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College Fantasy Football: Weekend viewers' guide

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Rondale Moore
Rondale Moore (AP Images)

Week 9 of the college football season is upon us. Here are five things we will be watching throughout another busy weekend of games from a college fantasy football perspective.

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LETDOWN SPOTS?

Purdue blew out Ohio State last weekend. The Boilermakers have now won four straight games by double digits after losing their first three, and they’ve scored in the 40s in three straight victories. Star freshman receiver Rondale Moore is second to only Colorado’s Laviska Shenault in fantasy points among receivers.

But despite 61 percent of bets on Purdue over Michigan State this weekend, the Spartans have swung from one-point underdogs to 1.5-point favorites.

Washington State is coming off an impressive takedown of Oregon in primetime last weekend. The Cougars are 6-1, with their only loss a three-point decision at USC in mid-September. Quarterback Gardner Minshew is the fourth-highest scoring quarterback in fantasy leagues, behind Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray, Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins and Ole MissJordan Ta’amu.

But despite 58 percent of the bets on Washington State over Stanford this weekend, the Cardinal have moved from 2.5-point favorites to three-point favorites.

Las Vegas seems to be penciling in some letdown spots for big winners last weekend. Watch out from a fantasy perspective, because Purdue and Washington State might disappoint.

STAY ON CLEMSON  

It was pretty obvious that Vegas was begging for people to take NC State last week, as a majority of the bets were coming in on the Wolfpack yet the number continued to make Clemson an even bigger favorite. Something similar is happening this week.

The Tigers have moved from 14-point favorites all the way up to 17, despite only 57 percent of the bets coming in on Clemson. That tells me Vegas is getting sharp money on the Tigers and it is trying to adjust the line accordingly to even things out. That means Clemson’s players could have another big weekend in fantasy.

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence continues to prove he’s one of the best in college football, and running back Travis Etienne is the top scorer among running backs in fantasy leagues. Clemson’s defensive front should eat up Florida State’s offense. The over-under is only 51, so a shootout is not expected but Clemson should put up plenty of points.

SEC DEFENSIVE BATTLE  

Texas A&M's Charles Oliver and Mississippi State's Reginald Todd during last season's game.
Texas A&M's Charles Oliver and Mississippi State's Reginald Todd during last season's game. (AP Images)

I’d be stunned if a lot of points were scored in the Texas A&M-Mississippi State game this weekend. It’s hard to fathom how the teams even get to the over/under of 44.

The Bulldogs have scored three, six and seven points in three of the last four weeks – all losses. Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald has been even more one dimensional this season, running for a team-high 644 yards and seven scores, but passing for just 768 yards, four scores and seven interceptions.

Texas A&M is excellent against the run, giving up just 3.2 yards per carry and five rushing TDs all season. On the flip side, Mississippi State’s defense has been incredible. The Bulldogs’ D has allowed eight total offensive touchdowns all season. Their front four is arguably the best in the country.

In games like these, sometimes a rhythm comes into play where teams are not even looking to score as much as not looking to turn the ball over and trying to outlast the opponent. It seems like that should happen Saturday night.

NOTRE DAME LOVE  

I really think Notre Dame bounces back in a huge way this weekend and that quarterback Ian Book, running back Dexter Williams and receiver Miles Boykin could all have big showings in fantasy leagues.

The Irish survived a scare – and a terrible performance – two weeks ago in a 19-14 win over Pitt. Coming off a bye week, Notre Dame had a lot of time to correct some mistakes, refocus and get prepared for Navy’s unique offensive attack.

Navy’s leading rusher, Malcolm Perry, is expected to play Saturday night while dealing with an injury, but the Irish defense has had plenty of time to prepare and should be fine. The Midshipmen have given up plenty of points this season, so I think the Irish offense moves the ball without many problems.

BELIEVE IN BUFFS  

More than anything, this is a play on Oregon State’s defense being so pitiful that any team should be able to put up serious points against the Beavers. Cal scored 49 last week against Oregon State and the Golden Bears didn’t even score that much against Idaho State earlier this season. It didn’t eclipse 24 points in three straight Pac-12 losses.

This brings us to Colorado. Quarterback Steven Montez is a top-20 scorer among quarterbacks in fantasy leagues. I realize a lot of those points came because receiver Laviska Shenault has been so outstanding and he’s questionable this weekend, but there are still spots to pick and choose here. Montez is one. Running back Travon McMillian is another.

Oregon State is giving up 6.7 yards per rush and it has allowed 20 rushing TDs. The Beavers have given up 22 passing scores. Putting Colorado players in your lineup this weekend makes a lot of sense.