Here we are, five weeks into the college football season and you’re either praising your quarterbacks or wondering what went wrong. Sure, the halfway point in the college season is just ahead, but there are still plenty of chances out there to right the quarterbacking wrong that is plaguing your team. It won’t be easy, it often won’t be pretty, but by taking a somewhat-calculated risk, you can still get some production out of the most important position on any football team – Fantasy or reality.
Having said that, it begs the question as to why I would volunteer to head the quarterback Sit/Start kiosk. The hope here is I’ll offer up some positive alternatives for you to help right the ship. And if I suck swamp water, they’ll probably boot me back to where I probably belong – handicapping the backup kickers for FBS teams.
And with that, let’s see who strikes my Fantasy fancy heading into Week 5.
Start ‘Em quarterbacks (BCS)
Keith Price, Washington: Despite this game being on the road at Utah, Price has continually shown the attributes of a much more seasoned quarterback. Utah’s pass defense has been shoddy all season long and ranks 100th in the FBS, giving up 263 yards per game. Price is tied for the national lead in touchdown passes with 14, so the chances of him increasing that total, particularly with an array of receiving options in place, seems likely against the Utes.
Sean Renfree, Duke: Yeah, yeah, I know – picking the Dukie is a risky proposition, but if you’re in need of quarterbacking inspiration, hear me out. Renfree has been one of the hottest quarterbacks over the last two weeks – a top-10 type Fantasy quarterback with 637 yards and three scores through the air and another three rushing touchdowns over the same two-game span. While I could see Florida International beating Duke, I don’t see them shutting Renfree down with a pass defense ranked 86th in the country.
Brock Osweiler, Arizona State: Normally, I’d refrain from highlighting two guys from out west, but Osweiler is on quite a roll. He’s got the 0-3 (and struggling) Oregon State Beavers coming to town and he’s fresh off a virtuoso performance in the manhandling of USC. The 6-foot-8 Osweiler seems to have hit his stride and with the return of running back Cameron Marshall, it’s difficult not to see the Sun Devils putting a beat-down on the Beavers – and Osweiler getting in his own statistical licks.
Tyler Bray, Tennessee: There have been some struggles, but Bray has the formidable Buffalo Bulls coming to town – sounds like a good time to get the passing game clicking, doesn’t it? Bray doesn’t generally fit into that top tier of Fantasy quarterbacks, but he’s a very good play this weekend against Buffalo.
Corey Robinson, Troy: No offense to UAB’s 111th ranked pass defense, but Robinson looks like a candidate to carve the Blazers up via run or pass. With nearly 1,000 yards passing in three games, including 731 combined against Arkansas and Clemson, Robinson certainly has the chops to put up some big numbers in this game. He’s a guy who continually flies under the radar, even after passing for 3,700 yards and 28 scores a season ago. Here’s betting Robinson just hammers the UAB defense for big numbers.
Austin Davis, Southern Mississippi: A name that sprung up a lot on Draft Day, Davis has been somewhat quiet so far, though he’s thrown for more than 1,000 yards and seven scores in four games. Well, he’s going to add to that total this weekend when Rice visits. Rice gives up 275 yards a game through the air, which smells like success for Davis.
Jake Heaps, BYU: OK, I’m going way out on a limb here, but I know Heaps has the talent to be very good – he just hasn’t been yet. I think this week is Heaps’ breakout week with Utah State coming to Provo for a Friday night showdown. The path to independence has not been what the Cougars would have hoped for, but this is certainly a winnable game at home and the perfect setting for Heaps to get things rolling again.
Sit ‘Em quarterbacks (BCS)
Sean Mannion, Oregon State: The new Beaver starter has thrown for a decent amount of yards this season, but with a running game gone AWOL and a visit to Arizona State’s nut-case home stadium, Mannion’s about to get a bit of an education. The Sun Devil’s unmanned Matt Barkley last weekend – a consensus first-round draft pick next spring – imagine the carnage they’ll wreak on Mannion in his second start. It’s almost too horrible to contemplate.
MarQueis Gray, Minnesota: Gray is a fun little run-pass option for the Gophers, but he’s heading into the lion’s den this week at Michigan. The Wolverines are feeling better about themselves under Brady Hoke and their defense is certainly capable of making plays against Minnesota’s offense. Gray doesn’t seem like a good play this week given the uncertainty surrounding the program, and the Wolverines decidedly better defensive play at home.
Tino Sunseri, Pittsburgh: Fortunately, a Thursday night tussle with South Florida offers Sunseri the chance to continue his uninspired play. I’d like to be impressed with the 422 yards and three scores the last two weeks, but I’m having a hard time getting past a South Florida defense that has been fairly tough since the 298-yard passing effort in Week 1 by Notre Dame.
Taylor Martinez, Nebraska: Oh, this one will bother people, but a visit to Wisconsin is not to be taken lightly. The Badgers’ defense usually is a different creature when it’s at home, and the Huskers and Martinez will find that out. Expect Wisconsin to force Martinez to beat them through the air while they pound away with a time-consuming running game and Russell Wilson’s overall talent. The Badgers are stingy with rushing yards (89.5 yards per game) and points (8.5 points per game). Taylor is going to find that not to his liking.
Tim Jefferson, Air Force: Coming off a huge game against Tennessee State, Jefferson will be hoping that the struggles of the season’s first two games are behind him. Unfortunately, he’ll be on the road against Navy, a team that understands the option offense and its nuances as well as anyone. I’m a huge fan of the way Navy plays defense, and I don’t think Jefferson will be feeling the same way when this one is done. Jefferson is going to have some more big games this season, but Navy is uniquely qualified to handle the Falcons option game – and Jefferson.
Matt Schilz, Bowling Green: Schilz leads the nation in touchdown passes (with Washington’s Keith Price), but those numbers have come against Idaho, Morgan State, Wyoming and Miami-Ohio. This week’s visit to West Virginia promises to be a far bigger test for Schilz than the other four games have been. West Virginia will likely get a lead and force Bowling Green to throw it, so there’s hope that by sheer volume, Schilz will put up numbers, but I’m seeing struggles, sacks and interceptions in his future as well.
J.J. McDermott, SMU: Yes, he picked apart Memphis last week with 357 yards and three scores, but SMU’s high octane offense is starting to get more and more run-loving. McDermott will see something different when the Ponies visit TCU this weekend – something unpleasant and kind of frightening. Four games into the season and McDermott has only four touchdown passes, hardly the run-and-shoot offense of June Jones’ past. It won’t get any better when TCU’s defense comes out in front of the home crowd.