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College Fantasy Football: Week 12 in review

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Dwayne Haskins
Dwayne Haskins (AP Images)

MORE: Five weird things from Week 12

The first round of college fantasy football playoffs is in the books and even though there weren’t marquee matchups in college football it was still an exciting weekend of games. Here is a review of the action from a fantasy perspective:

HASKINS DELIVERS BUT BE CAREFUL

It was an unexpectedly close game and a major shootout - and that’s perfect for fantasy owners who scored big in the playoffs with Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who finished with 405 passing yards, three touchdowns and an interception and rushed for three more scores in the 52-51 victory.

Haskins now has 36 touchdowns and seven interceptions and it’s nearly impossible not to start him if you’re playing for the fantasy championship this weekend. Except for one consideration: Michigan’s defense is maybe the best in the country. And the Wolverines are out for revenge.

Michigan is giving up 13.5 points per game. It has allowed seven passing touchdowns against its defense all season long. Haskins is putting up huge numbers but against the Wolverines, another quarterback might be worth starting.

NOTRE DAME MAKES STATEMENT

Syracuse came in with a high-flying offense and the hopes of knocking Notre Dame out of the College Football Playoff hunt. Instead, the Orange got themselves knocked out and the Irish defense especially made a statement in their 36-3 win Saturday at Yankee Stadium.

Eric Dungey was sidelined after what looked like a back injury during a running play. Then backup Tommy DeVito was sacked six times. Syracuse, which averages more than 40 points per game, was held to a fourth-quarter field goal when the game was already in hand.

Notre Dame’s defense is owned in only 26 percent of leagues. Does USC have any fight left at all to try to do much against the Irish this weekend or does Notre Dame make quick work of an offense that continues to disappoint? Picking up the Irish could be wise.

“Notre Dame is better than what people think they are,” Syracuse coach Dino Babers said after the game.

GET RID OF USC PLAYERS

What another disappointing performance by USC in an embarrassing loss to UCLA. In what’s supposed to be one of the best rivalries in all of sports, Saturday’s game was played in a three-quarters full Rose Bowl because both the Trojans and the Bruins are having terrible seasons. But USC took it to another level of bad in a 34-27 loss to UCLA, which had previously only beaten Cal and Arizona.

JT Daniels, a five-star quarterback who skipped his senior year of high school and won the starting job at USC, continues to be up and down with 337 passing yards and two touchdowns but also two picks. USC’s leading rusher was Vavae Malepeai with 77 yards on 15 carries against a UCLA defense that cannot stop any good running back. The Bruins have given up 27 rushing scores so far this season. USC got none.

Receiver Tyler Vaughns, another former five-star, was nowhere to be found all day finishing with just one catch for 19 yards. And now USC has to beat unbeaten Notre Dame in the regular-season finale to even get to a bowl? There’s no reason to have any USC players on your fantasy roster for championship week. Time to drop them and move on to better things.

FITZ-MAGIC IN STARKVILLE

According to reports, two Arkansas players were seen taking pictures with members of the Mississippi State spirit squad before going out and getting shellacked by the Bulldogs, 52-6, on Saturday night mainly because quarterback Nick Fitzgerald was unstoppable.

There will be a healthy debate whether Fitzgerald has the passing ability to play quarterback in the NFL but he’s a tremendous athlete and exploited all of the Razorbacks’ weaknesses in Starkville, finishing with four touchdown passes on only 14 attempts and rushing for 85 yards and another score.

With a big performance in the Egg Bowl against Ole Miss this weekend, Fitzgerald could top the 1,000-yard rushing mark this season which would be another impressive feat. As for his fantasy use, Ole Miss’ defense is far from stellar, so putting him to start in the rivalry game makes a lot of sense.

MINSHEW IS AMAZING

Gardner Minshew completed 43 of 55 passes for 473 yards and seven touchdowns in a 69-28 win over Arizona on Saturday night in Pullman in a game where the Cougars scored 55 in the first half. Minshew is climbing up Heisman Trophy boards and a huge game against Washington in the Apple Cup could really stoke even more conversation.

But be careful with Minshew this weekend. The Huskies’ defense is no joke allowing just 16.6 points per game and they’ve given up just nine passing touchdowns all season. Here’s another thing: Washington State has not beaten Washington since 2012 and in those losses the Cougars scored 14, 17, 10, 13 and 17.

Maybe this is the year for Washington State but the Huskies have had their number recently and completely shut down the Cougars’ offense.