College fantasy football scouting begins during spring ball. It’s the time when potential replacements for departed stars look to make a mark, and it’s becoming an opportunity for an ever-increasing number of freshmen that have enrolled early to show what they can do. Players step up, and we spend a great deal of time scouring spring reports for that little nugget that can provide the edge on draft day. In fact while reading these spring reports two years ago the names Michael Crabtree and DeMarco Murray first caught our attention.
With the search for tomorrow’s superstar in mind we now present one question (or maybe two) facing each team as it heads into spring ball. And yes we look at things through our college fantasy football microscope.
Each question is asked with the fantasy owner in mind, thus we’ll focus on players that may make a fantasy impact. There may be a heated quarterback battle brewing at Washington State, but we’re going to assume that fantasy owners will look elsewhere for their signal callers. The questions will be short, and the answers may be one word. In some cases our response may be a fence sitting cop out. And some answers may not come until kickoff in September. But at the very least they’ll provide some direction as you begin to search for emerging players whose names will be called out on your patio, at your favorite watering hole or in the man cave on that beautiful college fantasy football draft day in August.
And away we go….
What does Jagodzinski's departure mean for this offense from a fantasy perspective?
Gut: It won't be as enticing. And potential split carries hurt both Josh Haden and Montel Harris' value.
What quarterback will be handing the ball to C.J. Spiller?
Gut: Brian - Two sport star Kyle Parker. Alex - Willy Korn
Can Johnny Williams emerge and make Duke fans forget Eron Riley?
Gut: Nope, the receptions will be spread around.
Who replaces Antone Smith?
Gut: Jermaine Thomas is definitely one to watch as a breakout star.
How will the carries shake out now that Anthony Allen is in town?
Gut: What's great for Tech is not great for fantasy owners. Jonathan Dwyer's owners should be concerned.
Who replaces Heyward-Bey?
Gut: Watch Torrey Smith and his role in the passing game this spring.
How will Jacory Harris handle being the man for the Canes?
Gut: He'll pass this test with flying colors. Kid's a leader.
Will T.J. Yates distance himself from the other quarterbacks?
North Carolina St.
Should Mike Glennon be a cause for concern among Russell Wilson's owners?
Gut: Just a little bit. Job will still be Wilson's.
Could Vic Hall really emerge as the starting quarterback?
Can Ryan Williams steal carries from Darren Evans?
Gut: Williams will see the field in 2009, and it will be just enough to drive Evans' owners crazy.
Can Josh Adams, Brandon Pendergrass or Kevin Harris emerge as the clear number one back?
Gut: Nope, we're looking at split carries.
What's Art Briles' number one job in spring practice?
Gut: Keeping Robert Griffin healthy.
Darrell Scott, Rodney Stewart or Demetrius Sumler?
Gut: Brian - Darrell Scott. Alex - Rodney Stewart.
Will anyone challenge Alexander Robinson for the starting running back job?
How much should we be concerned about the three losses on the offensive line?
Gut: A little bit. If a couple can step up then we're looking at one of the nation's most prolific offenses in Lawrence.
What type of fantasy impact will Brandon Banks and Deon Murphy have in this offense?
Gut: Depends on the quarterback. Carson Coffman and it's good for the receivers. Daniel Thomas and it's not good.
How long will it take this offense to recover from so many personnel losses?
Gut: It may be a long season in Columbia, but Blaine Gabbert and Derrick Washington will be worth shots.
With Patrick Witt's departure, can freshman Cody Green win the job from Zac Lee?
Gut: Without a doubt.
Who steps up along with Ryan Broyles to replace the WR departures?
Gut: We're watching Jameel Owens and Cameron Kenney.
How much of a role will Keith Toston play as he looks to steal carries from Kendall Hunter this year?
Gut: Too big of a role for Kendall Hunter's owners.
Who steps up and replaces Quan Cosby?
Gut: Malcolm Williams.
Can these talented skill position players overcome the scheme?
Gut: Possibly. Watch what Cyrus Gray does this spring.
Can Taylor Potts put a Ted Nugent-style stranglehold on the job?
Gut: No, this quarterback battle will continue through the summer.
What Bearcat should I watch for this spring?
Gut: Incoming JUCO WR Jamar Howard.
What's this I hear about UConn going to a no-huddle look at times?
Gut: Randy Edsall has been kidnapped and replaced by an imposter.
Who will emerge as starting quarterback?
Gut: Justin Burke
So LeSean McCoy didn't change his mind again, right?
Gut: Nope, and the likes of Shariff Harris and Chris Burns will battle for carries.
Who is a potential breakout star in Piscataway?
Gut: Wide receiver Tim Brown.
1. Will Mike Ford put himself in position for a big junior year? 2. Can Carlton Mitchell emerge as a top Big East WR?
Gut: 1. We have given up trying to figure this one out. 2. Yes.
We should still avoid Syracuse, right?
Gut: Yep, though Antwon Bailey and Mike Williams could prove us wrong.
What area should cause owners the most concern?
Gut: The offensive line. Jarrett Brown isn't walking into an ideal spot.
Can Jacob Charest close the gap on Juice Williams enough to make it interesting?
Gut: The Zooker is married to Juice for 2009.
What exactly will be the role of Kellen Lewis in the 2009 Indiana offense?
Gut: A quarterback controversy is on the horizon. Ben Chappell vs. Kellen Lewis.
Does Jewel Hampton look good enough to make us ask Shonn who?
Gut: Not quite, but Hampton is good enough to become a top-three Big Ten back.
Does incoming freshman (and expected starter) Tate Forcier look like the quarterback messiah that Michigan faithful hope he can be?
Gut: Love his skill set, but he's still a youngster about to take a Big Ten pounding. Draft and stash.
Does either Keith Nichol or Kirk Cousins enter fall camp with the clear upper hand?
Gut: It'll be Nichol eventually, but this battle will rage well into summer.
Will MarQueis Gray play a big role this year, and will it be at quarterback?
Gut: He'll see the field, but this team is still Adam Weber's...for now.
In his senior season can Mike Kafka become another Zak Kustok?
Gut: Kafka's running ability will see him easily surpass C.J. Bacher's numbers from a season ago.
Has Terrelle Pryor made great strides with his arm, and which receivers will step up and benefit?
Gut: Pryor will show marked improvement on the short to intermediate routes, and watch out for DeVier Posey.
Can Graham Zug and others come close to replacing the wide receiver talent that’s departed?
Gut: No, and Daryll Clark has his work cut out for him.
How much of the Joe Tiller "basketball on grass" will remain in 2009?
Gut: Lackluster quarterback play may expedite the move to more traditional set.
Does is become clear that John Clay will do very little splitting of carries in 2009?
Gut: He's the number one for sure, but there's talent behind him in the way of Zach Brown so he won't see Ron Dayne carries.
Will Matt Scott or Nick Foles be under center when the season kicks off.
Gut: Scott by a hair, but this one will last through summer.
Who emerges as starting quarterback in 2009?
Gut: For fantasy owners it only matters if it's Brock Osweiler and you're in a keeper league.
Can Michael Calvin make a fantasy impact in 2009?
Gut: He's on our radar as one of the top breakout players this year.
Will LeGarrette Blount be ready to go?
Gut: He remains our #1 fantasy back heading into 2009 for a reason.
Can Sean Canfield make up considerable ground while Lyle Moevao recovers from surgery?
Gut: Yes, he will, but the OSU QB spot remains one for owners to avoid.
Is Matt Barkley going to eventually win the starting quarterback job this season?
Will Tavita Pritchard lose his grasp on the starting quarterback job?
Gut: Yes and Andrew Luck will snatch it right from him.
Who will emerge as the most fantasy-worthy player in Westwood?
Gut: Terrence Austin. Get him the ball.
Who is one potential contributor to watch this spring?
Gut: Curtis Shaw. And we still love Jake Locker, just not as your starting fantasy quarterback.
Any hope to find a fantasy contributor in Pullman?
Gut: Not unless Jared Karstetter or Jeshua Anderson can make big strides now.
Will Mark Ingram have to play nice and share?
Gut: Yes, but Ingram's nose for the end zone keeps him among top national backs.
Despite his poor off-field choice Ryan Mallett will be the starter, right?
Will Mario Fannin emerge as a prime beneficiary of Gus Malzahn's arrival?
Gut: Fannin becomes a star in this offense.
Who emerges from the running back pack?
Gut: Jeffrey Demps in total points leagues, Chris Rainey and Emmanuel Moody for more consistent production.
Should we operate under the assumption that Caleb King emerges as clear starter?
Gut: Richard Samuel's spring ball absence would say yes, but remember it's just spring practice.
Will Randall Cobb drive commissioners crazy?
Gut: Yes. Cobb's multiple talents could see him line up everywhere. Spring scrimmage reports will be huge.
Who could be the breakout star on the LSU offense?
Gut: Terrance Toliver.
Cordera Eason, Brandon Bolden or Enrique Davis?
Gut: Eason begins to separate himself.
Will someone not named Anthony Dixon emerge as a fantasy factor?
Gut: Not yet, but with Urban Meyer pupil Dan Mullen taking over, there will be soon.
What do you think of Jarvis Giles?
Gut: One of our favorite freshman backs to step in and flourish immediately. Turf toe does cause concern.
Is Montario Hardesty the likely starter at running back?
Gut: Yes, but this is hardly set in stone.
Can we likely cross Vanderbilt off before starting our draft research?
Gut: Yes, but check back next year.
Can Patrick Pinkney become a worthy fantasy starter?
Gut: Look for steady but not spectacular numbers again in 2009.
With Mark Hafner graduating, will another tight end emerge at Houston?
Gut: Not likely, Hafner was a one of a kind.
Who is Marshall's top fantasy threat?
Gut: Running back Darius Marshall.
Are Arkelon Hall and the passing game worth looking at in 2009?
Gut: Yes, their development this spring is one to watch.
Can the offense recapture the magic that Chase Clement, Jarett Dillard and James Casey provided in 2008?
Gut: Proceed with caution.
Can coach June Jones turn quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell into a fantasy gem.
Gut: Yes, his play during spring practice will help determine how high of a pick to invest.
Can Damion Fletcher return to the numbers he put up in 2007?
Gut: No. Fedora's offense is not built to feature the running game, and Fletcher still has legal issues with which to deal.
Is Andre' Anderson the real deal?
Gut: Yes. He's a top 5 fantasy back.
This one is obvious, who will emerge at quarterback?
Gut: We're doubling down on Jacob Bower.
Will anyone emerge as a potential fantasy starter on the UAB squad?
Gut: Look elsewhere for starters, but quarterback Joe Webb and a host of wide receivers could provide some depth.
What happened to UCF and are there any fantasy prospects for 2009?
Gut: Kevin Smith graduated. Nothing to see here...move along.
Is UTEP on the verge of exploding on the fantasy scene?
Gut: Yes. Veterans Trevor Vittatoe, Jeff Moturi and Kris Adams should emerge as one of the top passing offenses in 2009.
What will the offense look like under Rich Ellerson and is there a "Collin Mooney" on this year's team?
Gut: The option offense remains, but replacing Mooney's 1339 yards of rushing will be difficult.
Are there any fantasy prospects for the Middies?
Gut: Quarterback Ricky Dobbs has the ability to be a top scoring threat in Annapolis. One to watch.
Can a running back emerge for the Irish?
Gut: Armando Allen will leave spring the starter, but watch out for freshman Cierre Wood this fall.
Can running back Tyrell Hayden become a fantasy back in 2009?
Gut: He doesn't look like a draft day pick, but one that will fill some holes later in the year.
Can Alex Allen shake off the injury bug that has plagued him thus far?
Gut: No word on Allen's recovery from a hip injury in 2008, hopefully the spring can shed some light on his status.
Who will replace quarterback Nate Davis?
Gut: Early money is on redshirt freshman Kelly Page.
What does new head coach Dave Clawson bring to the table?
Gut: As a former quarterback coach, Clawson should really help Tyler Sheehan.
Who is the better fantasy prospect, running back James Starks or wide receiver Naaman Roosevelt?
Gut: Breaking in a new quarterback will hinder Roosevelt's numbers.
Can Dan LeFevour put up numbers like he did in 2007?
Gut: Yes, the passing game returns intact.
Does new head coach Ron English increase Eastern's fantasy value?
Gut: Probably not. He's a defensive minded coach.
Who replaces quarterback Julian Edelman?
Gut: Anthony Magazu will get the first crack at it. But running back Eugene Jarvis is the only fantasy consideration at this point.
What does new head coach Mike Haywood bring to the Redhawk offense?
Gut: He's been the Notre Dame offensive coordinator since 2005, so quarterback Daniel Raudabaugh is one to keep an eye on.
Is there a Michael Turner or Garrett Wolfe on this year's roster?
Gut: Split carries between Meco Brown, Justin Anderson and Chad Spann still appear to be the case.
Will a running back break free from the pack?
Gut: Donte Harden, who missed the second half of the 2008 season with a shoulder injury, is the one to watch this spring.
Who will replace quarterback Adam DiMichele?
Gut: Chester Stewart is our early favorite.
Former Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Tim Beckman takes over at Toledo, what does that mean?
Gut: Not sure what to make of this hire yet. Stay tuned. edit: original article mentioned Beckman was Oklahoma State's offensive coordinator
Who will emerge as receiving threats with wide receiver Jamarko Simmons and tight end Branden Ledbetter graduating?
Gut: Juan Nunez looks like the best bet at wide receiver. Whether a new Ledbetter can emerge is to be determined.
Who will emerge at quarterback, Tim Jefferson or former running back Asher Clark?
Gut: Clark’s running ability makes him an intriguing option and one to watch.
Who will replace Austin Collie as quarterback Max Hall's top target?
Gut: McKay Jacobson returns from his mission and is a top candidate to take over as the Cougars’ leading receiver.
Who replaces running backs Gartrell Johnson III and Kyle Bell?
Gut: The door is open for John Mosure or JUCO transfer Leonard Mason to emerge.
Is there a replacement for running back Rodney Ferguson?
Gut: You don't replace Rodney Ferguson. James Wright likely enters and exits spring as the starter.
San Diego St.
With Brady Hoke heading to San Diego, is Ryan Lindley suddenly a top fantasy prospect?
Gut: Lindley is a fantasy prospect based more on his skill set than the arrival of Hoke. Keep in mind Hoke has a defensive background, and Ball State offensive coordinator Stan Parrish is now Ball State's head coach.
Can Joseph Turner become a top running back?
Gut: He has a chance with Aaron Brown graduating.
Will quarterback Omar Clayton emerge as a fantasy threat?
Gut: Yes, but he will be limited this spring as he recovers from knee surgery.
Who takes over Darrell Mack's 123 carries?
Gut: We are hoping Matt Asiata, but we'll be watching for vultures to emerge this spring.
Former Missouri offensive coordinator Dave Christensen takes over as head coach, does this make Wyoming a fantasy destination?
Gut: Wyoming just got a lot more interesting. Stay tuned.
Will running back Reggie Arnold become a household name?
Gut: Only for fantasy owners. Having fellow senior quarterback Corey Leonard back, the duo should see a boost in production.
What is the status of Jason Harmon (missed all of 2008 with a torn ACL)?
Gut: He's a top-10 tight end if healthy; we'll be monitoring his status this spring.
Is wide receiver T.Y. Hilton the real deal?
Gut: He's an electric player that should see even more touches in the way of carries in 2009.
What is the fantasy prospectus for the Rajin’ Cajuns?
Gut: Huge losses at quarterback, running back and wide receiver make this one to avoid early on.
Can running back Frank Goodin emerge as a fantasy threat?
Gut: Goodin didn't have the production we anticipated in 2008, but we aren't giving up on him in 2009.
Middle Tenn. St.
Can running back Phillip Tanner build on his 17 touchdowns from 2008?
Gut: Carries and yardage output point to this being difficult.
Is quarterback Riley Dodge ready for stardom?
Gut: Sexy pick that will likely disappoint fantasy owners that draft him high.
Can Jamie Hampton emerge as one of the top quarterbacks in the country?
Gut: Magic eight ball says 'yes'. He looked good early before injuries derailed his season.
Can Jeremy Avery become an every down back?
Gut: His workload this spring will go a long way to determining just that.
Can Ryan Mathews shake the label (and possible reality) of being injury prone and become a fantasy stud?
Gut: We still have faith in Mathews. He's a true talent that is worth a shot on draft day.
Will Hawaii ever be a fantasy destination again?
Gut: Quarterback Greg Alexander needs to have a strong spring for us to feel comfortable drafting Rainbow Warriors on draft day.
Will running back Deonte Jackson return to form?
Gut: There has been little word on Deonte's back problems, this spring will hopefully help answer that question.
Is running back Daniel Porter destined for a breakout year?
Gut: Without Patrick Jackson in the way the answer is yes.
How will coach Chris Ault handle the double-headed running back monster of Luke Lippincott and Vai Taua?
Gut: This has split carries written all over it.
New Mexico St.
What will the Lobos' offense look like under new head man DeWayne Walker and OC Timm Rosenbach?
Gut: Rosenbach will likely bring some of the same spread principles that Wazzu used while he was the QB coach from 2003-2007. The mass exodus of talent causes us to put the Lobos on pause, however.
San Jose St.
Will Kevin Jurovich be granted a medical redshirt and be productive in 2009?
Gut: Most likely on the first part, based on recent news we've posted on his recovery from mono the latter is still in question.
What does former Utah defensive coordinator Gary Anderson bring to the table?
Gut: Nothing like stealing your neighbor’s coaches. What impact this has on the Aggies offense is TBD.