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Start vs. Sit: Who to Play, Who to Bench Week 2

Chris Morgan

Chris Morgan

Chris Morgan is a writer of sports, pop culture, and humor articles, a book author, a podcaster, and a fan of all Detroit sports teams.

PLAYERS TO START

Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon (vs. Fresno State)

If you happened to see the Ducks take on Arkansas State last week, then you now know how to pronounce Mariota's last name, and that he's the player who has seen his stock rise the most after game one. He didn't even play a full four quarters, and yet he still threw for 200 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for 24 yards. Just as important, he went 18-for-22 passing and looked quite accurate throwing the ball. Against the Bulldogs, Mariota's coming out party should only continue.

Tyler Tettleton, QB, Ohio (vs. New Mexico State)

Sure, we all expect Penn State to be a bit off this year, but Tettleton still was quite impressive leading the Bobcats to the upset in Happy Valley. The son of former baseball catcher Mickey Tettleton, which is required by law to be mentioned every time Tettleton the Younger is brought up, he threw for 324 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 47 yards and a score. The Aggies impressed on offense in their own right in their opener, so this could be a shootout, which only helps Tettleton.

Shawn Southward, RB, Troy (vs. Louisiana-Lafayette)

Southward carried the day for Troy in its season-opening victory against UAB. He rushed 28 times for 204 yards and three touchdowns, making him one of the top rushers in Week 1. He hasn't received a ton of carries in his career, but maybe now it is chance to shoulder the load, and the Ragin' Cajuns are a nice matchup at home.

Tony Pierson, RB, Kansas (vs. Rice)

The Rice Owls were bad against the run last season, and in this year's opener against UCLA, Jonathan Franklin rushed 15 times for 214 yards and three scores to the lead the Bruins, who totaled 343 yards on 37 times. Against South Dakota State in their opener, Pierson rushed 20 times for 124 yards and two touchdowns. This is mostly about the matchup, and most weeks you probably won't use Pierson, but this could be a nice roll of the dice this week if you face tough matchups with your preferred running backs.

Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming (vs. Toledo)

The Longhorns are known for their staunch defense, and yet Herron caught five passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns against Texas, making him one of the top fantasy receivers in Week 1. Now, the Cowboys play host to Toledo. The Rockets are one of the better MAC teams - but they are indeed a MAC team, so this is an easier matchup for Wyoming. Maybe Week 1 was a fluke, but Herron had 43 catches for 379 yards and three touchdowns as a sophomore last season, so this opening performance wasn't completely without precedent.

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson (vs. Ball State)

With Sammy Watkins out in Week 1, Hopkins set a Clemson record with 13 receptions, which went for 119 yards and a touchdown in the win over Auburn. Watkins is out one more week, and this time around the Tigers play host to Ball State. This is a more palatable matchup, and without Watkins, Hopkins is the top target for Tajh Boyd. Hopkins will be good this season, but this could be his last chance to be the star of the show.

Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State (vs. UCF)

As a freshman, Miller showed potential, and the Buckeyes hope Urban Meyer can capitalize on his skills. Well, so far, so good. Miller was dominant against Miami, though to be fair it was the Miami of Ohio, not Florida. Miller passed for 207 yards and two touchdowns, but more notably he ran 17 times for 161 yards and a score. Meyer seems to have a bright star in Miller, and he should build on his opening performance against the Golden Knights of UCF this week.

PLAYERS TO SIT

Keith Price, QB, Washington (at LSU)

Price had some good numbers last season, but in his season opener against San Diego State he only threw for 213 yards and one touchdown. Regardless of his Week 1 performance - and you shouldn't read too much into one game - it's usually best not to back a quarterback heading into Death Valley to take on the Tigers. Price will likely be in for a rough outing Saturday.

David Piland, QB, Houston (vs. Louisiana Tech)

Things did not get off to a good start to the post-Kevin Sumlin Era for the Cougars. They only scored 13 points against Texas State, which is new to FBS, and then their offensive coordinator resigned, which isn't usually a good sign. Now, Houston is playing Louisiana Tech, perhaps the best team in the WAC, a much tougher opponent. Piland only went 17-for-44 in the opener, and there is no reason to gamble on him until the pieces fall into play for this team.

Kerwynn Williams, RB, Utah State (vs. Utah)

While Williams got the most carries for the Aggies in their season opener against Southern Utah, he only gained 63 yards. Meanwhile, his backup, Joe Hill, rushed 11 times for 116 yards and three scores. This could lead to more carries for Hill, which could hurt Williams' value. Plus, the Utes aren't just an intrastate rival, but a tough opponent with a solid defense. Both of these factors are not in Williams' favor this week.

Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State (vs. Wisconsin)

The Beavers had their season opener against Nicholls State postponed, which kept Wheaton and company from getting a nice tuneup before their matchup with the Badgers. Granted, Wisconsin barely survived a scare in Week 1 against lowly Northern Iowa, which isn't even an FBS team, but that likely was a fluke. At the very least, it probably isn't worth the risk to play Wheaton, particularly while some teams are still in the midst of their early season matchups with cupcakes and lesser lights.

Uzoma Nwachukwu, WR, Texas A&M (vs. Florida)

Like Oregon State, Texas A&M had its season opener postponed. This is their first game under Kevin Sumlin. He's known for his pass-happy style, but the Aggies also have a new quarterback to break in. They are also opening SEC play, and Florida has a strong defense under Will Muschamp and company. In due time, Texas A&M's passing game should impress, but this is somewhat of a trial run, so using Nwachukwu might not be the best idea.

Justin Hardy, WR, East Carolina (at South Carolina)

Last season, as a freshman, Hardy caught 64 passes for 658 yards and six touchdowns. With the expectations higher as a sophomore, Hardy had six catches in the Pirates' season opener against Appalachian State, but they only went for 38 yards and a touchdown. This week, Hardy and company head to South Carolina to take on the Gamecocks and their staunch defense. Maybe Hardy will start to put up the numbers some predicted, but it won't likely be in this particular matchup.

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