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

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.


Rakeem Cato, QB, Marshall (vs. Houston)

At 4-6 and playing in Conference USA, some might not be aware of just how prolific Marshall's passing game has been this season. The man making all these throws is Cato, who has passed for 3,506 yards, 29 touchdowns and eight interceptions - and three of those picks came on the road against Purdue who, while not good, is a Big Ten team. Houston is certainly lesser competition, and its defense has been porous this year. It should be another big game for Cato.

Keith Price, QB, Washington (at Colorado)

Price has been a disappointment this year, as he only has 11 passing touchdowns to 10 interceptions. However, he is coming off his best week of the season as he threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for a score, against Utah. Now, he gets the matchup all the Pac-12 offenses wait for. The Huskies play Colorado. Even on the road, if Price is going to have a truly impressive fantasy performance this season, it will be in this game.

Branden Oliver, RB, Buffalo (at Massachusetts)

Oliver started well this season, but then unfortunately was sidelined four games midseason. However, since returning, he has picked up where he left off, and on the season he has carried 139 times for 801 yards and five scores. Buffalo may be on the road against Massachusetts, but Oliver ran well on the road against Georgia. The Minutemen are just a tad bit easier matchup.

D.J. Harper, RB, Boise State (vs. Colorado State)

The Broncos have taken a step back this year, and their success has mostly been based on their stout defense. However, Harper has been the key to their offense. He didn't do much in a rout of Hawaii last week, but he scored in five straight games before that contest, and he scored two touchdowns in four of those five games. Harper and company square off with Colorado State this week. The Rams might be the best team in Colorado, but they are still awful, and Harper should run all over them if given the chance.

Erik Highsmith, WR, North Carolina (at Virginia)

Last week, North Carolina scored 50 points, boosting its 10th-ranked scoring offense to more than 40 points per game. Conversely, last week Virginia gave up 40 points to Miami, leaving it averaging nearly 30 points allowed per game. Both teams were in shootouts last week, and another one seems likely this week. Highsmith only has two receiving touchdowns this year, but he also has 46 receptions for 511 yards and this matchup increases the chances of him finally finding the end zone once more.

Eric Monette, WR, Western Michigan (vs. Eastern Michigan)

Monette was slowed by injuries early this season, but he's been outstanding the last three weeks, which happens to coincide with an injury to Western Michigan's other main receiver, Jaime Wilson. This week, opposite sides of the Great Lakes State collide as Eastern Michigan visits the Broncos. As per usual, Eastern Michigan is lousy, and Monette should continue his hot streak.

Darrin Reaves, RB, UAB (vs. Memphis)

While UAB passes more than it runs, Reaves is actually the team's best fantasy player. He's rushed 183 times for 928 yards and 13 touchdowns and has 32 receptions for 251 yards, as well. Reaves has scored nine touchdowns in his last four games, and now he gets to take on the Memphis defense. He seems a good bet to add more touchdowns to that total.


Matt Barkley, QB, USC (at UCLA)

Entering the season, Barkley was a leading candidate to win the Heisman and be the top pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Now, both of those dreams have dissipated. However, that doesn't mean Barkley hasn't had a good season. He's thrown for 2,972 yards and 33 touchdowns in 10 games, but he's also thrown 13 picks with seven of those in his last three contests. This week, the Trojans have a road game against UCLA, to the extent playing their crosstown rivals is a road trip. It's not a bad matchup, but it is one of the tougher matchups any viable fantasy quarterback faces this week.

Nick Florence, QB, Baylor (vs. Kansas State)

The Bears have the chance to play spoiler this week as they host top-ranked Kansas State. Of course, that means they are playing one of the best teams in the nation, and the Wildcats have a pretty stout defense. Florence has thrown for 3,191 yards, 25 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Plus, he's run for six scores, as well. That said, he's been less than stellar against the likes of TCU and Oklahoma, and that TCU game was also at home. Baylor is going to throw the ball around, but it won't be as easy for Florence to put up numbers as it usually is.

Stephen Houston, RB, Indiana (at Penn State)

Houston has done a lot with somewhat limited touches. He's rushed 129 times for 583 yards and nine touchdowns, and he has 23 receptions for 196 yards and three more scores. However, last week, Wisconsin's defense and a big deficit limited Houston to six carries for 10 yards. Visiting Penn State isn't much easier, if at all. It looks like it will be another tough week for Houston.

Jawan Jamison, RB, Rutgers (at Cincinnati)

Rutgers' offense has scuffled a bit the last couple weeks, as the Scarlet Knights lost to Kent State and then didn't take control against Army until late. Jamison has still been good in those games, to be fair, but he also tweaked his ankle a bit versus Army, and unless quarterback Gary Nova improves his play, defenses are going to focus all their attention on Jamison. Visiting Cincinnati, which is having a pretty good year defensively, is just another reason to perhaps think about looking elsewhere this week.

Michael Campanaro, WR, Wake Forest (at Notre Dame)

Campanaro missed some time with injury, but he's still managed 65 receptions for 618 yards and six scores when he's taken the field. Two weeks ago, he had a whopping 16 receptions for 123 yards and three scores against Boston College, but then last week he only managed five catches for 14 yards. Notre Dame has one of the best defenses in college football and is focused on avoiding a repeat of the scare it received from Pittsburgh. The Irish should be able to do that, and Campanaro could find himself kept in check for the second consecutive week.

Josh Huff, WR, Oregon (vs. Stanford)

Huff has been on a tear the last two weeks, totaling 11 receptions for 234 yards and five touchdowns against USC and Cal. However, on the season he only has 20 receptions for 355 yards and seven scores. He certainly seems like a bigger part of the offense now, but this is still a rushing team primarily, and Huff's touchdown rate is unsustainable. Additionally, Stanford is a tough defense, the toughest Oregon has played yet. They won't stop the Ducks entirely of course, nobody can, but the Cardinal can keep the Ducks somewhat in check, and that includes Huff.

Kain Colter, QB, Northwestern (at Michigan State)

Last week, Colter and company faced a tough Michigan defense on the road. Colter was held to 96 yards passing with one touchdown and 82 yards rushing in a game that went to overtime. The Wildcats stay in Michigan this week, as they head to East Lansing for a matchup with the Spartans. Michigan State's defense is just as tough as their counterparts in Ann Arbor, so it appears that it may be another off day for Colter.

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