Hall is your clear go-to guy. Alls I’m saying is a four score outing may be asking for a bit much against the Academy.
QB2: Tom Brandstater vs. New Mexico State
While he came close in his 23-of-38 for 294 yards and four score performance against Louisiana Tech, Brandstater has yet to surpass the 300-yard barrier once this season. And now he faces New Mexico State. Were you aware that New Mexico State currently ranks fifth nationally in pass defense?
Now while I take team stats into account, I try not to go overboard. After all, any defense that plays in the Big XII (see Kansas above) is likely to see its pass numbers skewed a bit, and there are sometimes special circumstances that cause a unit to perform so poorly. Now off the top of my head I can’t name any NMSU defensive back, but clearly the secondary isn’t the main issue.
New Mexico State is allowing 220 yards on the ground each game. So opponents decide to pummel the Aggies this way. Pounding the rock leads to fewer turnovers, a defense getting rest and shorter games. None of these will help Brandstater’s numbers.
QB3: Mike Teel at South Florida
Teel and the Scarlet Knights have rebounded nicely from the nightmare that was the beginning of their season. The senior quarterback blew up in the upset in the Steel City, however his nice run will end against South Florida, a defense that can exhibit wild boar tendencies when it gets rolling.
RB1: Donald Brown at Syracuse
Yes, I’m including our number one back on the start list, so mock if you must. But this has the makings of a really, really, really huge game (think Larry Johnson vs. MSU 2002 big) for this senior tailback. Throw the Syracuse defensive shortcomings in with the likely UConn takeover of the Carrier Dome…and Greg Robinson’s lame duck status, and we have a bulldozer that will add to his 1406 yards. And the Cuse defense will wish they never had to dance with Mr. Brown(stone).
RB2: Evan Royster vs. Indiana
After the pounding taken in Iowa City, look for Penn State to get well against the Hoosiers in lovely State College. 22 carries for 148 yards and two scores sounds about right.
RB3: C.J. Spiller vs. Duke
Anyone who has owned Spiller over the last three years will tell anyone that will listen how inconsistent the Clemson back can be. He’s yet to surpass the 100 yard barrier this season but he’s still found a way to score nine times. We’re just waiting for a big yardage, bust out performance, and this dude thinks it will come against a Duke defense that has certainly improved (3.9 yards per carry) but still is lacking athletes on the defensive side.
It’s been a long year for the Tigers, and the offense will blow off a little steam this Saturday.
RB1: Jacquizz Rodgers vs. Cal
I have to pick one back from the RB1 tier, and Rodgers seems the most likely to struggle. All of this Rose Bowl talk emanating from Corvallis has me thinking a major letdown is in order. Cal is only allowing 3.1 yards per carry, and it looks like Lyle Moeavao will start, but he’ll do so with a strained shoulder.
Cal rolls, and Rodgers finds running room, like good love, hard to find.
RB2: Kory Sheets at Iowa
With Justin Siller at quarterback the Purdue offense is very one-dimensional as the youngster struggles with a key component of quarterbacking…throwing the football. Siller’s growing pains will allow a recharged Iowa defensive unit to dedicate its time and energy to making life miserable for Kory Sheets. The Hawkeyes are thinking about Florida in January while the Boilers are thinking about next year. Sheets struggles.
RB3: Jake Sharp vs. Texas
Jake’s been my boy of late, but he’ll now face a Longhorn defense that doesn’t give up many rushing yards or rushing touchdowns. Sharp’s 11 scores in the last six weeks have been impressive and a definite pleasant surprise for owners nationwide.
I’m not looking for Texas to shut down the Kansas offense. This is the Big XII after all, a conference where Mouse Davis would seem like a smash mouth offensive coordinator. But anything Reesing and his teammates will do likely will be a result of the passing game.
WR1: Jeremy Maclin at Iowa State
If not for Kansas, Iowa State would have the worst pass defense in the Big XII. This little fact foreshadows big games from Chase Daniel and Jeremy Maclin. Coming off a 31 point fantasy performance against Kansas State, the super talent now has 12 scores on the season, providing a chance to match his incredible 16 scores from a season ago.
The Fighting Chiziks will key on and scheme for Maclin all week, yet not have the athletes to keep him under wraps.
WR2: Jeff Moturi vs. SMU
Continuing our tradition of riding the hot hand, Moturi looks like a great start for owners looking for a big, big game. And who’s not looking for that, eh? He’s scored five times in the last two weeks, and now he gets to face a SMU defense that can’t stop the pass. As an owner of Moturi in one of my leagues I am pleased to say yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
WR3: David Gilreath
Following his big week (eight rushes for 168 yards and two scores) the wide receiver now has 22 carries and 22 catches on the season. When a receiver has scored five times and is now receiving regular carries he becomes one to consider.
Following their loss to Michigan it’s fair to wonder if the Gophers are dealing with a little self-doubt. They’ll struggle to contain a Wisconsin offense that will feature the ground game, Garrett Graham and Gilreath.
WR1: DeAndre Brown vs. ECU
East Carolina is giving up less than 190 yards passing per game, and DeAndre Brown, for all of his super talent, is still a freshman. Yes, he’s scored a very impressive eight touchdowns in the last four games, and it’s hard to overlook this. But he’s also facing an ECU defense that is better than those that he’s seen over the past month.
Call it a hunch. Call me an idiot. I just see Brown struggling to break free this weekend.
WR2: Hakeem Nicks at Maryland
I love Hakeem Nicks and his big-play potential. I’m also stunned at Ralph Friedgen’s ability to weather the storm and get his Terrapins back on some kind of track, though now the boys from College Park have three games left against good teams, starting with North Carolina.
It seems like every team in the ACC has two conference losses, so Butch Jones and Ralphie Poo are likely to play it close to the vest. Nick will have a hard time seeing enough balls to make a serious fantasy impact this Saturday.
WR3: Kenny Britt at South Florida
Like every other Scarlet Knight, Kenny Britt struggled out of the gate, and the fact that he was held out of the end zone for the first six weeks made Britt a popular choice to throw back into the scrap heap. And then he blew up against Pitt to the tune of 5-143-3. After another 107 receiving yards and a score last week, owners are likely grabbing Britt to offset those holes in their lineups. And I wouldn’t do this.
USF is going to make life miserable for a Rutgers squad that really isn’t very good. Mike Teel will have a hard time finding Britt while he’s sitting on the turf.
I love Garrett Graham and Ryan Moya this week.
If you don’t have either of those cats base your lineup selection on who will get the most catches, not necessarily red zone looks. Every point becomes magnified in playoff time, and you simply can’t afford any goose eggs.
Kickers & Defenses
As I’ve done all year, I have little advice on your kickers and defenses. Just head back to this week’s player rankings.
However I would like to encourage owners to spend a good deal of time Saturday morning checking out the national weather reports. We’re nearing Thanksgiving and things may get a little ugly, especially in the Midwest and on the East Coast.
Sure, there aren’t a lot of great games on tap this weekend. Thank goodness we all have a little college fantasy football to keep us tailgating and sitting on the couch. Here’s hoping you’re all still standing next weekend!
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