For some of us, this week represents why we all play Fantasy sports. For others, we're left licking our wounds, wondering what might have been. This author falls into that second category after watching his quarterback (Zach Collaros) and running back (Henry Josey) leave him one half short of an elusive shot at a title. While their real pain is undoubtedly greater -- I have not come to grips with being on the outside looking in just yet.
What a weekend we just wrapped up. Injuries abound are going to leave a lot of owners shorthanded, or with a plethora of late-season options that can push you over the hurdle.
Shane Austin, QB, Hawaii: It's a rare opportunity when you can grab a system quarterback this late in the year. Austin's relief appearance against Nevada was full of mistakes, but he's likely to replace a quarterback who was averaging over 300 yards. Certainly keep an eye out for news reports, as the Warriors could turn to "QB of the Future" David Graves, but whoever starts the next three games on the islands will put up Fantasy-worthy numbers.
Munchie Legaux, QB, Cincinnati: The future is now for the Bearcats. With the aforementioned Collaros going down, Legaux will get the final three games of the season to show why he could be a top option in 2012. He threw for 144 yards, and ran for 77 more in relief against West Virginia, and should benefit from a full week of preparation. At least he better, because Cincy battles Rutgers with the Big East on the line. His rushing ability makes him a nice gamble.
Alex Gillett, QB, Eastern Michigan: The Eagles might be the biggest surprise story of 2011, sitting at a bowl-eligible 6-4, and just a game behind in the Western Division of the MAC after going 2-10 a season ago. Gillett isn't the only reason for the turnaround here, but he has tossed four touchdowns in each of his last two games. He's a run-first quarterback, and this is a run first, second and third offense. At least it was until recently. The Eagles are opening things up, keeping opponents honest, and Gillett is proving capable of being a Fantasy option. And being in the MAC, where defense is optional, doesn't hurt either.
Jyruss Edwards, RB, Louisiana Monroe: Where on Earth did this kid come from? Through eight games, Edwards had 87 carries, 340 yards and three touchdowns. In his past two contests, try 41 carries, 254 yards and seven total scores. When you're hot, you're hot, and Edwards deserves a look. One caveat however: The Warhawks play FIU this week before taking Week 13 off. Check your scoring, and make sure Edwards' Week 14 matchup with FAU can count toward your championship week.
Jerrell Rhodes, RB, Memphis: So much for easing him back into game shape. Before Saturday, Rhodes had just 13 carries all season, and had missed the previous four contests. Against UAB, he carried 17 times, gained 95 yards and scored twice. It'll be a little tougher against Marshall this week, but Rhodes is the Tigers' best player, and they'll ride him as best they can. You should, too.
Brandon Pendergrass, RB, Wake Forest: It's entirely possible that Josh Harris comes from nowhere, proves his hamstring is healthy, and gashes Maryland's pathetic rush defense this weekend. But it's probable we've seen the last of Harris this season, and Pendergrass is peaking just in time for your championship run. Yards haven't been easy to come by until last week against Clemson, but Pendergrass has scored six times in his last four contests. Any running back against the Terps is an option, and one with little competition for carries is even better.
Griff Whalen, WR, Stanford: Whalen is long overdue for a spot in this column, but is still showing availability, so it's time for me to make up for lost time. In his last six games, Whalen hasn't been below 76 yards receiving, and has four touchdowns. There is something to be said for consistency, especially come playoff time. It's rivalry time for the Cardinal too, so look for Andrew Luck to bounce back against Cal with Griff helping him out.
Alec Lemon, WR, Syracuse: If Whalen is your consistent option this week, Lemon is your boom or bust pick. He's got a ridiculous 19 catches, 336 yards and three touchdowns in his last two games. In his previous five, he had just 14 grabs and 156 yards. Some terrible scheduling has Lemon sitting this week out before games against Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in Weeks 13 and 14. He's of no use this week, but he's too hot to be left off the list of options here.
Tevin Reese, WR, Baylor: Reese has been almost as hot as Lemon over the past two weeks, totaling 290 yards on 13 catches, scoring three times. Unfortunately, that was against the likes of Missouri and Kansas, not Oklahoma, whom the Bears face Saturday. It's not an ideal situation, but you could do a lot worse if you are in need of replacing someone on a bye.
Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt: Matthews is another guy I've neglected over the past few weeks, thus atonement is necessary. He blends the consistency of Whalen with the upside of Lemon and Reese here, going for 452 yards and three scores in the past three games. Jordan Rodgers has brought new life to the Commodores offense, and with matchups against rival Tennessee and Wake Forest remaining, Matthews should finish the season on an awfully high note.