Each year Spring football gives players the opportunity to make an early impression on coaches and rise up the depth chart. It also gives those of us that play College Fantasy Football a glimpse into who will be the sleepers heading into Fall camp. With the start of the college football season a less than 90 days away, let’s take a look at some sleepers that created some buzz during the spring that you will want to target for your drafts. First up, the quarterbacks.
• Matt Johnson, Bowling Green – Johnson was inserted as the starter four passes into game one last season and never looked back. He led Bowling Green to the MAC title and along the way threw for 3,467 passing yards and 25 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. He also ran for an additional five touchdowns. Enter new head coach Dino Babers and his up-tempo offense. Under Babers tutelage last season at Eastern Illinois, now Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo passed for 5,050 yards and 53 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. Babers is from the Art Briles coaching tree and this offense with Matt Johnson leading the way promises to be a fantasy goldmine.
• Will Gardner, Louisville – The theme with my first two quarterbacks is the new head coach. Bobby Petrino returns to his old stomping grounds in Louisville and brings his high scoring pro-style offense with him. Gardner takes over for the departed Teddy Bridgewater and comes off a spectacular spring game performance. In that game he was 33 of 37 for 542 yards and four touchdowns. Gardner will have plenty of weapons to throw to led by highly touted wide receiver DeVante Parker. Louisville enters its first season in the ACC, a step up in competition from the AAC, but Gardner has everything set up around him to put up big numbers.
• Garrett Grayson, Colorado State – Grayson put up very good numbers last season but was overshadowed playing in the Mountain West Conference by the likes of Derek Carr and David Fales. He quietly threw for 3,696 yards and 23 touchdowns and ran for another two scores. His performance in the New Mexico Bowl (31-for-50 for 369 yards and two touchdowns) to end last season gives him plenty of momentum coming into the season. With the loss of Kapri Bibbs who ran for 1,741 yards and 31 touchdowns last season, Grayson will be asked to shoulder more of the load with an unproven run game behind him. He’ll have plenty of weapons in the passing game with athletic tight end Kivon Cartwright and leading receiver Rashard Higgins returning. Grayson may not be a front line starter for fantasy owners, but he will be an asset in two quarterback leagues.
• Jared Goff, California – In his first season in Sonny Dykes Air-Raid system Goff had his ups and downs. He started out on fire by throwing for 1,306 yards and seven touchdowns in the Bears first three games. The road got bumpy from there as he was benched against Oregon and the team went on to lose eight straight games to close the season. The good news is Goff held onto the job and entering his second full season in Dykes pass happy system, there is reason for optimism. Cal returns arguably the best group of wide receivers in the Pac-12. Both Bryce Treggs and Chris Harper each caught over 70 balls and combined for six touchdowns. Talented sophomore Kenny Lawler also returns after catching five touchdowns last season. Speedy running back Khalfani Muhammad returns after averaging six yards a carry and running for four touchdowns in limited touches. The skill positions are stocked for Goff to be a sneaky good fantasy option.
Others to keep an eye on:
• Chad Voytek, Pittsburgh
• Neal Burcham or Matt Davis, SMU
• Jesse Scroggins or Anu Solomon or Jerrard Randall or Connor Brewer, Arizona
• Gunner Kiel – Cincinnati
• Brandon Connette or Brian Burrell or Zack Greenlee, Fresno State
• Cole Stoudt, Clemson
Got a College Fantasy Football question? Or just want to talk football in general? Give me a shout on Twitter @HaitianKid79