PLAYERS TO START
E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State (vs. Boston College)
The Seminoles are licking their wounds a bit this week after suffering a major upset at the hands of N.C. State that probably cost them a shot at a national title. Manuel was a bit mediocre in that game but has played well this year, throwing for 1,365 yards, 10 touchdowns and two interceptions, with a rushing score to boot. Fortunately for Manuel, this week he gets to take on a Boston College team that just gave up 31 points to Army and has struggled on defense against every opponent except Maine. Expect a big bounce-back.
Ryan Aplin, QB, Arkansas State (vs. South Alabama)
Gus Malzahn has done some impressive things with his offenses, but the transition for Aplin and company has been a bit of a slow process thus far. Aplin only has eight passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns, and four of those scores came against Oregon in a rout that saw the backups to the backups playing by the end. That said, this week's opponent, South Alabama is new to FBS and has given up at least 30 points to every FBS opponent. This could be a great chance for Aplin to improve his stats.
Andrew Buie, RB, West Virginia (at Texas Tech)
Geno Smith and the high-powered West Virginia passing game might get most of the love letters, but Buie had a coming out party against Texas last week, rushing for 207 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries. Fittingly, he had three catches for 66 yards as well. He's been a big part of the offense the last two weeks, and there is no reason for that to stop. Oklahoma showed last week that Texas Tech's defensive rankings were a bit flattering, and that trend should continue with the Mountaineers in town.
David Fluellen, RB, Toledo (at Eastern Michigan)
Fluellen has been a workhorse for the Rockets, as he's carried 111 times for 600 yards thus far (he was only given six carries against Coastal Carolina) has scored seven touchdowns as well. The last two weeks he's had big games against Western Michigan and Central Michigan, including 213 yards rushing and three scores against the former. This week, Fluellen gets to play the lowliest of all the directional Michigan teams, so it should be another big game for him.
Daniel Spencer, WR, Houston (vs. UAB)
No Cougars wide receiver has really emerged this season, and admittedly Spencer only has 27 receptions for 396 yards and two scores. However, the team is still sixth in the nation in passing yards per game, and UAB allows 33.8 points per game even though it only gave up three points to Southeastern Louisiana last week. This is a much tougher matchup for the Blazers, and somebody should have a big game for the Cougars in the receiving department. Spencer is a good bet for that.
Brandon Wimberly, WR, Nevada (at UNLV)
Wimberly has 36 catches for 457 yards this season but has yet to find the end zone. However, projecting touchdowns can be tricky, and when you are getting this many targets per game, the chances of scoring are good. This week, Nevada gets to play UNLV, another palatable matchup. Maybe this is the week Wimberly gets a touchdown. Even if he doesn't, he's a good bet for a good fantasy production, especially in PPR leagues.
Beau Blankenship, RB, Ohio (vs. Akron)
The undefeated Bobcats should have an easy victory this week, as they play host to the lowly Akron Zips, routinely one of the MAC's worst teams, and this year is no different. Blankenship has not had less than 25 carries in any game, and he's turned his 181 totes into 843 yards and six touchdowns this season. There is no reason to think Akron will be the team to slow Blankenship.
PLAYERS TO SIT
Keith Price, QB, Washington (vs. USC)
Price and the Washington Huskies have one of the tougher schedules in the nation this season. They've already faced No. 3 LSU, No. 8 Stanford and No. 2 Oregon (going 1-2). This week, they entertain No. 11 USC. Some will roll the dice because Price is at home and USC doesn't seem as good as many expected. However, Price has not done much of anything against any team aside from Portland State, and this isn't the week to expect a turnaround even if the game is in Seattle.
Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee (at Mississippi State)
Bray has shown up on this list a few times, but that isn't meant to be a condemnation of his talents, merely a reflection of the reality of Tennessee's schedule this season. That's life in the SEC. Mississippi State hardly feels like a real test at this point, but its defense has been stout, and the Volunteers are on the road. Bray has skills that will get him to the next level, but he's playing a tough defense while a lot of quarterbacks are tossing the ball around in pass heavy offenses against easier competition. Many of those quarterbacks make better options.
Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford (at Notre Dame)
With Andrew Luck gone, Taylor is the focal point of this offense, and he's taken to it fairly
well, rushing for 555 yards and five touchdowns on 119 carries. But Stanford is in South Bend this week, and the Fighting Irish appear to have one of the toughest defenses in college football this season. With Josh Nunes not striking a ton of fear in opponents' hearts, Notre Dame can probably focus on Taylor, which should lead to diminished numbers.
Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina (at LSU)
It's always a risky venture to not start a player of Lattimore's caliber. Despite returning from an injury, Lattimore has looked impressive this season, contributing in both the running game and the passing game and scoring nine touchdowns. However, this game is at LSU. Yes, the Tigers lost to Florida last week, but they still have a formidable defense, and night games at Death Valley have a certain aura around them. Lattimore's numbers probably will be serviceable, but you probably don't have to settle for that.
Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State (at BYU)
The surprise Beavers are all the way up to No. 10 in the AP Poll thanks to a combination of solid offense, led by the passing game, and strong defense. Wheaton has been their best weapon on offense, catching 36 passes for 498 yards and four touchdowns. However, this week Oregon State is visiting BYU. The Cougars don't have a very good offense, but their defense has been tremendous, as they currently rank third in the nation in points allowed. Plus, quarterback Sean Mannion just had surgery, which can't help their cause. This should be a low-scoring game, which should hamper Wheaton's numbers.
Alec Lemon, WR, Syracuse (at Rutgers)
Lemon missed the first game of the season, and since then it has been slow going, as he only has 21 catches for 212 yards. You can certainly argue he is not the top target in Syracuse's passing game anymore. More than that, Rutgers has shown that the Big East is not just a one-team conference, in part because of a tough defense. No Orange wide receiver is likely to have a big game, and Lemon's chances are even lower.
Stephen Houston, RB, Indiana (vs. Ohio State)
Houston has done a lot with not a ton of touches, as he has 277 yards and four touchdowns on a mere 52 carries. He also has 14 receptions for 117 yards and a score. However, he was held in check last week at home against Michigan State. Ohio State's defense isn't as good as Michigan State's, but it is probably good enough to keep Houston in check, especially if his touches are going to remain so sparse.
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