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Start vs. Sit: Who to Play, Who to Bench Week 9

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.


Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon (vs. Colorado)

Oregon's offense has been so prolific this season, the starters rarely see playing time in the second half. Mariota has impressed as a rookie, though he hasn't perhaps been as big a part of the rushing game as expected, and Bryan Bennett is getting playing time in certain packages. Of course, these points are largely nitpicking, and the woeful Colorado Buffaloes are on the schedule this week. The Ducks might not even need their starters after the first quarter in this one. Mariota should rack up the fantasy points.

Garrett Gilbert, QB, SMU (vs. Memphis)

Gilbert, the former Texas quarterback, has had trouble this season. He's thrown more picks, 13, than touchdowns, 11. He has thrown at least one interception in every game. He has, admittedly, not been all that good. So why consider him for a start? Well, for one, last week he threw for 265 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions against Houston. Second, the Mustangs play host to Memphis, which is not good in the least. Is this a gamble? Sure, but if you need to roll the dice this week, Gilbert is a quarterback to consider.

Ray Graham, RB, Pittsburgh (vs. Temple)

The Panthers are struggling this season, and Graham has had a few less than stellar games as he returns from his injury from last year, but he does have 513 yards and five touchdowns on 115 carries, and he's a part of the passing game as well. Plus, this week Pittsburgh welcomes Temple. Graham has had good games against the likes of Cincinnati and Virginia Tech. He can certainly do it against the Owls.

Jawan Jamison, RB, Rutgers (vs. Kent State)

The Scarlet Knights are undefeated and dreaming of a Big East title and a BCS bowl berth, and Jamison is a big part of that. While he's only rushed for three touchdowns, he's gained 779 yards on 177 carries, and he's added 211 yards and two scores in the passing game as well. Kent State has a good offense, but its defense is not particularly strong, and that's what is more pertinent to Jamison, who should have a big game to keep Rutgers clean in the loss column.

Titus Davis, WR, Central Michigan (vs. Akron)

Davis has not been big on the reception front, he only has 26 in seven games, but he's turned those catches into 511 yards and five touchdowns. Obviously, that makes him a bit of a risk/reward player. That said, he hasn't had less than the 51 yards he posted in the season opener. Akron is one of the worst teams in the FBS, though Central Michigan is down there this year as well, so this game seems like a good bid for one of Davis' bigger performances.

Aaron Horne, WR, Iowa State (vs. Baylor)

If you like high-scoring games, then the Baylor Bears are a likely favorite of yours. While they score a lot of points, they give up just as many, which is what makes Horne worth looking at this week. Horne has 32 receptions for 307 yards and two touchdowns this season. He had two games where he basically was not involved at all, but he's been good the last two games, and those came against Kansas State and Oklahoma State. Both of those teams are a tougher test than Baylor, which bodes well for Horne in this game.

Zac Stacy, RB, Vanderbilt (vs. UMass)

Stacy is the focal point of Vanderbilt's offense, and he's rushed for 668 yards and five touchdowns on 126 carries, with a smattering of receiving yards as well. Of course, the issue with Stacy is that he plays in the SEC, so he's already had to take on defenses such as South Carolina and Florida. However, there is a ray of light shining through on the schedule this week, as the Commodores entertain Massachusetts. UMass is new to FBS and is a great opportunity for Stacy to pad his numbers against an opponent that isn't loaded with future NFL talent on defense.


Seth Doege, QB, Texas Tech (at Kansas State)

Doege is having a great season so far, and he's coming off a week when he threw a whopping seven touchdowns. However, that game went into triple overtime, helping to pad Doege's stats, and this week Texas Tech is visiting Kansas State. The Wildcats kept Geno Smith is check last week, becoming the first team to pick him off, and Doege's one poor game this season came against Oklahoma, a team of similar talent. This could be another rare struggle for Doege.

Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma (vs. Notre Dame)

Jones is having a solid season, but last week was the first time he's thrown more than two touchdowns in a game, and that came against Kansas. The Sooners are doing more on the ground, and whenever they get close to the end zone they tend to turn the ball over to Blake Bell, keeping touchdowns away from Jones. Now, even though the Sooners are at home, they have to take on Notre Dame and their formidable defense. That will further limit Jones' fantasy potential, though the matchup of the Belldozer and Manti Te'o should be fun to watch.

Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia (vs. Florida at neutral site)

The freshman Gurley has already made Bulldogs fans forget Isaiah Crowell, but he has also not been all that impressive in his last two games. Additionally, there is always the threat of Keith Marshall to take carries away. However, more pressingly, this week's opponent is Florida at the "neutral site" of Jacksonville. The Gators can shut down pretty much anybody, and Gurley should be in for a long day.

LaDarius Perkins, RB, Mississippi State (at Alabama)

Last week, Perkins was on the Players to Start list, and he ran 20 times for 125 yards and a touchdown. The Bulldogs are 7-0 and feeling good ... but that all ends this week when they travel to Alabama. Alabama has another loaded defense and appear en route to the national title game once again. The Tide allow 8.3 points per game, meaning that Perkins isn't likely to find the end zone, and he's probably not going to be able to generate many yards either.

Connor Vernon, WR, Duke (at Florida State)

First, congratulations to Duke for being bowl eligible for the first time since 1994, a year most of the players on the team literally don't remember. Vernon and the passing game has been a big part of their success with 51 receptions for 749 yards and five touchdowns. He's a good receiver who has not had a single bad game yet, even against Stanford, which held him to a season-low 49 yards. Facing Florida State on the road should be just as tough for Vernon, especially considering that FSU defensive line should put plenty of pressure on Sean Renfree.

Tracy Moore, WR, Oklahoma State (vs. TCU)

The Cowboys got a tough bit of news after their win last week, as quarterback J.W. Walsh suffered an injury that will cost him the rest of the season. That will likely leave true freshman Wes Lunt starting once again. Lunt hasn't done much this year when he's played. He has four touchdowns and three interceptions, all in one game, and now he'll have to go up against TCU. Sure, the Horned Frogs struggled a bit last week stopping the pass, but they are in general a fairly good defense, and it could be a tougher day for the Oklahoma State offense than usual, and that includes Moore, who has been a disappointment this season as is.

George Winn, RB, Cincinnati (at Louisville)

Winn has rushed for 607 yards and four touchdowns on a mere 97 carries, though two of those games were against FCS teams. Cincinnati is coming off its first loss of the season, in a game in which Winn was decent but nothing more. And now they have to visit the still undefeated Louisville Cardinals. Louisville has let up some points in a few games, but this is still a tougher matchup for Winn, and if the Bearcats fall behind and have to pass, which certainly seems possible, he won't be a big part of the passing game.

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