PLAYERS TO START
Keith Wenning, QB, Ball State (vs. Toledo)
Ball State is pretty far off the radar in the world of college football, so it might surprise some that Wenning is second in the nation in passing yards with 1,315 in four games. He's thrown in nine touchdowns to two interceptions as well. Toledo isn't an easy opponent, but it is not tough enough to worry about Wenning's production, especially since Ball State is at home.
Sean Mannion, QB, Oregon State (vs. Colorado)
Last year, Mannion and Cody Vaz shared the job for the Beavers under center. This year, it has been all Mannion, and he has certainly rewarded Oregon State for its faith in him. In addition to leading the FBS in passing yards with 1,604, he has thrown a whopping 15 touchdowns to a mere one interception. Now he gets to go up against Colorado, an improving team that has a long way to go. Expect another big game from Mannion.
Kolton Browning, QB, Louisiana-Monroe (vs. Tulane)
Browning is off to a slow start this year. He's thrown for 833 yards and rushed for 90, but he only has seven touchdowns to go with six interceptions. However, it has been a tough schedule so far. The Warhawks have visited Oklahoma and Baylor already, and three of their four games have been on the road. Now they get to play host to Tulane, some easier competition. Expect Browning to bounce back against the Green Wave.
Byron Marshall, RB, Oregon (at California)
The Oregon offense has been so potent to start the year they have been regularly blowing teams out and getting their backups into games. A Cal defense that has given up a bunch of points seems unlikely to finally put the brakes on the Ducks. Marshall may be the third running option for Oregon, behind De'Anthony Thomas and Marcus Mariota, but he's rushed for 196 yards and two touchdowns in 29 carries and has 44 yards receiving as well. He should get his chance against California to add to those numbers.
Alex Collins, RB, Arkansas (vs. Texas A&M)
Collins has been quite impressive as a freshman, rushing for 481 yards on 86 carries through four games. He only has two touchdowns, but if he keeps running like this that number should improve, especially in a Bret Bielema offense. Collins will definitely have the opportunity to score this week against Texas A&M, a team with a great offense but a shaky defense. This game should be a shootout, and Collins will be a big part of it.
Kasey Carrier, RB, New Mexico (vs. UNLV)
Carrier's season has played out like this so far: 20 rushes for 54 yard against UTSA, 41 rushes for 291 yards and four touchdowns against UTEP and seven rushes for 22 yards against Pittsburgh. One of those games kind of sticks out, doesn't it? Carrier's performance has been a bit uneven, to say the least, but if he is going to have another good game, this week seems like a good bet. UNLV is worse than any of the teams New Mexico has already played. Could be time for another huge outing for Carrier.
Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri (vs. Arkansas State)
Green-Beckham was a vaunted freshman last year, but his performance on the field left most folks wanting. Well, he is showing that promise this year, as in three games he has 17 catches for 239 yards and two touchdowns, and he is coming off his best game, an eight-catch, 105-yard, one-touchdown effort on the road against Indiana. This week, DGB faces an Arkansas State team that is 81st in the nation in points allowed, and who just gave up 31 points to Memphis. Expect Green-Beckham's resurgent sophomore year to continue.
Chandler Jones, WR, SJSU (vs. Utah State)
Noel Grigsby was the generally preferred Spartans receiver heading into the season, but it is Jones who has had the best year of the bunch thus far. Jones already has 20 receptions for 370 yards, and he found the end zone four times as well. Utah State isn't a cakewalk of an opponent, but it also is not fearsome enough to worry about Jones' fantasy output.
Dominic Rufran, WR, Wyoming (at Texas State)
Wyoming may fly under the radar - being situated in the nation's least populous state can do that - but its offense, particularly the passing game, is pretty potent. Rufran has been the top target so far, already catching 33 passes for 385 yards and six touchdowns. Rufran has scored in his last three games, and in the one game he didn't score he put up 11 catches and 120 yards on the road against Nebraska. The Cowboys are on the road again this week, but Texas State is nothing to worry about. Rufran's hot start should continue.
PLAYERS TO SIT
Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State (vs. Wisconsin)
After missing a significant chunk of the season to injury, Miller has been cleared to return to face the Badgers. Miller's talent is undeniable, but his health is a question. Plus, if he struggles, the Buckeyes likely won't be afraid to turn to Kenny Guiton, considering how well Guiton has played with Miller out. Combine all this with the fact Wisconsin is a pretty stout opponent, and this may not be the week to return Miller to your lineup.
Shane Carden, QB, East Carolina (at North Carolina)
Carden started the season well, but when he finally faced some real competition in Virginia Tech, he was held to 158 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. It doesn't get much easier with a matchup against North Carolina. Having to visit the Tar Heels could limit Carden again, leaving him waiting for East Carolina's conference schedule to begin.
Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia (vs. LSU)
Georgia has a top-10 passing offense, and Murray has totaled nine touchdowns, two rushing. He's completed 72 percent of his passes for 1,040 yards and has only thrown two interceptions. Murray was also quite good against South Carolina, which is a tough defense. However, LSU's defense figures to be a formidable test, perhaps the toughest so far. Murray may have performed admirably against the Gamecocks, but that doesn't mean he will do the same against the Tigers.
Brandan Bigelow, RB, Cal (at Oregon)
Cal's offense has been good, but it has all been throwing, as the Bears are second in the nation passing compared to 97th rushing. Part of that is probably because they have been behind a lot, but that isn't likely to change against Oregon. The fact Bigelow has zero receptions so far doesn't help his value. It seems he may be a forgotten man in Sonny Dykes' new offense.
Jordan Parker, RB, MTSU (at BYU)
Parker is running well to start the year, as he is 11th in the nation in rushing yards with 435, and his 86 carries shows that he is a big part of the Blue Raiders offense. He's also scored a touchdown in each of his four games, and he ran well against North Carolina. That said, playing at BYU is a tougher matchup than a lot of running backs have this week, and Parker's steady production thus far may be derailed.
Marcus Shaw, RB, South Florida (vs. Miami)
South Florida is having a miserable season, but Shaw has been something approaching a bright spot. He's run for 398 yards on 57 carries and has 47 yards receiving as well. The issue is Shaw only has one touchdown, which came in a loss to McNeese State, and it is one of only four touchdowns the offense has scored all season. Shaw ran well against Michigan State, but it wasn't that good of a fantasy game, and the Hurricanes know they can focus on Shaw and the Bulls offense will completely fall apart.
Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss (at Alabama)
There is some reason for reticence here, considering that Mike Evans had such a huge game against Alabama's defense a couple weeks ago. However, Ole Miss isn't Texas A&M, and Moncrief, while good, isn't Evans. Additionally, this is still a talented Alabama defense, one that still seems capable of shutting an offense down. The Crimson Tide should be able to keep Moncrief in check for this game.
Marqise Lee, WR, USC (at Arizona State)
Lee's talent level hasn't dropped, but the talent around him certainly has. The Trojans seem to be getting their offense in gear a bit, but Lee still hasn't had 100 yards receiving since Week 1, and he has only one touchdown so far. A road trip to Arizona State isn't likely to be a turning point for USC's passing game, so it could be another week of disappointment from one of the most skilled receivers in college football.
Dawan Scott, WR, Miami (OH) (at Illinois)
The RedHawks are, arguably, the worst offense in college football. They've scored two touchdowns. Scott has been their top weapon, but even so, he only has five receptions for 91 yards and nine rushes for 58 yards. Those are not good numbers over the course of three games for a fantasy player. Illinois isn't all that impressive on defense necessarily, but it is no worth than the teams Scott has faced so far.