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CFB Barometer: Who's Up, Who's Down Week 4

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.

Everyone knows about Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and his dual-threat capabilities. Mariota looks like one of the early favorites for the Heisman trophy; he can hurt you with either the pass or the run. However, several other mobile gunslingers are making fantasy waves thus far in the 2014 College Football campaign. Taysom Hill has the BYU Cougars headed on a path towards an undefeated season. Through three games, Hill has passed for 689 yards and four touchdowns, while rushing for 356 yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, the darkhorse for SEC Player of the Year is Mississippi State's Dak Prescott. In his first three games for the Bulldogs, the junior has thrown for 696 yards and nine touchdowns, while running for 273 yards and two more scores. Prescott even caught a touchdown pass in MSU's blowout win at South Alabama on Saturday. The ability to impact the game in a variety of ways makes these quarterbacks dangerous in any situation, and provides fantasy owners with even more opportunities to find the Promised Land.

Let's look at the rest of the pigskin landscape in this week's College Football Barometer.

UPGRADE

Ralph Webb, RB, Vanderbilt -
Not much has gone right for the Commodores thus far in 2014, though at least they were able to pull out a victory over UMass on Saturday. Still, Vandy is 1-2 and has already played four different quarterbacks through three games. Webb has been one of the few bright spots for the Commodores. With last season's bell cow Jerron Seymour dinged up, Webb has taken hold of the starting running back job. The freshman rushed for a career-high 116 yards and a touchdown Saturday. He is averaging 4.8 yards per carry, and has gained at least 70 yards on the ground in each of the first three games for Vanderbilt. The Commodores may not have much going for them this year, but Webb could provide a silver lining.

Demarcus Robinson, WR, Florida -
Robinson was suspended for the game that wasn't against Idaho, as the Gators season opener against the Vandals was canceled due to lightning. Though Florida coach Will Muschamp drew some flak for failing to sit Robinson any games, it is clear Robinson is a gamebreaker. The sophomore caught six passes for 123 yards and a touchdown in UF's 65-0 laugher over Eastern Michigan. Robinson upped the ante against Kentucky on Saturday, though. Robinson caught a school-record 15 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns in the 36-30 Triple OT win over the Wildcats. Robinson barely played in 2013 as a freshman, but he is clearly part of the equation for Florida in 2014, averaging 16.1 yards per catch through two games in the swamp.

Aaron Jones, RB, UTEP -
Jones hasn't been getting much pub playing for the University of Texas-El Paso, but he has had three magnificent games to start the year. Jones has rushed for 552 yards and seven touchdowns through the first three contests for the Miners. That's an average of 184 yards per game on the ground. He is also averaging a robust 7.9 yards per run. He missed the last three games of his freshman campaign due to injury, otherwise he would have easily crossed the 1,000-yard mark in what was otherwise a horrific year for the Miners. The sophomore should be a standout fantasy option for the remainder of the season.

Jacoby Brissett, QB, N.C. State -
Brissett originally committed to the University of Florida, but the staff preferred Jeff Driskel at quarterback, so Brissett transferred out. He ended up sitting out the 2013 season, but was given the reins to the offense for the Wolfpack in 2014. Brissett has been extremely efficient thus far for NC State. Through three games, Brissett has completed over 70-percent of his passes for 810 yards, seven touchdowns and just one interception. Brissett has also shown decent wheels, rushing for 96 yards as well. NC State hasn't exactly faced stiff competition thus far, so it remains to be seen how the junior will fare in ACC conference play. Still, Brissett is off to a superb start for the Wolfpack.

CHECK STATUS

Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami -
Dorsett has always possessed breakaway speed, and that was on display Saturday against Arkansas State. He scored on two passes of over 60 yards from freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya, as the Hurricanes pasted the Seawolves, 41-20. Dorsett finished the contest with four catches for 201 yards and the two touchdowns. Dorsett found the end zone on two occasions in the prior game against lowly FAMU as well. Though Dorsett does not posses the shiftiness of teammate Stacy Coley, the latter was inactive Saturday with a shoulder injury. As a result, Dorsett became the playmaker on the outside, and could be developing a nice rapport with his freshman quarterback. Dorsett was limited to just six games last season after suffering a torn MCL, but appears to be fully healthy in 2014. When he gets behind the defense, there are few that can catch him.

Taylor Kelly, QB, Arizona State -
Kelly left ASU's game with Colorado in the fourth quarter due to a foot injury, and was seen on the sideline in crutches following the game. His status for ASU's meeting with the above-referenced Brett Hundley and UCLA on September 25 is unknown at this time. Kelly has been a mainstay for the Sun Devils, passing for at least 3,000 yards and 28 touchdowns in each of the last two seasons in Tempe. Kelly was off to a hot start in 2014 as well before the injury. He has notched 625 yards passing and six touchdowns this year, while failing to throw an interception. He has also rushed for 168 yards and two more scores. Check back on Kelly's status as the game versus the Bruins draws closer, as Kelly has the potential to put up some big numbers in the Pac-12 in his final collegiate season.

Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn -
Coates was surprisingly absent from the season-opening win against Arkansas, catching just one pass for 13 yards. Then he sat out last Saturday's 59-13 thrashing of San Jose State. The leading receiver from a season ago, Coates has apparently been dealing with a knee injury to begin the 2014 campaign. He is expected to play Thursday against a ranked Kansas State squad, but it remains to be seen how effective he can be. When healthy, Coates is a physical specimen who can stretch the field for the Tigers. Auburn hasn't missed a beat in the passing game due to the presence of JUCO transfer D'haquille Williams, but having both players on the field is certainly ideal for coach Gus Malzahn and the Tigers. Coates averaged 21.5 yards per catch in 2013, hauling in seven touchdowns in the process. The junior is a monstrous threat, as long as he's healthy.

Brandon Wilds, RB, South Carolina -
With the way the season has been unfolding for starting running back Mike Davis, it may be smart to snatch up Wilds as a handcuff option. Davis was already dinged up with a rib injury to begin the 2014 season, then suffered an ankle injury during Saturday's 38-35 triumph over the Georgia Bulldogs. Though the ankle issue is not considered serious, Davis has not looked like himself through three games for the Gamecocks. In fact, Wilds was the leading rusher for SC on Saturday, toting the rock 14 times for 93 yards and a touchdown. The junior has seen plenty of game action throughout his two-plus seasons at South Carolina, and appears ready, willing and able to step up should the situation manifest itself. Coach Steve Spurrier stated before the season that he hoped to get Davis more rest anyway, so Wilds could play a larger role in the offense as the weeks go on.

DOWNGRADE

Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA -
Hundley has had an up-and-down start to the Bruins' season. Hundley looked sluggish against Virginia in the season opener, throwing for 242 yards but failing to pass for a touchdown in a 28-20 victory. He torched Memphis for 396 yards and three touchdowns the following week, but left Saturday's tilt with Texas in the first quarter with a shoulder injury. Though the injury is to Hundley's non-throwing shoulder, he is set to undergo an MRI that will determine if how serious the injury is and he will miss any time. It is also worth monitoring why Hundley's rushing stats are down through two-plus games. He has just 75 yards on the ground thus far in 2014. Hundley had eight games in 2013 in which he rushed for at least 50 yards. Perhaps the worry about getting hurt before jumping to the NFL is in the back of his mind? Or maybe Hundley simply hasn't found his groove yet this season. Stay tuned to find out.

Brandon Connette, QB, Fresno State -
Connette played at Duke for four years, and was a vital part of the Blue Devils' march to the ACC Championship Game last season. Connette scored 27 total touchdowns in 2013. He transferred to Fresno State as a graduate student, and was expected to start for the Bulldogs close to his hometown of Corona, California. However, Connette has some big shoes to fill, as Derek Carr shined during his team at Fresno and is now the starting quarterback of the Oakland Raiders. Connette, meanwhile, tossed three INTs at USC in the first game of the year. He played better at Utah in the second game of the season, passing for 177 yards and a touchdown while rushing for another score, but the team was still blown out by a score of 59-27. He also injured his throwing hand in the loss, and was forced to sit out another tough matchup against Nebraska. Another Carr brother isn't walking through that door this season, so Connette still looks to be the man under center, assuming he is healthy. Also, the Bulldogs will now get into conference play and no longer have to play power conference squads as well. However, Connette certainly hasn't looked very sharp in limited action with the Bulldogs, and his health remains a question mark.

Joey Iosefa, RB, Hawaii -
The Warriors will be without arguably the face of their team for the next month or so, as Iosefa went down with a fractured ankle. The four-year rusher was off to a scintillating start to the season. He took 30 carries for 143 yards and a touchdown in a narrow loss to Washington on August 30. Thereafter, he scored three times against the Beavers of Oregon State in a 38-30 loss. The bruising 6-foot-1, 245-lb back was on pace to crush his previous career-highs of 590 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. However, in his stead Saturday, sophomore Steven Lakalaka rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown, meaning the Warriors may not be as hurt by Iosefa's loss as originally anticipated.

Amir Carlisle, WR, Notre Dame -
A converted tailback, Carlisle was originally a member of the USC Trojans before transferring after the 2011 season. He rushed 47 times for 204 yards last season in an extremely crowded backfield. A versatile athlete, the Irish had a need at wideout, so Carlisle shifted to wide receiver, and was expected to play a crucial role in the Notre Dame offense this season. He responded with two touchdown catches in the recent 31-0 romp over Michigan, and is second on the squad in receptions with 11. However, Carlisle strained the MCL in his right knee, and will likely be sidelined for at least a couple of games. Expect even more passes to go the way of sophomore William Fuller in Carlisle's absence.