You just know some things are going to happen. Michael J. Fox is going to make those free throws at the end of Teen Wolf. Frank Caliendo will eventually go away. And players like Chris Wells and Mark Sanchez will eventually explode. While we may occasionally wonder if the world has gone mad, things, be they in real life or the fantasy world, usually return to a sense of normalcy.
A look at our fantasy point leaderboard shows many top pre-season players slowly working their way towards the top. LeSean McCoy, Emmanuel Sanders and Jarrett Dillard are already there, and the likes of the aforementioned Wells and Sanchez will soon be there. But while this is evidence that it's once again wise to ride your stars, it doesn't mean that owners shouldn't take a flyer on a lesser known player who may be providing evidence that a breakout performance is on the way.
Week Eight saw the likes of Austin Davis, Jason Ford and Jerrel Jernigan, all not quite household names, break out and prove difference makers in leagues across the country. As playoff time nears owners need these pleasant surprises to supplement typical games from their big guns in order to keep moving towards that playoff birth. It's just so difficult to know when guys like Ford are going to emerge. And it's this unknown which often makes scanning box scores such a nerve-wracking experience, especially at this point in the season.
Last week's starts, led by Austin Davis and Diondre Borel, averaged a robust 31 points while my sits, thanks in part to Inoke Funaki's struggles, came in at 11.96 points. Running back starts were decent with 12.34 points compared to 5.37 from the RB sits. Dez Bryant led the receiver starts, and his 26 points offset the struggles of Jeremy Childs, leaving this average at 14.98 points. Darrius Heyward-Bey came back nicely to hurt my sit average, however I'll take 8.55. In total I'll take an average of 19.46 for the starts and 8.63 for the sits.
Now, moving on, we take a look at this week's player rankings and break out the old eight ball in hopes of making some lineup choices a little easier.
Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame
What should have been a battle between two highly touted sophomore quarterbacks is now the Tyrone Willingham Watch. Jake Locker's injury is one of many things that has gone wrong for the Huskies, and now they get to welcome a Notre Dame offense that has blossomed of late.
Washington's pass defense is allowing over 250 yards passing per game, and with only two interceptions against 18 touchdown passes allowed, it's fair to expect Jimmy Clausen to throw for three or more scores.
Here's my weekly lay up. Chase Daniel and his Tigers scored at least 50 points in four of their first five games. Then they ran into Oklahoma State and Texas, and in those two games Mizzou only combined for 54 points. Chase and his teammates will take out a little frustration on Dan Hawkins' boys this week.
Colorado has played both Texas and Kansas already, and their pass defense has been solid; in fact this unit has only allowed five touchdown passes this season, and this number may double this week.
Max Hall, BYU
Last week the Cougars were smothered by the rabid TCU defense. This week Max Hall faces UNLV, and the Running Rebels show no resemblance to the Horned Frog defensive unit. The Cougars did a little soul searching this week, and they're ready to put last week behind them. Max Hall will lead the way.
Joe Ganz, Nebraska
It's Joe's second consecutive week on the start list, and following a nice start against Iowa State, we're looking for a little bit more against Baylor. While the Bears haven't been horrible, only allowing eight touchdown passes against on the season, they are allowing nearly 27 points per game. This is one of the few Big XII games where the Huskers can truly flex their muscles, and a big game from Ganz appears imminent.
Tim Tebow, Florida
Ahh yes, Mr. Tebow. While he's not putting up numbers anywhere near 2007, the reigning Heisman winner is beginning to become a fantasy factor once again. This week he heads to lovely Lexington, and he'll face a UK defense that may be without as many as six starters. Looks like a big game for Superman.
Chase Clement, Rice
My new rule where I have to pick a player to sit from each tier of players is especially difficult this week, as at first glance all tier one quarterbacks appear to be locks to blow up this week. Then I look a little closer and suddenly see that red hot Chase Clement will travel to New Orleans to take on a Tulane squad that ranks 7th nationally in passing defense, only allowing 174 yards per game through the air. Of course, when one looks at total defense the Tulane unit isn't quite as impressive.
If Chase Clement is your clear-cut, number one starter, then by all means keep him in your lineup. But I'd recommend sitting the Rice leader if there's another viable option.
Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State
I'm really playing with fire by including Robinson on the same start list as Clement. And while this one could come back to really bite me, I can't get over how impressive the Texas run defense has been. They still allow less than 2 yards per carry, and this makes opposing offensive units suddenly become very one-dimensional.
Zac Robinson is one of the better dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation, and you can bet the gunslinger is fired up about what many are deeming the biggest game in Oklahoma State history. But something tells me Will Muschamp will have his Horns ready, and that Zac Robinson will be in for a long day.
Willie Tuitama, Arizona
This week Arizona will play the role of last week's Michigan State team. Sitting at a surprising 5-2, and fired up about a "measuring stick" game against USC, the Wildcats will look to make a national statement.and the USC Trojans will make it very clear that Arizona still has a long way to go in order to measure up to the college football elite. Willie T struggles mightily on Saturday night.
MiQuale Lewis, Ball State
Ball State welcomes Eastern Michigan to Muncie, and the Eagles are a team that has yielded an average of 5.5 yards per carry and over 220 yards per game. While Ball State seems resigned to the fact that a BCS dream will not become reality, the possibility of a undefeated season is very real, and the Cardinals are very willing to let the ground game take care of business.
LeSean McCoy, Pittsburgh
As mentioned in last week's Saturday Rewind, I'm of the opinion that LeSean McCoy will continue to climb the running back fantasy leaders, and when it's all said and done he may be at the top. McCoy has averaged around 27 fantasy points over the last two games, and this week he'll face a Rutgers' defense that is only allowing 3.8 yards per carry, but has shown a penchant for allowing the big play.
Rodney Stewart, Colorado
We think Chase Daniel will have his fun against Colorado, but we also don't see the Tigers totally containing the Buffaloes, especially on the ground. Stewart has averaged about 20 carries over the last five weeks, and last week saw the freshman score his first collegiate touchdown. Missouri is a middle of the road defensive unit, but they come in a little bit lower in total defense. Their offense may score at will, but the defense will spend enough time on the field to allow Stewart to get his carries, yards and maybe even touchdowns.
Brandon Minor, Michigan
First I thought it was going to be Michael Shaw who would lead the Wolverine ground attack. Then maybe Carlos Brown would get his shot alongside Sam McGuffie. Then last week the forgotten man, Brandon Minor ran very well against Penn State, and suddenly Michigan State had another runner to worry about. The Spartans have not been able to truly shut down its rival in a long, long time, and it won't happen on Saturday.
Vai Taua, Nevada
Tua is seeing close to 20 carries per game, and he's doing a lot with them. Nine touchdowns over the last four games, and a trip to face the Hawaii defense is on tap. Don't have too much fun on Saturday night Vai, and all will be good on Sunday.
Javon Ringer, Michigan State
He's among the nation's leading rushers and touchdown producers, and yet he continues to show up on our sit list. Despite his stellar career, one criticism has been Ringer's inability to bust out against big name opponents. While Michigan certainly isn't the squad we're accustomed to seeing, they have had MSU's number of late. Yes, there's a very good chance that Javon Ringer could bust some big runs on the way to 200 yards, however the MSU offense isn't the spread em out version that has given the Wolverines fits. So if there's one RB1 on our rankings that may be bottled up, I think it'll be Mr. Ringer.
Ryan Mathews, Fresno State
I'm a little worried about Mathews' knee injury and the fact that his Bulldogs are playing a lousy Utah State team. Things get OOC (that's out of control to you out of touch fogies) and Mathews will be taking a nice little break.
Vic Anderson, Louisville
Fresh off a 19-161-1 rushing performance Vic and his boys welcome South Florida to Papa Johns Stadium, and the Bulls are only allowing 2.6 yards per carry. Anderson has been a pleasant surprise, and this is a very big game for Louisville, especially for Coach Steve Kragthorpe. Still I see the Bulls winning a defensive slugfest, one in which the Cardinals' ground game is kept in check.
Percy Harvin, Florida
Kentucky, with all of its injury woes, is going to have a very difficult time containing a Florida offense that is finally beginning to find its stride. Tebow is healthy. Harvin is healthy. Kentucky's defense is not.
Juaquin Iglesias, Oklahoma
I like Iglesias in part due to teammates Manuel Johnson's status as less than 100%. The Kansas State defense ranks near the bottom in passing rankings. And now they get to deal with Sam Bradford and his dynamic offense. Iglesias is a nice bet for a solid game, and the potential for an explosion is there as well.
DeAndre Brown, Southern Miss
Following his much-anticipated breakout (12-221-4) game, the talented freshman travels to Memphis to battle the Tigers, a defensive unit that is near the bottom third in national pass defense rankings. Granted Memphis isn't nearly as bad as the Rice defense that Southern Miss saw last week, but they'll still not be able to match up with such a physical talent like Brown.
Kerry Meier, Kansas
Up until last week Meier had not caught fewer than eight balls in any game this season.and he caught four balls last week. It's easy to see this Kansas and Texas Tech contest becoming a track meet early, and when in trouble quarterback Todd Reesing has looked to Meier, himself a former quarterback. I don't know who will win this Big XII clash, but I do know that each defensive coordinator is in for a long day. Meier breaks out.
Dexter McCluster, Ole Miss
The junior receiver has averaged about 12 touches per game over the past four games, and the majority of these touches have come in the form of ground carries. McCluster hasn't really busted out just yet; 15.26 fantasy points is his season high. Arkansas is among the worst in the country when it comes to total defense, and this bodes well for the dual-everything McCluster.
Eric Decker, Minnesota
Please don't take this as an endorsement of the Purdue defensive unit. They're not very good. However the weather is getting colder, and forecasts in the Midwest call for rain. I'm looking for a slopfest, and this hurts both passing games, and for our immediate concern, Minnesota's Eric Decker.
Michael Thomas, Arizona
Another top national receiver takes a seat on the sit list, but unlike Decker, this move has everything to do with the USC defense. The Trojans lead the nation in both passing and overall defense, and they've been on a tear since the meltdown in Corvallis. Thomas was solid (6-104-1) in last week's win over Cal, but this was coming off three straight subpar weeks. The subpar weeks pick up again on Saturday night.
Ryan Wolfe, UNLV
He's been a steady threat for the Running Rebs, but he's only caught two touchdowns in the last six weeks. BYU has something to prove this week, and Wolfe and his teammates pay the price.
Love these tight ends
Like these tight ends
TCU, BYU and Florida are head and shoulders above the rest.
Boston College at UNC scares me a little bit.
Alabama better not fall asleep on Tennessee. The Vols' offense may have a little something in the tank.
I'd avoid Wake Forest as they travel to Miami.
LSU and Georgia will not be one of those SEC slugfests we've become accustomed to seeing.