B1G PREVIEW & RANKINGS
Daniel (@fantasybcs) and I (@putboobiein) are hoping to release rankings for all individual power five conferences that can be a reference for those in single conference leagues, dynasty leagues, or just very deep leagues in general. I don’t expect these rankings to be incredibly accurate as the level of obscurity is a little overboard, and I’m sure I’ve missed some deserving names.
Anyway’s last year the B1G proved to be a very useful conference especially in the ground game. A couple of freshman (J.T. Barrett, Mike Dudek and Justin Jackson) also proved to be very solid waiver wire additions as all three had tremendous rookie campaigns. As some of you know I am a huge Gopher fan and actually participate in a B1G-only league that includes 11 offensive starters and 11 individual defensive players. I guess I’m a B1G nerd when it comes to that, but here’s my take on the upcoming B1G football season.
My B1G player rankings can be found here. Included are 101 players. Who’d I miss? Which freshman are going to make an impact? Below are some names I think you should keep an eye on.
Breakout player of the year: Nebraska WR – De’Mornay Pierson-El:
The Cornhuskers will be a very different looking team this year as opposed to a year ago. A lot of production from a year ago; seniors Kenny Bell and Ameer Abdullah are now on NFL rosters. There are a lot of question marks regarding the new coaching change. With Bo Pelini out and Mike Riley in there is reason to be excited about this offense, in terms of fantasy production. DPE is an electrifying athlete in open space; he was an all american returner last season and fits the mold perfectly as a dynamic playmaker than can be very productive through the air, as well as on the ground via sweeps. Lets hope Riley’s staff can get the best out of him, here are #1WR statistics under Mike Riley over the past 6 seasons:
Is De’Mornay Pierson-El the next productive receiver in this system? A lot of that will hinge on the play of QB Tommy Armstrong, but he will get every opportunity. DPE could be an absolute steal on draft day. He is a perfect candidate to breakout in this offense.
Comeback player of the year: Indiana QB – Nate Sudfeld
In 2013 the Indiana offense put up 3,680 yards and 36 touchdowns through the air. The only problem for Sudfeld was he only accounted for 2,523 yards and 21 touchdowns. If you can remember Sudfeld was in a platoon with Tre Roberson. Well to make a long story short Roberson transferred to Illinois State, Sudfeld got hurt early in the 2014 season, Indiana’s passing game disappeared, and Tevin Coleman became a serious Heisman Candidate. This year’s receiving corps isn’t as talented as the 2013 one, but this could be a sleeper offense.
Everyone is looking for Jordan Howard to have a big year, while completely forgetting that this team wants to throw the ball much more than they did last season due to having to play an incompetent 3rd string QB. The weapons at WR for Indiana are unproven but have some talent (see Camion Patrick, Dominique Boothe, Marqui Hawkins etc.) and Sudfeld is a pretty talented college QB. The Hoosiers will likely be playing catchup all year, and won’t rely on Jordan Howard as much as they did Tevin Coleman last year. Nate Sudfeld can be had on the cheap in most leagues. He is a low risk, high reward option if you’re in need of QB depth.
Redraft sleeper: Michigan State WR – Aaron Burbridge:
The senior wide out is a fairly unknown commodity in redraft circles, but he could be a guy that could make an impact on your roster, and on the cheap at that. A lot of people consider Connor Cook and Kirk Cousins to be similar QBs, and I happen to agree. Some WR’s make their QB’s, but elite QB’s make their WR’s. Is Connor Cook elite? That’s you’re opinion, but at the college level I surely think he is. Here are statistics dating back to 2007 that wide receivers have put up in Michigan State’s system when NFL caliber QB’s have been the full time starter:
If you’re in a deep format, Burrbridge is definitely worth a late round flier. I’ve seen him go undrafted in some drafts I’ve been apart of. As you can see when there is a solid QB at the helm in East Lansing (which there always seems to be) the WR1 can be very productive. If you can get him free of cost, why not?
Dynasty sleeper: Purdue RB – Markell Jones
Last season, Akeem Hunt and Raheem Mostert combined for 1,845 yards from the line of scrimmage and 11 touchdowns. Both are now in NFL camps, so there should be some production to be had in the Boilermaker backfield. Markell Jones was Mr. Football in the state of Indiana last season and was a nice get for Darrell Hazel and the Purdue coaching staff. Jones was an early enrollee and has impressed in his short time on campus. He will likely be competing with D.J. Knox and Keyante Green for carries. Purdue showed glimpses of being an explosive offense last season. Jones will have a great opportunity to make an impact right away.
QB – Clayton Thorson (Northwestern), Alex Malzone/Zach Gentry (Michigan), Austin King (Indiana), Brian Lewerke (Michigan State), D.J. Gillins (Wisconsin), & Demry Croft (Minnesota)
RB – Madre London (Michigan State), Markell Jones (Purdue), L.J. Scott (Michigan State), Taiwan Deal (Wisconsin) Saquon Barkley (Penn State) Ke’Shawn Vaughn (Illinois), Mike Weber (Ohio State), Jordan Stevenson (Nebraska), Rodney Smith (Minnesota), Bradrick Shaw (Wisconsin), & Karan Higdon (Michigan)
WR – Jeff Jones (Minnesota), Leon Thornton (Indiana), Brian Cole (Michigan), Stanley Morgan (Nebraska), Sam Mays (Illinois), Felton Davis (Michigan State), Jawaun Harris (Rutgers), Johnnie Dixon (Ohio State), Melvin Holland Jr. (Minnesota), & K.J. Hill (Ohio State)
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