PLAYERS TO START
Bo Wallace, QB, Ole Miss (vs. Troy)
While Wallace hasn't run the ball like he did early in the year, and even then he wasn't exactly Johnny Manziel, he has thrown the ball well recently. Last week, he threw for 405 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Now he is playing against a Troy team that plays in a lot of barnburners against Sun Belt teams. Ole Miss has a better offense than those teams, and Wallace should throw all over Troy.
Garrett Gilbert, QB, SMU (vs. Connecticut)
SMU is flying under the radar, but the Mustangs actually have the fifth most prolific passing offense in FBS this season. Indeed, Gilbert has thrown for 3,037 yards, 17 touchdowns and six interceptions. However, he also leads the team in rushing with 238 yards and six touchdowns. Gilbert is the SMU offense, and he has a great matchup against UConn. If SMU's offense doesn't sputter, and that seems unlikely, Gilbert should have a fantastic day.
Shane Carden, QB, East Carolina (vs. UAB)
Carden has been on fire recently. He's thrown for 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions in his last three games, and he's rushed for three scores just for a little extra spice. Granted, those were all easy matchups, but guess what? UAB allowes more than 40 points per game. Looks like Carden has another enticing opponent. Expect big numbers from him.
Jay Ajayi, RB, Boise State (vs. Wyoming)
Boise State is having a down year, but sophomore Ajayi has emerged nevertheless. He's rushed 171 times for 1,008 yards - that's 5.9 yards per carry - and he's rushed for 12 touchdowns, as well. Admittedly, he hasn't scored in two weeks, but he scored in the six games before that. Against Wyoming's defense, it would not be surprising to see Ajayi found the end zone again.
Bill Belton, RB, Penn State (vs. Purdue)
It's hard to predict who will lead the way on the ground for Penn State between Belton and Zach Zwinak. Two weeks ago, Zwinak had fumbling issues, so Belton rushed 36 times for 201 yards and a touchdown. Last week, Belton had the fumbles, so he was limited to seven carries, albeit for 71 yards, and he had two receptions for 41 yards, too. Against Purdue, it wouldn't be surprising to see them both succeed. Belton is the more dynamic rusher, so the edge goes to him in this case.
Marion Grice, RB, Arizona State (vs. Oregon State)
Grice only has 783 rushing yards in nine games this season, but he has scored 12 touchdowns. Plus, he's added 353 yards and six touchdowns receiving, and he is a true dual threat. He hasn't scored a touchdown in consecutive games, but that could change. A home game versus Oregon State is a nice matchup, which should make for a good, perhaps great, fantasy day.
Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado (vs. California)
Richardson started the season with back-to-back games with double-digit catches, more than 200 yards receiving and two touchdowns. He's not kept up that torrid pace, but he has still been very good, scoring in his last four games. This week Colorado faces California in the battle of Pac-12 teams with porous defenses. There should be a ton of points in this game, and Richardson will be a big part of it.
Rashad Greene, WR, Florida State (vs. Syracuse)
While Florida State's backfield is a multi-headed beast, Greene is the clear top option in the passing game. He has 820 yards and eight touchdowns this season. Against Syracuse, it's possible Greene sees the bench early as Florida State rolls over another opponent, letting the backups play early. But even if his playing time suffers, Greene likely will have already taken advantage of the blowout production.
Chandler Jones, WR, SJSU (at Nevada)
Jones is coming off a game in which he had 11 catches for 155 yards and a touchdown, and that's not even his best game of the season. The only team to keep Jones in check was Stanford, and Nevada's defense isn't anywhere close to being as good as the Cardinal. The Spartans should throw with ease, and Jones will be the primary option.
PLAYERS TO SIT
Keith Price, QB, Washington (at UCLA)
Price's last two games have been nice, as he has thrown for more than 300 yards and two touchdowns with zero interceptions, and he's rushed for three scores as well. However, those were home games against Cal and Colorado. This is a road game against UCLA, a much more difficult proposition. Plus, Price isn't really a running threat, so those three scores are a bit of a fluke. This week should be a little less positive for Price.
Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia (at Auburn)
The injuries to Murray's weapons seem to have delivered a real blow to his fantasy value. He has had three, and arguably four, less than stellar games in a row, even though last week the Bulldogs played Appalachian State. Auburn's defense isn't extremely tough, but this is a more difficult matchup than most potential fantasy starting quarterbacks have this week. There are better options out there.
Brendon Kay, QB, Cincinnati (at Rutgers)
Kay has 16 passing touchdowns to seven interceptions, even though he wasn't the starter when the season began. That said, most of his touchdowns have come against teams like Connecticut, Temple and Northwestern State. He didn't even have a good game against Miami of Ohio. Rutgers' defense hasn't been great, but it is better than any defense Kay has faced so far. A slightly more arduous test could limit Kay's fantasy value to a notable degree.
Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska (vs. Michigan State)
Abdullah has been a workhorse this season. He averages more than 20 carries per game, and he has only rushed for less than 100 yards once, when he had 98 yards against UCLA. However, this week Nebraska is facing Michigan State. The Spartans have arguably the best defense in the country. Abdullah will get his touches, but odds are he won't be able to do much with them. Expect his second game with less than 100 yards rushing.
Tyler Gaffney, RB, Stanford (at USC)
Last week, Gaffney was, more or less, the entire Stanford offense against Oregon. He rushed a whopping 45 times for 157 yards and a touchdown. He can't do that every week, however, and the offense likely will be more balanced against USC on the road. The Trojans defense has, their loss against Arizona State aside, been good on defense. Expect a step back from Gaffney.
Javorious Allen, RB, USC (vs. Stanford)
Now, on to the flipside of that USC-Stanford game. Stanford's defense is definitely stout, and it is difficult to run against it. Allen has emerged the last two weeks, with three touchdowns and nearly 200 yards in each game. Those games weren't against opponents as strong as the Cardinal. Allen's breakout will be put on hold this week.
Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana (at Wisconsin)
Latimer had 11 catches for 189 yards and three touchdowns last week, but that was against Illinois at home. He's had good games against good defenses, but he has been kept in check, to a degree, by some of those teams, such as Michigan State. Wisconsin has a good defense and is fifth in points against. The Badgers also like to run the ball and should do so with ease against the Hoosiers. That could mean less time for Indiana to have the ball, which would mean less opportunities for Latimer.
Allen Hurns, WR, Miami (FL) (at Duke)
Hurns has had two good games the last two weeks against good defenses. However, he has also had some games where he has done next to nothing, and on the season he only has 37 catches for 732 yards and five scores. Stephen Morris has struggled at times, and Duke's defense has had some good games. If Hurns came crashing back to Earth this week, it wouldn't be a surprise.
Deontay Greenberry, WR, Houston (at Louisville)
Houston's passing game is potent, and Greenberry has 70 receptions for 1,042 yards and nine touchdowns on the season. However, this week the Cougars are on the road against a Louisville team that needs to win to have a chance to take the AAC and go to a BCS bowl. Additionally, the Cardinals are No. 1 in FBS in points allowed. That feels like a formula that would result in Greenberry perhaps having his worst game of the season.