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Hot and Cold: Week 1's Risers and Sinkers

Kevin O'Brien

Kevin O'Brien

Kevin O'Brien writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

ACC

Hot

Russell Wilson
threw for 306 yards and four touchdowns in N.C. State’s season-opening victory over Western Carolina. Wilson takes on a Central Florida team in Week 2 that finished 113th in the nation in passing defense a year ago, so expect another big outing.

North Carolina receiver Jheranie Boyd recorded 214 receiving yards in 12 games last season, but he topped that number in UNC’s 2010 opener alone. Boyd caught six passes for 221 yards (including a 97-yard touchdown) in a loss to LSU last Saturday. UNC is off this week, but Boyd’s Week 1 performance and playmaking skills warrant your attention.

Cold

Big things are expected from Georgia Tech running back Anthony Allen this season, but a lopsided score in Week 1 meant he only ran for 28 yards on six carries in Georgia Tech’s victory. Allen will be looking for a better performance against Kansas in Week 2.

Torrey Smith was a popular target in the Maryland offense last season, but he caught just one pass for six yards in a Week 1 victory over Navy. Maryland only had the ball for a little over 20 minutes in the game due to the Navy’s running attack, which in turn allowed new quarterback Jamarr Robinson to only throw five passes.

Big 12

Hot


Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin missed most of last season with a knee injury, but he wasted little time proving he is healthy and back at a dominant level. Griffin threw for 242 yards and a touchdown, and also added 59 yards and another touchdown on the ground in Week 1. He will be a top fantasy quarterback this season.

Oklahoma State running back Kendall Hunter dealt with injury issues last year as well, but like Griffin, he showed right away what type of production he is capable of when healthy. Hunter ran for 257 yards on just 21 carries and scored four touchdowns in OSU’s Week 1 victory.

Cold

Kendall Wright
is expected to be one Griffin’s top target this season, but he surprisingly had negative receiving yardage, on three catches, in the Bears’ season opener. Expect Wright and Griffin to get back in a groove as the season progresses.

Missouri wide receiver Wes Kemp is one of the Tigers’ top returning receivers, but he caught just three passes in Missouri’s Week 1 victory over Illinois. The Tigers take on FCS McNeese State in Week 2, so Kemp will need to step up this week to inspire any confidence in him heading forward.

Big East

Hot


Versatile South Florida quarterback B.J. Daniels threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns in an opening week victory over FCS Stony Brook. He also added a rushing touchdown in the contest. Daniels will need a similar performance if USF hopes to knock off Florida in Week 2 (don’t count on it).

Louisville running back Bilal Powell secured the starting job late in camp and seemed in no hurry to give it back. Powell ran for 153 yards on 16 carries against Kentucky, making him a decent option for this week’s game against FCS Eastern Kentucky.

Cold

The explosive Cincinnati offense struggled in a loss to Fresno State last Saturday, and running back Isaiah Pead only managed 64 total yards in the game. Pead should fare better this week against FCS Indiana State.

Louisville’s Adam Froman was named the starter just a few days before the season opener, but he completed just 14-of-29 passes for 127 yards and threw an interception in a loss to Kentucky. Those numbers won’t help him keep his spot.

Big Ten

Hot


After a strong offseason that helped him secure the starting quarterback job, Michigan’s Denard Robinson was one of the nation’s most impressive players in Week 1. Robinson completed 19-of-22 passes for 186 yards and a touchdown and also ran for 197 yards and another score.

Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa was similarly brilliant, completing 19-of-21 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns in Northwestern’s season-opening victory over Vanderbilt. Persa also added 82 yards on the ground and is in line to put up big numbers this week against FCS Illinois State.

Cold

Penn State running back Evan Royster ran for just 40 yards on 11 carries in Penn State’s Week 1 victory over Youngstown State. Things don’t figure to get any easier this week when the Nittany Lions take on Alabama.

A big performance in last year’s bowl game made Lance Kendricks a popular selection among this year’s tight ends, but the Wisconsin tight end had just one catch for five yards in the season opener.

Conference USA

Hot


East Carolina quarterback Dominique Davis threw for five touchdowns and added another on the ground in a thrilling season-opening victory over Tulsa. ECU’s next opponent, Memphis, was lit up for 569 yards in Week 1, so another big effort could be in store.

Houston quarterback Case Keenum threw for five touchdown passes against FCS Texas State—all in the first half. Keenum is likely to put up big numbers again this week in a potential shootout with UTEP.

Cold

SMU’s Aldrick Robinson has the potential to be one of the best wide receivers in the nation this season, but he racked up just 50 yards in Week 1 against Texas Tech and was held out of the end zone. Robinson should find the going a little easier this week against a UAB team that finished dead last in the country in pass defense a year ago.

Rice’s Sam McGuffie ran for just 47 yards in Week 1, but he won’t face another defense as good as Texas’ the rest of the season. The talented McGuffie’s numbers should improve in the coming weeks.

Independents

Hot


Army fullback Jared Hassin ran for 68 yards and three touchdowns, on just 12 attempts, in a Week 1 victory over Eastern Michigan. Hassin should continue to get carries down by the goal line for the Black Knights.

Cold

Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs did find the end zone in Week 1, but he ran for just 63 yards on 29 carries and only threw for 73 yards in a loss to Maryland. He should find the going a bit easier against FCS Georgia Southern this week.

MAC

Hot


Buffalo quarterback Jerry Davis tossed four touchdown passes and threw for 302 yards in Week 1 against FCS Rhode Island. Davis saw limited action as a freshman last season, but performances like that will help him keep his grasp on the starting quarterback job.

Eastern Michigan running back Dwayne Priest ran for 142 yards and two touchdowns in a Week 1 loss to Army. Priest takes on a Miami (OH) team next that allowed 187 yards per game last season but held Florida to just 99 rushing yards in Week 1.

Cold

Miami (OH) quarterback Zac Dysert should find Eastern Michigan’s defense a little easier to beat after taking on Florida in Week 1. Dysert passed for only 191 yards and threw four interceptions in the game.

Temple running back Bernard Pierce had a big freshman season in 2009, but he was shuffled around the depth chart in the preseason and ran for just 75 yards on 20 carries against FCS Villanova in Week 1. Pierce takes on a better-than-expected Central Michigan defense this week.

MWC

Hot


San Diego State wide receiver DeMarco Sampson stepped up when star receiver Vincent Brown was injured last season; but even though Brown was back for Week 1, it was Sampson who stole the show with seven receptions for 179 yards and two touchdowns.

Jereme Brooks proved why he is Utah’s most-dangerous receiver by catching five passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns in a big Week 1 victory over visiting Pittsburgh. Expect quarterback Jordan Wynn to keep looking Brooks’ direction often.

Cold

Sampson’s gain was Vincent Brown’s loss. Brown caught just five passes for 29 yards in San Diego State’s victory over Nicholls State in Week 1. Brown remains a top receiving option, but games like he had in the opener won’t help fantasy owners.

The return of Matt Asiata cost fellow running back Eddie Wide carries in Week 1, and it cost fantasy owners the production Wide provided last season in Asiata’s absence. Wide accounted for just 71 yards on 13 touches.

Pac-10

Hot

Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck proved why he is a highly-rated commodity, throwing for 317 yards and four touchdowns in the Cardinal’s season-opening blowout of FCS Sacramento State.

Arizona wide receiver Juron Criner exploded for 187 yards and a touchdown on 11 catches against Toledo in Week 1. Criner and the Wildcats will face The Citadel in Week 2, so expect plenty of Nick Foles’ passes to head in Criner’s direction again.

Cold

Marc Tyler was named USC’s starting running back instead of Allen Bradford, and Bradford received just eight carries in the opener. He did run for 52 yards, but Tyler ran for 154 and will likely continue to see the bulk of the carries going forward.

Kevin Prince struggled in his first year as UCLA’s starting quarterback a year ago, but he was expected to make strides this season with a talented group of skill players around him. But a muscle tear in his back limited Prince as he completed just 9-of-26 passes for 120 yards in Week 1 and threw two interceptions.

SEC

Hot


Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton exploded for 186 passing yards, 171 running yards, and a combined five touchdowns in Auburn’s Week 1 victory over Arkansas State. His talents will be on display when Auburn plays on national television against Mississippi State on Thursday night.

In Mark Ingram’s absence, Alabama running back Trent Richardson accounted for 112 yards and two touchdowns on just 13 touches in a Week 1 victory over San Jose State. With Ingram likely out for this week’s big matchup with Penn State, Richardson is again a must-start.

Cold

Mississippi State quarterback Chris Relf did not play poorly in the Week 1, but his competition, Tyler Russell, threw for 256 yards and four touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ victory over Memphis. Relf could be in danger of losing the starting job completely if Russell maintains that level of play.

Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett likes to spread the ball around to a lot of receivers, but Greg Childs was expected to be his top option. However, Childs caught four passes for 26 yards in the opener and it was fellow receiver Joe Adams who exploded for 138 yards and two touchdowns. It’s doubtful that Childs won’t see more targets going forward, however.

Sun Belt

Hot


Western Kentucky running back Bobby Rainey showed in Week 1 why he is a top fantasy option. Rainey received 30 carries and ran for 155 yards and a touchdown against what was the No. 1 defense in the country last year. He also added three receptions for 36 yards. Rainey will get his carries, but if he can stay involved in the passing game, he could be even more dangerous.

Florida Atlantic receiver Lester Jean caught nine passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns in a Week 1 victory over UAB. FAU was supposed to get its two talented tight ends involved in the offense, but no one else on the roster caught more than two passes in the game.

Cold

One of the Florida Atlantic tight ends that had a quiet day was Darian Williams, who did not catch a pass. Fellow tight end Rob Housler was also expected to be active, but he caught just two passes in the game. Both tight ends will need to get more involved if FAU hopes to upset Michigan State in Week 2.

Western Kentucky tight end Jack Doyle caught just two passes for 24 yards in a season-opening loss to Nebraska. Doyle caught 37 passes in his freshman season, so expect his numbers to improve.

WAC

Hot


Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw for 306 yards and two touchdowns, and also added 60 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in last week’s victory over Eastern Washington. Kaepernick will be one of the top quarterback options in the nation this season.

Virgil Green benefited from Kaepernick’s big passing day and hauled in seven passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns for Nevada. Green scored five touchdowns last season and looks to be an even higher priority in the passing game this year, so he could end up being a viable weekly tight end option in most leagues.

Cold

Boise State running backs Doug Martin and D.J. Martin did most of the work in Week 1, leaving just five carries to Jeremy Avery. Avery ran for 1,150 yards last season, so he should be more involved when the Broncos return to the field in Week 3 against Wyoming.

Idaho wide receiver Maurice Shaw was the Vandals’ big-play receiver a year ago, but he made hardly any plays in Week 1 and caught just three passes. Don’t expect a big performance from Shaw in Week 2 against Nebraska, though it’s worth noting he was limited by a hamstring injury last week.