Top-20 CFF Quarterbacks Breakdown and Analysis

·38 min read



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Quarterbacks

1. CJ Stroud, Ohio State

2021 Player Stats: 4,424 Yards/ 72% Comp Rate/ 44-to-6 Ratio

PFF Grades: 92.2 Overall/91.5 Passing

Offense Returning Production: 53rd

2021 Team Passing Stats: 38 ATT per game/381 YPG/ 46-to-8 Ratio

Team Points Per Game: 45.7 (1)

Team Yards Per Pass: 10.0

BTT-to-TWP: 27-to-12 = 6%-to-2.5%

Deep Passing: 94.8 Grade/62 ATT/14% ATT% /52% Comp Rate

Rushing: -20 yards/0 TDs

It’s hard to argue with the firepower that former five-star recruit Stroud brings to the table. Throwing for at least 294 yards in every game besides Week 3 against Tulsa when he got hurt and an efficient 266 yard/4 touchdown blowout of Indiana. He loses Olave and Wilson to the Draft, but blue-chip replacements Marvin Harrison Jr. Emeka Egbuka, Julian Fleming and Jaylen Ballard are all jockeying to establish themselves as the next great Buckeyes wideouts. Stroud ranks second among returning quarterbacks in fantasy PPG with a 39.7 point average, behind only Brennan Armstrong who will be running a much more run focused system than the tempo offense of HC Bronco Mendenhall who led UVA to a top-20 finish in adjusted pace last year and let Armstrong go wild. If there’s cause for concern with OSU it’s the tendency for their offense under HC Ryan Day to be more balanced offensively than they were last season when they averaged 381 passing YPG as a team. In 2019 and 2020, they averaged exactly 263 yards passing in each season, while averaging 262 yards per game on the ground in that span. Contrast that with the 381 yards passing/180 yards rushing split of last year. With superstar RB TreVeyon Henderson now a sophomore, does HC Day move towards a more even distribution in order to control the ball more and give their defense a rest? Besides the roster turnover and balanced play calling potential, Stroud doesn’t run much and could be passed over by Caleb Williams in 4-point per passing touchdown leagues. Next year’s current favorite to be the first quarterback taken in the 2023 NFL Draft, Stroud also leads a guaranteed 40+ PPG offensive juggernaut that is as bankable an investment as you’re going to find for CFF purposes. He is the consensus CFF QB1 according to TheCFFSite ADP data, going at an average of pick 1.4.

2. Bryce Young, Alabama

2021 Player Stats: 4,872 Yards/66% Comp Rate/47-7 Ratio

PFF Grades: Overall - 92.0/Passing - 92.0

Offensive Returning Production: 60% = 80th

2021 Team Passing Stats: 38 ATT per game/338 YPG/48-7 Ratio

Team Points Per Game: 40 (6th)

Team Yards Per Pass: 9.2 (7th)

BTT-to-TWP: 36-to-13 = 6.3%-to-2%

Deep Passing: Grade = 95.8/74 ATT/ ATT% = 13.5% /Comp% = 38%

Rushing: 0 Yards/3 TDs

Young ranks sixth in CFF points per game average and leads a potent Alabama offense that averages 40 points per game and has hit that mark for four consecutive seasons. His 92.0 PFF passing grade leads all returnees while the Mater Dei alum excels throwing downfield earning a 94.3 intermediate grade with a sterling 95.8 for his deep passing acumen. Young’s 38 percent big time throw rate on deep passes ranks third in FBS, but his 8.3 air yards per pass was just 89th in the country. 36 big time throws tied Aidan O’Connell for tops nationally while he efficiently steered the Crimson Tide offense to 3.4 points per drive, which ranks fifth overall. Though he loses Metchie and Jameson Williams, Bama transfers in Jermaine Burton from Georgia and Tyler Harrell from Louisville while still having star second-year recruits Ja’Corey Brooks and JoJo Earle ready to step in and assert themselves. The Tide also have as good a schedule as you can ask for in the SEC West, playing Utah State, Texas, ULM and Austin Peay in their non-conference slate while drawing Vanderbilt and Tennessee from the East. Though Bama ranks 80th in returning production, the replacements are top notch and Young now has a year of experience under his belt. Young is my C2C/Devy QB1, but slots in right behind Stroud for CFF purposes at an ADP of 17.8 overall.

3. Caleb Williams, USC

2021 Player Stats: 1,912 Yards/ 65% Comp Rate/ 21-to-4 Ratio

PFF Grades: 91.3 Overall/90.3 Passing Grade

Offensive Returning Production: 61% = 95th

2021 Team Passing Stats: 31 ATT per game/ 263 YPG/ 32-to-9 Ratio (Oklahoma Stats)

Team Points Per Game: 39 PPG (OKL)

Team Yards Per Pass: 8.5 (20th)

BTT-to-TWP: 15-to-7 = 6.6-to-2.7

Deep Passing: 82.3 Grade/ 43 ATT/ATT% = 20%/Comp% = 37%

Rushing: 79 ATT/442 yards/6 TDs

The 2021 freshman class’s crown jewel quarterback prospect lived up to his highly touted prep status, taking over for deposed starter Spencer Rattler and leading Oklahoma to a comeback victory over their rival Texas in the Red River Rivalry game. Williams pairs advanced mobility with a strong, accurate arm to form a lethal dual-threat skill set that makes him one of the most dangerous CFF QBs. The Sooners signal caller averaged 9.0 YPA with a 90.3 PFF passing grade and threw eight touchdowns while under pressure, the 8th best mark nationally, despite taking just 251 dropbacks. He scored 30+ points in 6-of-8 contests and now shifts to the defense-averse Pac-12 where USC dodges Oregon and Washington out of the North while playing Fresno State, Rice and Notre Dame in their non-conference slate. HC Lincoln Riley is building their offense around Williams for the next two seasons, as fellow Oklahoma transfer Mario Williams joins Gary Bryant Jr, Taj Washington and Biletnikoff Award winner Jordan Addison to form a talent laden receiver corps. HC Riley has pitched elite offenses for over a decade and should unleash Williams to put up video game level production for the next two seasons in SoCal. He checks in with a CFFSite ADP of 17.5, narrowly edging out Bryce Young for QB2 status.

4. Sam Hartman, Wake Forest

2021 Player Stats: 4,222 Yards/Comp% = 59%/39-to-14 Ratio

PFF Grades: 91.8 Overall/90.4 Passing

Offensive Returning Production: 79% = 30th

2021 Team Passing Stats: 37 ATT per game/307 YPG/ 39-to-15 Ratio

Team Points Per Game: 41 PPG (4th)

Team Yards Per Pass: 8.3 (27th)

BTT-to-TWP: 33-to-16

Deep Passing: 94.8 Grade/99 ATT/ATT% = 20%/Comp% = 46%

Rushing: 364 yards/11 TDs

You have to love Wake HC Dave Clawson lightning fast, but still very efficient, offense that runs 77.5 plays per game (4th), 13 drives per game (10th) and posts 3.0 points per drive (8th). The architect of this offense is four-year veteran starter Hartman, who quietly ranks fourth among all returning quarterbacks with 11 rushing touchdowns, and third with 39 passing touchdowns. One of only nine quarterbacks to cross the 4,000 yard threshold, Hartman led the Demon Deacons to 41 PPG in 2021 which ranks fourth overall. Top wideout A.T. Perry returns along with fellow starter Taylor Morin and promising outside receiver Donavon Greene who tore his ACL in the preseason last year. Their return is important since continuity in the passing game is vital for an aggressive offense that took 99 deep shots last season, second most in the FBS. The schedule is very reasonable, with Wake taking on VMI, Vanderbilt, Liberty and Army in the non-conference slate for an overall strength-of-schedule that ranks just 50th in the country. There is no reason to believe Hartman cannot repeat these lofty numbers for a Wake Forest team that ranks 30th in returning production. His ADP of 23 overall ranks sixth in pre-season drafts and is right around where he should be.

5. Will Rogers, Mississippi State

2021 Player Stats: 4,687 Yards/Comp% = 73%/36-to-9 Ratio

PFF Grades: 88.4 Overall/90.0 Passing

Offensive Returning Production: 72% (45th)

2021 Team Passing Stats: 54 ATT per game/ 378 YPG/ 37-to-9 Ratio

Team Points Per Game: 29 PPG (60th)

Team Yards Per Pass: 6.7 (99th)

BTT-to-TWP: 27-to-14 = 3.8%-to-1.8%

Deep Passing: 92.4 Grade/53 ATT/ ATT% = 8%/Comp% = 45%

Rushing: 0/0

Rogers is the latest quarterback to helm Mike Leach’s air raid offense that focuses on taking what the defense gives them on short, timing routes. True to form, 68% of his passes were within nine yards of the line while carrying a suppressed ADOT of 6.3 yards. Because of the quick-hit nature of the scheme, Rogers was only pressured on 82 of his 682 attempts, getting the ball out of his hands in a brisk 2.43 seconds and thriving with a clean pocket, as his 92.6 passing grade will attest. However when he was pressured the Bulldogs’ gunslinger’s passing grade plummeted to 43.8, as he wilted when facing the heat of a rush. Though he only dialed up deep balls on 8% of his throws, Rogers racked up 20 big time throws to four turnover-worthy plays on just 53 deep shots, an excellent ratio. His quick decision making also helps him deliver the ball without needing to rely on trickery as a crutch, with Rogers completing 72% of his passes on plays without the assistance of play action. Mississippi State was the only team in the nation to throw more than 50 passes per game, tossing the ball on average 54.2 times per contest. I see MSU eclipsing the 30 PPG barrier with Will Rogers being the primary reason why. He’s being selected at the end of Round 3 with the number 36 selection and is lethal in leagues with 1 Point per 20 passing yards scoring systems.

6. Malik Cunningham | Louisville | 6’1/200

2021 Player Stats: 2,940 Yards/Comp% = 62%/Ratio = 19-to-6

PFF Grades: 91.5 Overall/82.7 Passing/90.3 Rush

Offensive Returning Production: 76% (25th)

2021 Team Passing Stats: 28 ATT per game/ 235 YPG/ 21-to-6 Ratio

Team Points Per Game: 31.6 (40th)

Team Yards Per Pass: 8.4 (24th)

BTT-to-TWP: 18-to-13 = 5.1%-to-3%

Deep Passing: 88.7 Grade/54 ATT/ATT% = 16%/Comp% = 37%

Rushing: 1,031 yards/20 TDs

As the only quarterback in the country to break the 1,000 rushing yard barrier, Cunningham derives the majority of his value through his legs. His 20 rushing touchdowns comfortably led all quarterbacks, with second place finisher Garrett Shrader posting a distant 14. However his passing acumen is pretty average, posting a 65.9 PFF passing grade without the benefit of play action, which ranks 51st overall, with a ghastly 3-to-8 BTT-to-TWP ratio according to PFF College. Even when he’s throwing from a clean pocket, his BTT-to-TWP ratio is still 10-to-10. He also benefited from a very strong 5% drop rate, with his receivers putting just 11 passes on the ground on 342 attempts. With Tyler Harrell taking his talents to Alabama, Justin Marshall off to Buffalo and Jordan Watkins now at Ole Miss, Cunningham is losing 1,444 snaps of experience. He now has to develop a rapport with a whole new set of starters, and adjust to life without Harrell’s explosiveness downfield. Despite clear passing limitations, there is no getting around the fact that Malik is the most electric running quarterback in the country by a comfortable margin. His CFFSite ADP is consistently been in the 26 overall range for the last three months after hovering around #12 in February and March. He ranges from QB2 to no lower than QB6, which is where I have him ranked. In a 6-point passing TD format, I get gun shy about run-heavy QBs with questionable arm talent as they are more likely to get injured due to putting themselves in harm's way, especially when they carry a smaller sized frame like Cunningham. However his athleticism is undeniable which is why he’s still an easy top-10 CFF quarterback.

7. Brennan Armstrong, Virginia

2021 Player Stats: 4,444 Yards/Comp% = 65%/31-to-10 Ratio

PFF Grades: 91.8 Overall/90.3 Passing/79.9 Running

Offensive Returning Production: 60% (75th)

2021 Team Passing Stats: 46 ATT per game/392 YPG/31-to-12 Ratio

Team Points Per Game: 35 PPG (21st)

Team Yards Per Pass: 8.4 (22nd)

BTT-to-TWP: 35-to-21 = 6.7%-to-3.5%

Deep Passing: 92.9 Grade/87 ATT/ ATT% = 17%/Comp% = 42.5%

Rushing: 256 yards/9 TDs

Virginia accounted for the third most passes in FBS, averaging 46 throws per game for a staggering 393 YPG in HC Bronco Mendenhall’s ball-inflating playbook. Armstrong had a 28-to-7 BTT/TWP on 87 downfield throws which ranks as the second most among returning signal callers. Well Mendenhall is gone now and the new staff is intent on balancing things out, with Virginia beat writer Matt Newton writing “Establishing an effective run game has perhaps been the most emphasized point by Tony Elliott and UVA offensive coordinator Des Kitchings this spring.” In the spring game Armstrong piloted both offenses completing 23-of-42 passes for 212 yards and one interception, while a patchwork offensive line that had just 8 players suit up saw multiple linemen playing out of position and on both units. They also noticeably struggled to run the ball, though an influx of OL transfers arriving for Fall camp will undoubtedly help. Armstrong averaged 43 points per game, second most in the country behind only Bailey Zappe and his 62 touchdown passes. Yet his ADP dropped from 28 overall in February drafts down to the 43rd pick in May due to concerns about the new approach being employed by HC Elliot and OC Kitchings. The new staff is more concerned with winning games than producing fantasy greatness, and it’s difficult to win consistently when your defense is allowing 466 YPG, 10th most nationally.

8. Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma

(2020 - 10 Games) Player Stats: 3,570 Yards/Comp% = 60%/32-to-4 Ratio

2020 PFF Grades: 90.9 Overall/90.4 Passing

Offensive Returning Production: 46% (112th)

2021 Team Passing Stats: 31 ATT per game/263 YPG/32-to-9 Ratio

Team Points Per Game: 39 (8th)

Team Yards Per Pass: 8.4 (20th)

2020 BTT-to-TWP: 26-to-11

2020 Deep Passing: 92.5 Grade/80 ATT/ATT% = 19%/Comp% = 44%

2020 Rushing: 169 yards/2 TD

This Oklahoma team has a lot of new faces in control of this offense with new OC Jeff Lebby coming over from Ole Miss and of course new QB Dillon Gabriel arriving from UCF to replace Caleb Williams. However the Sooners still managed to retain a highly touted set of wideouts for Gabriel to work with, as starters Marvin Mims Jr, Theo Wease and Jalil Farooq were all major recruits. Their receiving acumen is important since Gabriel was plagued by poor hands at UCF, as 39 of his 287 completable passes were put on the ground for a brutal 14% drop rate. Lebby’s work with Matt Corral at Ole Miss gives us reason for optimism in regard to the UCF transfer’s potential for CFF purposes. Last year Oklahoma only unleashed 31 passes per game, which ranked 60th out of 130 teams, and averaged 263 yards per game, while OC Lebby threw 33 passes for 274 yards per game. For his part Gabriel averaged 357 passing yards per game in 2020, so he is accustomed to a high volume passing attack like the one he helmed under UCF HC Josh Heupel. He also led the country in deep passes in 2020, as his 80 attempts was 11 more than the second place finisher, Kyle Trask. A practiced marksman, the Golden Knights’ Golden Boy was deadly accurate on those 80 downfield throws, completing 44% of his passes for 1,338 yards and a sterling 14-to-2 ratio. All the pieces are in place for Gabriel to thrive in Norman, and CFFSite drafters are acting accordingly, with his ADP jumping from 58 overall in April to 47 in May.

9. Hendon Hooker, Tennessee

2021 Player Stats: 2,945 Yards/Comp% = 68%/31-to-3 Ratio

PFF Grades: 84.4 Overall/78.3 Passing/76.4 Running

Offensive Returning Production: 81% (15th)

2021 Team Passing Stats: 29 ATT per game/257 YPG/33-to-3 Ratio

Team Points Per Game: 39 (7th)

Team Yards Per Pass: 8.9 (9th)

BTT-to-TWP: 18-to-9 = 5.6%-to-2.1%

Deep Passing: 89.3 Grade/53 ATT/ ATT% = 17%/Comp% = 38%

Rushing: 620 yards/5 TDs

HC Josh Heupel has revitalized the Tennessee offense since his arrival with his up-tempo system that ranks 25th in pace and top-20 in yards per play, points per drive and EPA/Play. Virginia Tech transfer Hendon Hooker took the job among a host of candidates and ran with it, accounting for 32 fantasy points per game thanks to his dual-threat skillset. Hooker is very efficient within 10 yards of the LOS, completing 87% of his short throws but doesn’t have the overall playmaking ability with his arm that the other top-10 quarterbacks have. The Vols signal caller benefits greatly from HC Heupel’s well-schemed offense that utilizes play action 54% of the time, fourth most in the nation last year. Cedric Tillman is a pro-caliber receiver and Jalin Hyatt is blazing fast, but third-round pick Velus Jones Jr. moves on. Hooker only cleared the 250 passing yards mark against FBS teams twice during the regular season and averages a pedestrian 29 pass attempts per game which limits his passing upside. He’s an athletic, savvy runner but doesn’t have the extra gear and elusiveness of Malik Cunningham that makes him special, so Hooker takes plenty of shots. Protection is a problem as well, as despite his mobility Tennessee’s 10.5% sack rate ranks 121st nationally. Despite some drawbacks with his overall passing upside, Hooker still pilots a potent offense that averaged 39 PPG last season and faces a splendid non-conference slate consisting of Ball State, Pitt, Akron and UT-Martin. With an ADP of 22.2 and a draft range of QB2-QB7, I feel like Hooker is too expensive relative to his current draft capital, but he’s still a very credible QB1.

10. Quinn Ewers, Texas

Player Stats: N/A

PFF Grades: N/A

Offensive Returning Production: 64% (59th)

2021 Team Passing Stats: 29 ATT per game/225 YPG/29-10 Ratio

Team Points Per Game: 35 (18th)

Team Yards Per Pass: 7.8 (51st)

BTT-to-TWP: N/A

Deep Passing: N/A

Rushing: N/A

Plenty of projection involved here, but watching Ewers command the Texas offense in the Spring Game was enough to backup his awe inspiring High School film and lofty five-star prep status. His two touchdown throws unveiled his prodigious arm talent, with the first being a perfectly thrown deep shot to Isaiah Neyor and the other a laser on a post pattern to Xavier Worthy. Ewers’ talent is legit, don’t think that’s really at issue at this point. However there’s the 225 passing YPG and uninspiring 29 passes per game averages that the Longhorns posted under HC Steve Sarkisian last year. Dating back to his two-year stint as the OC of Alabama he posted 342 passing YPG in 2019 and 358 YPG in 2020. A pair of leviathan level offenses that averaged over 47 points per game and 11 yards per pass attempt over that span. Now HC Sark has the number one recruit in the history of the 247Sports composite, orchestrating an already dangerous offense that still put up 35 PPG last year, 18th most in the land. Ewers’ CFFSite ADP sits at 51 overall, but fluctuated from #39 in March up to #62 in April, despite a Spring Game that left Longhorns fans drooling. I’m drafting him on the high end of his range that currently sits between QB8-QB14.

11. Aidan O’Connell, Purdue

2021 Player Stats: 3,712 Yards/Comp% = 72%/28-to-11 Ratio

PFF Grades: 90.6 Overall/90 Passing

Offensive Returning Production: 63% (61st)

2021 Team Passing Stats: 44 ATT per game/355 YPG/35-to-12 Ratio

Team Points Per Game: 29 (60th)

Team Yards Per Pass: 8.0 (40th)

BTT-to-TWP: 36-to-17 = 7.8%-to-3.5%

Deep Passing: 96.2 Grade/55 ATT/ATT% = 12.6%/Comp% = 53%

Rushing: N/A

When it comes to high-volume passing offenses, Purdue HC Jeff Brohm’s is among college football’s most strident practitioners. Over the last three seasons the Boilermakers averaged between 43 and 45 passes per game in each campaign, finishing in the top-five nationally in passing attempts in each of them. O’Connell could be in line to produce David Blough-esque levels of production this season, as there are several positive bellwethers from his 2021 performance. His 96.2 Deep Passing grade ranks third among returning signal callers, while his 55% adjusted completion rate on deep shots ranks fifth overall with O’Connell completing 72% of his overall passes. He also improved Purdue’s team ADOT from 7.1 yards over the past two years to 8.0 yards last season and led an ultra efficient offense that ranked 10th in marginal efficiency last year. The drawback with O’Connell is his ability to handle a stiff pass rush, as he posted a woeful 54 PFF passing grade under pressure which ranks 54th in the country. The good news is Purdue has a rock solid offensive line that allowed just a 5% sack rate (30th) and 26% pressure rate (29th) last year and was starting three freshmen who all recorded at least 400 snaps. Their line will be much more experienced and should be a top notch unit, reducing pressure situations for O’Connell. Purdue will also be without top wideouts David Bell and Milton Wright, so Iowa transfer Tyrone Tracy, Broc Thompson and TE Payne Durham will be looked at to pick up the slack. O’Connell leads one of the most efficient and projectable passing attacks in the country and is being selected at an ADP of pick 84 with a range of QB13-QB21. I am bullish on his potential for a big CFF season and consider him to be a solid value at his current draft position.

12. Tanner Mordecai, SMU

2021 Player Stats: 3,628 Yards/Comp% = 68%/39-to-12 Ratio

PFF Grades: 87.8 Overall/85.7 Passing/66.6 Running

Offensive Returning Production: 68% (54th)

2021 Team Passing Stats: 39 ATT per game/305 YPG/39-to-12 Ratio

Team Points Per Game: 38 (10th)

Team Yards Per Pass: 7.8 (51st)

BTT-to-TWP: 23-to-14 = 4.9%-to-2.7%

Deep Passing: 93.7 Grade/61 ATT/ ATT% = 13.5%/Comp% = 44%

Rushing: 202 yards/2 TDs

While the departure of WRs Danny Gray and Reggie Roberson are important factors in determining the health of SMU’s offense, there is some conjecture about how the changeover from outgoing HC Sonny Dykes to former SMU OC Rhett Lashlee will shake out in terms of play calling. However when Lashlee was the offensive coordinator at Miami last year, he averaged the exact same amount of passes per game that SMU did, 39, while averaging 321 passing YPG which is 16 yards more than the Mustangs on a per game basis. They return former four-star Oklahoma recruit Mordecai who is a seasoned signal caller that averaged 35 fantasy points per game last year while accounting for 41 total touchdowns. His 87.8 PFF Overall grade is more than sufficient while a 16-to-1 BTT-to-TWP ratio on downfield throws belies his ability to stretch the field vertically, as SMU’s 6th overall ranking in EPA/Play will attest. SMU’s CFF friendly rapid pace should continue too, as HC Lashlee ran 73 plays per game last year with Miami (23rd), while the Mustangs ran 74 plays on average (19th). The drawbacks to Mordecai are he tends to try and force throws over the middle which led to his 12 interceptions. He cannot afford to be careless with four-star second year QB Preston Stone giving him a run for the starting job in Spring Camp. Though reports indicate the more experienced Mordecai is in the lead for QB1 duties, he won’t have a very long leash should his performance start to dip. The former Sooner is being taken at an average of pick 92 with a cavernous range spanning QB9-QB28. The uncertainty reflects Stone’s potential to steal the job, but if Mordecai can hold him off for another year, he’s going to almost certainly outperform his ADP.

13. Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina

2021 Player Stats: 2,873 Yards/Comp% = 73%/27-to-3 Ratio

PFF Grades: 91.0 Overall/93.3 Passing

Offensive Returning Production: 54% (92nd)

2021 Team Passing Stats: 25 ATT per game/266YPG/33-to-4 Ratio

Team Points Per Game: 41 (5th)

Team Yards Per Pass: 10.7 (3rd)

BTT-to-TWP: 17-to-8

Deep Passing: 99.2 Grade/30 ATT/ATT% = 12%/Comp% =

Rushing: 290 yards/4 TDs - 2020: 592 yards/7 TDs

The Coastal Carolina offense employed by HC Jamey Chadwell is as ruthless in its execution as a tax audit, ranking top-3 in success rate (54%), points per drive (3.5) yards per play (7.5) and EPA/Play. Their offense utilizes motion before almost every snap with McCall running play action 45% of the time, 16th most in the country. His PFF passing grade is above 90 both with or without the benefit of play action and his 61% completion rate under pressure ranked third nationally. The Chanticleers signal caller’s running acumen (592 yards/7 TDs in 2020) helps to boost his fantasy value when his passing numbers can be limited due to the low-volume 25 attempts per game average. McCall’s ruthless efficiency helped to make up for the dearth of passing volume though, as CCU’s 10.7 yards per attempt ranked third overall which helped to make up for the dearth of aerial opportunities. What could be an issue for McCall is continuity in the passing game, as top targets Isaiah Likely and Jaivon Heiligh both move on and the remaining skill position players have a combined 10 starts among the entire WR/TE group. The inexperience of this unit means incoming Georgia State transfer Sam Pinckney should instantly slot into the WR1 role and be a top-50 caliber fantasy wideout as a result. TE Xavier Gravette is responsible for five of the aforementioned 10 starts and should take the Likely spot in the offense to great effect. There will be some growing pains on the offensive line, as CCU returns just two linemen with starting experience on a line that relies on timing and technique with zero projected starting linemen weighing over 300 pounds. Coastal Carolina is always coached up though, so I’m not too concerned about the turnover. McCall was being drafted at #65 in March but has been going off the board at pick #87 in May for an average of pick 75 with a range of QB13-QB23.

14. Jake Haener, Fresno State

2021 Player Stats: 4,096 Yards/Comp% = 67%/33-to-9 Ratio

PFF Grades: 78.9 Overall/80.2 Passing

Offensive Returning Production: 76% (18th)

2021 Team Passing Stats: 40 ATT per game/327 YPG/35-to-10 Ratio

Team Points Per Game: 33 (26th)

Team Yards Per Pass: 8.3

BTT-to-TWP: 22-to-14 = 4.3%-to-2.4%

Deep Passing: 76.5 Grade/71 ATT/ ATT% = 15%/Comp% = 37%

Rushing: 3 TDs

Though offensive guru and former HC Kalen DeBoer moves on to Washington, Fresno State brings back former HC Jeff Tedford to steer the ship for a second time. HC Tedford maintained continuity on the staff by promoting wide receivers coach Kirby Moore to OC. That’s positive news for Haener, as Fresno State ranked ninth nationally in pass attempts with 40 and should continue to air it out with an experienced offense that ranks 18th in returning production and 23rd in pace with 73 plays per game. He is one of just eight returning quarterbacks to throw for over 4,000 yards last season and piloted the Bulldogs’ offense to a stellar 49% passing success rate, the seventh best mark in the country. His game log is consistent as well, posting 30+ fantasy points in seven games last year with his worst three games coming against the stout defenses of Boise State, SDSU and Wyoming. Just sit him against the good D’s and let him rip against the rest of Fresno State’s cushy schedule in which CFB Winning Edge projects them as favorites in every game except for Boise State (-3) and USC (-7). He is much more comfortable throwing to the left side of the field than the right, as he failed to clear a PFF passing grade of 70 to the right while posting grades of 90 or above at all levels while throwing to the left. Star WR Jalen Cropper returns along with WR Josh Kelly and RB Jordan Mims. Haener has been one of the big recent fallers of the QB class, opening at an ADP of #67 in February before plummeting to #103 overall in recent drafts for an average of 84. His draft range is all over the map with a high pick of QB5 and a low of QB28. What you see is what you get with Haener, he’s a gutsy, veteran leader who leads a battle tested offense that is capable of putting up 35+ points per game against a Charmin-soft schedule. He’s a classic high-floor QB with no rushing upside.

15. Cameron Ward, Wazzu

2021 Player Stats: 4,650 Yards/Comp% = 65%/47-to-10 Ratio

PFF Grades: 66.9 Overall/65.3 Passing

Offensive Returning Production: 46% (111th)

2021 Team Passing Stats: 35 ATT per game/257 YPG/26-to-13 Ratio

Team Points Per Game: 28 (72nd)

Team Yards Per Pass: 7.4 (70th)

BTT-to-TWP: 24-to-25 = 3.8%-to-3.5%

Deep Passing: 81.9 Grade/46 ATT/ATT% = 15.2/Comp% = 33%

Rushing:

2021 was a tumultuous year for the Wazzu faithful with the early-season coaching staff turbulence that manifested noticeable inconsistency in the offense. When you’re employing a run n’ shoot offense and clearing 300-yards passing just once against FBS programs, something is broken. Accordingly, Wazzu abandoned the ineffective offense and returned to their air-raid roots by hiring OC Eric Morris to implement his version of former HC Mike Leach’s offense. Enter Cameron Ward from Incarnate Word, a 6’3/220 gunslinger who threw for 4,650 yards with a 47-to-10 ratio last year at the FCS level. His 592 pass attempts would have ranked third in the FBS, but peeling back the layers behind the pass-oriented offense and there’s reason for pause in anointing Ward the next Zappe. A big problem for Ward is throwing downfield, as he completed just 39% of his passes of 10+ yards while connecting on 82% of his short throws last season. Ward’s 63.8 passing grade with no play action is a red flag as is his 24-to-25 BTT-to-TWP rate. For comparison’s sake, Bailey Zappe had an 87 passing grade under the same conditions at Sam Houston St. before taking the FBS by storm at WKU. He’s also going to a team that is recalibrating their offense, loses both starting RBs and dynamic Travell Harris while returning just two experienced offensive linemen. The passing volume is going to be there and I’m a sucker for air-raid offenses, but I’m not ready to put Ward into my top-10. His ADP has been pretty consistent at #63 which puts him squarely in QB10 territory with a range of QB9-to-QB17.

16. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA

2021 Player Stats: 2,409 Yards/Comp% = 62%/21-to-6 Ratio

PFF Grades: 85.2 Overall/74.1 Passing/85.7 Rushing

Offensive Returning Production: 66% (58th)

2021 Team Passing Stats: 28 ATT per game/226 YPG/23-to-8 Ratio

Team Points Per Game: 36 (13th)

Team Yards Per Pass: 8.1 (36th)

BTT-to-TWP: 15-to-10 = 4.9%-to-2.6%

Deep Passing: 82 Grade/50 ATT/ ATT% = 18%/Comp% = 28%

Rushing: 609 yards/9 TDs

HC Chip Kelly has turned UCLA into a highly productive offense that rushed for 215 YPG (13th) and threw for 226 YPG (69th) while putting up points at a 36 PPG clip. Thompson-Robinson is a tenured leader who manages to churn out 32 fantasy PPG thanks to his running prowess despite throwing only 28 passes per game (99th). While his mobility is well established, his PFF run grade has been well in the 80’s each of the last two years, it has taken some time for DTR to refine his passing acumen. In 2020 his BTT-to-TWP ratio was underwater at 5-to-10 while he posted a gruesome 54.6 PFF passing grade. He improved substantially in both areas last year with a 15-to-10 ratio and 74.1 passing grade while leading UCLA to CFB Winning Edge’s seventh best offensive unit in the country. Even with the noticeable improvement DTR is limited in his passing tree, as he doesn’t have the arm strength to throw deep outside the hashes. He completed just 3-of-21 outside deep shots for 109 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and a 63.6 Passing Grade last season. Thompson-Robinson also struggles noticeable when under duress, with his completion rate plummeting from 71% when kept clean down to 30% when pressured. Where he’s particularly valuable is in 4-point passing TD leagues that depress passing stats, as his 55 rushing yards per game average and nine rushing touchdowns helped him score at least 27 points in 8-of-11 games last year. In addition to DTR’s consistency, UCLA’s schedule is excellent as they face Bowling Green, South Alabama and Alabama State in non-conference play and are a projected underdog in just one game. Thompson-Robinson is an entrenched dual-threat signal caller who commands a top-20 offense that is facing the 67th ranked schedule in the nation. He is currently being taken one spot ahead of Tanner Mordecai at pick #91 with a range of QB9 - to QB28. I like the higher upside of QBs that are throwing the ball more often, but DTR’s a dependable QB2 in 12+ team formats.

17. Tyler Shough/Behren Morton, Texas Tech

Career Player Stats: 2,575 Yards/Comp% = 66%/22-to-9 Ratio (11 starts)

PFF Grades: 76.9 Overall/73.0 Passing/71.7 Run

Offensive Returning Production: 57% (85th)

2021 Team Passing Stats: 30 ATT per game/258 YPG/18-to-11 Ratio

Team Points Per Game: 30 (50th)

Team Yards Per Pass: 8.7 (16th)

BTT-to-TWP: 9-to-15 = 3.1%-to-4.5%

Deep Passing: 77.7 Grade/37 ATT/ ATT% = 14%/Comp% = 45%

Rushing: 271 yards/2 TDs (2020 - 7 games)

In 2021 the Sam Houston State offensive core and OC Zach Kittley transferred to Western Kentucky and proceeded to unleash Bailey Zappe on the FBS to the tune of 50 pass attempts per game (2nd), 426 passing YPG (1st) and 62 passing touchdowns (1st). Well Kittley is now OC at Texas Tech which is the perfect place for him to implement his devastating passing attack, the only question is who is going to run it? Oregon transfer Tyler Shough is the early favorite as he was competent as the starter last season until he went down in Week 4 against Texas, completing 69% of his throws while earning a 76.9 offensive grade and also putting 7-of-11 deep shots on target. He also took the most snaps in the TT Spring Game, completing 22-of-32 passes for 164 yards and two interceptions. The first INT came on a quick out pattern where he didn’t see the corner breaking on the route, which was picked off and returned for a touchdown. The second came on a batted pass in a red zone situation that killed a scoring opportunity. Four-star second-year QB Behren Morton was arguably more effective, completing 8-of-13 passes for 95 yards and leading a pair of scoring drives while not turning the ball over. OC Kittley was clear in stating that the QB battle will rage on into fall camp and is far from settled. While Shough has to be viewed as the front-runner based on spring usage and camp reports, Morton is close behind and is actually my preferred option under center based on how he played in spring and his potential upside. While this situation is uncertain from a re-draft perspective, Morton is a must-add in dynasty formats and the eventual winner of this job has the potential to swing your entire fantasy season if things break right. Shough is currently going with the 95th overall selection, but has dropped from 77th on average in February to 108th in recent drafts.

18. Jarrett Doege, WKU

2021 Player Stats: 3,048 Yards/Comp% = 65%/19-to-12 Ratio

PFF Grades: 70.2 Overall/69.8 Passing

Offensive Returning Production: 43% (121st)

2021 Team Passing Stats: 50 ATT per game/434 YPG/63-to-12 Ratio

Team Points Per Game: 44 (2nd)

Team Yards Per Pass: 8.7 (15th)

BTT-to-TWP: 19-to-12

Deep Passing: 91.5 Grade/56 ATT/ ATT% = 13%/Comp% = 41%

Rushing: N/A

Doege has achieved Taysom Hill levels of collegiate longevity, first breaking on the scene as a three-star recruit who started five games for Bowling Green as a true freshman in 2017. He would throw for 2,662 yards with a 27-to-12 ratio in 2018, providing the last semblance of FBS worthy quarterback play we’ve seen from the Falcons. He transferred to West Virginia in 2019 and had a nice run to begin his Mountaineers tenure, starting 13 games over the next two years and amassing 3,405 passing yards, a 65% completion rate and a 21-to-7 ratio. In 2020 he threw for at least 285 yards in five of his last seven contests, but posted two touchdowns or more in just four-of-10 games as WVU relied on RB Leddie Brown to cash in their red zone touchdown opportunities. In his sixth collegiate season, Doege has now grad transferred to WKU which on paper looks like a perfect fit with his air-raid background. The Hilltoppers were the most prolific passing offense in the nation last year and though OC Kittley, Bailey Zappe, Jerreth Sterns and Mitchell Tinsley all move-on, there is still plenty left behind to feel optimistic about their offense at least crossing the 35 PPG threshold. They promoted longtime Kittley protege Ben Arbuckle who was on staff last season to help keep the same system in place and continue to embrace the pass-heavy philosophy that was so effective last season. Starting outside receiver Daewood Davis returns while they also bring in Western Michigan transfer Jaylen Hall to help bolster the wide receivers room. Despite a pedestrian 69.8 PFF passing grade, Doege leading a potent offense that recorded a gaudy 53% success rate (2nd) to go with top-25 finishes in Iso/PPP (15th) and explosive play rate (24th), he has to be taken seriously as a fantasy asset that can swing leagues in 6-point Passing TD formats. He is being taken with the 140th selection on average which is a sizable dip from his February ADP of 109. I think he’s a smoking value where he’s going in redraft leagues right now considering his massive upside.

19. Clayton Tune, Houston

2021 Player Stats: 3,546 Yards/Comp% = 68%/30-to-10 Ratio

PFF Grades: 90.8 Overall/91.4 Passing/58.7 run (injured)

Offensive Returning Production: 68% (51st)

2021 Team Passing Stats: 33 ATT per game/272 YPG/32-to-12 Ratio

Team Points Per Game: 36 PPG (15th)

Team Yards Per Pass: 8.3 (29th)

BTT-to-TWP: 25-to-14 = 5.6%-to-2.7%

Deep Passing: 96.3 Grade/60 ATT/ ATT% = 14%/Comp% = 37%

Rushing: 154 yards/2 TDs — 2020 = 253 yards/5 TDs

Houston HC Dana Holgerson pitched one of the best defenses of his coaching career last season, with Houston ranking ninth in defensive performance according to CFB Winning Edge. This year they lose multiple NFL Draft choices from a defense that returns just 56% of their 2021 production (97th). Accordingly, the Cougars will need to rely on a potent passing attack that ranked 19th nationally and steered Houston to 36 points per game. Fortunately they have an established veteran under center who had an exceptional 2021 despite injuring his hamstring in the first game of the year against Texas Tech which drastically suppressed his mobility for several weeks. His 84.3 passing grade under pressure ranked second in the nation to go with an 11-to-2 TD/INT ratio and an 8.6 yards per attempt average. HC Holgerson also does a nice job putting him in a position to succeed scheme-wise, as Tune led the FBS with a 94.1 play-action passing grade while posting a superb 12.6% big time throw rate in such situations. Though his PFF passing grade drops to 82.9 without play action, that’s still the 10th best overall mark countrywide. He also improved his downfield passing, as his 71.4 deep passing grade and 29% completion rate on 20+ yard throws in 2020 left some production on the table for speedster Nathaniel Dell. Last season his deep production skyrocketed, posting a 96.3 passing grade with an astounding 20-to-1 BTT-to-TWP ratio. Houston plays a CFF dream schedule this year, with an combustible off-conference slate of UTSA, Texas Tech, Kansas and Rice that is sure to feature plenty of points combined with a cream puff AAC schedule where the Cougars somehow dodge both Cincinnati and UCF. Tune’s ADP has held steady in the 126 range where it currently sits as he’s going anywhere from QB22-to-QB38. I love him at the low end of that range and think he’s a bankable QB2 in all formats.

20. Tyler Buchner, Notre Dame

2021 Player Stats: 298 Yards/Comp% = 60%/3-to-3 Ratio

PFF Grades: 71.7 Overall/48.9 Passing/78.6 Running

Offensive Returning Production: 54% (98th)

2021 Team Passing Stats: 35 ATT per game/283YPG/30-to-10 Ratio

Team Points Per Game: 35 (19th)

Team Yards Per Pass: 8.1 (37th)

BTT-to-TWP: N/A

Deep Passing: Grade/ATT/ ATT% = /Comp% = N/A

Rushing: 336 yards/3 TDs

Similar to Quinn Ewers, there’s a lot of projection involved with the four-star, top-10 QB recruit Buchner as he takes over for one-year placeholder Jack Cohn. His running ability was on full display when he worked in for a series or performed situational duties during the season, rushing 43 times for 351 yards, 7.3 YPC and three touchdowns for a strong 78.6 running grade. His passing growth however was not so fruitful, posting an 11.6% turnover worthy play rate to go with a 48.9 passing grade. In his defense he was releasing the ball in 2.53 seconds with an ADOT of 6.9 yards, so OC Tommy Rees was scripting quick, structured passes so Buchner could get his feet wet. The La Jolla, CA native flashes advanced open field elusiveness and could be a major fantasy contributor if he can flourish in the pocket. All-world TE Michael Mayer returns and talented sophomore Lorenzo Styles Jr. is primed to replace Kevin Austin on the outside. ND, who plays the 22nd ranked schedule, is projected to be favorites in every game except for the opener against Ohio State and 11/5 against Clemson. His player projection is a more athletic Ian Book back when he averaged 515 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground over his last two seasons, but with 3,500 passing yards as a ceiling as opposed to the 3,034 passing yards that was the high water mark for Book. Buchner is going off the board at an ADP of 133 with a range of QB23-QB38. I’m seeing him go off the board on the very low end of that range lately and even down to QB17 or so. Notre Dame is so safe as a 35+ PPG offense that it helps Buchner to be a projectable weekly starter against the majority of ND’s schedule. He’s another QB who I really like that’s going in the 10th-12th rounds and can be a consistent contributor.