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College Fantasy Football Week 2 Start or Sit

Greg Ward Jr.

Greg Ward Jr.

We are on to Week 2 of the college fantasy football season and the matchups are not nearly as enticing as this past weekend. But that could spell good or bad news in relation to your fantasy lineup.

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Starters may put up huge numbers against inferior opponents, but only see a limited amount of reps with the games well out of hand. Luckily, Athlon Sports is here to help you set your lineup properly to avoid such scenarios.

Note: Obvious choices will not be given such as Deshaun Watson or Leonard Fournette as those players are typically starters regardless of the matchup.

Also below are the top 10 rankings for each position for the given week.


Start ’Em

Brett Rypien, Boise State vs. Washington State
Rypien was excellent against a decent Arkansas State team last week with 333 yards and two touchdowns. The sophomore quarterback has an excellent supporting cast around him in 2016 as starting wide receivers Cedrick Wilson and Thomas Sperbeck both went over 100 yards last week. Running back Jeremy McNichols also got into the action with 98 yards receiving and a touchdown. Rypien should be able to carve up a Washington State secondary that gave up 496 yards passing and five touchdowns to FCS foe Eastern Washington.

Austin Allen, Arkansas vs. TCU
We like to think of the Razorbacks as a downhill running offense, but that was not the case the latter portion of 2015. To begin this year, Allen threw the ball 29 times against Louisiana Tech, which was above Arkansas’ seasonal average from last season. This week against TCU, expect the number of attempts to surpass 30 as this is likely to be one of the higher-scoring matchups of the week (Vegas odds currently set at: 60.5). Also favoring Allen’s matchup against TCU is the Horned Frogs’ defensive performance from Week 1 against South Dakota State in which they gave up 333 yards and three touchdowns through the air.

Sit ’Em

Greg Ward Jr., Houston vs. Lamar
Ward was the darling of college football in Week 1 as he led Houston to the mildly-surprising upset of Oklahoma. The senior quarterback was excellent against the Sooners, tossing two touchdowns with more than 300 yards passing. Reports came out on Wednesday that Ward is currently dealing with a shoulder injury, though we have received little to no details on his status for Saturday’s game against Lamar. Given that it is against Lamar, if Ward starts, it would unlikely be for the entire game. It’s safe to sit him this week.

Mike White, Western Kentucky vs. Alabama
We hit big on the Mike White prediction last week as the junior quarterback threw for more than 500 yards and three touchdowns in the blowout win over Rice. While the outlook for White the remainder of the year looks bright, Week 2 against Alabama is not a situation where he would be in your starting lineup. The Crimson Tide defense looked suffocating against USC, allowing just 130 yards through the air.

Top 10 Quarterbacks for Week 2:

Lamar Jackson, Louisville vs. Syracuse

J.T. Barrett, Ohio State vs. Tulsa

Seth Russell, Baylor vs. SMU

Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech vs. Arizona State

DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame vs. Nevada

Kenny Hill, TCU vs. Arkansas

Deshaun Watson, Clemson vs. Troy

Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State vs. Central Michigan

Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma vs. ULM

Dakota Prukop, Oregon vs. Virginia

Running Backs

Start ’Em

Rodney Smith, Minnesota vs. Indiana State
Smith became an instant waiver wire selection prior to the season when starting running back Shannon Brooks went down with an injury during fall camp. The sophomore running back was a workhorse for the Gophers in the Week 1 victory over Oregon State with 25 carries for 125 yards and two scores. With Brooks still nursing a foot injury, and Mitch Leidner continuing to look like a below-average quarterback, Smith will likely carry the offense yet again in Week 2 against Indiana State.

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Demario Richard/Kalen Ballage, Arizona State vs. Texas Tech
Against Northern Arizona, the Sun Devils combined for five rushing touchdowns, including two from the combination of Richard and Ballage. While the numbers for both weren’t overly impressive, you have to think they will lean on the running game while first-year starting quarterback Manny Watkins continues to get acclimated. And what better defense to run against than a Texas Tech unit that gave up the most rushing touchdowns of any team last season? Look for Arizona State to manage the clock to keep Patrick Mahomes and the explosive Red Raiders offense off of the field.

Sit ’Em

D’Angelo Brewer, Tulsa vs. Ohio State
Brewer was one of the breakout performers at running back in Week 1 with 164 yards and three touchdowns against San Jose State. But yards won’t be as easy to come by as Tulsa heads to Ohio State this week and faces a Buckeyes defense that allowed just 2.6 yards per carry on 28 attempts against Bowling Green. While Brewer should be riding the pine this week, the remainder of the non-conference looks promising with North Carolina A&T and Fresno State still upcoming before the AAC play begins.

Ray Lawry, Old Dominion vs. Appalachian State
I know Appalachian State did give up 100-plus rushing yards to Tennessee running back Jalen Hurd last week, but overall, the Volunteers were held to just 127 total yards on the ground. Lawry could present similar problems, but the thing is, the Monarchs don’t utilize their star rusher as much as they should. Just six times last season did Lawry get more than 20 carries, and he had just 14 in Week 1 against Hampton. In fact, Lawry had just eight carries for 22 yards a year ago against these same Mountaineers. Considering the defense he is up against, and limited usage, it’s probably best to sit Lawry this week.

Top 10 Running Backs for Week 2:

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Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State vs. California

Jeremy McNichols, Boise State vs. Washington State

Saquon Barkley, Penn State vs. Pittsburgh

Justin Jackson, Northwestern vs. Illinois State

Myles Gaskin, Washington vs. Idaho

Royce Freeman, Oregon vs. Virginia

Marlon Mack, South Florida vs. Northern Illinois

Rodney Smith, Minnesota vs. Indiana State

Curtis Samuel, Ohio State vs. Tulsa

Teryion Gipson, New Mexico vs. New Mexico State

Wide Receivers

Start ’Em

Tanner Gentry, Wyoming vs. Nebraska
Talent has never been an issue for Gentry; staying healthy is. Through seven games last season, Gentry had 37 receptions with four touchdowns while averaging 18.3 yards per catch, but wound up missing the last five games of the year due to a shoulder injury. This fall, Gentry was slowed by a hamstring injury, but he looked more than 100 percent against NIU last week, hauling in eight passes for 104 yards and a score. Nebraska is very susceptible on the back end, finishing 122nd in the country last season in pass defense and didn’t get off to a strong start (243 yards) last week against Fresno State.

Equanimeous St. Brown, Notre Dame vs. Nevada
St. Brown was the clear No. 1 option for quarterback DeShone Kizer in the loss to Texas, hauling in five receptions for 75 yards and two touchdowns. The sophomore receiver looks to be the clear red-zone target for the Irish moving forward with his distinct height advantage (6-4) and given that Notre Dame likely will be without Torii Hunter Jr. (concussion), St. Brown should see an increase of targets this week against Nevada.

Sit ‘Em

Devonte Boyd, UNLV vs. UCLA
There is no bigger advocate than me of Boyd in college fantasy football, but even I can see that this is a bad matchup at UCLA. The junior receiver had a huge Week 1 with 135 yards and three touchdowns on just four catches in the win over Jackson State, but the Bruins have the type of athletes in the secondary that can match up with Boyd’s over-the-top speed. Against the Bruins last season, Boyd had just two receptions, and while I believe he tops that number, one touchdown is probably his ceiling at best this week.

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Chase Hansen, California vs. San Diego State
After a full offseason of not knowing who would be the No. 1 wide receiver for the Bears in 2016, isn’t it ironic that Hansen is tied for the lead in receptions after the first week of the season? The junior had 14 receptions for 160 yards and two touchdowns against Hawaii and was clearly the favorite target of new quarterback Davis Webb. The Bears will actually face some resistance on defense this week on the road against San Diego State, which allowed just 70 total passing yards to New Hampshire. Hansen will certainly be targeted often, but will have nowhere near the stat line he did in Week 1.

Top 10 Wide Receivers for Week 2:

Gabe Marks, Washington State vs. Boise State

Thomas Sperbeck, Boise State vs. Washington State

Taj Williams, TCU vs. Arkansas

Zay Jones, East Carolina vs. NC State

Corey Davis, Western Michigan vs. North Carolina Central

Courtland Sutton, SMU vs. Baylor

Darren Carrington, Oregon vs. Virginia

Mike Williams, Clemson vs. Troy

Kenny Golladay, Northern Illinois vs. South Florida

Equanimeous St. Brown, Notre Dame vs. Nevada

— Written by Mike Bainbridge, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Bainbridge is a graduate of Northern Illinois University. Make sure to follow him on Twitter @MikeBainbridge2.

(Brett Rypien photo courtesy of Boise State media relations)