The backbone of any college fantasy football team, picking the right QB can make or break your season. The QB rankings underwent a big shakeup today with the news that Ohio State Senior and Heisman hopeful Braxton Miller is out for the season after re-injuring his right throwing shoulder. This is a big blow for the Buckeyes national title hopes, and a big shift in the college fantasy football landscape.
Here’s how we rank the Top-20 QBs for college fantasy football (based on a Major Conference + Independents draft pool) in 2014:
1. Bryce Petty (Baylor)
The next in line of Baylor University stat-sheet fillers (Robert Griffin III, Nick Florence), Bryce “Heartbreaker” Petty is proficient through the air (32-3 TD-INT ratio last year!) and pads his stats with goal-line carries (14 rushing TDs last year!). To top it off, Baylor faces a soft schedule in 2014. Draft him #1 overall.
2. Marcus Mariota (Oregon)
I’m sure you’d be quite happy picking him #2 overall. Not much separates the Top-3 signal callers for college fantasy football purposes, and Mariota is being called the top QB prospect for the 2015 NFL draft. The Ducks play a soft schedule too. Draft with confidence.
3. Jameis Winston (Florida State)
“King Crab” will be a favorite for a Heisman repeat. His numbers as a true freshman were astounding last year, but how much more productive can he get? I also worry that this FSU team will be blowing teams out on a regular basis, hurting the Famous ones numbers. But, can you resist drafting the guy?
4. Sean Mannion (Oregon State)
Sean “Now You’re A” Mannion has already thrown for over 10,000 career yards and has Matt Barkley’s career Pac-12 record in his sights. He averaged 472 passing yards per game with a 29-3 TD-INT ratio through his first 7 games last year. A similar pace could see him break all the record books in 2014.
5. Taylor Kelly (Arizona State)
Another Pac-12 signal caller that should be in line for another productive season. Taylor “Swift” Kelly can chuck it (3,000 or more yards and 28 or more TDs each of the last 2 seasons) and run it (600 yards and 9 TDs). He also finishes the year with 3 potential shoot-outs (at Oregon State, vs. Washington State, at Arizona).
6. Brett Hundley (UCLA)
This Heisman hopeful has put up 2 very strong seasons. If he improves again this year, he could be on a Johnny Manziel-esqe pace. Equally as strong through the air as on the ground, he should be a first round pick in your league this year.
7. Conor Halliday (Washington State)
God bless you Mike Leach. Conor Halliday “Roads” chucked it 714 times last season. You know that the Cougars are going to air it out, so Halliday becomes a nice “safe” QB pick if you’re willing to wait until all the big names have already come off the board.
8. Nick Marshall (Auburn)
He can put up numbers like a starting RB. If his arm keeps developing, he’s going to put up some gaudy numbers in 2014. He’s also got a really nice receiving weapon at his disposal in Sammie Coates. The Tigers do face a brutal schedule though, capped by a game at Tuscaloosa on college fantasy championship weekend.
9. Bo Wallace (Ole Miss)
Another athletic, dual-threat SEC QB. “Bro” Wallace went over 400 yards passing once last season, hinting at his potential if he puts it all together as a senior in 2014. His rushing TDs will help pad his stats, and he’s got an exciting threat at receiver in Laquon Treadwell.
10. Dak Prescott (Mississippi State)
An athletic, dual threat-wait a minute, I just keep writing the same thing over and over again here! Similar to Marshall and Wallace, Prescott can get it done on the ground and through the air, but at this point his passing game is the least developed of the three. He did have 13 rushing TDs in 2013 though.
11. Keenan Reynolds (Navy)
Gotta love the triple option. Keenan “Not Kel” Reynolds 31 rushing touchdowns last season were the third-most in NCAA history. Can he catch Barry Sanders’ all-time mark of 37 this year? Playing Phil Steele’s #108 overall schedule sure won’t hurt his chances.
12. Devin Gardner (Michigan)
Devin Gardner “Snake” started out really rough last season, but he got a lot better as the year wore on, nearly topping 3,000 passing yards. Also, this is the same offensive scheme that produced some obscene outings by Denard Robinson (hey, remember when Gardner was his WR?).
13. Davis Webb (Texas Tech)
His name makes him sound like an up and coming golfer or retirement community, but in reality he’s the next highly productive QB to make a name for himself in Lubbock. Kliff Kingsbury will have this kid chucking it, and as long as his arm doesn’t give out, he should put up great numbers for the Red Raiders in 2014.
14. Taysom Hill (BYU)
One of only 7 QBs in NCAA history to throw for over 400 yards and run for over 100 yards in a single game (vs. Houston LY). Doing most of his damage with his legs last year (1,344 yards, 10 TDs), his throwing numbers also showed steady improvement. A sleeper pick if he can put it all together.
15. Maty Mauk (Missouri)
Maty “Football” Mauk acquitted himself well in his SEC debut as a redshirt freshman filling in for the injured James Franklin last season. He can run a little, throw a little, and he’s got the keys to a Mizzou offense that has always produced good QB numbers.
16. Connor Cook (Michigan State)
This Rose Bowl MVP changed the Michigan State offense last season when he started making big throws downfield. Mark Dantonio’s offense uses the run game to set up those big throws, and Kirk “Kissin'” Cousins put up some nice stats in the same system. “Colonel” Cook has the skills to do the same.
17. Kevin Hogan (Stanford)
Kevin “Hulk” Hogan has been a solid game manager for David Shaw’s Stanford squad in his first two years. In his third year, he’s looking to make the next step and become an elite QB. He’s got the pedigree and the coaching to do it. But he’s also went on cold snaps that can kill a fantasy squad.
18. Christian Hackenberg (Penn State)
He made an excellent debut as a true freshman last season, throwing for 2,955 yards and 20 TDs in Bill O’Brien’s wide-open offense. O’Brien is gone, replaced by James Franklin’s hard-nosed brand of football. However, Hackenberg has the pedigree to succeed in any system.
19. CJ Brown (Maryland)
I think that this Senior Turtle signal caller puts it all together, has good health, and leads Maryland to a successful first season in the Big 10. He’s got the legs to put up solid stats on the ground (12 rushing TDs last year), and his passing game shows enough flashes to make him a dual threat weapon.
20. Marquise Williams (North Carolina)
Williams led the Tar Heels in rushing last season, and he posted a better QBR than Bryn Renner, who was supposed to be the more polished of the UNC quarterbacks. Williams is also a good fit for Larry Fedora’s system, and he’s got a great big-play receiver in Quinshad Davis.