Start your Aggies. Bench your Hokies. Athlon gets fantasy owners ready.
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 11:
QB — Deserves A Second Look
Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M (@ Baylor)
He only completed 59% of his passes and did throw two INTs, but Tannehill led the Aggies to an upset victory over Oklahoma last week. He finished with 225 yards, 2 TDs and added 12 rushing attempts for 24 yards. He has nine TD passes in the last three games, and Baylor's 96th-rated total defense and 105th-rated pass defense should pose no threat. Just ask Brandon Weeden.
Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois (Minnesota)
The young, entertaining freshman is becoming a fantasy star in the second half of his first season in the college game. He has posted 35.6 and 38.54 total fantasy points in his last two with back-to-back 100-yard rushing efforts. The Gopher defense is rated 103rd in scoring defense, 115th in pass efficiency defense and 106th in rushing defense. Expect good things from Zee 'Haase.
Tim Jefferson, Air Force (New Mexico)
After a middling run for three weeks, Jefferson has posted back-to-back useful point totals culminating in his season's second-best game (30.66 TFP). He has scored seven TDs in the last three games, and the Lobos will offer little resistence. They rank 120th in rush defense, 118th in scoring defense and have allowed 30+ points in all but one game this fall (New Mexico State).
Austyn Carta-Samuels, Wyoming (@ UNLV)
He completed only six passes but still managed 19.66 TFP due to his rushing ability. UNLV is slightly better than New Mexico on defense and should be a quality matchup. The Cowboys quarterback, in only his fourth career start, threw for 234 yards and three TDs while adding 34 yards on 12 carries rushing in last year's meeting.
Ryan Colburn, Fresno State (Nevada)
After the bye week, the Bulldogs quarterback broke through last week with his second-best performance of the year (27.16 TFP). This should be a high-scoring affair as the two combined for 66 points last season while Colburn threw for a season-high 362 yards and a pair of scores.
Jeffery Godfrey, UCF (Southern Miss)
The youngster has averaged 25 TFP over his last three games as he has started to throw the ball better. His athletic ability is scary (105 yards rushing and a TD last week), so once his passing ability catches up, watch out. Southern Miss is not a superb matchup, but Godfrey's play-making skill makes him matchup-proof.
QB — Better Think Twice
Ricky Stanzi vs. Dan Persa (Iowa @ Northwestern)
Stanzi kept his TD streak alive last week but did not really deliver the goods against a poor defense in Indiana. Persa has been as consistent a fantasy scorer as there is. But both of these defenses will be up for the task this weekend. The Iowa passer mustered only 134 yards against Northwestern last season (he got banged up) in a low-scoring affair that saw both starting quarterbacks miss significant time.
Ryan Lindley, San Diego State (@ TCU)
The Horned Frogs have not allowed more than seven points in a game since SMU in Week 4. They have allowed more than 10 points only twice this season — Oregon State being the other in Week 1. They are the No. 1 total defense, scoring defense and passing defense in the nation. Enough said.
Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech (@ North Carolina)
Taylor has been nothing short of amazing in ACC play this season. But he posted his lowest fantasy total (14.18 TFP) against Georgia Tech since Week 4 against BC (9.48 TFP). Taylor's career passing numbers against the Heels? He has completed 22 of 44 passes for 286 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs. At home, UNC has been much better on defense at home of late (16 ppg over last three), so maybe look elsewhere this weekend.
Kolton Browning, UL-Monroe (@ LSU)
In seven games against non-BCS teams, Browning has averaged 23.4 TFP/game including 27.64 and 33.56 TFP games over his last two weeks. But against BCS competition this fall (granted, it's been SEC teams), Browning has totalled 15.58 fantasy points. A road trip to Baton Rouge isn't going to change that trend.
RB — Deserves A Second Look
Cyrus Gray, Texas A&M (@ Baylor)
Three chances to start. Three straight 100-yard games. Gray took over for the injured Christine Michael with plenty of experience under his belt and he has delivered. As a back-up, Gray posted 119 yards from scrimmage against Baylor last season. Against the 96th-rated rush defense, expect Gray to produce.
Montee Ball, Wisconsin (Indiana)
John Clay and James White are both battling leg issues and will not be 100%. They both could receive carries, but against the Hoosiers, neither should be needed much. Expect the very capable Ball — 21 carries, 127 yards, 2 TDs last week, mostly in the second half — to get the bulk of the carries this week against the 81st-ranked rush defense.
Sam McGuffie vs. Orleans Darkwa (Rice @ Tulane)
Fantasy owners were finally rewarded last week with the Owls tailback. He got his highest carry total of the season (28) and he posted his highest yards total (178) and TFP (23.8). He didn't catch a pass, but had been averaging 4 rec./game, so expect him to get back involved in that part of the game as well. The Green Wave is 98th in the nation in rush defense at 191 ypg allowed. They are also 101st in scoring defense (33.1 ppg). Darkwa has posted 21-114-2, 29-193 and 27-138-2 lines in his last three. CUSA is good for everyone!
Asher Clark and Nathan Walker, Air Force (New Mexico)
Clark, Walker and all of the rest of the Falcons are worth a look this weekend against the lowly Lobos. Clark has had double-digit carries in every game this season and is always capable of a 100-yard game and a TD. Walker is coming off his best career game — 110 yards, TD — last weekend against Army and should be in the mix as well.
Alvester Alexander, Wyoming (@ UNLV)
The Cowboys running back has returned to fantasy relevance after a month-long absence. Alexander totalled 21.5 fantasy points in four combined games. In his last two since, he has 30 carries for 239 yards and 4 TDs. UNLV ranks 116th in rushing defense and 115th in scoring defense.
Really deep back-ups who could reward in a tight spot:
Rex Burkhead, Nebraska (Kansas)
Michael Ford, LSU (UL-Monroe)
Bryan Kariya, BYU (@ Colorado State)
Davin Meggett, Maryland (@ Virginia)
RB — Better Think Twice
Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina (@ Florida)
This is one of the trickiest decisions anyone will have to make this season. Lattimore might be the single most talented running back in the nation, but he is battling a knee injury. He will not be 100% no matter what he says. However, for the Cocks to win this game, the freshman needs at least 25 carries. Over the last two games, however, Florida has allowed a total of 172 yards on 72 carries for an average of 2.3 yards per carry. For the record, I am playing Knile Davis of Arkansas or Stevan Ridley of LSU over Lattimore this weekend.
James Sims, Kansas (@ Nebraska)
The Huskers have been run on of late, but I do not expect that trend to continue this weekend. Sims had a career day last weekend with 123 yards and 4 TDs against Colorado. There were 97 points scored in that game, and I cannot see these two offenses combining for those type of numbers despite this rivalry turning into a higher-scoring affair in recent years. Before the 52-point outburst against the Buffs, Kansas had totalled 40 points scored in four Big 12 games. Expect a return to normalcy this weekend.
Shane Vareen, Cal (Oregon)
The Ducks have not been elite against the run but have been solid enough. They are allowing around 125 yards per game on the ground, and Cal should roughly hit that mark this weekend. So it is very difficult to bench the Cal back. However, with the nation's No. 1 offense likely moving up and down the field, and a back-up quarterback taking snaps for the Bears, it is hard to see Vareen posting a huge game. Especially since he has four games of 67 yards or less this season.
Ryan Williams and Darren Evans, Virginia Tech (@ North Carolina)
Williams had seven. Evans had 15. Taylor had 9. Wilson had 7 and two other players registered a carry against Georgia Tech last week as well. Against Duke two weeks ago (in a 44-7 blowout) not one player had 10 carries, but five had at least six. The trend is clear: Frank Beamer has no problem divvying up the carries. Against a solid UNC defense, they are not worth gambling on.
Vick Ballard et al, Mississippi State (@ Alabama)
Ballard bounced back last week with a solid outing against Kentucky after the gametime benching that angered so many onwers two weeks ago. Although I expect Dan Mullen to implement a similar game plan to that of the Florida game (49 carries for 212 yards), I cannot see any Bulldog having a huge game. Mississippi State has totalled 10 points in the last two games against Bama. Both losses.
Other names to stay away from:
Jared Hassin, Army (@ Kent State)
If I told you the Golden Flashes were the nation's No. 1 rush defense, would you believe me?
Evan Royster, Penn State (@ Ohio State)
Has a total of 129 yards in three career games against OSU. And they are No. 4 against the run.
John Clay and James White, Wisconsin (Indiana)
Too much risk with the injury issues and a healthy/productive Montee Ball.
Anyone getting carries, (USC @ Arizona)
This could be a quarterback battle — and there are simply too many names to risk it.
WR — Waiver Wire Spot Starts
Ryan Swope, Texas A&M (@ Baylor)
Clearly has a rapport with Tannehill — 24 receptions in last three and back-to-back 100 yarders.
Dwayne Frampton, Arkansas State (Western Kentucky)
Has 24 catches over his last three including a score in three out of four games.
Denarius Moore, Tennessee (Ole Miss)
Has totalled 51.3 fantasy points over last two and Ole Miss secondary is nothing special.
Roy Roundtree, Michigan (@ Purdue)
Massive showing last weekend (41.1 TFP) and could be used again as ground game is slowed.
Jeremy Kerley, TCU (San Diego State)
Somehow reaches the endzone every week — five straight to be exact.
Jonathan Warzeka, Air Force (New Mexico)
Any Falcon is worth a look, especially a WR that has 34 carries, 242 yards, 3 TDs on the ground.
Nick Harwell, Miami-Ohio (@ Akron - Week 12)
Yes, he has already played this week. But 29 rec., 441 yards, 3 TDs over last three needs to be mentioned.
Top 10 DEF/ST Week 10 Spot Starts
1. NC State (Wake Forest)
2. Boston College (@ Duke)
3. Oregon State (Washington State)
4. Air Force (New Mexico)
5. Illinois (Minnesota)
6. Rutgers (Syraucse)
7. Virginia Tech (@ North Carolina)
8. Arkansas (UTEP)
9. Wisconsin (Indiana)
10. Syracuse (@ Rutgers)