PLAYERS TO START
Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee (vs. Troy)
Bray has faced a tough schedule thus far, which is the nature of playing in the SEC, but it hasn't kept him from putting up good numbers. He's thrown 20 touchdowns to 10 interceptions, and his only truly bad game on the year was against Alabama, which makes pretty much any offensive player look bad. This week, the Volunteers get a respite with a home game against Troy. Bray should take advantage of this matchup to have a nice outing.
Nick Florence, QB, Baylor (vs. Kansas)
Last week, the Jayhawks actually managed to have a pretty respectable outing defensively against Texas, leading to Longhorns start David Ash getting replaced by Case McCoy. However, this is a whole different kettle of fish. For starters, Baylor is at home, which Texas wasn't, and additionally the Bears have one of the best passing games in the country. Also, one week doesn't mean Kansas isn't awful. Hopefully, Charlie Weis and company enjoyed their moral victory. Florence and friends likely will torch them this week.
Beau Blankenship, RB, Ohio (vs. Eastern Michigan)
The Bobcats lost their perfect record last week against Miami (OH) but Blankenship wasn't part of the problem, as he rushed 16 times for 74 yards and a score while also adding two receptions for 17 yards. Only twice has he failed to break the century mark running the ball, and he has seven scores on the season. Ohio gets the chance to get back on track this week against lowly Eastern Michigan. If they take their frustrations out on the Eagles, this could be a huge game for Blankenship.
Kenneth Dixon, RB, Louisiana Tech (vs. UTSA)
When starting running back Tevin King went down for the season, this offense didn't lose even half a step, with Dixon stepping right in and putting up huge numbers, including a 236-yard, six-touchdown performance against Idaho. Even without starting all season, Dixon has 836 yards and 17 touchdowns on 131 carries. This week, Dixon and company go against UTSA, a team in its first FBS season. If Texas A&M couldn't slow this defense down, what chance does UTSA have?
Tommy Shuler, WR, Marshall (vs. Memphis)
Which team is second in the nation in passing yards per game? Why, it's the Marshall Thundering Herd. Which team is 103rd in points allowed? That would be the Memphis Tigers. Marshall should throw the ball at will in this game, and Shuler already has 77 receptions for 737 yards on the season. Sure, he only has three touchdowns, but those can be fickle, and doesn't this feel like the kind of game where finding the end zone will be easier than usual?
Martel Moore, WR, Northern Illinois (vs. UMass)
Moore, admittedly, has been a bit hit or miss this season, but he is a big-play receiver, as he has 717 yards and seven touchdowns on 48 receptions. He's also had three good games in a row and, perhaps most important, this week the Huskies entertain Massachusetts, another team new to the FBS. As such, the odds seem in favor of another good game for Moore.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville (vs. Temple)
While Bridgewater might have an NFL future, he doesn't put up the kind of numbers, or play in the kind of offense, that leads to a lot of big fantasy stats. In fact, he only has 13 touchdowns this season, and he has never had more than three in a game. That said, he is also a very accurate quarterback, completing more than 70 percent of his passes, and only has four interceptions. The Cardinals hope to stay undefeated by beating Temple at home this week. This is a fairly easy matchup, and it should be one of Bridgewater's better games on the season.
PLAYERS TO SIT
Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska (at Michigan State)
Martinez has thrown the ball better this season - he has 16 touchdowns to five interceptions - and he's running well like usual, scoring six times on the ground. However, he has also had a couple of mediocre games, including last week against Michigan. Michigan State's defense has not quite been as good as many expected, but it is still a formidable group, and the Cornhuskers are on the road. This looks like it could be an off week for Martinez.
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M (at Mississippi State)
Manziel's numbers are truly outstanding for any player, let alone a freshman, and it may be hard to bet against him. However, he also hasn't been challenged a ton. He's had one bad game, and that was against LSU, and that game was at home to boot. Now, the Aggies have to go on the road to take on Mississippi State. The Bulldogs just suffered their first loss, but that was against Alabama. Manziel will probably be pretty good, but in fantasy college football "pretty good" usually means there are better options available.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama (at LSU)
Speaking of that LSU defense, this week the Tigers take on Alabama, and the game is at night in Death Valley, which offers a pretty solid home field advantage for the Tigers. Additionally, T.J. Yeldon has been as big a piece of this offense as Lacy, which limits his numbers. That combination of a great defense and a timeshare in his backfield should hinder Lacy's numbers this week.
Ray Graham, RB, Pittsburgh (at Notre Dame)
Graham is coming off a huge week wherein he ran for 109 yards and two scores while also tallying 71 yards and a touchdown receiving. However, that was at home against Temple. This week, Graham and the Panthers visit Notre Dame. No team is tougher against the run than the Fighting Irish. They've only allowed one rushing score this season, and that was just last week to Oklahoma. Odds are Graham won't find the end zone this time out.
Josh Stewart, WR, Oklahoma State (at Kansas State)
Stewart has been the top wide receiver for the Cowboys this season, catching 48 passes for 574 yards and three touchdowns. However, a lot of that came with J.W. Walsh under center. Now, Wes Lunt, a true freshman, has the job because of Walsh's injury. Plus, this week Oklahoma State has to visit the still undefeated Kansas State Wildcats, a team that kept a lot of offenses in check, and a team whose offense tends to drain the clock. Betting on any OSU wide receiver, Stewart or otherwise, is a risky gamble this week.
Darius Johnson, WR, SMU (at Central Florida)
Johnson has missed some time this season, but the last two weeks he has been excellent, catching 18 passes for 251 yards and two scores in those two contests. However, those were home games against Houston and Memphis. UCF's two losses came at the hands of Ohio State and Missouri, and its defense has been pretty stout this season. Don't expect Johnson to continue his recent stretch of good numbers.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon (at USC)
Mariota has impressed for a freshman, as he has led the Ducks to blowout after blowout, frequently hitting the bench at halftime to let the backups work. However, Oregon also hasn't faced that big of a test yet, with a home game against Arizona the toughest matchup Mariota has faced. Now, Oregon has to visit USC. How will Mariota react to playing on the road against really good competition? Maybe he will be fine, but Mariota is too much of a question mark to risk this week.
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