Week 6 Fantasy Boomers
Washington QB Jake Browning vs. Oregon -- Of all the blowouts this weekend (Alabama rolling Arkansas, Washington State smashing Stanford, Clemson smothering Boston College) two stood out as giants of overkill. Michigan blasted Rutgers 78-0, while Washington stomped Oregon 70-21. The latter contest proved to be a fantasy buffet. Jake Browning owners, in particular, feasted. The sophomore threw for six touchdown passes and rushed for two more. He found WR John Ross for three of those scores, with Dante Pettis catching two and Jomon Dotson one to round out the carnage. Washington has beaten traditional Pac-12 powers Stanford and Oregon by a combined score of 114-27 over the past two weeks. Some might call this a passing of the torch, but that would imply action by the Cardinal and Ducks. Call it instead a wrenching of the torch.
Louisiana Tech QB Ryan Higgins vs. Western Kentucky -- Getting Higgy with it? Absolutely. In a Thursday night shootout with the Hilltoppers, Higgins almost immediately started lobbing fireworks. He threw for three touchdown passes in the first quarter alone and finished the first half with four of ‘em. Ultimately, Higgins racked up 454 yards and five touchdowns. Those 454 yards were the second-highest passing total of the weekend, right behind Pat Mahomes of Texas Tech, who put up 504 in a loss to Kansas State. Mahomes, by-the-by, attempted 62 passes despite playing with a sore throwing shoulder.
Oklahoma RB Samaje Perine vs. Texas -- For whatever reason, Perine just hasn’t been fast to rev as his career has progressed with the Sooners. Last season, he failed to rush for 100 yards in five of his first six games before clicking into a groove. This year, he had been held under the century mark in each of Oklahoma’s first four contests until he burst forth for 214 yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries in helping to sink the Longhorns into an even deeper pit of despair in the Red River Shootout. The 35 carries were a career-high for Perine.
Oklahoma WR Dede Westbrook vs. Texas -- The Longhorns pulled off the impressive feat of allowing both a 200-yard rusher and a 200-yard receiver. That’s the kind of all-around performance that should put every other bad defense to shame. Perine, of course, was the big gainer on the ground. Through the air, it was Westbrook. He logged a 10-232-3 receiving line while averaging 23.2 yards per catch. For as fine a performance as it was by Westbrook -- and it was spectacular -- this was another out-and-out defensive no-show. Even if a mid-season firing is off the table (and who knows), Charlie Strong's seat is getting mighty toasty.
Texas A&M RB Trayveon Williams vs. Tennessee -- First, a caveat on Williams. It was his fumble near the end of regulation which allowed the Volunteers to come back and tie the game. Williams was gone on a 71-yard scamper to the end zone on the play, except he never actually reached the end zone. He slowed near the end of the run (presumably assuming he was in the clear) and Tennessee’s Darrell Taylor managed to just knock the ball out, turning the ball over to his offense. The Vols would roar down the field to tie the game up before losing in double-overtime. But one play does not a game make, and Williams was flat-out phenomenal outside of the freshman mistake. He rushed for 217 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries (seven fewer carries than the aforementioned Perine) and has racked up 704 yards on the ground through six games. Williams is tracking to finish not just as one of the most productive freshman backs in the country, but one of the most productive backs, period.
Tennessee RB Alvin Kamara vs. Texas A&M -- While Williams was killing it for the Aggies, Kamara was equally terrific for Tennessee. He didn’t finish with quite as lofty a total in terms of rushing yardage (Williams outpaced Kamara 217-127), but might have actually posted the better overall game. His real mark was made in the receiving game, as Kamara caught eight passes for 161 yards and a touchdown. Those 161 yards receiving were good for fifth in the country. He also notched two scores on the ground. When Jalen Hurd is healthy, Kamara just doesn’t receive enough touches to warrant true fantasy consideration, but when Hurd is ruled out (as was the case on Saturday), he makes for a starting option.
Boise State WRs Thomas Sperbeck and Cedrick Wilson vs. New Mexico -- The Broncos played on Friday, wiping the floor with New Mexico in convincing fashion. This was the most of productive game of the season for the BSU passing offense. Sophomore Brett Rypien threw for 391 yards and five touchdowns, with Sperbeck and Wilson splitting the scoring booty. Both young gentlemen rocked slick receiving lines on the evening, with Sperbeck notching a 9-198-2 mark and Wilson checking off a statistical bounty at 9-167-3. Head coach Bryan Harsin’s boys will now carry the hopes and dreams of the world, as Houston’s Saturday defeat to Navy now leaves Boise State as the lone Playoff contender to reside outside the Power 5.
Oregon State RB Ryan Nall vs. Cal -- The Wrecking Nall had kept most of the china intact entering Saturday’s showdown with the Golden Bears, with his season-high in rushing yardage a mere 71 tallied against Minnesota in the season-opener. He finally lived up to his moniker against Cal. Nall smashed his way to 221 yards and three touchdowns on just 14 carries in the 47-44 overtime victory. That works out to 15.8 YPC.
Week 6 Fantasy Busts
Syracuse QB Eric Dungey vs. Wake Forest -- Dungey’s best trait this season has been his consistency. He threw for at least 350 yards in four of his first five games, with two or more touchdowns in every game to date. That loveliness was before he had the mispleasure of meeting the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Saturday. They held Dungey to just 156 yards passing. No touchdowns, either. A predictable casualty as a result was WR Amba Etta-Tawo, who had dominated entering this weekend’s action but managed just four catches for 36 yards in Saturday’s 28-9 defeat.
TCU QB Kenny Hill vs. Kansas -- Hill and the Horned Frogs were on upset alert throughout this one, only to pull out the win in the fourth quarter. Trill posted some downright disturbing numbers given the opponent. He threw for just 206 yards and was intercepted three times. In a game that should have provided ample opportunities for fantasy glory, this one felt like a waste.
Miami RBs Mark Walton and Joseph Yearby vs. Florida State -- Both Walton and Yearby have posted their share of nice rushing efforts this season. Satruday’s contest with the Seminoles would not fall into that category. Perhaps hoping to evenly split the disappointment of fantasy owners ‘round the globe, both players finished with 39 yards rushing. Walton did have one impressive would-be touchdown in which he maintained balance near the end zone even as his hand and helmet (but not the knee) touched the ground, spinning like a human gyroscope before popping up for glory. Would-be glory. A holding penalty prevented that small sliver of light for the running game. In their first primetime showing under Mark Richt, the Hurricanes turned in a mixed performance. Their offense proved less than impressive at times outside of a pair of nice touchdown catches from WR Stacy Coley.
Cal WR Chad Hansen vs. Oregon State -- Rare is the day when Hansen falls to this side of the ledger. Against the Beavers on Saturday, though, he caught just four passes for 16 yards. 12 of those 16 yards came on one catch, so yeah, it was a quiet evening for the Cal standout. The down performance can be dismissed as an outlier easily enough, as the wideout had posted at least 98 receiving yards in each of his first five games. He opened the season with three consecutive contests of at least 160 receiving yards.
North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky vs. Virginia Tech -- One of the more notably disappointing performances of the afternoon came from Trubisky, who passed for just 58 yards and was intercepted twice. The Tar Heels did not generate a touchdown in the 34-3 loss. Trubisky’s showing was even more of a letdown for fantasy owners given that he had posted three consecutive 400-yard passing games prior to running into Bud Foster’s bros. The two interceptions were the first Trubisky has thrown this season.
Oregon RB Royce Freeman vs. Washington -- The Huskies have been tearing through everything in their path of late, but even still, their work against Freeman on Saturday stood out in that aforementioned 70-21 beatdown. He had just 50 yards rushing in the contest and received a mere 11 carries. Credit to the Washington defense for that yeoman's effort, sure, but you have to feel for Freeman, here. A transcendent talent suddenly stuck on a mediocre-to-bad team.
Ohio State passing game vs. Indiana -- While QB J.T. Barrett did finish with 137 yards rushing (plus a touchdown) to buoy his fantasy day by degrees, the Buckeyes aerial attack was ineffective against the Hoosiers on Saturday. Barrett finished with just 93 yards passing and was intercepted once, while Dontre Wilson led the receiving corp with a modest three catches for 43 yards and a touchdown. The Buckeyes might have won 38-17, but they are going to need to shore up some of their inconsistencies in the coming weeks if they don’t want to get tripped up before their late November date with Michigan (who, again, won 78-0 on Saturday). Road contests against Wisconsin and Penn State show next on their schedule. Tread carefully, Buckeye nation. That is not an easy two-step.
Alabama WR Calvin Ridley vs. Arkansas -- A week ago, Ridley posted a beautiful 11-174-2 effort against Kentucky. There was no beauty to be found on his line against the Razorbacks on Saturday, though. Bret Bielema’s crew held Ridley to just three catches for 14 yards. He did haul in a four-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter, but that was the extent of his scoring damage. While Ridley has turned home three games of at least 80 yards receiving this season, he also has three contests to his name in which he has logged a combined 28 yards.