Fall Camp is when we really get to the bottom of things in college fantasy football. Freshmen are on campus so we really get a good look at position battles, depth charts are dropped, and we get nuggets to chew on from media days. Here are the most fantasy-relevant storylines heading into the last month of the season.
College Fantasy Football Fall Camp Storylines
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Mississippi State and Oklahoma State Quarterback Battles
Not all quarterback battles are the same and these are two that definitely stick out to CFF players. Tommy Stevens threw a wrench into the Mississippi State roster when he left Penn State and put a damper on all Keytoan Thompson’s stock. I fully expect Moorhead to go with Stevens this season given that he added him to his roster after a rocky Spring outing from Thompson. He also made little mention to Thompson at media days while talking highly of his former signal-caller.
Oklahoma State is another battle to watch out for. While I’ve seen glowing reports about my favorite to win the job, Spencer Sanders, Dru Brown hasn’t gone by the wayside. While I’m hoping that one of Sanders or Brown win out, Gundy hasn’t shied away from using two guys in the past (see JW Walsh and Clint Chelf). There are already pieces about them splitting time this season and that scares me from pulling the trigger on the incredibly talented Sanders in redrafts this season.
Malik Henry and the Nevada QB Job
Jay Norvell has turned the Nevada quarterback into a tier-2 quarterback in college fantasy football. While the battle for the spot was pretty well Solano’s to lose for a long time, the addition of Last Chance U’s Malik Henry caught the eyes of fantasy players everywhere. Henry came on strong in the Spring and now Solano will miss significant time due to a hand injury. Henry is certainly athletic and talented enough to do damage in the Mountain West, but will his notoriously bad attitude be the end of his career.
Iowa State Running Backs
Good News/Bad News here. Good news is that Matt Campbell mentioned that Iowa State will have a featured back this season, just one. Bad news is that we have no idea who that player is. While experience would put Kene Nwangwu in that spot, you have other players with time in the system such as Sheldon Croney and Johnnie Lang. On top of those guys, we have to mention Jirehl Brock and Breece Hall who signed on this past recruiting class. I foresee a rotation until someone can prove himself to Campbell and new OC Tom Manning.
What is Iowa’s Offensive Identity?
Iowa loses one of the best tight end duos ever assembled in Noah Fant and TJ Hockenson and they are left with a veteran quarterback, a group of running backs, and a slew of transfers at receiver. Who is the featured player here now? Do they resemble last season but substitute the tight end production with new faces at receiver? Do they have talent in Shaun Beyers and Nate Wieting to run something similar to last season? Do they trust Mekhi Sargent and Toren Young enough to feature those guys?
What Is Miami’s Identity on Offense?
Remember when ‘The U’ was back and then left in 2017? Mark Richt appeared to be a curse disguised as a blessing and it was a great move to get him out of there while they still had options on the table. The Hurricanes are now in the hands of Manny Diaz and the offense inherits Dan Enos from Alabama. Enos supposedly works well with quarterbacks and that’s a plus for the hurricanes who haven’t had much consistency at the position since Brad Kaaya and even he’s a stretch.
Miami just doesn’t appear to have clarity at any position. They have three quarterbacks in Tate Martell, Jarren Williams, and N’Kosi Perry that are all in the mix at quarterback while also having DeeJay Dallas, Lorenzo Lingard, Cam’Ron Harris, and Robert Burns at running back. They also have a crowded receiver room as well with the return of Jeff Thomas and additions of KJ Osborn and Jeremiah Payton. Miami has left us with more questions than answers and the players should remain off rosters until someone stands out.
Clemson Slot Receiver
I thought I had this one figured out for a while but it appears Derion Kendrick is going full time on defense now. For those who had Kendrick on their dynasty teams, I apologize because he’s likely sticking with corner for the foreseeable future. This does raise questions for Clemson’s slot position that was held down by Hunter Renfrow over the past several seasons. Amari Rogers is listed as the starter but he won’t be back from his ACL tear until late September. This leaves Cornell Powell and Diondre Overton as the experienced leaders while Frank Ladson Jr. and Brannon Spector enter in fighting for time as well. Clemson is talented at receiver but will this talent spell doom for fantasy owners?
Tavien Feaster to South Carolina
Tavien Feaster leaves Clemson after getting beat out by one of the top-five running backs in the country and his decision to leave is hard to argue. Now his landing spot is hard to comprehend. While South Carolina could benefit from a talented running back to complement Jake Bentley, their schedule is brutal. Feaster will get the chance to prove himself against Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and his former school Clemson.
While Feaster is likely to see plenty of touches, he would’ve seen more production at Virginia Tech against a much weaker schedule. Can Feaster produce at a high level when facing such a difficult schedule?
How Good is Justin Fields?
Justin Fields cracks the top five in almost every CFF ranking for the 2019 season and even some have him in the top two. I definitely see this potential that he has and the proven system that the Buckeyes run. Over the years we’ve seen great players such as JT Barrett, Dwayne Haskins, and Braxton Miller come out of that system near the top of the points leaders. Fields is much more in the direction of Miller and Barrett and that’s perfect for fantasy football. But Fields just hasn’t appeared to have grasped it. In the Spring he was incredibly inconsistent as a passer and that has many, including myself, worried. He’s looked better in fall camp but let’s see how he looks when the stakes are higher.
Is Gage Gubrud as Advertised?
The theme of this years CFF quarterback class is “How good are they really?”. This applies to Hurts, Fields, Kelly Bryant, Hunter Johnson, Elijah Sindelar, Adrian Martinez, Holton Ahlers, and Gage Gubrud. Gubrud had a successful albeit injury-riddled career as Eastern Washington and has had nothing but praise thrown at him since arriving at Washington State. Grad Transfer quarterbacks don’t always pan out and Oregon can tell you that it doesn’t always happen in consecutive seasons.
Gubrud is coming off the board early in redraft leagues and has the potential to pass for more than 40 touchdown passes. Although this is his ceiling, he hasn’t seen significant snaps in some time due to injury. Can he prove his worth when business picks up after week four?
Who’s the Guy at Marshall?
This could be asked about a few positions at Marshall. Tyler King and Brenden Knox appear to be battling it out for time and while most of us want one, the Herd will likely run with both all season. I’m keeping my eyes on the receiver spot though.
Tyre Brady’s departure leaves 71 receptions, 1,002 yards, and nine touchdowns on the table and someone needs to step up and take it. The obvious first option is Obi Obialo who snagged 42 passes last season for 505 yards and is the most experienced returner. Tavin Richardson transfers in from Kentucky and I’ve seen a few experts backing him heading into the season. Then there are younger guys like Talik Keaton and Naquan Renalds who impressed in the springtime. I don’t care about the options, I just hope the VMI and Boise State games provide an answer.
What is Georgia Tech?
Everyone has their answer for this one and nobody knows which is right. Going from the triple option to a pro-style will take time but year one is a mystery. Most of us were gearing toward a season of Tobias Oliver and now that seems like it’s out of the question. Tech’s roster is full of athleticism but it’s still a triple-option offense despite the additions of Tyler Davis, Jamious Griffin, and Marquez Ezzard. We likely won’t get legitimate answers until week two given that the Jackets have Clemson on the road week one.
What storylines are you watching in Fall Camp? For more from Justin and all of our CFF writers check out our full archive of awesome College Fantasy Football content!
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