2017 College Fantasy Football Awards

By John Laub
John Laub


                   The Third Annual


         College Fantasy Football Awards






I am one of the luckiest people on the planet: I have my dream job as an educator and get to assess my beloved hobby all year long. Ten years ago, I played college fantasy football for the first time and fell in love with the game. For the past four seasons, I have provided inquiry and insight into the college game for my fellow diehards.


I can barely believe that another crusade has passed. Now, it is time for the third-annual college fantasy football awards. I asked three of the best analysts (Mike Bainbridge, Justin Heisey and Thor Nystrom) in the industry to assist me selecting the winners for the 2017 season. We all nominated the top three players in four categories, and the results are provided for your enjoyment. 


The Cam Newton Award: The Preeminent Fantasy QB


1. Lamar Jackson, Louisville

2. Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State

3. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma and Nathan Rourke, Ohio


Save the nitpicking for NFL Draft analysts: Lamar Jackson's college fantasy game was once again unimpeachable. The consensus No. 1 overall pick in summer drafts, Jackson was easily the most valuable player in college fantasy football this year. Again. Outside of Jackson, no other player averaged 35 fantasy points a game—and Lamar finished with over 40 FP/G for the second straight year (41.6). While obtaining L-Jax required being lucky enough to draw 1.1, Rudolph could be had in some drafts in Round 2. He finished the year as CFF's No. 2 QB, averaging a shade under 35 FP/G. In so doing, he outperformed players who were drafted ahead of him in the summer like Quinton Flowers, Baker Mayfield, J.T. Barrett and Nick Fitzgerald. I ranked Rourke No. 3 because of his absurd return on investment. I ranked my top-75 fantasy quarterbacks in early July—Rourke did not make the cut. Undrafted in CFF leagues, he turned in a top-five QB season. He did so by rushing for 21 touchdowns, the most among CFB QBs (four more than Lamar Jackson). Rourke scored 25 points or more in each of Ohio's last eight games. In some leagues, he swung championships.

                — Thor Nystrom, @Thorku, Rotoword.com


The Barry Sanders Award: The Best Fantasy RB


1. Rashaad Penny, San Diego State

2. Devin Singletary, Florida Atlantic

3. Kerryon Johnson, Auburn


Devin Singletary comes in at number one for the Barry Sanders Award for top fantasy running back by finishing #1 overall in fantasy points on top of averaging out as a seventh-round draft pick. A fantasy owner who took the 1,632-yard and 26-touchdown rusher anywhere outside of the first three rounds struck gold in the Owls ball carrier and at 333 fantasy points (non-PPR), he even put most quarterbacks to shame.


Auburn is probably the hottest team in the nation going into the conference championships and their 1,200-yard rusher Kerryon Johnson is a huge reason for it. Most people got Johnson incredibly late in their drafts and rarely does a late round back become the fifth-highest, scoring runner in fantasy. Outside of the Clemson and Arkansas games, he never scored under 20 fantasy points including the Iron Bowl in which he ran for over 100 yards and even passed for a touchdown.


There was only one man to top 2,000 rushing yards during the regular season in 2017 and that man is Rashaad Penny. Most fantasy owners knew what kind of upside the San Diego State ball carrier had after past performances by Donnel Pumphrey in the same system, and he is looking to break both of Pumphrey's single-season school records with one last ride on the schedule. His second round draft average was certainly earned in his lone season as the feature back for the Aztecs.

              — Justin Heisey, @JustinHeisey, Fantrax.com 



The Desmond Howard Award: The Finest Fantasy WR 


1. Trey Quinn, SMU

2. Anthony Johnson, Buffalo

3. Anthony Miller, Memphis


Initially this award was going to go the receiver with far and away the most receiving touchdowns of anybody in the country in David Sills, but the West Virginia receiver cooled off towards the end of the year, even before Will Grier went down with an injury. Maybe the most consistent fantasy wide receiver all year long was on SMU, and no, not Courtland Sutton. Former LSU wide receiver Trey Quinn was completely off the national radar until he burst onto the scene in 2017, finishing atop the country in receptions with 106 to go along with 1,191 yards and 12 touchdowns. Quinn was a monster in PPR formats, finishing four games with double-digit receptions, including 17 catches for 186 yards in Week 8 against Cincinnati. Just a junior, Quinn will be back next season for the Mustangs and will likely be one of the first receivers off the board in 2018.

                — Mike Bainbridge, @MBainbridgeCFF, patreon.com/mbrainbridgeCFF



The Red Grange Award: The College Fantasy Football MVP


1. Lamar Jackson, Louisville

2. Rashaad Penny, San Diego State

3. Singletary/Quinn/Rudolph


During my 37 years watching college football, I have never witnessed a player perform at the level Lamar Jackson has reached in the past two season. Arguably, the Louisville quarterback posted the finest back-to-back campaigns in the illustrious history of the game. Last year’s Heisman winner has recorded 7,034 passing yards, 3,014 rushing yards and 93 total touchdowns during the past two seasons. In six games this year, Jackson passed for over 300 yards, and he rushed for over 100 yards in nine contests. Amazingly, he achieved both benchmarks in four games. Nearly every week, Jackson was much-watch TV among college football diehards, providing many memorable moments. Saturdays will not be the same without the tantalizing playmaker, but NFL fans will surely enjoy his electric skill-set. Luckily, I love both NFL and college fantasy football and look forward to watching Jackson throughout his professional career.

                    — John Laub, @GridironSchol91, FootballDiehards.com


2017 Voting Results

The Cam Newton Award      
Place Justin Mike Thor John Consesus (Pts.)
First L. Jackson L. Jackson L. Jackson L. Jackson L. Jackson (20)
Second N. Rourke B. Mayfield M. Rudolph M. Rudolph M. Rudolph (6)
Third B. Mayfield W. Grier N. Rourke D. Lock Mayfield/Rourke
The Barry Sanders Award      
Place Justin Mike Thor John Consesus (Pts.)
First D. Singletary R. Penny R. Penny R. Penny R. Penny (16)
Second K. Johnson D. Singletary D. Singletary D. Singletary D. Singletary (14)
Third R. Penny S. Barkley K. Johnson M. Gaskin K. Johnson (4)
The Desmond Howard Award      
Place Justin Mike Thor John Consesus (Pts.)
First A. Johnson T. Quinn T. Quinn A. Miller T. Quinn (11)
Second D. Stills D. Stills A. Johnson A. Johnson A. Johnson (11)
Third A. Miller A. Miller S. Ismael T. Quinn A. Miller (7)
The Red Grange Award      
Place Justin Mike Thor John Consesus (Pts.)
First L. Jackson L. Jackson L. Jackson L. Jackson L. Jackson (20)
Second M. Rudolph R. Penny T. Quinn R. Penny R. Penny (6)
Third D. Singletary D. Singletary A. Johnson D. Singletary Three-way tie


All-time Results

The Cam Newton Award
2015 Patrick Mahomes, II
2016 Lamar Jackson
2017 Lamar Jackson
The Barry Sanders Award
2015 Derrick Henry
2016 Jeremy McNichols
2017 Rashaad Penny
The Desmond Howard Award
2015 Corey Coleman
2016 Zay Jones
2017 T. Quinn & A. Johnson
The Red Grange Award
2015 P. Mahomes & C. Coleman
2016 Lamar Jackson
2017 Lamar Jackson