Start vs. Sit: Players to Start, Players to Bench for Week 6

Start vs. Sit: Players to Start, Players to Bench for Week 6

This article is part of our Start vs. Sit series.

We're in the thick of the conference football season as we enter Week 6. Conference play is in full swing. That's unfortunate for some teams that get stuck facing a juggernaut like Georgia in a given week, but in other ways it can offer opportunity. For example, two small-school players, Sincere McCormick of UTSA and Jalen Tolbert of South Alabama, are at the top of our rankings. There are opportunities everywhere. Here are some recommendations on players to target and players to bench.

AAC

START

Keylon Stokes, WR, Tulsa vs. Memphis

Stokes' season has been hampered by injury, but last week he returned and caught five passes on 10 targets. In his last full campaign he had 62 catches for 1,040 yards and six touchdowns. Memphis' passing defense has been a total sieve. The Tigers rank last in passing yards allowed per game with a whopping 379.2.

SIT

D'Wan Mathis, QB, Temple at Cincinnati

Last week, Mathis threw for 322 yards and three touchdowns. That's great! He also did it against the aforementioned Memphis Tigers. It was about as easy a matchup as he could step into. Cincinnati is a different story. The Bearcats rank 33rd in passing yards allowed and 12th in points allowed per game.

ACC

START

Jalen Mitchell, RB, Louisville vs. Virginia

Mitchell has been more steady than remarkable, rushing for 331 yards on 77 carries and adding eight catches for 80 yards. It hasn't been great, but the upside is here in this

We're in the thick of the conference football season as we enter Week 6. Conference play is in full swing. That's unfortunate for some teams that get stuck facing a juggernaut like Georgia in a given week, but in other ways it can offer opportunity. For example, two small-school players, Sincere McCormick of UTSA and Jalen Tolbert of South Alabama, are at the top of our rankings. There are opportunities everywhere. Here are some recommendations on players to target and players to bench.

AAC

START

Keylon Stokes, WR, Tulsa vs. Memphis

Stokes' season has been hampered by injury, but last week he returned and caught five passes on 10 targets. In his last full campaign he had 62 catches for 1,040 yards and six touchdowns. Memphis' passing defense has been a total sieve. The Tigers rank last in passing yards allowed per game with a whopping 379.2.

SIT

D'Wan Mathis, QB, Temple at Cincinnati

Last week, Mathis threw for 322 yards and three touchdowns. That's great! He also did it against the aforementioned Memphis Tigers. It was about as easy a matchup as he could step into. Cincinnati is a different story. The Bearcats rank 33rd in passing yards allowed and 12th in points allowed per game.

ACC

START

Jalen Mitchell, RB, Louisville vs. Virginia

Mitchell has been more steady than remarkable, rushing for 331 yards on 77 carries and adding eight catches for 80 yards. It hasn't been great, but the upside is here in this matchup. I expect a high-scoring affair, given that both Louisville and Virginia have allowed 34.5 points per game. The Cavaliers, though, have also allowed 220.0 rushing yards per contest.

SIT

Jaquarii Roberson, WR, Wake Forest at Syracuse

Roberson started the season with two games with a touchdown, but he's been kept out of the end zone for three games since. Being on the road facing the Orange might be tougher than you're expecting. Syracuse actually ranks 20th in passing yards allowed per contest. Roberson has not really faced a defense challenge yet this year, so it remains to be seen just how well he can do.

Big 12

START

SaRodorick Thompson, RB, Texas Tech vs. TCU

There are only six Big 12 teams in action this week, so the pickings are a little slimmer. I'm going with Thompson here, who missed the start of the season with injury but has three touchdowns in the three games he's played. TCU has allowed 252.0 rushing yards per game and, while Bijan Robinson played a big part in that, it's still a gaudy number.

SIT

Winston Wright, WR, WVU at Baylor

Wright has 26 catches through five games, which is good. However, those catches have only gone for 278 yards and zero touchdowns. He's looking more like a safety valve and possession receiver, and those sorts of players have less fantasy value. Baylor ranks 11th in passing yards allowed per game, so while Wright will likely get his targets the upside is limited.

Big Ten

START

Bo Melton, WR, Rutgers vs. Michigan State

Melton got off to a strong start to the season, but a road trip to Michigan and a game with Ohio State have dampened his numbers. I think this is a week where Melton can right the ship so to speak. The Spartans rank 129th in passing yards allowed per game. Only the Memphis Tigers have been worse.

SIT

Noah Cain, RB, Penn State at Iowa

I expect this game to be the opposite of Louisville versus Virginia. The Nittany Lions and the Hawkeyes rank second and third in points allowed per game. That being said, the best unit here is Iowa's run defense. Iowa has allowed only 87.0 rushing yards per contest, and that doesn't bode well for Cain.

Conference USA

START

DeAndre Torrey, RB, North Texas at Missouri

Usually this kind of recommendation would be flipped, with me suggesting using a player from the SEC team against the Group of Five squad. Not this time. Missouri has allowed 311.8 rushing yards per contest. The Tigers just got torn apart by Tennessee. Torrey is no slouch as a running back. He's rushed for 516 yards and four touchdowns in four games. Admittedly a lot of that came against Northwestern State, but I think Torrey can do just fine against Missouri.

SIT

Chase Cunningham, QB, MTSU at Liberty

Cunningham has taken over as quarterback for MTSU and has thrown for 10 touchdowns against one interception. This could be a bit of a reality check, though. Liberty ranks 11th in points allowed and fourth in passing yards allowed per game. It's going to be tougher for Cunningham to excel here than against, say, Charlotte.

MAC

START

Bryant Koback, RB, Toledo vs. Northern Illinois

Koback has always been a touchdown machine. He had 12 rushing touchdowns in 2019 and 14 in 2018. This year he already has five through five games. Basically, Koback has a nose for the end zone, and Northern Illinois has a penchant to allow points (38.5 per game).

SIT

Rocky Lombardi, QB, Northern Illinois at Toledo

Lombardi transferred from Michigan State and got the starting role for the Huskies, but it hasn't gone ideally for him. Despite playing at a lower level, Lombardi has five passing touchdowns against five interceptions. While he has rushed for four scores, three of those came against Maine. The Rockets have allowed 18.2 points per game and also rank 23rd in passing yards allowed per game.

Mountain West

START

Toa Taua, RB, Nevada vs. New Mexico State

Is Taua finding getting into the swing of things this season? It seems like that may be the case, as last week he rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns and had seven catches for 44 yards against Boise State. New Mexico State is usually one of the worst teams in the FBS, and indeed this year they've allowed 34.0 points and 211.2 rushing yards per game.

SIT

Xazavian Valladay, RB, Wyoming at Air Force

Valladay has a rushing touchdown in every game, but there are a couple of reasons to think Air Force could keep his numbers in check. First, Air Force runs the triple option, which eats up a lock of clock and means less drives and snaps for opposing offenses than usual. Second, the Falcons rank 17th in rushing yards allowed per game and 16th in points allowed per game. This might be the time Valladay is kept out of the end zone.

Pac-12

START

Jayden de Laura, QB, Washington State vs. Oregon State

Wazzu's passing attack isn't as prolific as it was under Mike Leach, but this is still a pass-happy offense. De Laura is at the forefront and has thrown for nine touchdowns against four picks in four games. Oregon State has allowed 294.0 passing yards per contest, so a healthy De Laura should be able to throw all over them in Pullman.

SIT

Tanner McKee, QB, Stanford at Arizona State

McKee has been close to perfect, or at the very least he's thrown for 11 touchdowns without a single interception. Unfortunately for him Stanford doesn't like to air the ball out, so he's only accumulated 1,093 passing yards through five contests. This could be a little trickier, though, because Arizona State ranks in the top 20 in both points and passing yards allowed per game.

SEC

START

Emory Jones, QB, Florida vs. Vanderbilt

The Gators will be licking their wounds after losing to Kentucky, and now Vanderbilt is coming to town. Florida could right the ship quickly here and really pour it on the Commodores. Yes, Jones hasn't been super careful with the ball, and he has more interceptions than passing touchdowns. On the ground he's rushed for 438 yards and two touchdowns in 70 games, so his ability to be a dual-threat still makes him viable.

SIT

Tank Bigsby, RB, Auburn vs. Georgia

Welcome to this week's edition of "Who is playing Georgia?" The Bulldogs have, for my money, the clear best defense in college football. Bigsby is a good running back, and Auburn is at home. That doesn't matter to me. Georgia is too good to mess with.

Sun Belt

START

Reese White, RB, Coastal Carolina at Arkansas State

Last year in a secondary role, White rushed 88 times for 476 yards and six touchdowns. As a lead back in 2021, he already has carried the ball 55 times for 374 yards and six scores. Now he gets to face the Arkansas State defense that ranks last in both points and rushing yards allowed per game. It doesn't get any better than that.

SIT

Corey Rucker, Arkansas State vs. Coastal Carolina

Let's flip this matchup over for my sit recommendation. Rucker has put up strong numbers in four of five games, but Washington held him to three catches for 43 yards. Coastal Carolina may be a Sun Belt team, but it isn't necessarily less talented than the Huskies. The Chanticleers have only allowed 14.0 points and 161.2 passing yards per game, both in the top 10 in the FBS.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Morgan
Chris Morgan is a writer of sports, pop culture, and humor articles, a book author, a podcaster, and a fan of all Detroit sports teams.
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