There was very little ad-libbing yesterday, as seemingly everything in college football went according to script. At one point in the afternoon both Alabama and Florida led their overmatched foes by scores of 35-0, and there were very few other games nationally that caused one to sit up and take notice. And this staying true to the plan continued well into the evening, until the Pac-10 again spiced things up with some stellar quarterback play out west.
So a regular season that began just 12 short weeks ago and included so many plot twists and turns saw some traditional names dominate the college fantasy football leaderboard in Week 12. But there were also plenty of surprises, and these surprises will be among the candidates for our Player of the Year Award.
2009 College Fantasy Football Insider Player of the Year.
Last year saw Rice tight end James Casey win the College Fantasy Football Insider Player of the Year. Sure there were plenty of players that posted more total points, but Casey was so dominant at his position that we had little doubt that the Owl with over 1,500 yards from scrimmage and 19 scores was deserving of such an auspicious award.
In the coming weeks we'll sit down and debate who has earned this honor 2009. We'll take a whole bunch of factors into play, with season production paramount. But we'll also look at other factors, such as consistency and the ability to get it done down the stretch. We'll scream and yell and when we emerge yet another collegiate great will have his name placed among other college fantasy football legends.
At first glance, and without consulting other members of the voting committee, here is my list of ten candidates for this prestigious honor. Nominees are listed in no particular order.
Dan LeFevour, QB, Central Michigan: Will the lifetime achievement, i.e. Clark Kellogg "body of work" push this Chip over the top?
Freddie Barnes, WR, Bowling Green: In a post-Crabtree world, Barnes has been the most Crabtree-esque.
Case Keenum, QB, Houston: Will he be hurt by his statistical greatness in 2008?
Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada: Amazing to think he's behind last year's pace. However he's doing it while sharing the wealth.
Donald Buckram, RB, UTEP: A running machine at pass-happy UTEP.
Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford: Have you seen this guy play? Ten touchdowns in the last three weeks, 23 on the season.
Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State: There's no more exciting player in the country, and he's a fantasy workhorse to boot.
Danario Alexander, WR, Missouri: A personal favorite. I loved him a couple of years back. Finally healthy, he's posting monster numbers.
Joe Webb, QB, UAB: He started out on fire and has yet to cool down. 59-44-34 point barrage in last three weeks.
Jerrod Johnson, QB, Texas A&M: When one considers draft position there may not have been a better value in BCS leagues.
Look for the 2009 College Fantasy Football Insider Player of the Year Award to be announced in the very near future. And remember folks, it's an honor just to be nominated.
Jeremiah Masoli leads all fantasy producers in week 12, and Oregon's season-opening meltdown at Boise is very much a distant memory. His 51 point performance in the desert last night bested his season-high showing against Stanford, and places him among the top 15 fantasy quarterbacks of 2009.
Colin Kaepernick has climbed to the #4 spot among quarterbacks, and he's only one point away from moving into the #2 spot behind Case Keenum. Kaepernick and his Wolpack struggled in the season-opening loss in South Bend, but since then (ho-hum 38 points yesterday) he's been as good as anyone in recent memory. And the upcoming tilt against Boise will be one of the most anticipated games of the college football season.
You can add Ryan Williams to that "workhorse" category. The young Hokie impressed in the season opener against Alabama, and while he had some fumble issues, he continued to get stronger as the season went on. 32-120-4 against North Carolina State caps off an impressive three-week run, and places him sixth among running backs in 2009.
It was great to see injury-plagued Wildcat Derrick Locke lead Kentucky to a win over Georgia Saturday night. He's scored five touchdowns in the last two weeks.
Kudos to Mike Kafka and the Northwestern Wildcats. As his absence in the loss to Iowa can attest, he may be the Big Ten's Most Valuable Player. Northwestern is 8-4 and going somewhere warm for the holidays, and this is primarily due to the stellar play of the team's senior field general.
Now that's the Colt McCoy we were expecting to see.
If you started Temple's Matt Brown at wide receiver then you are the best college fantasy football owner ever. The freshman wide receiver fills in for the injured freshman Bernard Pierce and posts 27 fantasy points from the RB spot. Looks like Al Golden has some nice young talent at Temple.
Shane Vereen and Toby Gerhart sure put on a great late-night show. Add Cal-Stanford to my growing list of games I must attend. Chardonnay, an ax and a staring contest!
Garrett Graham's 6-98-2 likely put a few fantasy owners over the top.
The Rutgers offensive performance in the loss to Syracuse comes as a real surprise. Not because the Cuse won, because clearly coach Doug Marrone is doing just what he said he would by returning pride to the Orange. Rather the Scarlet Knights were playing for a very nice bowl destination and a capper to a solid season, and they simply couldn't move the ball against an overmatched foe.
How in the world does North Texas blow another lead, you ask? How about by giving the ball to star tailback Lance Dunbar 15 times. Dunbar, the lone bright spot in another season of misery for UNT, ran/caught for 147 yards and a touchdown against Army. Quarterback Riley Dodge threw it 41 times and ran it on 17 plays. That's 58 touches for Dodge, and 15 for the running back with over 1,500 yards from scrimmage and 18 scores on the season.
Anybody else have Ralph Bolden's hamstring injury absolutely kill their fantasy chances?
C.J. Spiller was solid, but those owners looking for a Heisman-worthy day to put them over the top were forced to look elsewhere.
I know his fantasy production of late hasn't been much to write home about, but Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas continues to prove he's one of the nation's more underrated backs. The one-time JUCO linebacker and quarterback shows incredible instincts as a tailback, and his versatility (particularly his ability to catch the ball) makes him a very interesting prospect heading into 2010. Of course whether he's an interesting option for college fantasy football owners or NFL executives remains to be seen.
The season's most misleading fantasy numbers will likely be posted by Tulsa's Charles Clay. He's going to likely end the season with around 12 touchdowns and 150 fantasy points. However it wasn't until Week 10 that he truly awoke from his fantasy slumber, and by then most owners had moved on to different options, thus his two November weeks of 40 and 32 points are like that tree falling in the woods.
Years from now the Notre Dame faithful are going to look back at 2009 and wonder in amazement how a team with Michael Floyd, Golden Tate and Jimmy Clausen could lose to so many mediocre teams. Even with such a porous defense the fact that the Irish are staring at 6-6 really does boggle the mind.
Arkansas' young WR Cobi Hamilton is emerging as a very intriguing keeper prospect.
I'm more impressed with Boise's Doug Martin every time I see him play. This versatile stud will be a household name before his career at Boise is over.
Here's hoping you're reading this after a late-night celebrating a college fantasy football championship. Keep in mind that we're not going anywhere. We'll continue to break down the games, project player point totals through the last few weeks of the season and into that wonderful time of year known as bowl season.
And very soon we'll be kicking off our much-anticipated bowl challenge. We're going to prove that there is no off-season in the college fantasy football world!