Each week we'll be providing a review of the Big 12 conference action, with an emphasis on what we can expect going forward.
IOWA STATE AT BAYLOR
Game Recap: The game was played in awful conditions and though Baylor initially had success throwing the ball, both teams largely relied on the running game. Baylor jumped out to a 35-0 lead and the 45-27 final score is not really indicative of how one-sided this game was.
Key Players: Seth Russell turned in his worst game of the season, throwing for only 197 yards and two touchdowns, but at least made up for it somewhat by rushing for 64 yards and another score. The subpar effort can largely be blamed on the heavy rain that fell throughout, but the real story here is that Russell suffered what was later confirmed to be a fractured neck bone. He didn’t finish the game and has been ruled out for the remainder of the season. Shock Linwood took full advantage of the run-heavy game script, rushing for 171 yards and a touchdown. He also added another score on a six yard catch. Even in the stormy conditions Corey Coleman still showed up, hauling in six balls for 85 yards and two touchdowns, but no other Baylor receiver produced a usable stat line.
Sam Richardson was benched midway through the first half. This move seemed inevitable, as the 2015 season has been largely a disaster for the senior quarterback. Joel Lanning was very stellar in relief of Richardson, throwing for 144 yards and three touchdowns. Lanning consistently made good decisions and though he only totaled 13 rushing yards, he looks like a guy who will produce with his legs as well as his arm. Lanning will be the starter moving forward, and depending on pricing could be a solid punt option, even against what has been an improving Texas defense. Mike Warren turned in another solid effort, rushing for 145 yards on 28 carries. Unfortunately, Iowa State continued to rotate in Joshua Thomas when they got down near the goal line and this trend will likely continue going forward. Allen Lazard did not suit up Saturday due to a shoulder injury, which probably played a significant role in why Quenton Bundrage went for 69 yards and two touchdowns. Lazard should be questionable for next week’s game for the time being.
Key Injuries: Two Thursdays from now, Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham will be making his first career start at quarterback against Kansas State. He is more than capable of effectively running the explosive Baylor offense. He’ll likely be priced up, as sites will have ample time to take in the news concerning Russell, but Stidham will come highly recommended in the first mid-week slate of November.
Players to Watch: Joshua Thomas isn’t just a goal line running back at this point. He’s getting entire drives to himself and in addition to scoring his fifth touchdown of the season, he also rumbled for 77 yards on 13 carries. He’s on the radar as a potential punt option at running back, similarly to how Stanford’s Remound Wright has found relevancy due to his usage and effectiveness in the red zone.
KANSAS STATE at TEXAS
Game Recap: You’d have trouble finding a more boring game than this one across all of major college football. Texas decided early on that throwing the ball was going to be futile in the rainy conditions, and only attempted 16 passes all game. Kansas State once again was unable to move the ball with any consistency and only totaled 242 yards of offense. The 23-9 score in favor of Texas doesn’t do justice to just how poorly played this game was.
Key Players: When Joe Hubener left the game following the first offensive snap after taking a hard hit on a designed quarterback run, those of us that played wide receiver/quarterback Kody Cook in all of our lineups though that we’d struck fantasy gold. Hubener returned shortly after however and played ineffectively for the duration of the game, only amassing 115 total yards. Charles Jones appears to have solidified his role as the preferred running back option for the Wildcats. He ran for 122 yards on 18 carries while Justin Silmon only saw 2 carries. Even though Baylor will likely blow out Kansas State two weeks from now, Jones will likely be worth considering as an affordable running back option, especially considering that the game will be part of the mid-week slate.
Jerrod Heard has moved the ball effectively in recent weeks, especially with legs, but Heard has only sparingly been able to reach pay, dirt due to the coaching staff’s insistence on subbing him out for Tyrone Swoopes when Texas gets close to the goal line. The result this Saturday was Swoopes accounting for all three of Texas’s touchdowns. Texas now faces a very soft Iowa State defense that Heard should be able to gash for large chunks of yards, but the presence of Swoopes has us considering Heard only for tournaments. After D’onta Foreman mounted a challenge in recent weeks, Jonathan Gray had his second consecutive 100 yard game and looks to have re-established himself as the top running back option for the Longhorns. Iowa State is one of the worst teams in the FBS against the run, and we should take note of Gray’s cost when late slate pricing is released this week.
Key Injuries: None.
Players to Watch: The allure of Kody Cook potentially getting significant snaps at quarterback was strong this past weekend, but the result was complete dud of a stat line. Joe Hubener certainly wasn’t effective, but at this point in time the expectation is that he’ll be Kansas State’s starting quarterback two weeks from now against Baylor.
TEXAS TECH at OKLAHOMA
Game Recap: The ‘Baker Mayfield Revenge Game’ ended up being more about the resurgence of Oklahoma’s run game than it was anything Mayfield contributed. The Sooners ran for 405 yards in the 63-27 win that was a dominate effort from start to finish.
Key Players: Patrick Mahomes really struggled with the Oklahoma secondary, throwing for only 233 yards, one touchdown, and four interceptions. Oklahoma’s defense has made Skyler Howard, Joe Hubener, and now Mahomes all look terrible in recent games and the secondary is looking like one of the stronger units in the country. Mahomes now faces a solid Oklahoma State defense and won’t be one of the preferred higher priced quarterback options in that matchup. DeAndre Washington rushed 19 times for 94 yards and a touchdown, but shouldn’t be considered a player to target this week against Oklahoma State.
In a game in which many expected big things from Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma chose to emphasize the running attack. Mayfield only threw for 212 yards and two touchdowns on the day. Samaje Perine turned back the clock to 2014, rushing for 201 yards and four touchdowns. Backfield mate Joe Mixon rushed for 154 yards and totaled two touchdowns of his own. With Big 12 doormat Kansas up next, expect Oklahoma to continue to ride the running game.
Key Injuries: None.
Players to Watch: Wide receiver Ian Sadler returned from injury for Texas Tech after missing the last three games. He caught only three passes for 40 yards, but no Red Raider receiver really had a big game. Though the Texas Tech receiver rotation is difficult to predict, Sadler should have a fairly secure role going forward and makes for a potentially cheap receiver to target in PPR formats.
KANSAS at OKLAHOMA STATE
Game Recap: Oklahoma State made sure that this game’s outcome was never in question, scoring 28 points before Kansas even got on the board. The 58-10 final score was every bit indicative of just how dominant an effort this was from the Cowboys.
Key Players: The only player to show up for Kansas on Saturday was receiver Tre Parmalee who caught six passes for 115 yards. Parmalee also had a nice game last week against Texas Tech and is the clear top option in the Kansas passing game. Granted, Kansas has been one of the worst teams throwing the ball in all of the FBS this season, but we think Parmalee should be on your radar when looking for punt plays this weekend. The matchup against Oklahoma is a tough one, but Kansas will need to throw all game, and the running game that was solid when the season started, has looked increasingly ineffective in recent weeks. Ryan Willis has a big arm and should be targeting Parmalee often against the Sooners. Parmalee can be a sneaky way to save some cash in the quest to get higher priced players on your roster.
The Oklahoma State quarterback situation continues to be largely frustrating. Mason Rudolph threw for 305 yards, but only accounted for one of the Cowboys’ seven offensive touchdowns. J.W. Walsh, the team’s red zone quarterback, rushed for three scores and threw for two more. With Texas Tech on deck, the Oklahoma State offense will score lots of points this weekend – figuring out where they will be coming from is another matter. The Oklahoma State backfield continues to be a largely ineffective unit. Starter Chris Carson only rushed for 44 yards on nine carries and even with the dream matchup of Texas Tech coming up, it’s difficult to confidently recommend him this week.
Key Injuries: None.
Players to Watch: Speedy true freshman Jeff Carr led the team with 51 yards on 12 carries and scored his first collegiate touchdown, but did most of his damage in garbage time. He’s only 5’7” 168 pounds, and probably isn’t ticketed for a workhorse role, but is certainly the team’s most explosive option at running back. If you wanted to take a shot against the awful Texas Tech run defense this weekend, Carr will likely be priced close to minimum salary.