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The Ultimate Decision: Denard Robinson against OSU?
Each week, Athlon will take a deeper look at the fantasy matchups that affect your lineup. Some players will deserve a second look from managers, while others could create some concern. Check out Athlon's College Fantasy Start or Sit for Week 13:
QB — Deserves A Second Look
T.J. Yates, North Carolina (@ Duke)
He might not be the most consistent option, but he is capable of putting up a big number. See Florida Stae, NC State, LSU and Virginia games this season. Against a Duke defense that made Marc Verica (417-4), Chase Rettig (230-2) and an option-based Tevin Washington (90-1) look like actual quarterbacks, Yates has a good chance to post a big yardage total. Duke is 109th in scoring defense and 111th in total defense.
Ricky Stanzi, Iowa (@ Minnesota)
The Iowa quarterback has thrown a TD pass in 18 straight games, so owners should have a good idea of what to expect this weekend. With Adam Robinson out again, Stanzi will be the unquestioned leader of the offense. Oh yeah, Minnesota ranks 114th in pass efficiency defense and 101st in scoring defense.
Aaron Murray, Georgia (Georgia Tech)
There is a lot more on the line for the Bulldogs this weekend than the Jackets. Bowl motivation gives a huge edge to Murray and the Georgia offense. The Yellow Jackets have given up some passing yards of late, allowing Sean Renfree of Duke to pass for 334 yards last weekend. Expect Murray and A.J. Green to have big days in the Clean, Old Fashioned Hate match-up.
Chris Relf vs. Jeremiah Masoli (Mississippi State @ Ole Miss)
The Bulldogs quarterback is coming off his career-high passing day (224 yards) last week and has been very effective on the ground all season. He has averaged 82 yards rushing per game over his last five games against teams not named Alabama. He scored a rushing TD in four of those five. Masoli, after a terrible showing agianst the Vols, bounced back in a big way last weekend against LSU. He rushed for 64 yards, threw for 177 yards and totaled three TDs. Expect a high-scoring Egg Bowl this year. These are the SEC's ninth- and 11th-rated defenses.
Bryan Ellis vs. Taylor McHargue (UAB @ Rice)
The Blazers quarterback has averaged 24.4 TFP over his last six games, so he might already be on top of mind. On the the other side, in his first action in nearly two months, McHargue posted a huge 36.1 fantasy day accounting for four total TDs last week against East Carolina. Rice is 116th in scoring and total defense while UAB is 85th in total defense and 93rd in scoring defense. If there is a fantasy option in this game on your roster, he should probably be in the lineup.
Rob Henry, Purdue (Indiana)
Henry is coming off his career high for passing yards (189) last week against a good Michigan State squad. He is also less than one yard per game away from leading the Boilers in rushing for the season (51.9 ypg). At home against the Big Ten's worst pass efficiency defense (115th nationally) and scoring defense (102nd), Henry should find plenty of room to make plays.
QB — Better Think Twice
Denard Robinson, Michigan (@ Ohio State)
And here is where things get interesting. This might be the single-toughest call any fantasy owner will have to make all season long (and I am both lucky and unlucky enough to have to make this call in both of my champisonship games). I have yet to bench Robinson in either league (with Andrew Luck and Tyrod Taylor on the bench). This issue with Robinson isn't whether he can produce against Ohio State — he can produce against anyone. It's can he stay healthy the whole game? In only the Purdue game did Robinson play the entire game and not score at least 28 TFP.
How do you bench the only player in NCAA history to both run and pass for 1,500 yards in a season? And how do you predict injuries? I leave you with this: In my BCS championship battle, he is starting over T.J. Yates, Jake Locker and Jeremiah Masoli. In my 120 title game, it has come down to Luck, Ryan Mallett and Robinson (Colin Kaepernick is my other starter, more on that in a second). I think I am going with Luck for the first time all year — although my opponent dropped Mallett this week, so I might play him just because!
Colin Kaepernick, Nevada (Boise State)
Much like Robinson, Kaepernick's skills are largley matchup-proof. Like Shoelace, only you can ultimately make the call to bench Crazy Legs, so here are some stats to consider. Boise State boasts the nation's No. 1 rush defense, No. 2 total defense, No. 2 scoring defense and No. 7 pass defense. In three career losses to BSU, CK10 has thrown seven TDs and no INTs. But he has never topped 250 yards (141, 241, 243). He has rushed for 278 yards in those three games but 177 came in that historical 69-67 loss during his freshman year. He ran for 31 yards on 16 attempts in Boise last season. The Wolf Pack have been able to score on Boise, however, by putting up 45 ppg in CK10's tenure under center. Nevada has had this game circled for over a year and will be fired up to play at home on a national stage. I am playing him. You make up your own mind. How is that for advice!
Cameron Newton, Auburn (@ Alabama)
The other two are on this list, so we might as well round out the fantasy triumverate with Mr. Newton. In real terms, all that Newton has accomplished this year might be for naught if he can't beat Alabama. One has to expect Bama to stack the box and force Newton to throw down the field. Bama is third nationally in scoring defense (SEC No. 1) and seventh nationally in total defense (SEC No. 2). And how does he continually keep himself insulated from the off-the-field issues? So in the fantasy world, Newton's upside is closer to that of games like Clemson (20.9 TFP) and Mississippi State (22.1) this year than Kentucky (51.2) and South Carolina (49.9). My guess is that he is closer to 20 than 50. Make your call accordingly.
Ryan Mallett, Arkansas (LSU — Little Rock)
There are few options nationally that have more stability than Mallett. Owners are almost guaranteed 300 yards and at least two scores from the tall passer. And this matchup has been a high scoring affair three years running — LSU won last year 33-30 and Arky won the two previous games 31-30 and 50-48. The Tigers have slipped on defense since the loss to Auburn when they were sixth nationally in rushing (83 ypg) and 11th in scoring (14 ppg). They have dropped to 41st in rushing defense (135 ypg) and have given up 27 points per game in three SEC games since. Wait, aren't I supposed to be telling you not to play Mallett?
Zach Collaros, Cincinnati (@ UConn)
After dealing with an injury issue, Collaros delivered in a huge way last week posting 37.34 TFP against Rutgers. This isn't Rutgers. Do not be fooled by last week's explosion; UConn will be much tougher to deal with. The Huskies have the conference tie-breaker over Pitt and WVU and are playing for a Big East title. In their last four conference games, UConn has allowed the following stat lines to starting QBs: 171-0-1 (Ryan Nassib), 220-1-2 (Tino Sunseri), 160-0-0 (Geno Smith) and 195-1-0 (Adam Froman). That is a 186 ypg, two total TDs and three total INTs.
Taylor Martinez, Nebraska (Colorado)
The drama on the sidelines and the soap opera in the locker room make Martinez an intriuging fantasy play this week. They should not need him too much, however, as the Huskers will look to pound the football in a game they have to win. He also has the hurt ankle. When fully healthy and motivated, Martinez is a great play. After watching Bo Pelini fully undress the youngster last week on national TV, I am not so sure. I would look elsewhere for more dependable options.
RB — Deserves A Second Look
Marcus Coker, Iowa (@ Minnesota)
Against one of the nation's elite defense, Coker posted an admirable 14.6-point fantasy week on 10 touches. Owners can expect his number of touches to at least double with Adam Robinson not playing this week. And, have I mentioned how bad the Gopher defense is?
Anthony Elzy, North Carolina (@ Duke)
In two tough games against Va. Tech and NC State, Elzy delivered. In his first real action of the year, the senior tailback posted modest totals of 38 yards on eight touches (and a TD) against FSU three weeks ago. He got 24 touches against the Hokies and responded with 184 yards and another score. Last week, it was 21 touches for 210 yards and a TD. He is seriously involved in the passing game (19 catches in three games) and should have plenty of success against Duke's lowly defense.
Alex Green, Hawaii (@ New Mexico State)
After a huge week against Utah State back in Week 8, Green has been a strong play. He has scored in every game since and has been a big part of the passing game, catching four passes for 93 yards last week. The Aggies rank 102nd against the run and are 113th in scoring defense.
Pat Shed vs. Sam McGuffie (UAB @ Rice)
As I stated earlier, this should be a high-scoring game and both backs should see some room to work. Shed has averaged over 26 TFP over his last four games while the great McGuffie has leaped his way to more than 22 TFP per game over his last four. Again, as I mentioned earlier, these two defenses rank 85th and 116th respectively.
Brian Fields, Western Michigan (@ Bowling Green)
Over his last two games, Fields has scored 54.1 TFP against Eastern Michigan and Kent State. Fields has at least 11 carries in three straight games and should again be the focus against BGSU — who ranks 113th nationally agianst the run allowing 208.9 yards per game.
Some really deep options if you need 'em:
Kennard Reeves, Vanderbilt (Wake Forest)
Deacs defense is atrocious and there is no one else left to run the ball for Vandy.
Dan Dierking, Purdue (Indiana)
Has had double-digit carries in five straight and IU is very, very beatable.
Lamar Miller, Miami, Fla. (South Florida)
Has 48 of his 94 attempts, 373 of his 625 yards and three of his five TDs over his last three games.
Matt Asiata, Utah (BYU)
Has more carries than Eddie Wide in two straight — posted 19 carries, 87 yards, TD last week.
RB — Better Think Twice
Vai Taua, Nevada (Boise State)
Much like the QBs this week, there are going to be some decisions on RBs that will require loads of antacid. Taua is the first and maybe safest of the bunch this week. He has scored at least three times in four of his last six but you can bet that Boise State will be ready for the interior ground game of Nevada. Taua has been good against the Broncos, but his upside is limited this week as Boise boasts the nation's No. 1 rushing defense, No. 2 total defense and No. 2 scoring defense.
Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State (@ Stanford)
Here are the last six starting RB lines against Stanford: Shane Vareen (15 attempts for 63 yards), Cameron Marshall (12 for 92), Nic Grigsby (16 for 87, TD), Chris Polk (13 for 17), Carl Winston (6 for 31) and Allen Bradford (13 for 33, TD). That should be enough, but just in case, Rodgers has scored only once in his last three games. He did post a huge number against Stanford last year in Corvalis, but this is Palo Alto and a better Stanford team.
Knile Davis, Arkansas (LSU — Little Rock)
Only Illinois' Mikel LeShoure has scored more fantasy points over the last five weeks than Davis. And with LeShoure on bye, that makes Davis the highest scoring player at any position over the last five. So how do you bench him? The Tigers have been great against run (although, worse of late) and are still sitting at fifth nationally in total defense (286 ypg) and eighth in scoring defense (16.5 ppg).
J.J. Di Luigi, BYU (@ Utah)
Luigi and the young Cougar offense have been playing much better football of late. But they will be in for a rude awakening in the Holy War this weekend. It will be a great learning experience for Jake Heaps and all those young receivers but not a great fantasy matchup. Luigi hasn't topped 82 yards in five week, has only scored three TDs in those five games and isn't being used in the passing game as much — 4.5 rec/game in first seven games versus 2.2 rec/game in his last four.
Rodney Stewart, Colorado (@ Nebraska)
The little Buffalo has been downright nasty — and the lone bright spot — for Colorado this season. And now he has to go into an angry Memorial Stadium against a team steaming after a terrible loss to A&M. He is averaging over 200 yards from scrimmage in his last three, but will be lucky to get to half of that this week. Nebraska has to win to make it to the Big 12 title game, so expect the Black Shirts' best.
Brandon Bolden, Ole Miss (Mississippi State)
Bolden has scored two rushing TDs in four straight games. But against SEC West opponents this season, he has totalled 164 yards rushing in four games, and the two TDs against LSU are his only scores against the West. Dexter McCluster had one of his worst games against MSU last season and the Bulldogs controlled the clock (37:02 TOP) by running the ball 59 times for 317 yards. Expect much of the same this season.
Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati (@ UConn)
Last week was a bit of a mirage for Mr. Pead. His 213 yards and four TDs were 64 more yards than he had in the three previous games combined (and three more TDs too). UConn has quietly given themselves a legit shot at a Big East title and will be ready for the Bearcats. Expect closer to his WVU output of 78 yards and a TD than what he did against Rutgers last week.
Anyone (West Virginia @ Pitt)
The Panthers are 16th nationally against the run at 115 yards allowed per game. West Virginia is fourth at 88 yards per game. WVU is also fourth nationally in scoring defense by allowing only 12.9 ppg. Pitt is 19th in scoring defense at only 19.2 ppg. Expect a low-scoring affair in which no fantasy options are usable.
WR — Waiver Wire Spot Starts
Doug Baldwin, Stanford (Oregon State)
It seems he is here every week. 15 rec., 219 yds, TD over last two.
Marvin McNutt, Iowa (@ Minnesota)
Has scored in five straight games — no less than 16 TFP in three straight.
Mark Dell, B.J. Cunningham, Michigan State (@ Penn State)
Combined for 14 rec., 158 yds and 3 TDs last week. And there's a lot on the line.
Lester Jean, FAU (@ Middle Tennessee)
Has scored in four of last five and was active against Texas (4-86).
Mark Harrison, Rutgers (Louisville)
Scored in five out of six — with massive 10-240-4 game last week. Should be high scoring.
Markus Wheaton, Oregon State (@ Stanford)
Should have to throw a lot and has averaged over 17 TFP per game over last four.
Roy Roundtree, Michigan (@ Ohio State)
Brutal matchup but few have been as active (22 rec., 429 yds, 4 TDs in last 3). There are worse options.
Top 10 DEF/ST Waiver Wire Spot Starts
1. Virginia Tech (Virginia)
2. UCF (@ Memphis)
3. Miami, Fla. (South Florida)
4. Boston College (@ Syracuse)
5. Florida State (Florida)
6. Hawaii (@ New Mexico State)
7. Oregon (Arizona)
8. West Virginia (@ Pitt)
9. Ohio (@ Kent State)
10. Arizona State (UCLA)