Whether it be through the NFL Draft or graduation, players find their careers ending or going to the next level at some point. With this in mind, it’s time to look at the top-10 new starting quarterbacks of 2018.
10. Brandon McIlwain, California
I may be jumping the gun on McIlwain, but that’s the fun of the offseason. After playing most of a season at South Carolina before being benched in favor of Jake Bentley, McIlwain transferred and will be ready to go this season. California surprised most last season despite going 5-7 with wins over Ole Miss and Washington State. McIlwain is an incredible dual-threat QB with an above-average arm, and Justin Wilcox understands McIlwain’s potential better than Muschamp does and will rely on him heavily this season.
9. Tua Tagvailoa, Alabama
Tua Tagavailoa could very well be too low on this list for most people, but it’s still early. After showing out in a National Championship win, Saban is not stuck with the difficult decision of starting Tua or Jalen Hurts. Tua has solid mobility, and his arm is certainly better than Hurts’. I have Tua at No. 9 because I believe Saban won’t pull the trigger immediately, and Tua won’t play a full game as a starter until a few games into the season. However, once he does take over, he will be a force to be reckoned with.
8. Kendall Hinton, Wake Forest
Who would’ve thought that a Wake Forest quarterback would finish top-10 in anything other than interceptions? John Wolford finished eighth last season in fantasy points (QB only), and Hinton has the potential to be just as good. Hinton got his lone start last season against Clemson in which he scored 25 fantasy points in a loss. I’ve been a big believer in Hinton since the 2016 quarterback battle against Wolford that was derailed by an injury. The Clawfense has proven fruitful for guys like John Wolford and Matt Johnson, and Hinton will be no different.
7. Dru Brown, Oklahoma State
Breaking News: Dru Brown has transferred to Oklahoma State and will be immediately eligible to play. After Rudolph graduated, it seemed as though the Pokes would take a step back. However, Dru Brown gives Oklahoma State a fresh face and talent in place to push for the top of the Big 12 yet again. Brown threw for 5,273 yards and 37 touchdowns with 313 yards on the ground in two seasons at Hawaii. I have no doubt that he will claim the starting job before the season begins, and Mike Gundy will make Brown an even bigger fantasy threat.
6. Chris Robison, FAU
Lane Kiffin proved his offensive genius last season by collecting 10 wins with a top-10 ranked offense nationally. Devin Singletary was a key player in that role, but the real hero was the surging Jason Driskell in the latter half of the season. Driskel has left the program, leaving Robinson in a battle against former-FSU quarterback DeAndre Johnson. Robison has great mobility and a really good arm, and he’s even had Kiffin compare him to Johnny Manzie in the way that he extends plays. Robison has huge upside on his own, and now he has incredible weapons at his disposal.
5. Jawon Pass, Louisville
Having Jawon Pass this high may seem a bit presumptuous considering the lack of offensive playmakers returning for Louisville, but I digress. Pass has incredible athleticism and will be the focal point of the Cardinals offense in 2018. He is not only a good runner, but he’s also a relatively smart passer. One problem we saw with Lamar Jackson was his multiple interceptions in most games, but Pass reads defenses better than Jackson and makes more conservative throws. He won’t be the next Lamar Jackson, but he has a ton of upside under Petrino.
4. Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
Any fantasy college football players know to pick a quarterback if he plays for Ohio State. Braxton Miller, Cardale Jones, and JT Barrett have all put up monster fantasy points in the past several seasons. And after a solid showing against Michigan’s impeccable defense, it’s safe to say Haskins will be the next man up. The Maryland product was a four-star dual threat coming out of high school and will likely give the Buckeyes the passer that they have desperately needed for several seasons now. It’s simple: Draft Haskins or regret it.
3. Jeff Duffey, Texas Tech
There’s really no need to dive in too deep on this evaluation. As long as Kliff Kingsbury is the coach of the Red Raiders, one can assume they will have a poor defense and a 4,000-yard passer. Jeff Duffey is the next man up in a line of fantasy dynamite and will produce similar numbers to previous Red Raider quarterbacks.
2. Malcolm Perry, Navy
With the exception of Taquon Marshall, I have always lived by one fantasy rule: “Don’t trust a triple option quarterback unless they play for Navy.” Zach Abey showed the world what he was made off last season with 1,413 yards and 19 touchdowns all on the ground. Perry will follow in line with guys like Abey, Will Worth, and Keenan Reynolds and will be a great fantasy quarterback simply because most of his scores are on the ground. Like Abey, Perry won’t be a first- or second-rounder, so you can focus on other positions and steal a top-flight fantasy QB later than the other superstars.
1. Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
In his lone start last season, Murray opened the game up with a 66-yard run against West Virginia. The rushing tandem of Murray and Rodney Anderson will be a thing of beauty in 2018 and gives Murray an incredibly high ceiling. He will likely come at a first- or second-round price, but he is so worth it. Murray is a better runner than Baker Mayfield, which is certainly something special, and Oklahoma’s offensive line should be really good again this season.
Curious as to who the best returning starters are for 2018? Check out last week’s article on the Top 10 Returning QBs.