2019 Gridiron Scholar’s Game Plan: CFF Quarterback Rankings
John Laub is The Gridiron Scholar. Today he presents his early 2019 CFF QB Rankings.
College Fantasy Football is one of the most exciting games to play in fantasy sports. It is time to get off the sideline and sign up for a league on Fantrax: The Preeminent CFF site in the universe.
Considering the size of the CFF player pool, it is imperative to set league lineup rules to require two starting quarterbacks. When drafting CFF quarterbacks, my general strategy is to acquire two of my Top-12 ranked signal callers and seek one pocket passer and one dual-threat playmaker. In 2019, a perfect duo would be Trevor Lawrence, Clemson and Bryce Perkins, Virginia.
While CFF quarterbacks are deep this season, I want to stand atop my league at the position i.e., in the CFF Summa Cum Laude Mock Draft, I selected Sam Ehlinger, Texas and Tua Tagovailoa with my first two picks of the draft. I was pleased to construct my team around outstanding signal callers, who I project to score over 400 fantasy points each.
I have provided player profiles for my Top 24 CFF quarterbacks. Enjoy my fellow CFF fanatics!
Get off the sideline and join a College Fantasy Football League on Fantrax this season. It will be one of the best decision of your life.
Top 24 CFF QB Rankings for 2019
Summa Cum Laude
- D’Eriq King, Houston
New Houston coach Dana Holgorsen inherits a fine-tuned offensive unit with one of the best dual-threat playmakers in the nation directing the attack. The Cougars finished seventh in Total Offense, averaging 513 yards and 43.9 points per game behind All-ACC Second Team QB D’Eriq King. Despite missing two and a half games, the Senior established a Conference record with 50 total touchdowns and scored a rushing touchdown in every game he played. He earned the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback of the Week for his outstanding performance against South Florida with 419 passing yards, 132 rushing yards, and seven touchdowns. How does King’s campaign rank all-time? In FBS history, he is one of only three quarterbacks with over 35 passing and 13 rushing touchdowns. Against Tulane in mid-November, King tore a meniscus in his right knee and missed the conclusion of the season. While he remained sidelined during spring practice, the news out of Houston is encouraging for a full recovery and healthy upcoming crusade for King, which is music to the ears of College Fantasy Footballers. After coaching at West Virginia for eight seasons, Holgorsen returns to campus, and King is the near perfect field general for the Air Raid offense. He is well worth the top-overall selection in fantasy drafts this summer and sits comfortably atop my CFF QB Rankings.
Passing Yards and TDs: 3,550 and 39
Rushing Yards and TDs: 600 and 12
Total Fantasy Points: 465
- Sam Ehlinger, Texas
I am trying not to become a fanboy with my adoration for Sam Ehlinger this season. I will not buy a Texas No. 11 jersey. Unless the Longhorns win the National Title then I will order one. A three-year starter in high school, Ehlinger was named the Texas State Player of the Year in 2015 and ranked as the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback prospect by Rivals in 2017. Since enrolling at Texas, he has started 20 games in two seasons and earned honorable mention All-Big 12 last year. At 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, the junior is a dynamic passer and runner. In 2017, he completed 25 touchdowns and scored 16 times. Ehlinger’s 41 total touchdowns were the second-most in school history and his 3,292 passing yards were the fifth best. Texas lured coach Tom Herman from Houston two years ago, and the team is loaded with talent at the skill positions with RB Keaontay Ingram, WR Collin Johnson and WR Devin Duvernay. The Longhorns’ faithful has sky-high expectations for Herman’s club entering his third season, and expects Texas to soar with its’ gifted field general flying the plane. I am now following hashtags #HookEm and #ThisIsTexas and the architect of #SamforHeisman. Will you join me? Ehlinger is well worth a first-round selection in CFF Drafts over the summer.
Passing Yards and TDs: 3,650 and 34
Rushing Yards and TDs: 400 and 11
Total Fantasy Points: 424
- Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
When we last saw Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama endured a 44-16 pounding against Clemson in the National Championship Game. Unfortunately, Tagovailoa’s stupendous season ended on a down note. Entering the SEC Championship Game, the dual-threat quarterback appeared to be a shoo-in for the Heisman, but an injury hampered his performance and derailed his chance at the coveted trophy. Last year, the remarkable lefty earned so many accolades—Maxwell Award, Sporting News National Player of the Year, consensus All-American, SEC Offensive Player of the Year—that he might not have enough shelf space to display the hardware. He also set an NCAA single-season mark for passing efficiency (199.4) and established Alabama single-season records for passing yards and touchdowns (3,966 and 43). Scoring 45.6 points per game, the Crimson Tide finished third in the nation behind Tagovailoa and return many of their top playmakers. Coach Nick Saban has accumulated an embarrassing amount of riches at receiver with Jerry Jeudy, Henry Riggs, III, DeVonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle, and the backfield is loaded as always with Najea Harris, Brian Robinson, Jr. and Trey Sanders, a five-star recruit. A tremendous leader, Tua is an incredibly accurate passer with stupendous ball placement and will surely take advantage of all talent in the huddle. The Heisman frontrunner can anchor any college fantasy football roster in 2019.
Passing Yards and TDs: 3,750 and 40
Rushing Yards and TDs: 225 and 6
Total Fantasy Points: 405
- Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
Trevor Lawrence became the first true freshman quarterback to win the National Championship since Jamelle Holieway led Oklahoma to the title in 1985. As crazy as it seems, the Tigers’ field general might be overlooked by college fantasy football prognosticators. Looking at rankings around the industry, I am by far the most bullish on the long-haired quarterback. In the Summa Cum Laude Mock Draft, Lawrence came off the board in the fifth round (No. 60 overall) as the eighteenth quarterback selected in a 2-QB league. Outrageous value for a possible Heisman winner in one of the preeminent offenses in the nation, and I’ll procure Lawrence all summer long at that price. At 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds, NFL organizations are already salivating at the prospect of drafting the Clemson star in 2021. Last year, he was named All-ACC Second Team, ACC Rookie of the Year and Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year. Incredibly, he tossed 30 touchdowns and only four interceptions while completing over 65% of passes. In coach Dabo Swinney’s system, quarterbacks Tajh Boyd and Deshaun Watson became college fantasy football studs, and Lawrence is the next superstar. The Tigers finished second in Total Offense last season (527 ypg. and 44.3 ppg), and the sophomore is surrounded by premier playmakers (RB Travis Etienne, WR Justyn Ross and WR Tee Higgins). Why so little love? Let’s purchase first-class tickets together on the Lawrence Express in 2019.
Passing Yards and TDs: 3,950 and 35
Rushing Yards and TDs: 225 and 3
Total Fantasy Points: 377
- Adrian Martinez, Nebraska
Nebraska coach Scott Frost guided UCF quarterback Milton McKenzie to college fantasy football stardom in 2017, and Adrian Martinez is the next Frost protégé. How good is Martinez? Las Vegas has posted Heisman odds for the upcoming campaign and Martinez is +600 by Westgate SuperBook to win the coveted award. In high school, he totaled 39 touchdowns as a junior, and despite missing his senior season, the California native was listed among the top 10 dual-threat field generals by Rivals and 247Sports and did not disappoint last year. At Nebraska, he became the first true freshmen to kick off the season as a starter. A record-breaking season, he passed for 2,617 yards, scrambled for 629 yards, completed 17 aerial strikes and rushed for eight touchdowns. His 295.1 yards of offense established a school record, and he was named Freshman All-American and All-Big Ten Honorable Mention. He also earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week three time while rewriting the record book. The Cornhuskers fan base is optimistic that with Martinez guiding Frosts’ offensive scheme that the team will dramatically improve on last season’s four victories. College fantasy footballers should be just as enthusiastic as Nebraska fans for the development of the sensational sophomore in 2019.
Passing Yards and TDs: 3,200 and 24
Rushing Yards and TDs: 800 and 11
Total Fantasy Points: 402
- Nathan Rourke, Ohio
The great state of Ohio houses some noteworthy college football programs: Ohio State, Toledo, Miami (OH) and Cincinnati. Often, the Ohio Bobcats are overlooked outside of the Buckeye State; however, college fantasy diehards are well aware of the team and its exciting senior signal caller. Last year, Nathan Rourke finished fifth among returning quarterbacks in college fantasy football with 378.7 points (29.13 ppg.) while recording 38 total touchdowns and amassing 3,294 yards of offense. Over the past two seasons in the Bobcats’ option-based scheme, the senior has rushed for over 1,700 yards and accumulated over 6,000 yards of offense. In 26 career games, Rourke has recorded 77 touchdowns. An exodus of offensive talent graduated, and the senior will be asked to shoulder an increased leadership role on a unit with seven new starters. At 6-foot-2 and 208 pounds, Rourke is an underrated passer, averaging 8.2 yards per attempt, and coach Frank Solich has praised the dual threats’ improved passing during spring practices. Once again, Rourke will shine on Saturdays and provide a plethora of fantasy points.
Passing Yards and TDs: 2,750 and 25
Rushing Yards and TDs: 900 and 15
Total Fantasy Points: 417
Magna Cum Laude
- Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
The former Alabama star might be the biggest grad transfer in history and steps into a pressure-filled role in Norman, Oklahoma. Coach Lincoln Riley took over the reins of the Sooners two years ago and has posted a 24-4 record behind back-to-back Heisman winners Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. There are not many quarterbacks who would embrace such an incredible challenge. Nonetheless, Jalen Hurts appears to be the perfect player to succeed two prolific quarterbacks. In 2016, he was named SEC Offensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year. In 2017, he led the Crimson Tide to the National Champion Game against Clemson, but was benched in the second half after a poor performance in the first. Last year, Hurts lost the starting job to Tua Tagovailoa; nevertheless, he came off the bench to defeat Georgia in the SEC Championship game. A team-first leader, he posted a 26-2 mark as a starter and totaled over 6,600 of offense and 61 touchdowns Alabama. At 6-foot-2 and 218 pounds, the newest Sooner has impressed his teammates and coaching staff with his charisma and leadership skills since coming on campus. In the spring game, Hurts passed for 174 yards and produced two touchdowns (one rushing and one passing). Can he capture a third consecutive Heisman for the Oklahoma trophy case? Hurts would rather guide the Sooners to a National Title and can clearly earn fantasy zealots a championship ring in 2019.
Passing Yards and TDs: 3,200 and 25
Rushing Yards and TDs: 850 and 12
Total Fantasy Points: 417
- Bryce Perkins, Virginia
Coach Bronco Mendenhall begins his fourth season conducting the Cavaliers and has mammoth expectations for the program. Last year, he led Virginia to an 8-5 mark and has set huge goals in 2019: Beat Virginia Tech for the first time in 15 years and win the Coastal Division of the ACC. If the Cavaliers achieve both goals, success will likely be a result of their record-setting quarterback Bryce Perkins, whose father played for the Sun Devils in the late 1980s, and brother excelled for UCLA as a running back three seasons ago. After playing for a season at Arizona Western Community College in 2017, the signal caller enrolled at Virginia in January 2018. In the opening game of the campaign, Perkins immediately made a huge impact against Richmond, rushing for 108 yards, passing for 185 yards and totaling four touchdowns. When the season concluded, he established a single-season school record for total offense with 3,603 yards and accounted for 34 touchdowns. He was one of only two players—Heisman winner Kyler Murray the other—to record over 2,600 yards passing and 900 yards rushing last season. The dual-threat star has terrific arm strength and extraordinary poise in the pocket, which is complemented by short-area quickness, speed and burst upfield. Entering the upcoming campaign, Perkins has been named to the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Watch List and may be the most underestimated quarterback in college football. Do not sleep on the long-shot Heisman candidate in drafts this summer.
Passing Yards and TDs: 3,000 and 28
Rushing Yards and TDs: 1,000 and 11
Total Fantasy Points: 428
- Justin Fields, Ohio State
In Columbus, the Buckeyes are undergoing a major turnover on and off the field. Coach Urban Meyer retired for a second time and quarterback Dwayne Haskins jettisoned to pursue his NFL dream. Ryan Day, the former Offensive Coordinator, was promoted to Head Coach and Justin Fields, former Georgia enrollee, moves north to command the offense. A five-star prospect in high school, Fields was the top-ranked dual-threat recruit in the nation by many scouting services and awarded the MVP of the 2017 Elite 11 Quarterback Competition. Last year, Fields played in 12 games for the Bulldogs, completed 27 of 39 passes for 328 yards with four touchdowns and rushed for an additional four scores. He ran the ball 42 times while attempting only 39 passes for Georgia. Coach Day wants Fields to be a more traditional pocket passer, and the two have worked to sharpen Fields’ passing skills since arriving on campus. In the spring game, Fields looked like the clear starter for the Buckeyes despite coach-speak in regard to competition for the job. The sophomore completed only four of 13 passes for over 100 yards, but the majority of yards came on a 98-yard touchdown pass. He also rushed for 38 yards and a touchdown. Ohio State’s roster is adorned with explosive playmakers, who will make the transition much easier for the Buckeyes’ new quarterback. Invest with confidence in Fields to become a fantasy star in 2019.
Passing Yards and TDs: 3,150 and 24
Rushing Yards and TDs: 700 and 10
Total Fantasy Points: 383
- Holten Ahlers, East Carolina
I’m old enough to remember the halcyon days of East Carolina: QB Shane Carden (2012-14), WR Zay Jones (2011-14) and WR Justin Hardy (2013-16) were all college fantasy football studs. Over the past three seasons, the Pirates have won only nine games and have not garnered much interest from college football diehards. However, the program appears to be on an upward protectionary behind sophomore quarterback Holten Ahlers and new coach Mike Houston, who won an FCS National Championship at James Madison and posted a 37-6 mark over the past three campaigns. As a true freshman, Ahlers did not assume the starting position until the seventh game of the season against UCF. In his first three starts, he became a waiver wire acquisition in CFF leagues with 1,215 yards passing and six touchdowns. The rising star is a dual-threat left-hander, who is a strong and elusive runner at 6-foot-3 and 236 pounds. He led the Pirates in rushing last year with 592 yards and six touchdowns. Coach Houston plans on implementing a more balanced attack and would like to limit the number of carriers for his field general. Ahlers has embraced Houston’s spread scheme and both expect to turn the Pirates into winners soon. In 2019, the dynamic signal-caller likely takes a giant leap forward as a sophomore and could climb higher than this in my CFF QB Rankings.
Passing Yards and TDs: 3,500 and 26
Rushing Yards and TDs: 500 and 8
Total Fantasy Points: 381
- Cole McDonald, Hawaii
I have been a football enthusiast for over 40 years and will never forget the first time I witnessed the beauty of the run-and-shoot offense. In 1984, I religiously watched the USFL, and the Houston Gamblers with Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly and Mouse Davis, the architect of the scheme. While in college, I even found a book Davis wrote on the run-and-shoot and took it out of the library. Last year, coach Nick Rolovich revived the high-octane passing attack at Hawaii. College football diehards like myself will never forget the opening weekend of the season when Hawaii traveled to Colorado State on August 25. QB Cole McDonald became the waiver wire pickup of the week after torching the Rams with 418 passing yards, 96 rushing yards and totaling five touchdowns as the Rainbows won 43-34. When the curtain closed on the campaign, the redshirt junior finished sixth with 36 touchdown passes and eighth with 3,875 passing yards in the nation. Despite the gaudy numbers, there are a few ominous signs for McDonald’s production in 2019. He struggled down the stretch last year and there are rumors of a quarterback battle brewing between McDonald and redshirt freshman Chevan Cordeiro, who is a Hawaii high school legend. Another red flag is a much more difficult schedule for Hawaii: The Rainbows open the season against Arizona, Oregon and Washington. If you draft McDonald, CFF owners must acquire Cordeiro to protect their investment.
Passing Yards and TDs: 3,500 and 32
Rushing Yards and TDs: 220 and 3
Total Fantasy Points: 343
- Jordan Love, Utah State
For college fantasy footballers, a puzzle to solve before ranking and drafting Jordon Love. In 2018, Utah State posted an 11-2 mark, and the junior ascended among the elite CFF quarterbacks, throwing for 3,567 yards and completing 32 touchdowns. However, the Aggies graduated four starting offensive lineman, the top three wide receivers and running back Darwin Thompson, who the Chiefs selected in the sixth round of the NFL Draft. Can Jordan repeat his performance with so many offensive changes? At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Jordon has a strong arm, throws well on the run, hurls the ball accurately downfield and possesses a high football IQ. He is a patient pocket passer, who goes through his progressions well. Jordan was named All-Mountain West Second Team last year, setting numerous single game and season records for Utah State. In the New Mexico Bowl, Jordan set bowl game marks for passing yards (359 yards), touchdowns (4) and total offense (362) against North Texas. When most fantasy fans run from a player, I gravitate to the competitor and will purchase Love at a discounted price in 2019.
Passing Yards and TDs: 3,800 and 29
Rushing Yards and TDs: 100 and 5
Total Fantasy Points: 346
- Khalil Tate, Arizona
Can Khalil Tate recapture the magic in 2017? The consensus No. 1 overall selection in college fantasy football last year failed to live up to expectations last year. I anticipate that the gifted Wildcat will regain fantasy superstar status in 2019.
- Mason Fine, North Texas
The Mean Green employ a tremendous offensive trio with QB Mason Fine, RB DeAndre Torrey and WR Rico Bussey, Jr. Over the past two campaigns, Fine has passed for 7,845 yards and 58 touchdowns. The Senior may win his third consecutive C-USA Offensive Player of the Year.
- Gage Gubrud, Washington State
Starting gunslingers in coach Mike Leach’s system garners the interest of college football fanatics, and Gage Gubrud has an impressive resume. A decorated graduate transfer from Eastern Washington, Gubrud established FCS records for passing yards in a season with 5,160 in 2016, and he broke three FCS records, seven Big Sky Conference marks and 19 school marks as an Eagle.
- Caleb Evans, UL-Monroe
The senior quarterback has one of the highest ceilings among fantasy quarterbacks in 2019. A dual-threat signal caller, Celeb Evans rushed for 23 touchdowns and passed for 33 aerial strikes over the past two campaigns.
- Kellen Mond, Texas A&M
Coach Jumbo Fisher opened his tenure at Texas A&M with a 9-4 mark and facilitated the rise of Kellen Mond, who totaled 31 touchdowns. Fisher and the coaching staff are working on improving their quarterback’s decision making, reads and accuracy, which should translate into more opportunities for fantasy production.
- Zac Thomas, Appalachian State
The Mountaineers’ field general stands among my “must-have guys” this year. He nearly shocked Penn State in Happy Valley last fall and accounted for 25 total touchdowns by the end of the campaign despite not playing in two games essentially.
- Malcom Perry, Navy
I’m an admirer of the Navy triple-option attack, and senior quarterback Malcolm Perry will navigate the Midshipmen back to the top of the AAC. I expect nearly 20 rushing touchdowns from the stupendous Senior this season.
- Jamie Newman, Wake Forest
My CFF: On Campus teammate Justin Heisey adores the Wake Forest signal caller and convinced me of Newman’s potential. In the final four games of last season, the redshirt junior produced over 29 fantasy points three times. He will battle for the starting position with Sam Hartman and will win the job.
- Charlie Brewer, Baylor
One of the underrated playmakers in the nation. Charlie Brewer passed for over 3,000 yards, rushed for over 300 and totaled 26 touchdowns. The Baylor signal caller plays in a defensively-challenged conference and will partake in many shootouts by the end of the campaign, which foreshadows fantasy gold.
- Shane Buechele, SMU
One of the top recruits in 2016, Buechele started for the Longhorns as a true freshman, but lost the starting job to Sam Ehlinger last year. In the spring, he earned his degree from Texas and transferred to SMU as a graduate student. The Mustangs are loaded at the wide receiver position, and Buechele will excel in coach Sonny Dykes’ aerial assault.
- Justin Herbert, Oregon
The Senior decided to return to Eugene, Oregon for another season, and he is one of the top QB NFL prospects entering the 2019 season. Oregon returns all five starting O-lineman and looks locked and loaded at the skill positions. The dynamic Duck will easily eclipse thirty touchdowns in 2019.
- Spencer Sanders, Oklahoma State
The redshirt freshman is the darling of many CFF experts across the nation. I am not nearly as high as most, but clearly see the upside in Mike Gundy’s high-scoring offense. Spencer Sanders is a great No. 2 fantasy quarterback this year and could climb much higher in the 2020 CFF QB Rankings.
CFF QB Rankings Based on Following Scoring System
Passing yards: .05 points per yard
Passing touchdowns: 4 points
Rushing yards: .1 points per yard
Rushing touchdowns: 6 points
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