There is a pall that falls over Louisiana when LSU loses. This darkness becomes even thicker when the Tigers lose to hated rival Alabama and former LSU coach Nick Saban. As a transplant to the bayou, it took me a few years to realize that the Tigers football team is more to the hearts and minds of Louisianans than another sport franchise, pro or college. Needless to say, the mood in central Louisiana is one of sadness.
This week's Barometer is quarterback heavy. Quarterback is sometimes a strange position in college fantasy football. The passers (and sometimes runners) often score the most points, but the talent pool is usually the deepest because fantasy rosters only require one or two signal callers. To win in college fantasy football, you still need a top quarterback, and this report will examine a number of options: good, bad and in between.
Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson - Coming off the second five-touchdown passing game of his career, Boyd decided he liked the feat so much that he completed it again Saturday. To increase the difficulty, the junior quarterback performed the feat in the first half alone. He had five passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown in 24 minutes of play. Granted, the opponent was Duke and Boyd did have three interceptions, but it appears as if the 6-foot-1 native of Hampton, Virginia, is coming into his own. Clemson has scored at least 37 points in every game since the opener, and Boyd has the Tigers offense humming.
Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon - Six touchdowns in a half might be impressive, but Barner was similarly impressive as Boyd with his rushing performance against USC on Saturday. The 5-11 senior set career highs with 38 carries, 321 yards and five touchdowns. He has 10 touchdowns in his last three games and 19 for the season. Barner was good in the early season but has turned on the afterburners in Pac-12 play. In his last three games, in addition to the touchdown barrage, Barner averaged 9.1 yards per carry. After a relative breather against Cal next week, the Ducks finish the season with games against Stanford and Oregon State. Last year, Barner had 106 yards on 24 carries against the Cardinal and Beavers.
Marqise Lee, WR, USC - I wrote about selling high on quarterback Matt Barkley two weeks ago, a prediction that does not look so good. The one Trojan you should not sell high on is the sophomore Lee. After a career game with 345 yards on 16 receptions with two touchdowns against Arizona, Lee scored twice more Saturday against Oregon with 12 catches for 157 yards. On the season, Lee has 88 catches for 1,286 yards and 12 touchdowns. His freshman season was impressive, but it may have been just the tip of the iceberg for the talented receiver.
Ray Graham, RB, Pittsburgh - Entering the season, large questions surrounded Graham and the health of his knee. Those questions have been answered in the last three weeks in which the senior has had at least 19 carries, and has provided 355 yards and four touchdowns. Graham was at his best against Notre Dame on Saturday. He used his combination of strength, speed, balance and moves to run for 172 yards, including a 55-yard dash on the Panthers' first play from scrimmage. Look for Graham to suprass 1,000 yards for the first time in his collegiate career and become the school's second all-time leading rusher (behind Tony Dorsett).
Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State - Prior to Saturday, Klein was in the driver's seat for this year's Heisman Trophy. However, he reportedly left the win over Oklahoma State with a concussion. Before leaving the game, Klein had 245 yards passing and 64 rushing yards with a touchdown. If the injury proves serious (but not season ending), the Wildcats may think about resting Klein the next two weeks against TCU and Baylor (especially the Bears). That situation would be a true hit for fantasy teams at the end of the season and into the playoffs.
Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU - In his first year as a starter for the Tigers, Mettenberger has had his inconsistencies. The former Georgia recruit had his best game of the season against Alabama on Saturday with 298 yards on 24-of-35 passing. He was able to stand up to the Alabama pressure and completed a 14-yard touchdown strike to Jarvis Landry to put LSU on top in the fourth quarter. The Tigers have a strong running game, so they do not rely on Mettenberger to be much more than a game manager. With eight touchdowns and four interceptions, the team that means so much to the region may need him to do a bit more.
Blaine Gautier, QB, Louisiana-Lafayette - Staying local, Gautier has a chance to return to quarterback the Ragin' Cajuns this season. The senior broke two bones in his hand in the Sept. 29 win over Florida International and was replaced by sophomore Terrance Broadway. There was some thought about bringing Gautier back as a safety on defense if his hand did not allow him to play quarterback, but he appears to be headed to a return as the signal caller either Nov. 17 against Western Kentucky or Nov. 24 against South Alabama. Gautier threw 23 touchdowns in his junior season, so his return could be a boon for prospecting fantasy owners.
Keenan Allen, WR, California - Allen missed Saturday's loss to Washington with a knee injury. The Bears' top target is considered game-to-game after getting injured in the loss to Utah. Cal's all-time leading receiver with 203 catches has equaled his 2011 touchdown total with six, despite his school's losing ways. The Bears are just 3-7, but that has not stopped Allen from having a productive season. With a bowl not in the offing and Allen's professional career beckoning, he may not play much for the rest of the season.
Clint Moseley, QB, Auburn - Is there anything worse in fantasy football than taking a flyer on a player and having him go down with an injury early in the first quarter? Unlike the actual team, you can't put in a new player. Mosely made his fourth start of the season against Texas A&M on Saturday and only lasted one series because of an ankle injury. While it may not have been wise to start Moseley against the Aggies in the first place, the junior might have to watch freshman Jonathan Wallace in future weeks.
Devin Street, WR, Pittsburgh - Street had a tough week. He, along with the aforementioned Graham, was charged with assault on Thursday. According to police reports, it appears that it was the Panthers wide receiver who did the assaulting, and this may result in problems down the road. For now, Street, Graham and defensive back Lafayette Pitts are still playing. After being a featured player in the Panthers offense, Street disappeared against Notre Dame with just three receptions for 35 yards. The Irish did a nice job on the Panthers passing attack, so Street may have just been a small part of a larger problem.
Munchie Legaux, QB, Cincinnati - Just days after receiving a vote of confidence from coach Butch Jones, Legaux was benched after nearly throwing a second interception in the win over Syracuse on Saturday. Brendon Kay finished the game. The junior from New Orleans opened the season with 11 touchdowns and three picks in his first five games, but had just two scores and six turnovers in his last three games before getting benched. Accuracy issues have plagued Legaux throughout the season, and only time will tell if Jones will let him get back into the lineup.
B.J. Daniels, QB, South Florida - Daniels was mentioned here two weeks ago as a "check status," but it feels right to eulogize his senior season, which ended prematurely with a broken ankle suffered in the low-scoring win over Connecticut on Saturday. The four-year starter never completed more than 58.9 percent of his passes and did not top 14 passing touchdowns in a season. He did score at least five rushing touchdowns each year, but it feels like his legacy will be one of disappointment. The six-game losing streak this year in which Daniels became less of a runner because of a previous ankle injury will not help. For the Bulls, freshman Matt Floyd takes over. Floyd is 4-of-10 on the season for 22 yards in limited playing time.