Mark Lindquist

Sit or Start

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Week 3: Starts and Sits

Monday, September 10, 2018


In this column, we'll be running through our favorite and least favorite matchups for the upcoming college football fantasy week. This should be viewed as gauge of just how confident we are in a given player against the opposition. While these recommendations can be used to help weigh starts and sits, they should be viewed as contextual information more than a strict, absolute guide.


Proceed with Confidence


Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa at Ole Miss -- On Saturday, Southern Illinois QB Sam Straub passed for 382 yards and four touchdowns (also rushed for one) against the Rebels. The FCS Salukis dropped 41 points -- 38 by the end of the first half -- on Matt Luke’s crew. Now Alabama comes to town. What we like best about this matchup from the Bama fantasy side is that we might actually receive a full-ish game from all involved. Ole Miss’ defense is bad, but their offense is one of the best in all the land. How much you have to toggle that down to adjust for Alabama’s defense, uncertain. But even if Alabama works out to an early 21-0 lead, Jordan Ta’amu and friends are just going to keep on chucking it, and they have the talent to at least vaguely remain competitive. And if not, you’ll just have to settle for another awesome day by Tua over about a half of play. We love not just Tagovailoa, here, but also Damien Harris and Jerry Jeudy. Tide sophomore RB Najee Harris (who notched his first career 100-yard game in Saturday’s win over Arkansas State) is additionally worth starting consideration.


Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond vs. Louisiana-Monroe -- We snagged Mond in an industry IDP dynasty league a few weeks back, and boy howdy, let’s just say that we’re kind of excited. If you happened to miss his Saturday masterpiece against Clemson, the sophomore threw for 430 yards and three touchdowns, and gave Dabo Swinney’s Playoff contender a serious early season test. So, so excited to see how Mond develops off his star turn. He’s got a perfect opponent to keep it going against upcoming in Louisiana-Monroe. The Warhawks have been shredded through the air in two games. Old friend Chasen Virgil -- now with Southeastern Louisiana -- rolled with 358 yards and four touchdowns in Week 1, while this past weekend saw them surrender 378 yards passing to Southern Miss’ Jack Abraham. Mond will be available on the waiver wire in shallower formats.


Illinois RB Mike Epstein vs. USF -- Epstein will play host to the Bulls as he looks to post back-to-back 100-yard games after putting up 105 against Western Illinois on Saturday. Epstein especially figures to see concentrated carries if QB A.J. Bush -- who was knocked out by injury in the first quarter of Saturday’s contest -- can’t give it a go during the coming fight with USF. For their part, the Bulls allowed a pair of runners to post 60-plus yards in their opener against Elon, then completely broke open in surrendering at least 90 yards rushing to THREE Yellow Jackets in Saturday’s entertaining win. The triple-option will do that to you. It will also soften you up for the next week. This is a strong spot to start Epstein.


Texas RB Tre Watson vs. USC -- We’ll try to set aside our ambivalence toward the Longhorns with this one. Watson has rushed for 126 yards in two games, 74 of those coming versus Tulsa on Saturday. The Cal transfer saw his carries climb from 12 in a Week 1 loss to Maryland to 18 in Week 2. That’s encouraging not just for the outwardly obvious fact that he’s receiving more work, but also for the fact that the coaching staff feels confident that he’s past the knee injury which limited him to just two games played in 2017. His foe in this one will be a USC defense which has opened the campaign surrendering exactly 136 yards rushing to each of Lexington Thomas and Bryce Love. We won’t predict 136 yards on the nose for Watson, but we expect him to have a nice game.


Virginia WR Olamide Zaccheaus vs. Ohio -- We’ll admit upfront that we’re going out on a limb with this one. Call it a gut feel. We have to ride just slightly more on intuition simply because we haven’t seen Ohio against FBS competition yet (they had a rare Week 2 bye). It’s a pass defense which we liked for the G5 coming into the season, too. What we have seen of them raises an eyebrow, though. Howard WR Jaquez Ezzard notched a silly 8-228-1 receiving line versus the Bobcats in Week 1. As for Zaccheaus, himself, he managed just five catches for 15 yards (and a touchdown!) in a loss to Indiana on Saturday. If none of this is wetting your whistle, understandable. It might be tough to back QB Bryce Perkins as a passer -- he’s completing 52.1% of his passes -- but we feel this is a good opportunity for Zaccheaus and the Virginia offense, which has already received a Big Ten test (albeit one which they failed). Again, Ohio has only played Howard and they very well could have lost that game.


Baylor WR Jalen Hurd vs. Duke -- The Blue Devils just had a no good, very bad weekend, with significant losses on both sides of the ball. For their offense, that would be QB Daniel Jones, who is out indefinitely with a broken clavicle. More pertinently for those who have made a fantasy investment in the Bears receiving corps, Duke CB Mark Gilbert has been lost for the season due to a hip injury. Gilbert was hurt in the second quarter against Northwestern on Saturday. Wildcats WR Flynn Nagel finished his afternoon having caught 12 passes for 133 yards. Hurd, meanwhile, just posted an eye-opening 8-136-1 receiving line in Saturday’s impressive win over UTSA. He’s scored touchdowns in each of Baylor’s games this year. We love to see that kind production early on in the season, coming off of a summer of considerable hype. Denzel Mims is also worth strong starting consideration in this one.


Syracuse WR Jamal Custis vs. Florida State -- On opposite sides of the country, we’re seeing similar early-season flameouts from Arizona and Florida State after coaching changes. Funny, because we actually liked the hiring of both Kevin Sumlin and Willie Taggart. We actually thought Taggart would breathe life into this FSU team. They’re gasping for air, instead, following up their loss to Virginia Tech with a “wait, seriously” narrow win over Samford in which the Bulldogs absolutely tortured the once proud Seminoles’ secondary. That started with Kelvin McKnight (14-215-2), but did not end there, as Andrew Harris also caught five passes for 122 yards and Chris Shelling cashed in five grabs for 70 yards. We expect that Dino Babers is looking forward to this one. Custis has the shiniest performance of any Orange wideout this year, blasting off for 6-168-2 versus Western Michigan in Week 1. He also found the end zone in a semi bye week against Wagner 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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