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2016 CFB Quarterbacks: Part II
2016 College Fantasy Football QBs:
Rankings, Profiles and Projections
9. Lamar Jackson, Louisville
Watching Lamar Jackson during the Louisville spring game, an observer would have felt like they were viewing an e-Sports NCAA Football competition. The sophomore sensation completed 24 of 29 passes for an unbelievable 519 yards and eight touchdowns, including three aerial strikes over 50 yards. Last season, Jackson only started seven games and passed for 1,840 yards and 12 touchdowns. The speedster also accumulated 906 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns. In the Music City Bowl, the playmaker passed, and rushed for over 200 yards, establishing a Bowl-record with 226 yards on the ground. Throughout the spring, Jackson looked sharp and accurate in practices and appears to have improved his mechanics. Since arriving at Louisville, coach Bobby Petrino has played quarterback roulette and has won (58-18 record) with terrific defense. But he now has the electric quarterback to put points on the board. The lightening-quick Cardinal is a rising celebrity and long-shot Heisman candidate in college football.
Lamar Jackson, Louisville
Passing Yards and TDs: 2,500 and 18
Rushing Yards and TDs: 1,200 and 13
Total Fantasy Points: 395
10. Seth Russell, Baylor
One of the perplexing decisions CFB diehards must make during their drafts: Should Baylor players be selected on their rosters? During the past five seasons, the Bears have provided points at a record setting pace on Saturdays. Baylor endured one of the worst off-seasons in college football history, and coach Art Briles was fired. Will the offense continue to tally points without its innovative coach? Every CFB fanatic will rate Seth Russell based on their answers to the aforementioned questions. (Editorial note: I am not a believer in the Bears this season.) On Instagram, Russell announced that his doctor had given him clearance to play after suffering a season-ending injury in October. In seven games last year, the Baylor field general tossed 29 touchdowns and passed for 2,104 yards: In addition, he rambled for 402 yards and crossed the end zone six times. The Bears lost four starters on the offensive line, All-American homerun hitter Corey Coleman left for the NFL and RB Shock Linwood missed spring ball after foot surgery. There are so many missing components and roster changes in Waco, TX that astute fantasy fanatics will avoid drafting Baylor players.
Passing Yards and TDs: 3,500 and 31
Rushing Yards and TDs: 500 and 7
Total Fantasy Points: 391
11. Skyler Howard, West Virginia
Slinging the pigskin in coach Dana Holgorsen’s quarterback-friendly system, Skyler Howard is poised for a stupendous season despite inconsistencies last year. How high is the ceiling for the Mountaineers senior? Check the box score in the Cactus Bowl against Arizona State last year: Howard earned the Offensive MVP honors after establishing a bowl record with 532 yards passing and throwing five touchdowns. During the season, he completed a disappointing 54.8% of his passes for 3,145 yards and 26 touchdowns. Why so optimistic about a jump in production? West Virginia returns its top receivers, four of its starting offensive linemen and during spring practices, onlookers noted how improved Howard appeared throwing short and intermediate passes. In the annual Gold-Blue game in April, he connected on 18 of 26 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns. On the hot seat, coach Holgorsen needs Howard to live up to expectations, and sage fantasy diehards are willing to hitch their success on the Mountaineer passer.
Passing Yards and TDs: 3,900 and 25
Rushing Yards and TDs: 600 and 7
Total Fantasy Points: 397
12. Dane Evans, Tulsa
Believe it or not, but the AAC houses four of the most exciting fantasy quarterbacks in college football. Dane Evans thrived in first-year coach Philip Montgomery’s spread offense last season. The senior ranked first in the AAC and seventh in the FBS with 333.2 passing yards per game (pypg) and totaled 4,332 yards in the air and 25 aerial strikes. The Golden Hurricanes averaged over 500 yards per game, finishing among the top 10 in college football. During his career, he has recorded 8,332 passing yards and a 52:35 touchdown to interception ratio. Evans is on pace to finish his campus tenure as the school’s all-time passer, and the first quarterback to surpass 3,000 passing yards in three seasons. The Sarge, TX leader has started 30 games, improving over the course of his career. He accepts coaching criticism and welcomes being pushed by the coaching staff. A tough competitor, Evans played with a cyst on his tailbone and a sprained MCL last season. He had surgery to remove the cyst in January and looked healthy during spring workout sessions. The 6’1 and 218-pounder is not a running threat, nonetheless has scored six career-rushing touchdowns. Evans is clearly worth an early-round selection in CFB drafts across the country.
Passing Yards and TDs: 4,600 and 30
Rushing Yards and TDs: 100 and 2
Total Fantasy Points: 372
13. Matt Davis, SMU
A senior, the Mustangs dual-threat leader took a long road to prominence: Enrolled at Texas A&M, redshirted behind Johnny Manziel, played at Tyler Junior College, a JUCO program and finally, landed at SMU. Davis grabbed the reigns of the Mustangs under first-year coach Chad Morris last season. In the “Pony Up-Tempo” attack, the SMU offense improved from 11.1 to 27.8 ppg with Davis in the saddle. He posted impressive fantasy numbers: 2,263 yards passing with 16 touchdowns and 761 yards rushing with 10 scores. In four games, Davis eclipsed 100 yards on the ground. Despite the final statistics, the 6’0” and 212 pounder had an up-and-down campaign. There is no denying the raw talent and athletic ability; however, he must develop as a passer and limit mistakes. Davis missed the spring game with a foot injury and is expected to return in time for training camp. Running backs Xavier Jones and Breaden West as well as playmaker Courtland Sutton return to assist Davis moving the chains. Despite leading SMU to only two victories last year, the SMU field general is poised to climb the charts of the college and fantasy landscape.
Passing Yards and TDs: 2,800 and 18
Rushing Yards and TDs: 850 and 9
Total Fantasy Points: 351
Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
14. Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
Despite a poor offensive line and a quarterback platoon with J.W. Walsh, sophomore Mason Rudolph tossed 21 aerial strikes and passed for 3,770 yards. Walsh is no longer on campus, and the rising junior now pilots the high-wire act solo in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Coach Mike Gundy’s offense returns nine starters, including pre-season All-Big 12 wide receiver James Washington. At 6’5” and 235 pounds, Rudolph, a Second Team All-Big 12 Academic Honoree and Cowboy’s Team MVP, ranks among the top NFL Draft prospects with a strong arm, passionate personality, steadfast confidence and first-rate leadership. He also navigates the pocket well and exhibits excellent deep ball placement at times in spite of playing in a screen and swing-pass heavy attack. Rudolph led the Cowboys to a 10-0 record before three consecutive losses at the end of the season. Big 12 defenses are perennially kind to opposing passing attacks (and quarterbacks), and Rudolph will surely take advantage of the weak competition. The Cowboys offense will likely conclude the campaign among the top 15 in the FBS, and fantasy managers will reap the benefits of Rudolph’s prudent passing.
Passing Yards and TDs: 4,300 and 28
Rushing Yards and TDs: -50 and 2
Total Fantasy Points: 339
15. Brett Rypien, Boise State
In 2016, the unforgettable Saturdays of coach Chris Petersen and quarterback Kellen Moore will be resurrected on the Blue Smurf Turf. The Broncos are bestowed with a terrific set of triplets: QB Brett Rypien, RB Jeremy McNichols and WR Thomas Sperbeck. Rypien, the nephew of Super Bowl XXVI MVP Mark Rypien, was named First Team All-Mountain West as a true freshman last year. He averaged 304.8 pypg and tossed 20 touchdowns while leading the conference in passing with 3,353 yards. Coach Bryan Harsin, who possesses a lofty offensive acumen, was the O-coordinator from 2006-10 at Boise State. He assumes the play-calling duties once again this season, and the Broncos return nine starters on offense. Inconsistent down the stretch, Rypien endured a dead-arm period and couldn’t throw the deep ball well. An ascendant talent, Rypien studied at length during the winter and appears much stronger, according to Harsin after spring ball. A natural leader, he has a wonderful work ethic and raises the performance level of teammates. The Boise passer will be one of the most exciting CFB competitors and an excellent second signal caller on rosters.
Brett Rypien, Boise State
Passing Yards and TDs: 4,000 and 29
Rushing Yards and TDs: -50 and 1
Total Fantasy Points: 322
16. Nick Mullens, Southern Mississippi
Entering his junior campaign, USM’s Nick Mullens barely flickered on CFB radars last summer. By the fourth game of the season, the 2015 C-USA Offensive Player of the Year became a weekly difference maker. He blossomed and broke several school passing records, throwing for 4,476 yards (6th in FBS) and 38 touchdowns (4th in nation). The fourth-year senior propelled the Golden Eagles offense among the most prolific in college: points per game skyrocketed from 19 to 39.9. During his career, Mullens has attempted 1,162 passes and completed 59% with a 63:35 touchdown-to-interception ratio. As a freshman, he appeared in nine games and was named C-USA’s All-Freshmen QB. At 6’1” and 196 pounds, Mullens has a high-football IQ, first-class accuracy and laudable leadership skills but lacks elite arm strength and must cut down on interceptions (12). There are changes at USM: Jay Hopson, the former Alcorn State coach, takes command of the team, and the offense lost game breaking wide receivers Mike Thomas and Casey Martin. Fortunately, the Golden Hurricanes still roster considerable firepower with RB Ito Smith, WR D.J. Thompson and underrated WR Korey Robertson. Despite the alterations, Mullens will reach the zenith once again for CFB diehards.
Passing Yards and TDs: 3,900 and 30
Rushing Yards and TDs: -20 and 1
Total Fantasy Points: 321
Passing Yards: 1 point every 20 yards
Rushing Yards: 1 point every 10 yards
Passing Touchdowns: 4 points
Rushing Touchdowns: 6 points