For the 10th year, I am publishing College Fantasy Football quarterback profiles, rankings, and projections. It is clearly a labor of love and kicks off my summer fun every year.
As a child, I always looked forward to Independence Day and fireworks at my Grandparent’s house. In the Eighties, I loved going to the local flea market during my teenage years and buying fireworks out of a sketchy guy’s trunk when it was illegal in Connecticut. As a father, I purchase fireworks at a local store and celebrate July 4th with my children in the backyard. Readers now know why I love explosive fireworks on Saturdays throughout the fall.
In 2023, the CFF QB position is very deep. I feel strongly about my top 36 signal callers (see CFF player rankings) and continually target some late-round quarterbacks, who might become CFF luminaries this year.
There are two solid strategies for building your CFF QB room in 2023. First, draft two top 12 quarterbacks in the first three rounds to anchor your roster. Second, remain patient until Round 5 and select two-consecutive signal callers among players ranked between 13-24 and swing for the fences in Rounds 10-12…value falls at the position in nearly every draft.
I prefer the first strategy but have employed the second one occasionally and like how my rosters came together. I believe that either one can work well in 2023.
Below you’re going to find analysis of some of my favorite QBs for college fantasy football. If you’re short on time, feel free to get right to my CFF QB Rankings and Projections.
CFF QB Tiers
I have placed the quarterback profiles in tiers—Summa Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude and Cum Laude—to provide flexibility for CFF managers based on their league’s scoring format, roster construction and starting lineup requirements. I have also provided fantasy projections for all the players. Current CFF ADP provided my Campus2Canton.com, one of my favorite sites in the industry.
Enjoy the profiles and rankings fellow CFF diehards and good luck drafting this summer.
Summa Cum Laude
Caleb Williams, USC
Team Offense (Rank): 506.6 ypg. (3)
Passing Yards: 335.4 ypg. (3)
Points Scored: 41.4 ppg. (3)
2022 FPPG (Williams): 31.9
@campus2canton CFF ADP: 1.0
It is not hard to illustrate coach Lincoln Riley’s offensive acumen in football strategy and results on the field. He has guided Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Caleb WIlliams to Heisman winning campaigns and his other QB protege, Jalen Hurts, is a fantasy star in the NFL. Simply, no one is better at coordinating and producing results over a period of time.
Last year, Williams torched opponents—USC posted a 11-3 overall mark and 8-1 PAC-12 record—and he led the nation in touchdown passes with 42. The electric junior also totaled 4,537 passing yards, 382 rushing yards and crossed the finish line 10 times on the ground. Can he surpass the numbers from last season and capture a second Heisman? I would not bet against him reaching both goals.
Notebook: “I would say Caleb’s natural arm talent and probably his ability to make people miss and escape both in the pocket and out. If you have that combination, you’re going to win some games,” Riley stated (cbssports.com).
Bo Nix, Oregon
Team Offense (Rank): 500.5 ypg. (6)
Passing Yards: 284.8 ypg. (17)
Points Scored: 38.8 ppg. (10)
2022 FPPG (Nix): 31.4
@campus2canton CFF ADP: 9.0
In his first game as a Duck, Bo Nix had the difficult task of traveling to Georgia to take on the defending National Champions. Oregon and Nix looked awful in the 49-3 shellacking. At that moment, it appeared Nix would not reach new heights in Eugene, OR.
In one of the more miraculous turnarounds, Nix and the Ducks tormented their next eight opponents before losing against Washington. The fourth-year starter surpassed 30 fantasy points in nine consecutive games, scoring over 40 twice and 50 once. Nix finally reached the expectations coming out of high school and enrolling at Auburn in 2019.
When the season concluded, the dual-threat signal caller had tossed 29 touchdown passes, completed 71.9% of his passes for 3,593 yards, rushed for a career-best 510 yards and scored 14 times. Forget the out-of-date narrative in regard to Nix’ career, he is a CFF luminary and a first-round selection in drafts.
Notebook: “Bo Nix enjoyed a career resurgence in 2022. This past season, his 82.3% (adjusted completion) rate led the P5 and ranked second in the nation. He has special moments outside of structure and has the arm talent to make any throw. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares without offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham,” PFF’s Chad Wickman proclaimed (247Sports.com).
Austin Reed, Western Kentucky
Team Offense (Rank): 497.3 ypg. (7)
Passing Yards: 352.2 ypg. (2)
Points Scored: 36.4 ppg. (14)
2022 FPPG (Reed): 30.0
@campus2canton CFF ADP: 3.4
During the past two seasons, the Hilltoppers have posted off the charts offensive numbers. In 2021, Western Kentucky finished second in Total Offense with 536.2 yards per game, and despite significant changes on the team, the Hilltoppers still ranked among the Top 10 units last year, averaging nearly 500 yards per game.
Austin Reed, a transfer from West Florida, a Division II program, replaced Bailey Zappe, who had set an NCAA record with 62 touchdown passes. While Reed did not match his predecessor’s statistics, he posted amazing numbers. He passed for 4,744 yards (most in the nation) and 40 aerial strikes, averaging over 30 fantasy points per game. He was named the New Orleans Bowl MVP and Second Team C-USA.
Regrettably, without the rushing upside of many CFF quarterbacks, Reed only surpassed 30 fantasy points seven times and failed to eclipse 40 in any outing. Regardless, the Hilltoppers’ passer has an incredibly high floor with an attractive ceiling.
Notebook: “Reed should only gain confidence with another year in the offensive system, and the Hilltoppers return leading wide receiver Malachi Corley in addition to several other potential standouts. The addition of several P5 receivers and tight ends only adds to the intriguing possibilities of what Western Kentucky’s offense could become in 2023,” wrote Bennett Collin (herosports.com).
Michael Penix, Jr., Washington
Team Offense (Rank): 515.8 ypg. (2)
Passing Yards: 369.8 (1)
Points Scored: 39.7 ppg. (7)
2022 FPPG (Penix): 26.3
@campus2canton CFF ADP: 15.2
Living on the East Coast, I cannot wait to watch late-night PAC-12 football in 2023. Three quarterbacks rank among my top four CFF signal callers, and Michael Penix, Jr. intrigues me the most. Last year, coach Kalen DeBoer turned the program around as the Huskies finished 11-2, and Penix played the best football of his career.
The sixth-year competitor first caught my attention in 2020 when he played for Indiana. Injuries derailed his 2020 and 2021 campaigns, and afterwards, he transferred to Washington with DeBoer, who was the offensive coordinator at Indiana in 2019.
Last year, Penix posted career bests in nearly every passing category: He completed 65.3% of his passes for over 4,600 yards—a school record—and posted a 31:8 TD:INT Ratio while surpassing 40 fantasy points twice. He earned the AP Comeback Player of the Year and Third Team All-America (Pro Football Network) for his performance. With dynamic home run hitters Jalen McMillan and Rome Odunze at wide receiver, Penix is in line for another outstanding season and CFF stardom.
Notebook: “In the pocket is where Penix thrives the most. He can run when needed and throws well on the move while creating outside of structure, but he would much rather stay inside the pocket and beat you there. Penix possesses a good pump fake with both vigor and quickness,” declared Tyler Forbes (vikingswire.com).
Frank Harris, UTSA
Team Offense (Rank): 476.0 ypg. (12)
Passing Yards: 300.7 ypg. (13)
Points Scored: 36.8 ppg. (13)
2022 FPPG (Harris): 29.3
@campus2canton CFF ADP: 18.0
Any CFF manager knows how good of a fantasy player Frank Harris has been over the past two seasons: He finished as the CFF QB No. 5 (389 points) last year and No. 12 (328 points) in 2021. Even in 2020, the Roadrunners’ signal caller concluded the campaign as the No. 28 QB, scoring 209 points. Over the winter, Harris returned for his seventh season at UTSA and got engaged.
In the past three seasons, coach Jeff Traylor and Harris have guided the program to a 30-10 record and back-to-back C-USA Championships. UTSA moved to the American Athletic Conference this year and the Roadrunners are the favorite to capture the conference crown.
Despite losing Zakhari Franklin, Harris and the passing game will still take flight with receivers Joshua Cephus and De’Corian Clark returning and WR Isaiah Davis and TE Oscar Cardenas taking on bigger roles in the aerial attack. At 6’0” and 205 pounds, Harris is a dual-threat playmaker, who is a CFF stud.
Notebook: “I just think it’s best for me to come back for one more season at UTSA, and lead them to the AAC. I’m excited for it, definitely appreciate all the support from all the fans, and I love the city of San Antonio. I wasn’t ready to leave yet, and I’m blessed to be the quarterback at UTSA.” Harris said (kens5.com).
Drake Maye, North Carolina
Team Offense (Rank):462.8 ypg. (19)
Passing Yards: 309.3 ypg. (11)
Points Scored: 34.4 ppg. (25)
2022 FPPG (Maye): 31.3
@campus2canton CFF ADP: 6.0
Since returning to the sideline, coach Mack Brown’s offense has provided a plethora of fantasy production for CFF managers over the past four years. Both Sam Howell (2019-21) and Drake Maye (2021) have been CFF luminaries at quarterback, and Maye returns for his second season calling signals at Chapel Hill.
During his first go around behind center, Drake took the college football universe by storm and exceeded forecasts and hopes of many college football fans. He garnered Third Team All-American honors by PFF and was named the ACC Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year. The third-year field general passed for 38 touchdowns and 4,321 yards and added 698 yards and seven scores on the ground.
Offensive coordinator Seth Longo moved to Wisconsin in the offseason and explosive playmaker WR Josh Downs left for the NFL. Chip Lindsey replaced Longo, and the Tar Heels plucked Devontez Walker (Kent State) and Nate McCollum (Georgia Tech) from the transfer portal to upgrade the WR corps. Brown’s club will look different in 2023. Yet, Maye and the offense will still produce plenty of fantasy production.
Notebook: “Recruiting just changed. Your pool shrunk. You’ve got to recruit guys that want to be at your school and aren’t going to take $50,000…to go somewhere else. You got to get guys that want to be there, guys that want to stay there and guys that won’t leave, and Drake Maye was all of the above.” coach Mack Brown stated on “The Paul Finebaum Show” in June (On3.com).
Twitterverse on Fire!
Among the following transfer passers, who will produce the most college fantasy football points in 2023?
- Brennan Armstrong, NCSU: 25%
- Donovan Smith, Houston: 28%
- Davis Brin, Georgia Southern: 25%
- Devin Leary, Kentucky: 22%
“Davis Brin is sneaky and putting Brennan Armstrong back with Offensive Coordinator (OC) Robert Anai is also. But give me Devin Leary with Leam Cohen at OC and receivers with a year more experience. The offensive line is still a concern.” @NinoBrown_T2T
“I’m not sure about the wide receivers but I know Brennan Armstrong will produce in this system. Donovan Smith has the widest range of outcomes: He can either be the biggest winner or last on this list.” @cusumano_sal
“I loved Armstrong at Virginia, and I think he will have a good season. But I am worried about the lack of weapons around him. That being said, Davis Brin is going to light up the Sun Belt. You could draft him as your third or fourth QB, and by the middle of the season, he will be your QB No. 2.” @JustinNottingh6
Magna Cum Laude
KJ Jefferson, Arkansas
Team Offense (Rank): 471.4 ypg. (15)
Passing Yards: 234.7 pyg. (62)
Points Scored: 32.5 ppg. (34)
2022 FPPG (Jefferson): 29.1
@campus2canton CFF ADP: 46.6
The 2022 Liberty Bowl between Arkansas and Kansas showcased two impressive quarterbacks between KJ Jefferson and Jalon Daniels. In three OTs, the Razorbacks won 55-53, and Jefferson provided a prelude to an intriguing skill set. He totaled four touchdowns on 287 passing and 130 rushing yards, earning Liberty Bowl MVP honors.
In nine early CFF drafts, I have acquired Jefferson on five teams, and I will continue to target the 6’3” and 246-pound senior over the summer. In 2022, he recorded many career bests despite missing a pair of games due to injury. Jefferson started 11 of 13 games, passing for 2,648 yards and 24 touchdowns with five interceptions. The dual-threat star completed 204-of-300 passes (68%) and scrambled for 640 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.
In 2022, he posted over 22 fantasy points in every game except one (Alabama) and surpassed 30 points five times. In CFF, I covet a strong floor and high ceiling among my quarterbacks, and Jefferson is an idyllic player to acquire and build around.
Notebook: “(Draft) projections are all over the place. YardBarker has Jefferson as the No. 6 overall pick in 2024. The Draft Network lists him as the No. 9 quarterback. Pro Football Network doesn’t have him listed among the top 10 QBs. NFL Draft Buzz lists him as the No. 170 overall player and the No. 22 quarterback…The reality is Jefferson’s NFL Draft stock will rise or fall depending on how well he adjusts to new offensive coordinator Dan Enos and an almost entirely new cast of wide receivers and tight ends…,” Trey Biddy noted on HawgSports (247Sports.com).
Riley Leonard, Duke
Team Offense (Rank): 415.7 ypg. (43)
Passing Yards: 231.5 ypg. (67)
Points Scored: 32.8 ppg. (31)
2022 FPPG (Leonard): 26.7
@campus2canton CFF ADP: 49.2
Mike Elko took over the Blue Devils last year and guided the program to a 9-4 record in his first season as a head coach. One of the major decisions Elko made early during his tenure concerned the leader of the offense. Who would be the quarterback?
After spring practices in 2022, Riley Leonard had not secured the keys to the offense. He had attempted only 62 passes with rather pedestrian results at Duke. Yet, during summer training camp, Leonard separated himself from the rest of the quarterbacks on the team, and Elko named him the starter.
Throughout the ‘22 campaign, the sophomore signal caller justified Elko’s decision. He vaulted himself among the top quarterbacks in the ACC and earned honorable mention at the position. Leonard passed for nearly 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns and rushed for a team-leading 699 yards with 13 scores. The Blue Devils’ quarterback can anchor a CFF roster in 2023.
Notebook: “In a time when mobile quarterbacks are all the rage, Leonard fits the mold of a dual-threat signal caller. His accuracy, vision and mobility reveal flashes of what could make an excellent QB at the next level. Give him another two years of tinkering with mechanics, improving reads and making quick in-game decisions—and the ceiling could be even higher,” Luke Jovanovic disclosed last October (dukechronicle.com).
Jordan Travis, Florida State
Team Offense (Rank): 484.2 ypg. (10)
Passing Yards: 270.2 ypg. (28)
Points Scored: 36.1 ppg. (15)
2022 FPPG (Travis): 24.3
@campus2canton CFF ADP: 45.8
I’ve been a believer in coach Mike Norvell’s offensive scheme since he took over the Memphis program in 2016. Four years later, he left the school and moved to Tallahassee to reignite Florida State. During his first two campaigns, the Seminoles did not have the talent demanded in Norvell’s explosive offense, winning only eight of 13 games.
Last year, Norvell got his offense untracked, and FSU won ten games, including the Cheez-It Bowl versus Oklahoma. Improvement is rarely attributed to a single player. Nevertheless, QB Jordan Travis deserved the admiration, praise and accolades for leading Norvel’s offense to prominence not seen in years.
Travis garnered Second Team All-ACC honors, accounting for 32 touchdowns—FSU’s third-highest single-season total—and became the only player in school history with at least 20 touchdown passes and seven rushing touchdowns in a season.
He was also the fourth FSU player with at least 3,000 total yards and 30 total touchdowns, joining Heisman Trophy winners Charlie Ward in 1993, Chris Weinke in 2000 and Jameis Winston in 2013. CFF managers can expect another highly productive season by the Seminoles’ dual-threat star.
Notebook: “I don’t want to say anything, but let’s just say it could be very scary. Because you’re talking about a guy (Travis) that has elite mobility. You’re talking about a guy who can truly push the ball downfield…I’ll just say that I believe Jordan has the ability to be an NFL quarterback,” FSU QB coach Tony Tokarz expressed when asked about Travis’ future (profootballnetwork.com).
Jayden Daniels, LSU
Team Offense (Rank): 453.1 ypg. (28)
Passing Yards: 269.3 ypg. (29)
Points Scored: 34.5 ppg. (23)
2022 FPPG (Daniels): 24.8
@campus2canton CFF ADP: 59.4
In 2019, Jayden Daniels burst onto the college football landscape as a true freshman at Arizona State. He started 12 games for the Sun Devils and was instrumental in leading the team to a 8-5 record. He captured the imagination of DEVY mavens, CFF diehards and NFL draftniks, logging a 17:2 TD:INT Ratio and beating Justin Herbert in a bowl game.
Regrettably, the Arizona State program slowly slid downward, and Daniels production also dipped. Before the 2022 campaign, he jettisoned the sinking ship and enrolled at LSU. He was not even guaranteed the starting gig for new coach Brian Kelly in Baton Rouge, LA. He embraced the challenge and beat out 4-star prospect Garrett Nussmeier for the job.
Before kickoff this season, Daniels is one of the most experienced quarterbacks in college football with 43 career starts, trailing only Oregon’s Nix (47) and Notre Dame’s Sam Hartman (45). He is a prodigious all-around quarterback, who makes plays with his arm and feet, and he is marvelous at extending the play.
During his career, Daniels has gained 2,173 rushing yards and scored 24 times. As a passer, the fifth-year starter has thrown for over 8,900 yards and 49 touchdowns. He is one of the best quarterbacks in the nation and an undervalued CFF signal caller in 2023.
Notebook: “I think Daniels does have first-round traits. If you take his three or four best games from this past year, I probably think he’s a little bit better than Hendon Hooker, honestly.” an NFL scout forecasted (clutchpoints.com).
Kurtis Rourke, Ohio
Team Offense (Rank): 421.2 ypg. (39)
Passing Yards: 278.1 ypg. (23)
Points Scored: 31.8 ppg. (40)
2022 FPPG (Rourke): 25.6
@campus2canton CFF ADP: 91.2
MACaction was not its normal cornucopia of fantasy points last year. But the Bobcats did not disappoint with a trio of playmakers—QB Kurtis Rourke, RB Sieh Bangura and WR Sam Wiglusz. Unfortunately, Rourke suffered an ACL injury late in the season, and CFF diehards had to scramble to replace the redshirt senior signal caller.
Rourke completed 244 passes for over 3,200 yards and 25 touchdowns. He connected on over 69% of his passes and registered a QB rating of 167. He established program records against Fordham with the most passing yards (537) and completions (41). The Bobcats’ leader also tied the school mark for most passing touchdowns in a game (5) versus Akron.
At the end of the season, Rourke was named MAC Offensive Player of the Year and awarded the Vern Smith Leadership Award for the Bobcats. Reports are positive that Rourke will be healthy by training camp, and CFF managers can draft the Ohio signal caller with confidence.
Notebook: “When the severity of Rourke’s knee injury was revealed, whether or not he was going to be ready for the start of the 2023 season was a major concern, but Saturday was an extremely encouraging sign…Five months after sustaining a knee injury against Ball State that ended his incredible 2022 season, Rourke was in full pads for the spring scrimmage. He went through warmups and even participated in some drills before the scrimmage officially began,” Jack Tatham reported in mid-April (thepostathens.com).
Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma
Team Offense (Rank): 474.0 ypg. (13)
Passing Yards: 254.6 ypg. (41)
Points Scored: 32.8 ppg. (31)
2022 FPPG (Gabriel): 24.9
@campus2canton CFF ADP: 92.2
Before putting on the Crimson uniform, Dillon Gabriel logged a memorable tenure at UCF. In three seasons, he started 25 games, completed 60.7% of his passes (554-of-913) for 8,037 yards and 70 touchdowns—tossing at least one touchdown pass in 26 games—and scrambled for 372 yards and eight touchdowns.
In 2022, Gabriel transferred to Oklahoma and took over the offense for first-year coach Brent Venables and offensive coordinator Jeff Libby. Among the majority of programs in the nation, the fan base would have been ecstatic with a top-15 offensive unit. But after the Lincoln Riley era and a losing record, the Sooner faithful are unhappy with an offensive unit that suffered its ups and downs. Looking at the numbers, it was not the lefty passer’s fault: He did his job.
Gabriel ranked second in the Big 12 in passing yards per game (264.0), total offense (290.3 ypg), pass efficiency rating (154.4), yards per completion (13.8), yards per pass attempt (8.6) and passing touchdowns (25). He completed 230-of-367 passes (62.7%) for 3,168 yards and rushed for 317 yards and six touchdowns, earning the Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year.
Oklahoma signed 5-star recruit QB Jackson Arnold, who likely takes over in 2024. Gabriel should be the starter all year unless the season goes south once again, and Venables pulls the plug on the fifth-year field general. The Sooners open the campaign with four winnable games against Arkansas State, SMU, at Tulsa and at Cincinnati. As long as Gabriel leads Oklahoma to victories, he should remain under center for the team and CFF managers.
Notebook: “It’s just the understanding of what the (challenge and expectation) looks like. The day-to-day of it and what we’re asking the players to do every single day and them understanding that, it’s a huge advantage to have that in Year Two. Understanding inside the scheme is also a really big deal. It’s that simple,” Lebby stated (si.com).
Twitterverse on Fire!
Among the under-the-radar dual-threat signal callers, who will score the most fantasy points in 2023?
- DJ Irons, Akron: 33%
- Darren Grainger, Georgia State: 29%
- Robby Ashford, Auburn: 15%
- Byrum Brown, South Florida: 23%
“Give me the Georgia State quarterback Darren Grainger! With 2,400 passing yards and 18 aerial strikes, he needs to improve on the 56% completion rate, but the dual-threat ability is there. Add 733 rushing yards and seven scores. In CFF, let’s go!” @NinoBrown_T2T
“DJ IRONS! Dude has flourished, when healthy, and his ADP cost is super low.” @aceholesrule
“Give me Byrum Brown. Picked him up last year in one of my dynasty leagues and I’m ecstatic!” @bwag83
“I voted for DJ Irons, but man, I want this to be Robby Ashford.” @CffDfs
“Byrum Brown is the future of Alex Golesh’s (former Tennessee Offensive Coordinator) South Florida Bulls. Is the future now? Unfortunately, Gerry Bohanan is presumed to be ahead of him currently. But maybe it won’t be that way all season. Brown showed a glimpse of what he can be as a CFF asset in his first two starts last season.
My pick for who will score the most is DJ Irons. I like the Akron QB a lot, I think he’s in for a good season, the volume he sees through pass and rush attempts is extremely strong…and well, you know that I like volume.” @volumepigs
“Big fan of Joe Moorehead’s quarterbacks. It has taken a few years, but I expect Akron’s offense to be much improved this season with a healthy DJ Irons.” @BigWormPerm
Cade Klubnik, Clemson
Team Offense (Rank): 410.3 ypg. (47)
Passing Yards: 232.4 ypg. (65)
Points Scored: 33.2 ppg. (29)
2022 FPPG (Klubnik): n/a
@campus2canton CFF ADP: 91.8
I’m old enough to remember Clemson’s 1981 National Championship team. In 2012-13, I rostered QB Tajh Boyd as the starter on CFF teams. Of course, Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence also led many of my CFF clubs. I trusted that D.J. Uiagalelei would be the next great signal caller in Death Valley. It did not come to pass and a new era begins this season.
As a true freshman last year, Cade Klubnik started the final two games for the Tigers and performed well. He demonstrated the dual-threat skills that propelled him among the elite quarterback recruits in 2022, passing for 599 yards, scrambling for 81 yards, and totaling three touchdowns while averaging 25.5 FPPG.
Over the winter, Clemson hired offensive coordinator Garrett Riley, known as a QB guru, to turn around the offense that sputtered last season. More importantly, can the offensive line play better? The Tigers return four starters up front, and if the unit steps forward, the offense will provide Klubnik the opportunity to shine.
Notebook: “Klubnik became Clemson’s future quarterback when he committed to the Tigers as a five-star prospect in the Class of 2022…now comes his first full season as starter for coach Dabo Swinney. With the addition of Riley, Klubnik has Heisman-potential upside if Riley can do with Klubnik what he did with Max Duggan last year in Fort Worth, Texas,” Dean Straka wrote in May (cbssports.com).
Tyler Shough, Texas Tech
Team Offense (Rank): 461.4 ypg. (22)
Passing Yards: 302.0 ypg. (12)
Points Scored: 34.2 ppg. (26)
2022 FPPG (Shough): 18.8
@campus2canton CFF ADP: 51.8
It appears that the CFF community was a year ahead of the curve on the Red Raiders’ passing game. Astute CFF owners closely followed the career trajectory of offensive coordinator Zach Kittley—who orchestrated first-class aerial assaults at Houston Baptist and Western Kentucky—and expected similar results at Texas Tech.
I targeted and rostered Red Raiders’ receivers last year and none provided the boost forecasted. In order to be successful at any fantasy sport, it is imperative to put aside recency bias and results and believe in your analysis and process.
Tyler Shough showed glimpses of his fantasy greatness in 2022. In the final four games of the year, the sixth-year passer averaged over 26 fantasy points, throwing for 1,065 yards, rushing for 253 yards and logging eight total touchdowns.
In early June, coach Joey McGuire named Shough the starting quarterback despite an inability to stay on the field throughout his career. He has suffered a collarbone injury (same one) each of the past two seasons.
If the former Oregon Duck remains healthy, it is clearly possible that he finishes the campaign among the top CFF signal callers. If you draft Shough, selecting Behren Morton, the backup, is the optimal strategy to ensure fantasy production in Kittley’s up-tempo Air Raid offense.
Notebook: “You talk about development, Kittley did that with Bailey Zappe (at Western Kentucky). What’s really fun when you talk to Tyler is he’ll be the first one to tell you this is the first time he’s been in the same offense for consecutive years. In his college career, he’s had a different offense every single season. So he’s really excited,” coach McGuire stated (On3.com).
Joe Milton, Tennessee
Team Offense (Rank): 525.5 ypg. (1)
Passing Yards: 326.1 ypg. (5)
Points Scored: 46.1 ppg. (1)
2022 FPPG (Milton): 9.7
@campus2canton CFF ADP: 49.4
I am a huge fan of coach Josh Heupel and his game-changing offense: It is one of the best to watch every weekend in the fall. Still, I have reservations in regard to Joe Milton and his ability to be a reliable CFF scorer and ranked the Tennessee quarterback lower than many CFF contemporaries.
Of course, the upside is alluring like a gold nugget in a riverbed with fast-moving rapids. Is the CFF community overlooking the risk involved and the potential downside in regard to Milton’s range of outcomes? He has been given opportunities in the past and failed to capitalize twice.
Milton first flashed at Michigan in 2020 and started three games for the Wolverines in late October-early November. He played well but lost the job and eventually transferred to Tennessee. He started the first game for the Volunteers in 2021. Yet, once again, the big-armed passer was benched in favor of Hendon Hooker.
Now, CFF owners must believe that the sixth-year competitor is going to keep the job for the entire 2023 crusade. Red flags on his past resume give me an uneasy feeling selecting Milton at his ceiling in drafts.
Notebook: “Anthony Richardson and Milton are built similarly; the comparison is actually staggering. With weapons like Bru McCoy, Squirrel White, Ramel Keyton, and Heupel calling plays, there is no reason to believe that Milton and his Vols couldn’t succeed. If things go as planned, don’t be surprised if Milton ends up being the 2024 Anthony Richardson,” Brady Penn declared (si.com).
Jalon Daniels, Kansas
Team Offense (Rank): 438.6 ypg. (31)
Passing Yards: 254.4 ypg. (42)
Points Scored: 35.6 ppg. (20)
2022 FPPG (Daniels): 26.3
@campus2canton CFF ADP: 78.6
In 2022, no quarterback in the nation kicked off the campaign as hot as Jalon Daniels in September. In the first four games, the junior quarterback led the Jayhawks to an undefeated record while passing for 890 yards, scampering for 320 and recording 14 total touchdowns while averaging 39.1 FPPG. Two weeks later against TCU, he suffered a separated shoulder and missed a month.
When he returned to the gridiron, Daniels did not look 100% healthy and Kansas lost both games against Texas and Kansas State. He produced only 33.2 fantasy points. In the Liberty Bowl against Arkansas and KJ Jefferson, Daniels recaptured the early season magic, scoring over 50 fantasy points on 544 passing yards and five touchdowns in the 55-53 loss.
The Jayhawks return 10 starters on offense and over 90% of its offensive production. Coach Lance Leopold begins his third season in Lawrence, KS. In 2023, Daniels is the key to success, and he is a stupendous second quarterback in a 2-QB league format.
Notebook: “Looking back at film, there’s a lot of hits that I took at the beginning of the year that I never really realized I was taking. When I came back from my injury, you could kind of see the difference in my playing styles. How I played toward the end of the year is better for my health. This will give me the ability to play smarter rather than trying to do too much. I feel good,” Daniels said (KUSports.com).
DeQuan Finn, Toledo
Team Offense (Rank): 402.6 ypg. (53)
Passing Yards: 225.3 ypg. (74)
Points Scored: 31.3 ppg. (45)
2022 FPPG (Finn): 24.9
@campus2canton CFF ADP: 83.0
The Toledo playmaker is the second MAC quarterback among the top 20 CFF signal callers. Last year, he passed for over 2,200 yards, completed 59.7% of his throws, gained 631 yards on the ground and accounted for 32 scores. Finn was also named Second-team All-MAC, MAC Championship Game Offensive MVP and Boca Raton Bowl Offensive MVP.
The Rockets’ field general ranked fourth in the MAC in passing efficiency (136.4) and total offense (240.9). He was named MAC West Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for a school record-tying six touchdowns and rushing for one score versus Kent State.
Coach Jason Candle can rely on a veteran offensive line with plenty of experience and talent: Four starters come back to campus, including First Team ALL-MAC RT Nick Rosi. In the huddle, Finn has plenty of returning teammates at the skill positions, and the Toledo offense will be even better in 2023.
Notebook: “I think DeQuan’s development over the past 24 to 30 months here has been really impressive to see. He’s always been a guy that his teammates gravitate toward. He has the consistency of handling adversity and dealing with some of the issues that come up throughout the season,” coach Candle said in the spring (utrockets.com).
Brennan Armstrong, North Carolina State
Team Offense (Rank): 339.8 ypg. (104)
Passing Yards: 226.1 ypg. (73)
Points Scored: 24.3 ppg. (93)
2022 FPPG (Armstrong): 18.9
@campus2canton CFF ADP: 116.0
Sophomore year in high school, I read “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens. It is clear to me that Brennan Armstong is the protagonist, Doctor Manette, in Dickens’ classic: He is attempting to resurrect his college career after a dreadful season in 2022. Just like Manette, Armstrong had to leave his situation too in order to begin anew.
In 2021, Armstrong was a finalist for the Manning Award and a top 10 finalist for Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award after throwing for 4,449 yards and 31 aerial strikes. Sadly, offensive coordinator Robert Anae left Virginia for Syracuse in 2022. Without Anae, the offense, and Armstrong’s production, fell off a cliff, passing for only 2,210 yards and seven touchdowns.
Once again, Anae switched schools, moving from Syracuse to North Carolina State, and Armstrong followed his former offensive coordinator to the Wolfpack. Anae orchestrates impressive offensive production wherever he coaches, and there is no reason not to believe that he will be successful once again. I have no doubt that Armstrong will rebound in 2023 under Anae’s guidance.
Notebook: “Yeah, I just feel like I have something to prove…There’s a chip on my shoulder, and this place has been the best for me to prove that. I think the guys, especially on the offensive side, are itching just to be better. So, we’re all in this together. I believe that eagerness on offense is a big deal of why we can be special this year,” Armstrong said (On3.com).
Kyle McCord, Ohio State
Team Offense (Rank): 490.7 ypg. (9)
Passing Yards: 298.3 ypg. (14)
Points Scored: 44.2 ppg. (2)
2022 FPPG (McCord): n/a
@campus2canton CFF ADP: 76.8
A decade of publishing CFF QB profiles and rankings, I do not remember a Buckeyes’ passer ranked this low. Ohio State is a “blue blood” program, and since the turn of the century, trotted out All-American quarterbacks year after year. Why so low on Kyle McCord?
Scrutinizing his skill set, McCord does not offer the upside that dual-threat quarterbacks do in CFF. A 4-star recruit in high school, he was graded as a Pro-Style quarterback and the No. 8 QB prospect at the position. It does not appear that McCord will dart for over 100 yards on the ground—I project him at 50.
Despite his limited fantasy production, McCord is still a solid second field general on a CFF squad. With future NFL draft picks Marvin Harrison, Jr. and Emeka Egbuka terrorizing secondaries, the first-year starter is in an idyllic position to succeed at Ohio State. As a pocket passer, McCord’s range of outcomes include a high floor (30 touchdown passes) and an attractive ceiling (40 aerial strikes). Draft with confidence in 2023.
Notebook: “It’s more than just a football game. It’s something you live 365 days a year if you come here. We’ve got to change our approach and some of the things we’re doing. I think everybody had a clear vision of what it’s going to take to win…I can say with confidence, the No. 1 goal in every person’s mind in the building every single day we walk in is to beat Michigan,” McCord stated in June (thespun.com).
Michael Pratt, Tulane
Team Offense (Rank): 441.4 ypg. (30)
Passing Yards: 236.6 ypg. (60)
Points Scored: 36.0 ppg. (18)
2022 FPPG (Pratt): 25.8
@campus2canton CFF ADP: 73.6
The feel good story of 2022 featured Tulane and coach Willie Fritz, who steered a historically great 10-win improvement from 2021. FInishing the season 12-2, the Green Wave won the AAC Championship over UCF and defeated USC in the Cotton Bowl. While RB Tyjae Spears captured the Conference Offensive Player of the Year award, Michael Pratt was instrumental in the team’s success.
A senior, Pratt took over the offense as a freshman in 2020, starting nine games. In three seasons on campus, he has started 34 games for the Green Wave and been highly productive. He has logged a 68:21 TD:INT Ratio, passed for over 7,100 yards, and scampered for 861 yards and 23 scores. Pratt is an underrated dual-threat quarterback and provides CFF managers a very high floor at the position.
Notebook: “I think footwork-wise, I’m understanding the offense and being in the offense for two years with coach Slade Nagle has been a huge bonus. Being on the same page with him and knowing what he’s looking for. I think better footwork has led to improved accuracy and I’ve been getting the ball out faster and more on time. The biggest thing I can improve now is mostly knowledge-wise and seeing defenses and knowing what to expect,” Pratt disclosed in April (crescentcity.com).
Quinn Ewers, Texas
Team Offense (Rank): 429.5 ypg. (34)
Passing Yards: 241.4 ypg. (55)
Points Scored: 34.5 ppg. (24)
2022 FPPG (Ewers): 14.8
@campus2canton CFF ADP: 147.8
Ever since Arch Manning, a 5-star recruit, announced his commitment to Texas, buzz has surrounded the quarterback position between Ewers and Manning. Of course, Manning is an elite talent and will eventually be the starter for the Longhorns. Nonetheless, Ewers is the starter for the foreseeable future and falling too far in CFF drafts, considering the talent on the roster.
Do not overlook Ewers prospect profile either: He was ranked No. 1 nationally overall by 247Sports, Rivals and ON3 in 2021. The second-year starter originally enrolled at Ohio State and was at the school for one semester before transferring to Texas.
Last year, expectations were sky high, myself included, for Ewers. Unfortunately, he did not reach the stature many expectacted after enduring a non-throwing shoulder injury and missing three games.
I have no problem rostering a player, who is undervalued after a down year. Texas has so many pass-catching weapons—Xavier Worthy, AD Mitchell, Jordan Whittington and Ja’Tavion Sanders—that Ewers is primed to succeed under coach Steve Sarkisian. Do not be shy about drafting the Longhorn as a third quarterback on your CFF squad.
Notebook: “Me and Arch (Manning) are great buddies. I got to know him pretty well in the recruiting process. We’ve only grown in our relationship. We get along well. The whole quarterback room is just such a great group of guys…great buddies. We’ve been hanging out together. Those are like my best friends,” Ewers commented at the Manning Passing Academy (On3.com).
Chevan Cordeiro, San Jose State
Team Offense (Rank): 368.2 ypg. (82)
Passing Yards: 272.5 ypg. (25)
Points Scored: 27.4 ppg. (71)
2022 FPPG (Cordeiro): 24.4
@campus2canton CFF ADP: 88.8
San Jose is a dark horse to win the Mountain West, and the offense ranks among the top two units in the Conference. Entering his sixth season in college, Chevan Cordeiro is the leader of coach Brent Brennan’s team and the preseason First Team All-Mountain West QB by Athlon Sports.
Starting in two-of-four seasons at Hawaii, Cordeiro passed for 6,167 yards, 45 touchdowns, and 22 interceptions while completing 59% of his throws for the Rainbows. In 2020, he was named honorable mention All-Mountain West.
Last year, he posted a career year at SJSU. He led the Mountain West with 3,251 passing yards and 23 aerial strikes. He also scampered for nine touchdowns–the most by a Spartans’ quarterback in a single season. Cordeiro earned Second Team All-Mountain West and four times named All-Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week: Wyoming, UNLV, Hawaii and Colorado State. Gazing at his current ADP, he is apparently under-appreciated in the CFF universe.
Notebook: “Cordeiro understands what’s going on in their offense. He’s doing a great job, and hasn’t thrown many interceptions yet. Very dangerous, accurate throwing the ball, has got a lot of weapons. Really doing a great job with his legs as far as the designed quarterback runs as well as just scrambling. He’s very fast and effective. He’s a weapon,” Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford expressed last year before the game against San Jose (yourcentralvalley.com).
John Rhys Plumlee, UCF
Team Offense (Rank): 469.6 ypg. (16)
Passing Yards: 241.2 ypg. (56)
Points Scored: 32.9 ppg. (30)
2022 FPPG (Plumlee): 24.1
@campus2canton CFF ADP: 77.8
It will be strange to watch Central Florida compete in the Big 12 this season. The first time the Knights caught my eye was when Daunte Culpepper wore the uniform (1996-98). Over the past 15 years, the program has been a cornucopia of CFF value among its quarterbacks: Blake Bortles, McKenzie Milton and Dillon Gabriel all produced fantasy-worthy campaigns.
In 2022, John Rhys Plumlee, the former Mississippi quarterback, transferred to UCF and immediately put the offense on his back, joining an exclusive group of Knights’ signal callers. He finished the season as CFF QB No. 13 with 314 fantasy points. Plumlee passed for 2,586 yards and 14 touchdowns and scrambled for 862 yards and 11 scores.
With a 1,000-yard rushing season (2019) on his resume, the Knights’ field general is a topflight dual-threat competitor. There are rumblings that Plumlee wants to dial back on the running and become a more efficient passer this season in order to remain healthy and increase his draft stock. Even after tweaking the offense and revising Plumlee’s style, the fifth-year competitor will post impressive numbers in 2023.
Notebook: “Last year, I was so beat up and it affected us unbelievably. I ran the ball a ton and I’m looking forward to this year, personal goal-wise, to really stretch the field vertically and I think people know what I can do with my feet. But I really want to put on display what I can do with my arm,” Plumlee proclaimed (saintswire.com).
Shedeur Sanders, Colorado
Team Offense (Rank): 281.2 ypg. (127)
Passing Yards: 172.9 ypg. (117)
Points Scored: 15.4 ppg. (126)
2022 FPPG (Sanders): n/a
@campus2canton CFF ADP: 142.0
I might be drinking the Kool-Aid: I am buying the hype of an improved Colorado team with coach Deion Sanders and his son Shedeur. Within six months, Deion has brought the spotlight to Boulder, CO, and the media gleefully follows despite Colorado winning only one game last year. ESPN aired the spring Black and Gold game in April. FOX sports will televise both Colorado games in early September against TCU and Nebraska.
In the Black and Gold spring game, Shedeur displayed the skills that fascinate CFF managers. He completed 16-of-19 passes for 234 yards and three total touchdowns, including a 98-yard score. The junior quarterback impressed me while watching.
Also, looking at his statistics from Jacksonville State, the younger Sanders has the passing acumen to complete at the FBS level. In two seasons, he connected on 616-of-901 (68%) passes for 6,983 yards and posted a 70:14 TD:INT Ratio.
In early ADP, he had been selected in double-digit rounds. I have been rostering Sanders all year, acquiring him in six of nine drafts. Will you join me in 2023?
Notebook: “Sanders proved to everyone that he’s one of the better passers in the FBS, with a consistently accurate delivery, feathery touch, and the ability to drive the ball downfield on vertical routes or to fit the ball into tight windows. He also demonstrated a strong pocket presence and plus mobility, as he added a seven-yard touchdown scramble to his tally for the day,” Zach Segars reported after the Black and Gold game (milehighsports.com).
Twitterverse on Fire!
Who Ya Got as a fourth signal caller on your CFF roster?
- Carter Bradley, South Alabama: 10%
- Spencer Rattler, South Carolina: 32%
- Cameron Rising, Utah: 24%
- E.J. Warner, Temple: 34%
“I voted for Spencer Rattler for two reasons: Antwane Wells Jr. and Nyckoles Harbor.” @CffDfs
“We love E.J. Warner and his upside. Check out the stats from his last four outings: Games with 300, 400 and 500 passing yards!” @CFFLists
“I say Spencer Rattler. At QB No. 4 on my roster, I’ve already got a minimum of two sure-fire guys. I’m swinging for the fences on the upside.” @BigWormPerm
“Cam Rising will likely win the poll, but give me EJ WARNER! Going over 480 yards in two of his last three games as a freshman leaves me thinking he could be a sneaky late-round quarterback.” @aceholesrule
“I am actually going with Spencer Rattler. Look at what he did in those last two games versus Tennessee and Clemson last year. With no running game, this could be the Spencer Rattler we have been waiting for. But Warner and Rising are right there too…this is a tight poll.” @JustinNottingh6
“Spencer Rattler and Cameron Rising will be the easy picks, but I’m going with Kurt Warner’s son Temple QB EJ Warner, who was a freshman last year. He went for almost a 61% completion rate, 3,200 passing yards, 18 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions…hopefully, another year in the system can lower the TD:INT Ratio. He has got IT!” @NinoBrown_T2T
“E.J. Warner was huge down the stretch in two of his final three games (44 and 34 FPs with a 2-point burger sandwiched in between vs. Cincy). He’s a true sophomore so he also offers value on a dynasty squad. I like him.
Bradley is solid and is usually good for the odd 30-point performance, they’ve got weapons down there in South Alabama. He’s a good CFF Best Ball option.
Spencer Rattler might have a renaissance season and land in the first round, or it might just be more of the same mediocrity. His range of outcomes probably has the most variance of the four, high upside, he only surpassed 26 FPs in 4-pt passing touchdown formats twice last season, one was 51 points which skews his low average up some. He’s also an intriguing option in a CFF Best Ball draft.
Don’t sleep on Rising. This guy offers nice rushing upside (465 yards in 2022, 499 in 2021). Dare I say there is some uncertainty about the running back room at Utah, and Rising should have full command of that offense going into his third year as a starter, with nice receiving options at tight end, as usual. My pick was Rising, but I didn’t feel too strongly about it. I could easily have gone Warner instead.” @volumepigs
|Michael Penix Jr.||4,500||35||50||2||337||28.1|
|John Rys Plumlee||2,800||21||680||8||312||26|