Athlon continues its 2010 college fantasy draft kit with a look at the SEC quarterbacks.
SEC 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. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas (JR) – Bye Week – 5
Mallett was expected to be the perfect fit for Bobby Petrino’s high-powered attack and the Texas gunslinger didn’t disappoint in his first year at Arkansas. Mallett threw for 3,624 yards and 30 scores and posted five games of at least three touchdown tosses. The NFL tempted Mallett to make a jump to the next level, but he decided to return for another run at the SEC title. The junior missed spring workouts due to a broken foot, but the injury should be healed in time for the 2010 season.
Athlon’s Take: Mallett is clearly the SEC’s top fantasy option at quarterback and one of the top 15 options in the nation. The Arkansas offense will be explosive, with one of the best receiving corps in college football. Mallett shouldn’t have any trouble reaching 3,500 yards and 30 scores once again.
2009 stats – 264.48 fantasy points
Passing: 3,624 yds., 30 TDs, 7 INTs
Rushing: -29 yds., 2 TDs
2. John Brantley, Florida (JR) – Bye Week – 8
Replacing Tim Tebow won’t be easy, but Florida shouldn’t be worried about its starting quarterback this season. Brantley may not have a start to his record, but he was a highly-touted prospect out of high school and was impressive in relief work last season – 36 of 48 for 410 yards and seven scores. Brantley lacks Tebow’s mobility, but is a better passer.
Athlon’s Take: Brantley has potential to throw for 3,000 yards and 25-30 scores this year. However, Brantley likely won’t reach elite status, due to Trey Burton or Jordan Reed stealing scores around the goal-line with quarterback runs. Look for the Gators to favor the pass this season, with Brantley emerging as a solid QB2.
2009 stats – 51.1 fantasy points
Passing: 410 yds., 7 TDs, 0 INT
Rushing: 67 yds.
3. Stephen Garcia, South Carolina (JR) – Bye Week – 5
Stop if you’ve heard this before – Steve Spurrier is upset with a quarterback. Spurrier never holds back when it comes to his quarterbacks, and Garcia has been under fire since he stepped on campus. Although Garcia is talented, he has made mistakes off the field and continues to be inconsistent when he’s on it. Last season, Garcia finished as the No. 34 fantasy quarterback, but threw for 190 yards or less in five games and tossed an interception in five straight contests to close out the 2010 season.
Athlon’s Take: Spurrier has already indicated he won’t be afraid to play true freshman Connor Show this season – if Garcia continues to have bouts of inconsistency. If Garcia takes the next step in his development, notching 3,000 total yards and 25 scores is within reach. However, if Garcia stumbles, South Carolina could have a two-quarterback system.
2009 stats – 209.92 fantasy points
Passing: 2,862 yds., 17 TDs, 10 INTs
Rushing: 186 yds., 4 TDs
4. Cameron Newton, Auburn (JR) – Bye Week – 12
Outside of John Brantley, the quarterback with the most fantasy upside in the SEC is Newton. The junior college transfer led Blinn College to the NJCAA National Championship last season and after starting his career at Florida, has a chance at push Auburn into SEC West contention. The dual-threat quarterback is a good fit for Gus Malzahn’s offense, but it will take him some time to adjust to the level of competition.
Athlon’s Take: The Auburn coaching staff kept Newton under wraps most of spring, but he should be the starting quarterback when the Tigers open with Arkansas State on Sept. 4. Newton is still developing as a passer, so there may be a few rough outings early on. However, Newton should be a starter in SEC-only leagues and worth a look as a QB3 in 120 formats.
2009 stats – none
5. Greg McElroy, Alabama (SR) – Bye Week – 9
McElroy wasn’t flashy, but with one of the best defenses and rushing attacks in the nation, the Crimson Tide didn’t need much from their starting quarterback. The Texas native started the year by posting 10 total scores in his first five games, but hit a midseason slump and went three games without reaching paydirt. Despite the midseason struggles, McElroy rebounded to throw 218 yards and two scores in the regular season finale against Auburn and 239 yards and one score in Alabama's SEC title win over Florida.
Athlon’s Take: McElroy should show improvement in his second year as the starter, but Alabama remains a run-first team. Look for McElroy to post around 2,700 passing yards and 20 scores this season.
2009 stats – 169.84 fantasy points
Passing: 2,508 yds., 17 TDs, 4 INTs
Rushing: 83 yds., 1 TD
6. Jordan Jefferson, LSU (JR) – Bye Week – 9
The LSU offense was a major disappointment last season, finishing at the bottom of the SEC in total offense. Jefferson was so-so last year, throwing for 17 scores and 2,166 yards, but struggled with decision-making and getting rid of the ball when pressured. After a subpar season, nobody’s job is safe – including Jefferson’s. The coaching staff allowed Jarrett Lee an opportunity to win the job in practice, but Jefferson remained atop the depth chart, despite a subpar showing in the spring game. Jefferson has the talent, but needs to show progression to keep the starting gig.
Athlon’s Take: Depending on the size of your league, Jefferson could be a starter in SEC-only leagues. The Tigers have weapons at receiver, so the potential is there for 20 passing scores. However, Jefferson needs to be better and needs help from a shaky offensive line to generate any interest in 120 leagues this season.
2009 stats – 163.86 fantasy points
Passing: 2,166 yds., 17 TDs, 7 INTs
Rushing: 171 yds., 1 TD
7. Aaron Murray, Georgia (FR) – Bye Week – 12
Georgia fans wanted to see what Murray could do last season, but the coaching staff maintained his redshirt. After a year of development and a battle for the starting job in the spring, Murray is ready to start for Georgia this season. The Bulldogs struggled on offense last season, but found the right mix at the end of the year. The offensive line and rushing attack will be among the best in the nation, which will allow the Georgia coaching staff to ease Murray into the starting role.
Athlon’s Take: Murray will suffer a few growing pains, but there is a ton of upside for 2011 and beyond. He is a potential spot starter for select matchups in BCS-only leagues this year and depending on how quickly he progresses, a starter in SEC-only leagues.
2009 stats – none
8. Chris Relf, Mississippi State (JR) – Bye Week – 10
Relf served as Mississippi State’s change of pace option at quarterback last season, rushing for 500 yards and two scores. Although Tyson Lee was limited as a passer, Relf couldn’t wrestle the starting job away, largely due to his own struggles in the passing department. Relf completed 53.6 percent of his passes and tossed three interceptions on 41 attempts. The junior exited spring practice neck-and-neck with redshirt freshman Tyler Russell for the starting job. Expect this quarterback battle to go into fall practice and both players could see significant time this year.
Athlon’s Take: If Relf can repeat his rushing numbers, plus a significant upgrade in passing statistics – (2,000 yards and 13-15 passing touchdowns) – he could be a top 30-40 quarterback. However, Relf will have trouble holding off Russell for playing time, limiting the fantasy value of both players.
2009 stats – 90.32 fantasy points
Passing: 283 yds., 5 TDs, 3 INTs
Rushing: 500 yds., 2 TDs
9. Mike Hartline, Kentucky (SR) – Bye Week – 12
Since Hartline became the starting quarterback at Kentucky, it seems like he is in a continuous battle for his job – and that trend will continue into this season. Hartline tossed six touchdowns in the first five games of last season, before suffering a knee injury against South Carolina. Hartline tried to play against Vanderbilt a couple of weeks later, but after attempting six passes in that game, did not take a snap the remainder of the year. The senior has thrown 15 touchdowns and 2,502 yards in his career, but also has 16 interceptions and a 56.6 percent completion percentage.
Athlon’s Take: Hartline pulled ahead of Morgan Newton for the starting job exiting spring practice, but remains a risky fantasy option. If Hartline struggles this season, Newton will get an early look. Unless you are desperate or need a backup in SEC-only leagues, stay away from Hartline.
2009 stats – 52.48 fantasy points
Passing: 802 yds., 6 TDs, 7 INTs
Rushing: 27 yds., 0 TD
10. Nathan Stanley, Ole Miss (SO) – Bye Week – 6
With only one starter back on offense, 2010 will be a rebuilding year for the Ole Miss offense. Stanley saw limited playing time as a backup to Jevan Snead last season, with his best passing performance coming against UAB. Stanley is regarded as a solid, dropback passer, but has yet to take a snap in SEC play. The sophomore had a good spring and distanced himself from Raymond Cotton for the starting spot.
Athlon’s Take: Stanley isn’t going to register in many fantasy leagues this year, outside of a spot starter in 120 or BCS-only leagues. SEC-only leagues should consider Stanley a QB2, but keep a close watch on the progress of incoming junior college recruit Randall Mackey.
2009 stats – 10.4 fantasy points
Passing: 163 yds., 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: -12 yds.
11. Matt Simms, Tennessee (JR) – Bye Week – 7
12. Larry Smith, Vanderbilt (JR) – Bye Week – 4
13. Tyler Russell, Mississippi State (FR)
14. Morgan Newton, Kentucky (SO)
15. Jarrett Lee, LSU (JR)
16. Trey Burton, Florida (FR)
17. Tyler Bray, Tennessee (FR)
18. Raymond Cotton, Ole Miss (FR)
19. Tyler Wilson, Arkansas (SO)
20. Connor Shaw, South Carolina (FR)
21. Neil Caudle, Auburn (SR)
22. Randall Mackey, Ole Miss (JR)
23. Logan Gray, Georgia (JR)
24. Jordan Rodgers, Vanderbilt (JR)
25. A.J. McCarron, Alabama (FR)
26. Charlie Goro, Vanderbilt (FR)
27. Barrett Trotter, Auburn (SO)
28. Ryan Mossakowski, Kentucky (FR)
29. Clint Moseley, Auburn (FR)
30. Zach Lee, LSU (FR)
31. Tyler Murphy, Florida (FR)
32. Hutson Mason, Georgia (FR)
33. Andrew Clifford, South Carolina (FR)
34. Jared Funk, Vanderbilt (SR)
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