With spring games happening weekend after weekend this month, fantasy owners are looking for certain position battles to shake out so they know who to draft come August. With that being said, these are the most high-profile position battles this spring.
Participants: Kelly Bryant, Hunter Johnson, Trevor Lawrence, Chase Brice
The quarterback situation will be interesting as Clemson, according to Tom Luginbill, has the best four quarterbacks ever compiled on one Division I roster. Kelly Bryant is the Day One starter and will be the first Clemson signal caller to touch the field in Week 2 against Texas A&M. What happens during that game and after that is anyone’s guess. Hunter Johnson has done nothing but impress since arriving on campus as the top pocket passer in the 2017 recruiting class. Johnson has better-than-anticipated athleticism and an incredible arm. Trevor Lawrence is considered better than some NFL quarterbacks right now, according to Trent Dilfer. Chase Brice is the least-known option, but he won 40 games and a state title at Grayson High School and has great intangibles.
Prediction: Kelly Bryant will hold down the fort as long as he doesn’t mess up or get hurt.
Participants: Matt Fink, Jack Sears, JT Daniels
Sam Darnold won this quarterback battle not too long ago, and yet here we are again. Darnold is likely a top-five pick in this year’s draft, and the Trojans are looking for their next man. Matt Fink is the only quarterback on the roster with college experience, and even then he’s thrown only nine total passes. Fink isn’t the most talented option, but a year in the system and actual playing time never hurts anyone’s chances. Jack Sears redshirted last season, which gives him the playbook advantage. Fun fact: He replaced Darnold in high school. Sears was the fourth-rated pro-style quarterback in 2017 and has a higher ceiling than Fink. Sears’ downfall is his practice turnovers, which discourage coaches and, more importantly, fantasy owners from pulling the trigger. JT Daniels is the big name of the three, as he reclassified to become a top-three quarterback in the 2018 recruiting class. Daniels’ ceiling is substantially higher than the other competitors, but given that he’s arriving in the fall, he likely won’t learn enough of the playbook to take the job.
Prediction: When in doubt, go with experience. Matt Fink starts Day One, but don’t be surprised if Daniels starts against UCLA.
Auburn Running Back
Participants: Kam Martin, Malik Miller, JaTarvious Whitlow, Asa Martin, Shaun Shivers
Kerryon Johnson was an absolute stud last season, and he came at an astonishingly low price. With Johnson gone, Gus Malzahn is looking for his next running back to continue the recent success Auburn has had at the position. Kam Martin is the obvious choice, as he has the most experience and is explosive. Malik Miller was behind Martin on the depth chart last season and was followed up by Whitlow. Miller is more slender than most Auburn backs, which puts him at a disadvantage. Meanwhile, Whitlow has shown promise but is coming off an ankle injury. Asa Martin is a big bodied four-star, one-cut back out of Alabama and has the ability to go untouched in a crowded field. Shivers is a four-star back out of Florida and has a set of wheels that get him going in a hurry.
Prediction: Kam Martin just has too much talent and experience to get passed up.
Participants: Malik Rosier and N’Kosi Perry
Whether “The U” is back or not, no one can deny that year one under Mark Richt was a monster success compared to the past several seasons under Al Golden. Malik Rosier returns to Miami for the 2018 season after throwing for 3,120 and 26 touchdowns while rushing for 468 yards and five touchdowns. Rosier played admirably for the Canes last season, but he has a bad tendency to turn the ball over multiple times per game. N’Kosi Perry was the seventh-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the 2017 recruiting class. Offensive Coordinator Thomas Brown remains high on Perry despite a spring hame interception.
Prediction: Malik Rosier will likely hold the job until the Canes dig themselves a hole in a game they shouldn’t lose, and then Perry gets his shot.
Participants: Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa
For the second year in a row, the Alabama quarterback position makes a not-so-shocking appearance on this list with the same two participants. Jalen Hurts was the guy all of 2016 and most of 2017 before an incredible second-half performance from Tua Tagovailoa in the National Title game got people talking. Hurts has incredible rushing ability, but his arm talent hasn’t been able to keep up. Tua isn’t the runner that Hurts is, but his arm talent is undeniable. Regardless of which one starts, they will both be heavily owned in 2018.
Prediction: I want more than anything to see Tua thrive, but I just don’t see Saban pulling the trigger.