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Third Down: Top Five Lists in College Fantasy Football

Spring practices kicked off this month, and the 2022 college football season has officially started after a tumultuous offseason of changes. It is also time to take a quick look at significant developments in college fantasy football.

There’s no such thing as too much football! 2022 is the perfect time to add the college game to your fantasy football repertoire. Whether you want to create your own league or join an existing league, the Fantrax College Football Commissioner is the place to go!

Third Down: Top Five Lists in College Fantasy Football

Without question, the transfer portal is the most exciting change in college football since the Supreme Court decided that the NCAA violated the Sherman and Clayton Antitrust Acts in NCAA v. Board of Regents in 1984. After the ruling, the NCAA could no longer dictate television contracts, and ESPN captured a new audience when it aired nine games on cable television. Afterward, college programs and conferences joined free-market capitalism, and college fans benefited from a new landscape of television rights.

The portal has revolutionized the game as much as when college football adopted the forward pass in 1906, and a year later, Carlisle coach Pop Warner embraced the pass as an offensive weapon. As Sally Jenkins states in The Real All-Americans, “Carlisle wasn’t just throwing one or two passes a game. They were throwing it half their offense. Notre Dame gets credit for popularizing the forward pass, but Pop Warner is the man who really created the passing game as we know it.”

Finally, players and coaches are on a level playing field in terms of movement. No longer can a player’s future be dictated by a poor decision as an 18-year old. Players can take their skills to seek a better opportunity and make money under NIL deals. For college fantasy football fanatics like myself, the changes keep our amazing game and hobby in the news.

I opted to take a sneak peak at some of the impactul changes and provided a breakdown of the Top Five in four categories for College Fantasy Footballers…Enjoy my fellow diehards.

Five Coaches in New Places

1. Lincoln Riley: Oklahoma to USC

I am old enough to remember two amazing eras at USC: John Robinson in the late Seventies and Pete Carroll at the turn of the Century. College Football is more exciting when the Trojans are in the National Championship conversation. Coach Riley left Sooner Nation for the City of Angels, and the future of USC football appears headed for a third memorable era in my lifetime. The new coach is one of the elite offensive minds in the country, and the Trojans will upgrade the talent level under Riley. Look forward to the Trojans rejoining the aristocracy over the next couple of seasons.

2. Billy Napier: Louisiana to Florida

In four seasons at Louisiana, coach Nappier posted a 40-12 record and was twice named Sun Belt Coach of the Year. Over the past two campaigns, Nappier orchestrated one of the best run games in the country: In 2021, the Ragin’ Cajuns averaged 193 rushing yards and 31.1 points, and in 2020, logged 213 rushing yards and 33.6 points per game. The Gators finished sixth in the SEC East last year as the offense failed to live up to the high standards of the faithful in Gainesville. Can Napier lead Florida back to the top of the East Division? It will be a challenge after Dan Mullen’s tenure. Yet. CFF diehards must pay close attention to the Gators’ backfield in 2022. Who will carry the rock?

3. Joey McGuire: Baylor to Texas Tech

A member of the Texas High School Coaches Association Hall of Honor, McGuire won three state titles and posted a 141-42 record in fourteen seasons. In 2017, he joined the coaching staff at Baylor, and after five seasons in Waco, TX, he moved to Lubbock to take over the Texas Tech program. McGuire made the most impactful hiring of the offseason when he corralled offensive coordinator Zach Kittley to implement his high-flying passing game for the Red Raiders. Kittley coordinated the Houston Baptist University and Western Kentucky offenses with QB Bailey Zappe over the past three crusades. Expectations are sky high in the CFF community that Kittley’s aerial assault takes flight in the Big 12.

4. Jay Norvell: Nevada to Colorado State

Over the past two seasons, the Wolf Pack has provided many top-shelf fantasy options: QB Carson Strong, WR Romeo Doubs and TE Cole Turner. Norvell traveled north over the winter to oversee the Rams. Offensive coordinator Matt Mumme also moved to Fort Collins as the associate head coach/quarterbacks coach for Colorado State. The two offensive minds guided the Nevada passing game among the top 12 units in the nation. In 2020, the twelfth ranked aerial attack (319 yards), and in 2021, the sixth-best passing game (347 yards). Astute CFF fans will be targeting Rams’ playmakers.

5. Sonny Dykes: SMU to TCU

The Horned Frogs finally ended the Gary Patterson tenure (2000-2021) last fall. On November 30, TCU hired Sonny Dykes as head coach. In four seasons at University Park, Dykes guided the Mustangs to a 30-18 record and a 10-win campaign in 2019. In 2017, Dykes served as an offensive analyst for the Horned Frogs and assisted the team to an 11-3 mark, reaching the Big 12 Championship Game. Known as an offensive sage, the Mustangs finished thirteenth in total offense (465.9 yards per game) last year, twelfth (494.5 ypg.) in 2020 and ninth (489.8 ypg.) in 2019. After a few down seasons, the Horned Frogs will become CFF relevant once again.

Five Players on New Campuses

1. QB Quinn Ewers, Ohio State to Texas

If a player never takes a snap at a school, does it really count as a transfer? Ewers enrolled at Ohio State last year but never got on the field. He decided to pack his bags and take his talents to Texas. A five-star recruit, the redshirt freshman faces competition from Hudson Card for the starting gig, but I do not believe the coaching speak for a second. Ewers will start in 2022.

Coach Steve Sarkisian is under pressure to post a winning season after a disappointing 5-7 record last year, and Ewers is the high-ceiling prospect for the Longhorns. At 6’3” and 206-pounds, he is a pro-style signal-caller who extends plays outside of structure. With RB Bijan Robinson, WR Xavier Worthy and transfer WR Isaiah Neyor on the roster, Ewers is surrounded by playmakers who will make the transition easier.

2. RB Jahmyr Gibbs, Georgia Tech to Alabama

In my favorite CFF Dynasty league, Gibbs has anchored the backfield for the past two seasons. Moving to Alabama increases his fantasy output and gets me beyond excited to watch the newest member of the Crimson Tide. Over the past three campaigns, the lead ball carrier has averaged 1,344 rushing yards, 35 receptions for 324 receiving yards, and 21 touchdowns. In two seasons at Georgia Tech, Gibbs has totaled 1,974 scrimmage yards, 59 receptions and 13 touchdowns. Yum! In a more dynamic offensive scheme at Alabama, Gibbs is poised to smash opponents and produce a plethora of fantasy points.

3. QB Caleb Williams, Oklahoma to USC

Who could forget Williams’s memorable inauguration at Oklahoma? The Sooners trailed 28-7 against Texas in the Red River rivalry when the freshman came off the bench to replace Spencer Rattler. He rallied Oklahoma to a 55-48 victory as he passed for two touchdowns and rushed for another. When the season ended, the newest Trojan tossed 21 aerial strikes and crossed the finish line six times. He follows his former coach to USC, and the two are poised to lead the Trojans back to Pac-12 dominance.

4. QB Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma to South Carolina

One year ago, Rattler was the darling of the Devy and Dynasty communities. Draft experts projected the former Sooner at the top of their 2023 QB rankings. Sadly, Rattler crashed and burned in Oklahoma and transferred to South Carolina for a new beginning. During spring practices, reports are positive in regard to Rattler’s mindset and relationship with teammates. “The stuff you guys know about Spencer—he’s the real deal. He’s going to show you guys a lot when he’s out there,” teammate MarShawn Lloyd stated (

In early CFF drafts, I have noticed that Rattler falls beyond the top 24 quarterbacks selected—I have him ranked at No. 20 currently. There is no question that he is underappreciated in drafts. I seek upside and Rattler is the perfect third quarterback on a CFF roster. I concur with Lloyd’s assessment and will have the Gamecocks’ dual-threat signal-caller on many teams at his current ADP.

5. WR Jermaine Burton, Georgia to Alabama

Coach Nick Saban is so good and always adapts to the new landscape in college football. Over five years ago, he embraced the spread offense and passing game, and now, he understands the impact that the transfer portal can have on a team’s depth chart. Last year, Jameson Williams enrolled at Tuscaloosa after two years in Columbus and turned into a Saturday star, and likely, first-round selection in the upcoming draft.

Over the winter, Burton left the National Champion Bulldogs to suit up for the SEC enemy Crimson Tide. “Jermaine Burton was somebody that we recruited out of high school that we thought was a really really good player…to get a more experienced player that has some playing time in this league, probably is a good thing for us and we like his ability and, hopefully he’ll be able to be very productive for us,” Saban proclaimed ( Razor-sharp CFF fans are ecstatic that Burton will play for Alabama in 2022.

Five Ceiling Players to Target in CFF Drafts

1. QB Cameron Ward, Washington State

Bailey Zappe guided many CFF managers to league titles last year after moving up in competition from Houston Baptiste (FCS) to Western Kentucky (FBS). Searching for another difference maker in 2022? Look no further than Ward from Incarnate Word. Ward’s resume is second to none: Named Second Team All-American (FCS), Southland Conference Offensive Player of the Year, and Walter Payton Award Finalist last year. In 13 games, he passed for 4,648 yards and 47 touchdowns, while leading the Cardinals to a 10-3 record.

Ward, 6’2” and 223-pounds, was rated as the No. 3 QB in the transfer portal behind Williams and Ewers. He joined Eric Morris, former Incarnate Word coach, to play for the Cougars. Morris employs a variation of the “Air Raid” scheme, and Ward will approach 600 pass attempts in 2022..CFF Gold!

2. RB Jirehl Brock, Iowa State

In CFF leagues, I identify coaches and systems which have a nice track record of success. Coach Matt Campbell has been at the Cyclones’ helm since 2016 and has run the football effectively every season. In 2017, David Montgomery burst onto the national stage with the first of his back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns. Freshman Breece Hall ascended to the top of the depth chart in 2019 and subjugated opponents the past three campaigns.

In 2022, Campbell yearns for Jirehl Brock to live up to the high expectations when he arrived on campus three seasons ago. “The really unique thing for Jirehl is his improvement last football season. From the start of the season to the end of the season, his improvement was as drastic as any player in our program,” Campbell stated last December (desmoinesregister).

A four-star recruit by 247Sports, Brock chose Iowa State over Iowa, Michigan State, Notre Dame, and Illinois. At 6’0” and 215-pounds, the redshirt junior has limited carries (59) and receptions (11) as a Cyclone. Still, as a third or fourth runner on a CFF roster, Brock provides huge upside if he earns the majority of touches despite offensive line concerns.

3. WR Jalen McMillan, Washington

As a recruit out of California, McMillan was ranked as the No. 38 overall prospect and No. 8 wide receiver in the country by 247Sports. He made 260 receptions for 5,234 yards and 54 touchdowns in 50 career high school games. In two seasons at Washington, the speedster has flashed moments of distinction: He led the team in receiving last year with 39 catches for 470 yards and three touchdowns.

Enter new coach Kalen DeBoer, who moves north from Fresno State. In the past two seasons, the Bulldogs finished among the top ten teams in passing: In 2020, fifth (356.3 ypg) and in 2021, ninth (326.7 ypg.). DeBoer will surely implement his soaring aerial assault in Seattle with highly-touted sophomore QB Sam Huard and a cadre of young playmakers. Look for McMillan to become a Saturday star in the Pac-12 and on CFF teams.

4. RB Peny Boone, Toledo

In 2019, Boone signed a letter of intent with Maryland after earning a four-star grade from 247Sports. Out of Detroit, Boone was ranked as the No. 10 prospect in Michigan and chose to leave the state for Maryland. For the Terrapins, he did not garner many opportunities, touching the ball only 63 times and totaling 281 scrimmage yards.

In December, Boone announced that he would transfer to Toledo. The depth chart is wide open with Bryant Koback declaring for the NFL Draft. The newest Rockets’ ball carrier has a clear path to carries at Toledo. MAC defenses bleed fantasy points to opposing runners, and at 6’2” and 225-pounds, Boone will smash opponents if he is the starter in 2022.

5. WR Milton Wright, Purdue

Jeff Brohm is a creative coach. His high-powered offense made both Rondale Moore and David Bell CFF luminaries over the past four seasons. In their two most productive campaigns (2018 & 2021), Moore and Bell produced prodigious fantasy seasons, averaging 104 catches for 1,272 yards and nine touchdowns.

At 6’3” and 195-pounds, Wright steps into the alpha-male role in Brohm’s aerial assault, and I am fascinated. Sadly, there is concern in regard to Wright, who is currently ineligible based on academics and his status must be monitored throughout the summer. If Milton does not return, Brohm has other compelling options at receiver: Broc Thompson, Tyrone Tracy, and Elijah Canion…Stay tuned for summer updates.

Five QB-WR Combos-Stacks to Target in CFF Best Ball Drafts

1. Maryland: QB Taulia Tagovailoa-WR Rakim Jarret

It is early in the CFF draft season, but I can tell that I am a little more bullish on the Terrapins’ passing game than most analysts. In 2021, Maryland finished thirteenth in team passing with 304.6 ypg. and posted a 27-12 TD:INT Ratio. In the past two seasons, Tagovailoa has started 17 games. Last year, he registered a record-breaking crusade. Tagovailoa established school single-season marks in passing yards (3,860), completions (328), completion percentage (69.2%), passing touchdowns (26), and 300-yard passing games (7).

Jarret earned a five-star rating by 247Sports and decommitted from LSU to attend Maryland. As a sophomore in 2021, he led the team in receptions (62) and yards (829) and scored five times. I am pushing all the chips onto the table with the dynamic duo in College Park.

2. Miami, (OH): QB Brett Gabbert-WR Mac Hippenhammer

I heard my good friend Chris Moxley from chat about Mac Hippenhammer. He ranked the RedHawks’ playmaker very high, which compelled me to look deeper. Last year, Miami (OH) WR Jack Sorenson finished as the fourteenth-ranked receiver in ppr-scoring formats with 76 receptions for 1,406 yards and 10 touchdowns. Sorenson is no longer at the school, and Hippenhammer is the next man up. A former Nittany Lion, the redshirt senior transferred to Miami (OH) in 2020. He blossomed last year with 48 receptions for 786 yards and five touchdowns. It appears that Moxley was correct to be so bullish on Hippenhammer in 2022.

Brett Gabbert, brother of Blaine, leads the Redhawks’ offense, and he was named 2019 MAC Freshman of the Year. In 12 games over the past two seasons, the junior has posted an impressive 30-6 TD:INT Ratio and passed for over 3,000 yards. Gabbert to Hippenhammer will light up the MAC and provide plenty of fantasy points in 2022.

3. Boston College: QB Phil Jurkovec-WR Zay Flowers

I have ranked Jurkovec and Flowers in the top 20 at their respective positions and covet both players at their current ADP. Drafting the Eagles’ combo goes against conventional and analytical wisdom. Boston College runs the ball far more often than it passes. Even so, the ADP reflects the depressed passing attack, and I always seek value. At times, efficiency can overcome schemes, and Jurkovec to Flowers is one of the more electric pitch-and-catch combos in the nation.

Boston College only has two games (Clemson and Notre Dame) which pose a challenge defensively. The ACC matchups are tasty and the other three out of conference games (Rutgers, Maine, and UConn) pose zero threat. Look for the two Eagles to soar and combine for over 65 receptions for 1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns.

4. Utah State: QB Logan Bonner-WRs Brian Cobbs & Xavier Williams

If you are not a hard-core college football fanatic, Utah State coach Blake Anderson is not likely on your radar among top coaches across the nation. At Arkansas State, Anderson posted a 88-51 record and guided the Red Wolves to six consecutive winning seasons and six-straight bowl games. Last year, he took over Utah State, and the Aggies’ passing game took flight, finishing fifteenth in team passing (303.4 ypg.). Bonner ranked twenty-sixth among CFF quarterbacks last year with 36 touchdowns and 3,628 passing yards.

Deven Thompkins, last year’s leading receiver, and Brandon Bowling, second-leading pass catcher, are no longer at Utah State. Cobbs and Williams—both P5 transfers—are stepping into prominent roles in the Aggies’ aerial assault. Last year, Cobbs snatched 25 passes for 341 yards and a touchdown for Maryland. Williams, former Alabama receiver, missed last season and caught only three passes for 24 yards in 2020. Expect bigger and better numbers from both in 2022.

5. Oklahoma State: QB Spencer Sanders-WRs Brennan Presley & Jaden Bray

For years, coach Mike Gundy’s passing game provided CFF diehards with top-shelf quarterbacks and wide receivers. Over the past couple of seasons, the Cowboys have not offered many options. Last year, Oklahoma State finished in the middle of the pack, averaging only 231.9 passing ypg. and completing 23 touchdowns. A downturn in production provides an opportunity to acquire Cowboys at a discount.

Sanders enters his fourth season calling signals in Stillwater and is poised to have a career-best. In order to do so, he must overcome inconsistent performance, turnovers, and injuries. All have hindered his fantasy production since arriving on campus. Yet. In 2022, he posted career bests in passing yards (2,839) and touchdowns (20). With another season under his belt, Sanders should increase his numbers across the board. With Tay Martin moving on, the lead role is open, and Presley and Bray will battle for targets from Sanders.

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