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Start vs. Sit: Who to Play, Who to Bench Week 4

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.


Kolton Browning, QB, Louisiana-Monroe (vs. Baylor)

Browning has emerged onto the national picture thanks to the Warhawks beating Arkansas and then nearly pulling the same trick against Auburn. Browning, a dual-threat quarterback, has been a big part of Louisiana-Monroe's success. This week, the Warhawks finally get to play at home, and their opponent is Baylor. The Bears just allowed 23 points to Sam Houston State. This seems like a good opportunity for Browning to post even better numbers than he already has.

Connor Halliday, QB, Washington State, (vs. Colorado)

Jeff Tuel was expected to be the benefactor of Mike Leach's arrival at Washington State, but he started slowly this season. Halliday was given the start in Week 3 for the Cougars and proceeded to throw for 378 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions on the road against UNLV. Sure, it was a weak opponent, but you know what team might be worse? Colorado, which Wazzu plays this week, and at home to boot. Halliday has the chance to secure his position under Leach, and the odds are in his favor.

Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida, (vs. Kentucky)

The Gators are using the running back a lot more under Will Muschamp, and Gillislee has been the main back so far, getting 56 carries across three games. He's taken those carries for 346 yards and four touchdowns, rushing for 115 yards on 18 carries at Tennessee last week. This week, Gillislee and the Gators play host to Kentucky, the worst team in the SEC. Florida should build an early lead and just use Gillislee to control the game.

T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama (vs. Florida Atlantic)

The Alabama steam train ran over Arkansas last week, and now it gets what almost amounts to a day off with Florida Atlantic on the docket. Heading into the year, Eddie Lacy was presumed the main replacement for Trent Richardson, but Yeldon is on his tail. Lacy has more touchdowns, but Yeldon has just as many carries and has more yards, 191 to 126, and two touchdowns of his own. Plus, Yeldon has been a part of the passing game as well, with six catches for 91 yards. Both should have big games against the Owls, but Yeldon is the better choice.

Erik Highsmith, WR, North Carolina, (vs. East Carolina)

The Tar Heels offense has been hindered a bit by a lack of Giovani Bernard due to injury, but Highsmith has still managed to be pretty good, catching 14 passes for 177 yards. Sure, he only has one touchdown, but it's only been three games, and one was a blowout of Elon in which starters were not required in the second half. He's getting plenty of looks and opportunities. A home game against East Carolina, not known for stout defense, could finally lead to a big outing for Highsmith.

Austin Franklin, WR, New Mexico State, (vs. New Mexico)

If you were asked to name the nation's leader in receiving yards off the top of your head, Franklin probably wouldn't come to mind all that quickly, if you thought of him at all. However, with 415 yards and five touchdowns on 20 receptions, Franklin is in fact leading college football by a large margin. The competition has admittedly not been tough, but this week the Aggies play host to their intrastate rivals from New Mexico, another palatable matchup. After Week 4, Franklin's lead could easily be even larger than it is now.

Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State (vs. UAB)

Urban Meyer needed some players to emerge at wide receiver for Braxton Miller this season, and so far Smith has been up to the task. The sophomore has 13 receptions for 233 yards and three touchdowns, with six catches, 145 yards and two touchdowns last week against California, which is legitimate competition. This week's opponent, UAB, is slightly less legitimate competition, so while Smith might not be quite as good as he was last week, he still has a strong chance of big numbers.


Riley Nelson, QB, BYU (at Boise State)

While Nelson had a solid, if unspectacular, start this season, last week at Utah he only went 17-for-35 for 206 yards, two touchdowns and a pick. Sure, he also tossed in 34 yards rushing, but that's not a very good outing, particularly in terms of completion percentage. It doesn't get any easier this week, as the Cougars visit the blue turf of Boise State. We don't have a ton of information on Broncos just yet, but their defense has looked fairly stout thus far, and Nelson could be in for another less than stellar performance.

Matt Scott, QB, Arizona (at Oregon)

Safe to say, Arizona is happier with the beginning of its Rich Rodriguez Era than the Michigan Wolverines were with theirs. The Wildcats are undefeated, and so far Scott has been impressive in the offense. He's already thrown for 995 yards and seven touchdowns, with 190 yards and two scores rushing to boot. That said, this week Scott has to take the field at Oregon. It's a tough place for a road team, and the Ducks are a formidable opponent on both sides of the ball. Scott's numbers might not kill your team, but you will probably have better options readily available this week.

Hunter Lee, RB, Louisiana Tech (at Illinois)

This isn't so much about the matchup, though playing at Illinois is tougher than, say, home against Rice, as the Bulldogs did last week. This is more about the Louisiana Tech offense. It is running the ball very well, averaging 289 yards per game. The issue for Lee is that for some reason he has not found himself a part of this offense at all. Lee only has five carries and seven receptions this season. Sure, he has three touchdowns, but until he starts getting more touches, he cannot be relied upon.

Fitzgerald Toussaint, RB, Michigan (at Notre Dame)

After missing the first game of the season due to suspension and barely getting touches against Air Force, Toussaint finally got some action last week, rushing 15 times for 85 yards and a score. However, that was at home against Massachusetts. This week, the Wolverines visit the surging Fighting Irish. Notre Dame did a good job against Michigan State's offense last week, and its running back is certainly better than Toussaint. If the Wolverines are going to run the ball, it'll rest on Denard Robinson's shoulders.

T.J. Moe, WR, Missouri (at South Carolina)

Despite having a backup quarterback under center last week against Arizona State, Moe caught eight passes for 88 yards, and the week before he had six receptions for 45 yards against Georgia in Missouri's first conference game as a member of the SEC. Well, this week the Tigers have another tough conference matchup, as they are on the road against South Carolina. Even if James Franklin is back, it could be a tough road to hoe for Moe.

Titus Davis, WR, Central Michigan (at Iowa)

Davis' numbers aren't that impressive so far, but he's only played two games, and one was on the road against Michigan State. However, he did have four catches for 64 yards against the Spartans, and you might hope for a breakout week, as the Hawkeyes have not impressed so far. That may be the case, but this is still a road game against a Big Ten team, and it's possible that Davis' sophomore year might not build on the promise of his freshman campaign. The risk is a bit too high.

Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson (at Florida State)

Clemson's offense was expected to be explosive again this season, and that has indeed been the case. Boyd has thrown for 747 yards and six touchdowns to one interception, and he's rushed for 75 yards as well. Plus, he has Sammy Watkins back. What more could you ask? Well, a less difficult matchup, for one. This week, the Tigers head to Tallahassee to take on Florida State in a matchup of Top-10 teams. The competition has not been stiff, but the Seminoles have allowed a total of three points this season. Their defense looks really stout, and that is foreboding in regard to Boyd's fantasy potential this week.

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