Monday, November 12, 2018
Illinois QB AJ Bush — The Virginia Tech transfer isn’t much to look at as a passer — he has been picked off six times in the last four games — but you wouldn’t be picking up Bush for his ability to sling it. Rather, it is his running prowess we are intrigued by here. Bush has scored five rushing touchdowns in his last two contests, going for 127 yards and two scores against Minnesota to open the month and then bettering that strong performance via 205 yards and three touchdowns versus Nebraska on Saturday. It feels like Illinois has fallen into something of an identity as a killer running team (and that’s despite the injury absence of Mike Epstein) and it’s just unfortunate that they failed to stumble into this a little sooner. The major drawback with Bush is that he faces Iowa (No. 6 vs the run on a per-game average) and Northwestern (No. 36) to close out the season.
UConn QB David Pindell — Hey, speaking of dual-threat quarterbacks on bad teams. While Pindell is not quite as deep of a cut as AJ Bush (he is owned in 45% of Fantrax leagues), you can win a title with Pindell. Perfect for those who have forged playoff berths while rotating through quarterbacks this year. Speaking from personal experience, in one two-quarterback league, we drafted Gardner Minshew and Shawn Robinson out of the gate. One out of two ain’t bad? We benched Robinson, rolled with Kellen Mond for a stretch, then settled in with Pindell about three or four weeks ago. Dividends are now on the verge of being paid out in that league. Pindell has now rushed for at least 120 yards in each of his last four games, with five rushing touchdowns scored. Three of those games have seen him bolt for at least 150 yards (181 yards and two scores on Saturday, against SMU). And hey, occasionally he runs into four touchdown passes, something that has happened twice this season, including versus the Mustangs on Saturday. He gets ECU this coming weekend. Pindell should not be on the wire, but he is out there, on a lot of them. Right this wrong before your opponent does.
Texas Tech QB Jett Duffey — Duffey had himself a game in Saturday’s loss to Texas, throwing for 444 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 80 on top of that. His grasp on the starting job is a tenuous one — he opened the season as third-string behind the now-injured Alan Bowman (lung) and McLane Carter (ankle) — and there is always the chance that either Carter’s ankle is finally good-to-go (we will believe that when we see it) or that Bowman makes a miracle recovery (Tech already rushed him back once, they aren’t going to do it again), but while he is in a good position, take advantage. He has lackluster Kansas State squad on the calendar for Week 12. Owned in just 27% of Fantrax leagues, Duffey is imminently available.
Utah State QB Jordan Love — All you need is Love…to win your league. Sorry. That was bad, we know, but also probably true in some cases. The Aggies quarterback is out there in 59% of Fantrax leagues right now, fresh off a 491-yard, five-touchdown scalding of San Jose State on Saturday. That was his second five-touchdown game of the campaign, and his fourth game of at least four touchdown passes. He has now topped 445 yards passing in two of his last three games. But wait, it gets better. Love will be facing off with Colorado State this coming weekend. The Rams rank 100th in the country against the pass on a per-game average.
Oklahoma RB Kennedy Brooks — We will keep bringing him up until people start picking him up. When Brooks first flashed against Baylor at the end of September, when he rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns. Most of that came after the game was well out of hand, though, and at the time it looked like something of an outlier. What he did against Oklahoma State on Saturday — rushing for 165 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries — was not the work of a backup in blowout duty. Instead it came in one of the more dramatic games of the season. Brooks is here to stay, plays for a genius offensive mind, gets a matchup against Kansas on Saturday and is owned in 24% of Fantrax leagues.
Oklahoma State RB Chuba Hubbard — Another unexpected hero from Bedlam, Hubbard stepped up in place of the injured Justice Hill (whose game was cut short by a second-quarter rib injury) to rush for 104 yards and three touchdowns. That was his best performance of the campaign by a fair stretch, though he did put up a respectable 80 yards rushing against Texas at the end of October. Hubbard would naturally lose most of his appeal if Hill can play against West Virginia in Week 12 — that is TBD at this juncture — but is worth a claim in the short term. As a redshirt freshman, he should also draw waiver consideration from those in keeper and dynasty formats. Hill will be draft-eligible this winter and Hubbard is owned in 3% of Fantrax leagues.
SMU RB Ke’Mon Freeman — While Freeman saw just 14 carries through the first two months of the season, Mustangs HC Sonny Dykes has called his number a combined 37 times over the last two games. He has responded to the sudden influx of touches in positive fashion, picking up 107 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries versus Houston at the beginning of November and then backing that showing up with 119 yards and three scores in Saturday’s win over UConn. He took 17 carries against the Huskies. For Week 12, Freeman will be facing a Memphis team which has allowed four 100-yard rushers in 10 games.
North Texas RB DeAndre Torrey — As the weather has chilled Torrey has turned up the heat, rushing for a combined 275 yards and five touchdowns against Rice and Old Dominion in his last two games, with a bye week wedged between those two dominant performances. While the competition will bump up from the Owls and Monarchs against FAU this coming weekend, it isn’t like the Owls are particularly strong against the run this year. They have allowed at least 99 yards rushing to a back in half of their 10 games. And should your playoffs wrap in Week 13, Torrey will have a matchup against UTSA in that spot.
San Jose State WR Tre Walker — Walker is another player who has been coming on late in the campaign. He posted five catches for 104 yards and a touchdown on Oct. 27, against UNLV, and put in a monster 7-209-2 showing against Utah State on Saturday. Now, he did manage just two catches for 26 yards versus Wyoming between those two games, but even in that spot, he still came through with a touchdown. If you are interested in playing him upcoming, this week would be your shot to do so. Come Saturday, he will be facing off with a Nevada team which has allowed seven receivers to go for 90 yards or better this season. Fresno State looms less invitingly the following weekend.
Tulane WR Darnell Mooney — Mooney opened the season with two 100-yard performances in his first three games. He did not register his third until Saturday, but making up for lost time, he aced it against ECU in that one, catching six passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns in that one. Now, he had just 68 yards receiving combined over his previous three games, so we aren’t exactly talking about a sustained late-season burst, here. That said, Tulane will be facing off with one of the worst passing defenses in the country this side of UConn in Week 12 with a plum matchup against Houston awaiting Mooney on Saturday. On a per-game average against the pass, the Cougars actually rank last in the country. While he is currently owned in 21% of Fantrax leagues, you can expect that ownership number to swell after what he just did against the Pirates. Ride that Green Wave.
Middle Tennessee WR Ty Lee — A preseason darling in drafts due to his expected emergence with Richie James out the door, Lee opened the campaign in lackluster fashion, with 50 combined receiving yards over the first three games. People started dropping him, then, and he settled into a stretch of bland OK-ness as the season progressed, never dropping below 60 yards receiving and never surpassing 75 yards over the next five games. He appears to finally be putting together a little something something, though, notching a 5-81-1 line against Western Kentucky in Week 9 and bracing that output with a season-best 10-158-1 line in Saturday’s win over UTEP. We are willing to throw back in with Lee (owned in 35% of Fantrax leagues), though that does come with a scheduling asterisk — he will have a potentially brutal match-up with Kentucky this coming weekend, then UAB. Both of those games scare us. Just keep that in mind when you consider Lee on the wire.
USC WR Tyler Vaughns — Serving as a microcosm of the weird, broken season that the Trojans are in the midst of, Vaughns has more/less alternated shiny showings with somewhat more dull ones, scoring touchdowns in four of his last seven contests — and essentially doing nothing in the other three games during that space. He was on the good side of the ledger against Cal on Saturday, when he caught eight passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns. By the statistical trend, that would mean that Vaughns is now about to no-show against UCLA in Week 12, but we are not superstitious folks. Even if we were, the Bruins have been so bad against the pass this season that we would walk under a ladder while holding a black cat and breaking mirrors with a hammer to get a matchup against them. Six receivers have gone for at least 100 yards on Chip Kelly’s crew this season, including one in each of the last two games.