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:

The Big 12 is in the midst of quite the transition. One of college football’s most highly coveted coaches within the conference left for Big Ten-bound USC. With him, coach Lincoln Riley took Caleb and Mario Williams and the nationally known offensive brand that he had become associated with. The future of the conference would appear to be uncertain as the Big Ten and SEC continue to poach brand-name programs in the interest of creating leverage in the negotiations of television and streaming rights deals.

Conference headliners Texas and Oklahoma are counting the days until they jettison the Big 12 for the SEC.  Regardless of the strength of the conference in its current form, the Campus2Canton format mandates that players search for value anywhere. And so, we endure to search the crevasses and creases for that value. Our analysis of the Big 12 has been separated into two parts. You can find the first part here.

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
  • Stashes
  • Player to avoid at ADP

All teams are listed in alphabetical order.

Baylor Bears

Offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes is a former offensive tackle playing his college football at UTEP in the late 1980s, where he was coached by Marty Mornhinweg, Andy Reid, and Dirk Koetter. That’s quite the influential group. Grimes runs a Shanahan-inspired wide zone running scheme and has used a primary back in a bell-cow type role in each of the last two seasons. In 2020, during Grimes’ BYU tenure, a linebacker turned running back ran for 1,100+ yards, averaging 7.5 yards per carry. In his first season at Baylor, Grimes’ primary back ran for 1,600 yards after compiling just 46 through the three seasons prior to Grimes’ arrival. Grimes flies under the radar in a Lincoln Riley, Steve Sarkisian, and Zach Kittley world. But he is one of the offensive coordinators to which fantasy players should be tracking and hitching their figurative wagon.

Fantasy Relevant

Courtesy of 247Sports

Taye McWilliams. McWilliams is the projected starter and has bell-cow size. Expect Grimes to produce his third consecutive 1,000-yard rusher, as McWilliams does not have much established competition for touches other than oft-injured upperclassman Craig “Sqwirl” Williams. With his COVID season and a redshirt, Taye could have as many as three seasons left. Hard to see how McWilliams isn’t, at the very least, a potential CFF lottery ticket. 

Roster Fillers

None.

Stashes

Blake Shapen. Shapen is probably more of a watch-list player than a stash. But he’s shown “gamer” ability and unseated a veteran incumbent. Jeff Grimes is responsible for the high-flying offensive that vaulted Zach Wilson to the number two overall pick. Something similar is extremely unlikely to happen with Shapen. But stranger things have happened. Keep an eye out. 

Armani Winfield. Again, more of a watch list player than a stash. Winfield is a 4-star field stretcher out of Lewisville, Texas. He is not a favorite at Campus2Canton, but Grimes could scheme up a player like Winfield on long developing stretch play-action plays that he ran at BYU. Winfield is the highest-rated receiver committed to Baylor in the last five years. The team also loses its top three receivers from 2021.

Players to Avoid at ADP

None.

Iowa State Cyclones

Matt Campbell is now an established brand in college football. His offenses are generally productive. Campbell’s last two primary running backs have been second-round draft picks. His quarterback has generally been steady, if not spectacular. However, this season will be unique for Campbell, as he has no established running back and is a first-time starting quarterback. Also, with Charlie Kolar now playing for the Ravens, one player, in particular, could be the benefactor of additional red zone targets.

Fantasy Relevant

Xavier Hutchinson. From Hakeem Butler to Allen Lazard, Campell has always had a productive possession receiver who plays like a rebounder. Hutchinson was that player in 2021 and will be again in 2022. Hutchinson produced a healthy 16.73 fantasy ppg in 2021, with only five touchdowns to his name. With Charlie Kolar no longer on the team, Hutchinson should be the primary red zone threat for Hunter Dekkers.

Roster Fillers

Jaylin Noel. Word out of Iowa State camp is that the team intends to attempt more deep passes. This could benefit sophomore Noel, a 3-star prospect with some speed and YAC ability.

Stashes

Cartevious Norton. Norton is a favorite of Campus2Canton co-Founder Austin Nace, who may be single-handedly responsible for his rocketship-like rise in ADP. Norton’s ADP has climbed to the single-digit rounds in C2C start-ups after being virtually non-existent earlier in the year. Phil Steele has already projected the stout, 5’10” and 210-pound freshman as the starter. Campbell’s history with even young running backs has been very successful. Norton has lottery ticket written all over him.

Hunter Dekkers. Dekkers was headed for a “Hefty Lefty” type of nickname, invoking visions of the former Kentucky Wildcat and New York Giant quarterback. But the Iowa native seemed noticeably slimmer in spring interviews. Dekkers is a dual threat who can be used a la Cam Newton or Tim Tebow at the goal line; without an established product at running back, this writer believes the former to be the most likely outcome. Aggressive, mobile, and thick. There’s a lot to like about Dekkers’ game.  

Player to Avoid at ADP

Jirehl Brock. The aforementioned Cartevious Norton may have already usurped Brock. There are safer plays to make for potential CFF production than Brock.

Kansas State Wildcats

The Kansas State Wildcats replaced long-time dual-threat starting quarterback Skylar Thompson with a long-time dual-threat quarterback in Nebraska transfer Adrian Martinez. A year after playing spoiler to Oklahoma in 2020, Kansas State resorted to losing all of its marquee conference games in 2021. Martinez and his uber-productive backfield mate may lead the Wildcats to a few upsets this season. But fantasy-wise, it’s Adrian and Deuce, and that’s about it. 

Fantasy Relevant

Deuce Vaughn. The only question about Vaughn is whether he’s an NFL prospect. There are contrasting opinions on that point. For now (and perhaps one additional season), Vaughn is quite simply one of the best fantasy running backs in college football. He is also one of the most fun to watch. Roster him. Start him every week. It’s a simple proposition.

Adrian Martinez. We’re a long way away from considering Martinez to be a potential NFL draft pick after surprising as a toolsy freshman at Nebraska in 2018. But AMart has the rushing ability to finish as a top ten QB in CFF. Coach Chris Klieman was wise to bring in the Cornhusker transfer, who has a similar skillset to Skylar Thompson. In fact, Campus2Canton’s CFF team believes that Martinez and the rest of the offense could be buoyed by an uptempo play style under new offensive coordinator Colin Klein. 

Roster Fillers

None.

Stashes

None.

Player to Avoid at ADP

None.

Oklahoma Sooners

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Sooners have undergone a massive facelift after Lincoln Riley’s departure from Norman. New offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby offers the hope of maintaining a high-octane offense after helping produce high-level offensive production at Ole Miss. But team emphasis overall isn’t quite clear given that new head man Brent Venables has a defensive background. Further, and unfortunately for Sooners fans, Oklahoma is now unlikely to attract the same quarterback commits that came to Norman under Riley. That said, OU has been a gold mine of sorts for fantasy gamers in years prior. However, in this writer’s opinion, the Sooners are no longer a team whose entire roster should be prioritized from a C2C or CFF perspective

Fantasy Relevant

Dillon Gabriel. Gabriel is back playing after suffering a fractured clavicle injury in 2021. He is Campus2Canton’s CFF QB6. Matt Corral was a top-five CFF QB under Jeff Lebby last season. Gabriel is projected as a CFF starter in Lebby’s RPO system.

Roster Fillers

Marvin Mims. Mims has been an established brand since 2020. He’s not necessarily an every-week fantasy starter, but he is widely considered a 2023 NFL draft pick. But as a 10-ish point per week fantasy option, one hopes that he’ll have a higher floor with an NFL team. The saving grace for Mims could be that Lebby’s slot WRs have been very productive.

Stashes

Jovantae Barnes. The freshman was ranked by the recruiting services a tick lower than teammate Gavin Sawchuk. But reports on Barnes out of spring practice were nothing short of raving. Barnes appears to have locked in a role on the OU offense from Day 1. A thickly built north and south runner, Barnes likely has more devy value than CFF. But Barnes is the definition of a stash.

Player to Avoid at ADP

Theo Wease. Wease is WR67 in our most recent ADP, which may be skewed by a select few drafting the former 4-star earlier than he should be drafted. But Wease is also 90% rostered on Fantrax. That’s a pretty healthy rostership percentage and ADP for a player who is unlikely to be fantasy relevant either as a college or NFL player. Yes, the potential was there at one point, but there are players you can select with a more clear NFL path or who will provide better fantasy value as a collegiate player. 

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Don’t look now, but the Cowboys might possess the group of skill position players with the highest collective ceiling. Coach Mike Gundy is underrated in developing talent and fantasy-relevant skill position players. In 2022, the Cowboys possess, at the very least, a trio of players who should be rostered in every C2C league.

Fantasy Relevant

Jaden Bray. Bray is next in the lineage of boundary jump ball-type specialists for Mike Gundy. James Washington, Tylan Wallace, and Tay Martin have all made the jump to the NFL, playing this role in Gundy’s offense. Bray flashed some athleticism in his second year on campus, including a four-catch for 84 yards and one TD performance against Tulsa late in the season. Many expect a leap in his third season, given that there is no veteran competition for targets.

Roster Fillers

Dominic Richardson. Richardson has been stuck behind upperclassmen for his first two seasons in Stillwater. The Oklahoma City native was a TCU commit before Zach Evans made the late commitment to the Horned Frogs, and Richardson jumped ship. Even in limited action to date, Richardson has flashed. He set a freshman rushing record against Baylor in 2020 and had a revenge game of sorts against TCU last season. Richardson will run through defenders. He is a tackle breaker and shedder despite a thinner frame. Richardson should be deployed as the starter in 2022, with only freshmen Ollie Gordon and CJ Brown and redshirt freshmen Jaden Nixon as clear competitors for touches.

Spencer Sanders. The streaky veteran finished as a top 30 quarterback in 2021. His ability to run gives him a relatively high floor. Perhaps the dual threat can bring it all together in his fourth year of play. However, Sanders is nothing more than a bye-week fill-in option at this point.

Stashes

Ollie Gordon. You can make worse bets than betting on a Mike Gundy running back. Gordon is a 4-star freshman with prototypical size, already standing 6’1” and 210 pounds. The freshman has been clocked at just under 20 MPH according to the Campus2Canton Freshmen & Supplemental Draft Guide. Gordon was very productive as a high schooler in Texas, posting over 2,300 yards rushing as a senior. There isn’t much behind junior Dominic Richardson. So Gordon may be in line for an early role.

Talyn Shettron. He is a lanky and explosive athlete that Campus2Canton has timed at a whopping 21.9 mph. Shettron is the 19th-ranked receiver in the class and in the Tier II of the Freshmen & Supplemental Draft Guide. He was already on radars after making a few reported highlight catches in the Cowboys’ spring practices before suffering an ankle injury. Shettron has the tools, but needs to stay healthy.




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