Week 3 is in the books and although it’s still early we’re starting to see some clear separation between the contenders and pretenders in the SEC. The same applies for DFS as some players who were expected to be fantasy darlings have yet to emerge while others have shined and look like potential staples of our fantasy lineups in 2015. We begin our games recaps for Week 3 with the game of the week in the SEC.
Ole Miss @ Alabama
Game Recap: Ole Miss used several big plays and stellar offensive play overall to upset Alabama 43-37, their first victory at Alabama since 1988.
Key Players: Ole Miss – Chad Kelly took on the role of big-time quarterback on Saturday night and delivered, throwing for 341 yards and three touchdowns spread to three different receivers. He also chipped in 21 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground. The ground game as whole was pretty quiet as most of the Rebels damage was done through the air. Jordan Wilkins led all backs with 39 yards and a touchdown. Cody Core, Laquon Treadwell and Quincy Adeboyejo were the recipients of Kelly’s touchdown throws. The talented trio combined for 274 of his 341 passing yards.
Alabama: The quarterback carousel continued with both Jake Coker and Cooper Bateman seeing time. Coker was the more effective of the two by throwing for 201 yards, three touchdowns and two picks while adding on 58 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Bateman threw for 87 yards and a pick. Derrick Henry ran for 127 yards and a touchdown, good totals considering Alabama was playing catch-up most of the night. The receiving corps was led by ArDarius Stewart’s 8/73/1. Richard Mullaney was on the receiving end of two of Coker’s touchdown tosses. Tight end O.J. Howard snagged four balls for 70 yards.
Key Injuries: Alabama wide receiver Robert Foster suffered a torn rotator cuff and is out for the year.
Players to Watch: Ole Miss – Hanging 43 points on Alabama is no small feat and if Kelly was not already firmly on your radar he should be now. He deserves weekly consideration and it will be interesting to see how his salary evolves for DFS. Jaylen Walton again led backs in carries with 12, but the strength of the passing game means the backfield can be hit-or-miss on a week-to-week basis. A talented group of receivers is great to have on the field but makes life challenging for DFS. Treadwell is still probably the safest choice to pair with Kelly but you could make a case for the others as well. Tight end Evan Engram may be the biggest loser of the wealth of talent at receiver. He will still produce this year but it’ll be hard to pinpoint on a weekly basis.
Alabama: If Coker finally has control of the starting job he can make for a viable play depending on matchup. Henry is an elite-level running back and should be treated as one for DFS, pounce on him at an appealing price but use caution if his salary is at an exorbitant level. Kenyan Drake can still be viable in the right matchup, even though he was quiet this week with only 33 yards. Stewart and Mullaney are the top targets at receivers with eight and seven receptions respectively. Howard will continue to see work and makes for a nice salary-saver pair with Coker.
Auburn @ LSU
Game Recap: LSU dominated the first half against Auburn and cruised to a 45-21 victory on Saturday.
Key Players: Auburn – Preseason darling Jeremy Johnson continued his erratic play, completing only 11 of 19 for a touchdown and two picks. He contributed 41 yards rushing and another touchdown on the ground. A committee approach at running back produced 160 yards in total and no standout performers. The receiving corps suffered from the lack of cohesion on offense. Preseason All-American D’haquille Williams had two catches for 19 yards and a touchdown.
LSU: Brandon Harris turned in another solid performance at the helm, throwing for 74 yards and a touchdown while also running for 66 yards and finding the end zone two additional times. Leonard Fournette was an absolute beast, rushing for 228 yards and three touchdowns. The dominant ground game did not leave much left over for the receivers. Travin Dural paced the group with four catches for 27 yards.
Key Injuries: None.
Players to Watch: Auburn – Auburn has pulled the plug on Jeremy Johnson and will roll with redshirt freshman Sean White at quarterback for this week’s game. It’s unclear if this is a long-term move or simply a shot across the bough for Johnson. White looks like a risky proposition for Saturday’s game against Mississippi State. The backfield is talented but might be best thought of as a wait-and-see candidate to see how the offense evolves. Roc Thomas and Peyton Barber should continue the bulk of work. Williams will continue to be held back until he receives some steady quarterback play, but has the talent to be a justifiable WR3 or flex play on a weekly basis.
LSU: Harris deserves serious consideration for 2 QB sites and you could make a case for him as a low-cost option on single quarterback sites in the right matchup. Fournette continues to be someone who needs to be on your short list each week, but his salary is going to get to a point where he’s nearly unplayable. Receivers are too speculative at the moment and with Harris’ ability on the ground you may be able to skip pairing him up with one of his targets. If you do decide to go that route, Travin Dural led receivers this week with 4/27/0 and leads the team in receptions thus far with eight.
South Carolina @ Georgia
Game Recap: Georgia dominated South Carolina through the air and on the ground en route to a 52-20 victory on Saturday.
Key Players: South Carolina – Starter Perry Orth was ineffective, completing only six of 17 for 66 yards and a pick. Lorenzo Nunez also saw time at quarterback, throwing for 18 yards and running for 76 more and a touchdown. The ground game was largely ineffective as they played from behind for most of the day. Wide receivers were completely held in check. The talented Pharoh Cooper had only one catch for six yards but did carry the ball five times for 34 yards.
Georgia: Greyson Lambert completed 24 of 25 passes on the day, good enough to set a new NCAA record for single-game completion percentage. He threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns. The ground game was dominant as the team ran for 246 yards and four touchdowns. Heisman hopeful Nick Chubb paced all backs with 21/159/2. Malcolm Mitchell was the preferred target, catching eight passes for 122 yards and a touchdown. Sony Michel contributed on the ground and in the passing game with 83 combined yards and three total touchdowns.
Key Injuries: South Carolina running back Brandon Wilds suffered a bruised rib in the second half and did not return.
Players to Watch: South Carolina – South Carolina will introduce their third starting quarterback when freshman Lorenzo Nunez takes the reins this week. He played well in limited action on Saturday and provided a spark, but would be a risky play for DFS purposes until the Gamecocks sort through their offensive issues. It’s unclear if Wilds will miss any time. David Williams was the next most productive back on Saturday with six carries for 22 yards. Cooper continues to be held back by quarterback play, but can be considered as a flier for WR3 or flex duties due to his talent.
Georgia: Lambert had a stellar day and should be kept in mind for DFS. With an outstanding running game behind him, this may not be the last of his extremely productive games this season. Chubb is a beast but typically hard to roster due to pricing. Michel presents a nice lower-cost option to gain some exposure to the Bulldogs backfield. Mitchell makes for a great pair for weeks when you roster Lambert. The senior wideout quietly has 15 receptions through three games.
Florida @ Kentucky
Game Recap: Florida took a 14-3 lead into the half and controlled the second half defensively as they went on to win 14-9.
Key Players: Florida – Will Grier handled all the snaps at quarterback and threw for 125 yards and a pick. He chipped in another 61 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown. Kelvin Taylor paced the backs with sixteen carries for 45 yards and a touchdown. A lackluster offensive effort did not provide much for the receivers to work with. Seven different receivers caught passes on the day.
Kentucky: Patrick Towles had a rough day, completing only eight of 24 for 126 yards and two picks. Stanley Williams produced 80 yards - a decent total considering the defensive pressure the offense faced all game. Five different receivers caught passes on Saturday, led by Dorian Baker with four.
Key Injuries: None.
Players to Watch: Florida – Grier got the job done by coming away with the victory, but the offense as a whole needs to show more to become relevant for DFS. He could be considered for 2 QB sites in a great matchup. Taylor has talent and can produce, but needs the offense to take a leap forward before he will be able to make any noise. Demarcus Robinson would be the choice to pair with Harris but is really a boom or bust option at this point.
Kentucky: Towles and Williams will move forward and have a similar outlook for the rest of the year. They can look like studs against the easier portion of their schedule but are probably best left on the bench against strong defenses. Dorian Baker and Garrett Johnson lead the team in receptions thus far, with 11 and 10 respectively.
Nevada @ Texas A&M
Game Recap: Kyle Allen and the Aggies lit up Nevada 44-27 in a game that was not as close as the score would indicate.
Key Players: Allen was dominant on Saturday while throwing for 270 yards, four touchdowns and a pick. He also ran the ball 10 times for 55 yards and another score. Tra Carson handled the bulk of the work in the backfield, carrying the ball 22 times for 137 yards. Christian Kirk again looked strong at receiver with six catches for 120 yards. Josh Reynolds found the end zone twice while catching three passes for 55 yards.
Key Injuries: None.
Players to Watch: Allen has been stellar during the JV portion of the Aggies schedule but the tests will get tougher starting this week against Arkansas. He should be on the short list for DFS each week and only be considered for benching against elite passing defenses or if his salary gets out of hand. Carson quietly produces while all the attention gets focused on the passing attack. He makes for a great RB2 or flex play most weeks. The receivers continue to confound somewhat, but Kirk and Reynolds seem to be the most reliable choices to pair with Allen at this point.
Northwestern State @ Mississippi State
Game Recap: As expected, Mississippi State destroyed Northwestern State to the tune of 62-13 on Saturday.
Key Players: Dak Prescott was cool and efficient before giving way to backups on Saturday. He completed 10 of 11 for 227 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for 54 yards. Ashton Shumpert led the backfield in carries with nine and produced 55 yards and a touchdown. Ten different players caught passes during the blowout, led by Donald Gray’s 4/140/1.
Key Injuries: None.
Players to Watch: Prescott will continue to be an elite option on a weekly basis only impacted by salary concerns or an absolutely stellar defense on the opposite side. Shumpert has seen the most carries in the backfield so far this year but has only produced one touchdown. De’Runnya Wilson is the top option to pair with Prescott but the duo will be pricey and tough to field a roster around them. Consider Fred Ross for a little salary relief. Ross has 15 catches for 153 yards thus far.
Western Carolina @ Tennessee
Game Recap: Tennessee rebounded from last week’s heartbreaker in a big way, dominating Western Carolina in a 55-10 victory.
Key Players: Joshua Dobbs continued his productive ways, throwing for 144 yards and two touchdowns before giving way to the backup. Jalen Hurd followed a similar trajectory, producing in his time on the field but ultimately not needed much. He had 80 combined yards and two total touchdowns. Nine different players caught passes for the Volunteers, led by Preston Williams’ 3/98/2.
Key Injuries: None.
Players to Watch: Dobbs, Hurd and Co. face a tougher test this week against Florida. Temper expectations as they enter conference play, but play the matchups – fade against top-level defenses but don’t hesitate to play against middle of the rod ones. A true WR1 has yet to emerge. Josh Malone leads the team in receptions with nine, while Preston Williams is tops in yardage at 98.
Texas Tech @ Arkansas
Game Recap: Arkansas suffered their second consecutive defeat, falling 35-24 to Texas Tech.
Key Players: Brandon Allen threw for 196 yards, two touchdowns and a pick. His numbers were down from the first two weeks but the team was able to re-establish the running game. Alex Collins ran the ball 28 times for 170 yards and a touchdown. All told, the running game produced 228 yards. Receivers were led by Drew Morgan’s 4/45/1. Tight end Hunter Henry chipped in four catches for 32 yards and a touchdown.
Key Injuries: Wide receiver has turned into an infirmary unit with Keon Hatcher and Jared Cornelius out with foot injuries and Jared Cornelius suffering an arm injury. Running back Kody Walker has a hand injury and is questionable for this week.
Players to Watch: Allen deserves consideration this week in a potential shootout against Texas A&M. Going forward, we’ll have to see if the team returns to its ground and pound ways. Collins would become an elite option if that came to pass, but don’t overpay for him. Henry would be the best choice to pair with Allen, especially now with all the injuries at receiver.
Austin Peay @ Vanderbilt
Game Recap: Vanderbilt flexed their muscles and took down Austin Peay 47-7 for their first victory of the season.
Key Players: Johnny McCrary had a productive day, throwing for 368 yards and two touchdowns while chipping in 41 yards and another score on the ground. Ralph Webb had 76 combined yards and three total touchdowns, an impressive return regardless of opponent. Trent Sherfield had a day for the ages by catching 16 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown.
Players to Watch: McCrary showed that he can produce, albeit against lesser competition. He’s too tough to trust in conference play, but keep him in mind for any weak spots on the schedule. Webb can produce but will be limited against tougher opponents as well. However, he would vault into must-play territory against a poor rushing defense. Sherfield is the receiver to focus on with a line of 21/347/2 so far. He could be an intriguing WR3 or flex play for games that Vandy will be expected to be playing catch-up.
Connecticut @ Missouri
Game Recap: Missouri’s defense carried them to a 9-6 victory in a snoozer on Saturday.
Key Players: As told by the final score, it was a rough day for the Mizzou offense. Maty Mauk and Drew Lock both saw time behind center, combining for 185 yards and a pick. The ground game struggled without the injured Russell Hansbrough, producing 85 yards and a touchdown. Ish Witter had 85 combined yards and had more of a role in the offense. J’Mon Moore led receivers with 6 catches while Tyler Hunt was tops in yardage with 51.
Key Injuries: Running back Russell Hansbrough could return this week against Kentucky.
Players to Watch: There are whispers that Mauk could be replaced on a full-time basis by Lock. Neither of them are particularly appealing DFS options at the moment, but Lock has provided a spark when he’s seen the field. Hansbrough should be back this week and that would make life easier for Mauk/Lock. For now, consider the Tigers in a holding pattern and see how they perform this week against Kentucky.