Welcome to week seven’s college football rankings! If you took the time to grab this content last week, you already know by now it was a major success for us. And although there were a few misses, there were several big hits that likely put you into the money. Rashard Higgins put up a career game, while Deshaun Watson continued to amaze us with his arm and his legs. I’m looking to keep it going this week in what seems to be the hardest week so far this season. No excuses though. It’s time to play like a champion.
1. Everett Golson, Notre Dame – I’ve talked about it time after time. Everett Golson is this Notre Dame offense. Well, against UNC that’s something I can really get behind. I know I talked up Virginia Tech against UNC last week, but that seemed to be a stretch. This time it isn’t. Notre Dame has averaged 31 points per game and only struggled against Stanford because their defense is very good. Even on a bad day, Golson was good for two passing TDs and 34 rushing yards. His floor is high and has five TD potential every time he touches the field.
2. Rakeem Cato, Marshall – Rakeem Cato had a weak game against ODU, but he should bounce back nicely against Middle Tennessee State. This MTSU defense has given up 13 TDs in their last four games. In their last two games they’ve been really bad against some average at best offenses: Southern Miss and ODU. They gave up almost 800 passing yards and seven TDs in those two games. Cato and the Thundering Herd are much better than those two teams and could be in for another big game offensively.
3. Jared Goff, California – Goff is almost always considered a good play because of volume. That’s the case this week to go along with a Washington defense that can get beat through the air. Sure, they’ve been solid recently Stanford, but this Cal offense is much different than theirs. They are much more dynamic and it’s because of Goff. Goff has 12 TDs in his last two games with only one INT. He’s almost thrown for 1,000 yards in those games. Now, Washington is a better defense than Colorado and Washington State, but volume is the key here as Goff should see 40 passing attempts at least.
4. Nick Marshall, Auburn – Marshall is red hot these days on the ground and through the air. He has 100+ rushing yards in three of his last four while throwing at least two TDs in three straight games. His passing numbers will never be in the 300s, but he makes up for it with his high rushing totals and TDs. Mississippi State has yet to see a QB like Marshall this season, so don’t look too far into those great rushing numbers.
5. P.J. Walker, Temple – Ugh. Every time I put Walker on this list I feel like he disappoints, but I just can’t avoid him this week. He’s facing off against Tulsa who just gave up a big day last week to Colorado State QB, Garrett Grayson. This Tulsa defense also struggled against FAU and Tulane, so you know they can be picked on. Walker has yet to have his huge day, but has been good two TDs in every game and a 65% completion percentage overall. With the Temple total in the high 30s, I just can’t see how Walker doesn’t have a more than good game.
6. Darrell Garretson, Utah State – Garretson has taken over for Chuckie Keaton fairly well and has started to play much better. He had a very nice four TD game against BYU last week and gets a good matchup against Air Force Saturday night. Boise State struggled against AF, but did throw for 370 yards. Georgia State tacked on 414 yards and two TDs against AF as well. I think Garretson could be in for a nice day for those playing late slates.
7. Kale Pearson, Air Force – While Pearson played pretty bad in his first two games, he has come on very strong in his last three. In those three games, he recorded three rushing TDs, 193 rushing yards, and a 6:0 TD to INT ratio. Nothing stands out to me in terms of Utah State’s defense and with Pearson rolling, I like what I see here. Pearson is one of Air Force’s best two players, so you have to think he’s going to play a part of almost all of their TDs.
8. Justin Thomas, Georgia Tech – It’s always tough to pick Thomas due to the offensive style, but with his skill set you should roll him at least once in GPPs. He’s pretty much the biggest boom or bust player on the board. He could go for 130+ rushing yards, one rushing TD, and a passing TD, or he could run for 27 yards and pass for 150. Thomas did the former in two of his last three games, so he’s feeling good. Georgia Tech’s offense ran very well against Miami last week and moves on to Duke with a good situation. Last season Duke’s defense gave up a big day through the air giving up four passing TDs to Vad Lee. This tells me Duke’s offense definitely struggles to stop the run if Lee is going to have that good of a day.
1. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin – Look, I’m not into giving obvious plays, but when they are this good I can’t ignore them. Gordon is coming off his best rushing yard total in his career totaling 259 yards last week against Northwestern. Now, he gets to face an Illinois defense that has given up a 6.54 and 7.76-yard per carry average in their last two games. The worst of those two performances was against Purdue. I think Gordon could easily reach 250 yards and three TDs with the way he’s going to be relied upon.
2. David Cobb, Minnesota – The only concern I’ve ever had going into a game for Cobb was recent workload. There’s something about a guy consistently getting 30+ carries scaring me. I’m always afraid he might get a lesser load, but that won’t be the case for Cobb this week. He’s coming off a bye week and going against a Northwestern defense that just gave up 259 yards to Melvin Gordon. Now, Cobb isn’t as good as Gordon, but he’s going to get more carries than him and should easily match his 144-yards per game total in this one. Cobb has 66 carries for 390 yards and two TDs in his last two games.
3. Mario Pender, FSU – With Karlos Williams likely out, it’s going to be Mario Pender’s time to shine. His highest carry total on the season is just eight, but that was in backup duty. I don’t think he’s a Cobb or Gordon type to carry it 20-25 times, but I do think he’ll get 16-18 touches against a Syracuse defense that hasn’t been that good this year. Brandon Radcliff of Louisville just ran for 23/110/2 against them in a much less dynamic offense.
4. Devon Johnson, Marshall – I think it’s going to be important to have Devon Johnson in at least half of your lineups this week as Marshall is slotted to put up big points. I do fear Cato could have a monstrous day, but even then Johnson has put up the yardage and consistency of finding the end zone to be a safe play. He has 100+ yards and a TD in every game this season and the one time he didn’t he only ran it 14 times. He has a TD in every game and has eight total in 2014. If you go off his averages, we’re looking at a 136 yard, 1 TD game at worst for Johnson against Middle Tennessee State.
5. Duke Johnson, Miami – Duke Johnson has always scared me due to limited carries, but it hasn’t stopped his production in 2014. He’s coming off his best two games rushing for 255 yards on 39 carries against Duke and Georgia Tech. Against Cincinnati he has a great matchup and a chance for a nother big game. Cinci has allowed 4.3-yards per carry in three of their four games this season. Most recently, they have allowed five TDs in their last two games on the ground. Miami (OH) has been the only team to struggle against Cinci, while Ohio State, Toledo, and Memphis has been great. Johnson’s Miami is much more like the three successful ones than Miami (OH).
6. Josh Ferguson, Illinois – Ferguson is a total GPP play and one that could separate you from others this week. While most will play the Johnsons and/ Cobb, you could probably save some cash on Ferguson and see similar outputs. He’s been very good in his last three games finding the end zone five times, but also adding 17 catches and 311 rushing yards. His risk comes with a solid Wisconsin defense and only one game of 100+ rushing yards. I think either way the ball is going to be in his hands plenty with Wes Lunt out and that typically means good things with a playmaker like Ferguson.
7. Rushel Shell, West Virginia – Shell has been under the radar for the most part in the last few weeks, but has been great. He has a TD in four straight games and has seen 20+ carries in two of the last three games. Shell has had an impact on the ground rushing for 60 rushing yards or more in four straight, but also has made an impact in the passing game. He has two catches or more in every game this season. These are all good things as Texas Tech provides a great matchup for him and with 20+ touches a possibility you’re looking at another GPP play different than the big names.
8. Corey Clement, Wisconsin – I’ve tried this before and it didn’t work, but I’m going to try again. Clement gets big carries in games that aren’t close and that should be the case Saturday. I’ve already talked about how bad Illinois is, so let’s focus on Clement. He has rushed 16 times in two of his last three games and has a catch in four straight. As long as Wisconsin takes care of business I think Clement could easily see 13-15 carries against one of the worst run defenses in the NCAA right now.
1. William Fuller, Notre Dame – Fuller had a weak game last week against Stanford, but it was to be expected. Stanford’s passing defense is very good and Fuller is the number one receiver on Notre Dame. He still had eight targets, which is good for third most in a game this season. Now, Fuller gets a juicy matchup against UNC, a team that has given up big days to number one receivers all year. Mike Williams for Clemson went for 6/122/2, and Justin Hardy went for 6/92 while being held out of the end zone. Even Virginia Tech’s Isaiah Ford recorded his highest yards per catch against UNC last week. With Golson being my top QB, it’s an obvious play to go with Fuller here.
2. Jalen Fitzpatrick, Temple – I talked about how much I like Walker earlier, so it’s safe to say I like Fitzpatrick. I think Fitzpatrick is safer than Walker with a lower price tag everywhere and his consistency as Walker’s number one receiver. He has a TD in every game and has five catches or more in three of the last four games. He’s coming off his best game of 2014 with a 6/108/1 total against UConn.
3. Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M – Reynolds has been pretty dang good this season on limited catches. This offense is so dynamic that it’s hard to focus in on one guy, but Reynolds is coming off his highest catch total in 2014, so maybe he’ll keep that rolling. He has seven TDs on the season, but only 23 catches. In his last game, he went for 7/66/2 and has a TD in five of six games this season.
4. Bud Sasser, Missouri – Sasser is the clear number one now in Missouri and he’s running away with it. Even in a bad game from Mauk he recorded a line of 6/86. The likelihood of him going for 100+ yards is low as he’s only done that once this season, but he has the potential for 6/80/2 against an average UGA defense. Sasser has recorded four TDs on the season and with an average of six catches per game, his floor is pretty high. UGA has struggled against good passing offense giving up 270+ yards and three TDs to Tennessee and South Carolina.
5. Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma – I’m probably going to lose sleep over this Shepard pick. While his numbers have been great this season averaging six catches and 130 yards per game in 2014, he’s going up against an underrated Texas defense. TCU’s defense is pretty solid and he still went for 7/215/1 against them. I’m considering Shepard a GPP only play and one that could bite you in the butt if Texas’ defense is too much for Trevor Knight.
6. Isaiah Jones, East Carolina – Jones is ECU’s Wes Welker type and it’s evident by his game log. He has 8+ catches in four of five games in 2014, but is now starting to add TDs. He has four on the season and should be all set for a good game against USF. USF has given up a 60% completion percentage or better in every game this season, great news for Shane Carden and his receiving corps.
7. Jesus Wilson, FSU – I told you about Wilson in The Fifth Quarter, but let’s chat more about him. If Rashad Greene is out then he’s likely to be the number one guy for Jameis Winston. If Greene is playing though then I wouldn’t roll him. I’m not a huge fan of his price across some of the sites, so I don’t consider him anywhere near as good as Mario Pender, another FSU backup that could start. Wilson had a big game against NC State a few weeks ago scoring two TDs and going for 109 yards.
8. Corey Robinson, Notre Dame – If you’re big on Notre Dame’s offense like I am then a guy like Robinson has to be considered. He’s going to get plenty of targets as long as DaVaris Daniels stays on the sidelines, but that’s yet to be seen right now. If Daniels does play then Robinson becomes a risky play even with a low price. So, why do I like Robinson? Well, he has 15 catches in his last three games including two TDs in a great matchup. Keep an eye on the Daniels situation if you’re looking to play Robinson.
1. Hunter Henry, Arkansas – Henry is minimum and is finally getting into the Arkansas offensive gameplan. He had his best game of the season last game against Texas A&M and should build on that headed into the Bama game. Alabama struggled a little against Ole Miss’ tight end, Evan Engram, so for minimum I’m a fan of this play.
2. Maxx Williams, Minnesota – Williams has a TD in three straight games and he isn’t expensive, so what’s not to like about him? Minnesota barely passes it, but when they do Williams is their main target. He’s got good numbers and is always a threat to find the end zone. I like him as a great complement to Cobb in same roster games.
3. David Morgan II, UTSA – Morgan had a great game against Arizona early on this season and has built on that since. He has four catches or more in three straight games and seems to be a solid target for the Roadrunners. He didn’t record a stat in his last game, so keep an eye on his situation so as to avoid a zero.