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CFB Barometer: Who's Up, Who's Down Week 10

Jesse Siegel

Siegel covers college football, college basketball and minor league baseball for RotoWire. He was named College Sports Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

The Baylor offense has been fantasy heaven this season. The Bears average a staggering 63.9 points per game en route to a 7-0 record. Quarterback Bryce Petty has thrown for 2,453 yards through seven games, compiling an 18:1 TD:INT ratio. He has also rushed for an additional six scores. Starting tailback Lache Seastrunk averages 9.1 yards per tote, notching 869 yards and 11 touchdowns in the process. Even the backup tailback, Shock Linwood, averages 8.1 yards per rush, amassing 443 yards and seven touchdowns. Meanwhile, receivers Antwan Goodley and Tevin Reese have formed an extremely potent 1-2 combo on the outside; each wideout has at least 30 catches for 800 yards and eight touchdowns through the air. All this offensive success has led to Baylor's highest ranking since 1953. Fantasy owners are surely giddy over the success of the high-octane Baylor offense, which will be truly tested the next three games against ranked opponents in Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.

Let's look at the rest of the college football in scene in this week's College Football Barometer.


Jalen Saunders, WR, Oklahoma -
Saunders had a breakout game for the Sooners on Saturday as Oklahoma knocked Texas Tech from the ranks of the unbeatens. Saunders hauled in six catches for 153 yards and two touchdowns against the Red Raiders, including a 76-yard strike from quarterback Blake Bell. It was Saunders' first 100-yard output of the season, though the senior has been no stranger to big games. He had more than 1,000 yards receiving as a sophomore in 2011, along with 12 touchdowns during that campaign. Despite the success of the OU running game against Texas Tech, the Sooners likely will be forced to air it out in this weekend's shootout with the aforementioned Baylor Bears. As a result, expect another huge contest from Saunders.

Tanner Price, QB, Wake Forest -
Price was impressive Saturday as the Demon Deacons nearly pulled off the upset against the highly ranked Miami Hurricanes on the road. Price completed 25-of-45 passes for 302 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the 24-21 loss. It was the second 300-yard passing game of the season for Price, who has 12 touchdowns compared to just four interceptions in 2013. Over his last three games, Price has six touchdowns and two picks. Wake travels to Syracuse in Week 10; the Orange lost 56-0 to Georgia Tech on Saturday. Price should continue to find success against an underwhelming Syracuse defense.

Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State -
With little fanfare, the Spartans are 7-1, and the sophomore Cook has been a surprisingly big reason for the success. Although MSU still features a ground-and-pound offense, Cook has graduated from game manager to gaining the trust of the Spartans coaching staff. Cook was impeccable at Illinois on Saturday, completing 15-of-16 passes for 208 yards and three touchdowns. He faces perhaps his stiffest test of the season at home against in-state rival Michigan this week, though the Wolverines have allowed 87 points over their last two tilts. As long as Cook doesn't let the pressure get to him, he should be in for a nice output.

Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona -
If Carey is on your squad, he's almost certainly starting at running back. However, he deserves some props for tremendous productivity and consistency this season. Since missing the season opener against lowly Northern Arizona, he has rushed for more than 100 yards in six consecutive games. Carey has found the end zone 10 times in that span, including four times at Colorado on Saturday. Carey and the Wildcats travel to Berkeley to take on the anemic California Bears this Saturday; Cal is 123rd in the nation in points allowed, surrendering 44 points per game. As such, Carey is poised for another big performance in this Pac-12 tilt.


Marcus Murphy, RB, Missouri -
Murphy sits behind starter Henry Josey on the depth chart for the Tigers and rarely receives double-digit touches out of the backfield. However, he makes the most of his opportunities. Murphy averages 7.7 yards per carry this season. He has scored seven times in 2013, including twice in Saturday's heart-wrenching loss to South Carolina. In fact, Murphy has failed to find the end zone in just two of Mizzou's eight contests this year. The only issue with Murphy, then, is that his lack of touches makes him prone to the occasional lost game. For example, he had just one rush for seven yards on Oct. 19 against Florida. Still, Murphy has value due to his efficiency as well as his ability to find the end zone.

Nick Marshall, QB, Auburn -
Marshall left Saturday's game with FAU in the second quarter due to a shoulder injury and is questionable for this week's contest at Arkansas. Marshall likely wouldn't have been needed much against the struggling Owls anyway but was coming off his best game of the season in the shootout win over Texas A&M on Oct. 19. In that game, Marshall passed for 236 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 100 yards and two more scores. If healthy, the dual-threat Marshall would have a favorable matchup against a Razorbacks squad allowing more than 30 points per game. Jeremy Johnson played well in Marshall's stead, so make sure Marshall is deemed healthy before deploying him at Pig Sooie.

Desmond Roland, RB, Oklahoma State -
Roland dismantled the Iowa State defense Saturday to the tune of 219 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Coming into the game, Roland had 147 yards rushing in 2013 for the Cowboys. Roland had been behind senior Jeremy Smith on the depth chart. However, Smith has not been outrageously productive despite scoring eight touchdowns this season. Smith averages just 3.3 yards per carry. Roland figures to see more carries, particularly with the Cowboys' quarterback struggles. However, they still have to face Texas Tech, Baylor and Oklahoma, meaning it will be tough for Roland to replicate Saturday's success against better defenses in high-scoring, passing affairs.

Mitch Mathews, WR, Brigham Young -
The improvement of quarterback Taysom Hill in the passing game has led to increased productivity for the Cougars wideouts. Cody Hoffman is a stud and likely future NFL draft pick, but the sophomore Mathews has emerged as a reliable target as well. Mathews has at least four catches for at least 66 yards in each of the last two games for BYU. He also scored in Saturday's 37-20 triumph over Boise State. Add in a three-touchdown outburst Oct. 4 at Utah State, and Mathews has legitimized himself as the No. 2 target in the passing game. Mathews certainly isn't an elite option at this time, though, and could have the occasional down game as a result. Still, his progress is worth monitoring.


Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska -
Martinez admitted following Sunday's loss to Minnesota that his injured left foot is still bothering him. Martinez certainly did not look like his usual, dynamic, dual-threat self, rushing eight times for just 16 yards in his first game action since Sept. 14 against UCLA. Martinez did pass for 139 yards and a touchdown, but completed just 16-of-30 throws for a mere 4.6 yards per pass. Martinez has never been a superior passer, and without his rushing ability at his disposal, he becomes mediocre under center. As such, it may be best to look elsewhere for quarterback help until Martinez proves he is healthy.

Trey Edmunds, RB, Virginia Tech -
In fairness to Edmunds, quarterback Logan Thomas was awful through the air in Sunday's 13-10 loss to Duke. Thomas tossed four interceptions and torpedoed any chance for the Hokies to pull out the victory. That said, Thomas hasn't been helped by his run game recently. In the first four games of the season, the freshman Edmunds rushed 78 times for 352 yards and three touchdowns. This included a 20-carry, 132-yard output against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the season opener. However, in the subsequent four contests, Edmunds has rushed 41 times for just 85 yards and one score. Edmunds averages just 3.7 yards per rush in total this season, making it difficult to trust him.

Aaron Wimberly, RB, Iowa State -
Wimberly missed Saturday's loss to Oklahoma State with a hamstring injury, a brutal blow for the Cyclones. Wimberly had a prior three-game stretch in which he rushed 67 times for 219 yards and two touchdowns. Wimberly crossed the 100-yard mark twice during that span. The junior is questionable for Iowa State's next game at Kansas State; monitor his status during the week. Should he play, he could have a favorable matchup. The junior has averaged 4.7 yards per tote when healthy. Hamstring injuries usually take multiple weeks to heal, however.

Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA -
Hundley had two disappointing games in a row against superior defenses. Hundley threw for just 64 yards at Oregon on Saturday, while tossing two interceptions. The sophomore had two picks at Stanford on Oct. 19 as well, and the Bruins lost both games. Hundley should get back on track against Colorado this week, but he has not been helped by the loss of starting running back Jordon James. It is not surprising that the Bruins have lost two of the three games in which James has not dressed. The most difficult stretch of the UCLA season is now behind the Bruins, but it remains possible that Hundley has lost some confidence after a scintillating start.