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Thursday, November 18, 2010
College Football Challenge: Week 12

By Will Harris
Special to ESPN.com

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

G.J. Kinne, QB, Tulsa: The Tulsa offense is rolling and UTEP's weak and banged-up defense isn't likely to have an answer for Kinne, who has tossed 22 touchdowns and leads the Hurricane in rushing to boot.

Ricky Dobbs, QB, Navy: Dobbs sat out last week's win over Central Michigan but is back in action for this week's home date with Arkansas State, the final home game for the Mids. The demoralized Red Wolves are coming off a last-second loss to Sun Belt doormat Western Kentucky and enter with the nation's 112th-ranked rush defense.

Taylor Potts, QB, Texas Tech: Potts will lead the Red Raiders to bowl eligibility this week against FCS Weber State. The Wildcats can score enough to make Tech keep its foot on the gas, and their beleaguered pass defense is closing the season with a third consecutive road game.

Vai Taua, RB, Nevada: Taua and backfield mate Colin Kaepernick did enough to get by Fresno last week, and now they tune up for the Boise State showdown with one more defenseless WAC patsy. New Mexico State features one of the nation's most generous rush defenses and there won't be much need for the Wolf Pack to go to the air.

Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma: The Sooners haven't played well on the road and quarterback Landry Jones has had issues with the better stop units on the schedule. However, Jones and Broyles have terrorized all of the Big XII's weaker defenses, and the Baylor secondary just can't keep up.

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

Kyle Padron, QB, SMU: The Mustangs have a second chance at command of Conference USA's West division courtesy of Tulsa's victory at Houston. Padron and his stable of capable wideouts will capitalize this time at home versus a Marshall team that generates a decent pass rush but gives up too many big plays in the back end.

Defense/Special Teams, Boston College: The Eagles have been playing good defense all year and lead the nation in interceptions. This week, with bowl eligibility on the line, the Eagles face a Virginia squad with a banged-up running back corps and a turnover-prone quarterback in Marc Verica.

Chad Spann, RB, Northern Illinois: Spann and triggerman Chandler Harnish lead the blistering Northern Illinois ground attack into Muncie to face a defenseless Ball State team that cannot stop a quality running game. The heavily favored Huskies clinch the MAC West with a win, so don't expect them to let up until the game is well in hand.

Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State: Wheaton has become the go-to receiver for the Beavers since James Rodgers' season-ending injury. Quarterback Ryan Katz figures to have one of his better outings against a depleted USC defense that will focus on stopping Jacquizz Rodgers, and Wheaton has a great shot at his best game of the year.

Sam McGuffie, RB, Rice: The diminutive Michigan transfer has caught fire in the second half of the season. The Rice offense has been carrying the team, and the Owls will have to shoot it out once again against an East Carolina team that can score at will but gives up yards in bunches. McGuffie is the team receptions leader as well as the top ground-gainer, and he's come on strong lately with over 300 total yards in the past two games.

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

Dan Persa, QB, Northwestern: Persa is out for the season after rupturing his Achilles on the last offensive play of Northwestern's win over Iowa. Evan Watkins will replace him under center for what should be a low-scoring game with Illinois at Wrigley Field.

Austen Arnaud, QB, Iowa State: The fifth-year senior's career is over after suffering a fourth-quarter injury at Colorado last week. Jerome Tiller will guide the Cyclones as they try to secure consecutive bowl trips by knocking off Missouri in the season finale.

Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska: Martinez was limited last week against Kansas, and while healthier now he has a tough assignment against Tim DeRuyter's aggressive defense at a sold-out Kyle Field.

John Clay, RB, Wisconsin: Clay missed last week's 83-point romp over Indiana and will likely sit out again this week at Michigan while James White and Montee Ball carry the load for the Badgers.

Adam Froman, QB, Louisville: Running back Bilal Powell is back in the lineup, but Froman will be a late-week decision with a thigh injury. It's best to sit both against West Virginia's Big East-leading defense.

Will Harris is a college football analyst for ESPN.com.