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College Fantasy Football Week 5 Start or Sit

Jon Hilliman

Jon Hilliman

We are about to start Week 5 of the college fantasy football season and there are some high-profile matchups with three games pitting top 10 teams against one another. It will be fun to watch, absolutely, but is that good for your fantasy squad? That will be determined on Saturday.

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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.

Quarterbacks

Start ’Em

David Washington, Old Dominion vs. Charlotte

After a rocky outing against Appalachian State, Washington has bounced back the last two weeks with more than 200 yards passing and two touchdowns against both NC State and UTSA. Originally in a battle for the starting job during the preseason with sophomore Shuler Bentley, Washington’s numbers have been impressive with eight TD passes and just one interception. The senior should continue his streak this weekend against Charlotte, which has allowed the third-most TD passes in the country with 12. Opposing quarterbacks also have thrown for more than 260 yards in each of the first four games against the 49ers.

Sam Darnold, USC vs. Arizona State

Darnold gave the USC offense a spark in his first career start, leading the Trojans to a near upset on the road against Utah. The redshirt freshman completed nearly 70 percent of his passes for 253 yards. He also rushed for 41 yards and a touchdown on a Utes defense that ranked in the top third of the country against both the pass and run coming into the week. Now think of the infinite possibilities for Darnold with a start under his belt and getting to face a hapless Arizona State secondary that is giving up more than 400 yards a game through the air. Darnold is a must-start this week given the matchup and his dual-threat ability.

Sit’ Em

Mike White, Western Kentucky vs. Houston Baptist

Since that Week 1 performance against Rice where White threw for 517 yards and three touchdowns, his numbers have been fairly pedestrian. Granted with two SEC defenses on the schedule in Alabama and Vanderbilt that is to be expected, but White did not top 300 yards or thrown for more than two touchdowns in either of those games. Last year’s starter Brandon Doughty did both in all but three games last season. Now reports are coming out that head coach Jeff Brohm is planning on getting backup quarterback Tyler Ferguson some reps this week against Houston Baptist, lending me to think that White’s job could be at stake if Ferguson plays well. So while this looks like the perfect rebound matchup against FCS competition, splitting reps will diminish White’s value for this week.

Taysom Hill, BYU vs. Toledo

We saw glimpses of the Taysom Hill of old last week against West Virginia, as he ran for 105 yards along with 241 passing yards and two touchdowns. But we also saw three costly interceptions that gave the game away, leading to BYU’s third consecutive loss. In that three-week span, Hill has more interceptions (6) than combined touchdowns (5). While the Cougars are at home this week, it will be a stiff test going against a Toledo team that has dominated opponents in the first three games by an average of 33 points per contest. In addition, the Rockets’ pass defense currently ranks fourth in the country with just 392 passing yards combined allowed in their first three games and two touchdowns.

Top 10 Quarterbacks for Week 5:

Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech vs. Kansas

J.T. Barrett, Ohio State vs. Rutgers

Luke Falk, Washington State vs. Oregon

Lamar Jackson, Louisville vs. Clemson

Greg Ward Jr., Houston vs. Connecticut

Davis Webb, Cal vs. Utah

Kenny Hill, TCU vs. Oklahoma

Ryan Higgins, Louisiana Tech vs. UTEP

DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame vs. Syracuse

Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee vs. North Texas

Running Backs

Start ’Em

Jalin Moore, Appalachian State vs. Georgia State

If you were able to snag Moore last week with the news that starting running back Marcus Cox was questionable, give yourself a pat on the back. We saw last season what Moore was capable off when filling in for Cox, rushing for 244 yards in his first career start against Idaho. Filling in for Cox in again this past Saturday against Akron, Moore topped that with 257 yards and two touchdowns. Reports came out earlier in the week that head coach Scott Satterfield said he was in no rush to get Cox back on the field, and who could blame him with a backup like Moore waiting in the wings. This week, Moore gets the 128th-ranked rushing defense in Georgia State that is giving up a whopping 325 yards per contest. Moore is in line for another huge performance.

Jon Hilliman, Boston College vs. Buffalo

We noted above that Georgia State has the worst rushing defense in all of college football. Which team is next in line? That would be Buffalo at 290 yards per game and has allowed a 100-yard rusher in all three games. The Bulls haven’t been playing world-beaters either – FCS Albany, Nevada and Army. Now it’s Boston College and Hilliman, who is off to a solid start with four rushing touchdowns in four weeks, including two last week in the win over Wagner. Breaking the century mark and a touchdown is certainly within reach for Hilliman this week considering the matchup.

Sit ’Em

Dedrick Mills, Georgia Tech vs. Miami

Mills was a priority waiver wire selection after his performance against a good Vanderbilt defense in Week 3 with 58 yards on the ground and three touchdowns. The true freshman B-Back followed that up with 75 yards and another score against Clemson last week, giving him a touchdown in each of the three games played this season. For as good as Clemson is at stopping the run, though, Miami has been better this year. The Hurricanes are allowing just 1.6 yards per carry and have given up just a single rushing touchdown.

Robert Martin, Rutgers vs. Ohio State

There is only one team currently in college football that has not allowed a rushing touchdown this year. That would be the Buckeyes, which Rutgers faces off with on Saturday at the Shoe. In the first three games (bye last week), Ohio State is allowing just slightly over three yards per carry and has yet to allow an opposing running back to reach 100 yards. That list includes future NFL backs Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine from Oklahoma, as well as Tulsa’s D’Angelo Brewer, who is sixth in the country in rushing. With Rutgers star wide receiver Janarion Grant now out for the season with an ankle injury, Ohio State’s defense can pin its ears back and focus on stopping Martin, the Scarlet Knights’ lone offensive threat at this point.

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Top 10 Running Backs for Week 5:

Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State vs. South Alabama

Jalin Moore, Appalachian State vs. Georgia State

Jeremy McNichols, Boise State vs. Utah State

Ito Smith, Southern Miss vs. Rice

I’Tavius Mathers, Middle Tennessee vs. North Texas

Elijah McGuire, UL Lafayette vs. New Mexico State

Aaron Jones, UTEP vs. Louisiana Tech

Christian McCaffrey, Stanford vs. Washington

James Butler, Nevada vs. Hawaii

Dalvin Cook, Florida State vs. North Carolina

Wide Receivers

Start ’Em

Jonathan Giles, Texas Tech vs. Kansas

During the offseason, it was a “your guess is as good as mine” scenario as to who would be the leading receiver for the Red Raiders following Jakeem Grant’s graduation. While it is still early, Giles has distanced himself from the pack a bit after three games, as the sophomore is leading the team in receiving yards (346) and touchdowns (5). Two weeks ago against Louisiana Tech, Giles was arguably the best player on the field, catching three touchdown passes and finishing with more than 180 yards. The Jayhawks, meanwhile, actually boast the fifth-ranked passing defense in college football, but let’s be honest… it’s still Kansas. Giles has become a must-start if you have him on your roster and this week is no different.

Michael Gallup, Colorado State vs. Wyoming

Gallup was mentioned earlier this week as a potential waiver wire selection after posting consecutive weeks with touchdown receptions against Northern Colorado and Minnesota. After minimal impact the first two weeks, Gallup’s production has picked up the past two games, seemingly when freshman Collin Hill entered the lineup as the starting quarterback. The former junior college transfer has an enticing matchup this week against Wyoming, which has allowed a receiver to top 100 yards in three out of the first four games. This week should be No. 4.

Sit ‘Em

Allen Lazard, Iowa State vs. Baylor

Typically known for its offense, Baylor has been excellent at defending the pass thus far in 2016, allowing an average of 142 yards per game through four weeks. Last week against Oklahoma State, which boasts one of the top passing attacks in college football, Baylor limited No. 1 wide receiver James Washington to 89 yards just one week after posting 296 against Pittsburgh. Iowa State has nowhere near the same type of weapons as Oklahoma State, and the Cyclones have shown little consistency throwing the football through four games. Lazard has come back down to earth after consecutive 100-yard performances to open the season and should see the same double-coverage from Baylor that was employed last week to corral the Cowboys’ Washington.

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Shelton Gibson, West Virginia vs. Kansas State

After a no-show performance in Week 1, Gibson has looked more like the top-20 wide receiver I pegged him as coming into the season with back-to-back 100-yard performances against Youngstown State and BYU. Gibson’s breakaway speed and big-play abilities are what separates himself from most receivers and both were on display in those matchups as he had catches that went for more than 50 yards in each game. But yards won’t be as easy to come by this week for Gibson against the No. 1 pass defense in the country in Kansas State. The Wildcats are giving up just 106 yards per contest through the air and have yet to allow a team to surpass 300 yards of total offense against them.

Top 10 Wide Receivers for Week 5:

Amba Etta-Tawo, Syracuse vs. Notre Dame

Zay Jones, East Carolina vs. Central Florida

Chad Hansen, California vs. Utah

Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech vs. UTEP

Richie James, Middle Tennessee vs. North Texas

Gabe Marks, Washington State vs. Oregon

Corey Davis, Western Michigan vs. Central Michigan

Jerome Lane, Akron vs. Kent State

James Washington, Oklahoma State vs. Texas

Kenny Golladay, Northern Illinois vs. Ball State

— 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.