We are entering Week 6 of the college fantasy football season and monitoring the weather reports will be paramount as Hurricane Matthew will make its way up the Florida, Georgia and Carolina coast this weekend and will likely impact inland areas in that region and beyond. A few games have already been moved and chances are there could be more changes to the schedule to come. So be sure set your lineups early and track all weather situations leading up to game time.
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.
Ryan Finley, NC State vs. Notre Dame
The Boise State transfer quarterback has come on strong in recent weeks with six passing touchdowns in his last two games. The sophomore now has 10 TDs on the year with zero interceptions and an overall QB rating of more than 183. That spells bad news for a Notre Dame defense that has given up at least 240 passing yards in four out of its first five games this season. The Irish currently rank 106th in pass defense and opposing quarterbacks have a combined QB rating of 147.5 against them. About 200 passing yards and two touchdowns is probably the floor for Finley this week.
Greg Windham, Ohio vs. Bowling Green
Windham caught our eye as a potential fantasy option right off the bat in Week 1 with his performance against Texas State, throwing for 393 yards and four touchdowns in the overtime loss. The senior quarterback followed that up with more than 300 total yards of offense and two touchdowns against Kansas, leading many to pick Windham up off of waivers. His numbers have been merely average the last three weeks, but there could not be a better team to have a rebound performance against than Bowling Green these days. The Falcons have given up the most TD passes in the country (20) and currently rank second to last in the FBS in total defense, allowing more than 540 yards per game. Windham’s dual-threat ability makes him an appealing choice at quarterback against a D that cannot stop the run or pass.
Deondre Francois, Florida State vs. Miami
Regardless of the weather, Francois would still likely be a potential sit option due to the matchup. Miami currently ranks third in the country in pass defense, allowing just 137 yards per game and a total of two TD passes. That said, much of this decision has to do with the all but certain inclement weather that is expected to hit South Florida. As of now, it is looking like 50 percent chance of rain during the game, which never helps when trying to throw the football. And again, this is just one of many games that could be affected by the elements, so make sure you are selecting your lineups with this in mind.
Tyler Jones, Texas State vs. Georgia State
It has been a roller-coaster of a season just four games in for the senior. After putting up 418 passing yards and five total touchdowns in the season opener against Ohio, Jones went scoreless the next two weeks against Arkansas and Houston, combining for fewer than 200 yards total in the process. He rebounded last week against Incarnate Word with 475 yards and five touchdowns, showing me that his success rate is really dependent on the opponent. While on paper, you may look at a 0-4 Georgia State team as a good matchup for Jones, dig a little deeper and you will see that the Panthers are fourth in the country in pass defense and have not allowed an opposing quarterback to throw for more than 143 yards against them.
Top 10 Quarterbacks for Week 6:
Davis Webb, California vs. Oregon State
Kenny Hill, TCU vs. Kansas
Ryan Higgins, Louisiana Tech vs. Western Kentucky
J.T. Barrett, Ohio State vs. Indiana
DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame vs. NC State
Luke Falk, Washington State vs. Stanford
Logan Woodside, Toledo vs. Eastern Michigan
Greg Ward Jr., Houston vs. Navy
Josh Rosen, UCLA vs. Arizona State
Eric Dungey, Syracuse vs. Wake Forest
D’Onta Foreman, Texas vs. Oklahoma
News came out earlier in the week that Foreman’s running mate Chris Warren is expected to be out 6-8 weeks after suffering a knee injury against Oklahoma State. With Warren out for the foreseeable future, Foreman is expected to get the bulk of the carries with freshman Kyle Porter now sliding into the team’s No. 2 role. Foreman also left last week’s game early with an abdominal injury but has said he expects to start against Oklahoma. When in the lineup, Foreman has been the team’s best back, topping 100 yards and accounting for at least one touchdown in each of the three games. He should see 20-plus carries against the Sooners this weekend, a team against which he ran for more than 100 yards against on just nine carries a season ago.
Aaron Duckworth, Idaho vs. Louisiana-Monroe
We haven’t heard much from Duckworth since Week 1 where he ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns against Montana State, but that is likely to change this weekend. His opponent on Saturday, Louisiana-Monroe, currently ranks dead last in the nation against the run, allowing 320 yards per game. Against Auburn last week, ULM gave up 410 rushing yards and five touchdowns, with five different Tigers gaining at least 40 yards. With Duckworth, though, you won’t have to worry about carry distribution as he has 48 more than the next closest back on the team. A busy day (20-plus carries) and at least 100 yards is the expectation this week.
Brian Hill, Wyoming vs. Air Force
Taking a top-10 running back like Hill out of your lineup is nerve-racking as he already has three 100-yard rushing performances and at least one touchdown in every game this season. But the matchup against Air Force will force you to consider sitting him as the Falcons currently rank second in the country in run defense, allowing just 1.84 yards per carry and 53 yards per game. In Air Force’s four games, the most yards allowed to an opposing back has been 42, and that came in the season opener. Last week against Navy, a team that ranked near the top 10 nationally in rushing coming into the game, Air Force held the Midshipmen to just 57 rushing yards on 38 carries.
Teriyon Gipson, New Mexico vs. Boise State
Gipson has had to make the most of his limited opportunities the first month of the season as he has not topped 12 carries in a game yet has two 100-yard performances and five rushing TDs already. That seems to be a trend with the New Mexico rushing attack, as the Lobos have six players with 20 carries on the season, which limits Gipson’s value despite averaging a gaudy 12.9 yards per carry. His toughest test to date comes Saturday against a Boise State defense that is allowing just 2.4 yards per carry and has not allowed an opposing rusher to top 66 yards this season.
Top 10 Running Backs for Week 6:
Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State vs. UNLV
D’Angelo Brewer, Tulsa vs. SMU
Jeremy McNichols, Boise State vs. New Mexico
Aaron Jones, UTEP vs. FIU
Christian McCaffrey, Stanford vs. Washington State
Dalvin Cook, Florida State vs. Miami
James Butler, Nevada vs. Fresno State
Royce Freeman, Oregon vs. Washington
Kyle Hicks, TCU vs. Kansas
Ito Smith, Southern Miss vs. UTSA
Darren Andrews, UCLA vs. Arizona State
I think the secret is out, just based upon this column alone, as to how poorly Arizona State has defended the pass this season. In just his second career start last week, USC quarterback Sam Darnold had a huge game against the Sun Devils with 352 passing yards and three touchdowns. That makes four out of the five games this season in which they have given up three or more touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks. Arizona State also leads the country in passing plays of 20 or more yards allowed (27). Andrews is the Bruins’ leading receiver and is coming off of his best performance of the year with nine receptions for 108 yards against Arizona. He’s likely licking his chops during film review prepping for the Sun Devils’ secondary.
James Gardner, Miami (Ohio) vs. Akron
We are going back to the well once more with Gardner this week due to his matchup against the 125th-ranked pass defense in Akron. Gardner posted his first game without a touchdown last week against Ohio, but nothing went right for the RedHawks’ offense, which managed just seven points. Meanwhile, Akron gave up 285 passing yards and two touchdowns last week to Kent State quarterback Nick Holley. Yes, the same Nick Holley that has played running back the past three seasons and has not started a game at quarterback since his senior year of high school. It’s Safe to say Gardner is likely to start another touchdown streak on Saturday against this woeful secondary.
Jonathan Giles, Texas Tech vs. Kansas State
Kansas tried and failed miserably last week at double-covering Giles, as he torched the Jayhawks for 12 receptions, 219 yards and two touchdowns. Giles is now the clear-cut No. 1 target for the Red Raiders with 31 receptions and seven touchdowns in just four games. However, there are a couple things working against Giles this week. For one, he won’t have his starting quarterback throwing him the ball as it looks like Nic Shimonek will be starting in place of the injured Patrick Mahomes. Kansas State’s pass defense also has been excellent to start the season, as the Wildcats are tied for fewest touchdown passes allowed in the country with two. There’s also hard-hitting safety Dante Barnett, who will shade towards Giles on passing downs. This will be one of the few weeks this year where Giles is not a sure-fire top-10 play at wide receiver.
Ryan Switzer, North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech
There hasn’t been a better receiver in college football over the last three weeks than Switzer. The first two games of the year were par for the course with the type of performances we have seen from Switzer throughout his career, but the senior has scorched the earth in the last three weeks with 35 catches and 467 receiving yards. Already through five weeks, Switzer is just 100 yards away from matching his 2015 season total. I don’t see him getting there this week though, not against a Hokies pass defense that has allowed fewer than 100 passing yards in three out of four games this season. Switzer also has struggled against Virginia Tech in his career with just 10 catches and zero touchdowns in three games.
Top 10 Wide Receivers for Week 6:
Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech vs. Western Kentucky
Chad Hansen, California vs. Oregon State
Amba Etta-Tawo, Syracuse vs. Wake Forest
Corey Davis, Western Michigan vs. Northern Illinois
Kenny Golladay, Northern Illinois vs. Western Michigan
Zay Jones, East Carolina vs. South Florida
Taj Williams, TCU vs. Kansas
Equanimeous St. Brown, Notre Dame vs. NC State
James Washington, Oklahoma State vs. Iowa State
Nicholas Norris, Western Kentucky vs. Louisiana Tech
— 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.