PLAYERS TO START
Wes Lunt, QB, Illinois (vs. Western Illinois)
Illinois was seemingly not bothered by the firing of Tim Beckman, as they easily dispatched Kent State last week by a score of 52-3. The lopsided score limited Luntís playing time, but he still managed to throw four touchdowns. He was highly regarded at Oklahoma State before transferring, and last year in limited action he threw for 14 touchdowns against three interceptions. Western Illinois is an even easier opponent than Kent State, so it should be another big game for Lunt.
Sefo Liufau, QB, Colorado (vs. Massachusetts)
Liufau and the Buffaloes got off to a rough start to the season, but Colorado was on the road in Hawaii for a game that kicked off at 1:00 AM ET. Thatís a weird situation to find yourself in, and last year Liufau gave us reasons to believe in him, as he threw for 3,200 yards and 28 touchdowns as a sophomore. A home game against UMass is a much better opportunity, so expect Liufau to bounce back this week.
Thomas Sirk, QB, Duke (vs. North Carolina A&T)
Sirk began his time as Dukeís starter under center by throwing for 289 yards and two touchdowns on the road against Tulane. He also rushed 15 times for 68 yards, showing his potential as dual-threat player. Sirk has an even better matchup in line for his home debut, which should keep his transition going smoothly.
Qadree Ollison, RB, Pittsburgh (at Akron)
The loss of James Conner is a huge blow not just for Pittsburgh but also for the impartial college football fan. However, all may not be lost, because Ollison stepped in last week for Conner and impressed immediately, gaining 207 yards on 16 carries and scoring once. Now that he has presumably moved into the starting lineup, his stock is on the rise, and Akron is another relatively easy matchup for him.
Larry Rose III, RB, New Mexico State (vs. Georgia State)
NMSU had a rough go of it in their season opener, as they were served up as a cupcake for Florida in coach Jim McElwainís debut. Even so, Rose managed to have a decent game, as he scored a touchdown and led the team in both rushing yards (64) and receiving yards (42). Fortunately, things will be much easier this week, as the Aggies are hosting Georgia State, who just lost to FBS newbies UNC Charlotte. This should give Rose a chance to really stretch his legs.
Josh Hicks, RB, Rutgers (vs. Washington State)
Rutgers had turmoil in the offseason, but that didnít hurt it Week 1, as the Knights beat up on Norfolk State. Youíd think this weekís matchup would be tougher, but that may not be the case with Washington State, which was just beaten by Portland State, perhaps the worst loss of the opening week, and the Cougarsí defense has never been impressive under coach Mike Leach. Hicks rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener and could easily replicate that performance against Wazzu.
Ray-Ray McCloud, WR, Clemson (vs. Appalachian State)
The loss of Mike Williams to a neck injury leaves Clemsonís offense in need of a new lead receiver. McCloud may be a freshman, but heís a talented freshman, and he had eight catches for 80 yards in the Tigersí season opener. He could run into some trouble against tougher competition later this year, but Appalachian State likely wonít be much of a hurdle for him. This could be McCloudís coming-out party.
Devin Lauderdale, WR, Texas Tech (vs. UTEP)
Texas Tech has questions on defense after giving up 45 points to Sam Houston State, but they also scored 59 points thanks to a big passing game. Lauderdale led the day with eight catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns. UTEP is only a slight step up defensively from SHSU, so this should be another easy matchup for Kliff Kingsburyís passing offense. Even if they spread the ball around, there should be enough for Lauderdale to have another big game.
Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M (vs. Ball State)
While freshman quarterback Kyler Murray got a lot of the publicity, itís fellow freshman Kirk who really made his mark during the Aggiesí season-opening win over Arizona State. In addition to returning a kick for a touchdown, Kirk caught six passes for 106 yards, with 66 of those yards coming on a touchdown. Ball State is a lesser opponent than the Sun Devils, and while Kirk has only played one college game so far, it was impressive enough to get excited about him in this offense.
PLAYERS TO SIT
Vernon Adams, QB, Oregon (at Michigan State)
Adams looked like he fit in during Oregonís season opener, as the former Eastern Washington quarterback played well against his old team before leaving the game with a head injury. The injury isnít expected to linger, so it is only a minor concern for this week. What is a concern, though, is Adams making his Ducks road debut against the strong Michigan State defense. This is Adamsí first real test, and he could struggle in the hostile environment.
Luke Falk, QB, Washington State (at Rutgers)
You donít want to overreact to one game. However, Washington Stateís loss at home to Portland State was concerning, especially since they only scored 17 points. Falk wasnít bad, throwing for 289 yards and two touchdowns, but again, that was against Portland State. A road game against Rutgers should be a stiffer test. The season opener may have been a fluke, but now is not the time to take the risk.
Greg Ward Jr., QB, Houston (at Louisville)
Starting Ward last week was the smart thing to do, as he had a huge game, throwing for a touchdown while running for over 100 yards and two more touchdowns. However, he was playing Tennessee Tech, and this week heís facing Louisville on the road. The Cardinals played well in a loss to Auburn and caused all sorts of trouble for QB Jeremy Johnson. If they make it equally tough for Ward, his numbers are going to take a dive.
Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo (at Arkansas)
We have no new data on Hunt, as Toledoís season opener was cancelled due to weather. However, last year Hunt ran for over 1,600 yards and 16 touchdowns. Itís one thing to rack up numbers against a MAC schedule, but itís another thing entirely to visit the Razorbacks in Fayetteville. UTEPís Aaron Jones gained 153 yards from scrimmage against Arkansas last week, but a lot of that was because of his role in the passing game, an area where Hunt hasnít had much impact. Either way, it is one of the tougher matchups a fantasy running back will have this week, and Hunt isnít quite matchup proof.
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford (vs. UCF)
Stanfordís offense was a disaster last week, failing to even reach the end zone against Northwestern. McCaffrey was considered a breakout possibility this season, but it didnít happen against the Wildcats, as he only gained 66 yards on 12 carries, with 23 yards receiving as well. UCF also had a rough go of it in their season opener, but their problem wasnít on defense. After such a bad game, itís hard to have any trust in the Cardinal offense.
Storm Barrs-Woods, RB, Oregon State (at Michigan)
Change is afoot at Oregon State, what with longtime coach Mike Riley being replaced by Gary Andersen, and it seems like the change could have a negative impact on Barrs-Woods. New quarterback Seth Collins threw the ball just 18 times, but he also ran it 17 times for 152 yards. Meanwhile, Barrs-Woods had just 15 carries for 63 yards. Could Collins end up as the lead rusher for the Beavers? Either way, a trip to Michigan could be tough. The Wolverines had some problems in their opener, but they were mostly on the offensive side of the ball.
Dezmon Epps, WR, Idaho (at USC)
As expected, Epps was the focal point for the Vandals in their opener, pulling down 15 catches for 163 yards. That was against Ohio, at home. This is against USC, on the road. Heíll still be the main target for Idahoís offense, but the Trojans will be watching film from the Ohio game and should have an easier time preventing him from getting the ball.
Isaiah Jones, WR, East Carolina (at Florida)
The Pirates have been known for their passing game under Ruffin McNeill, but in their season opener they were led by running back Chris Hairston and his four touchdowns. Jones led the team in receiving, but it was with only 77 yards. That was against Towson, too, and this is against Florida, whose defense looked strong in the opener. Even if ECU turned its attention more to the passing game3, it will be tough for Jones to get anything going against the Gators.
Ron Willoughby, WR, Buffalo (at Penn State)
Willoughby was expected to be the top receiver for Buffalo this season, but at least in the opener that wasnít the case. He only had three catches for 60 yards against Albany, although the game was a blowout that may have skewed the numbers. Nevertheless, Willoughby and Buffalo have to visit Penn State this week. The Nittany Lions didnít exactly wow in their season-opening loss to Temple, but their defense is at least decent and should make it hard on Willoughby.