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CFB Fantasy: Big 12 Fantasy QBs

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Athlon continues its 2010 college fantasy draft kit with a look at the Big 12 quarterbacks.

Big 12 Fantasy Quarterback Rankings and Profiles

Fantasy points based upon standard scoring system – passing touchdowns = 4 pts, rushing touchdowns = 6 pts, 25 passing yards = 1 point, 10 rush/receiving yards = 1 point, receptions = 0.5 points, 2 point conversions = 2 points

1. Jerrod Johnson, Texas A&M (SR) – Bye Week – 4
There was some uncertainty last fall whether or not Johnson would be the starting quarterback in College Station. Judging by the results, Mike Sherman made the right call to start Johnson over Ryan Tannehill. Johnson tossed 3,579 yards and 30 scores, while adding 506 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. There were a few subpar performances for fantasy owners, but Johnson topped 300 passing yards in six games and has a streak of 18 games with a touchdown pass. 

Athlon’s Take: With the emergence of Christine Michael last year, Texas A&M won’t have to rely on the pass so much this season. The Aggies may run a little more and the offensive line needs to jell, but Johnson should find a way to get to 35 total touchdowns and will be one of the first five quarterbacks off the board.

2009 stats – 334.18 fantasy points
Passing: 3,579 yds., 30 TDs, 8 INTs
Rushing: 506 yds., 8 TDs

2. Blaine Gabbert, Missouri (JR) – Bye Week – 5
A sprained ankle bothered Gabbert throughout the final eight games, but he still finished the season as the No. 16 fantasy quarterback. Gabbert tossed at least two scores in 8 of 13 contests and had only four performances of less than 200 yards. The Tigers must replace receiver Danario Alexander, but Gabbert in his second year as the starter should be in for a jump in passing yards and scores. Approaching 3,700 yards and 30 scores is easily attainable for Gabbert.

Athlon’s Take: Despite the losses at receiver, the Tigers should continue to own one of the Big 12’s best passing attacks. With a healthy ankle and one of the Big 12’s best offensive lines, Gabbert should end the season among the top five in fantasy quarterbacks.

2009 stats – 265.9 fantasy points
Passing: 3,593 yds., 24 TDs, 9 INTs
Rushing: 204 yds., 3 TDs

3. Landry Jones, Oklahoma (SO) – Bye Week – 6
Sam Bradford’s shoulder injury opened the door for Jones to start 10 games last season and the early returns in Norman were positive. Jones battled inconsistency on the road, throwing seven interceptions to only three scores. There were several bright spots for fantasy owners, including a blistering 336-yard, six touchdown performance against Tulsa and 418 yards with three scores against Stanford in the Sun Bowl.

Athlon’s Take: With a full offseason to work as the starter, Jones should be in a better position to succeed this year. The offensive line should be improved and the receiving corps is stocked with options. Expect Jones to top 3,000 passing yards once again and toss over 30 scores.

2009 stats – 191.8 fantasy points
Passing: 3,198 yds., 26 TDs, 14 INTs
Rushing: -113 yds., 0 TD

4. Robert Griffin, Baylor (SO) – Bye Week – 13
Baylor’s bowl hopes ended when Griffin suffered a torn ACL in the fourth week of last season. All signs point to Griffin returning at 100 percent when the season begins, which is good news for Baylor and fantasy owners – assuming he can find his freshman form. As a freshman in 2008, Griffin finished with 2,091 passing yards and 15 scores, while rushing for 843 yards and 13 scores.

Athlon’s Take: Considering Griffin is coming off a significant knee injury, rushing for 800 yards seems unlikely. However, passing for 2,700 yards and 20 scores is a reasonable projection. Griffin should be a solid top-20 fantasy quarterback, but he needs to regain his form on the ground to return to the top 10.

2009 stats – 56.94 fantasy points
Passing: 481 yds., 4 TDs, 0 INT
Rushing: 77 yds., 2 TDs

5. Garrett Gilbert, Texas (SO) – Bye Week – 6
Replacing a quarterback like Colt McCoy won’t be easy, but the Longhorns have another star in the making. Gilbert shined late in the national championship, finishing with 186 yards and two scores, while nearly bringing the Longhorns back from an 18-point deficit. The sophomore is coming off a strong spring game and looks poised to lead Texas back into Big 12 title contention.

Athlon’s Take: Gilbert has yet to make his first start, so a few ups and downs can be expected. The Longhorns have concerns about the receivers and also want to establish the rushing attack more this season. However, there’s a lot of upside with this pick and Gilbert should be one of the first 30 quarterbacks off the board.

2009 stats – 12.26 fantasy points
Passing: 310 yds., 2 TDs, 4 INTs
Rushing: 5 yds., 1 TD

6. Steven Sheffield, Texas Tech – Bye Week – 4
Mike Leach is gone, but new coach Tommy Tuberville hired Troy offensive coordinator Neal Brown to keep the Texas Tech offense among the best in the Big 12. Tuberville wants to see more balance, but the offense will continue to lead with the pass. Sheffield and Taylor Potts battled for the job last season and the starting spot was unsettled exiting spring practice. Sheffield’s best performance last season came in a 66-14 thrashing of Kansas State, throwing for 490 yards and seven touchdowns. 

Athlon’s Take:  Texas Tech will be one of the most intriguing offenses to watch this season. Although Tuberville wants to keep a similar offense in place, his background suggests things may be more conservative. Sheffield or Potts should be a solid fantasy option, but the days of Sonny Cumbie, Graham Harrell and Kliff Kingsbury could be gone.

2009 stats – 107.1 fantasy points
Passing: 1,219 yds., 14 TDs, 4 INTs
Rushing: -41 yds., 2 TDs

7. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State – Bye Week – 4
Dana Holgorsen was hired to improve Oklahoma State’s passing attack and the former Houston coordinator should make an immediate impact. The Cowboys won’t abandon the run, but there is a new emphasis on the pass, and Holgorsen coordinated one of the nation’s most prolific passing offenses over the last two years. Before joining Oklahoma State, Weeden played minor league baseball from 2002 to 2006. His experience is limited, with the most extensive playing time coming against Colorado last season. 

Athlon’s Take: Holgorsen’s hire could be the one with the most fantasy impact this year. The Cowboys should easily surpass the 336 attempts they posted last season, making Weeden a solid QB3 with plenty of upside.

2009 stats – 26.72 fantasy points
Passing: 248 yds., 4 TDs, 1 INT
Rushing: 18 yds., 0 TD

8. Austen Arnaud, Iowa State (SR) – Bye Week – 13
Arnaud endured an inconsistent 2009 campaign, but still finished with respectable numbers and as the No. 32 fantasy quarterback. When former Rice offensive coordinator Tom Herman was hired as the playcaller, most expected the Cyclones would open up the passing attack, but Arnaud ended up with nearly 100 fewer passing attempts than he had in 2008. Despite missing two starts due to injury last year, Arnaud nearly matched his passing touchdown total from 2008.

Athlon’s Take: Arnaud should show improvement in the second year of Herman’s offense and his rushing ability helps to make up for any struggles in the passing game. The Cyclones will struggle on defense this year, so Arnaud and Iowa State should be involved in plenty of shootouts. Take a look at Arnaud for a QB3 spot or as a starter for select matchups.

2009 stats – 211.5 fantasy points
Passing: 2,015 yds., 14 TDs, 13 INTs
Rushing: 561 yds., 8 TDs

9. Kale Pick, Kansas (SO) – Bye Week – 6
Pick has the task of picking up where Todd Reesing – Kansas’ all-time leader in passing yards – left off. Pick doesn’t have much experience, but in limited work he’s shown excellent mobility. The sophomore held off redshirt freshman Jordan Webb and junior college transfer Quinn Mecham exiting spring practice for the No. 1 spot, but the battle is expected to continue into the fall. The Jayhawks have a strong rushing attack and line, so the winner of the quarterback battle won’t be asked to carry the offensive load this year.

Athlon’s Take: Pick is an interesting prospect to watch. The sophomore has excellent mobility and could see 400-500 rushing yards this year. However, Pick needs to show what he can do as a passer before generating interest in 120 leagues.

2009 stats – 17.58 fantasy points
Passing: 22 yds., 0 TD
Rushing: 167 yds., 0 TD

10. Tyler Hansen, Colorado (JR) – Bye Week – 4
The quarterback carousel between Hansen and Cody Hawkins ended after Colorado’s 38-14 loss to Texas. After Hawkins struggled in the first five games of last season, Hansen was handed the keys to the Colorado offense. Hansen provided a spark, but threw for only eight touchdowns in seven starts and failed to top 200 passing yards four times.

Athlon’s Take: The Buffaloes have a solid receiving corps and a steady running back in Rodney Stewart returning. If the offensive line shows improvement and Hansen plays well, Colorado should be better on this side of the ball. However, Hansen remains a spot starter or only an option in Big 12-only leagues this year.

2009 stats – 103.8 fantasy points
Passing: 1,440 yds., 8 TDs, 7 INTs
Rushing: 61 yds., 1 TD

11. Zac Lee, Nebraska (SR)
12. Carson Coffman, Kansas State (SR)
13. Taylor Potts, Texas Tech (SR)
14. Cody Green, Nebraska (SO)
15. Taylor Martinez, Nebraska (FR)
16. Jordan Webb, Kansas (FR)
17. Cody Hawkins, Colorado (SR)
18. Collin Klein, Kansas State (SO)
19. Jerome Tiller, Iowa State (SO)
20. Sammuel Lamur, Kansas State (JR)
21. Nick Florence, Baylor (SO)
22. Johnny Deaton, Oklahoma State (FR)
23. Sherrod Harris, Texas (SR)
24. Drew Allen, Oklahoma (FR)
25. Tommy Dorman, Texas A&M (SO)
26. Jimmy Costello, Missouri (JR)
27. Quinn Mecham, Kansas (JR)
28. Nathan Sorensen, Oklahoma State (FR)
29. Nick Hirschman, Colorado (FR)
30. Billy Cosh, Kansas State (FR)