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Thursday, October 28, 2010
College Football Challenge: Week 9

By Will Harris
Special to

College Football Challenge is a player-based fantasy game with a format that's challenging yet flexible and user-friendly. You can play using all 120 FBS teams or compete within any of the 11 conferences. The points-based scoring system revolves around an eight-slot roster of quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, team kicking and team defense. Each week we'll take a look at the top performers and surprise contributors, while alerting you to any players who might need to spend the week on the bench.

Cream of the Crop: Star fantasy performers with the best matchups

Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State: Quizz is rested and ready after the Beavers' open date, and he recently told reporters that he has a lot left in the tank this year. The third-leading rusher in the Pac-10 seems primed for a big stretch run beginning this week versus California.

Ed Wesley, RB, TCU: Wesley is TCU's touchdown-maker, and UNLV hasn't stopped anyone yet. Suit him up as he cracks the national top-10 rushing leaderboard this week.

Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy: The Trojans' do-everything playmaker missed the last trip to Monroe in 2008, which was the last time Troy lost a Sun Belt game. The conference's second-leading receiver will help the team make amends this time around versus a youthful ULM defense.

Daniel Thomas, RB, Kansas State: The Wildcats workhorse will hold up his end of a nice running back duel with Oklahoma State's Kendall Hunter this week. Neither defense can hold up in what should be a second straight shootout for both teams.

Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame: Floyd missed last week's loss to Navy with a hamstring injury but has gone full speed in practice this week. He'll be a top receiver option this week versus Tulsa's woeful defense, which ranks dead last in the nation in passing yards allowed, after surrendering 464 to Tulane last week.

Opportunity Knocks: Emerging or seldom-rostered players with favorable matchups

Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford: Taylor's production has been steadily increasing as he's settled in as the go-to guy in the Cardinal's ground attack. Garnering more red zone carries and touchdowns is the next step, and it appears to be happening. Taylor should have a fine day against a gassed Washington defense in dire need of an open date.

Jared Hassin, RB, Army: VMI is not merely a FCS team, it's the kind of FCS opponent that other FCS teams schedule for homecoming. The Keydets don't have an answer for the bruising Hassin.

Josh Harris, RB, Wake Forest: The freshman has exploded lately, putting up an amazing 241 yards on 20 carries in Wake's last game at Virginia Tech. The Deacons had an open date to prepare for road-weary Maryland, and Harris is poised to be the featured rusher in Jim Grobe's refreshed option attack.

Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State: A true freshman, Wilson leads the Pac-10 in receiving yards. He would get more attention if the Cougars ever won a game, and they have a shot this week against an Arizona State team that isn't playing disciplined defense lately. Quarterback Jeff Tuel is worth a look, too.

Alex Carder, QB, Western Michigan: Carder is the MAC's leading passer, and he throws to what may be the first team all-conference duo in wide receivers Jordan White and Juan Nunez. Northern Illinois has been the class of the league so far, but the Huskies do not have the secondary to slow down the Broncos' aerial attack this week.

On the Shelf: Key players who need a week off thanks to injury, matchup or circumstance

Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State: The nation's leading receiver was arrested for DUI Monday night and will be suspended for Saturday's tilt at Kansas State.

Zach Collaros, QB, Cincinnati: The Bearcats' dual threat is practicing again after a knee injury knocked him out of last week's loss to South Florida, but he's still listed as questionable and doesn't have much mobility yet. Collaros probably will play, but you'll want to leave the gimpy junior alone against a capable Syracuse pass rush.

Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas: Neither Adams nor Greg Childs had practiced this week as of Thursday. Ryan Mallett has healed up and is ready to go, and a home date with Vanderbilt is a prime opportunity to use Arkansas receivers, but the Hogs have lots of options at the position. Adams and Childs are probably not worth the risk this week.

Jerrod Johnson, QB, Texas A&M: Ryan Tannehill was more effective than Johnson last week in the timeshare at Kansas, and it looks like Tannehill may start this week's home game with Texas Tech. Johnson's senior season has turned disastrous, as the Aggies now have a full-blown quarterback controversy.

Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma: Broyles will start Saturday versus Colorado, but with two sprained ankles he's not yet 100 percent. He should probably spend a week on the bench.

Will Harris is a college football analyst for