Tomorrow’s Ultimate NCAAF Fantasy Picks from QB to Flex.

QB – Dustin Crum – Kent State (vs Akron)

QB – Kyle Vantrease – Buffalo (vs Bowling Green)

RB – Jarret Patterson – Buffalo (vs Bowling Green)

RB – Marquez Cooper – Kent State (vs Akron)

WR – Isaiah McKoy – Kent State vs (vs Akron)

WR – Antonio Nunn – Buffalo (vs Bowling Green)

WR – Ja’Shaun Poke – Kent State (vs Akron)

TE – Zac Lefebvre – Buffalo (vs Bowling Green)

UT – Teon Dollard – Akron (vs Kent State)

Honorable mention:

WR – Isaiah Wooden – Kent State (vs Akron)

Happy drafting!

Posted in CFB, Top Fantasy Picks

The Golden Flashes and Bulls meet on Tuesday night in Buffalo

Midweek MACtion is back on Tuesday night, as Buffalo looks to extend its lead in the MAC East with a victory over Kent State. The Bulls are in the thick of the conference title race and could crack the top 25 at the end of the season if this program reaches double-digit victories. On the other sideline, Kent State is looking to use the month of November as a way to build momentum under first-year coach Sean Lewis.

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Buffalo picked up an important win in conference play last week, as coach Lance Leipold’s team defeated Miami (Ohio) 51-42 on Tuesday night. The victory over the RedHawks improved Buffalo’s MAC record to 5-0 (8-1 overall) with three games left. The Bulls have the Tuesday matchup against Kent State, followed by road trips to Ohio and Bowling Green. The Nov. 14 game versus Ohio is likely to decide the MAC East title, but Leipold’s team can’t afford to overlook Kent State on Tuesday. Buffalo knocked off Temple and Rutgers in non-conference play, with its only loss coming to Army (42-13) in late September.

As mentioned above, Kent State is hoping to finish out the year on a high note. First-year coach Sean Lewis has the program moving in the right direction and can play spoiler over the next three contests. Following Tuesday’s matchup against Buffalo, the Golden Flashes take on Toledo and Eastern Michigan – two teams sitting on the bubble for a bowl game. Kent State is a tough job and is a rebuilding project for Lewis, but there have been signs of progress. This program gave Illinois a battle in the opener and knocked off Bowling Green (35-28) last Tuesday.

Buffalo holds a 12-11 series edge over Kent State. The Bulls have won three out of the last four against the Golden Flashes.

Kent State at Buffalo

Kickoff: Tuesday, Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPNU

Spread: Buffalo -22.5

Three Things to Watch

1. Can Kent State’s Defense Slow Down Buffalo’s Offense?

This is a matchup of strength versus weakness on Tuesday night. Buffalo’s offense enters this game averaging 34.9 points a game and 5.8 yards per play. The Bulls have a balanced attack, ranking third in the MAC in pass offense and fifth in rushing. This unit has scored at least 34 points in three out of the last four games and posted 51 in their last game (Miami, Ohio). Kent State has experienced its share of issues on defense this fall and ranks 11th in the MAC in points allowed (34.2 ppg) and is giving up 6.2 yards per play.

Quarterback Tyree Jackson is the catalyst for Leipold’s offense, throwing for 2,227 yards and 23 touchdowns to just eight interceptions. He’s also added five rushing scores this fall. Receiver Anthony Johnson ranks among the best in college football at his position, catching 32 passes for 673 yards and eight touchdowns in 2018. K.J. Osborn (44 catches), George Rushing (20), Charlie Jones (12) and tight end Tyler Mabry join Johnson as the top pass catchers, giving Jackson a standout and deep group of receiving options. The freshman tandem of Kevin Marks (579 yards) and Jaret Patterson (576) leads the way for a ground game averaging 4.2 yards per carry. This duo will be a handful for a Kent State front ranked seventh in the MAC versus the run.

Kent State’s defense has allowed at least 20 points in every game against FBS opponents this season. This unit surrendered 52 to Ball State, 63 to Penn State, 31 to Miami (Ohio) and 31 to Illinois. As if those numbers weren’t concerning enough for Lewis, the Golden Flashes rank 11th in the MAC in pass efficiency defense – not ideal with a matchup against Buffalo’s passing attack up next. Kent State has generated 21 sacks, but the Bulls have allowed only eight all season.

Will Kent State find an answer to stop Jackson and Buffalo’s passing game? The Golden Flashes need to trade yards for stops in the red zone and have to force a few turnovers to pull off the upset.

2. Kent State QB Woody Barrett

If Kent State is going to pull off the upset, coach Sean Lewis’ team will need a huge effort from quarterback Woody Barrett. The former Auburn signee and junior college product ranks second in the MAC in total offense, averaging 262.2 total yards a game. For the season, Barrett has passed for 1,905 yards and 10 touchdowns to just three picks and added 455 yards and three scores on the ground. Barrett led the way for the win over Bowling Green last week, throwing for 157 yards and two touchdowns on 14 completions and rushing for 77 yards and a score.

In Buffalo’s win over Miami (Ohio) last week, quarterback Gus Ragland threw for 313 yards and a touchdown and added 53 yards and three scores on the ground. Barrett has to have that type of night in order for Kent State to keep this one close in the second half. Protecting Barrett is crucial for any shot at a victory. The Golden Flashes have allowed 34 sacks (most in the MAC), while the Bulls have generated 25 sacks through nine contests.

While Barrett has to have a huge game in order for Kent State to win, the sophomore won’t have to carry this offense on his own. Lewis has two talented running backs Jo-El Shaw (332 yards and five scores this year) and Justin Rankin (560). Rankin missed last week’s game due to injury and his status is likely to be undecided until kickoff. The Golden Flashes have three players  – freshman Isaiah McKoy (39), Antwan Dixon (38) and Myles Carrigan (33) – with at least 30 receptions in 2018.

With Buffalo’s high-powered offense likely to post 30-40 points on Tuesday night, Kent State is going to need its best (and a flawless) effort of the season from Barrett in order to pull off the upset.

3. Buffalo’s Defense

As mentioned above, any shot at an upset for Kent State hinges on a huge night by the offense. But there’s a slight problem with that theory: Buffalo’s defense is one of the best in the MAC. The Bulls rank second in the conference in fewest points allowed a game (23.4 ppg), yards allowed per play (5.0) and lead the MAC in pass efficiency defense. Additionally, Buffalo’s defense has allowed only nine plays of 40 yards or more this fall.

On paper, the Bulls have showed very little in the way of major issues on this side of the ball. Leipold’s defense is solid against versus the pass and the run, have forced 19 turnovers and generated 25 sacks through nine contests. Buffalo’s standout linebacker Khalil Hodge will miss the first half of Tuesday night’s game due to a targeting suspension, but this unit should be able to navigate the first two quarters without its best player.

Even though Kent State has capable firepower on its offense, Leipold’s defense isn’t likely to surrender 40 points for the second week in a row.

Final Analysis

Kent State is certainly showing signs of life in Lewis’ first year, but Buffalo simply has a better team in 2018. With a showdown looming against Ohio next week, the Bulls can’t afford to look ahead and not take care of business on Tuesday night. With the Jackson-to-Johnson connection back on track, it’s tough see the Golden Flashes getting enough stops to win this contest. Look for Barrett to deliver a few big plays, but Buffalo has too much firepower and pulls away in the second half.

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Posted in CFB, Top Fantasy Picks

The Golden Flashes and Falcons meet on Tuesday night in Bowling Green

MACtion is back on Tuesday night, as Kent State takes on Bowling Green in a matchup of two teams looking to close out the 2018 season on a high note. The Golden Flashes and Falcons both enter Tuesday’s game at 1-7 and have yet to win a contest in MAC play.

The slow start cost Bowling Green coach Mike Jinks his job, as he was dismissed after a 42-35 loss to Western Michigan on Oct. 13. That defeat dropped the Falcons to 1-6 overall and just 7-24 overall under Jinks. Defensive coordinator (and former FAU coach) Carl Pelini was promoted to interim coach and led the team in a 49-14 loss to Ohio on Oct. 20. Bowling Green’s only win in 2017 came against FCS opponent Eastern Kentucky, and three out of the four MAC losses came by 15 points or more. While Jinks recruited well, both sides of the ball remained a question mark throughout his tenure. The defense ranked near the bottom of the MAC, and despite Jinks’ background on offense, the Falcons finished eighth in the conference in scoring in 2017 and ninth in ’16. While Bowling Green has clinched its third consecutive losing season, this is one of the MAC’s top jobs and won’t have trouble finding interested candidates. After all, this is a program that had Urban Meyer and Dino Babers patrolling its sidelines as head coach at one point.

While Bowling Green is looking to find the next leader for its program, Kent State has to be optimistic it found a coach who can elevate this team within the MAC. After the dismissal of Paul Haynes, the Golden Flashes handed the keys to the program to Sean Lewis. The 32-year-old coach had previous MAC experience from a stint at Bowling Green (2014-15). The former Wisconsin tight end comes from the Babers coaching tree and has made a noticeable impact this fall. Kent State gave Illinois all it could handle (31-24) in the opener, lost 38-17 at Ole Miss and has suffered two MAC defeats by one point.

Bowling Green holds a 60-19-6 series edge over Kent State. The Falcons have won five in a row in this series.

Kent State at Bowling Green

Kickoff: Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPNU

Spread: Kent State -1

Three Things to Watch

1. Kent State QB Woody Barrett

New coach Sean Lewis has a big rebuilding project ahead at Kent State but landing Barrett was a huge pickup in his first recruiting class. The former Auburn signal-caller came to Kent after a year at Copiah-Lincoln (Miss.) Community College and edged Dustin Crum for the starting job in preseason practice. Barrett has been a difference-maker for Lewis, completing 173 of 286 passes for 1,748 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s also added 378 yards and five scores on the ground.

With his ability to hurt defenses with his legs or through the air, Barrett is the type of quarterback that can carry an offense to a victory. And the sophomore should have plenty of opportunities on Tuesday night, as Bowling Green’s defense ranks last in the MAC by giving up 47.8 points a game. Additionally, the Falcons are last in the conference versus the run and pass efficiency defense, give up 7.2 yards per play and have surrendered 11 plays of 40 yards or more.

When Barrett throws, freshman Isaiah McKoy (36 catches) has been his favorite target, but Antwan Dixon (32), Myles Carrigan (31) and Trey Harrell (22) will also factor into the mix. Running back Justin Rankin has caught 14 passes but should do most of his damage on the ground. The junior has 560 yards through eight games and faces a Falcons defense giving up 6.6 yards per carry.

Barrett has been one of the MAC’s top newcomers in 2018, and Pelini’s defense will have its hands full trying to slow down the dynamic sophomore. Can Bowling Green find a way to slow down the FlashFast attack from Kent State?

2. Bowling Green’s Offense

Make no mistake: Tuesday night is going to be tough for the two defenses in this game. Just like Bowling Green’s group will have its hands full trying to slow down Kent State, the Golden Flashes are going to give up their share of yards and points to the Falcons’ offense.

Kent State’s defense is allowing 6.5 yards per play, 35 points a game, ranks eighth in the MAC against the run and 11th in pass efficiency defense. Additionally, this unit has allowed 16 plays of 40 or more yards.

Bowling Green quarterback Jarret Doege is in the midst of a breakout season. The sophomore is completing 63.9 percent of his passes for 2,078 yards and 20 touchdowns to just eight picks. Doege leads all MAC quarterbacks by averaging 279.8 passing yards in conference-only matchups this season. Senior Scott Miller (48 catches for 785 yards and seven scores) is one of the league’s top receivers, while Quintin Morris and RB Marlow III round out the secondary options. Running back Andrew Clair (495 yards) was also poised for a breakout 2018 campaign, but the sophomore has been limited to just 23 carries over his last four games due to the flow of the game and injury. The extended bye week allowed Clair time to get healthy, but as of Monday, his status was uncertain for the matchup against Kent State.

The Falcons should lean heavily on Doege and Clair (if healthy) on Tuesday night, and assuming that’s the case, can Kent State find a way to slow them down?

3. Turnovers and Timely Stops

Points and yards for both offenses should be aplenty on Tuesday night. Whichever defense can find a way to get timely stops or generate a couple of takeaways is likely to lead their team to a win.

Kent State’s defense has forced 15 takeaways to 10 for Bowling Green this season. The Golden Flashes are first in the MAC in red zone defense, while the Falcons rank 10th. Both teams have struggled to get stops on third down, but Kent State ranks slightly better (10th in the conference to 12th for Bowling Green). And when it comes to generating pressure, Kent State has recorded 18 sacks to just six from the Falcons.

Which side will create enough havoc plays or get stops inside of the 20 to force a field goal attempt instead of a touchdown?

Final Analysis

Expect a high-scoring game with plenty of highlights from the two offenses. Kent State and Bowling Green have both had their share of issues on defense this season, but both offenses are capable of recording yards and touchdowns in a hurry. In a big-picture view of Tuesday night’s game, it certainly seems the Golden Flashes are trending up under Lewis and have a clear identity on what they want to be. On the other sideline, the Falcons have an interim coach and have struggled to be competitive in 2018. Kent State has lost three of its game by seven points or less, including two of its last three matchups in MAC play. Lewis’ team seems due for a few bounces in their direction. The Golden Flashes get a huge effort from Barrett, and this defense makes just enough stops in the fourth quarter to earn their first conference win of 2018.

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Posted in CFB, Top Fantasy Picks