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Hot and Cold: Who's Conner Vernon and Where's Ricky Dobbs?

Kevin O'Brien

Kevin O'Brien writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.



Duke quarterback Sean Renfree has come out on fire this season, throwing for at least 350 yards in each of his first two games. Though he threw three interceptions in Week 2, Renfree also tossed four touchdown passes to give him a total of six for the season. Renfree will face a stiff test in Week 3 when Alabama comes to town.

The biggest beneficiary of Renfreeís aerial assault has been sophomore receiver Conner Vernon, who has 310 yards and two touchdowns through two games. Vernon did not put up the numbers that fellow Dukie Donovan Varner did last season, but it looks early on that Vernon is Renfreeís preferred target.


Virginia Tech running back Darren Evans ran for 1,265 yards two seasons ago, but he missed all of last season due to injury and lost his starting spot to Ryan Williams. Evans returned this season, but itís clear Williams is still the man. Evans has just 11 carries and 43 yards through two games. Evans also lost a critical fumble against James Madison Saturday.

Florida State wide receiver Bert Reed caught a touchdown pass in Week 1, but he only racked up 50 receiving yards in the game. Reed was even quieter in Week 2, catching just three balls for 31 yards in a loss to Oklahoma. Reed has another tough matchup this week against BYU.

Big 12


Several Big 12 quarterbacks have gotten off to a hot start, but Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson is leading the way in both passing yardage and quarterback rating. Johnson threw four touchdown passes in Week 2 and has seven total touchdowns this season. Johnson will face an FIU team in Week 3 that was 108th in the nation in pass defense a year ago but gave up just 96 yards through the air in their lone game against Rutgers.

Oklahoma State had trouble replacing Dez Bryant last season, but sophomore wide receiver Justin Blackmon has proved up to the task this year. Through two games, Blackmon has 18 receptions for 257 yards and five touchdowns.


Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert has completed 62 percent of his passes this season and has his Longhorns off to a 2-0 start, but he has averaged under 200 yards in his two games and has thrown just one touchdown pass. Gilbert could turn things around this week if Texas gets into a shootout with the high-octane Texas Tech offense.

Colorado running back Rodney Stewart ran for nine touchdowns last season, but he has been held out of the end zone in each of his first two games. Despite running the ball 29 times in Week 2, Stewart managed just 78 yards in a loss to California.

Big East


Connecticut running back Jordan Todman ran for a strong 105 yards and a touchdown against Michigan in Week 1, but he exploded in Week 2 for 151 yards and three touchdowns. Todman will continue to be the focal point of the Connecticut offense.

Pittsburgh wide receiver Jon Baldwin has proven early he has the talent to put up big numbers regardless of who is throwing him the ball. New Pittsburgh quarterback Tino Sunseri has hooked up with Baldwin ten times this season for 171 yards, and Baldwin has already caught two touchdown passes over 40 yards.


Rutgers quarterback Tom Savage really struggled in Week 2, completing just 7-of-15 passes for 72 yards, and the Scarlet Knights barely held off FIU. Savage has thrown for just 220 yards and one touchdown through two games this season.

Pittsburgh running back Dion Lewis has scored a touchdown in each of his first two games, but has run for just 102 total yards on 35 carries. Lewis is off in Week 3, but he will have a tough matchup the following week when Miami (FL) comes to town.

Big Ten


No one in the country is hotter than Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, who actually has more running yards than he does passing yards. Through two games, Robinson has thrown for 430 yards and two touchdowns, but he has run for a ridiculous 455 yards and three touchdowns. Another big performance could be in store this weekend when FCS opponent UMass comes to town.

Michigan State running back Edwin Baker has run the ball just 32 times this season, but he has recorded 300 yards and three touchdowns through two games. He will face a Notre Dame defense in Week 3 that has allowed 390 running yards through two games.


Penn State running back Evan Royster was bottled up by the Alabama defense in Week 2, and through two games he has run for just 72 yards and has yet to find the end zone.

New Purdue quarterback Robert Marve has completed 71 percent of his passes this season, but he has thrown just one touchdown pass and three interceptions in two games.

Conference USA


After picking up six total touchdowns in Week 1, East Carolina quarterback Dominique Davis recorded another five in Week 2. Davis has thrown for eight touchdowns and run for three others. He could cause further issues for Virginia Tech in Week 3.

Houston running back Bryce Beall only received five carries in a Week 1 blowout, but he scored on two of those runs. In Week 2, Beall received 19 carries, and he responded by running for 195 yards and three touchdowns. Beall faces a UCLA team this week that has given up 524 yards on the ground through their first two games.


SMU wide receiver Aldrick Robinson was unable to get things going in Week 2, catching just four passes for 51 yards. Robinson is not having a terrible year, but he has yet to find the end zone and is not putting up the big-time numbers some expected.

Rice running back Sam McGuffie had more trouble running against North Texas in Week 2 than he did against Texas in Week 1. McGuffie ran for just 18 yards on 14 carries against the Mean Green.



Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph caught eight passes for 164 yards, most of which came on a 95-yard touchdown, in Week 2. He remains one of the top tight end options in the nation.


Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs ran for just 44 yards on 25 carries in Week 2. He is averaging less than 2.0 yards per carry, and since Dobbs provides minimal passing yards in the run-heavy Navy offense, his production has only been minimal.



Western Michiganís Alex Carder threw for 298 yards and five touchdowns in a Week 2 victory over FCS Nicholls State and now has seven touchdown passes this season. Carder is off to a fine start in his first year as a starter and has a good matchup in Week 3 against a Toledo team that has given up 550 passing yards in two games.

Northern Illinois running back Chad Spann ran for 140 yards and a touchdown in a Week 2 victory over North Dakota. Spann scored 20 touchdowns last season, but he has a tough matchup against Illinois this week.


Miami (OH) quarterback Zac Dysert threw his first touchdown pass of the season in Week 2, but he has only managed one touchdown against five interceptions through two games.

Northern Illinois quarterback DeMarcus Grady started in Week 1 against Iowa State, but after throwing three interceptions and no touchdown passes, he was replaced by Chandler Harnish in Week 2. Harnish threw for 146 yards and ran for 178 yards, so he figures to remain the starter for now while Grady sticks to the bench.



The San Diego State offense has been clicking early this season, and a big part of their success has been the play of freshman running back Ronnie Hillman. In Week 2, Hillman ran for 150 yards and four touchdowns, giving him a total of five for the season. Expect Hillman to continue being the primary back ahead of Walter Kazee.

Utah wide receiver Jereme Brooks had another strong effort in Week 2, catching four balls for 77 yards and a touchdown. He has 164 yards and three touchdowns through two games.


TCU wide receiver Jimmy Youngís production has fallen off for the second straight season. Young, who racked up 988 yards and five touchdowns in 2008, managed just 517 yards and three touchdowns last season. Through the first two weeks, Young has caught just one pass for 17 yards.

Wyoming running back Alvester Alexander was shut down by Texas in Week 2. Alexander ran for just 29 yards on 13 carries and now has just 69 rushing yards this season. Donít expect him to do much in Week 3 either against Boise State



Washington wide receiver Jermaine Kearse had a decent 108-yard performance in Week 1, but his production skyrocketed in Week 2. Kearse caught nine passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns in a victory over Syracuse.

Though California has blown out its first two opponents, quarterback Kevin Riley has still put up big numbers in the passing game. Riley has thrown for 455 yards on just 44 attempts and has seven touchdowns in two games. He will be part of an intriguing quarterback matchup with Nevada's Colin Kaepernick in Week 3.


While Kevin Riley puts up big numbers, UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince continues to struggle. Prince completed just 6-of-12 passes for 39 yards, and also threw an interception, before being replaced by Richard Brehaut in the Bruinsí loss to Stanford in Week 2. Prince will start in Week 3 against Houston, but his leash will be short.

Princeís struggles have made wide receiver Nelson Rosario a non-factor through two weeks. Rosario is a big target, but he has just eight catches for 73 yards this season. He will not be a strong fantasy option until Prince turns things around.



Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett is kicking his Heisman campaign off in a big way. Mallett threw for 400 yards and three touchdowns in Week 2, and through two games he has six touchdown passes and another one on the ground.

Tennesse running back Tauren Poole had just 32 career carries coming into this season, but he has already ran the ball 40 times this season, with some impressive results. Poole ran for 162 yards and a touchdown in Week 2 and has an SEC-leading 272 yards through two weeks.


Mississippi State running back Robert Elliott was supposed to be the successor to Anthony Dixon in Starkville, but he has received just 15 carries through two games this season. The Bulldogs have increased the carries of both quarterback Chris Relf and receiver Chad Bumphis in Dixonís absence.

LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson completed just 8-of-20 passes for 96 yards in a Week 2 victory over Vanderbilt. The majority of his 247 passing yards came on a 51-yards touchdown pass in Week 1, so heís not throwing the ball all over by any means. Jefferson will need to be more productive in the passing game if LSU hopes to maintain its ranking.

Sun Belt


Though Western Kentucky has faced two teams from AQ-conferences in its first two games, running back Bobby Rainey has had little trouble putting up numbers. Rainey ran for 184 yards and two touchdowns in Week 2 against Kentucky and now has 339 yards and three touchdowns in two weeks. Imagine what he will do against the smaller teams in his own conference.

Louisiana-Lafayette Ryan Aplin has taken to the starting quarterback role quite nicely. Aplin threw for a ridiculous 438 yards in Week 2 and recorded three total touchdowns. His 716 passing yards are the second-highest total in the nation.


Arkansas State running back Derek Lawson scored a touchdown in Week 1, but he was limited to just 45 yards. In Week 2, Lawson ran for a measly seven yards on just three carries.

Louisiana-Monroe played their season opener in Week 2; and though the game was against Arkansas, running back Frank Goodin did not get off to a good start. Goodin ran for just 44 yards on 12 carries in a blowout loss. Expect Goodinís numbers to improve against Arkansas State in Week 3.



Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw for 65 less yards in Week 2, but he also picked up 101 more on the ground. Kaepernick has accounted for almost 800 total yards and has scored four touchdowns both through the air and on the ground.

The Hawaii offense provides plenty of opportunities for its wide receivers, and it is Kealoha Pilares who has taken advantage early. Through two weeks, he has 11 receptions for 280 yards and four touchdowns.


Nevada wide receiver Brandon Wimberly had a big freshman season in 2009, but he is off to a quiet start this season despite quarterback Colin Kaepernickís big numbers. Wimberly has caught just six passes for 37 yards in two games.

Louisiana Tech wide receiver Phillip Livas was a potential breakout candidate heading into the season, but he has not done so up to this point. Livas has caught just three passes for 18 yards and ran three times for 30 yards in two games.