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Fantasy College Football: Start/Bench Week 12

Trying to decide who to play this week? Here’s your guide to get you through the first week of the fantasy college football playoffs.

Notable byes: Luke Falk QB, Washington State; Phillip Lindsay RB, Colorado; Jamal Morrow RB, Washington State; Jordan Chunn RB, Troy; Penny Hart WR, Georgia State; Tavares Martin Jr. WR, Washington State; Ike Lewis WR, App State; Bryce Bobo WR, Colorado

Hot Starts


Riley Ferguson, Memphis

The Matchup: SMU

Outlook: Memphis boasts the 8th-ranked offense in the nation behind a strong passing game led by none other than Riley Ferguson. Ferguson will take on the 120th-ranked defense in SMU this week, meaning that he will be able to do pretty much whatever he wants against the Mustangs. The reason this matchup really stands out is that Memphis’ 111th-ranked defense has to take on the 12th-ranked SMU offense, so that both sides will be able to rack up points. Ferguson will carve up the Mustangs defense as the Mustangs offense keeps Ferguson in the game for all four quarters.

Nick Starkel, Texas A&M

The Matchup: Ole Miss

Outlook: Nick Starkel made a statement in his return against UTSA last week with 416 passing yards and four touchdowns. Should he remain the focal point of the offense, Ole Miss’ 117th-ranked defense should prove to be no challenge to Starkel as the Aggies travel down to Oxford. Jordan Ta’Amu has been killing it for the Rebels, which should keep Starkel fighting for the win.

Justin Herbert, Oregon

The Matchup: Arizona

Outlook: Sources say that Justin Herbert will, in fact, start for the Ducks this week, and there could not be a better matchup for his first game back. Arizona has a bottom-15 defense and top-10 offense, which is a dream matchup for fantasy owners. Herbert will need to outscore the surging Khalil Tate to win the game, and I’m sure he’s dying to put the ball in the end zone.

Running Backs

Derrius Guice, LSU

The Matchup: Tennessee

Outlook: Guice was expected to be a top-five fantasy option this season until early injuries derailed his season. Guice has run for 494 yards in the past three weeks, and Tennessee allows the fifth most rushing yards per game in the nation. Guice will absolutely dominate the Volunteers defense as he looks to record his fifth 100+ yard game.

Alexander Mattison, Boise State

The Matchup: Air Force

Outlook: Mattison was drafted in 100% of leagues in which he was available and disappointed many (including myself) with his production. After four games, Mattison finally got the carries he deserved and has produced 60+ yards in each game. Air Force has an atrocious rush defense, and if Bryan Harsin continues to call Mattison’s number, then he will be in for back-to-back monster weeks.

Wide Receivers

Thomas Owens, FIU

The Matchup: Florida Atlantic

Outlook: Lane Kiffin has provided us all with a pretty entertaining offense and a terrible pass defense. The Owls have allowed the 17th-most passing yards per game in the past month, and the volume of targets Thomas Owens is getting makes him lethal this week. Owens has the second-most receptions in the nation over the past three weeks with 26 catches. He caught 11 passes last week alone.

Ervin Phillips or Steve Ishmael, Syracuse

The Matchup: Louisville

Outlook: If you haven’t been paying attention to Louisville this season, their defense is atrocious. Phillips and Ishmael are both top-five players in receptions in the NCAA this season, and whether Eric Dungey or Zach Mahoney is under center this week, they are going to need to score a lot to beat Lamar Jackson. Expect Phillips and Ishmael to pile onto their impressive seasons as Syracuse pursues bowl eligibility.

Players to Avoid


Josh Allen, Wyoming

Matchup: Fresno State

Outlook: The projected first-rounder has seen his fair share of ups and downs this season, losing more money than he’s gained. On top of the injury that might keep him out of the game Saturday, Josh Allen isn’t going to be able to move the ball efficiently against a surprisingly stout Fresno State secondary. Even if he plays this week, the best decision is to keep him on your bench and hope for better next week.

Tyler Huntley, Utah

Matchup: Washington

Outlook: Huntley has either been money or garbage since returning from injury considering he’s thrown seven touchdowns and seven interceptions in four games. This is a week that’s more than likely going to go south for Huntley, as Washington has the third-best passing yards allowed averages in the NCAA. Huntley does have his legs that he can rely on, but it will be difficult for him to run if he can’t throw the ball.

Running Backs

Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky

Matchup: Georgia

Outlook: Benny Snell has played just as well as any other back in the country over the past several weeks, but this is a dangerous play. Georgia may have gotten beat down last week, but Kentucky’s offense doesn’t have the same firepower that Auburn does, especially at quarterback. Georgia’s rushing defense is fifth in the nation, and if they come out fired up after a loss, I wouldn’t start anyone in their path.

Karan Higdon, Michigan

Matchup: Wisconsin

Outlook: Higdon has been a key contributor in Michigan’s offense this season, but this week will be far from an easy task. Wisconsin’s defense tops the nation in rush defense, allowing fewer than 90 yards a game on the ground. And with Higdon already not at 100%, it just makes sense to pass on Higdon, just like Michigan is going to have to do to compete with the undefeated Badgers.

Wide Receivers

DJ Moore, Maryland

Matchup: Michigan State

Outlook: Maybe if Tyrrell Pigrome or Kasim Hill were starting this week, I would give DJ Moore a pass here, but Max Bortenschlager may not play at all this week. Moore is a solid producer from week to week, but this game against Michigan State’s top 25 defense doesn’t look good at all for the Junior receiver. Unless you’ve been plagued with bye weeks, pass on Moore.

Wyatt Demps, Nevada

Matchup: San Diego State

Outlook: Even though Wyatt Demps is on the verge of an 800+ yard season, he’s a definite bench in my eyes. San Diego State’s top-10 defense is not one you want to mess wit. And with Demps’ reception inconsistencies, I fear he won’t produce well at all this week. Demps caught seven passes a week ago but caught just three two weeks earlier against a solid Air Force squad. Look for different options on your bench or check out my most recent waiver wire article to find suitable replacements.

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