Fantasy Futures Notes
I will be analyzing the news and bowl slate over the next few weeks to touch on how some late-season performances and coaching changes could affect personnel decisions for College Fantasy Football purposes in 2020.
Colorado State hires former Boston College Head Coach Steve Addazio:
Colorado State went 3-9 for three consecutive season from 2009-2011. However since they hired Jim McElwain in 2012, and followed his departure with the hire of former Georgia OC Mike Bobo, CSU has emerged as an under-the-radar college fantasy football hotbed. Their offensive renaissance produced CFF stars like Izzy Matthews, Dalyn Dawkins, Rashard Higgins, Preston Williams, Olabisi Johnson and this year's breakout star Warren Jackson, who posted 77 receptions for 1,119 yards and eight touchdowns for the Rams. Yet instead of hiring another innovative offensive mind, the athletic department decided to run on the hamster-wheel of re-tread coaches and embrace the mediocrity of former BC HC Steve Addazio. Anytime you hire a coach to run your program who was widely panned by multiple prominent former players in the wake of his exit, the coaches tenure is probably not going to end well. In the wake of Addazio's hire promising QB Colin Hill, who completed 67 percent of his passes with an 8/2 ratio before being injured, promptly entered the transfer portal. For CFF purposes, you can now safely ignore all CSU QB's and wide receivers, while heavily targeting their running backs, as BC ran for 267 yards per game this year in one of the least innovative FBS offenses this side of the service academies.
Washington's 2020 Receiver Corps:
In analyzing Washington's receivers this year, it was obvious that there was room for improvement on the outside. QB Jacob Eason relied heavily on elite TE Hunter Bryant, who racked up 52 catches for 825 yards, a 15.9 YPC and three touchdowns, because the WR corps was plagued by drops and inconsistency. Leading WR Aaron Fuller had productive stretches, but did not perform up to the lofty standards of talented recent WR graduates John Ross and Dante Pettis. In Washington's 38-7 demolition of Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl, the Huskies' leading WR was sophomore Terrell Bynum with a line of 5-67-1, with outgoing seniors Fuller and Andre Baccellia coming in as the #2 and #3 WR's. Their pending departure along with Hunter Bryant leaves a significant amount of vacated production to be filled in 2020. In an attempt to learn as much as possible about the 2020 Huskie WR corps, I reached out to the purveyor of the excellent fantasy website DevyWatch.com and noted Washington insider, L.J. Chaney for his opinion on next year's WR group:
"It’s a messy room but I think for 2020 Puka Nacqua is The Guy. Bynum is another one that impressed like you alluded to and the third guy will be between Austin Osborne and Jalen McMillan, the incoming 2020 recruit. Osborne looked like the most impressive WR last spring but for whatever reason Petersen continued to roll out his seniors who were less than, to put it lightly. Cade Otton is a legit threat for the NFL at the TE position and his role will increase with Bryant declaring. But my 4 would be Puka, Bynum, Osborne, McMillan with Puka being The Guy"
Kent State's 2020 Offensive Outlook:
Now a full two-years into his Kent State tenure, HC Sean Lewis' "Flash Fast" offense is running on all cylinders and poised to wreak havoc on MAC defenses in 2020. Kent State's record is skewed by three early season losses to bowl-eligible Power 5 schools Arizona State/Auburn/Wisconsin. In MAC play Kent State went 6-3 with all three of their losses being decided by 7 points or less. Keep in mind, Kent State won seven games combined in their previous three seasons as Lewis rebuilt the Golden Flashes in the wake of former-HC Paul Haynes' disastrous coaching performance prior to Lewis' arrival. This year, KSU posted 29.2 PPG overall, and a dominant 36.7 PPG in MAC play. Not bad for a team that averaged 12.3 PPG in 2017, the year before HC Lewis' arrival. Personnel-wise, former Auburn transfer QB Woody Barrett won the starting job in camp but was quickly supplanted by junior QB Dustin Crum, who was incredible in their 51-41 Frisco Bowl victory over Utah State in completing 21-of-26 passes for 289 yards and two touchdowns in the air, while also rushing 23 times for 147 yards (!) and another touchdown. His dual-threat ability was a major factor in the Golden Flashes success this year, ending the season with 2,625 yards passing, completing 69 percent of his passes with a 20/2 ratio in the air, while also rushing for 707 yards and six touchdowns. Crum will be a force to be reckoned with in 2020. Crum's favorite target was sophomore WR Isaiah McKoy, who caught 56 passes for 872 yards and eight touchdowns in 11 games. CFF owners will need to invest early-to-mid round capital in 2020 if they want to acquire the services of Crum and McKoy.
Arkansas State's Quarterbacks:
In 2018 Logan Bonner served as the heir-apparent to Arkansas State star QB Justice Hansen. Heading into the 2019 season, Logan Bonner was the clear choice to lead the Red Wolves into battle and acquitted himself well in their opening week 37-30 competitive loss to a 10-win SMU team by throwing for 324 yards, completed 64 percent of his passes and posted a 4/1 ratio. However Bonner injured his throwing thumb in the game, which ultimately led to season ending surgery in late-September with the Red Wolves sporting a 2-2 record. Renowned offensive guru HC Blake Anderson was forced to turn to redshirt freshman Layne Hatcher, who proceeded to put together a string of nine starts that deserved recognition. He threw for under 299 yards only one time in those nine games and the only reason he didn't throw for 300+ against Texas State is because Arkansas State boat-raced them to the tune of 38-14, allowing Hatcher to take it easy in the second-half and feed RB Marcel Murray. He threw at least two touchdowns in each of his starts, leading ASU to a 6-3 record under his command. He threw for 2,954 yards, averaging 322 passing yards per game while completing 66 percent of his passes with a 27-10 ratio. Hatcher may have very well "Wally Pipped" Bonner, but we won't have any further insight into this fledgling battle until the spring practices. Whoever wins the job will be a priority fantasy acquisition, even without the departing all-world WR Omar Bayless.
FAU's Air Attack:
With three of FAU's top wide-receivers suspended, and superstar tight end Harrison Bryant out with an illness, FAU QB Chris Robison still completed 27-of-37 passes for 305 yards and two touchdowns in a 52-28 rout of SMU in the Boca Raton Bowl. The many absences in Florida Atlantic's WR corps offered a potential glimpse into the starting alignment for FAU in 2020. Sophomore Brandon Robinson had only caught two passes all year before catching five passes for 78 yards and a touchdown to lead the Owls in receiving against SMU. Dependable slot receiver Willie Wright also caught eight passes for 59 yards, but the most impressive player I witnessed in the bowl victory was TE John Raine. The 2019 FAU passing attack revolved around All C-USA first-team TE Harrison Bryant, who caught 65 passes for 1,004 yards and seven touchdowns for the Owls. With Bryant out, Raine shined in catching seven passes for 73 yards and a touchdown reception in which he displayed impressive body control by leaping over a SMU defender to catch the pass at its highest point in the back of the end-zone. Even with Bryant posting a 1,000 yard receiving season, Raine still caught 38 passes for 343 yards and six touchdowns. Bryant graduates this season, leaving Raine to handle the majority of tight end receiving work for FAU in 2020. He should post elite tight end numbers next season so long as FAU doesn't start running the triple-option under their new coaching staff.