High-SchoolConnecticut: Aaron Berardino

In this week's edition of All-State Stock Watch, we're looking at Connecticut football players who saw their potential value rise or fall over the past week. A player could have had a huge game, gotten a big-time scholarship offer, or broken a leg. Whatever the case, I chart all the data (in my head) and give you the biggest movers of the week.

STOCK WATCH

UP — Aaron Berardino, Windsor WR
I know it seems like Berardino makes the Stock Watch as an UP selection every week, but it’s not my fault — he keeps playing better and better. This past weekend, it was five catches for 135 yards and three TDs in a 48-7 victory over Bristol Eastern. He also added a touchdown run, proving that defenses are no closer to solving him than they were last season, when he was an All-State selection as a junior. Berardino is still going UP.

DOWN — Northwest Catholic
It has to be a tough week in the Northwest Catholic locker room. The Indiana were up 14-0 over Bloomfield late in the first quarter on Friday night, but lightning caused the game to be suspended. When play resumed on Monday, Bloomfield came all the way back to win, 29-28 in overtime. The delay appeared to destroy Northwest Catholic’s momentum, so getting that mojo back will be tough. That’s why the Indians are DOWN this week.

UP — Ryan Jacobucci, Xavier WR
Jacobucci hadn’t made a lot of noise the first two weeks of the season, but that was mostly because Xavier didn’t have to throw the ball. Facing a tough test against Cheshire last week, Jacobucci became a featured part of the offense, catching seven passes for 98 yards. Most of his damage was done on quick screen passes, but Jacobucci’s emergence gives Xavier’s opponents another reason to worry.

Week 3 fantasy: Start Fleeting, Campbell

September, 29, 2011
9/29/11
12:24
PM ET
As part of our football coverage here, I offer up my hypothetical fantasy football picks every week. Note: This league is completely made up. If you are in a high school fantasy football league, please seek professional help.

START 'EM

QB — Robert Fleeting, Windsor
Fleeting, a 5-foot-9 junior, has figured out one thing: throw the ball to Aaron Berardino. In two games, Fleeting has utilized his All-State receiver effectively, passing for 550 yards and seven touchdowns against just two interceptions. He’s also run for more than 100 yards with an additional TD. As long as he’s got his No. 1 target to throw to, Fleeting is a good fantasy play — especially this week against Bristol Eastern (48 points allowed per game).
Projection: 17 of 25, 268 yards, 3 TDs; 4 carries, 30 yards, 0 TDs

RB — David Campbell, Bloomfield
The junior has been getting big carries so far this season, and he’s making the most of it. Campbell ran for 172 yards and two TDs in Week 1, then followed it up with 265 yards and three TDs last week. Bloomfield doesn’t throw the ball a ton, and Campbell gets about two-thirds of the carries, making him a fantasy workhorse. Northwest Catholic has allowed just 14 points this season, but I’d still start Campbell this week.
Projection: 24 carries, 155 yards, 2 TDs

WR — Jared Vasquez, Bunnell
Vasquez is a key part of the Bunnell offense, which is one of the state’s best aerial attacks. He had 81 receiving yards in Week 1 and exploded for 171 last week. Vasquez really makes his mark in the red zone, however. He had two touchdown catches in each game, and because Bunnell QB Bryan Castelot usually looks for him first, he should continue to rack up TDs.
Projection: 8 catches, 133 yards, 2 TDs

BENCH CITY

RB — Devon Lofton, Warde
Lofton has been impressive so far this season, rushing for 299 yards in the first two games. But against New Canaan this week, I don’t expect he’ll get enough carries to be an effective fantasy starter. New Canaan’s explosive offense figures to put a lot of points on the board, so Warde won’t be able to pound the ball on the ground. Lofton is a good option most weeks, but not now.
Projection: 11 carries, 67 yards, 0 TDs

* Projections based on 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR format; No PPR

Stock is rising for Berardino, O'Reilly

September, 20, 2011
9/20/11
12:06
PM ET
In this week's edition of All-State Stock Watch, we're looking at Connecticut football players who saw their potential value rise or fall over the past week. A player could have had a huge game, gotten a big-time scholarship offer, or broken a leg. Whatever the case, I chart all the data (in my head) and give you the biggest movers of the week.

STOCK WATCH

UP — Aaron Berardino, Windsor WR
It’s considered poor form to pat yourself on the back too much, but I really nailed it when I predicted a big opening night for Berardino. In my Week 1 fantasy preview, I projected eight catches, 105 yards and a TD. His final numbers? Even better: nine grabs, 125 yards and a score. He also ran for a touchdown. Berardino seems poised for a huge season, so this may not be the last time you see his stock going UP.

DOWN — Patrick Boyle, St. Joseph-Trumbull QB
Boyle is stepping into a difficult situation, as he's following the graduated Joe Della Vecchia, one of the most accomplished quarterbacks in state history. And the junior didn't get off to a great start this weekend, completing just 17 of 36 passes and throwing four interceptions in a 21-7 loss to Staples. Boyle is talented and likely to get better as the season goes on, but for right now it has to be a DOWN grade.

UP — Devin O'Reilly, Glastonbury DB
O’Reilly basically beat New Britain by himself this weekend. The Glastonbury defense was sick, blanking New Britain in a 17-0 win. And O’Reilly was the catalyst for the shutout, picking off four passes and returning one 33 yards for a touchdown. Final score: O’Reilly 6, New Britain 0.

Have an insider stock tip? Don't keep it a secret — Hit me on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

Week 1 fantasy: Start Croce, Markus

September, 16, 2011
9/16/11
2:57
PM ET
As part of our football coverage here, I offer up my hypothetical fantasy football picks every week. Note: This league is completely made up. If you are in a high school fantasy football league, please seek professional help.

START 'EM

RB — Colin Markus, Masuk
Most of the preseason hype surrounding No. 1 Masuk has been centered on QB Casey Cochran, and rightfully so. Cochran is the best player in the state. But Markus has been hugely productive in the Panthers' offense — last year, he rushed for 1,535 yards and 25 touchdowns, and he also finished third on the team with 32 receptions (303 yards, six TDs). So whether Masuk is running or throwing, Markus is usually involved. The Week 1 matchup against Oxford is favorable, too. Last year, Masuk hung 69 points on Oxford.
Projection: 16 carries, 115 yards, 2 TDs; 4 catches, 44 yards, 1 TD

QB — Kellen Croce, Pomperaug
Croce started slowly last year, but in the final eight games he completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,730 yards (with a 13-6 TD-INT ratio). Pomperaug has a strong group of experienced receivers returning, so Croce will be able to air it out even more this season. I think he's good for 20-plus touchdown passes and could possibly approach 30. One of his worst games of 2010 came against tonight's opponent, Brookfield, but I still think Croce will put up big numbers.
Projection: 22 of 32, 260 yards, 3 TDs

WR — Aaron Berardino, Windsor
Berardino was one of the state's top scorers at the WR position last year, putting up 850 yards and an impressive 10 touchdowns. And with junior QB Robert Fleeting back for another season under center, Berardino should see a bump in his numbers. Against Wethersfield tonight, I expect the Warriors to lean on him early. 10-plus targets seems like a lock.
Projection: 8 catches, 105 yards, 1 TD

BENCH CITY

RB — Amihr Bess, Notre Dame-West Haven
Coming off a 1,000-yard season in which he scored 11 touchdowns, you might think Bess is a good option to plug into your starting lineup this week. But look at the Week 1 opponent — Xavier. The Falcons are ranked No. 2 in the state, in large part thanks to their defense, which held Bess under 100 yards last season. If he gets more than 15 carries or over 90 yards, I'll be shocked. Stash Bess for now and start him against a better matchup next week.
Projection: 12 carries, 68 yards, 0 TDs

* Projections based on 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR format; No PPR

Want to join my (nonexistent) fantasy football league? Hit me on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

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