(Our spring wraps are a recap of events from spring practices from around the country. For more detailed information on each team see our Conference Look Aheads)
The WAC has long been known for its explosive offenses, which in turn have lead to great fantasy output. Hawaii, Boise State and Fresno State have been fantasy destinations for the better part of the last decade. Nevada and their Pistol offense has also emerged on the scene in recent years. This year's group of WAC players is no different. So when it comes to looking at the non-BCS conferences, the WAC should be one of your first stops. Here is a team-by-team look at news from this spring.
Movers and Shakers (newbies that made noise)
QB Ebahn Feathers, Fresno State
**RB Jeremy Avery, Boise State
RB D.J. Harper, Boise State
RB Lamon Muldrow, San Jose State
RB Marquell Colston, New Mexico State
RB Tonny Glynn , New Mexico State
RB Seth Smith, New Mexico State
RB Robert Turbin, Utah State
**WR Kevin Jurovich, San Jose State
**WR Chris Wellington, Nevada
WR Brandon Wimberly, Nevada
**WR Austin Pettis, Boise State
WR Titus Young, Boise State
WR Rodney Bradley, Hawaii
WR Omar Sawyer, Utah State
WR Marquis Avery, San Jose State
**TE Kyle Nelson, New Mexico State
TE Ryan Otten, San Jose State
** denotes draft worthy player in All-120 leagues
I've long been a fan of running back Jeremy Avery. But I've slowly been coming to grips with the fact that running back by-committee is very likely at Boise. Avery, D.J. Harper and even freshman Matt Kaiserman will all see plenty of action this fall. Each will look like the second coming one play and then be watching from the sidelines the next.
With Jeremy Childs leaving early for the NFL look for Austin Pettis and Titus Young to lead the way through the air. Both are options on draft day.
The good news is RB Ryan Mathews was healthy this spring. However, staying healthy during the spring has never been an issue. Mathews remains a tough one to rank and draft. If he can avoid the injury bug then he is a top-10 fantasy back.
Watch out for redshirt freshman quarterback Ebahn Feathers. Ryan Colburn may be the favorite to win the starting job, but we are hitching the fantasy wagon to Feathers. He's raw but the kid can run. In Fresno State's spring game Feathers rushed for 126 yards and two scores on 12 carries, with one a 62-yard option read. It's tough for us to put those two little asterisks next to his name in the list at the top, as he hasn't even won the starting job yet. If he does this fall, he will certainly earn his "**".
Greg Alexander entered and exited fall camp as the starting quarterback. With a year of seasoning and what finally appears to be a secure grip on the job, we are calling for a rebirth of the Hawaii fantasy quarterback. Brent Rausch presents a mild concern, but Inoke Funaki does not after moving to running back...at least in certain situations.
The wide receiver spot is still a bit of a mess. My gut says someone will emerge as a fantasy starter this fall, but we can't say for sure who this will be exactly. Malcolm Lane and JUCO transfer Rodney Bradley seem to be the most likely candidates, but you could easily toss another half dozen names into the mix.
Incumbent Nathan Enderle and Brian Reader will continue their fight for the starting quarterback spot this fall. Enderle should hold on to the position, but he is not a fantasy option.
RB Deonte Jackson did not see a heavy workload in any of the the Vandals' scrimmages, but he was on the field, and this tells us that his ailing back must be feeling better. If he has indeed put his back issues behind him then Jackson (in spot duty) will make a fine addition to your stable of backs.
In other news defensive coordinator Mark Criner was arrested for driving under the influence in early May and put on administrative leave.
RB Daniel Porter only saw 20 carries in the Bulldogs' three scrimmages, but don't let that fool you. With Patrick Jackson graduating, Porter should easily eclipse those numbers on a weekly basis. Porter is one of my favorite under-the-radar picks for 2009.
If Louisiana Tech can get some consistent quarterback play out of likely starter Ross Jenkins then WR Phillip Livas could turn into a solid mid-season waiver pickup. Livas is also one of the top punt returners in the country if your league is into that sort of thing.
QB Colin Kaepernick was limited this spring due to an ankle injury. He should be just fine this fall and the minor injury shouldn't soil his top 10 quarterback ranking. He'll be ready to go when the Wolfpack head to South Bend.
RB Luke Lippincott was granted a sixth year of eligibility, which throws a monkey wrench into the fantasy value of the Nevada running backs. You'll find varying opinions on what Lippincott's return means to Vai Taua's touches. I'm simply going to avoid the situation all together and save myself the headache of trying to figure it out.
The one overlooked position at Nevada is at wide receiver where Chris Wellington and Brandon Wimberly both had solid springs. Wellington is certainly worth draft day consideration.
New Mexico St.
The Aggies rushed 56 times for 260 in their spring game, signaling a major shift in offensive philosophy from the Air Raid offense of the previous regime. Marquell Colston, Tonny Glynn and Seth Smith all saw plenty of carries this spring, making it difficult to pin our fantasy hopes on any one Aggie back
Jeff Fleming and Trevor Walls will continue to battle for the starting quarterback spot this fall. Walls has a tad more running ability, but neither is a fantasy consideration.
One area we will tap into on draft day is at tight end, where Kyle Nelson dominated spring practice reports. Good tight end play is tough to find and if this spring is any indication, Nelson should provide that this fall. Drafting unproven commodities comes with risk. D.J. Williams and Adrien Robinson were two tight ends we pegged for fantasy stardom last fall. One emerged as a fantasy stud, the other a bust.
San Jose St
The quarterback competition between Kyle Reed and Jordan La Secla remained unsettled this spring. However we would be surprised if Reed doesn't win the job. Talent is not a problem for Reed, consistency has been the issue.
Reed will be aided with the return of WR Kevin Jurovich. Juro sat out most of the Spartan scrimmages but made an appearance in the spring game, snaring six passes for 98 yards and a score. JUCO transfer Marquis Avery also looks to be a factor this fall.
On the ground JUCO transfer running back Lamon Muldrow led the way and appears to be the lead horse.
New head coach Gary Anderson has the unenviable task of making Utah State football relevant. He will have a few weapons at his disposal in QB Diondre Borel and RB Robert Turbin to go along with new OC Dave Baldwin. Borel emerged as a blip on the fantasy radar screen in 2008; but this was not enough to warrant fantasy consideration. Turbin should be the key the running game and is one of our deep sleeper picks for 2009.