Start vs. Sit: Who to Play, Who to Bench Week 12

Start vs. Sit: Who to Play, Who to Bench Week 12

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

PLAYERS TO START

Nick Mullens, QB, Southern Mississippi (vs. Old Dominion)
Mullens has been good all season, but he's been on a tear recently, as he has 14 touchdowns in his last three games with zero interceptions. Overall, he has 3,276 passing yards, 30 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. Old Dominion, meanwhile, provides little to no resistance defensively, so don't expect Mullens to slow down, at least not this week.

Nick Arbuckle, QB, Georgia State (vs. South Alabama)
Arbuckle has at least 313 yards passing in seven of his nine games, and last week he had 471 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. Both GSU and South Alabama give up over 400 yards and 33 points per game, with the Jaguars giving up 37.1. It should be a high-scoring game, and that's going to benefit Arbuckle.

Sean Maguire, QB, Florida State (vs. Chattanooga)
Florida State has decided to go with Maguire over Everett Golson, and that makes sense when you look at their respective performances. Maguire will have the opportunity to ease into his role with this matchup against FCS foe Chattanooga. The Seminoles can name their score, and even with Dalvin Cook likely to tear it up, Maguire should have a good game as well.

Marlon Mack, RB, South Florida (vs. Cincinnati)
Mack just led the Bulls to an upset of Temple with 230 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, plus a receiving score. It's far from his first good game of the season, as he has five other 100-yard games and has scored seven touchdowns overall. Cincinnati gives up plenty of yards on the ground, so Mack should be able to build on last week.

Peyton Barber, RB, Auburn (vs. Idaho)
Barber has 12 touchdowns, although 11 of them came in a three-game stretch earlier this year. However, this week he gets a break from his SEC schedule to go up against Idaho. There's a good chance he'll return to the end zone, but even if he doesn't, his yardage totals against the Vandals should more than make up for it.

Mike Warren, RB, Iowa State (at Kansas State)
Warren has given Iowa State a ground game for the first time in several years. Although it took a couple of games before he really took over, he has over 1,000 yards on 5.8 yards per carry. Kansas State's defense is bad all over, and they are giving up over 150 yards per game on the ground. Warren's promising freshman season should get only better.

Richie James, WR, Middle Tennessee State (vs. North Texas)
Warren has had a good freshman season. James has had an amazing freshman season. He has 82 catches for 1,037 yards and six touchdowns in 10 games, and hasn't had fewer than six catches in any game. Meanwhile, North Texas is terrible. James could be in for another great outing, especially in PPR leagues.

Pharoh Cooper, WR, South Carolina (vs. The Citadel)
It's been a rough season for the Gamecocks, and for their passing game, and that's held Cooper back a bit. However, he does have six touchdowns overall, including in his last two games, and he's managed four 100-yard receiving games as well. Plus, he can run the ball a bit, too. Regardless, the most important thing here is that this is a matchup with an FCS team. Cooper will get the ball, and he'll do something good with it.

Isaiah Jones, WR, East Carolina (at Central Florida)
Jones is coming off a bad game in which he only had two catches for eight yards against South Florida. Even with that game, though, he has 72 catches for 794 yards. He's had bad games, but he's had good ones too, such as when he had 14 catches for 135 yards and a score against Florida. This is a matchup with winless, woeful UCF. It seems more likely than not this will be on the good side of things for Jones, and those odds are worth playing.

PLAYERS TO SIT

If there is one lesson this season has tried to impart on us, it seems, it's that when a top-level offensive player goes up against a top-level defense, the offensive player comes out ahead. Unless the game is against Alabama, and this week the Crimson Tide play Charleston Southern. Chalk it up to fast-paced, spread offenses or whatever you want, but it seems like the real trick here is not picking which players will have poor games, but which players will put up numbers less good than everybody else's good numbers. Nevertheless, we soldier on!

Joshua Dobbs, QB, Tennessee (at Missouri)
In an exceedingly inexplicable turn of events, Dobbs only had 136 passing yards and an interception against North Texas, who, as previously mentioned, are terrible. Just a bad day? Perhaps, but it is concerning, especially with a matchup against Missouri's defense on the docket. The Tigers allow fewer than 15 points and 300 total yards per game on defense. This does not seem like Dobbs' week to turn it around.

Trevone Boykin, QB, Texas Christian (at Oklahoma)
Boykin is questionable with an ankle injury, which means he may not play, making sitting him an obvious point. However, if he does play, he will be limited, especially with Josh Doctson also dealing with an injury. It's been a tough stretch for Boykin, and the Sooners have one of the better Big 12 defenses, as they only allow 186.4 passing yards per game. A healthy Boykin would have to work hard against Oklahoma to have a good game. A banged-up Boykin may have a long day ahead of him.

Jared Goff, QB, Cal (at Stanford)
Goff bounced back in a major way last week with 453 yards and six touchdowns against one interception. That was against Oregon State, though, the worst team in the Pac-12. He has at least one pick in all but two games, and 13 interceptions overall. Stanford's defense isn't quite as stout as it's been in past seasons, but they are still good defensively, and they only give up 214.1 yards per game through the air. He likely won't throw five picks again, but he's not going to get near six touchdowns either.

Matt Breida, RB, Georgia Southern (at Georgia)
Georgia Southern has the most rushing yards per game in the FBS. That's not just because they run the ball more than anybody, it's that they play in the Sun Belt. Breida has gone up against one Power 5 conference team, West Virginia, and he rushed for 70 yards on 17 carries. Now, he has to play on the road against the Georgia Bulldogs. Similar numbers would not be surprising.

Leonard Fournette, RB, Louisiana State (at Mississippi)
It feels a little odd, perhaps overzealous, to put Fournette in the "prove it" category after two off games. This isn't really about Fournette, though. Eventually, teams with enough talent were going to be able to slow down Fournette by focusing on him and making the rest of the Tigers beat them. They haven't, so Fournette's numbers have dropped off. Ole Miss is not as good defensively as in recent years, but they still have plenty of talent, and it's been a few weeks since Fournette was the guy who was tearing through defenses en route to a Heisman that is no longer headed to his mantle.

Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA (at Utah)
Perkins' numbers have dropped a bit after starting the season strong. He's still been good, but he's been under 100 yards in two of his last four games, and he was without a touchdown in two of those four games as well. Utah's defense isn't so great against the pass, but they're much better against the run. Perkins has been good, but not great, against his recent stretch of mediocre opposition, and a step up in competition won't help him.

Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M (at Vanderbilt)
Kirk had a huge game last week, but it was against Western Carolina. Before that, he had a five-game stretch with zero touchdowns and zero 100-yard games. The hot start to the season came to an end, and the freshman seemed to hit a bit of a wall, alongside Texas A&M's offense as a whole. Vanderbilt, like most SEC teams, is at least feisty and competitive on defense, so Kirk seems like a good bet to get back below triple-digit yardage again.

Laquon Treadwell, WR, Mississippi (vs. Louisiana State)
Treadwell is having a fantastic year, and he has a five-game streak with over 100 yards and a touchdown. However, two teams, Alabama and Florida, held him under 100 yards. So did Fresno State, for that matter, although that was a while ago and seems more like a fluke than anything else. LSU, though, has defensive talent along the lines of an Alabama or Florida, and could finally be the team to break one, or both, of Treadwell's streaks.

Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State (vs. Michigan State)
Thomas has a four-game touchdown streak, but he only has one game with over 100 yards in that span, and he's been under 40 yards twice in that time. In fact, he's only been over 100 yards twice all season, but he does have eight touchdowns. Thomas didn't score against Hawai'i or Maryland however, and those aren't exactly tough defenses. Michigan State's defense is more formidable, and even if he scores again, it would seem likely he'll finish under 100 yards once again.

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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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