Big Ten: C.J. Brown

Let's get this Queen song queued up -- and, for Adam Rittenberg's team, we'll have another ready -- because it's down to just Austin Ward and me in the final week.

Ward needs to beat me by 57 points to win our championship, so the odds are against him. But it's not over just yet; I've been outscored by that much twice this season.

It's been a see-saw year but, ultimately, it's no coincidence the top two teams just happen to have the top two fantasy players. Melvin Gordon has earned me an average of 34.8 fantasy points per week, while J.T. Barrett has gotten Ward 33.4 points a game. Rittenberg was in the driver's seat early on with Ameer Abdullah (24.9 ppg), but the MCL injury hurt The Trombone Shorties as much as it did the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

We'll know our champion for sure by Saturday night. In the meantime, here's a look at the scoring, waiver-wire moves and final rosters.

Your results this week:

Coal Crackers (Josh Moyer): 137
Massive Attack (Austin Ward): 124
The Trombone Shorties (Adam Rittenberg): 89
Legendary Leaders (Brian Bennett): 75
Sherman Tanks (Mitch Sherman): 57

And the overall standings:

Coal Crackers: 1,597
Massive Attack: 1,541
The Trombone Shorties: 1,416
Legendary Leaders: 1,239
Sherman Tanks: 1,105

Waiver wire: Only seven moves were made in our final week, and none were all that significant. Rittenberg was forced to find a replacement for Trevor Siemian, but most of us just picked up players based on their matchups this weekend. Sherman didn't even make a move.

Bennett adds Northwestern WR Kyle Prater and drops Michigan WR Devin Funchess

Rittenberg adds Indiana WR Shane Wynn and drops Nebraska WR Kenny Bell

Ward adds Michigan kickers and drops Penn State kickers

Moyer adds Maryland defense and drops Penn State defense

Rittenberg adds Illinois QB Reilly O'Toole and drops Northwestern QB Trevor Siemian

Moyer adds Maryland WR Deon Long and drops Maryland QB C.J. Brown

Rittenberg adds Northwestern defense and drops Michigan defense

Coal Crackers (Moyer)

Purdue QB Austin Appleby
Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner
Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon
Indiana RB Tevin Coleman
Rutgers WR Leonte Carroo
Maryland WR Deon Long
Wisconsin kickers
Maryland defense
Bench: Michigan WR Amara Darboh (at Ohio State)

Massive Attack (Ward)

Iowa QB Jake Rudock
Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett
Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott
Illinois RB Josh Ferguson
Ohio State WR Michael Thomas
Penn State WR DaeSean Hamilton
Michigan kickers
Michigan State defense
Bench: Minnesota RB David Cobb (at Wisconsin)

The Trombone Shorties (Rittenberg)

Illinois QB Reilly O'Toole
Michigan State QB Connor Cook
Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah
Northwestern RB Justin Jackson
Ohio State WR Devin Smith
Indiana WR Shane Wynn
Maryland kickers
Northwestern defense
Bench: Ohio State RB Dontre Wilson (vs. Michigan)

Legendary Leaders (Bennett)

Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong
Wisconsin QB Joel Stave
Iowa RB Mark Weisman
Michigan State RB Jeremy Langford
Northwestern WR Kyle Prater
Illinois WR Mike Dudek
Ohio State kickers
Wisconsin defense
Bench: Illinois QB Wes Lunt (at Northwestern)

Sherman Tanks (Sherman)

Rutgers QB Gary Nova
Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg
Michigan RB De'Veon Smith
Purdue RB Akeem Hunt
Michigan State WR Tony Lippett
Iowa WR Kevonte Martin-Manley
Michigan State kickers
Ohio State defense
Bench: Wisconsin RB Corey Clement (vs. Minnesota)
Just like the West Division, our league's race is starting to clear up.

Thanks to huge days by Melvin Gordon (64 fantasy points) and J.T. Barrett (44 fantasy points), it now appears as if it's just a two-team race between the Coal Crackers and Massive Attack. Who will come out on top these last two weeks?

Stay tuned ...

Your results this week:

Coal Crackers (Josh Moyer): 186
Massive Attack (Austin Ward): 156
Legendary Leaders (Brian Bennett): 107
The Trombone Shorties (Adam Rittenberg): 76
Sherman Tanks (Mitch Sherman): 63

And the overall standings:

Coal Crackers: 1,460
Massive Attack: 1,417
The Trombone Shorties: 1,327
Legendary Leaders: 1,164
Sherman Tanks: 1,048

Waiver wire: Rittenberg trails by 133 points after a down week and, as a result, he is trying to make up for some lost ground. He accounted for exactly half of our league's six moves this week. But, overall, last week's starting rosters are mostly intact.

Sherman adds Michigan RB De'Veon Smith and drops Nebraska RB Imani Cross

Bennett adds Michigan WR Devin Funchess and drops Penn State TE Jesse James

Rittenberg adds Northwestern QB Trevor Siemian and drops Wisconsin QB Tanner McEvoy

Moyer adds Michigan WR Amara Darboh and drops Illinois WR Geronimo Allison

Rittenberg adds the Michigan defense and drops the Rutgers defense

Rittenberg adds the Maryland kickers and drops the Minnesota kickers

Coal Crackers (Moyer)

Purdue QB Austin Appleby
Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner
Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon
Indiana RB Tevin Coleman
Rutgers WR Leonte Carroo
Michigan WR Amara Darboh
Wisconsin kickers
Penn State defense
Bench: Maryland QB C.J. Brown (at Michigan)

Massive Attack (Ward)

Iowa QB Jake Rudock
Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett
Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott
Minnesota RB David Cobb
Ohio State WR Michael Thomas
Penn State WR DaeSean Hamilton
Penn State kickers
Michigan State defense
Bench: Illinois RB Josh Ferguson (vs. Penn State)

The Trombone Shorties (Rittenberg)

Northwestern QB Trevor Siemian
Michigan State QB Connor Cook
Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah
Northwestern RB Justin Jackson
Ohio State WR Devin Smith
Nebraska WR Kenny Bell
Maryland kickers
Michigan defense
Bench: Ohio State RB Dontre Wilson (vs. Indiana)

Legendary Leaders (Bennett)

Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong
Illinois QB Wes Lunt
Iowa RB Mark Weisman
Michigan State RB Jeremy Langford
Michigan WR Devin Funchess
Illinois WR Mike Dudek
Ohio State kickers
Wisconsin defense
Bench: Wisconsin QB Joel Stave (at Iowa)

Sherman Tanks (Sherman)

Rutgers QB Gary Nova
Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg
Michigan RB De'Veon Smith
Purdue RB Akeem Hunt
Michigan State WR Tony Lippett
Iowa Kevonte Martin-Manley
Michigan State kickers
Ohio State defense
Bench: Wisconsin RB Corey Clement (at Iowa)

Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 12

November, 16, 2014
Nov 16
2:00
PM ET


It's been a crazy season so far.

As the weeks have progressed, our championship picture has only become more muddled. Just 23 points now separate the top three teams, and only three weekends remain. Can The Trombone Shorties bounce back? Will J.T. Barrett lead Massive Attack to victory? Can the Coal Crackers hang on?

Stay tuned ...

Your results this week:

Massive Attack (Austin Ward): 130
Coal Crackers (Josh Moyer): 114
The Trombone Shorties (Adam Rittenberg): 98
Legendary Leaders (Brian Bennett): 78
Sherman Tanks (Mitch Sherman): 27

And the overall standings:

Coal Crackers: 1,274
Massive Attack: 1,261
The Trombone Shorties: 1,251
Legendary Leaders: 1,057
Sherman Tanks: 985

Waiver wire: Thankfully, the bye weeks are just about over -- so there wasn't as much movement. Half of the pickups simply involved Nebraska and Illinois players, who had the last week off. The most interesting addition was probably Sherman's Imani Cross; that could be a boom-or-bust pick.

Sherman adds Rutgers QB Gary Nova and drops Michigan QB Devin Gardner

Bennett adds Illinois WR Mike Dudek and drops Indiana WR Shane Wynn

Rittenberg adds Nebraska WR Kenny Bell and drops Michigan WR Devin Funchess

Ward adds Michigan State defense and drops Minnesota defense

Moyer adds Illinois WR Geronimo Allison and drops Iowa WR Tevaun Smith

Sherman adds Nebraska RB Imani Cross and drops Michigan RB Drake Johnson

Rittenberg adds Rutgers defense and drops Michigan defense

Moyer adds C.J. Brown and drops Michigan WR Amara Darboh

Coal Crackers (Moyer)

Maryland QB C.J. Brown
Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner
Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon
Indiana RB Tevin Coleman
Rutgers WR Leonte Carroo
Illinois WR Geronimo Allison
Wisconsin kickers
Penn State defense
Bench: Purdue QB Austin Appleby (on bye)

Massive Attack (Ward)

Iowa QB Jake Rudock
Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett
Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott
Minnesota RB David Cobb
Ohio State WR Michael Thomas
Penn State WR DaeSean Hamilton
Penn State kickers
Michigan State defense
Bench: Illinois RB Josh Ferguson (vs. Iowa)

The Trombone Shorties (Rittenberg)

Wisconsin QB Tanner McEvoy
Michigan State QB Connor Cook
Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah
Northwestern RB Justin Jackson
Ohio State WR Devin Smith
Nebraska WR Kenny Bell
Minnesota kickers
Rutgers defense
Bench: Ohio State RB Dontre Wilson (at Minnesota)

Legendary Leaders (Bennett)

Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong
Illinois QB Wes Lunt
Iowa RB Mark Weisman
Michigan State RB Jeremy Langford
Penn State TE Jesse James
Illinois WR Mike Dudek
Ohio State kickers
Wisconsin defense
Bench: Wisconsin QB Joel Stave (vs. Nebraska)

Sherman Tanks (Sherman)

Rutgers QB Gary Nova
Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg
Wisconsin RB Corey Clement
Nebraska RB Imani Cross
Michigan State WR Tony Lippett
Iowa Kevonte Martin-Manley
Michigan State kickers
Ohio State defense
Bench: Purdue RB Akeem Hunt (on bye)
It has been a seesaw battle for that top spot and, once again, we have a new leader.

It's my first time all season at No. 1 -- but that might be short-lived. Only 29 points separate first place from the second runner-up, so today's top team can just as easily be tomorrow's No. 3. It should be an interesting next few weeks.

Also, on a side note, you'll notice a few tweaks to the overall scores this week due to unreflected roster changes. They didn't impact the standings and basically just gave Mitch Sherman a nice boost.

Your results this week:

Coal Crackers (Josh Moyer): 106
Legendary Leaders (Brian Bennett): 93
Sherman Tanks (Mitch Sherman): 84
Massive Attack (Austin Ward): 77
The Trombone Shorties (Adam Rittenberg): 50

And the overall standings:

Coal Crackers: 1,160
The Trombone Shorties: 1,153
Massive Attack: 1,131
Legendary Leaders: 979
Sherman Tanks: 958

Waiver wire: Some of the B1G's top players were reshuffled this week. With a combination of byes and some players -- such as Illinois QB Wes Lunt -- returning from injury, that made for some interesting changes to the league. Ezekiel Elliott, Leonte Carroo and Lunt all found new homes.

Sherman adds Michigan RB Drake Johnson and drops Illinois WR Geronimo Allison

Bennett adds Penn State TE Jesse James and drops Nebraska WR Kenny Bell

Ward adds Minnesota defense and drops Nebraska defense

Rittenberg adds Ohio State WR Devin Smith and drops Rutgers WR Leonte Carroo

Moyer adds Michigan WR Amara Darboh and drops Maryland WR Stefon Diggs

Sherman adds Michigan State kickers and drops Nebraska kickers

Bennett adds Illinois QB Wes Lunt and drops Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott

Ward adds Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott and drops Ohio State RB Dontre Wilson

Rittenberg adds Ohio State RB Dontre Wilson and drops Illinois QB Reilly O'Toole

Moyer adds Rutgers WR Leonte Carroo and drops Michigan QB Devin Gardner

Sherman adds Michigan QB Devin Gardner and drops Maryland QB C.J. Brown

Ward adds Penn State kickers and drops Rutgers kickers

Moyer adds Iowa WR Tevaun Smith and drops Nebraska WR Jordan Westerkamp

Rittenberg adds Wisconsin QB Tanner McEvoy and drops Northwestern QB Trevor Siemian

Rittenberg adds Minnesota kickers and drops Maryland kickers

Coal Crackers (Moyer)

Purdue QB Austin Appleby
Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner
Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon
Indiana RB Tevin Coleman
Michigan WR Amara Darboh
Iowa WR Tevaun Smith
Wisconsin kickers
Penn State defense
Bench: Rutgers WR Leonte Carroo (on bye)

The Trombone Shorties (Rittenberg)

Wisconsin QB Tanner McEvoy
Michigan State QB Connor Cook
Ohio State RB Dontre Wilson
Northwestern RB Justin Jackson
Ohio State WR Devin Smith
Michigan WR Devin Funchess
Minnesota kickers
Michigan defense
Bench: Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah (on bye)

Massive Attack (Ward)

Iowa QB Jake Rudock
Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett
Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott
Minnesota RB David Cobb
Ohio State WR Michael Thomas
Penn State WR DaeSean Hamilton
Penn State kickers
Minnesota defense
Bench: Illinois RB Josh Ferguson (on bye)

Legendary Leaders (Bennett)

Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong
Wisconsin QB Joel Stave
Iowa RB Mark Weisman
Michigan State RB Jeremy Langford
Penn State TE Jesse James
Indiana WR Shane Wynn
Ohio State kickers
Wisconsin defense
Bench: Illinois QB Wes Lunt (on bye)

Sherman Tanks (Sherman)

Michigan QB Devin Gardner
Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg
Wisconsin RB Corey Clement
Michigan RB Drake Johnson
Michigan State WR Tony Lippett
Iowa Kevonte Martin-Manley
Michigan State kickers
Ohio State defense
Bench: Purdue RB Akeem Hunt (vs. Wisconsin)
We're coming off our closest-scoring week.

Only 19 points separated the highest-scoring team from the lowest-scoring team last weekend, so the overall results changed very little. That puts an increased emphasis on this week, since only five games remain.

Your results this week:

Massive Attack (Austin Ward): 104
The Trombone Shorties (Adam Rittenberg): 103
Sherman Tanks (Mitch Sherman): 102
Coal Crackers (Josh Moyer): 95
Legendary Leaders (Brian Bennett): 85

And the overall standings:

The Trombone Shorties: 1,089
Massive Attack: 1,038
Coal Crackers: 1,026
Legendary Leaders: 881
Sherman Tanks: 746

Waiver wire: Luckily, there were few moves again this week. Sherman faced the most difficult decision since we have only one bench spot -- and he had two good Michigan State players on bye, Jeremy Langford and Tony Lippett. Did he make the right decision? We'll have to see ...

Sherman adds Iowa WR Kevonte Martin-Manley and drops Michigan State RB Jeremy Langford

Bennett adds Indiana WR Shane Wynn and drops Rutgers RB Desmon Peoples

Moyer adds Purdue QB Austin Appleby and drops Michigan State RB Nick Hill

Ward adds Ohio State RB Dontre Wilson and drops Wisconsin QB Tanner McEvoy

Rittenberg adds Northwestern QB Trevor Siemian and drops Maryland RB Wes Brown

Sherman adds Purdue RB Akeem Hunt and drops Rutgers QB Gary Nova

Bennett adds Michigan State RB Jeremy Langford and drops Ohio State WR Devin Smith

Moyer adds Penn State defense and drops Michigan State defense

Rittenberg adds Michigan defense and drops Minnesota defense

Moyer adds Wisconsin kickers and drops Michigan State kickers

The Trombone Shorties (Rittenberg)

Illinois QB Reilly O'Toole
Northwestern QB Trevor Siemian
Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah
Northwestern RB Justin Jackson
Rutgers WR Leonte Carroo
Michigan WR Devin Funchess
Maryland kickers
Michigan defense
Bench: Michigan State QB Connor Cook (on bye)

Massive Attack (Ward)

Iowa QB Jake Rudock
Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett
Illinois RB Josh Ferguson
Ohio State RB Dontre Wilson
Ohio State WR Michael Thomas
Penn State WR DaeSean Hamilton
Rutgers kickers
Nebraska defense
Bench: Minnesota RB David Cobb (on bye)

Coal Crackers (Moyer)

Purdue QB Austin Appleby
Michigan QB Devin Gardner
Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon
Indiana RB Tevin Coleman
Maryland WR Stefon Diggs
Nebraska WR Jordan Westerkamp
Wisconsin kickers
Penn State defense
Bench: Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner (on bye)

Legendary Leaders (Bennett)

Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong
Wisconsin QB Joel Stave
Iowa RB Mark Weisman
Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott
Nebraska WR Kenny Bell
Indiana WR Shane Wynn
Ohio State kickers
Wisconsin defense
Bench: Michigan State RB Jeremy Langford (on bye)

Sherman Tanks (Sherman)

Maryland QB C.J. Brown
Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg
Wisconsin RB Corey Clement
Purdue RB Akeem Hunt
Illinois WR Geronimo Allison
Iowa Kevonte Martin-Manley
Nebraska kickers
Ohio State defense
Bench: Michigan State WR Tony Lippett (on bye)
James Franklin waited years for the opportunity. When the news conference finally came, he was all smiles. He sat next to the athletic director, intimated he’d spend his entire career there – and even added that he’d “always dreamed” of this.

But on that chilly day, Feb. 6, 2009, he donned a red tie instead of a blue one. And he was referring to Maryland, not Penn State.

[+] EnlargeJames Franklin
G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty ImagesJames Franklin, shown celebrating on the Maryland sideline in 2010, was once the Terrapins' coach in waiting.
On that Friday, the longtime Maryland assistant coach was named the Terrapins’ head coach in waiting. The boy who spent his Thanksgivings near College Park, whose aunt worked for admissions, was supposed to take over for Ralph Friedgen by the 2012 season. He was supposed to be the young coach to continue Maryland’s transformation. And with the Terps traveling to Penn State for their first meeting since 1993, Franklin at one time was supposed to be on the opposite sideline.

“Things happen for a reason,” Franklin said Wednesday evening, from the Penn State practice fields. “And I’m blessed and fortunate to be here.”

Before Franklin referred to himself as the “Pennsylvania boy with a Penn State heart,” he embraced his time at a campus 200 miles south of Happy Valley. He carved out a reputation as a top-notch recruiter even then, helping snag current Maryland defensive end Andre Monroe and quarterback C.J. Brown. He was as an assistant coach there from 2000 to 2004 and from 2008 to 2010.

“He’s still a great guy,” Brown told the media Tuesday. “I have a lot of respect for him.”

Franklin was nearly Brown’s head coach instead of Christian Hackenberg’s. Maryland extended the coach-in-waiting offer after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers came calling about an offensive coordinator position. A clause in his Maryland contract guaranteed him $1 million if Friedgen hadn’t retired after the 2011 season.

If then-athletic director Debbie Yow remained in her position, that might have come to fruition. She clearly thought highly of Franklin.

“What I saw in James was a relentless work ethic and hunger to excel,” Yow said earlier this week.

Yow left Maryland 16 months after that news conference, when she and Franklin excitedly announced the deal. She had decided to return home to become athletic director at North Carolina State, which was just an hour’s drive from her childhood home.

That changed everything. When Yow left, it seemed as if Franklin’s deal to become the next head coach left along with her. Current athletic director Kevin Anderson signed on in September 2010 and, about a month into his new job, he told The Baltimore Sun he wasn’t a fan of such “successor” agreements: “I can’t see how this serves the program well,” he said at the time.

Yow declined to speculate whether Franklin would have become head coach had she stayed. Through a spokesman, Anderson declined to comment on the decision-making process.

Without a guarantee, Franklin decided to leave to become the head coach at Vanderbilt in December 2010 and led the Commodores to three straight bowl games, reviving a dormant SEC program. He was hired by Penn State in January. Meanwhile, Anderson fired Friedgen after the 2010 season and hired former UConn coach Randy Edsall. The Terps had losing seasons in 2011 and 2012 before making the Military Bowl last year.

After practice Wednesday, Franklin didn’t seem eager to relive his past. He said he appreciated his time in in Maryland, along with the recruiting relationships he built, but declined to get into the what-ifs and the maybes of his career.

“It’s awesome to be at Penn State,” he said.
Another week, another change in our standings.

Austin Ward is in second and I've dropped to third after my trade (Mark Weisman and Tommy Armstrong for Tevin Coleman) didn't go quite as well as I had hoped. It's still a tight race for the top three.

Your results this week:

The Trombone Shorties (Adam Rittenberg): 143
Massive Attack (Austin Ward): 120
Coal Crackers (Josh Moyer): 90
Legendary Leaders (Brian Bennett): 76
Sherman Tanks (Mitch Sherman): 59

And the overall standings:

The Trombone Shorties: 986
Massive Attack: 934
Coal Crackers: 931
Legendary Leaders: 796
Sherman Tanks: 644

Waiver-wire: We've had more than 20 waiver-wire moves in each of the last two weeks, so it was a nice reprieve this week. Four Big Ten teams have byes Saturday, but none is loaded with fantasy players: Indiana, Purdue, Iowa, Northwestern. So we had half as many moves as a result.

Sherman adds Wisconsin RB Corey Clement and drops Purdue RB Akeem Hunt

Bennett adds Rutgers RB Desmon Peoples and drops Maryland QB Caleb Rowe

Moyer adds Michigan QB Devin Gardner and drops Northwestern QB Trevor Siemian

Ward adds Penn State WR DaeSean Hamilton and drops Ohio State TE Jeff Heuerman

Rittenberg adds Illinois QB Reilly O'Toole and drops Purdue QB Austin Appleby

Sherman adds Illinois WR Geronimo Allison and drops Iowa WR Kevonte Martin-Manley

Bennett adds Wisconsin defense and drops Minnesota defense

Moyer adds Michigan State RB Nick Hill and drops Maryland RB Brandon Ross

Ward adds Wisconsin QB Tanner McEvoy, drops Ohio State RB Rod Smith

Rittenberg adds Maryland RB Wes Brown, drops Indiana WR Shane Wynn

Rittenberg adds Minnesota defense and drops Northwestern defense

The Trombone Shorties (Rittenberg)

Illinois QB Reilly O'Toole
Michigan State QB Connor Cook
Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah
Maryland RB Wes Brown
Rutgers WR Leonte Carroo
Michigan WR Devin Funchess
Maryland kickers
Minnesota defense
Bench: Northwestern RB Justin Jackson (on bye)

Massive Attack (Ward)

Wisconsin QB Tanner McEvoy
Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett
Illinois RB Josh Ferguson
Minnesota RB David Cobb
Ohio State WR Michael Thomas
Penn State WR DaeSean Hamilton
Rutgers kickers
Nebraska defense
Bench: Iowa QB Jake Rudock (on bye)

Coal Crackers (Moyer)

Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner
Michigan QB Devin Gardner
Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon
Michigan State RB Nick Hill
Maryland WR Stefon Diggs
Nebraska WR Jordan Westerkamp
Michigan State kickers
Michigan State defense
Bench: Indiana RB Tevin Coleman (on bye)

Legendary Leaders (Bennett)

Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong
Wisconsin QB Joel Stave
Rutgers RB Desmon Peoples
Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott
Nebraska WR Kenny Bell
Ohio State WR Devin Smith
Ohio State kickers
Wisconsin defense
Bench: Iowa RB Mark Weisman (on bye)

Sherman Tanks (Sherman)

Maryland QB C.J. Brown
Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg
Wisconsin RB Corey Clement
Michigan State RB Jeremy Langford
Illinois WR Geronimo Allison
Michigan State WR Tony Lippett
Nebraska kickers
Ohio State defense
Bench: Rutgers QB Gary Nova (at Nebraska)

Big Ten viewer's guide: Week 9

October, 24, 2014
Oct 24
10:00
AM ET
It's an interesting weekend for the Big Ten. On one hand, we have an intra-state rivalry on tap along with a nationally televised night game at one of the best atmospheres in the country.

On the other, only one of the conference's five games is expected to be close. Four of the underdogs are picked to lose by double digits this week, and the closest game isn't exactly a hot ticket: Minnesota at Illinois.

For the first time all season, we Big Ten writers all picked the same winners. But will there be an upset? Can someone surprise in the Big Ten? Let's take a closer look at the matchups:

Noon

Minnesota (6-1) at Illinois (3-4), ESPNU: The Gophers are still fighting for respect, as they appear at No. 24 in the USA Today poll -- but they're still left out of the Associated Press' top 25. They've quietly put together a solid season, with their only loss coming against TCU, and running back David Cobb could be the most underrated player in the conference. Illinois coach Tim Beckman is fighting for his job, and he and his offensive coordinator can't even seem to agree on whether a two-quarterback system is best for the team. The Illini have a plethora of defensive problems, and they can't afford to have their offense stumble.

Maryland (5-2) at Wisconsin (4-2), BTN: Melvin Gordon is one of the most dynamic backs in all of college football, and the Terrapins are one of the worst rushing defenses in all of college football. That's not exactly a recipe for success for the Terps. That being said, Wisconsin's woes through the air have been well-documented, and it would be no surprise to see the Terps dare Wisconsin to throw. Randy Edsall needs to get his own house in order, too. Maryland has a lot of firepower on offense, but C.J. Brown needs to find more consistency for this team to hang with the Badgers. Backup Caleb Rowe is out for the season, so it's Brown or bust. And Brown has thrown three picks to zero touchdowns in the last two games.

Rutgers (5-2) at Nebraska (6-1), ESPN2: The Scarlet Knights just can't catch a break with their schedule. They were dismantled by Ohio State 56-17 on Saturday and they play Wisconsin next week. Rutgers was the surprise team of the conference in the first half of the season, but it will have to show something in this second half to retain that title. It won't be easy. Like the Buckeyes, Nebraska boasts a balanced offense -- and Ameer Abdullah is the best back the Knights have seen since ... well ... it's been years. With one Big Ten loss already, Nebraska can't afford a slip-up. But it might just have the most talented team, overall, in the West.

3:30 p.m.

Michigan (3-4) at Michigan State (6-1), ABC: Since 2008, this rivalry has basically been owned by the Spartans. Mark Dantonio's team has won five out of the last six, with the Wolverines winning only once in a 12-10 game in 2012. Michigan is coming off a bye week -- and actually won its last Big Ten game, against Penn State -- but the Spartans are on another level. If U-M can pull off this upset, maybe Brady Hoke has an outside chance to save his job and the Wolverines really have sparked a turnaround. If not, expect the same Michigan storyline that you've heard since Week 2.

8 p.m.

Ohio State (5-1) at Penn State (4-2), ABC: The Buckeyes have scored at least 50 points in four straight games, but they haven't faced a defense quite like Penn State's. On the flip side, the Nittany Lions haven't faced any offense resembling Ohio State's, either. The key to an upset here is two-fold: Penn State's weak offensive line must somehow keep one of the nation's best front fours at bay (unlikely), or Penn State's defense has to play out of its mind and force turnovers (more likely). Ohio State pounded Penn State 63-14 last season, and the Lions would like nothing more than to avenge the worst loss in program history since 1899 (a 64-5 loss to Duquesne). This game will act as a good measuring stick for both J.T. Barrett and the PSU defense.

Required reading

Big Ten Monday mailbag

October, 20, 2014
Oct 20
5:00
PM ET
Let's get this week started off right with a good, old-fashioned Big Ten mailbag ...

Josh Moyer: Why not both? Adam is still right -- there's really not a lot of separation over in the West. Minnesota is the only team that has yet to drop a conference game, but three others (Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin) are within striking distance with only one loss. At the same time, we've been saying for quite a few weeks now that Nebraska clearly boasts the edge, talent-wise, in the division. Heck, I picked the Huskers to win the West in the preseason. Nebraska is the only balanced team here. Minnesota and Wisconsin really don't have much in the way of passing games, and the Hawkeyes haven't exactly been models of consistency. But one misstep in this division could cost the crown. That's why the “Wild, Wild West” may have become slightly clearer, but it's still pretty muddled. We'll know how the East shakes out when Michigan State takes on Ohio State in two weeks. But the West? We might not know until the final week. Take a look at the Huskers' final three opponents: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa. Now that's wild.

Mike from Grand Rapids, Minnesota, writes: Does Brady Hoke need to win out to save his job? As much as I'm in the minority, I don't want to see Michigan go through another coaching search. This team, their O-line in particular, is pretty young.

Moyer: See, that's a tough question, Mike -- only because there's about a zero percent chance Hoke wins out. Listen, he's gone. Even he has to know he's gone. Michigan has looked worse every season, and player development seems to be an ongoing issue. I'll even give you the offensive line since it's young. But why is Devin Gardner regressing? And why couldn't U-M adjust when Rutgers nailed them for 404 passing yards? As far as player development/recruiting, let me share kind of an eye-opening fact here: Michigan's usual starting lineup features seven players who were on the ESPN 300; Rutgers has recruited seven total ESPN 300 players since 2006. How about resources? For every dollar Rutgers' athletic department spends, Michigan spends $1.82. Yet, Rutgers was the Vegas favorite earlier this season -- and won. So it's clear Michigan is not on the right track. If Hoke somehow turns this team around and beats Michigan State and Ohio State, sure, he'll keep his job. But we might as well talk about what happens to Tim Beckman if Illinois wins out. Because neither is very likely to happen.

Moyer: Let's get the obvious out of the way first: Expect lots and lots of yards for Melvin Gordon. The Terrapins are ranked No. 102 nationally in rush defense and the Badgers are ranked No. 1 in rushing offense. That's a big reason the Badgers are favored by double digits. Before the injury to Indiana's Nate Sudfeld, Maryland's offense also kind of reminded me of the Hoosiers without Tevin Coleman – you saw all this potential through the air … but you wondered when it was going to materialize. With C.J. Brown struggling, you still wonder. Maryland hasn't faced a top-25 defense yet this season, and it should struggle against Wisconsin. As far as Wisconsin's quarterback situation, both players are still splitting reps with the first team. Joel Stave has seen more time than Tanner McEvoy the last two games and, unless McEvoy practices better this week, I'd expect more of the same.

Moyer: Haha ... well, I can't argue with that logic. Here's another fact to chew on: Penn State beat Ohio State, 63-14, in 1994. The next season, the Buckeyes won 28-25. Of course, do I really think the Nittany Lions will win Saturday after getting demolished last season by that same 63-14 score? Of course not. This is one of the worst offensive lines in the Power 5, while the Buckeyes have one of the best defensive lines. If Penn State can even keep this close -- Saturday night's game is the hot PSU ticket this season -- then it should be a boost. The Nittany Lions' defense is much improved from last season, but it really hasn't yet played a good quarterback. And J.T. Barrett has been great this season. This needs to be a low-scoring affair for PSU to really stand a chance. But I'd be surprised if Penn State really threatened.
Five observations from Saturday in the Big Ten:

1. Ohio State and Michigan State are widening the gap over the rest of the league. The Spartans and Buckeyes continued their march toward Nov. 8 in East Lansing with resounding wins by identical scores of 56-17 over Indiana and Rutgers, respectively. The Buckeyes topped 50 points in four consecutive games for the first time in school history and dealt the Scarlet Knights their worst loss in 12 years with an introduction to the big-time side of Big Ten football. MSU was slow at the start, as Indiana’s Shane Wynn and Tevin Coleman scored on long runs, but Michigan State blanked the Hoosiers in the second half. Just as importantly, both Big Ten powers climbed closer to consideration for the College Football Playoff as two top-10 unbeatens went down.

[+] EnlargeJ.T. Barrett
Greg Bartram/USA TODAY SportsJ.T. Barrett is playing at a high level as Ohio State's offense continues to roll.
2. J.T. Barrett is a Heisman Trophy darkhorse. No, we’re not kidding. The same redshirt freshman who struggled mightily in the Buckeyes’ loss to Virginia Tech the past month has played better than any quarterback in the country as of late. He ran for 107 yards and two scores and threw for 261 and three touchdowns against Rutgers. Under his guidance, Ohio State has averaged 614 yards over its past four games, albeit against suspect defensive competition, though Rutgers appeared set to pose a challenge. Barrett won’t be considered a serious candidate unless he can play like this, without a blip, for the rest of the season.

3. Minnesota might never win pretty, but it almost always wins. The Golden Gophers beat Purdue 39-38 behind two interceptions of Austin Appleby by safety Cedric Thompson, including the game-clincher with 2:28 to play. Minnesota is 3-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since 1990. It was a typical Gopher effort, with 194 rushing yards from David Cobb and just nine completions from quarterback Mitch Leidner, who threw two touchdowns. Give credit to fast-improving Purdue, for sure, but this game deviated from Minnesota form only in that the Gophers trailed at halftime -- they earned the first win in 23 such occasions under Jerry Kill -- and needed a 52-yard field goal by Ryan Santoso for the decisive points with 4:59 left.

4. In spite of Minnesota’s start, Nebraska still looks like the best in the West. The Huskers beat Northwestern 38-17 at Ryan Field and outscored the Wildcats 24-0 in the second half to move to 6-1. Barring an upset win in Lincoln by Rutgers or Purdue over the next two weeks, Nebraska will be 8-1 on Nov. 15 when Bo Pelini’s team travels to Wisconsin for a final stretch that includes Minnesota and Iowa. In bouncing back from a loss to Michigan State, Nebraska displayed new depth at the line of scrimmage against Northwestern and found new ways to feature spark-plug freshman De'Mornay Pierson-El, who threw a touchdown pass to QB Tommy Armstrong Jr.

5. It might be November (if even then) before we understand Maryland and Iowa. The Terrapins overcame a slow start to beat the Hawkeyes 38-31. Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown returned from a back injury, suffered in the second half, and receiver Stefon Diggs and cornerback Will Likely contributed their usual big plays. But is Maryland really a threat to get to nine wins and a New Year’s Day bowl? Maybe, in the watered-down Big Ten. What about Iowa, still a player in the West Division with its favorable schedule but unable to break through in a winnable game Saturday? Just as the Hawkeyes’ offense appears to have gained speed, the defense took a step back in College Park.
It's been quite the interesting week in our fantasy league.

Not only did we complete our league's first-ever trade -- listed below -- but Austin Ward's time atop the standings proved to be a short one. After his lowest-scoring week of the season, he dropped from first to third. So it's still anybody's championship ... well, almost anybody's.

Your results this week:

Coal Crackers (Josh Moyer): 132
Legendary Leaders (Brian Bennett): 108
The Trombone Shorties (Adam Rittenberg): 89
Massive Attack (Austin Ward): 58
Sherman Tanks (Mitch Sherman): 57

And the overall standings:

The Trombone Shorties: 843
Coal Crackers: 841
Massive Attack: 813
Legendary Leaders: 720
Sherman Tanks: 585

Trade Alert: Bennett's Legendary Leaders traded Indiana RB Tevin Coleman to Moyer's Coal Crackers in exchange for Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong and Iowa RB Mark Weisman.

Trade analysis: Bennett needed a quarterback badly, and put the word out he was willing to make a deal. The quarterbacks on his roster heading into this week -- Joel Stave and Reilly O'Toole -- are both on bye, and he literally had no starters. So it was either take zeroes, hope to get lucky on the waiver wire, or make a trade. Sherman offered Gary Nova, but I sweetened the deal by adding a running back. My other QBs aren't great, but it was difficult to turn down the prospect of having Melvin Gordon and Coleman on the same team.

Waiver-wire: If your heads are swirling from all the moves, know that you're not alone. This season is getting harder, and it's difficult to find starters at key spots -- so there was once again a lot of shuffling. Ward focused on Ohio State players, while Rittenberg added two solid wideouts.

Sherman adds Maryland QB C.J. Brown and drops Michigan QB Devin Gardner

Bennett adds Ohio State WR Devin Smith and drops Penn State WR Geno Lewis

Ward adds Ohio State RB Rod Smith and drops Indiana QB Nate Sudfeld

Moyer adds Maryland WR Stefon Diggs and drops Illinois WR Mike Dudek

Rittenberg adds Rutgers WR Leonte Carroo and drops Northwestern WR Dan Vitale

Sherman adds Purdue RB Akeem Hunt and drops Michigan RB De'Veon Smith

Bennett adds Nebraska WR Kenny Bell and drops Illinois WR Geronimo Allison

Ward adds Ohio State WR Michael Thomas and drops Illinois WR Martize Barr

Moyer adds Nebraska WR Jordan Westerkamp (drops no one due to 2-for-1 trade)

Rittenberg adds Maryland kickers and drops Wisconsin kickers

Sherman adds Iowa WR Kevonte Martin-Manley and drops Penn State WR DaeSean Hamilton

Bennett adds Maryland QB Caleb Rowe and drops Illinois QB Reilly O'Toole and Wisconsin RB Corey Clement (drops two due to 2-for-1 trade)

Ward adds Ohio State TE Jeff Heuerman and drops Michigan State WR Macgarrett Kings

Moyer adds Maryland RB Brandon Ross and drops Indiana WR Shane Wynn

Rittenberg adds Indiana WR Shane Wynn and drops Indiana RB D'Angelo Roberts

Sherman adds Ohio State defense and drops Wisconsin defense

Bennett adds Ohio State kickers, drops Minnesota kickers

Ward adds Nebraska defense, drops Michigan defense

Rittenberg adds Northwestern defense and drops Penn State defense

Sherman adds Nebraska kickers and drops Penn State kickers

Ward adds Rutgers kickers and drops Indiana kickers

And now for a look at our rosters this week:

The Trombone Shorties (Rittenberg)

Purdue QB Austin Appleby
Michigan State QB Connor Cook
Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah
Northwestern RB Justin Jackson
Rutgers WR Leonte Carroo
Indiana WR Shane Wynn
Maryland kickers
Northwestern defense
Bench: Michigan WR Devin Funchess (on bye)

Coal Crackers (Moyer)

Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner
Northwestern QB Trevor Siemian
Indiana RB Tevin Coleman
Maryland RB Brandon Ross
Maryland WR Stefon Diggs
Nebraska WR Jordan Westerkamp
Michigan State kickers
Michigan State defense
Bench: Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon (on bye)

Massive Attack (Ward)

Iowa QB Jake Rudock
Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett
Ohio State RB Rod Smith
Minnesota RB David Cobb
Ohio State WR Michael Thomas
Ohio State TE Jeff Heuerman
Rutgers kickers
Nebraska defense
Bench: Illinois RB Josh Ferguson (on bye)

Legendary Leaders (Bennett)

Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong
Maryland QB Caleb Rowe
Iowa RB Mark Weisman
Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott
Nebraska WR Kenny Bell
Ohio State WR Devin Smith
Ohio State kickers
Minnesota defense
Bench: Wisconsin QB Joel Stave (on bye)

Sherman Tanks (Sherman)

Maryland QB C.J. Brown
Rutgers QB Gary Nova
Purdue RB Akeem Hunt
Michigan State RB Jeremy Langford
Iowa WR Kevonte Martin-Manley
Michigan State WR Tony Lippett
Nebraska kickers
Ohio State defense
Bench: Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg (on bye)

Big Ten morning links

October, 16, 2014
Oct 16
8:00
AM ET
How is it possible that half of the season is already gone? Why does it seem like time is dragging until Saturday every week? Life and football are truly mysteries.

1. Quarterback quandary: Narrowing the field seemed like it could be a blessing in the summer, with Indiana coach Kevin Wilson quick to point out the benefits of no longer needing to juggle practice reps as much now that Nate Sudfeld was the last man standing in what was once a three-man battle. But there was an obvious downside that didn't receive nearly as much attention in July as perhaps it should have, and now that an injury has struck their starter, it's clear how much the transfers of Tre Roberson and Cameron Coffman hurt the Hoosiers. Roberson, experienced and proven in the Big Ten, is off putting up big numbers at Illinois State. Coffman is waiting for his chance to play for Wyoming while he sits out the season. And back at Indiana, the Hoosiers are scrambling to find somebody to put behind center this week with Michigan State's vaunted defense coming to town. The chance to focus on one guy and potentially unleash more of Sudfeld's ability was a nice silver lining, but it was apparently just a distraction from a huge storm cloud that was poised to wipe out Indiana's season.

2. Something special: There's any easy way to get Urban Meyer to gush about his team these days. All it takes is one mention of his kickoff coverage unit, and the Ohio State coach turns downright giddy by his standards. The Buckeyes have reason to be pleased with what they're getting on special teams lately, and they lead the Big Ten in net yardage on kickoffs thanks to a combination of well-positioned kicks, an aggressive scheme and a roster loaded up with speedy players willing to fly down the field and hit somebody. Meyer has always had a fondness for special teams, and he's fostered a competition for "starting positions" on the units that makes even first-teamers on offense and defense proud to contribute on punts and kickoffs. It may not draw much attention, but the Buckeyes are racking up some hidden yardage and subtly altering the field-position battle each week thanks in large part to Meyer's cover guys.

3. Best Bye: No program seems too thrilled with the double-bye schedule in place this season, but there appear to be obvious benefits for all four teams sitting out with an off date Saturday. Penn State's offensive line remains in disarray, and while it can't suddenly turn its inexperienced blockers into veterans, some extra reps and game-planning won't hurt heading into the stretch run that starts against Ohio State's tenacious defensive line next week. Wisconsin and Illinois both could use some time to work out kinks in the passing attack, with the former toying with a two-quarterback rotation and the latter trying to find the best option with Wes Lunt on the sideline. And after finally getting back in the win column, Brady Hoke might be able to take a deep breath at Michigan and enjoy at least a few moments of peace after a victory over the weekend. Out of all those options, maybe the Wolverines needed a bye the most -- unless the regents decide to stir the pot up again.

East Division
  • Michigan may have another candidate emerging for a redshirt, but since it's an injury issue, all that Brady Hoke is providing is a hint.
  • Michigan State's Shilique Calhoun might have a future as a professional wrestler if he keeps fine-tuning his suplexes on the field.
  • Darius Hamilton rarely comes off the field for Rutgers now that he's emerged as a complete defensive lineman.
  • Ohio State has been roaring out of the gates lately, and Urban Meyer made sure to thank his coaching staff for that positive development.
  • Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown is ready to go again after the bye week.
  • Penn State might be getting closer to having an experienced veteran back in action to help that suspect offensive line.
  • Meet Zander Diamont, who has earned some glowing praise ahead of a likely start for Indiana.
West Division
  • Kenny Bell is starting to feel right again and is hoping to give Nebraska a lift at wide receiver.
  • Iowa has seven different players making a homecoming trip to Maryland this weekend, including safety Jordan Lomax.
  • Wisconsin could be welcoming back some key contributors soon.
  • Northwestern's success against Nebraska could be determined in the red zone.
  • A closer look at Tim Beckman's recruiting classes at Illinois and how they are panning out.
  • Minnesota senior wide receiver Isaac Fruechte has caught balls from four different quarterbacks during his career.
  • Purdue might have finally found an offensive identity.
As unlikely as it seemed earlier in the season, we have a new leader atop the league.

Austin Ward's Massive Attack took advantage of a low-scoring week by Adam Rittenberg's Trombone Shorties. It's the first time all season that Rittenberg didn't end the week at No. 1. As a result, our league is almost as clustered as the West Division.

Your results this week:

Coal Crackers (Josh Moyer): 145
Massive Attack (Austin Ward): 121
Sherman Tanks (Mitch Sherman): 84
The Trombone Shorties (Adam Rittenberg): 77
Legendary Leaders (Brian Bennett): 58

And the overall standings:

Massive Attack: 756
The Trombone Shorties: 754
Coal Crackers: 709
Legendary Leaders: 612
Sherman Tanks: 528

Oh, it's getting so much harder right now. Only 10 Big Ten teams play this week, which makes for an interesting waiver wire when each fantasy team has to start two quarterbacks and the starting signal-callers at Iowa and Wisconsin won't be getting all the snaps. Much frustration was had this week. Check it out:

Sherman adds Penn State WR DaeSean Hamilton and drops Nebraska WR Jordan Westerkamp

Bennett adds Illinois QB Reilly O'Toole and drops Maryland QB C.J. Brown

Moyer adds Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner and drops Illinois QB Wes Lunt

Rittenberg adds Purdue QB Austin Appleby and drops Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong

Ward adds Michigan State WR Macgarrett Kings and drops Ohio State WR Devin Smith

Sherman adds Penn State kickers and drops Ohio State kickers

Bennett adds Penn State WR Geno Lewis and drops Nebraska WR Kenny Bell

Moyer adds Illinois WR Mike Dudek and drops Purdue RB Akeem Hunt

Rittenberg adds Northwestern WR Dan Vitale and drops Rutgers WR Leonte Carroo

Ward adds Illinois WR Martize Barr and drops Maryland WR Deon Long

Sherman adds Michigan RB De'Veon Smith and drops Michigan RB Derrick Green

Bennett adds Wisconsin QB Joel Stave and drops Wisconsin QB Tanner McEvoy

Moyer adds Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong and drops Maryland WR Stefon Diggs

Rittenberg adds Northwestern RB Justin Jackson and drops Maryland RB Brandon Ross

Ward adds Iowa QB Jake Rudock and drops Ohio State RB Dontre Wilson

Bennett adds Minnesota defense and drops Michigan defense

Rittenberg adds Indiana RB D'Angelo Roberts and drops Penn State TE Jesse James

Ward adds Indiana kickers and drops Nebraska kickers

Bennett adds Minnesota kickers and drops Maryland kickers

Rittenberg adds Penn State defense and drops Rutgers defense

Ward adds Michigan defense and drops Ohio State defense

Waiver-wire analysis: This is the biggest week of moves we've had all season, and most all were made due to byes or injuries. There were two exceptions. For one, Bennett decided to go with Stave at quarterback instead of McEvoy. That makes sense, considering Stave is expected to get the start. Neither player is a good option, but beggars can't be choosers in this league. Also, my team decided to look ahead to the future and took Tommy Armstrong -- who's on bye -- and dropped Stefon Diggs, who's also on bye. Wideouts are a lot easier to come by than quarterbacks, so hopefully the move pays off.

Massive Attack (Ward)

Iowa QB Jake Rudock
Indiana QB Nate Sudfeld
Illinois RB Josh Ferguson
Minnesota RB David Cobb
Illinois WR Martize Barr
Michigan State WR Macgarrett Kings
Indiana kickers
Michigan defense
Bench: Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett (on bye)

The Trombone Shorties (Rittenberg)

Purdue QB Austin Appleby
Michigan State QB Connor Cook
Indiana RB D'Angelo Roberts
Northwestern RB Justin Jackson
Northwestern WR Dan Vitale
Michigan WR Devin Funchess
Wisconsin kickers
Penn State defense
Bench: Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah (on bye)

Coal Crackers (Moyer)

Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner
Northwestern QB Trevor Siemian
Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon
Iowa RB Mark Weisman
Illinois WR Mike Dudek
Indiana WR Shane Wynn
Michigan State kickers
Michigan State defense
Bench: Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong (on bye)

Legendary Leaders (Bennett)

Wisconsin QB Joel Stave
Illinois QB Reilly O'Toole
Indiana RB Tevin Coleman
Wisconsin RB Corey Clement
Illinois WR Geronimo Allison
Penn State WR Geno Lewis
Minnesota kickers
Minnesota defense
Bench: Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott (on bye)

Sherman Tanks (Sherman)

Michigan QB Devin Gardner
Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg
Michigan RB De'Veon Smith
Michigan State RB Jeremy Langford
Penn State WR DaeSean Hamilton
Michigan State WR Tony Lippett
Penn State kickers
Wisconsin defense
Bench: Rutgers QB Gary Nova (on bye)
Cue Jimmy Eat World, because there is a change in the middle this week -- and it's not time to write anyone off just yet.

Brian Bennett's Legendary Leaders suffered a down week, and that left the door open for your very own Coal Crackers to overtake him in the standings. That is your big change this week, but plenty of season remains.

Your results this week:

The Trombone Shorties (Adam Rittenberg): 133
Coal Crackers (Josh Moyer): 118
Massive Attack (Austin Ward): 117
Sherman Tanks (Mitch Sherman): 101
Legendary Leaders (Brian Bennett): 98

And the overall standings:

The Trombone Shorties: 679
Massive Attack: 637
Coal Crackers: 564
Legendary Leaders: 554
Sherman Tanks: 444

Three Big Ten teams have a bye this week, so rosters were forced to re-shuffle. Quarterbacks and running backs were at a premium, and you will notice an interesting addition within the first two selections:

Sherman adds Michigan QB Devin Gardner and drops Iowa QB C.J. Beathard

Bennett adds Illinois WR Geronimo Allison and drops Nebraska WR Jordan Westerkamp

Moyer adds Purdue RB Akeem Hunt and drops Iowa QB Jake Rudock

Ward adds Ohio State RB Dontre Wilson and drops Wisconsin QB Tanner McEvoy

Rittenberg adds Maryland RB Brandon Ross and drops Indiana RB D'Angelo Roberts

Sherman adds Nebraska WR Jordan Westerkamp and drops Penn State WR DaeSean Hamilton

Bennett adds Wisconsin QB Tanner McEvoy and drops Purdue QB Danny Etling

Ward adds Maryland WR Deon Long and drops Penn State WR Geno Lewis

Rittenberg adds Rutgers defense and drops Minnesota defense

Sherman adds Ohio State kickers and drops Penn State kickers

Bennett adds Michigan defense and drops Penn State defense

Waiver-wire analysis: Did you notice Bennett's big addition? After five weeks in which Allison failed to show up in ESPN's player pool, the Illinois receiver was finally added. Sherman wasn't too happy with the move, as he had no idea Allison was available. Score one for Bennett's scouting efforts. As far as other moves, Rittenberg was none too happy with the running back selection when his turn came around. He tried to take Hunt -- who was already selected -- and was even more displeased when he had to settle for Ross. Overall, outside of Bennett, there were few teams satisfied with the waiver wire this week.

The Trombone Shorties (Rittenberg)

Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong Jr.
Michigan State QB Connor Cook
Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah
Maryland RB Brandon Ross
Rutgers WR Leonte Carroo
Michigan WR Devin Funchess
Wisconsin kickers
Rutgers defense
Bench: Penn State TE Jesse James (on bye)

Massive Attack (Ward)

Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett
Indiana QB Nate Sudfeld
Illinois RB Josh Ferguson
Ohio State RB Dontre Wilson
Maryland WR Deon Long
Ohio State WR Devin Smith
Nebraska kickers
Ohio State defense
Bench: Minnesota RB David Cobb (on bye)

Coal Crackers (Moyer)

Illinois QB Wes Lunt
Northwestern QB Trevor Siemian
Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon
Purdue RB Akeem Hunt
Maryland WR Stefon Diggs
Indiana WR Shane Wynn
Michigan State kickers
Michigan State defense
Bench: Iowa Iowa RB Mark Weisman (on bye)

Legendary Leaders (Bennett)

Wisconsin QB Tanner McEvoy
Maryland QB C.J. Brown
Indiana RB Tevin Coleman
Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott
Illinois WR Geronimo Allison
Nebraska WR Kenny Bell
Maryland kickers
Michigan defense
Bench: Wisconsin RB Corey Clement (at Northwestern)

Sherman Tanks (Sherman)

Michigan QB Devin Gardner
Rutgers QB Gary Nova
Michigan RB Derrick Green
Michigan State RB Jeremy Langford
Nebraska WR Jordan Westerkamp
Michigan State WR Tony Lippett
Ohio State kickers
Wisconsin defense
Bench: Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg (on bye)

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