Three months until kickoff means three things around the FCB virtual office – that crazy NCAA Project freshmen draft starts soon, we finish up invites to the industries expert league FCFI, and mock draft time. In a year when I plan to pull back on my duties around here (more on that later), I am oddly more prepared at this early point than ever before. So with some quiet time in my schedule I want to get y’all up to date on my early thoughts on the upcoming college fantasy football season.
First off in this mini-series will be a quick thought stream on my picks in the Athlon Sports 2010 College Fantasy Football Mock Draft .
Vince’s strategy session
As the industry moves more to a 2QB starting lineup for all-FBS leagues, so has the Athlon Mock Draft. This format puts more of a value on QBs since twice as many are in play – a direct opposition to the time-tested FCB stance that you should not pick a QB until the rest of your starting lineup is filled. The rest of the lineup format was 3RB, 3WR, 1each Flex, TE, K, D. 18 rounds, twelve experts. Go!
Round One, pick 9 – Kendall Hunter, RB Oklahoma State
With Steve Lassan grabbing the Quiz and Drew taking my pre-season #1 overall Shane Vereen of Cal, I will admit to some homerism on this pick but it is still justified. New OC is Dana Holgerson of Texas Tech and Houston fame, so expect a very open spread offense with lots yardage production. Kendall Hunter is by far the most experienced and talented known quantity of the returning offensive Cowboys, of which there are only four. Hunter has ball skills for the passing game also, so I can see him performing very similar to a 2009 Charles Sims (1300 yfs) of Houston but better. Risk? Pretty green O-line. I thought it was too early for the top WR to come off the board, so I gathered Hunter (right, IconSMI).
Round Two, pick 16 – Blaine Gabbert, QB Missouri
System pick but with the added value that Gabbert showed remarkable grit playing hurt last year. I am expecting Chase Daniel like numbers this year from Gabbert.
Round Three, pick 33 – Titus Young, WR Boise State
Drew again grabbed my target DeAndre Brown, but I am very happy going to the blue turf grabbing Kellen Moore’s favorite target. Many stars align for Boise this year as they return all but one of the offensive starters from last year’s amazing unit – I can see 40+ TDs from Moore, so at least 15 should go to Young.
Round Four, pick 40 – Eric Page, WR Toledo
New Rocket QB, but another system pick as I consciously began scooping up WRs in rapid succession (stay tuned). MAC defenses are notoriously porous and Page returns kicks also. I think Page can be one of the most exciting players in the nation in 2010.
Round Five, pick 57 – Greg Childs, WR Arkansas
All reports are solid for this emerging offense in the SEC, including the shoulder health of QB Ryan Mallett. I grabbed the larger of the top WR from Bobby Petrino’s wicked offense with a soft out-of-conference schedule.
Round Six, pick 64 – Charles Sims, RB/WR Houston
I really liked getting an important Cougar in Round Six – until he was ruled ineligible in late May. Oops.
Round Seven, pick 81 – DeVier Posey, WR Ohio State
With so many RB off the board (and lots of my value RBs still on the board), I went with Terrelle Pryor’s best target for my Flex Spot. I took some heat on email for taking so many WR, but I have been doing this for years with success so I am used to the feedback. I felt even better about this pick after I saw Phil Steele go nuts for Ohio State this year, picking them to play in the MNC game against Oklahoma and for Pryor to channel Vince Young‘s junior season. To which the college football gods should be happy, since neither school has shown up for title games in the past and one of them deserves a title for multi-year success (see Bills, Buffalo).
Round Eight, pick 88 – Christian Ponder, QB Florida State
THIS is exactly the draft phenomenon that Drew Smith highlighted so long ago – you can get quality QBs much later in drafts (NFL too, BTW) than you are first willing to realize. Ponder is a dual-threat weapon in an open offense in a competitive (or mediocre depending on your vantage) ACC conference. Talent surrounds Ponder in spades too, and this pick is a bet on the purging of Bobby Bowden from the sidelines will lift a huge weight off the shoulders of the Seminoles on both sides of the ball.
Round Nine, pick 105 – Eugene Jarvis, RB Kent State
Back to the MAC with the 2008 NCAA returning rushing leader (2007 stats: 279-1669T10). Golden Flash HC Doug Martin speaks of the Jarvis (right) courage in the spring as he returns from a lacerated kidney. The schedule ex-September looks weak but I wonder if I could have got him later? I also wanted to grab Utah’s Matt Asiata in his 6th year of eligibility and he went undrafted….I sense value in the late rounds for these studs returning from injury.
Round Ten, pick 112 – Morgan Williams, RB Toledo
A system pick with last year’s leader graduated, and betting on a reversion to his 1000-yard 2008 form.. Mr. Steele points out that the Rockets have one of the most experienced O-Lines in the nation also adding to the confidence of the pick as they work in a new starting QB.
Round 11, pick 129 – Cam Newton, QB Auburn
I must now go on record with my prediction for Newton – Tim Tebow like numbers are within reach of this former Gator recruit, so that is 40+ TD in the Gus Malzhan system. He should be able to surpass the 2009 Chris Todd passing numbers (2600T22) but add significantly to the running TD production. I would have let him go deeper in the draft but Dr. Saturday posted this glowing preview during our email draft so I chose to jump sooner. I am quite confident that his stock will rise as the season approaches, so get prepared for him to shoot him up to single-digit rounds.
Round 12, pick 136 – Joe Halahuni, TE Oregon State / Round 13, pick 153 – Boise State Defense / Round 14, pick 160 – Alan Gendreau, K Middle Tennessee
Just before this pick, a directive from the hosts – had to fill out the starting lineups so Steve Lassan could post the article – no worries since I was able to get solid picks on positions that do not demand high picks. Halahuni really came alive late last year, particularly against the unusually weak USC. I just don’t see the top-tier TE like I did in 2008, so lesson here is to find a value pick and the Beaver system supports strong TE production. Boise D may be the safest pick in all of fantasy college football, I will take them in the 13th any day. Gendreau is safe with Dwight Dasher returning and a very weak schedule.
Round 15, pick 177 – Ronnie Wingo, RB Arkansas
Friend of the site Ron Jumper of Sports Overload first turned me on to Wingo early last year, but there were carries split all over the place. This was a bet on Wingo talent overall, DeAnthony Curtis moved to WR and another Razorback is always welcome.
Round 16, pick 184 – Jeff Demps, RB Florida
Few backs are more efficient per carry than Demps, and I am in the camp that we will see more production from Demps with Rainey moved to WR.
Round 17, pick 201 – Keola Antolin, RB Arizona
Loading up on my value RBs here – Antolin is the home-run threat complementing Nic Grigsby in the Wildcat backfield. As you can see, I chose to use lots of my later picks to develop RB depth based on my comfort at QB and WR.
Round 18, pick 208 – Malcom Williams, WR Texas
My sloppiness is rewarded here – I expect that Texas will be just fine this season as I was very impressed with QB Garrett Gilbert when he was pressed into duty in the title game last season. Williams is the top returning talent (some freshman infusion coming from Darius White and Mike Davis is expected) I had Williams on my early Top 25 WR, but in the multi-week hubub of this email draft I forgot about him. Seems so did everyone else so I reaped the benefits – or I am so far off the reservation that I need to reevaluate the Texas WRs. I think the former.