Each week, Athlon will take a deeper look at the fantasy matchups that affect your lineup. Some players will deserve a second look from managers, while others could create some concern. Check out Athlon's College Fantasy Start or Sit for Week 12:
Follow us on Twitter: @AthlonBraden , @AthlonSteven
QB — Deserves A Second Look
Tyler Bray, Tennessee (@ Vanderbilt)
Back-to-back 300-yard efforts have Big Orange nation fired up about the future of the Vols passing attack. A loaded but young receiving corps also has fans excited. Against the Dores, and their 106th-rated total defense, Bray should be able to deliver the goods.
Bryan Ellis, UAB (Memphis)
Ellis has been solid if nothing else from week to week this season. But he exploded last week for 35.72 TFP — 418 yards and 5 TDs against ECU. Memphis is very simply terrible on defense: 119th in pass efficiency, 120th in total defense and 117th in scoring defense.
Jordan La Secla, San Jose State (@ Hawaii)
The Spartans quarterback has been producing of late. He has seven of his nine passing touchdowns in the last three games and back-to-back 300-yard efforts. Hawaii 'boasts' the 83rd-rated pass defense, so this should be a high scoring affair out on the islands.
Tevin Washington, Georgia Tech (Duke)
Even in a bad loss to Miami last week, the option QB topped 100 yards both passing and rushing with a TD mixed in. Against two other option attacks this season, Duke allowed 34.38 TFP to RIcky Dobbs of Navy and 23.6 TFP to Trent Steelman of Army.
Alex Gillett, Eastern Michigan (@ Buffalo)
Fantasy editor Steven Lassan called for the upset on the Section 120 podcast , so if that happens, Gillett will have to be big. He is the team's leading rusher and has 784 yards of total offense in his last three with six total TDs. If Lasso is right, and he usually is, then Gillett will be a sound option this week.
Matt McGloin, Penn State (Indiana — Landover)
Yes, Robert Bolden could see some time this weekend, but the offense has been clearly improved under McGloin. The new starter has 634 yards passing and eight total TDs in his three starts (one in the Horseshoe, keep in mind). And Indiana just allowed 83 points to the Badgers.
Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin (@ Michigan)
Speaking of the Badgers, the expected barn-burner in Ann Arbor should be beneficial for the Wisconsin quarterback. Tolzien is eighth nationally in passer efficiency and had his best career game against the Maize and Blue last season when he threw for 240 yards and four TDs in the 45-24 win. Expect much of the same this week.
QB — Better Think Twice
Terrelle Pryor vs. Ricky Stanzi (Ohio State vs. Iowa)
Two great defenses should keep the upside limited this week for both passers — even if the new game plan has TP2 giddy over playing this weekend. Pryor had one of his worst career games last year (fantasy wise) when he totaled 29 yards rushing and 93 yards passing without a single score.
Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M (Nebraska)
The Aggie quarterback underacheived last week against Baylor — largly because he was not needed. He threw for 280 yards and a TD — not exactly a huge fantasy number. The Huskers' secondary is awesome. They lead the nation in pass efficiency defense and are second in pass defense.
Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech (@ Miami, Fla.)
The No. 2 pass efficiency defense in the nation resides in Coral Gables. And Taylor has been under 18 TFP in two games in a row, even in comfortable wins. Last year, Taylor posted a mediocre 98 yards passing, 75 yards rushing and one total TD. Either he isn't needed in a blowout win over a freshman quarterback or it's a low-scoring, tighly played affair. That is no good either way.
Christian Ponder, Florida State (@ Maryland)
The Maryland defense is greatly improved from a year ago, and Ponder is returning from an injury. This is an important game for both teams, so expect both defenses to be ready to play. This has the makings of a grind-it-out type of game that fantasy owners should want no part of in any fashion — expect maybe the defenses.
Ryan Lindley, San Diego State (Utah)
The Aztec passer has had only two games since the Utah match last season in which he passed for less than 207 yards (his total against the Utes last fall). He threw two INTs and SDSU was blown out 38-7. Expect the score to be much closer than that this year, but his upside seems limited against the eighth-best defense in the nation.
Ryan Colburn, Fresno State (@ Boise State)
Boise boasts the No. 3 total defense in the nation. The No. 2 scoring defense in the nation. And the Broncos have not lost a conference game since the Ming Dynasty. Colburn has been solid of late, but I would stay far away from him this weekend.
RB — Deserves A Second Look
Montee Ball and James White, Wisconsin (@ Michigan)
John Clay will suit up this weekend but is highly unlikely to see too many carries. Ball and White combined for 41 carries, 315 yards and five touchdowns last week against Indiana (all in the first 36 minutes of the game, mind you, Bret Bielema critics). Michigan is the worst total defense in the Big Ten, allowing more than 433 yards per game and over 32 points per game (9th in Big Ten).
Derrvin Speight, Utah State (Idaho)
After averaging 10 TFP through his first eight games, Speight has posted 52.1 TFP in his last two. He got 48 carries in those games, and against Idaho's 104-rated rush defense (197 ypg), he should be more than capable of a 20-pt fantasy week.
Marc Tyler, USC (@ Oregon State)
After a lot of split carries and weekly flux, it appears that Tyler has earned the workload for the Trojans. He has a team-high 60 carries over the last three. His 31 attempts for 160 yards (and a TD) last week dwarfed the rest of the USC backs — who combined for six carries. I am not sure how it happened, but Oregon State allowed 221 yards on 61 carries against Washington State last week. The Beavers will play better this weekend, but Wazzu? Need I say more?
Alexander Teich, Navy (Arkansas State)
Navy's leading ball-carrier not named Dobbs has been Teich all season. His 114 carries lead the Middies running backs by a wide margin (Murray has 65 and Greene has 60). But Teich is finally reaching the end zone. He has scored three times over the last two games, and Arky State should pose no threat on defense (111th in rush defense) and is good enough on offense (34th in total offense) to keep it close.
Baron Batch and Eric Stephens, Texas Tech (Weber State)
Both backs are over 100 carries for the season — 142 and 100, respectively. Texas Tech has run the ball an unheard-of-in-Lubbock 89 times over the last two weeks. Against lowly Weber State, expect the Raiders to keep it safe and utilize the ground game once again.
Chris Rainey, Florida (Appalachian State)
The all-purpose back has 34 touches in three games since returning from suspension and scored in every game. He is also eligible at WR in most leagues so fill him in where needed. Urban Meyer seems dedicated to getting him touches in some fashion, and against Appy State, he should have plenty of room to work.
Cierre Wood, Notre Dame (Army — New York)
Since taking over for Armando Allen two weeks ago, the explosive Wood has been getting it done. He has 42 touches in those games, totalling 211 yards from scrimmage and two TDs. With the freshman taking snaps, expect Brian Kelly to lean heavily on Wood — well, at least as heavily as a Kelly-led offense ever will lean on a running back.
Pat Shed, UAB (Memphis)
Shed has averaged 24.1 TFP per game over his last three while totalling 63 carries and 18 receptions over that span. Memphis is pathetic on defense, and all Blazers should have a chance to post adequate numbers.
RB — Better Think Twice
Boom Herron vs. Adam Robinson (Ohio State @ Iowa)
Both of these running backs have been as consistent as any in the nation. But so have these defenses. In fact, both rank in the top-5 nationally against the run and are No. 1 and 2 in the Big Ten. Herron is the better play of the two with the banged-up Iowa linebacking corps and his nine straight games with a TD. I just feel like there could be better options out there.
Cyrus Gray, Texas A&M (Nebraska)
Since stepping in for Christine Michael, Gray has been exceptional. And the Huskers have not been as imposing as expected this season. Nebraska held Kansas to 72 yards on 34 carries and no scores last week. They claim the nation's most efficient pass defense and the nation's No. 2 total pass defense. Expect clogged running lanes for Gray.
Robbie Rouse, Fresno State (@ Boise State)
See Ryan Colburn above.
Orleans Darkwa, Tulane (UCF)
Darkwa has notched four straight 100-yard efforts and scored four times over that span. Yet, the Knights of UCF claim C-USA's No. 2 rush defense (17th nationally) by allowing only 116 yards per game. A 49-0 shutout last fall in which the Green Wave managed to rush for -30 yards as a team should keep the youngster out of most lineups this weekend.
Ronnie Hillman, San Diego State (Utah)
The Aztec running back has slowed of late. He has failed to reach 100 yards in five of his last seven games and has scored only twice in his last four. He was shut down by TCU and should find tough sledding against the nation's No. 8 defense.
Ryan Williams and Darren Evans, Virginia Tech (@ Miami, Fla.)
These two combined for 29 carries and 184 yards last week with a dead split in carries and yards. But neither scored. They combined for 22 carries and 98 yards the week before. The point is that both are much better actual football players than they are fantasy players right now. Stay away.
Keith Payne, Virginia (@ Boston College)
Boston College boasts the nation's No. 1 rushing defense, allowing only 74.6 yards per game. In three home conference games this year (Clemson, Maryland, Virginia Tech), the Eagles allowed a total of 237 yards on 97 carries for a paltry 2.4 clip. Stay away from the big fella this weekend.
Anyone for Troy or FAU (@ South Carolina, @ Texas)
WR — Week 12 Spot Starts
Roy Roundtree, Michigan (Wisconsin)
Has 15 catches for 315 yards and 3 TDs over has two games.
Denarius Moore and Justin Hunter, Tennessee (@ Vanderbilt)
In two games with Bray the pair has a combined line of 14-347-5.
Jock Sanders, West Virginia (@ Louisville)
Has been more involved of late — 26 catches over last four and 2 TDs last week.
Markus Wheaton, Oregon State (USC)
Has 9 carries and 17 receptions for 302 total yards and 3 TDs over last three.
Kelvin Bolden, Southern Miss (Houston)
Has 18 catches for 246 yards and 3 TDs over last three. Should be high scoring.
Paul RIchardson, Colorado (Kansas State)
Posted 16 receptions for 262 yards and 2 TDs in last two.
Top 10 DEF/ST Waiver Wire Spot Starts
1. Texas (FAU)
2. Clemson (@ Wake Forest)
3. Texas Tech (Weber State)
4. Tennessee (@ Vanderbilt)
5. Boston College (Virginia)
6. Oklahoma State (@ Kansas)
7. UConn (@ Syracuse)
8. South Carolina (Troy)
9. Northern Illinois (@ Ball State)
10. Nevada (New Mexico State)