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Start vs. Sit: Who to Play, Who to Bench Week 8

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

Shane Carden, QB, East Carolina (vs. Southern Miss)

Since throwing five touchdowns in the season opener against Old Dominion, Carden's numbers aren't actually all that great. He only has 13 touchdowns and five interceptions total in six games, after all. On the other hand, Carden has thrown for at least 365 yards in his last three games, and he had 480 yards passing last week against Tulane. This week's matchup with Southern Miss, which is improved but still not good, is a chance for Carden to have another big yardage day, and perhaps he throws a few touchdowns as well.

Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State (vs. UNLV)

Carr is surpassing his brother David's numbers at Fresno State as he tries to lead the Bulldogs to an undefeated season. They are one of the nation's best passing, and scoring, teams, and Carr has thrown for 1,864 yards, 19 touchdowns and four interceptions. UNLV isn't likely to be the team to put a stop to Fresno State's torrid pace. Expect some gaudy numbers.

J.W. Walsh, QB, Oklahoma State (vs. TCU)

Some forgot about the Cowboys after their loss to West Virginia, but that isn't the fault of Walsh. In addition to having thrown for 1,209 yards, nine touchdowns and three interceptions, he also leads the team in rushing with 265 yards and three scores. Keep in mind that he was not the definitive starter when the season began, either. TCU's defense is good, but probably not good enough to keep Walsh in check on the road.

Branden Oliver, RB, Buffalo (vs. Massachusetts)

Oliver has picked up his play the last three weeks, which is perhaps not a coincidence considering the opposition has gotten much easier after Buffalo played its first two games at Ohio State and Baylor. Now, he gets his easiest matchup yet, facing a Massachusetts teams that is still trying to get its footing after making the move to FBS. He could easily have a similar game to the one he had against Eastern Michigan in which he ran for 150 yards and two touchdowns.

Kevin Parks, RB, Virginia (at Duke)

Parks is pretty much the lone bright spot on Virginia's offense. He's rushed 116 times for 510 yards and six touchdowns, and he also has 19 receptions for 182 yards. The Cavaliers' struggles passing the ball haven't slowed him, and Duke is a matchup with some nice potential. The Blue Devils have been inconsistent on defense, and this could easily end up being a high-scoring game, with Parks likely leading Virginia's offense if that is the case.

Terry Baggett, RB, Army (at Temple)

Baggett is the top rusher on the top rushing offense in college football. Granted, he owes a lot of that to his stellar 304-yard, four-touchdown performance last week against Eastern Michigan. No, he isn't going to do that again, and this may feel like buying in too late. However, he will get his carries, and he gets to run against Temple, which only gives slightly more of a challenge than Eastern Michigan. Don't expect a huge game, but it could still be a very good day for Baggett.

Chris Harper, WR, Cal (vs. Oregon State)

Harper has been held in check twice this season, including last week, but both those two games were road contests against Oregon and UCLA. Other than that, he has been a key cog in one of the more prolific passing offenses in collegiate football. This week, Harper and Cal are at home against Oregon State, a team that let up 49 points to Eastern Washington and that is 94th in points allowed. This should be a shootout with a ton of passing, and Harper will be a large part of that.

Devin Street, WR, Pitt (vs. Old Dominion)

Pittsburgh's offense has struggled the last couple games on the whole, but Street hasn't. Even last week when the Panthers were held to nine points he had five catches for 104 yards. Furthermore, there is no reason to expect Pittsburgh to struggle this week at home against Old Dominion, a team in the process of transitioning to FBS, and a team that has played in a lot of high-scoring games. This gives Street the chance to not just rack up some yards, but also to find the end zone, perhaps more than once.

Bralon Addison, WR, Oregon (vs. Washington State)

Addison has had two huge games in a row, having scoring two touchdowns in both games while averaging 157.5 yards in those contests. Nobody has stopped Oregon's offense yet, not even Washington in Seattle. Now the Ducks get to face the weaker team from the Evergreen State, which should mean another huge day for Oregon's offense. If Addison continues to be as involved in the offense, it should be another impressive performance.

PLAYERS TO SIT

Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA (at Stanford)

This game between UCLA and Stanford doesn't quite have the same cache it did before Stanford lost to Utah, but that doesn't mean you should overlook the Cardinal defense. It is are at home, and they pretty much need a win at this point. Hundley is having a very good season, but he only has one game with more than 300 yards passing this season, and that was last week against Cal's porous defense. This is Hundley's toughest test thus far, and so it would not be surprising to see Hundley's numbers take a bit of a dip.

Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State (at Clemson)

Winston's freshman performance has surpassed all reasonable expectations, as no team has been able to slow him, or the Florida State offense. However, this week presents a very different situation. This is a huge game on the road against Clemson. The Tigers are known for their offense, but their defense has improved this year, and Vic Beasley is an excellent pass rusher. This is not to say Winston is going to wilt under the pressure, but perhaps a road game against one of the top five teams in the nation may result in Winston having a decent, instead of great, game, which means there are probably better fantasy options available.

Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia (at Vanderbilt)

Credit must be given to Murray for continuing to play well despite seemingly every skill position player around him being injured. Even last week in Georgia's loss to Missouri, he threw for 290 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. However, he hasn't thrown for more than 300 yards in three games, and that isn't likely to change with all the receivers he has out. Plus, with Todd Gurley possibly returning, perhaps the Bulldogs decide to run the ball more, which would also limit Murray's value. Murray's skills haven't changed, but his situation, and a road game against a conference opponent, make him a less palatable fantasy option.

Alex Collins, RB, Arkansas, (at Alabama)

Arkansas' offense has taken a dive the last two weeks, as it has scored a combined 17 points in those games. Collins has seen his numbers dip as well, as he has not run for more than 69 yards in those two contests, and he only has one touchdown in those games. It isn't likely that the Razorbacks, or Collins, will find their footing on the road against Alabama this week.

Henry Josey, RB, Missouri (vs. Florida)

Josey has generated quite a bit of value with somewhat limited touches, as he has seven touchdowns on the season in 65 carries. However, now that quarterback James Franklin is out, defenses won't have to worry as much about Missouri's passing game, which means they can focus on stopping Josey and the Tigers' running game. The fact that the defense Missouri faces this week is Florida's formidable unit just solidifies this notion, and Josey should be in for a long day.

George Atkinson III, RB, Notre Dame (vs. USC)

Atkinson started the season slowly, but he's been getting more carries the last two weeks, and he finally had a big game when Notre Dame faced Oklahoma. On the other hand, he still only has two touchdowns, and the Fighting Irish running game has struggled most of the year. USC's defense has been strong most of the year, so this could be a return to his poor early season form for Atkinson.

Gabe Marks, WR, Washington State (at Oregon)

Marks has emerged as the main target in Mike Leach's offense, as he has 46 receptions for 512 yards and four touchdowns through seven games. That said, a lot of that production came against Southern Utah and Idaho, though he also played well against Stanford. The Cougars likely will need to throw the ball a lot in this game, but the Ducks should be able to keep Marks' fantasy numbers down.

Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford (vs. UCLA)

Montgomery wasn't responsible for Stanford's upset loss to Utah, as he had eight catches for 131 yards, not to mention the fact he had yet another return touchdown. He has five receiving touchdowns to go with those scores, and he is always a big-play threat. However, UCLA has been quite good on defense, even keeping some high scoring offense in check, and Stanford, while good, isn't a dynamic offense, particularly passing the ball. It would be a bit risky to rely on Montgomery making another big play for your fantasy team.

Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State (vs. Washington)

Last week, Strong only needed three catches to have his fifth consecutive game with more than 100 yards receiving and his fourth touchdown. Of course, that came against Colorado, and Washington is a much tougher defense. The Huskies actually held up admirably against Oregon's juggernaut offense, and while Arizona State has an excellent passing game, it is not as imposing as the Ducks. This may be Strong's first game with less than 100 yards since the season opener.

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