Thursday September 17thWelcome to my Thursday blog. Last year on CBS College Sports I did a weekly segment every Thursday in which I picked a surprise QB, RB, WR and Defense of the Week plus gave them my Upset Pick of the Week. I will do the same thing this year for everyone here on PhilSteele.com every Thursday! Here are my picks for top QB (with reasoning), RB, WR and Defenses of the Week plus an Upset Special. I also give you reasoning on 3 or 4 Honorable Mentions. Keep in mind these are NOT the obvious picks. I do not take the nation’s leading passer facing a weak secondary and pick him as my QB of the Week. These are mostly SURPRISE projections and I tell you why.
PhilSteele.com is teaming up with CFFinsider.com & CollegeFootballGeek.com to bring you college fantasy football information every week this year. Our friends at CFFinsider.com are giving us their top fantasy starters at each position for week 3 which are listed below my picks for this week.
And NEW THIS WEEK -- Waiver Wire Report and Sneaky Plays for Week 3 provided to you from CollegeFootballGeek.com
QB - Jake Locker, Washington - Hit 17 of 25 (68%), 253 yds, 3-0 ratio, 192.61 QBR with 1 rush TD in a 42-23 win over Idaho. I think 4 TD’s is worthy of a WIN.
Top “Others to Watch” performances from last week - Greg Alexander, Hawaii - Hit 26 of 36 (72%) for 453 yds, 3-0 ratio, 205.42 QBR in a 38-20 win over Wash St.
Kellen Moore, Boise - Hit 16 of 26 (62%) for 307 with a 4-1 ratio, 203.80 QBR in a 48-0 win over Miami, OH.
Case Keenum, Houston - Hit 32 of 46 (70%) for 366 yds with a 3-1 ratio, 153.6 QBR, 1 rush TD in the upset of OKSt.
RB - Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma St - Kendall got injured early in the game and only had 9 of OSU’s 41 carries for just 29 yards. Hunter is doubtful to play this week due to his injury. Since he only had 35 total yards, I will count it as a loss.
Top “Others to Watch” performance from last week - Dion Lewis, Pitt - 190 rush yds (7.9) with 2 TD’s plus 46 rec yds in a 54-27 win over Buffalo.
WR - Danario Alexander, Missouri - 7 rec (8.0) with no TD’s in win over Bowling Green. Alexander did have a reception where he was brought down on the 1 but stats not indicitve of a pick of the week so loss.
Top “Others to Watch” performance from last week - Greg Salas, Hawaii - Led UH with 7 rec for 195 yds (27.9) with 1 TD in the 18 pt win over Wash St.
Defense - Boise St (vs Miami, OH) - Held Miami, OH to 194 total yds in a shutout win. WIN
Top “Others to Watch” performance from last week - Penn St - Held Syracuse to 200 total yds including 65 rush (2.2) in a 21 pt win. In the last 2 games, their foes (Akron and Syracuse) have not hit 100 yards rushing - combined! CLICK HERE FOR PENN ST GAME-BY-GAME STATS.
Now here are this week's picks:
MY PICK: Todd Reesing, Kansas - Duke comes in #17 in the NCAA pass defense rankings as they are allowing just 138 ypg passing and less than 50% completions. Reesing will top their 276 total pass yards allowed in the first 2 games here. Kansas always plays better at home and Duke’s first two opponents were Richmond and Army, both teams that like to run the ball with Army running an option offense. The last time Duke faced a decent QB on the road Clemson QB Cullen Harper hit 27 of 38 for 326 yards and Reesing is a better QB than Harper.
Chris Todd, Auburn - Todd is finally healthy after playing last year with a bum shoulder. He is averaging 221 pass ypg (55%) with a 2-0 ratio in OC Malzahn’s run-first offense. This week they face a stout WV defense that will try to take away the run. Todd’s top receivers are between 6’1” and 6’3” and WV’s starting CB’s are both 5’10”. Auburn is in a legitimate revenge situation after allowing 31 unanswered pts in their 34-17 loss to WV in Morgantown LY.
Ryan Lindley, San Diego St - Lindley is averaging 263 pass ypg (51%) with a 4-3 ratio this year including 238 pass yds vs a tough UCLA D in the opener. Lindley threw for 433 yds (63%) with a 4-1 ratio in the Aztecs’ 45-17 win over Idaho last year. Idaho’s starting CB’s are 6’0” and 5’9” and SDSt’s top receivers are 6’4”, 6’2” and 6’0”. Idaho has allowed 244 ypg passing (66%) with a 3-1 ratio this year.
Zac Robinson, Oklahoma St - The Cowboys’ upset loss to Houston knocked them out of the rarified air of the Top 5 where they were ranked for the first time since 1985. In that game OSU lost All-Big 12 TB Kendall Hunter who is expected to miss this one as well. Robinson has yet to display ‘08’s form (3064 yd, 66%, 25-10 ratio) but this is also the weakest defense he’s faced so far this year. The Rice Owls are dead last in the NCAA in pass defense allowing 365 ypg (66%) with a 10-0 ratio in 2 gms vs UAB & Texas Tech. Robinson should look to his favorite target, All-Big 12 WR and potential 1st round DC, Dez Bryant (PS#5) early and often provided he’s fully healthy after missing time last week.
Colt McCoy, Texas - After 2 virtual scrimmages vs ULM and Wyoming the ‘Horns’ season finally gets into gear as they look to avenge the last second loss which cost them a trip to the BCS Title game. Heisman contender McCoy can make an early splash with a big effort here vs a defense which he’s averaged 273 ypg (65%) with a 10-3 ratio and 45 rush ypg in his career.
Tim Hiller, Western Michigan - Tim is one of the Top 8 QB’s for next year’s draft but at this point has just a 2-2 ratio and a passer rating of 119.38. He did just face two Big Ten defenses and now faces Miami, OH and should have a huge breakout game and get back on the scouts’ radar.
Landry Jones, Oklahoma - Landry is a rFr QB with 6 quarters of experience and he is averaging 168 ypg (54.5%) with a 3-1 ratio in his two games. His stats pale in comparison to his opponent this week Tulsa QB GJ Kinne. Kinne (PS#24) is a Texas transfer and has hit 67% of his passes for 521 yards and a 5-0 ratio in two games and leads Tulsa with 130 yards rushing. Going in Landry’s favor is that Kinne has just faced two of the weakest defenses in the country (Tulane & New Mexico) and now faces one of the best. Landry faces a decent but not great defense and I will call for Landry (PS#3) to put up better stats than Kinne.
Ryan Mallett, Arkansas - Georgia has an excellent defense and they held a potent Oklahoma St pass offense to just 11 of 22 for 135 yards. Georgia’s D has had two tough games in a row and now travels to face a fresh Arkansas team that has been preparing for THIS game for a month and a half. Arkansas only had SE Missouri St in the opener and a bye last week.
MY PICK: Patrick Mealy, Army - Mealy ranks #26 in the NCAA in rushing after 2 gms on just 15 carries with 208 yd (13.9!) as the Knights continue the transition to new HC Ellerson’s triple option. The Knights now take on an 0-2 Ball St squad which has allowed 203 rush ypg (4.5) vs the likes of North Texas (pass offense) and FCS New Hampshire. My computer projects Army to have 253 yds rushing and Mealy should continue to be a big play threat. Last year when Ball St played Navy they allowed 346 yards rushing and 5.9 ypc. The upset here is you are probably asking “Who is Patrick Mealy?”
Darius Marshall, Marshall - Darius was suspended in the opener and last week had an impressive 109 yards against a quality Virginia Tech team on the road. BG lost their entire DL from last year and while they have played well so far it has been versus a pair of passing offenses and they now take on a solid rush offense that can exploit it.
Toby Gerhart, Stanford - Gerhart turned down a baseball contract to come back for his senior season and his goal is 2,000 yards this year. He better kick it into overdrive if he is to get there as he has just 203 after two games (1200 yds pace). He is averaging 5.1 ypc and now faces a San Jose St defense that is allowing 7.0 ypc! Granted San Jose is the only team in the country to have faced two teams that WON BCS bowl games last year but Gerhart could top 200 here.
Darrell Scott, Colorado - Scott comes into game 3 with only 13 carries for 86 yds but is averaging 6.6 ypc. He had only 1 carry in the opener (hamstring inj and coaches decision) and only 12 carries last week as the Buffaloes fell behind and were forced to throw. CU is back home this week in a must-win situation facing a rebuilding Wyoming team. They should be able to stick with their gameplan and Scott looked good last week when given the chance. Here is a back with 86 yards on the season that could top that in the first half.
Toney Baker, NC StATE - Baker was the star of August but in the opener against a tough SEC defense he had just 24 yards on 8 attempts and was in the doghouse after an early fumble. Last week he was impressive when given the ball with 6.2 ypc. He only has 98 yards on the season but vs Gardner-Webb this week could double that.
Jeffery Demps, Florida - Demps splits carries with Chris Rainey (161, 12.4) and Emmanuel Moody (98, 9.8) but Demps leads the way with 176 yds (14.7 ypc!) and 3 TD. UF faces rival Tennessee under new HC Kiffin who accused Florida HC Meyer of cheating in recruiting. UT has a strong secondary that may slow down UF’s passing game, but UT is thin on the DL and in the LB corps which should allow the Gators to “RUN” up the score.
Zac Stacey, Vanderbilt - Stacey (PS#155) is a true freshman who rushed for 133 yds (6.7) in the opener vs Western Carolina and followed that up with 89 yds (4.4) at LSU last week. The LSU game was played in a steady rain and of course it’s never easy to face LSU in Death Valley at night. Vandy is at home this week facing a Miss St team that allowed 390 yds rushing to Auburn last week. Auburn RB’s averaged 6.6 yds every time they touched the ball last week vs Miss St. This is a legitimate revenge situation for Vandy because last year they were 5-0 and ranked #13 in the country but were upset in Starkville 17-14.
Jake Sharp, Kansas - Sharp is currently #2 in the Big 12 in rushing with 227 yds (6.1) and 3 TD. Head Coach Mangini said that Sharp is quicker and accelerates faster this year. Kansas usually rolls weak opponents early in the season and this week they face Duke at home. Our computer projects that KU will rush for 199 yds in the game and Sharp is their top option.
MY PICK: Vincent Brown, San Diego St - I can only get away with using this guy once as your first reaction is probably, who? Brown has proven to be Lindley’s favorite target and had 139 yards vs a tough UCLA defense. He is averaging an amazing 25.5 ypc and last year Lindley threw for over 400 yards against this Idaho defense. He should have a big day playing in the controlled conditions of the Kibbie Dome.
Dez Bryant - Oklahoma St - It has been a quiet year for Dez so far as he has just 8 total receptions in two games. He is averaging 20.3 ypc and has 2 TD’s and now faces a Rice defense that allowed 508 yards to Texas Tech last week. TT had a big game against Texas on deck while Oklahoma St only has Grambling on deck and is off a loss.
Michael Floyd, Notre Dame - Floyd is currently #2 in the NCAA in receiving yds (320) and is tied for #1 in TD receptions (4) despite missing the last 6:22 of the Michigan game while he was getting stitches. As a true freshman Floyd led the Irish in receiving with 7 rec for 86 yds and a TD but also lost a costly fumble at the Spartans’ 14 on Notre Dame’s first drive of the 3Q while trailing 10-0. The Irish offense truly hasn’t been stopped yet and 6’3” 220 Floyd creates matchup problems for any secondary.
Dezmon Briscoe, Kansas - After being suspended for the opener, Briscoe returned to his All-Big 12 form last week with 8 rec for 154 yds vs UTEP. The Jayhawks now take on a Duke squad which has struggled vs the likes of Richmond (loss) and Army (close game until the 4Q when Army’s backup QB threw 2 IR TD’s). The Devils have to face a true passing team and now take on Jayhawks offense led by QB Reesing who will like to one of the nation’s most productive receiving tandems (Briscoe & Kerry Meier) early and often.
Tim Brown and Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers - Week one the Knights did not know who their QB was but Tom Savage took control in the 2nd half and did well. Savage is now in his 2nd start and that should mean increased stats for these two. Brown had just 3 receptions last week but for 132 yards and a super 44.0 ypc. Sanu was the talk of August and is ready for a breakout game. The Knights had 42 points at the half and put their offense away in the 2nd half last week. This week’s game will be more competitive so they should be passing in the 2nd half. Florida International played an Alabama team that was in a letdown mode last week but Rutgers needs an impressive win and should at least bring their B+ game.
Markques SIMAS, COLORADO - Marques (PS#20) was suspended as a rFr and did not play last year. He was very impressive in the spring and summer but then was suspended the first 2 games this year. Marques has finally been cleared to play and should have a big game in a must win situation vs a wyoming defense that is allowing 478 yards per game.
MY PICK: Baylor - Baylor is fresh off a bye while Connecticut is off a hard-hitting tough loss to North Carolina. Baylor is playing with revenge after last year’s 31-28 loss and Connecticut starting QB Zach Frazer is out with a knee injury. My computer predicts that Connecticut will have just 248 total yds in the game and that doesn’t even account for the loss of Frazer. Keep in mind Baylor has three potential first team All Big 12 players this year in LB Pawelek, S Lake and 355 lb DT Phil Taylor (Penn St transfer).
Penn St - Paterno is 25-0 all-time vs the Owls with TU scoring a combined total of 3 pts in the last 3 contests between the in state schools. In fact in the last 15 series matchups the Owls average 8.2 ppg with 3 shutouts in that time span. The Lions have 1 of the NCAA’s top front sevens and they now face an OL which I rate as tied for the weakest in the MAC at #11. My power ratings project the Owls to have just 147 total yds and 3 pts which sounds about right to me.
Florida - The Gators are facing rival Tennessee and going for their 4th consecutive win in the series. With UT Head Coach Kiffin calling out UF Head Coach Meyer in the offseason, the players will be especially fired up for this one. UF has all 11 starters back on defense and last year held UT to just 243 total yards and 6 points. My computer predicts the Vols will be able to muster just 210 total yds and 10 points this year. UT faced a decent UCLA defense (not outstanding like Florida) last week and only had 208 total yds and 15 points with QB Crompton reverting to his old ways throwing 3 int with only 93 yds passing.
Clemson - The Tigers currently rank #7 in the ACC in total defense allowing 373.5 ypg after facing Middle Tennessee and Georgia Tech. This week they have a few extra days to prepare for Boston College. BC is taking a big step up in competition after facing Northeastern and Kent St the last 2 weeks. My computer predicts that Clemson will hold BC to just 235 total yds.
Oklahoma - Tulsa averaged 570 ypg on offense last year and has not missed a beat this year with 451 ypg and 40.5 ppg. Tulsa has taken on two very weak defenses and now face one of the top defenses in the country. My computer is showing Tulsa with just 277 yards which would be their lowest total in years.
UPSET OF THE WEEK
Marshall over Bowling Green - Marshall is in almost a MUST WIN situation as they have to have a winning year for Snyder to stick around and they do have a quality squad. They were not impressive in the opener vs a FCS school but did not have RB Marshall for that. Last week was an unwinnable game at Virginia Tech and they just picked up a check. Here they take on a 1-1 BG team that almost upset Missouri last week. BG has to be disappointed after blowing a late lead to Missouri and is on their 2nd straight away game and has a marquee home game vs ranked Boise St next week. This is the least important game of September for BG and maybe the most important game of the year for Marshall that needs a win. If you look at the defensive front 7’s of these two teams, Marshall rates a large edge.
Here is the complete list from CFFinsider.com of their top fantasy starters at each position for week 3.
Top 25 QBs:
Top 25 RBs:
Top 25 WRs:
Top 15 TEs:
Top 15 Ks:
Top 15 Defenses:
A very special thanks to our friends at CollegeFootballGeek.com for providing us with the Waiver Wire Report for Week 3:
Need to bolster your roster for the long term? Here is a look at the top college fantasy football prospects who may be available on the waiver wire.
PICK ‘EM UP
Aaron Opelt (Toledo)
Opelt is shockingly the top fantasy QB thus far. If he’s still floating out there on the wire, snap him up. He has a rough matchup this week against Ohio State, but plenty of defense-challenged MAC opponents await down the line.
Zac Lee (Nebraska)
Currently ranks as a Top 20 fantasy QB. Virginia Tech this week is a bad matchup, but Lee will be a solid play when the B12 slate begins.
Ricky Dobbs (Navy)
With his ability to rack up the rushing yards and TDs, Dobbs is going to be a great spot starter for the remainder of the season. Pick him up if his schedule matches up with your current starters.
Dwight Dasher (Middle Tennessee State)
Though the stats might not show it, Dasher has played two very strong games against Clemson and Memphis. We expect him to improve as the season goes on, and make some noise in Sun Belt play.
Tate Forcier (Michigan)
Forcier had a monster performance against Notre Dame. He is a great pick up for those in BCS-only leagues.
Zach Maynard (Buffalo)
400 yards and 4 TD passes against a good Pitt defense. MAC defenses, beware.
Ryan Colburn (Fresno State)
His 289 yards and 4 TD performance at Wisconsin is a good sign of things to come.
PICK ‘EM UP
Ralph Bolden (Purdue)
Two weeks, two explosive performances. NIU and Notre Dame are next on the docket for the nation’s leading rusher.
Keith Toston (Oklahoma State)
With Kendall Hunter going down with a leg injury, Toston becomes the No. 1 RB in the potent Oklahoma State running game.
Daniel Thomas (Kansas State)
Thomas has been the focal point of the offense thus far, racking up 50 rushes in his first two games.
Armando Allen (Notre Dame)
164 total yards and a score against Michigan. That’s two straight weeks of solid fantasy production.
Shane Vereen (Cal)
The top fantasy “backup” in the country has 5 touchdowns in two weeks.
Chris Polk (Washington)
Polk had his second consecutive strong outing last week.
Undrea Sails (ULL)
Sails is currently a Top 20 fantasy back. He has a few tough matchups before a juicy conference slate begins. Grab him, and wait for Sun Belt play to commence.
Onterio McCalebb (Auburn)
38 carries for 260+ yards and a couple scores over the first two games. The schedule gets tougher, but McCalebb could be a nice spot starter in BCS-only leagues.
Jourdan Brooks (Rutgers)
Just when we thought “Jersey Joe” Martinek had the starting gig wrapped up, Brooks ripped of a 17-124-3 statline.
D.J. Harper (Boise State)
13-89-1 against Miami(OH) while Jeremy Avery only mustered up 7-19-0.
Toney Baker (NC State), Dwayne Priest (Eastern Michigan), Keiland Williams (LSU), Marcus Curry (Navy), Brandon Wegher (Iowa)
PICK ‘EM UP
Rodney Bradley (Hawaii)
7-150-2 against Washington State. The high-flying Hawaii passing attack appears to be back and Bradley is right in the mix along with Greg Salas.
Deryn Bowser (Akron)
Scored one TD against Penn State in the opener, and followed it up with a hat trick of scores in week 2.
Eric Page (Toledo)
The freshman made two big plays in the win over Colorado, posting a 3-138-1 statline. That’s 15 catches in two games.
Tim Brown (Rutgers)
Posted 3-132-1 against Howard on Saturday. As freshman QB Tom Savage continues to mature, Brown’s stock will rise.
Vincent Brown (San Diego State)
Remarkably consistent thus far, posting 5-139-1 and 6-142-1 statlines.
Seyi Ajirotutu (Fresno State), Jimmy Young (TCU), Lyle Leong (Texas Tech), Ryan Whalen (Stanford), Brett Hamlin (Buffalo), Niles Paul (Nebraska)
PICK ‘EM UP
Dorin Dickerson (Pittsburgh)
Four touchdowns in two weeks. Yeah, the Pitt passing game leaves much to be desired, but Dickerson is making the most of it.
Jeffrey Anderson (UAB)
10 catches in two weeks. The schedule gets tougher, but Anderson should be a nice play in key spots the rest of the way.
Luke Aubrey (UL-Lafayette)
Aubrey has taken over for the ineffective Ladarius Green and posted 9 catches and 2 scores so far this season.
Riar Greer (Colorado), Leroy Banks (Southern Miss), Kevin Koger (Michigan), Kavario Middleton (Washington)
Here are the Sneaky Plays for Week 3, provided by CollegeFootballGeek.com
Do you need roster help this weekend but missed out on the hot waiver wire pick ups? Here are some sneaky, under-the-radar players who have favorable matchups this week.
Landry Jones (QB, Oklahoma) vs. Tulsa:
In his second start filling in for the injured Sam Bradford, Landry should excel against Tulsa in a potential shoot-out. The Sooner looked good last week in a tune up game against lowly Idaho State.
Tom Savage (QB, Rutgers) vs. Florida International:
This highly touted recruit got his first start last week against Howard and he certainly did not disappoint. This upcoming game versus FIU should prove to be another stepping stone for this youngster and should go a long way in his development.
Chris Jacquemain (QB, Akron) vs. Indiana:
This Zip looks to improve upon his impressive game against Morgan State as the Hoosiers come to town. Neither one of these teams play much defense so I’d expect to see both offenses move up and down the field at will.
Ryan Lindley (QB, San Diego State) vs. Idaho:
Lindley has accounted for 525 yards and 5 touchdowns through two games (one game versus a decent UCLA defense). This week, the Aztecs face Idaho who are ranked 93rd in the country in pass defense.
Toben Opurum (RB, Kansas) vs. Duke:
While Jake Sharp is the clear-cut starter for Kansas, Opurum has been getting plenty of carries and seems to have a nose for the end zone. The pathetic Blue Devils come to Lawrence to take their beating and Opurum should do his share of damage.
Beau Johnson (RB, Oklahoma State) vs. Rice:
With starter Kendall Hunter being sidelined by injury, Johnson should see plenty of opportunities against a bad Rice team. Keith Toston was the hot waiver wire pick up of the week, but Johnson will also get plenty of reps in this blowout.
Zac Stacy (RB, Vanderbilt) vs. Mississippi State:
This freshman has taken the ball and run with it very well in the opening weeks of this season. Now he faces a Bulldogs team that was torched on the ground last week by Auburn. Look for a big workload from Stacy with 120 and 2 TD’s a very real possibility.
Delone Carter (RB, Syracuse) vs. Northwestern:
The running back with the biggest arms in all of college football has looked impressive early against quality competition. He is averaging a robust 19 carries per game, which should translate into an excellent game against a Northwestern team that gave up 172 yards on the ground to Eastern Michigan last week.
Blair White (WR, Michigan State) vs. Notre Dame:
This gritty senior has proven to be the “go to” guy in the Spartans passing game. With Notre Dame’s ability to put up points, Sparty is going to have to throw a lot to stay in the game. This is good news for White who has already posted two 100 yard games this season.
Jarius Wright (WR, Arkansas) vs. Georgia:
This sophomore had an impressive debut in Week 1 with 6 catches for 139 yards. He looks to be an integral part of the Razorbacks improved passing game, which should translate into some quality numbers, even against a tough Georgia squad.
Scotty McKnight (WR, Colorado) vs. Wyoming:
Sure, the Buffs are having their problems. However, this week they face Wyoming and their 115th ranked pass defense. Look for McKnight to post solid numbers.
Weslye Saunders (TE, South Carolina) vs. Florida Atlantic:
Saunders remains available in most leagues despite an 8-96-0 statline last week at Georgia. Look for him to exploit FAU’s weak pass defense and produce quality stats.
Wisconsin vs. Wofford
NC State vs. Gardner-Webb
Wake Forest vs. Elon
Missouri vs. Furman
For more college fantasy football information, visit CollegeFootballGeek.com:
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