2019 College Fantasy Football: Big 12 Preview
Ground Zero for fantasy gold. The Big 12 never ceases to disappoint with its explosive offenses and lackluster defenses. Great collegiate talents like Robert Griffin III, Geno Smith, Colt McCoy, and Vince Young all made names for themselves not only as college studs but as elite fantasy players. Although the names have changed from last year, the fantasy talent remains and I’m here to break it down for you. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy my 2019 preview of the Big 12.
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2019 Big 12 College Fantasy Football Preview
Additions: QB Peyton Powell, QB Jacob Zeno
Losses: WR Jalen Hurd
Baylor improved plenty in year two under Matt Rhule and ended the year with a bowl win over a surprisingly talented Vanderbilt squad. Although Baylor retains quarterback Charlie Brewer and all three of their leading rushers from last season, the receiving game is lacking. Jalen Hurd made the right move switching from running back to wide receiver but now he’s off in the NFL. Chris Platt or Denzel Mims have to make the difference in 2019 or Baylor won’t have any fantasy relevant players.
Additions: RB Breece Hall, RB Jirehl Brock, WR La’Michael Pettway
Retentions: QB Brock Purdy, WR Deshaunte Jones
Coaching Changes: OC Tom Manning
Iowa State has embraced its role in the Big 12 as that team that can go toe to toe with any team no matter the talent gap. Matt Campbell’s success developing players continued to show last season as they replaced Allen Lazard, ISU’s all-time leading receiver, with Hakeem Butler who set the Iowa State single-season record for receiving yards. Although Butler is gone, I fully expect Brock Purdy to find favor in either Deshaunte Jones or Arkansas-transfer La’Michael Pettway.
The real kicker is replacing David Montgomery. Montgomery was one of those players that just wouldn’t go down and was the right man to play behind the Cyclones unfortunate O-line. The speedy Kene Nwangwu is the name I’ve most seen expected to take over while early-enrolee Breece Hall has caught the coaches attention this Spring. Even though their O-line isn’t the best, they are experienced and better this season compared to last season.
Additions: QB Thomas McVittie, WR Ezra Naylor Jr.
Losses: QB Peyton Bender, WR Steven Sims Jr., WR Jeremiah Booker
Retentions: RB Khalil Herbert, RB Pooka Williams?
Coaching Changes: HC Les Miles, OC Les Koenning
I’m not expecting Kansas to contend for a Big 12 title in 2019 but Les Miles will have them looking better. How much better depends on if we get Oklahoma State Les or LSU Les. Miles brought in Thomas MacVittie and Ezra Naylor Jr. from JUCO and both have made news in Lawrence, Kansas since their arrival. Pooka Williams remains suspended indefinitely, and should he miss time during the season, Khalil Herbert will share carries with Junior Dom Williams. The only player I’m looking at is Pooka. If he’s not there in 2019 then I’ll take my chances elsewhere.
Additions: RB James Gilbert
Coaching Changes: HC Chris Klieman, OC Courtney Messingham
Although Bill Snyder was one of the greatest coaches to ever do it, Kansas State needed a change. The Wildcats bring in Chris Klieman who won four national championships at the FCS level at North Dakota State and produced two NFL draft pick quarterbacks. Kansas State may not have the talent on defense to really contend in the Big 12 but the offensive talent is there. Receivers Isaiah Zuber and Dalton Schoen have the upside of fantasy relevant receivers and have even made appearances on my own teams from time to time.
The Wildcats bring in Ball State-transfer James Gilbert to replace the incredible Alex Barnes and is considered a late round upside type of player. I was ready to give up on Skylar Thompson but Klieman gushed over him during the Spring and now I’m back on the Thompson Train again. Thompson has shown he can be great, is 2019 the year?
Additions: QB Jalen Hurts, QB Spencer Rattler, WR Jadon Haselwood, WR Theo Wease, WR Trejan Bridges, TE Austin Stogner
You don’t have to dive too deep into the Oklahoma roster to find some fantasy relevance. Alabama-transfer Jalen Hurts is already turning heads and has top-ten upside as a fantasy player if he holds off five-star quarterback Spencer Rattler all season long. The Sooners lose running back Rodney Anderson but retain Kennedy Brooks and Trey Sermon who combined for 2,003 yards and 25 scores on the ground last season. The receiving game is led by CeeDee Lamb and Charleston Rambo who are followed behind by a strong stable of freshman receivers. This all without mentioning Grant Calcaterra who most are still high on after an underwhelming 2018 campaign.
Additions: TE Grayson Boomer, RB Deondrick Glass, WR Langston Anderson
Retentions: WR Tylan Wallace, RB Chubba Hubbard, QB Dru Brown, QB Spencer Sanders, WR Dillon Stoner
Coaching Changes: OC Sean Gleeson
The Cowboys find themselves back in a quarterback competition after a strong year out of Taylor Cornelius. The battle goes down between Hawaii-transfer Dru Brown and the promising up and comer Spencer Sanders. Although Brown has the production numbers and experience, Sanders is the favorite to win out given his strong arm and upside. No matter who wins, they get a strong stable of talent in Tyron Johnson, Dillon stoner, and Chubba Hubbard. Hubbard looked great in the absence of Justice Hill and has leaped up draft boards in both Dynasty and redraft leagues.
In order to keep up the offensive prowess, Mike Gundy went out and hired Sean Gleeson from Princeton. Gleeson led the Tigers to three Ivy League championships and produced brilliance on offense. His offense last season produced an average of 47 points per game and 536.8 yards per game. The Cowboys won’t miss a beat in 2019 and I’m picking up any player I can get.
Losses: QB Shawn Robinson
The Horned Frogs showed a lot of promise in the opening weeks of last season but a shoulder injury to Shawn Robinson was the beginning of the end. TCU played four quarterbacks last season and have really came prepared in 2019. Shawn Robinson left to join Missouri but TCU adds freshman Max Duggan, K State-transfer Alex Delton, and Ohio State-transfer Matthew Baldwin to a room that already consists of Mike Collins and Justin Rogers.
The only draftable players right now are Jalen Reagor and Taye Barber. Reagor is the stud that everyone knows about and Barber was a guy that was mentioned frequently during the offseason as a player who will contribute this season. I wouldn’t take a chance on one of these quarterbacks if my life depended on it but I’m still drafting Reagor early on.
Additions: WR Bru McCoy, WR/RB Jordan Whittingham, WR Jake Smith, QB Roschon Johnson, WR Marcus Washington
The Longhorns capped off a solid 2018 season by embarrassing the Georgia Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl. Although they lose a strong receiving target in Lil’Jordan Humphrey, Texas brings in a strong collection of receivers including USC-transfer Bru McCoy who would fill the Humphrey void like a glove. Sam Ehlinger is obviously the player to own given that his ceiling is phenomenally high in 2019. Keontay Ingram is a name that has popped up as a breakout talent and he will have every chance in the world with Cal-transfer Tre Watson out of the picture.
Additions: WR McLane Mannix, WR RJ Turner, RB Armand Shyne
Losses: WR Antoine Wesley, WR Ja’Deion High, QB McLane Carter
Coaching Changes: HC Matt Wells
Texas Tech is in for a change with Kliff Kingsbury’s seat finally getting too hot. The Red Raiders welcome in Matt Wells who made Utah State into an absolute powerhouse in his final season there. Wells brings back a talented freshman quarterback in Alan Bowman as well as a stable of capable backs which includes Utah-transfer Armand Shyne. The problem this season lies at receiver. I like TJ Vasher, but I liked him a lot last season before Antoine Wesley took over. Is the guy for 2019 Vasher? Nevada-transfer McLane Mannix? ULM-transfer RJ Turner? or Is it no one. Matt Wells didn’t have one specific target last season at Utah State. He did, however, make Jordan Love into a beast. The success with Love has me really excited for Bowman who could light the world on fire in 2019 if his lungs stay inflated.
Additions: QB Austin Kendall
Retentions: WR TJ Simmons, RB Kennedy McKoy, RB Martell Pettaway
Coaching Changes: HC Neal Brown
Neal Brown to West Virginia was one of my favorite coaching hires this offseason. Brown has pumped out fantasy players like a well-oiled machine while at Troy and this season is no different. He brings in Austin Kendall from Oklahoma who he tried to recruit out of High School several years ago. Kendall is already showing promise and will win out over Jack Allison who proved he can’t do it in a bowl game loss to Syracuse. Brown loves to run the ball and Kennedy McKoy is expected to benefit from his system. Troy backs averaged 213 carries, 1,063 yards, and 12 scores over the past four seasons while Neal Brown was coaching.
While Marcus Simms was expected to explode this season, his unexpected transfer leaves TJ Simmons in the spotlight. While I don’t know if Simmons was ready for this step, he’s the guy for the Mountaineers unless Simms decides to come back.
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