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Mark Lindquist

Sit or Start

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Week 7: Starts and Sits

Monday, October 8, 2018


Proceed with caution


Missouri QB Drew Lock at Alabama -- Lock is one of the more polarizing quarterbacks on the CFB fantasy landscape, due mostly to his career hot-cold tendencies depending on the competition. Even the most ardent Lock fan, though, would probably admit that starting him against the Crimson Tide would be ill-advised. It’s not like Lock is entering this contest with a fireball coming out of his hand, either. After starting the season throwing for 1,062 yards with an 11/1 TD/INT ratio compiled in wins over UT-Martin, Wyoming and Purdue, Lock has been held to just 425 yards passing with an 0/3 TD/INT ratio in losses to Georgia and South Carolina in his past two games. Like we said, hot and cold. And playing Lock against Bama would be the equivalent of taking a cold shower at the Bates Motel.


Oregon QB Justin Herbert vs. Washington -- If you’re interested in starting Herbert against Washington, the performance of UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson -- 272 yards passing, two touchdowns -- should be encouraging. That’s the best passing performance any quarterback has posted against Washington this season. We don’t expect a repeat, though, even with Herbert at home in Eugene. The only other quarterback who has bettered 160 yards against the Huskies this season has been Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham in the opener. Given the way that both Stidham and Washington have played since, we’ll call that an outlier on both counts. Herbert isn’t a must-bench in the same way that Drew Lock is a must-bench, but owners should strongly consider their reserve options in this spot.


Penn State RB Miles Sanders vs. Michigan State -- Leading off the column, we suggested that Trace McSorley owners start the signal-caller against Sparty while touching on their absurdly disparate defensive split. This would be the other side of that split. MSU leads the FBS in run defense on a per-game average this year, surrendering just 33.80 yards per game. The only player -- not running back, player -- to rush for 30 yards against the Spartans this season was Central Michigan QB Tommy Lazzaro, who had 32 yards on the ground in Week 5. Sanders had rushed for at least 85 yards in each of Penn State’s first four games -- including a 200-yard explosion against Illinois -- before the Buckeyes locked him down for 43 yards rushing two weekends ago. We expect him to hue closer to his output against OSU than earlier in this one.


Arizona RB J.J. Taylor at Utah (Friday) -- It would have been fun to see the Utes attempt to take down Bryce Love when they played Stanford over the weekend. Love was out with an ankle injury in that one, so it just wasn’t to be. Utah has played beautifully against the run this year, outside of a “what are you going to do?” 143-yard pulverizing courtesy of Myles Gaskin. Gaskin is the only runner who has managed more than 70 yards on the ground this season. For his part, Taylor has mostly been a forgettable statistical performer this season -- Arizona has been forgettable in general -- having crushed Oregon State like a styrofoam cup (284 yards) but otherwise finishing with more than 75 yards rushing in just one game this season.


Virginia WR Olamide Zaccheaus vs. Miami -- The Hurricanes very nearly tripped up against Florida State on Saturday, falling behind 27-7 in the third quarter before mounting an impressive down-the-stretch comeback. Some of that was FSU being FSU, but much of it was Miami reverting to its suffocating, ball-hawking roots. The Seminoles had just 45 yards of total offense in the second half of the contest. Zaccheaus is a tough sit -- he’s gone over 100 yards in three of five games and has caught at least five passes in four of five contests -- but this is by far the best defense he’s faced this season. Only three receivers this season (C.J. Whorton FIU, Diontae Johnson, Justin Jefferson) have even topped 40 yards receiving against Miami. For the record, both FIU’s Whorton and Toledo’s Johnson did go over 100-yard mark.


Hawaii WR John Ursua at BYU -- Under normal circumstances, Ursua would be a lock-start as usual with what’s been one of the best offenses in the country. We don’t have normal circumstances, here, not with signal-calling sensation Cole McDonald missing Saturday’s narrow win over Wyoming due to an undisclosed injury concern. While HC Nick Rolovich said after the game that the injury was not considered a long-term one, it’s not immediately clear if McDonald will be able to start against BYU this coming weekend. Fantasy owners should begin lining up backup plans for both McDonald and Ursua. With true freshman QB Chevan Cordeiro starting in place of McDonald against the Cowboys over the weekend, Ursua had just five catches for 30 yards. Note that this contest will not start until 10:15 EST on Saturday, meaning that you may have to make a call on the wideout with incomplete information, unfortunately. We’ll be crossing our fingers that Rolovich offers a concrete update on McDonald during the practice week. Monitor this situation closely.


Ball State WR Riley Miller at Central Michigan -- Miller had a huge two-step against Western Kentucky and Kent State in which he recorded respective receiving lines of 8-112-0 and 11-208-1 before simmering down with five catches for 65 yards against NIU on Saturday. We don’t expect him to disappear completely versus the Chippewas upcoming, but we wouldn’t be surprised if another modest performance was in store, here. Central Michigan had not allowed a receiver over even 60 yards receiving this season before Buffalo’s K.J. Osborn snagged four passes for 80 yards against them on Saturday.



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Mark Lindquist holds a master's degree from the University of Iowa and writes baseball and college football for Rotoworld.com. He's currently working on a memoir about life, death, rock 'n' roll and his year teaching at a Chinese university. You can reach him on Twitter @markrlindquist.
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