Start vs. Sit: Who to Play, Who to Bench Week 6

Start vs. Sit: Who to Play, Who to Bench Week 6

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

We're into October and finally hitting conference play full force as we delve into our Week 6 start/sit plays. We were spoiled by a Week 5 slate that featured five matchups between ranked opponents, highlighted by a thrilling finish in Happy Valley (depending on how you view those teams).

Moving into this week, there aren't as many marquee matchups, but there is a showdown at the Cotton Bowl that will swing the fate of the Big 12. Of course, I'm talking about the Red River Rivalry between No. 7 Oklahoma against the 19th-ranked Texas Longhorns. Beyond that there are plenty of other matchups where early surprise teams like Kentucky, Colorado and Florida can prove their hot starts aren't flukes. Without further adieu, let's jump into the main course of this week's Start/Sit picks.

PLAYERS TO START

AAC

Brady White, QB, Memphis (vs. Connecticut)

I'm still trying to process what happened to Memphis in New Orleans last week, but the Tigers are undoubtedly onto their next opponent looking to make amends for their second shocking conference loss. White was chief among the disappointments against Tulane, completing 14 of 30 passes for 246 yards. A home game against Connecticut (129th in defensive S&P+) will cure what ails White and the Memphis offense.

ACC

Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson (at Wake Forest)

This hinges on health after Lawrence left last week's game with a neck strain, but if he's good to go Saturday, he deserves a start in most formats. Admittedly, Lawrence

We're into October and finally hitting conference play full force as we delve into our Week 6 start/sit plays. We were spoiled by a Week 5 slate that featured five matchups between ranked opponents, highlighted by a thrilling finish in Happy Valley (depending on how you view those teams).

Moving into this week, there aren't as many marquee matchups, but there is a showdown at the Cotton Bowl that will swing the fate of the Big 12. Of course, I'm talking about the Red River Rivalry between No. 7 Oklahoma against the 19th-ranked Texas Longhorns. Beyond that there are plenty of other matchups where early surprise teams like Kentucky, Colorado and Florida can prove their hot starts aren't flukes. Without further adieu, let's jump into the main course of this week's Start/Sit picks.

PLAYERS TO START

AAC

Brady White, QB, Memphis (vs. Connecticut)

I'm still trying to process what happened to Memphis in New Orleans last week, but the Tigers are undoubtedly onto their next opponent looking to make amends for their second shocking conference loss. White was chief among the disappointments against Tulane, completing 14 of 30 passes for 246 yards. A home game against Connecticut (129th in defensive S&P+) will cure what ails White and the Memphis offense.

ACC

Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson (at Wake Forest)

This hinges on health after Lawrence left last week's game with a neck strain, but if he's good to go Saturday, he deserves a start in most formats. Admittedly, Lawrence looked like a freshman before getting hurt against Syracuse, losing a fumble and throwing for just 93 yards on 15 attempts. I'm doubling down on Lawrence, though. He was producing at an incredible clip in his first four games, completing 65 percent of his passes with a 10.0 YPA, nine touchdowns and two picks. Look for Lawrence to get back on the right track against a Wake Forest defense that has given up 14 passing touchdowns in five games, the fifth most in the nation among teams that have played five games.

BIG 12

Jalen Hurd, WR, Baylor (vs. Kansas State)

Kansas State looks like it might be the new leader in the clubhouse for worst team in the Big 12. Meanwhile, Hurd is establishing himself as one of the Big 12's most dangerous offensive weapons. He owns a team-high 24 percent of the target share and has seen double-digit targets in three of his last four games. Hurd, a former running back at Tennessee, also got some backfield work against Oklahoma and reached the end zone. He'll be a featured part of the Baylor offense in an extremely soft home matchup this week, making him an excellent WR2 option.

BIG TEN

Karan Higdon, RB, Michigan (vs. Maryland)

This isn't as obvious a call as you might think at first glance. Higdon and the Wolverines are coming from a grind-it-out matchup against Northwestern where he took on a season-high 30 carries. He's also facing a Maryland defense that not only allows just 2.67 YPC, but is also fresh off a bye. Maryland will be ready for a heavy dose of Higdon. Still, I'm betting on talent to win out. Higdon should push for 20-plus carries, and while he won't average the 11.3 YPC he did against Nebraska, he'll wear out the Terrapin defense in his own right and post top-25 RB production.

CONFERENCE USA

Jonathan Duhart, WR, Old Dominion
Duhart is fifth in the nation in targets with 61 through five weeks. Not only is he getting a ton of opportunity, he's doing a lot with those looks. Duhart averages 9.93 YPT, which ranks second among receivers with at least 60 targets. He's essentially matchup-proof to begin with, but a matchup against a Florida Atlantic defense that allows the ninth-highest passer rating in the nation makes this situation too good to pass up if you have Duhart.
MAC

K.J. Osborn, WR, Buffalo (at Central Michigan)

It's easy to say that Osborn is only good because Anthony Johnson (hamstring) is dinged up. It's also just not true. Osborn averages eight targets per game and racks up 10.25 YPT. He also has touchdown upside, turning six of his 23 receptions into touchdowns. Regardless of Anthony Johnson's status this weekend, Osborn will be featured and is dangerous every time Tyree Jackson looks his direction. Central Michigan's strength is in its pass defense (149.0 YPG), but it's still no match for Osborn.

MOUNTAIN WEST

Sean Modster, WR, Boise State (vs. San Diego State)

The Aztecs have arguably the toughest defense in the conference, but they have a weak spot that Boise State is positioned to exploit in a big way. San Diego State ranks second in the nation in rushing yards allowed per game (64.5). Against the pass? – 110th, allowing 272 passing yards per game. Modster, meanwhile, is proving to be a target monster for the Broncos with a 24 percent target share. He saw 14 targets last weekend, and though he was held to a mere seven grabs for 88 yards, it's worth noting that it came against a tough Wyoming defense on the road. Quarterback Brett Rypien is dialed in and will look Modster's way early and often against a soft Aztec secondary.

PAC-12

Aaron Fuller, WR, Washington (at UCLA)

Sorry to keep picking on UCLA, but I can't help it. The Bruins have brought it on themselves. Even if the Bruins had a shred of respectability, I'd still love Fuller in this spot. Fuller is a true No. 1 target, drawing 32 percent of Washington's targets through five weeks. Not only is Fuller a heavily featured option, he's making the most of it. He averages 10.53 YPT and has gotten at least nine targets in four of five games. Even if the target volume is scaled back in a blowout situation this week, Fuller is still locked into a huge role and should produce with his opportunities against the Bruins.

SEC

Benny Snell, RB, Kentucky (at Texas A&M)

Kentucky draws a tough matchup in one of college football's loudest environments this weekend with a trip to College Station. The undefeated Wildcats are actually underdogs, too, but that shouldn't dissuade you off using Snell. The junior running back is fourth in fantasy points per game (24.2) among running backs who have played at least four games. Snell also has a bankable workload at 23.0 carries per game, so he'll be the centerpiece of the offense regardless of situation. The Aggies and their sixth-ranked run defense (85.0 YPG) are still no match for what Snell is doing on the ground. Snell Yeah!

SUN BELT

Trey Ragas, RB, Louisiana-Lafayette (at Texas State)

Ragas rewarded his backers last weekend by rushing for 111 yards and a touchdown against Alabama. This week he draws a sneakily tough matchup against a Texas State defense that's second in the Sun Belt in rushing yards allowed per game (128.75) (only two more yards per game than Alabama allows, mind you). Still, Ragas is as good as any Sun Belt running back not named Jalin Moore and is a top-30 running back this week.

PLAYERS TO SIT

AAC

Corey Dauphine, RB, Tulane (at Cincinnati)

The aforementioned Tulane-Memphis game was both disorienting and eye-opening, with the Green Wave's ground game stealing the show in particular. Dauphine was a big part of that, taking a season-high 12 carries for 87 yards and two scores. There are a few issues, however. For one, Tulane employs a deep backfield rotation headlined by Darius Bradwell. Furthermore, Tulane's passing game might be getting a major boost if LSU transfer Justin McMillan gets the start. Thirdly, (using "Thirdly" in an article achievement unlocked) the Cincinnati defense is among the best in the conference behind Central Florida and South Florida. Dauphine will still get some work Saturday, but it's difficult to see him matching his Week 5 workload or efficiency.

ACC

Deondre Francois, QB, Florida State (vs. Miami)

Francois has started to turn things around of late with six passing touchdowns and 646 yards in his last two games, helping give the Seminoles a bit of a pulse heading into Miami week. Unfortunately for Francois, Miami's strengths line up right across from Florida State's weaknesses, and that portends to a long day for him. Miami has the most disruptive defensive front in the nation with 60 tackles for loss -- a full 12 TFL ahead of the second best team (Nevada) in that category. Florida State offensive line woes are well documented; the Noles have given up 43 tackles for loss along with 12.0 sacks. Bottom line: this has less to do with Francois than it does the Noles O-line, but it directly impacts nonetheless and will lead to a long day for the signal-caller.

Pooka Williams, RB, Kansas (at West Virginia)

I hate to throw cold water on a star freshman, but this is a situation where it's warranted. Williams has been the undoubted bright spot for the Jayhawks, averaging 7,9 yards per carry over 60 attempts while adding four rushing scores. He also got more involved in the passing game last week and looked like a natural, catching six of seven targets for 60 yards. The issue is that Kansas may have to ditch its run-first philosophy (55.8 run play percentage) against West Virginia. The Mountaineers figure to build an insurmountable lead by the time halftime rolls around, thus limiting Williams' workload upside. Sure, a similar passing game role to last week would help bolster Williams' floor, but he's below RB2 status this week and is a fringy flex play overall. Looking elsewhere, I was wrong about Trey Sermon's hold on the workhorse role for Oklahoma. I expect him to split carries and be somewhat inefficient against Texas this weekend, too.

BIG TEN

Mohamed Ibrahim, RB, Minnesota (vs. Iowa)

Ibrahim is coming off a bye after seeing an enormous 26-carry workload against Maryland in Week 4, so he'll be fresh heading into this weekend. Iowa, however, is also coming off a bye and sports the sixth-best defense in the nation per S&P+. Minnesota doesn't have a quarterback that can really stress the defense, so that frees up the Hawkeyes to load up against the run. Ibrahim seems to be a viable replacement for Rodney Smith in the long term, but this week is one where I'd leave him on the bench.

CONFERENCE USA

Brent Stockstill, QB, Middle Tennessee (at Marshall)

Stockstill has yet to cross the 300-yard mark against any FBS school and has also been alarmingly turnover prone. The fourth-year starter has lost three fumbles and thrown three picks in four games; Marshall, meanwhile, has forced nine turnovers through four games and has home-field advantage this weekend. Stockstill's performance hasn't been good enough to warrant trusting him on the road against a tough and opportunistic defense.

MAC

Riley Neal, QB, Ball State (vs. Northern Illinois)

The Huskies are a tough matchup for anyone, ranking 14th in defensive S&P+ and having held their own against tough offenses like Utah. Neal has been strong lately in his own right as well, making this one of the MAC's best matchups this weekend. He just eviscerated Kent State for 463 total yards and five total touchdowns. Ball State has faced tougher defense to be fair, but this is a tough spot for Neal and company nonetheless. Neal is worthy only of a superflex play in deep leagues this weekend.

MOUNTAIN WEST

Kaleb Fossum, WR, Nevada (vs. Fresno State)

This is a tough matchup to begin with as Nevada plays host to a red-hot Fresno State team that just held Toledo's explosive offense to less than 30 points. To make matters worse, quarterback Ty Gangi is battling a leg injury and wasn't practicing as of Tuesday. So not only will Fossum have his work cut out for him finding room against the Bulldogs, there's a decent chance he'll be catching passes from a reserve quarterback that's under duress. The Nevada offense could be in for a long day Saturday and Fossum's production figures to backslide as a result.

PAC-12

Tyler Huntley, QB, Utah (at Stanford)

The Cardinal looked vulnerable for the second week in a row last week and finally paid the price with a loss. Huntley, however, doesn't seem to be the type of quarterback who can take advantage of Stanford's defensive vulnerabilities. He hasn't thrown a touchdown since Week 1 – and that was against an FCS school. Huntley did post his best rushing performance of the season last week against Washington State, but Stanford's defense is several notches above that of the Cougs. Plus, this game is taking place on The Farm – a tough place for any visiting quarterback to succeed. In all, this is a tough spot for Huntley and it's probably time to readjust our expectations of Huntley as a premier fantasy option overall.

SEC

Nick Brossette, RB, LSU (at Florida)

LSU heads to The Swamp to face a Florida team that isn't the pushover it looked to be a month ago. In a rowdy environment, LSU will try to establish the run via Brossette to take the pressure off Joe Burrow. That's a strategy that has worked thus far; Brossette averages moe than 20 carries a game and 4.7 yards per carry. That number is slightly inflated by the first two weeks, however. He's averaging just 3.5 YPC over his last three games, a span of 62 carries. With Florida loading up to stop the run and force Burrow to lead the charge, Brossette's efficiency is unlikely to see a major boost this week.

SUN BELT

Caleb Evans, QB, Louisiana Monroe (at Mississippi)

Evans was an unbelievable flop in Week 5 despite having one of the softest matchups on the slate going against Georgia State and its 115th-ranked defense. He was held to less than 200 passing yards and held without a passing touchdown against the Panthers. Evans has just 10 total touchdowns through five games after rocking out with 30 total scores in 2017. There's seemingly no end in sight for his struggles, especially this weekend on the road against an Ole Miss team desperate for a win.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John McKechnie
John is the 2016 and 2021 FSWA College Writer of the Year winner. He is a Maryland native and graduate of the University of Georgia. He's been writing for RotoWire since 2014.
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