Start vs. Sit: Players to Start, Players to Bench for Rivalry Week

Start vs. Sit: Players to Start, Players to Bench for Rivalry Week

This article is part of our Start vs. Sit series.

Week 13 is here! It's known as Rivalry Week, or Thanksgiving Week, though the latter is less specific to college football. All I know is that it's always worth getting hyped over. Sure, the regular season is ending, but we know college football continues into the beginning of January. All will be well. For now, it's time to tackle the players to start, and to sit, for Rivalry Week.

AAC

START

Isaiah Bowser, RB, UCF at South Florida

Bowser has not rushed for more than 74 yards in a game, but he also has 13 rushing scores. He has a nose for the end zone, and is UCF's top back. South Florida has allowed 42.8 points per game, so the Golden Knights should rack up some touchdowns. If they do, Bowser is almost definitely going to be a part of that.

SIT

Michael Pratt, QB, Tulane at Cincinnati

This game will likely decide the AAC, and which of these teams gets in a New Year's Six bowl. Pratt totaled six touchdowns last week against SMU, one of the worst defenses in the FBS. Cincinnati, though, is one of the best. It ranks seventh in passing yards allowed per attempt, and also 16th in rushing yards allowed per carry.

ACC

START

Riley Leonard, QB, Duke vs. Wake Forest

Leonard has 16 passing touchdowns against five picks, though he has five passing scores over his last two games. More notably, he's rushed for 621 yards and 11 scores. Wake

Week 13 is here! It's known as Rivalry Week, or Thanksgiving Week, though the latter is less specific to college football. All I know is that it's always worth getting hyped over. Sure, the regular season is ending, but we know college football continues into the beginning of January. All will be well. For now, it's time to tackle the players to start, and to sit, for Rivalry Week.

AAC

START

Isaiah Bowser, RB, UCF at South Florida

Bowser has not rushed for more than 74 yards in a game, but he also has 13 rushing scores. He has a nose for the end zone, and is UCF's top back. South Florida has allowed 42.8 points per game, so the Golden Knights should rack up some touchdowns. If they do, Bowser is almost definitely going to be a part of that.

SIT

Michael Pratt, QB, Tulane at Cincinnati

This game will likely decide the AAC, and which of these teams gets in a New Year's Six bowl. Pratt totaled six touchdowns last week against SMU, one of the worst defenses in the FBS. Cincinnati, though, is one of the best. It ranks seventh in passing yards allowed per attempt, and also 16th in rushing yards allowed per carry.

ACC

START

Riley Leonard, QB, Duke vs. Wake Forest

Leonard has 16 passing touchdowns against five picks, though he has five passing scores over his last two games. More notably, he's rushed for 621 yards and 11 scores. Wake Forest has maybe the worst defense in the ACC, and it ranks 108th in passing yards allowed per attempt.

SIT

Elijah Green, RB, North Carolina vs. NC State

Green was hurt for most of the season, but he's been on fire since returning. At least, that's true in terms of scoring. He has seven touchdowns over his last five games, but he's only rushed for 291 yards in those games as well. NC State has only allowed 20.3 points per contest, though, and ranks 30th in rushing yards allowed per carry.

Big 12

START

Brennan Presley, WR, Oklahoma State vs. West Virginia

Last week, Presley had his first 100-yard game of the season. This is a chance to end the campaign on a high note. West Virginia ranks 120th in points allowed per game and 127th in passing yards allowed per attempt. With Spencer Sanders back, his top target Presley could put a nice capper on the regular season.

SIT

Max Duggan, QB, TCU vs. Iowa State

Duggan and TCU are playing for a 12-0 regular season, and the quarterback is in the Heisman mix. The Horned Frogs will probably win, because Iowa State is bad offensively. However, the Cyclones are quite good defensively. They've allowed a mere 17.1 points per game and are fifth in rushing yards allowed per attempt (Duggan has been known to scramble on occasion). Not only that, but Duggan's three top offensive weapons could all miss this game, and none of them will be full strength.

Big Ten

START

Aidan O'Connell, QB, Purdue at Indiana

O'Connell has taken a step back from last year, but he still has thrown for 2,834 yards with 20 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 10 games against a tough schedule, and he missed a chance to pad his stats against FAU due to injury. The Big Ten is the toughest defensive conference there is, but Indiana has allowed 35.5 points per game, so opportunity is here to be found.

SIT

C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State vs. Michigan

Stroud might win the Heisman, but this is a matchup to fear, especially if the weather is bad. Michigan ranks either first or second in points allowed per game, rushing yards allowed per attempt, and passing yards allowed per attempt. The Wolverines have arguably the best defense in the country. Stroud is talented, but he has shown he is not impervious to tough opposition, or to bad weather.

Conference USA

START

Jermaine Brown, RB, UAB at Louisiana Tech

The Blazers need to win for bowl eligibility. They are facing a Bulldogs team that has allowed 40.1 points per game and ranks 129th in rushing yards allowed per attempt. DeWayne McBride will run all over Louisiana Tech, but I think UAB is running the ball so much, and looking to breeze to victory so definitively, that Brown will get plenty of touches too. He's a secondary running back who has 120 carries for 713 yards and four touchdowns. Brown is better than your typical number-two back.

SIT

Lajohntay Wester, WR, Florida Atlantic vs. Western Kentucky

You look at Wester's overall numbers and see 655 yards and eight touchdowns through the air and probably feel encouraged. However, he doesn't have a single receiving score in his last five games. The Hilltoppers are known for their passing offense, but they also have perhaps the top defense in the conference this season. Western Kentucky ranks 34th in points allowed per game and 25th in passing yards given up per attempt.

MAC

START

Marquez Cooper, RB, Kent State at Buffalo

Not as much MACtion this week as per usual, which means more options later in the week for fantasy. Cooper and Kent State may not get a ton of attention, but he has 1,186 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. Running all over Buffalo is not difficult, assuming the weather allows the game to happen. The Bulls rank 124th in rushing yards allowed per carry.

SIT

Cam Wiley, RB, Akron at Northern Illinois

The last time Wiley took the field, he rushed for 144 yards and three touchdowns. However, the thing with the Huskies is that you can throw on them easily, but it's hard to run on them. Northern Illinois ranks 24th in rushing yards allowed per carry. Given that, even coming off a great game Wiley may be an afterthought. I expect Akron to be trying to work the passing game all day.

Mountain West

START

Chevan Cordeiro, QB, SJSU vs. Hawaii

Cordeiro gets to end the season against Hawaii, the team he played for his first three years in college. In his first season with the Spartans, Cordeiro has thrown 18 touchdowns against only three picks and have added eight rushing scores. Hawaii is on the road, meaning it doesn't get any of that home-field advantage, and it also ranks in the bottom-15 in points allowed per game, rushing yards allowed per carry, and passing yards allowed per attempt.

SIT

Brian Cobbs, WR, Utah State at Boise State

Speaking of transfers, Cobbs moved from Maryland to Utah State and has also looked good with his new program. He has 63 catches for 769 yards, but only four touchdowns. Boise State turned its season around on defense, though. The Broncos have only allowed 18.3 points per game, so the odds of Cobbs finding the end zone are even lower than usual.

Pac-12

START

Tavion Thomas, RB, Utah at Colorado

Thomas has stepped down from last season, sure, but he still has 687 yards and seven touchdowns through 10 games. This is a great chance to pad those stats, though. Colorado is last in points allowed per game and 128th in rushing yards allowed per carry. Thomas should be able to tear through the Buffaloes defense.

SIT

Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon at Oregon State

Franklin has been a big-play receiver, as he's tallied 789 yards and seven touchdowns on 48 catches. This year, though, Oregon's heated rivals have excelled thanks to stingy defense. The Beavers rank 15th in points allowed per game and 12th in passing yards allowed per attempt.

SEC

START

Cedric Tillman, WR, Tennessee at Vanderbilt

Yes, Tillman has struggled with injuries and seen his spot as the top receiver for the Vols usurped by Jaylin Hyatt. Yes, Hendon Hooker is sadly out for the rest of the season. Even so, I like Tillman in this matchup. Tillman is coming off a game where he had nine catches for 81 yards and two touchdowns, and the Commodores have allowed 34.5 points per game and rank 125th in passing yards allowed per attempt.

SIT

Tank Bigsby, RB, Auburn at Alabama

Bigsby, playing for another legendary Auburn running back, has carried the offense. He's rushed for 907 yards and 10 touchdowns. That being said, this trip to Tuscaloosa for the Iron Bowl does not bode well. Bama may not be going to the playoff this year, but it still ranks 13th in points allowed per game and seventh in rushing yards given up for carry.

Sun Belt

START

Frank Gore Jr., RB, Southern Miss at Louisiana-Monroe

The move to the Sun Belt has paid off for Gore, who is having his best season. The son of the legendary NFL running back has racked up 854 yards and six touchdowns on the ground, plus 195 yards through the air. Louisiana-Monroe has allowed 38.6 points per game and is in the bottom 20 against the run and the pass, so this is a chance for Gore to add to his best season with a favorable final matchup.

SIT

Blake Watson, RB, Old Dominion at South Alabama

Watson's move to the Sun Belt has worked out well too. He's only played in 10 games but has 806 yards and five touchdowns on the ground, plus 226 yards and a touchdown through the air. However, Watson has a much-scarier matchup than Gore does. South Alabama is sixth in rushing yards allowed per carry and 16th in passing yards allowed per attempt.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.
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