We continue to roll out, update, tweak, edit and revisit our projections and previews prior to your fantasy draft. And while doing so we're going to occasionally take a more-detailed look at some of the nation's more intriguing stars for 2012.
The players featured over the next month or so may not be the top player at their respective positions, but they'll be ones that caused the most discussion around our roundtable or appear poised for a breakout or letdown campaign.
Breakdowns of college football's top offensive stars can of course be found in the CFFInsider.com 2012 Draft Kit.
2012 Position Rank: Is Collin Klein the top fantasy QB for 2012?
2012 Draft Kit Preview:
He was one of our top sleeper picks for 2011, but not even we expected Klein to put up the numbers he did last season, leading all quarterbacks in rushing touchdowns with 27. In fact it wasn't even close; the nearest competitor was Denard Robinson with 16. This looks to be the year of the running quarterback and Klein is one of the best. His grit and determination are unmatched in the 2012 version of college football. The big question is how many more big hits can he take trying to get that extra yard? If he stays healthy, he'll be a Top 5 fantasy quarterback once again. The schedule is favorable.
I don't think there is any question that no one was as high on Collin Klein last year as CFFinsider. In two mock drafts last spring/summer, I was the only one to take chance on the bulldozer. But last year is last year, now Klein is a household name and without question a first round pick.
But can he match last season's totals? I just don't see how it is possible. Klein is a classic case of a fantasy player that has peaked. There are several of those that I would put in that category this year: Klein, John White and Denard Robinson are few right off the top of my head. This is not a knock on these players. Klein and Robinson are two of my favorites to watch and root for (and I'm a Spartan). It just seems improbable for them to repeat. I posted some thoughts on Denard already. So let's focus on Klein shall we?
I don't think there is any truer indicator of Klein's heart and soul than the Nov. 5 game against Oklahoma State. While most of the nation watched LSU kick its way to a victory over Alabama, I was tuned into the display Klein and Brandon Weeden were putting on in Stillwater. Klein was a human wrecking ball, almost single-handedly willing his team to a victory. Except for the final moments, his passing was boderline brillant, but it was his crushing running style that was more jaw dropping. He rushed 29 times for 144 yards and three scores, and he earned every single yard. There were several times, I didn't think he would get up, but he did... over and over again.
Unlike Denard who has the speed and elusiveness to avoid the big hit, Klein will attack you head on. And despite his thick build there are only so many hits you can take. If coach Bill Snyder wants to keep Klein under center all season, he'll need to cut down on his carries in 2012. Over 300 carries once again would be suicide. To put it into perspective, that is nearly 70 more carries than option quarterback Tevin Washington had in 2011 and nearly 100 more than Denard.
Since there's no asking Klein to slide, the only direction I see Klein's rushing attempts going is down.
There is still no question that Klein is one of the elite fantasy quarterbacks for 2012, especially in 4pt passing TD leagues. But is he the best? Is he a must-have on draft day? One thing I find interesting about 2012 is we are starting to see a bit of a shift in fantasy QBs. In the past Case Keenum and the other hurlers from the Mike Leach-style offenses would dominate the QB rankings and be the clear #1 overall pick. Now three of our top five and seven of our top ten quarterbacks are all dual-threat runners and on paper there looks like more parity among the QB-1's than ever before. Which should make for intriguing 2012 drafts. That is the beauty of college fantasy football; no year is like the other.