The Campus2Canton writing staff will cover all of the conferences from now until the beginning of the college football season. To view previous conferences, click one of the links below:
- Sun Belt – East West
- Mountain West – Mountain West
- MAC – East West
- AAC – Part 1 Part 2
- C-USA – East West
- Pac-12 – North South
- SEC – East West
- Big 12 – Part 1 Part II
- B1G – West
Welcome to the B1G East, where almost everyone has some fantasy value, and players get off the bus each week in matching suits and ties. The basement dwellers aren’t likely to see much upward mobility, though Maryland may surprise some folks. But, with Penn State looking to bounce back, Michigan and Michigan State looking to replace their NFL talent, and Ohio State choosing among thoroughbreds, the division seems primed for another sparkling fantasy season.
For our conference previews, we will try to include all the relevant offensive players for the 2022 season, broken into the following groups:
- Fantasy Relevant
- Roster Fillers
- Player to avoid at ADP
All teams are listed in alphabetical order.
Indiana is a team in flux. While they return almost their entire OL, virtually all their skill positions are former transfers. The roster features neither young talent for future development nor any projectable consistency that would lend itself to a positive outlook.
- If there is one hope for Indiana football’s fantasy relevance, it’s TE AJ Barner. With the ideal size and enough athleticism to make a blue moon house call, he finally gets the opportunity to show his ability now that Peyton Hendershot is gone. He could become more than a TD-dependent option for those needing help at TE.
- The tumultuous college career of WR DJ Matthews continues! Matthews has flashed occasionally, but even if he manages to stay healthy, he’s still a high-variance player. His range of outcomes has spanned from 148 yards in seven touches against Cincinnati to a meager two receptions for 15 yards against Western Kentucky. Ultimately, he is a utility player that Walt Bell will hopefully find ways to involve on offense in a variety of ways.
Players to Avoid at ADP
- If anyone else from Indiana is being drafted, the cost is too high.
Could this be the year that Locksley finally puts it together? Built to cover for the deficiencies on the defense, the offense will feature an RB committee and a passing attack with quick-strike ability utilizing a kitchen drawer of WRs.
- QB Taulia Tagovailoa is set to lead Maryland’s prolific passing offense this year. With sufficient arm strength and mobility in and out of the pocket, Lia is a perfect fit for Locks’ system. Returning all five starters on the OL doesn’t hurt either.
- The primary receiving options in this passing attack are WRs Dontay Demus and Rakim Jarrett. All reports suggest that Demus should be ready to return from his gruesome leg injury by Week 1. With a galloping gait and enormous height, Demus is a threat to go deep on any given play. On the other side, Jarett is the highest-rated WR recruit for Maryland since Stefon Diggs. He’s shown potential, scoring two practically identical TDs against Penn State in 2020, but hasn’t had any noteworthy performances since, even when Demus was injured. However, he should see less defensive focus this year with Demus’s return and Jacob Copeland’s addition.
- While Demus and Jarrett receive most of the hype, WR Jacob Copeland quietly has the potential to be one of the more impactful transfers from the last cycle. A physical and scrappy WR, Copeland adds yet another dimension to the passing attack as a catch-point specialist. Expect Copeland to provide the occasional productive game throughout the season.
- Maryland’s 2022 RB room will not determine the team’s success, but the future looks bright with freshman RB Ramon Brown. The staff raves about the physical but lithe runner reminiscent of Leddie Brown. He won’t be a major factor this year but is someone to roster in longer-term formats.
Players to Avoid at ADP
- Emboldened by the relative success of Chig Okonkwo, many project TE Corey Dyches to fulfill a similar role. A former WR, Dyches does not possess a modicum of sense on how to block or play inline. Don’t expect him to get the same number or quality of snaps as Okonkwo earned last year.
Jim Harbaugh’s system isn’t known for its prolific QBs or pass-catchers. But Ann Arbor has become accustomed to a certain standard of RB production. While the team won’t experience the same success as in 2021, they still have players to roster in all formats.
- Michigan features a two-headed rushing attack led by RBs Blake Corum and RB Donovan Edwards. Corum probably starts and is the better rusher of the two, having more diminutive stature but a more decisive running style. Edwards is the better receiver and stands a little taller and heavier than Corum. Both should have enough production and touches to warrant decent fantasy draft capital.
- There is a Michigan TE drafted to the NFL almost every year. This year’s candidate is TE Erick All. Typical of B1G and Wolverine TEs, All can block, catch and do everything that any OC could ask of him. He won’t test particularly well during the upcoming draft process, but that won’t stop All from seeing plenty of targets in college.
- The main producer in the passing game should be WR Ronnie Bell. Before his injury, Bell was the clear leader in the receiving corps and showed some burst that was otherwise lacking on the team. Though not the biggest or fastest, Bell has a knack for finding gaps in the defense.
- WR Cornelius Johnson stepped up during Bell’s absence in 2021, finishing the season 13th in receiving yards in the B1G. His skillset doesn’t project consistent production, but injury may provide opportunity.
- QB Cade McNamara will be dealing to Johnson, Bell, and All. With McCarthy’s injury, McNamara is the clear starter and won’t be limited by subpackages. McNamara doesn’t have a cannon but is an adept game manager. Expect high variance performances from him based on game script and opponent.
- QB JJ McCarthy comes into the season with an injury and no expectations. However, the Michigan coaching staff has shown a proclivity for getting McCarthy involved in any way possible. Having better athleticism and arm strength than McNamara, McCarthy often provided a spark when UM needed it. McCarthy is the heir apparent when McNamara moves on.
Players to Avoid at ADP
Michigan State Spartans
Losing Kenneth Walker III to the NFL will be tough to recover from. With so many vacated touches, they will have to go with a piecemeal solution. At the same time, there may be several players with rosterable production; guessing who will produce when is largely futile.
- The clear #1 WR on this team is WR Jayden Reed. His greatest asset is effortless acceleration on both routes and RAC. He’s not particularly large but more than makes up for it with his burst. The Spartans will lean on him heavily throughout the season.
- Purdue transfer TE Maliq Carr is a tweener. Recruited as a WR, Carr has the receiving tools you look for but lacks the inline techniques required of B1G TEs. He’ll primarily be used in passing situations as the second-most attractive pass-catching option for the Spartans.
- Whether RBs Jarek Broussard or Jalen Berger will be featured this fall is a toss-up. Berger is younger and bigger with plus receiving tools. Broussard, who tore his ACL twice in Boulder, is smaller and has a better burst. Both backs can fill similar roles despite the measurable disparity.
- QB Payton Thorne will have his ups and downs this season. With average arm talent and adequate athleticism, Thorne is neither a truck nor a trailer.
- 4-star WR Germie Bernard is a physical counterpoint to the diminutive Reed. With the other starting WR spot up for grabs, Bernard will attempt to high-point his way onto the field. Even if he cannot secure a starting spot in year 1, he will still play a role this year and is likely a future starter.
Players to Avoid at ADP
Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State is the heavy favorite to win the B1G, maybe a Heisman, and possibly even the CFP. Thanks to Brian Hartline, Ryan Day continues to lead his team to sustained success both on the field and in recruiting. The defense may not be as good as previous iterations, so that this offense will be leaned on even more than usual.
- QB CJ Stroud once again takes the reins of this offense. A Heisman favorite, expect Stroud to once again finish among the top echelon of fantasy QBs. Stroud is well-equipped to guide this offense with lab-built measurements and good arm talent.
- WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba returns to defend his 2021 B1G receiving crown. Although his waddling style of running may bother some, it doesn’t hinder his production. WR Marvin Harrison Jr, son of the Colts legend, gets the first shot to fill the void left by Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. Harrison is an imposing WR (#2 on Bruce Feldman’s Freaks list) with a size-speed combo that would make any OC drool. It remains to be seen whether he can use his physical tools to produce elite fantasy production.
- RB TreVeyon Henderson comes into the season as a consensus top-2 fantasy RB. His physical running style and surprisingly agile cuts will generate plenty of yardage. His versatility, youth, and utility in any part of the field make him an elite fantasy asset for 2022 and beyond, regardless of the price tag.
- The last starting WR spot is still unsettled. Some say WR Julian Fleming will get first cuts, but others claim WR Emeka Egbuka will take over by conference play, if not sooner. Either way, there is plenty of yardage to go around, making both rosterable. Fleming was more highly-recruited, but Egbuka is a physical freak that could eat up significant targets.
- RB Miyan Williams started taking first-team reps last summer but was overtaken by Henderson. But don’t count out Williams just yet. There will be plenty of snaps to spell Henderson for cupcake and blowout production.
- QBs Kyle McCord and Devin Brown will battle to replace Stroud in the future. They have roughly similar builds, but McCord has the better arm talent, and Brown has better athleticism. Even the C2C staff is split on who wins this battle, but this situation is well worth the gamble. Whoever wins this battle will have an elite receiving corps at their disposal.
- WR Kyion Grayes is the next WR up to bat after JSN leaves for the NFL. His ability to get open and make plays in traffic and the open field is vaguely reminiscent of Olave. Given Ohio State’s track record with WRs, this is a no-brainer buy-and-hold.
- Henderson and Williams will get the majority of meaningful snaps, but RB Dallan Hayden will get plenty of garbage time, especially with the injury to RB Evan Pryor. He has a good build and good explosion. While there is always the threat of being recruited over, Hayden’s profile comes with positive long-term projections.
Players to Avoid at ADP
- Grab any available share of this offense and bet on some freshmen to crack the starting lineup in the future.
Penn State Nittany Lions
James Franklin has yet to wake up from the fever dream that was 2021. But once again, recruiting provided the necessary jolt to revive Happy Valley. Expectations are high, and they will look to make 2021 a distant memory.
- The crown jewel of this 2022 recruiting class, RB Nicholas Singleton, joins a long line of prolific RBs from Penn State. He may never come off the field with the ability to explode defenders, the speed to break the occasional house call, and the catching ability out of the backfield. Singleton is a value in any CFF format, but especially in Devy and C2C, as he should be productive for three full seasons.
- Franklin looks to replace Jahan Dotson with a gaggle of similarly slotty WRs. The thickly-built WR Parker Washington will be the primary option in the passing attack. Unlike most slot-inclined WRs who use speed and quick releases to get open, Washington uses his frame and play strength to create windows. Western Kentucky transfer WR Mitchell Tinsley joins him in the starting lineup. Tinsley is a catch-point WR who will fight for sidelines and high points for his production. This inside-outside approach to throwing windows should benefit the aerial attack for the Nittany Lions and allow for other pass catchers to create opportunities in the margins.
- QB Sean Clifford is one of those B1G QBs whose job is to utilize the talent around them and avoid holding back the offense. His weak arm talent and questionable accuracy are not uncharacteristic of other B1G QBs, but he makes up for it with the small threat of running.
- WR Keandre Lambert-Smith has the most ideal size out of the WRs on roster. At 6-1, he is a technician on the outside and manipulates CBs to create separation. Whether Clifford takes advantage of that separation is TBD. Nevertheless, the existing connection between Clifford and the veteran WR will provide marginal value.
- In a top-heavy 2023 NFL TE class, TE Theo Johnson resides in one of the middle tiers. Johnson never seemed to develop when heavily recruited for his great size and athleticism. At this point in his career, he is an adequate receiver but needs to refine his blocking technique to earn snaps.
- Freshman QB Drew Allar is a refreshing change that provides hope for the future. Standing at 6’5”, Allar has managed to keep his throwing motion and release path shorter than most QBs his size. He poses at least equal rushing threat to Clifford. Allar raises the ceiling of the Penn State offense exponentially, even if fans will have to wait a year to see it.
- IMG Academy product RB Kaytron Allen completes a freshman backfield 1-2 punch with Singleton. Allen has a similar physical profile as Singleton but is a much better receiver. While he will never be the feature back with Singleton is around, he can have fantasy relevance if the staff finds a regular role for him or if he transfers to where he can top the depth chart.
- Happy Valley won’t miss Dotson too much with the addition of freshman WR Kaden Saunders. Slightly taller than his predecessor, Saunders is the more traditional slot with real track speed and a slight but agile build. With Washington and Tinsley likely going to the NFL next year, Saunders can slide into the slot and produce as soon as next season.
Players to Avoid at ADP
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Apparently, only Greg Schiano can have even an iota of success when coaching Rutgers. With the losses of Bo Melton and Isiah Pacheco, the Scarlet Knights look to replace what little production they had a year ago.
- Perhaps QB Gavin Wimsatt can provide the spark needed to give some excitement to this offense. A better athlete than passer, he provides a dual-threat that was missing last year. Wimsatt’s legs will determine his floor while his ceiling will be dependent upon his development as a passer and his receiving corps.
- If anyone can be relied on to provide aerial production, it’s transfer WR Taj Harris. Big and scrappy, Harris possesses the occasional burst to complete chunk plays and is far and away the best WR on the team. But given the passing limitations of Wimsatt, it isn’t easy to project consistent numbers from Harris weekly.
- RB Samuel Brown is the future of the Rutgers rushing attack. On the taller side, Brown has great flexibility and twitch, showing phenomenal potential in traffic. This is a long-term investment that could have significant dividends as soon as next year.
Players to Avoid at ADP
- Were there other offensive skill position players on the Rutgers roster?