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The Mountain West has some high-flying offenses and recently produced some NFL talent. A few teams and players will make some noise in college football and for your fantasy squads. In this preview, we’ll break down all the teams in the West, grouping players into four buckets:

  • Fantasy Relevant
  • Roster Fillers
  • Stashes
  • Players to Avoid at Cost

All teams are listed in alphabetical order.

Fresno State Bulldogs

Fantasy Relevant

Courtesy of Kiel Maddox – USA Today Sports

Quarterback Jake Haener runs the Fresno State offense and should be a C2C and College Fantasy target. Offensive coordinator Kalen Deboer is gone, and coach Jeff Tedford will likely run a more neutral game script. Haener threw for over 4,000 yards with 33 TDs and offers a little on the ground. He’s a gamer and a QB you can get later – in C2C, his ADP is around 111th, and in CFF, it hovers around 77 as the 15th QB off the board. 

He’s got a couple of really strong pieces which help the Bulldog offense hum. Wide receiver Jalen Cropper is his top target. Cropper caught 85 passes for 899 yards with 11 scores in 2021 and expect the same in 2022 as his floor. 

Ronnie Rivers departed, leaving the lead back spot to senior Jordan Mims. In a part-time role, Mims rushed for over 700 yards at 5.6 yards per tote while also catching 25 passes. He scored ten times with over 1,000 all-purpose yards. CFF players realize the opportunity, and Mims’ recent ADP is all the way up to 26.2. C2C is much lower, with an ADP of 186th as the 88th RB off the board. Mims a huge value for C2C.

Roster Fillers

Josh Kelly is the WR2 and had nearly 800 yards while reaching the end zone thrice. He could provide depth and could see a larger role if Cropper goes down. 

Stashes

None to report at this time. 

Players to Avoid at Cost

None to report at this time. 

Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors

Fantasy Relevant

Legendary coach Tommy Chang is back, and the Rainbow Warriors should be fun again. It always starts at QB with a high-flying Chang offense, and sophomore Brayden Schager looked good in the spring game. He’s not even registering on our ADP yet, but he has the potential to make serious noise, particularly in CFF. Schager could put up a top-10 fantasy season if the offense clicks. 

The primary recipient of the pass-heavy firepower will likely be senior Zion Bowens. He’s got great size at 6’1” and 200 pounds and was league champion at multiple track events at Long Beach Poly High. Bowens has some juice and is ready for an offense to push the ball downfield. 

Similar to Fresno State, filling in for a productive back, senior Dedrick Parson is an interesting player for CFF. He had 618 yards rushing, caught 28 passes in limited action last season, and will be in line for a significant workload. His CFF ADP hovers in the 130 range as the 53rd RB off the board. Parson could return that puny investment in spades and should be aggressively targeted before the tenth round.

Roster Fillers

In its heyday, Hawai’i’s offense could support multiple receivers and often had up to three wideouts hovering around 1,000 yards. Jonah Panoke will handle the slot, and Tamatoa Mokiao-Atimalala had a strong spring. Both could be depth receivers with the capability of big games and have value, particularly in CFF and Best Ball leagues. 

Stashes

None to report at this time. 

Players to Avoid at Cost

None to report at this time. 

Nevada Wolfpack

Fantasy Relevant

Carson Strong departed for the NFL and took the entire fantasy-relevant Wolfpack squad with him. Some departed to the NFL, and many transferred. 

Super senior RB Toa Taua is the only player I would recommend rostering. He’s got great size at 5’9” and 210 pounds with some serious pass-catching chops. Taua could see 300 touches this year, but opposing defenses may also dedicate several defenders to him. I’ve been targeting Taua late in college drafts, but he’s not particularly special as a prospect, and I don’t see any future for him in the NFL. 

Roster Fillers

None to report at this time. 

Stashes

Shane Illingworth is an interesting name to keep an eye on. If new head coach Ken Wilson can rebuild the team, the transfer QB could be one of the keys to it. Illingworth was a four-star recruit in the class of 2020 and attended Oklahoma State last season. He’s got a huge arm and is a big dude at 6’6” and 240 pounds. 

Players to Avoid at Cost

None to report at this time. 

San Diego State Aztecs

Fantasy Relevant

The Aztecs were 12-2 last season, but the offense is far from a juggernaut. Super senior QB Braxton Burmeister transferred from Virginia Tech and will take the reins. He is a former four-star recruit and hasn’t blown anyone away in over four years. He has the potential to be a spot starter in a good matchup, but he’s not going to be a fantasy asset. Burmeister should push the offense, though. 

Courtesy of Mountain West Wire

This is where the next two players come in. WR Jesse Matthews is interesting and someone worth targeting later in CFF drafts. He had 642 yards and nine TDs in a pedestrian offense. I expect the offense to push downfield more, and they don’t have a back to lean on as they have in recent years. 

Roster Fillers

Mark Redman, a former four-star recruit for Washington, will take over for Daniel Bellinger and should see playing time and targets right away as the TE. But he’s another deeper grab as well. 

The team has always had fantasy-relevant backs, but the starter isn’t for sure this season. If given a shot, I would roster senior Chance Bell. He’s looked decent in his opportunities and has shown a little in pass-catching duties. 

Stashes

None to report at this time. 

Players to Avoid at Cost

None to report at this time. 

San Jose State Spartans

Fantasy Relevant

The Spartans are one of my favorites in this division to make some noise in CFF this season. The QB, Hawai’i transfer Chevan Cordeiro, is in a prime position to take this team to the next level offensively. The esteemed John Laub (@GridironSchol91) agreed in his latest Sleepers article on Fantrax. Cordeiro is mobile and will push the ball down the field. He’s got some mobility and is a perfect fit for this offense. 

The team also brought over Elijah Cooks and Justin Lockhart via the transfer portal from Nevada in the Wolfpack’s mass exodus alluded to above. I like Cooks a tad bit better. He had 926 yards with eight TDs back in 2019, He’s a bigger WR, and I love his skill set. During the spring game, Cordeiro showed a strong rapport with Lockhart. He’s also a bigger receiver at 6’2” and 200 lbs. Both guys could be solid WR2/WR3s for your fantasy squads. 

Roster Fillers

San Jose State lost TE Derrick Deese Jr., their leading receiver from 2021. The offense has featured the TE, and junior Sam Olson is next in line. 

Stashes

None to report at this time. 

Players to Avoid at Cost

None to report at this time. 

UNLV Rebels

Fantasy Relevant

Courtesy of CBS Sports

Is it FINALLY Harrison Bailey time? The former five-star QB comes over from Tennessee and will get his shot to start and lead an offense. He profiles as a QB that can push the ball downfield, make all throws, and, as a technician, was a great prospect. But why hasn’t he taken over a team yet?

Bailey has a solid duo of WRs to targets, and I like both for CFF this season. Ricky White comes over from Michigan State and is an electric playmaker suspended last season by Mel Tucker. He never broke through but did have a monstrous game versus rival Michigan in 2020. He caught eight balls for 196 yards and a score. That was all we have seen thus far, he embarrassed the Wolverines, and the talent is there. 

Junior Kyle Williams had 77 receptions for 1,027 yards and four TDs over his first two seasons and will fill the possession receiver role. He could easily duplicate those stats in this season, and I like targeting him later in CFF drafts too.  

Roster Fillers

Charles Williams was the starting RB, and the Rebels leaned heavily on him. Redshirt sophomore Aidan Robbins is next up and could have a large role in the offense. He’s a big dude at 6’3” and 230 lbs. and can handle a full workload. Robbins could be a guy that rushes for 700-800 yards but scores a dozen TDs. 

Stashes

None to report at this time. 

Players to Avoid at Cost

None to report at this time.

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