Waiver Wire: Week 12 scouting report
With the playoffs herer, it's important to have a handle on your options. Mario Puig helps out with his Week 12 scouting report.
Vad Lee, QB, Georgia Tech: It's not clear whether Lee will remain the starting quarterback for Georgia Tech, but after his enormous performance against North Carolina on Saturday, he's a player worth picking up in most formats just in case he does emerge with that starting role. He completed 6-of-10 passes for 169 yards, one touchdown and one interception while running for 112 yards and two touchdowns against a fairly respectable North Carolina defense, so if he starts against a weak Duke defense this week, similar fireworks should be in store.
Sean Renfree, QB, Duke: Renfree's numbers as a whole aren't impressive - he has just 12 touchdowns to seven interceptions and has exceeded the 250-yard mark just three times this year - but he's in a pass-happy offense that lends itself to good Fantasy production when the matchup is right, and this week's game against Georgia Tech should provide such a matchup. Renfree has a game this week against a Yellow Jackets defense that allowed 338.6 passing yards per game against North Carolina, Boston College, Clemson, Middle Tennessee and Miami, as well as 10 touchdowns over that span.
Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor: It took the Baylor coaches a while to realize it, but Seastrunk is the best running back for the Golden Bears, and his workload is finally starting to catch up to that fact. After getting just 15 carries the first five weeks of the year, Seastrunk has 46 carries for 280 yards (6.1 YPC) and three touchdowns the last four weeks, as well as seven catches for 106 yards (15.1 YPC) and a touchdown. A former blue chip recruit in a proven offensive system, Seastrunk is worth owning in any format, and he's fairly close to must-start status in Big 12-only leagues.
Justin Brown, WR, Oklahoma: Brown was a lesser recruit by most standards than players like Kenny Stills and Trey Metoyer, so he entered this season with less hype than those two after transferring from Penn State. But Brown has been better than expected for the Sooners. Metoyer has been a non-factor, while Brown has seemingly established himself as a near equal to Stills, especially lately. Despite joining the team just before the season's start, Brown ranks second with 41 catches for 537 yards and four touchdowns, including 29 catches for 402 yards and all four scores in the last six weeks. With potential shootouts against West Virginia, Oklahoma State and TCU coming up, Brown is no less than a solid flex starter in Big 12-only formats.
Marcus Sales, WR, Syracuse: Alec Lemon the established option in the Orange offense, Sales entered this year a bit under the radar and made defenses pay for it, totaling 27 catches for 382 yards and five touchdowns in the first four weeks. Since then, however, defenses have started paying a bit more attention to Sales, and he has just 25 catches for 350 yards and two scores over the last six weeks. Lemon, however, has reestablished himself as the main threat in the offense in the last month, torching defenses for 483 yards and five touchdowns. Look for Sales to capitalize on single coverage.
Matt Brown, RB, Temple: Injury and Montel Harris have been a problem for Brown this year, but he figures to regain some of his effectiveness against Army this week. Brown showed signs of reestablishing himself as Temple's top runner against Cincinnati on Saturday, earning nine carries for 35 yards compared to Harris' eight carries for 19 yards. The Owls should have a much easier time moving the ball against Army than they did the Bearcats, in any case, because the Black Knights allow 208.7 yards per game on the ground and have surrendered 24 rushing touchdowns in 10 games.
Zach Zwinak, RB, Penn State: He was almost completely off the radar in the Penn State backfield heading into this year, but halfway through November it's appearing as if Zwinak should have been Silas Redd's replacement all along. Bill Belton is an afterthought because Zwinak has 686 yards and four touchdowns on the ground this year, all but two yards coming in the last seven weeks. He's a must-start in Big Ten-only leagues, and he's a worthwhile pickup in almost every format.
Ralph Bolden, RB, Purdue: A crowded backfield at Purdue restricts Bolden's potential usefulness to Big Ten-only leagues, but he's probably worth picking up in such formats. Akeem Shavers (4.7 YPC) hasn't really impressed as a starter, and the team is, for whatever reason, uninterested in giving Akeem Hunt the ball (40 carries), so there's room for Bolden, the incumbent starter, to regain some prominence in the backfield. He took 14 carries for 102 yards against Iowa on Saturday, and it might not be long before he reestablishes himself as the team's top runner.
Shane Carden, QB, East Carolina: The East Carolina offense struggled to find itself after the departure of quarterback Dominique Davis, but under Carden's leadership the team recently found a groove. Although he started the year on the bench behind starter Rio Johnson, Carden has conclusively demonstrated that he should have been starting all along, as he has caught fire the last month. In his last four games Carden has 1,193 yards, 12 touchdowns and two interceptions through the air, and he even has four rushing touchdowns this year.
Vintavious Cooper, RB, East Carolina: Like Carden, Cooper has really arrived for the Pirates the last month or so. He had just 28 carries over the first four weeks of the year, but since then he has 134 carries for 738 yards (5.5 YPC) and five touchdowns in six games. Cooper has unsurprisingly emerged as a receiving threat in East Carolina's pass-heavy offense, as well, snagging 14 catches for 141 yards and a touchdown over the last six games. With Tulane and Marshall up next, Cooper should finish the year in a strong fashion.
Keenan Reynolds, QB, Navy: Hold off on the Ricky Dobbs comparisons for now, but safe to say, Navy has found its next star at quarterback. After beginning the year as backup to the unimpressive Trey Miller, Reynolds took over against Central Michigan on Oct. 12 and has decisively taken over the Navy starting role. A month later, Renyolds is up to 719 yards (10.0 YPA), eight touchdowns and one interception as a passer while adding 535 yards (4.7 YPC) and nine touchdowns as a runner. He's worth owning in all formats.
Donte Foster, WR, Ohio: Ohio typically doesn't go wild in the passing yardage department, so Foster's rarely a high-ceiling player. But he should have one of his better days with Ball State coming up. The Cardinals bring both of the necessary elements of a shootout: a strong offense (33.7 points scored per game) and a weak defense (32.7 points allowed per game). Foster has six touchdowns in the five games he played when Ohio scored more than 30 points, and the Bobcats can safely be expected to reach that mark Wednesday. It certainly helps that Ball State allows 8.1 yards per pass and has allowed 23 passing touchdowns in 10 games.
Andy Cruse, WR, Miami (OH): A loaded wideout rotation also featuring Nick Harwell and Dawan Scott makes Cruse a consistency risk outside of MAC-only leagues and other deep formats, but he's worth a look for owners in those scenarios since the Miami passing game is in such a high gear. Quarterback Zac Dysert has 1,008 passing yards the last three games, throwing eight touchdown passes while he's at it. Cruse snagged 19 passes for 234 of those yards and two of the touchdowns. His lack of big-play ability (9.2 YPC) limits his upside, but Cruse has six or more catches in seven games this year.
Brett Smith, QB, Wyoming: If the injury troubles that made Smith hit-or-miss (at best) earlier this year prompted his owner in your league to drop Smith, you would be wise to swoop in and pick him up if you have room for another quarterback. Smith is consistently an elite dual-threat quarterback when healthy, to the point that he can come close to top-10 territory at the position. He's certainly been in that conversation the last two weeks, throwing for 609 yards and eight touchdowns while running for 49 yards and another touchdown.
Tim Cornett, RB, UNLV: While Smith is throwing and running for big numbers against UNLV this week, Cornett figures to return the favor to the Cowboys and their run defense - an entirely weak squad that allows 223 yards per game on the ground and has surrendered 19 rushing touchdowns in 10 games. The speedy Cornett has been super consistent this year, surpassing 100 rushing yards or scoring in eight of 10 games, leaving him with 1,144 yards (5.4 YPC) and seven touchdowns on the ground. It would be a disappointment if he's not at 1,300 yards and eight touchdowns by the end of the Wyoming game.
Christian Powell, RB, Colorado: The exceptionally dysfunctional team around him mostly makes him worth approaching in deep formats such as Pac-12-only leagues, but Powell nonetheless deserves some recognition for turning himself into a productive power runner on a team that's otherwise hopeless. The former fullback has shown the ability to produce when given a big workload, taking 52 carries for 258 yards (5.0 YPC) and four touchdowns in games against Oregon and Arizona. With a game against Washington (4.9 YPC, 14 rushing touchdowns allowed) coming up, Powell should remain a flex option in Pac-12-only leagues.
Sean Mannion, QB, Oregon State: Mannion started off the year looking great, throwing for 1,358 yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions in the first month before a torn meniscus knocked him to the sideline. He attempted to return against Washington on Oct. 27 but clearly wasn't himself, throwing for 221 yards and four interceptions. Meanwhile, his former backup (Cody Vaz) was performing at a high level, so Mannion was moved back to the bench. Vaz suffered an ankle injury against Stanford on Saturday, however, so Mannion could find himself back in control of a pass-happy offense with two excellent receivers in Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks.
Tre Mason, RB, Auburn: Mason predictably had a trainwreck of a game against Georgia on Saturday, as the Bulldogs raced to a big lead early and the Auburn offense couldn't avoid the shutout after the running game was abandoned. When he isn't playing a rigged game, though, Mason is usually quite effective, and he figures to have a big bounce back as Auburn faces Alabama A&M this week. Prior to his 11-carry, 33-yard showing against Georgia, Mason had at least 80 rushing yards and a touchdown in four straight games.
Malcolm Mitchell, WR, Georgia: He was supposed to primarily play cornerback this year, but injuries at receiver (and perhaps sheer temptation) prompted Georgia to start giving Mitchell a prominent role at receiver again, and the results have predictably been promising for Georgia's leading 2011 receiver. He's a must-own in SEC-only leagues and is probably no less than a flex option in such formats, and he's one the radar in other leagues as well after scoring a touchdown in three straight weeks. He has 22 catches the last four weeks, too.
David Oku, RB, Arkansas State: Oku's efficiency as a runner is not impressive - he averages just 4.6 yards per carry - but the former Tennessee transfer is nonetheless on the Fantasy radar in all formats thanks to his big touchdown numbers. Through 10 games Oku has 186 carries for 848 yards and 12 touchdowns, and no other running back has more than four touchdowns this year. That means Oku has the short-yardage and goal-line looks locked down for the most part, and that equals steady touchdown production when you add the fact that Arkansas State averages more than 35 points per game.
Willis Wright, WR, Florida International: Wright continues to break out in a Florida International passing game that is surprisingly productive most days. Although he was a bust his first two seasons and started slowly in 2012, Wright has been hot over the last month, catching 15 passes for 392 yards and three touchdowns in the last four weeks. Considering he reportedly chose Florida International over schools like Auburn, Mississippi, Nebraska and West Virginia as a high school recruit, he probably has the physical talent to keep getting better.
Matt Austin, WR, Utah State: Austin rarely is reliable in a run-heavy Utah State offense that spreads the ball around when it does happen to pass, but he should be more useful than usual as the Aggies take on a Louisiana Tech squad that is a near lock to force a shootout. The Bulldogs offense is off the charts, putting up 53.4 points per game while featuring a defense that's nice enough to let the opponent keep up in most cases, surrendering 36.2 points per contest. The Bulldogs are especially soft against the pass, allowing 8.0 yards per throw with 30 touchdowns in 10 games. It all adds up to a busy day for Austin, who should pad his otherwise mediocre box score of 35 catches for 549 yards and five scores in 10 games.
Marcus Curry, RB, Texas State: It would certainly be nice if Curry would get more than the 9.3 carries per game that he does, but even with his limited workload he'll be worth a look in deep formats this week as he takes on Navy. Although he doesn't get a lot of touches, Curry makes up for it with his standout big-play ability - he averages 6.1 yards per carry on the year and has nine touchdowns on just 84 carries. That means that 9.3 carries per game usually comes with at least one touchdown. Curry will have an incentive to run extra tough this week, though, as he was an emerging star at Navy before he was kicked off the team and transferred to Texas State.
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