It’s nice to see J.T. Barrett back in the fold.

It took 8 weeks for Urban Meyer to finally come to his senses, giving Barrett the starting nod this past week.

After a magical 3-game run for Cardale Jones that led to a Buckeye National Title, the fantasia has faded.

The top of the Big 10 is going to be an exciting run down the stretch as Michigan State still faces Ohio State and the Buckeyes still face Michigan.

It’s possible these three teams tie for first place a la Texas Tech, Texas and Oklahoma did in 2008. If that happens, the highest-ranked at the end of the season wins the tie breaker. Back in 2008 after Tech beat Texas and the Horns beat OU, the Sooner popped the Red Raiders late in the season, their first loss. The shellacking resulted in a major drop in the polls, finishing behind Texas even, thus OU got the nod into the Big 12 title game.

There’s an interesting nugget to the Big 10 and that is Iowa, who face none of the big 3 listed above. If they continue to run the table (and they should), they would face whomever comes out of the East Division.

Anyway, Barrett is one of the most exciting college football players in the nation and having him back in a starting role is what’s best for business (for the FBS).

Picks….let’s go!

Quarterbacks

Matt Davis – SMU – vs. Tulsa – $7,600 – Early

Analysis: Alert!!! You are going to see a theme this week – Tulsa vs. SMU (pronounced Smoo btw). A 76-point O/U separated by 2.5 points in Vegas PLUS this is the last game to start in the early slate (automatic low ownership in tournaments). There are lots of Pac-12 and some solid Big-12 matchups, so I think there’s a good chance this game flies under the radar a bit (not completely of course). Although, if a lot of these players do have high ownership, I won’t be surprised because they should be. Matt Davis is where we start. He’s the cog of the Mustang offense. He can move in the pocket, throw on the run or tuck the ball in his pit and take off in open space. Tulsa’s defense has holes everywhere, allowing 301 yards passing and 249 more on the ground. I think Davis, mostly because of his price point and his anonymity, will be the more underowned QB between him and opposing QB Dane Evans.

Dane Evans – Tulsa – vs. SMU – $8,300 – Early

Analysis: Speaking of the Great Dane, he makes the list even at a spiked price of $8,300. I don’t like him as much as Davis because he does need to hit around 32 points to make value, and he’s only going to do that with his arm. But that is a stark possibility considering the opponent and the possible running back quandary with Zack Langer and DeAngelo Brewer battling injuries. I wouldn’t be shocked if he and Davis amassed a combined 100 pass attempts this week.

Bart Houston – Wisconsin – vs. Rutgers – $4,900 – Early

Analysis: There’s going to be a lot of value out there in the early slate due to injury, and Bart could be the new star (bad pun) in Wisconsin. Starting QB Joel Stave went down with an injury last week, thrusting Houston into the game against Illinois. Houston, we do not have a problem, as Rutgers is one of the worst teams in all of college football at stopping the pass (310 yards per game). I am not suggesting Houston is going to be a world beater, but at $4,900 against a weak opponent, this could be a major salary saver that pays off easily, especially with a running game that has yet to fire on all two feet.

Thomas Sirk – Duke – vs. Miami – $6,800 – Late

Analysis: Al Golden is gone, so I honestly expect a rise out of the Miami players on both sides of the ball. Now whether that means the fire that’s lit burns all game long is yet to be determined. I am going to take my chances that Sirk, a dual-threat option facing a Hurricanes team allowing 202 rushing yards per game, can do just about anything he wants. His price has come up a bit, but that’s because his production also has increased. Sirk has been the offense for Duke as time is split between RBs and wide receivers have been decent at best. Duke has a 27-point projection and I am looking for Sirk to be involved in at least three of the four scores. The Hurricanes also will be without their starting quarterback and Duke’s defense has been solid, look for turnovers to provide Duke with a few extra possessions.

Kevin Hogan – Stanford – vs. Washington State – $7,300 – Late

Analysis: Hogan has at least 2 touchdown passes in every game this season except in Week 1. The Cardinal, an 11-point favorite, travel to Pullman to take on Mike Leach’s uptempo Cougars. This uptick in pace gives a bump to Hogan, who might need and get a few extra passes to put up points in the scoreboard. I also like the Cardinals running game in this one, but Hogan is going to get ample opportunities to air it out.

Bonus: David Blough – Purdue – vs. Nebraska – $4,900 – Early

Analysis: Strictly a value play against the worst passing defense in the nation. With some games under his belt, Blough has had time to get comfortable in the starting role. The Cornhuskers allow 321 yards passing per game, and that might be all you need here to roster the Boilermakers signal caller.

Running Backs

Jeremy McNichols – Boise St. – vs. UNLV – $7,900 – Early

Analysis: Jeremy McNichols has quickly become old reliable for me. In fact, I’m not sure why his price isn’t in the top-tier range for running backs. Here’s his DraftKings scores this season: 26.3, 32.5, 24.9, 28.6, 26.7, 39.1, 42.2. He’s averaging 31.5 fantasy points per game (and he’s missed a game), scoring 16 total touchdowns on the season. Playing in the Mountain West, he gets another juicy matchup against the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, who allow 187 yards rushing on the ground per game. McNichols has three straight 100-yard efforts and averages 4.9 yards per carry. In what should see Boise lead for the majority of the game, that lends more opportunities to McNichols and chewing the clock.

Mike Warren – Iowa St. – vs. Texas – $6,100 – Late

Analysis: Mike Warren has quickly established himself as one of the up-and-coming running backs in college football. And he is matchup proof. In a blowout against Baylor last week, Warren carried the ball 28 times for 145 yards. He’s eclipsed the 100-yard mark in three of the four games he’s started and scored in double-digits each time. The touchdowns have been difficult to come by at times, but this week he gets a favorable matchup against the Longhorns who allow 179 yards rushing per game. Warren is a shifty back who makes quick cuts and finds the necessary holes through the offensive line. He will be leaned upon on offense with the Cyclones troubles at quarterback.

Terrell Newby – Nebraska – vs. Purdue – $5,200 – Early

Analysis: Speaking of quarterback woes, the Cornhuskers are in a bit of a pickle. Starter Tommy Armstrong is out with an injury, leaving junior Ryker Fyfe taking snaps at QB. The talk I’ve seen is that the Cornhuskers may need to run the ball a lot to hide Fyfe’s deficiencies at quarterback. Purdue isn’t a good team, but Newby has shown he’s a very capable running back that can do a lot when given the opportunity. Fyfe by the way is a ridiculously cheap $3,900, so there’s a very cheap option to use as a dart. Anyway, Newby is up against Purdue and its defense allowing a shade under 200 yards on the ground per game. This is a perfect storm for Newby and his frugal price tag.

Devontae Booker – Utah – vs. Oregon St. – $8,900 – Late

Analysis: Booker is my 1B running back for the entire day of college football Saturday. He had a tough outing against a stout USC run defense, so I expect that to have people off of him more than they should be. This week he gets the Beavers of Oregon State and Booker is primed to bust through the dam that is allowing 197 rushing yards per game this season. He’s a dual-threat runner who easily catches passes out of the backfield. The Utes have so much to play for with much to be decided for the Pac-12  title. Another added bonus in Booker’s favor is his success at home – 108 carries, 529 rushing yards, 6 TDs with 17 catches for 129 yards.

Christian McCaffrey – Stanford – vs. Washington St. – 9,400 – Late

Analysis: You wanted to know who my 1A at running back is this week? It’s this guy. McCaffrey has been dominant in his past five games. The hype is real for this Cardinal runner and he’s vaulted himself to Leonard Fournette level of pricing. Guess what though? I get the feeling he won’t get the respect with the heavy price tag this week and he’s got one of the best matchups. The Cougs are giving up buckets of yardage on the ground this season (203 yards per game), and with the pace of play the WSU offense runs, there are going to be opportunities galore for Ed’s son. Love, love, love this guy and I love this matchup. Hopefully, you will love me after you use him and you win a nice chunk of change.

Bonus: Tra Carson – Texas A&M – vs. South Carolina – $4,500 – Early

Analysis: However the Florida State and Tulsa RB situation pans out when games get closer, you can look for a rock solid lead back right here. Tra Carson has scored in double digits in every game this season and he has 12 catches in his past two games. The matchup is S-A-W-F-T, saaaaawwwft! The Gamecocks continue to bleed yardage to opposing running attacks and Saturday shouldn’t be any different. South Carolina travels to College Station where the Aggies thrive at Kyle Field. While many may be on Kyle Allen, I say play someone else and roster Carson to save the salary.

Wide Receivers

Keyarris Garrett  – Tulsa – vs. SMU – $7,600 – Early

Joshua Atkinson – Tulsa – vs. SMU – $6,300 – Early

Courtland Sutton – SMU – vs. Tulsa – $4,900 – Early

Analysis: Since we have three WRs in the same game, there’s no sense in duplicating thoughts. Anyway, putting Laquon Treadwell and the next-to-be-mentioned JuJu Smith-Schuster on your rosters in the early slate is a solid play, but you will need at least two of the three above guys in your lineups to win this slate, I (almost) guarantee it. The projected point totals are near the 80s and the spread is within three points. Touchdowns will be scored and receivers are going to be the reason for the scoring. Tulsa allows 301 yards passing per game through the air, SMU (pronounced SMU, remember?) is allowing 269 yards per game through the air. that’s nearly 600 yards passing allowed per game by these two teams combined. Tulsa QB Dane Evans has struggled at times since star receiver Keevan Lucas went down with a season-ending injury. But Keyarris Garrett and Josh Atkinson have been exceptionally good all season long and since Lucas went down. Garrett is coming off a 14-catch, 268-yard, 3 TD performance, so I expect recency bias to make Garrett’s stock rise this week. As for Atkinson, well, he was 1-yard shy of extending his 100-yard receiving streak to six games. Even with Lucas, Atkinson was putting up fantasy points. Both Garrett and Atkinson have big frames, speed, good hands and the ability to create big plays. We want that in our lineups. Now, there’s Courtland Sutton, someone you may not be familiar with. He is SMU’s No. 1 wideout and he’s dirt cheap. This might be that “duh” play, but I am unsure how the masses might feel about him as I write this. He’s averaging 19.1 points per game, which is four times his price for this week. Six to 7 times value would be nice and that could be pretty easy for Sutton to do should this game follow the path Vegas has laid. Only once has Sutton failed to hit double-digits this season. He has a high floor, high ceiling against Tulsa’s bottom-10 pass defenses. He is a worthy cash and tournament play this week.

J.J. Smith-Schuster – USC – vs. California – $7,300 – Early

Analysis: Juju has contended with a bit of an injury this week, but the talk was it wouldn’t keep him out of his week’s game against California. He’s the top target for Cody Kessler and is about as safe as a play as you can get each week. J.J. has been Dy-no-mite this season so far. He has at least 5 catches in every game except Week 1. He has four straight games with 6 or more catches, 5 100-yard receiving performances and 7 touchdowns. Cal hasn’t been shut down on defense, allowing 259 yards passing per game. Smith-Schuster has the speed to get behind defenders on the outside, he’s tall, uses his body to create space and can beat defenders off the snap in man coverage. You really can’t go wrong here.

Alex Erickson – Wisconsin – vs. Rutgers – $5,200 -Early

Analysis: How about some value at the receiver position for the early slate? Well you have come to the right place. Joel Stave is out with an injury for Wisconsin so Bart Houston is in at quarterback this week. He was 22-for-33 in the win over Illinois last week. Erickson’s numbers didn’t suffer as he hauled in 10 catches for 96 yards and has 26 catches in his past three games. Favoring Erickson is the loss of Robert Wheelwright, who also went down with an injury last week. By default, Erickson’s targets may go up without the Badgers having an experienced wideout filling in for the injured Wheelwright. I think Houston will be using Erickson as a safety valve if he gets in trouble in the pocket and if the Badgers struggling running the ball, the passing game will be there as Rutgers allows 310 passing yards per game to opposing teams. Erickson is a safe cash and tournament play this week.

Bonus: Will Fuller – Notre Dame – vs. Temple – $6,700 – Late

Analysis: Can’t say I love a lot of receivers in the late slate, so I give you a guy who can be trusted every week. C.J. Prosise has carved out a significant role in the Irish offense, but Temple has been formidable at times against the run (91.9 rushing yards allowed per game). Prosise might be matchup proof honestly, but should ND struggle, Fuller is going to be the guy called upon as QB DeShone Kizer will be dialing Fuller’s number quite a bit. I expect Temple to give ND their best, thus I think Prosise struggles, making Fuller an enticing option. He will be undervalue this week, in my opinion, but his price has come down and he has a chance to see lots of targets.

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