We’re 13 weeks out from the first glimpses of college football, and fans everywhere are relying on the NBA Finals, College World Series, and College Football Media Days to get them by. The most dedicated of fans, however, are on the lookout right now for anything that can give them an early edge. This week, I will be revealing the top 50 college fantasy football quarterback rankings, with analysis on the top 25 at the position.
College Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings
50. Brandon Dawkins, Indiana
49. Brady White, Memphis
48. Manny Wilkins, Arizona State
47. Jonathan Banks, Tulane
46. Jake Browning, Washington
45. Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
44. AJ Erdley, Alabama-Birmingham
43. Marcus McMaryion, Fresno State
42. Chris Robison, Florida Atlantic
41. Shea Patterson, Michigan
40. Ben Hicks, SMU
39. Shawn Robinson, TCU
38. Dru Brown, Oklahoma State
37. Marcus Childers, Northern Illinois
36. Charlie Brewer, Baylor
35. Blake Barnett, South Florida
34. TaQuon Marshall, Georgia Tech
33. J’Mar Smith, Louisiana Tech
32. Kendall Hinton, Wake Forest
31. Malik Rosier, Miami (FL)
30. Kelly Bryant, Clemson
29. Brent Stockstill, MTSU
28. Josh Jackson, Virginia Tech
27. Brian Lewerke, Michigan State
26. Jawon Pass, Louisville
25. Skylar Thompson, Kansas State
Skylar Thompson is a player that I’ve been high on since his stellar performance in the Oklahoma State game last season. Thompson was the 10th-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the 2016 signing class. He has an incredible arm for being a dual-threat QB and has an incredible ability to escape the pocket and throw on the run. Thompson is currently in competition with Alex Delton for the starting role, and he managed to outplay Delton both in the air and on the ground in the Spring Game. Kansas State has to go up against prolific offenses and lackluster defenses for most of the season (exceptions include Texas and Mississippi State), giving Thompson a high ceiling entering into the 2018 campaign.
24. Tyree Jackson, Buffalo
Tyree Jackson improved on his solid 2016 season by becoming one of the more consistent quarterback options in 2017. Jackson receives the luxury of returning the best fantasy receiver in college fantasy football in Anthony Johnson. He’s almost assured 20-25 fantasy points per game, and he’s gotten away from the slump games where he throws repeated interceptions. Buffalo has the 99th hardest schedule in the nation and returns so much firepower on offense that there’s no way Jackson isn’t successful in 2018.
23. Mason Fine, North Texas
North Texas’ offense returns all of its key parts to the 2018 Mean Green offense. Mason Fine averaged two passing touchdowns and 289 passing yards per game last season and boasts the 10th easiest schedule in college football in 2018. Fine also has the luxury of throwing to Notre Dame transfer Jalen Guyton, as well as most of his offensive line from last season. After a 274 fantasy point season, it’s safe to assume that Fine will top 300 fantasy points and 4,100 passing yards in 2018.
22. Jordan Ta’Amu, Ole Miss
Some experts have Jordan Ta’Amu higher on their lists after he produced a strong 2017 season in relief of Shea Patterson. Ta’Amu finished with 1,684 passing yards and 11 touchdowns in a six-game period, which is stellar for an SEC backup quarterback. Given that Ta’Amu is no ordinary SEC backup, it’s hard to look past the dip in fantasy production against higher level SEC teams last season. Ta’Amu will play as well as Ole Miss quarterbacks have over the past several seasons (Bo Wallace, Chad Kelly, Shea Patterson), but he needs to keep developing. At worst, Ta’Amu competes like Malik Rosier, where he throws two touchdowns and a pick each game, with the upside that he becomes a top-three SEC quarterback.
21. Justin Herbert, Oregon
Realistically, Justin Herbert could end up much higher on this list due to the lack of competition on his schedule in 2018. But for now, he rests at 21. Herbert is the most valuable player in all of college football given how miserable the Oregon Ducks looked without him (w/ Herbert: 45.25 ppg; w/o Herbert: 17.67 ppg). The Ducks have the luxury of the 122nd strongest schedule and return most of their key offensive pieces, with exception to running back Royce Freeman. The point of concern is how the offense looks without Willie Taggart calling the shots. The Ducks appeared lackluster without Taggart in the bowl game against Boise State, with four turnovers and four touchdowns.
20. Brandon Wimbush, Notre Dame
There might be some question as to whether Wimbush or Ian Book gets the start in 2018. However, given that neither has really gained any real ground on the other, Wimbush will likely keep the reins for another season. Wimbush finished last season with fewer than 2,000 yards passing, but he racked up 800 yards rushing with 14 rushing touchdowns in the process. Wimbush really needs to develop as a passer, though. If he can develop his arm this season, there’s absolutely nothing stopping him from cracking the top 15 fantasy quarterbacks and really establishing himself as a QB1. Notre Dame’s schedule is also far easier than it has been in recent years. Its toughest matchups come against Stanford and Michigan.
19. Tyler Huntley, Utah
Utah may not have the easiest of schedules in 2018, but that’s never stopped them from having elite fantasy talent. Tyler Huntley would have finished as one of fantasy’s best players last season had he not suffered multiple injuries. Huntley averaged 22.4 fantasy points per game last season, and it could’ve been close to 25 had a couple of costly errors not taken place against Arizona State and Arizona. Consistency is key in college fantasy football, and that’s why Huntley cracks the top 20, as he cleared 20 points in seven of his 10 2017 performances.
18. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
The most interesting quarterback battle in college football will begin and end with Tua Tagovailoa coming out on top. Now I know what you’re thinking: “His game-winner came on busted coverage” or “You’re giving him the job after half a game?” But hear me out. Tagovailoa can move to extend plays and has the arm strength that Jalen Hurts just doesn’t possess. With that being said, Alabama has a softer schedule than usual, with their most difficult game coming in the Iron Bowl, which gives Tua the matchups to succeed. The kicker, of course, is the loss of receiver Calvin Ridley. There are suitable replacements, but it’s hard to replace a receiver of Ridley’s caliber, even with a star-studded quarterback.
17. Ty Gangi, Nevada
With the exception of the three-interception game against Boise State, Ty Gangi torched Group of Five defenses all last season. The Wolfpack offense looked lifeless without Gangi at the helm and looked like the best in the conference with him. The Wolfpack returns a ton of talent at the skill positions, with Brendan O’Leary-Orange and McLane Mannix With the 20th easiest schedule in football, Gangi is poised to demolish his 2017 numbers.
16. Eric Dungey, Syracuse
It’s not hard to see why Eric Dungey comes in so high on this list. He’s had an impossible schedule for multiple years now and seems to come out as one of the best quarterbacks in the ACC. Dungey’s one downfall is his durability. I can overlook the loss of receivers because he did the same thing last season after Amba Etta-Tawo left in 2016. However, Dungey has missed the final three games of the season each of the past two years, which is when fantasy owners need him most. If he stays healthy, you can expect him to finally top 3,000 passing yards and clear 800 yards on the ground again. Can he stay healthy, though?
15. Trey Tinsley, Washington State
This slot could either go to Trey Tinsley or East Carolina transfer Gardner Minshew, but based off what I’ve seen, Tinsley might be ready to go. Washington State has produced 3,000-yard passers for five out of the last seven seasons, and they tend to throw for a lot of touchdowns. Tinsley played flawlessly in the Spring Game, putting up 213 yards, three touchdown passes, and, most importantly, no interceptions. Minshew will surely push for the job,but the future is now for Tinsley in 2018.
14. Will Grier, West Virginia
The former Florida quarterback performed as well expected in 2017, posting 3,490 passing yards and 34 touchdowns. West Virginia returns every key skill position player this season, with the exception of Justin Crawford, and that includes the red zone nightmare David Sills V. With Grier likely heading to the NFL next season, it’s safe to assume that he’s going to do everything he can to increase his draft stock. I fully expect Grier to break 3,500 yards and throw close to 40 touchdowns in 2018.
13. Trace McSorley, Penn State
It’s difficult to predict how well Trace McSorley will do this year. He’s likely to see an increase in production based on the loss of Saquon Barkley, right? I’m not sure that he will. Barkley was the most talented running back that college football has seen since Adrian Peterson, and it’s hard to believe that McSorley will be able to repeat his numbers when opposing defenses are focused on stopping him rather than a dominant run game. You can expect McSorley to perform well, but not on the same level as the past two seasons.
12. McKenzie Milton, UCF
McKenzie Milton joined many fantasy teams in 2017 as either a late-round addition or a waiver wire pickup. Either way, no owner regretted rostering him. Milton threw for 4,000+yards and 37 touchdowns in 2017, but he likely won’t reach those totals this season with the loss of Scott Frost. The bright side for Milton is that he’s talented enough to pass for 3,000+ yards, and he’s got the legs to score on the ground multiple times, similar to last season. Former Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Heupel is the Knights’ new coach this year, and he helped turn Drew Lock into a star last season. If Heupel can have similar success with Milton, then he’ll shoot up these rankings.
11. D’Eriq King, Houston
D’Eriq King was a hot add in late October after he stole the starting job away from Kyle Allen against South Florida. King finished the season with 1,038 passing yards and 333 rushing yards in a five-game period. He also added 13 total touchdowns in the same span. King’s dual-threat ability makes him a must-have player in 2018, and his easy schedule (114th nationally) gives him ample opportunity to show out.
10. Drew Lock, Missouri
If a quarterback doesn’t run, he needs to throw a lot of touchdown passes. Drew Lock has done just that. After a slow start last season, Lock really got things going for the Tigers en route to nearly 4,000 passing yards. With a full season at his full potential, Lock has an incredibly high ceiling and can put up Air Raid numbers in the right matchups. Lock will likely struggle against Alabama and Georgia for obvious reasons, but he can do big things the other weeks.
9. Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
I originally had Haskins in a similar spot in my preseason expert rankings piece, and I changed my mind to Joe Burrow after spring camp. Burrow transferred out, so Haskins has the job locked down for at least Week 1 in 2018. Ohio State quarterbacks are historically great fantasy players, with Braxton Miller and JT Barrett finishing as top 10 players more than once in their successful college careers. Haskins is the next man in line for the Buckeye quarterback job, and, unlike Miller and Barrett, he doesn’t rely solely on his legs. He has the ability to run all over the place but can also complete passes when it matters most.
8. Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State
Fitzgerald had a ton of hype around him going into last season as the second or third best fantasy player, but his schedule is just too difficult for him to ever lead the nation in fantasy points. Fitzgerald is an incredible runner and is progressively getting better as a passer. Joe Moorhead has taken over the Bulldog offense and is as incredible an offensive play caller as we’ve seen in his time at Penn State. State’s schedule is fairly relaxed out of conference, with Kansas State likely being the most challenging. In the conference, they have Auburn and Alabama that pose a threat. Fitzgerald should be able to handle everyone else fairly well.
7. Malcolm Perry, Navy
One of my big rules for college fantasy football is to never to select a triple-option quarterback unless they play for Navy. Malcolm Perry is that quarterback this year and, if history has taught us anything with Keenan Reynolds and Zach Abey, he’s in for a monster year. The AAC is notorious for having really good offenses and lackluster defenses, which bodes well for the Navy quarterback. His hardest matchup comes against Notre Dame, but you’ll be fine benching a player for one week if they can ball out every other week.
6. Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
I know it seems a bit premature to have a transfer player this high, but just take a look at Kyler Murray. Murray is an incredible runner behind an incredible offensive line with an incredible running back. How can you not like him? Murray has killer speed and athleticism for a quarterback, and his arm is better than most with similar skill sets. The Big 12 is full of stellar offenses and below average defenses, meaning that if Oklahoma wants to continue the streak of Big 12 championships, then Murray will need to have a big year.
5. Jett Duffey, Texas Tech
Texas Tech is a lot like Washington State in that their offenses produce legitimate fantasy quarterbacks. The Red Raiders have produced a top 10 passing offense every year for 10 consecutive seasons, and Jett Duffey is next up for Kliff Kingsbury’s potent offensive scheme. Anybody who plays quarterback for the Red Raiders is almost assured of 35+ touchdowns and 4,000 passing yards, which is hard for fantasy owners to ignore.
4. Caleb Evans, ULM
The Warhawks averaged 33.9 points per game last season, and Caleb Evans is the main reason why. After a season where Evans threw for 2,868 yards and 17 touchdowns and accounted for 579 yards and 13 scores on the ground, his production slipped when facing higher level competition last year (6 fpts @ Auburn; 16 @Florida State). He will have similar obstacles against Texas A&M and Ole Miss in 2018. The Sunbelt isn’t what it used to be, and ULM has an offense that can go toe to toe with the best of the Group of Five. Given that the Warhawk defense lost so much over the offseason, they will rely heavily on Evans to compete this year.
3. Nathan Rourke, Ohio
Let this sink in: Nathan Rourke finished second on the team with 912 rushing yards last year and tied for third nationally with 21 touchdowns on the ground. If that’s not enough reassurance of his No. 3 ranking, then I don’t know what to tell you. Rourke runs all over the place and, similar to Collin Klein at Kansas State, he loves to keep the ball to himself in red zone situations. Rourke also benefits from having a great running back in AJ Oullette, who can take the pressure off of him at times.
2. Justice Hansen, Arkansas State
Former-Oklahoma quarterback Justice Hansen absolutely owned the Sunbelt last season by throwing for 3,967 yards and 37 touchdowns and rushing for 423 yards and seven scores. Hansen is no doubt the best quarterback in the Sunbelt and is among the best in the Group of Five. The expectation this season is that he’ll rack up over 4,000 passing yards with 40+ touchdowns. If Hansen is still on the board when your pick rolls around, take him. It’s that simple.
1. Khalil Tate, Arizona
Of course Khalil Tate is No. 1 on this list. How could he not be? Tate played sparingly for the first three games of last season and still managed to reach 300 fantasy points. He’s the closest thing we will get to Lamar Jackson this season, and given how the Pac 12 might have one team that could legitimately contend for the playoffs this year, it’s safe to assume that he’s not going up against too many tough defenses. Tate’s rushing ability is unrivaled this year, and his almost assured 100 rushing yards per game will make him the No. 1 pick in most drafts in 2018.
For Justin Heisey’s Full-FBS Spring analysis, check out the links below.