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Start vs. Sit: Who to Play, Who to Bench Week 4

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

A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama (vs. Colorado State)

It is hard not to be overshadowed by the Johnny Manziel's aura when your team plays Texas A&M, but McCarron was excellent against the Aggies last week. He went 20-for-29 for 334 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Sure, the Aggies' defense doesn't look very good, but you know what defense also isn't very good? Colorado State's. And McCarron gets to go up against the Rams at home to boot. Expect another big game for McCarron.

Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia (vs. North Texas)

Murray returns to the field after the Bulldogs had last week off, and finally has a relatively easy opponent on the schedule. In games against Clemson and South Carolina, Murray threw for more than 300 yards, totaling four touchdowns and one interception. This should be a much easier task, and could be a chance for Murray to stuff his stat sheet for his Heisman campaign.

Connor Halliday, QB, Washington State (vs. Idaho)

Halliday has not had a good season. In his first two games he had one touchdown and five interceptions. However, those games were both road contests, and the opponents were Auburn and USC. Last week, he had five touchdowns to one pick, but the opponent was Southern Utah so you don't want to read too much into that. This selection is more about Halliday's offense and the opponent this week - Idaho, which is awful. Halliday should have a good game.

Charles Ross, RB, Rice (vs. Houston)

The Owls have only played two games, but Ross has been huge in both. He is averaging 5.7 yards per carry and has totaled four touchdowns. He's far and away been the focal point of Rice's offense, and that should continue against Houston, perhaps Rice's easiest opponent thus far, depending on just how negatively you view Kansas.

Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin (vs. Purdue)

Gordon, not James White, is the Wisconsin running back you should most want. He hasn't gotten as many touches as White, but that could change, because Gordon has been outstanding thus far. He's rushed 37 times for a whopping 477 yards and four touchdowns. Now he gets the chance to run against Purdue, which should not provide much of an obstacle for Gordon.

Jordan James, RB, UCLA (vs. New Mexico State)

James is not the player Johnathan Franklin was - yet - but he has emerged as UCLA's top running back, and the Bruins offense has been fantastic. He has gained 260 yards on 43 carries and has rushed for two touchdowns. Against lowly New Mexico State, things should be even easier for James, and he could certainly pad his touchdown total in this one.

Antwan Goodley, WR, Baylor (vs. Louisiana-Monroe)

Baylor has only played two games so far, but they average almost 70 points per game, so the offense is looking fairly potent, to say the least. You could stick almost any Bear into your lineup and probably get something positive out of it. However, aside from Tevin Reese, Goodley might be the best option. He has nine catches for 214 yards and two touchdowns. Louisiana-Monroe isn't the team that is going to solve this offense. Expect plenty of fantasy points, with Goodley likely being a part of the fun.

Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M (vs. SMU)

Evans was the biggest benefactor of Johnny Manziel's huge game against Alabama and is a proven receiving threat. Another 279-yard, two-touchdown game seems unlikely, but Evans has put up big numbers in every Aggies game this year. A matchup with SMU isn't likely to stem the tide of Evans' fantasy value, either.

Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State (at SDSU)

If you are still focused on Oregon State's opening loss to an FCS team, you may have missed the fact that they lead the nation in passing yards per game. Cooks has been the main focal point of the attack, catching 29 passes for 498 yards and seven touchdowns already. He isn't going to keep scoring at this rate, but a game against the Aztecs isn't likely to put too much of a damper on his torrid start.

PLAYERS TO SIT

Chuckie Keeton, QB, Utah State (at USC)

Keeton may not be a big name, but he had an excellent fantasy season last year, and he is off to a great start this season. Leading the Aggies in both passing and rushing, Keeton has already tallied 13 total touchdowns while only throwing one interception. However, this week he has to play at USC against an impressive defense. The Trojans probably can't completely shut down Keeton, but they can definitely limit his fantasy output.

David Fales, QB, San Jose State (at Minnesota)

Fales is off to a slow start, only throwing for 441 yards and three touchdowns so far. Admittedly, one of those games was against Stanford, but Fales did not have all that impressive of a game against Sacramento State, either. Maybe Fales' numbers last season were boosted by the presence of coach Mike McIntyre, who moved on to Colorado. Visiting Minnesota in an early game does not seem like the catalyst for a breakout game for Fales.

Rakeem Cato, QB, Marshall (at Virginia Tech)

Cato started the year with a big game against Miami (Ohio), but in his last two games he has only thrown one touchdown and one interception on each occasion. That includes a game against Gardner-Webb, too. This is a team that loves to air it out, and Cato's numbers should increase in future weeks, but a road trip to Virginia Tech is a tough test, and it could be another week of pedestrian numbers for Cato.

Marion Grice, RB, Arizona State (at Stanford)

Grice has already scored a whopping six touchdowns in two games, with four of those coming against Wisconsin, which is no slouch defensively. However, touchdowns can be tough to predict, and Grice has not rushed for more than 84 yards in a game yet. More important, this week Grice faces a daunting task going up against Stanford's defense. This probably won't be the first week that Grice hits the century mark on the ground, and it could be a rough outing in general.

George Atkinson, RB, Notre Dame (vs. Michigan State)

So far this year, the Fighting Irish have pretty much used a running back by committee, and Atkinson has actually been the least effective member of said committee. That alone is reason to not believe in him. A matchup against Michigan State's defense, even at home, just adds more justification for doubt. Atkinson's output should be rather limited.

Tre Mason, RB, Auburn (at LSU)

Mason got out to a decent enough start in Auburn's first couple games, but last week he was limited to 34 yards on 10 carries by Mississippi State. Auburn likes to run the ball, but it also likes to share the wealth, and Corey Grant has been just as involved, and more impactful, than Mason so far. However, none of that bears as much relevance to a visit to Death Valley. LSU's defense should shut down Auburn's offense, Mason included.

Quinshad Davis, WR, North Carolina (at Georgia Tech)

So far, the Tar Heels have really spread the ball around in two games. No receiver has more than seven receptions, and eight have at least four. Davis has six catches for 57 yards, and he also has two touchdowns. If North Carolina keeps up this socialist mindset, it puts a damper on Davis' potential. And a matchup against Georgia Tech on the road isn't great, especially of the Yellow Jackets run the ball well and eat up the clock.

Eric Thomas, WR, Troy (at Mississippi State)

Thomas already has five touchdowns, but three came against Savannah State in a game where he only had three catches. He has done well in his other two games, but a road trip to Arkansas State has been the toughest of the bunch. Mississippi State is a much tougher defense, and even the high-flying Troy passing game should be kept in check this week.

Je'Ron Hamm, WR, Louisiana-Monroe (at Baylor)

Look, we're all friends here, so let's have some real talk. This is not a good week for picking out name brand wide receivers to recommend sitting. The ones who are playing, by and large, have good matchups. Hamm does have to play on the road against Baylor, and while the Bears are known for their offense, their defense has been good so far as well. Hamm's numbers have been a little disappointing as well. With so many good matchups out there, you can probably find somebody to use instead of Hamm.

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