Each week we'll be providing a review of the Big 12 conference action, with an emphasis on what we can expect going forward.
BAYLOR AT OKLAHOMA STATE
Game Recap: Baylor scored just 56 seconds into the game Saturday night, setting the tone for how this game was going to be played. The score was tied 14-14 after fifteen minutes, but Baylor scored on the first play of the second quarter and never looked back. In all, the Bears ran 104 plays and accounted for 700 yards of offense in the 45-35 victory.
Key Players: Jarrett Stidham played well enough in the first half, throwing for 258 yards and a touchdown. He did not play in the second half after suffering ankle and hand injuries. In his absence, Chris Johnson threw for 138 yards and 2 touchdowns, and additionally ran for 42 yards and another score. Johnson had been moved to wide receiver earlier this season, and he showed off serious speed in this game. He’s likely to start against TCU Friday and we expect him to have a big game. Shock Linwood scored in the first minute of the game and ran for 91 yards on 20 carries. Unfortunately for him, Devin Chafin and Johnny Jefferson are both fully healthy now, and are being heavily featured in Baylor’s game plan, with Chafin being used often in the red zone. KD Cannon had a monster game, catching five passes for 210 yards and two scores. He’s currently the best value among Baylor’s receivers due to his combination of reasonable price, target allotment, and upside as a serious deep ball threat. Corey Coleman posted his second straight disappointing effort, catching only five passes for 77 yards. He’s only a GPP play at the moment, as he’s just too expensive to consider in cash games.
Mason Rudolph threw for 430 yards and three touchdowns on Saturday. JW Walsh poached two touchdowns from him, but Rudolph once again showed that he can put up a usable stat line by throwing for a high yardage figure. Oklahoma State’s running game is non-existent and the team is entirely reliant on Rudolph’s right arm to move the ball. Rudolph now squares off with Oklahoma’s solid pass defense, which should be a tougher test that any he’s faced this season. James Washington caught five passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns, the second of which was only 19 yards. This is a positive development, as it shows that Washington is continuing to develop into more than just a deep ball threat. He’s still very much a high floor/low ceiling player, but Washington is undoubtedly the best option in the Oklahoma State passing game.
Key Injuries: Jarrett Stidham is now dealing with back, ankle, and hand injuries. It’s looking very unlikely that he starts against TCU on Friday and while Chris Johnson looked very capable as a passer against Oklahoma State, it should still be expected that Baylor will go with more of a run-heavy approach than usual against the Horned Frogs. In his Monday press conference, Coach Art Briles mentioned Shock Linwood as being very questionable with knee and ankle injuries. If Linwood is unable to play, Johnny Jefferson would see the biggest boost in touches, with Devin Chafin seeing a slight boost, in addition to further securing his role as the team's red zone back.
Players to Watch: Johnny Jefferson had missed Baylor’s previous two games, but returned to action against Oklahoma State, rushing for 62 yards on 17 carries. Many of those carries came late in the game when Baylor was trying to run out the clock, but Jefferson still saw action in Linwood’s place early on, as well. Assuming he’s priced cheaply this week, Jefferson has appeal as a cheap option with upside - especially if Linwood is unable to suit up.
TCU at OKLAHOMA
Game Recap: Without its two superstars, Trevone Boykin and Josh Doctson, TCU was getting thoroughly outplayed by Oklahoma Saturday night, trailing 30-13 entering the fourth quarter. The Horned Frogs rattled off three straight scores though, with Emanuel Porter catching a 14 yard touchdown pass with just 51 seconds to play to pull TCU within one point. Coach Gary Patterson opted to go for two following the touchdown, but the attempt was unsuccessful, and Oklahoma escaped by a score of 30-29.
Key Players: Foster Sawyer started at quarterback for TCU and looked good early, completing seven of his first eight passes for 103 yards and a touchdown. From that point forward though, Sawyer only completed one of 10 passes for 4 yards and three interceptions prior to his benching in the third quarter. Bram Kohlhausen replaced him and ignited the Horned Frogs comeback attempt, throwing for 122 yards and two touchdowns. If Trevone Boykin can’t start against Baylor, Kohlahusen should be expected to get the nod. Aaron Green was heavily relied upon against Oklahoma’s tough run defense, and amassed 126 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. Baylor’s defense has been soft at times against the run, and Green should be heavily featured once again, especially if Trevone Boykin isn’t healthy enough to play.
Baker Mayfield only threw for 127 yards and two touchdowns, but did not play in the second half after suffering a head injury in the second quarter. Trevor Knight took over and was horrific, showing zero ability to effectively run the Air-Raid Offense. It’s currently unclear if Mayfield will be able to suit up against Oklahoma State. Samaje Perine once again had a huge game, rushing for 188 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. He’s arguably been the best running back in the country the past month and, assuming Baker Mayfield is able to start, should be considered an elite cash game option this weekend against Oklahoma State. Sterling Shepard was the only Oklahoma receiver to catch more than one pass against TCU, hauling in eight balls for 111 yards and a score. If Mayfield gets cleared to play, Shepard will be a near must start against Oklahoma State.
Key Injuries: Though we currently don’t know who will start for TCU at quarterback this Friday against Baylor, Gary Patterson did note that “he’s better. He came light years from where he was.” Hopefully, we at least know in advance of kickoff whether or not Boykin will make his return to the field.
It’s possible that Baker Mayfield suffered a concussion on the hit that caused him to miss the second half against TCU. Considering how bad Trevor Knight looked in his absence, expect Oklahoma to do everything possible to get Mayfield cleared for this week’s game. Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon both left the game briefly with ankle injuries, but both were able to later return. Perine didn’t seem too bothered by the ankle on his 72 yard touchdown run and it would be surprising if either of the pair were at serious risk of missing this week’s game.
Players to Watch: Kolby Listenbee was TCU’s leading receiver with four catches for 98 yards and a touchdown. 81 of those yards though came on two passes during TCU’s second possession. Even with Josh Doctson sidelined, we still feel that Listenbee should only be viewed as a GPP option, as he doesn’t see a ton of targets and is primarily used as a deep ball threat.
WEST VIRGINIA at KANSAS
Game Recap: The 49-0 final score could have been far worse had West Virginia played its starters for the entirety of the final two quarters. The Mountaineers built a 42-0 lead going into halftime, fueled by a strong rushing attack and suffocating defense that forced four turnovers on the day and only allowed 209 total yards.
Key Players: Skyler Howard didn’t do much with his arm, only throwing for 133 yards and a touchdown, but did rush for 129 yards and another touchdown on only 9 carries. Rushel Shell and Wendell Smallwood both also rushed for over 100 yards, and each scored twice as well. The Mountaineers take on Iowa State this week and should be expected to have an extremely run-heavy gameplan. Iowa State has been generally awful against the run this year and both Shell and Smallwood should be on your radar, with the latter being more expensive, but also possessing a much higher floor and ceiling.
There is really nothing positive to say about Kansas’s offense at this point. Ryan Willis had his worst game to date, throwing for only 127 yards and three interceptions. Tre Parmalee has been Kansas’s most consistent receiver all season and caught five passes for 64 yards in this game. Even still, he’s nothing more than a punt option, as the best receiver on one of the worst offensive teams in America.
Key Injuries: Skyler Howard played this game with a glove on his right hand He hurt the hand against Texas and though he should continue to start going forward, this is even more reason for West Virginia to continue the trend of run-heavy play calling.
Players to Watch: William Crest Jr saw his most extensive action to date, completing three of 10 passes for 71 yards and an interception, but also ran for 56 yards on five carries. Though he’s not a polished passer, Crest has tremendous running ability and would be an exciting option if Howard were forced to miss time.
IOWA STATE at KANSAS STATE
Game Recap: Iowa State led 35-28 with seven and a half minutes to play and looked to be on their way to an impressive road conference win. From that point forward though, the Cyclones completely melted down, losing four fumbles on their way to an epic 38-35 loss. As if the team didn’t feel bad enough, Head Coach Paul Rhodes was fired on Sunday, but will reportedly coach the team’s final game this weekend.
Key Players: Joel Lanning had a big game against Kansas State, throwing for 210 yards and three touchdowns, and also running for 43 yards and another score. Lanning has looked very capable since taking over for Sam Richardson, but faces a stellar West Virginia team this week. Mike Warren was having a monster game - rushing for 195 yards and a touchdown in total - until he lost two fumbles in the fourth quarter. Allen Lazard caught five passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns. For a player who has been very productive in recent weeks, Lazard has been consistently been underpriced. Be sure to see if this trend continues when pricing is released for this weekend.
Joe Hubener has a solid showing, throwing for 210 yards and a touchdown, while also running for 90 yards. Charles Jones had 65 yards rushing and two short rushing scores that could have easily gone to Hubener. Both will be popular options this weekend against a Kansas team that looks to have given up on the 2015 season.
Key Injuries: Mike Warren was injured on the play that resulted in his second fumble. He didn’t have to go to the locker room so it’s possible that this will be a non-issue going forward, but we still recommend monitoring his status this week.
Players to Watch: Kody Cook had one of his better games as a receiver this season, catching five passes for 68 yards and a touchdown. Cook has also seen time at quarterback this season, and is considered the backup to Joe Hubener. It will be interesting to see if he gets snaps at quarterback in the second half against Kansas this week if Kansas State builds a big lead, and he’s an interesting GPP option, regardless, as the most consistent receiving presence in this offense.