Start: James Blackman, QB Arkansas State @ Memphis
Blackman may not be a player on many rosters, but if he is – he’s someone I want to start this week. Arkansas State has been one of the most pass-heavy teams in the country in the last few years, which will continue in 2022. Blackman hasn’t had the opportunity to show his potential in this offense given the Week 1 blowout against Grambling (where he still went 15/20 for 210 and 2TDs) and the difficult matchup against Ohio State last week.
The game total in this matchup is 62.5, and despite being 13.5-point underdogs, the Arkansas State offense should be able to move the ball this week. I don’t think the Memphis defense is bad by any means or that their secondary is weak. Their best player, Quindell Johnson, is a very good safety, but behind him, the corners are fine. Thus far, Memphis ranks 92nd in EPA per pass attempt on defense after ranking 115th in EPA per play in 2021. This Arkansas State team runs deep at receiver with Champ Flemings leading the way. This group ranked fifth in pass attempts per game, attempting 44.2 passes per game in 2021. I like Arkansas State to score this week.
Sit: Jayden Daniels, QB LSU vs. Mississippi State
Daniels was excellent last week. Four touchdowns, only one incompletion, and a dynamic offense behind him. Forget it all. This week the Tigers go up against an underrated Missippi State defense that will give this offense fits.
We saw this group struggle against pressure from Florida State in week one, and Mississippi State could do more of the same. Corner Emmanuel Forbes is one of the best in coverage in the SEC and, despite a tough matchup with Kayshon Boutte, could help limit the productive receiver. Up front, the front DL and LB group is a unit that compares favorably to FSU’s, if not better. Linebackers Jett Johnson and Tyrus Wheat can do damage over the middle and help put pressure on the LSU offensive line. Ultimately, Mike Leach’s defenses aren’t known for their ferocity, but this is his best unit yet and one being slept on in this matchup.
Start: Marquez Cooper, RB Kent State vs. Long Island University
This is a “known week.” Kent State RB Cooper spawned a theory of mine this offseason that known starts are better than an ambiguous schedule. I know when to start a running back like Marquez Cooper, and this is one of those weeks. I knew to avoid him the last few games, given their matchups against Washington and Oklahoma, but Long Island is not one of those. In weeks where Cooper was a clearly startable asset, he averaged 20.2 points per game in 2021 and was a focal point for the Golden Flashes and their offense.
In week one, Toledo ran for 226 yards against the Sharks, and Villanova ran for 369 yards in week two. This team cannot stop the run, and Kent State will run it on them. Despite an excellent mascot in the Sharks, Kent State should dominate, and Cooper is a no-brainer start this week despite a pedestrian first two weeks.
Sit: Nicholas Singleton, RB Penn State @ Auburn
Freshman stud Singleton broke out in a huge way in week two against Ohio, but we need to temper expectations this week. After a monster 179-2 performance for the Nittany Lions, Singleton has entered the weekly start conversation. This Auburn defense is a different beast, with potential first-rounder Derrick Hall leading the way. The front seven also features Colby Wooden and Owen Pappoe, two players this running back is certainly not used to. Wooden is a proven run stopper on the defensive line, and Pappoe is a dynamic linebacker who should be healthy this season.
Nobody is begging you to start Singleton this week. Last week was fun! It can be fun without trying to chase the points, and that’s what starting him is. College fantasy is all about matchups, and this is one where we can feel comfortable fading the fantastic freshman.
Start: Keylon Stokes, WR Tulsa vs. Jacksonville State
I included Keylon Stokes here because he should be a weekly start at this point. He’s borderline set-and-forget assuming the matchup isn’t a disaster. Through two weeks, Stokes has posted a 19-304-2 line, taking command of the Tulsa receiver room after his injury. This week they face the Jacksonville State team, who is likely the worst defense they’ve faced thus far after going against Wyoming and Northern Illinois. Stokes’s inclusion on this list is a reality check. Just roll him out with confidence each week.
Sit: Stefan Cobbs, WR Boise St vs. UT-Martin
This is probably a weird inclusion for most. A receiver we had a lot of confidence in heading into 2022 is a sit in an FBS v. FCS matchup? Last week Cobbs had a single target against New Mexico. He’s faded as a priority option in this offense, finishing behind Billy Bowens and Latrell Caples in targets at receiver. The reason for his inclusion is similar to Stokes above. Cobbs is a sit until we see otherwise. I *think* he’s the heir apparent for Khalil Shakir, but it hasn’t played out as such. Until we see a breakout game or a game where he is a priority in the passing offense, we have to sit him.