Big Upsets Lead to Turbulent Week In College Fantasy Football

Caleb Couturie FishWrap, FishWrap Archive

No, sad Oregon fan, you are not alone. If you watched any games this past weekend in college football, you know just how crazy it was. It started with us, No. 2 Oregon, being upset by Arizona. Then BYU lost to Utah State on Friday. Next, No. 3 Alabama went down to Ole Miss, followed by No. 4 Oklahoma losing to TCU. The No. 8 and No. 14 teams lost, too, and now the already confusing first season for the college football playoff is even more up in the air. Florida State and Auburn are now the only undefeated contenders, but as for the other two teams, the playoff couldn’t be less certain — not that it’s even certain for them.

Royce Freeman and Co. saw surprising third down usage in the Arizona game.

Kevin Cline

Royce Freeman and Co. saw surprising third down usage in the Arizona game.

With a week such as this, I was not surprised to see my fantasy team struggle. Greatly. Marcus Mariota, who was the first quarterback I chose, watched as his team ran the ball on third and goal, and then again on a crucial third down late in the game. The Ducks chose to place their hopes for the Arizona game on freshman running back Royce Freeman instead of Mariota. My other QB, Taysom Hill, suffered a leg fracture before the end of the second half and is now out for the season. Overall, it was by far my lowest scoring output of the season with a total of 134 points, and I’m eager to put it behind me. Here’s the lineup I think will get me back on track:

Quarterback 1: Deshaun Watson, Clemson Tigers.  Watson formally took over as the Tigers’ QB in Clemson‘s Week 4 match up against FSU, and since taking the helm of the Tigers’ empire, Watson has thoroughly impressed. Including the FSU game, in his last three games he has totaled nearly 1,000 yards through the air, while throwing for eight scores and running for an additional three. He’s a fiery spark plug that helps propel the Clemson offense to newer and more competitive levels. This week the Tigers play Louisville, a team yet to face a ranked team. I think Louisville will play a harder game than Clemson may be expecting, though, which is why I’d look for Watson to play the whole game and lead this potent offense to a solid win against the Cardinals.

Quarterback 2: Everett Golson, Notre Dame Fighting Irish.  I’ve wanted to take Golson for a while now, but the timing never felt right, especially last week as he and the Irish played the No. 1 defense in the country, Stanford. This week, the Irish get a much easier opponent with the University of North Carolina, a team that has given up an average of 51 points per game against its last three opponents. Golson is another dual-threat QB, who’s thrown for 13 touchdowns and run for another four so far this year. The Irish want to prove they can hang with the big boys, and I doubt they’re going to take this UNC game as a gimme. I’m looking for Golson and this offense to come out firing on all cylinders, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed Golson will find the endzone himself at least once.

Gordon has run rampant so far this season.

Gordon has run rampant so far this season.

Running Back 1: Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin Badgers. Honestly, he’s just really good. A serious contender for the Heisman, Gordon has run for at least 180 yards in all three of his last contests, and he’s run for more than 250 yards in two of those three. He’s got eight touchdowns in those three games as well, and with Wisconsin QB Tanner McEvoy looking so weak, Wisconsin has finally learned who it should be running its offense through (no pun intended). I’m staying with the hot hand here and hoping Gordon will at least break the 175 yard mark for the fourth straight week. 

Running Back 2: Anthone Taylor, Buffalo Bulls.  Speaking of hot hands, this guy is on fire! Over the last two games, Taylor has rushed for 441 yards and six touchdowns on 72 touches. He is singlehandedly carrying this Buffalo offense through games, and without him the Bulls wouldn’t have managed to come out with a victory two weeks ago against Miami (Ohio). Buffalo plays Eastern Michigan this week, a team that is 1-4 and is giving up roughly 250 yards on the ground per contest. Similar to Wisconsin, this offense is centered around its RB and I expect Buffalo to ride Taylor to victory this Saturday. Also, you can’t argue with the guy’s workload. A lot of people can put up big numbers when they’re getting 36 touches a game. 

Wide Receiver 1: Kevin White, West Virginia Mountaineers.  White is part of the two-headed monster that is the WVU receiving corps. He and Mario Alford have been absolutely wreaking havoc on defenses this year, but typically it starts with White. The Mountaineer is yet to tally fewer than 100 yards in a game so far this season, and he’s caught a touchdown in four out of five of the games he’s played. I was afraid to play him when WVU played Oklahoma, and almost as if he was trying to spite me, he went off for 173 yards and a TD. This guy is the real deal, and this dangerous WVU passing attack heads into a matchup this week against lowly Texas Tech. TTU has given up at least 25 points in every game this season, and it has given up 45 or more points in each of its last three. I expect all of WVU to have a big day against TTU, but it all starts with this guy. 

Wide Receiver 2: Justin Hardy, East Carolina Pirates.  Even though I don’t think East Carolina will be able to compete against the top teams, boy are they fun to watch! QB Shane Carden leads an ECU team that has run rampant against FBS teams. This offense has put up scores of 45, 52 and 70, and the Pirates don’t look like they’re on pace to slow down. Hardy is Carden’s favorite wide receiver, and I think this past week they finally showed how dangerous they can both be when they’re on the same page. Hardy snagged eight balls for 120 yards receiving, three of which were touchdowns, on the way to ECU’s rout of Southern Methodist. ECU plays South Florida this week, a team of similar caliber to SMU, and I don’t expect Carden and Hardy to have too many problems. Hardy has been pretty hit or miss, but I’m hoping Carden continues to connect with his biggest weapon and ECU continues to roll. Also, I appreciate a receiver who can do it all as much as the next fan, and this guy can do it all. Just watch. Please.

Defense: Oklahoma State Cowboys.  This week I’m trying something new and instead of choosing a defense I know is traditionally very good, I’m choosing the team that plays one of the weaker teams in CFB. I call it the Jacksonville (as in Jaguars) strategy. Oklahoma State plays Kansas this week, and luckily, not only is Kansas one of the worse teams in the Big 12, but Oklahoma State is one of the best. This strategy could completely backfire on me since I’m not doing a whole lot of research on the OSU D, but any Top-25 defense that plays Kansas can’t have too bad of a week.

Place Kickers: Oregon Ducks.  Sticking to my promise of taking a Duck player every week, and God knows I’m not taking that defense. ESPN doesn’t list Devon Allen as a player I could take either, and honestly, as much as I love Mariota, right now I’ve lost a little faith. I hope they prove me wrong, I really do, but this week I’m staying safe with the kickers.

Dark Horses:

QB: Paxton Lynch, Memphis Tigers; Trevone Boykin, TCU Horned Frogs

RB: Travis Greene, Bowling Green Falcons; Javorious Allen, USC Trojans

WR: Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss Rebels; Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma Sooners

I’m taking a couple of gambles this week, but I’m desperate to redeem myself after my worst week yet and continue to try to claw my way back to the top. It all starts with this upcoming week, and this lineup right here.

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