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 Pac-12 is currently in flux with conference realignment rumors buzzing about. However, the conference is home to three (potentially four) teams with a strong case for being included in Conference Championship discussions. In the Pac-12 North, we’ll dissect how these teams stack up from a fantasy perspective and how we’re targeting their players in C2C leagues as we bucket them into the following categories:

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

All teams are listed in alphabetical order.

California Golden Bears

Fantasy Relevant

Courtesy of Al Sermeno/KLC Fotos

Over his two years as the Head Coach of the Golden Bears, Justin Wilcox has utilized a 44% neutral game script passing rate. In 2021, three players had at least 100 carries in this offense (Christopher Brooks with 116, Damien Moore with 100, and QB Chase Garbers with 104). Jaydn Ott appears to slot into the Christopher Brooks role and is a 1A to Moore’s 1B. With Jack Plummer coming in to replace Chase Garbers, I expect fewer QB runs and leaning more heavily on the RB rotation. That makes the true freshman very valuable, as you will likely get at least three years of production out of Ott. 

Roster Fillers

As mentioned above, Plummer’s career at Purdue makes me think he won’t be as mobile as Garbers was last season. As a Boilermaker, Plummer only ran for 74 yards in three seasons. However, his limited action as a QB suggests he has the potential to put up some decent games. He threw for 3,405 yards on 492 attempts over the three seasons of intermittent action in Jeff Brohm’s offense. I think there are worse lottery tickets to have as a depth QB in deep C2C leagues as Garbers was able to throw for over 2,500 yards last season. 

Stashes

None.

Players to Avoid at Cost

None

Oregon Ducks

Fantasy Relevant

The rumors of Bo Nix’s failures have been greatly exaggerated. We all know that Nix didn’t live up to the expectations that many had for him during his time at Auburn. That being said, he’s a dual-threat QB who is reuniting with the Offensive Coordinator he had during his freshman year (his most successful campaign from a fantasy standpoint). That year (2019), Nix threw 377 times for 2,542 yards and 16 touchdowns while running for 313 yards and seven additional touchdowns. That kind of production is worthwhile for your fantasy team. Additionally, Nix is surrounded by stronger options to help make this offense productive.

Earlier this Summer, there were questions about what role Byron Caldwell would have in the 2022 iteration of the Oregon offense; however, now that it appears clear that he’ll lead the backfield in touches, I feel much more confident that he’ll have enough opportunity to make him viable at his current ADP of 66. Troy Franklin is an interesting player. I don’t currently think he’s worth the squeeze at his current ADP, but I think he projects as someone who could pay off within a year or two. I’m listing him here instead of in the avoid section, but know that this is a boom/bust play. There are many around his ADP of 59 overall that are much safer plays with slightly lower ceilings. 

Roster Fillers

The transition of Seven McGee from RB to WR is an intriguing one mainly because of the Ducks’ new Offensive Coordinator Kenny Dillingham. During the 2017 season, Dillingham was the Offensive Coordinator of the Memphis Tigers, and he contributed to Tony Pollard’s best receiving season (36 receptions for 536 yards and four touchdowns). I expect McGee to be used in creative ways with jet sweeps and manufactured touches. If he’s able to execute, this role can expand in a big way.

Stashes

Despite all of these weapons that the Ducks have on their offense, we can’t lose sight of the fact that this offense should be considered a run-first offense. In Dillingham’s time at Florida State (2020-2021), the Seminoles had a neutral game script pass rate of 42.3%. It suggests that owning the right RB in this backfield is a lucrative venture. RB Jordan James was the RB16 in the 2022 class and projects to be the next big thing to hit the Oregon offense. 

Players to Avoid at Cost

None. 

Oregon State Beavers

Fantasy Relevant

Over the past two seasons, the Beavers have had a neutral game script pass rate of 36.4%. This should immediately bring RBs Deshaun Fenwick and Damien Martinez to mind when considering later-round options. Martinez, a true freshman, is the talk of both the Spring and Fall camps. He’s likely to follow in the footsteps of great Beaver Backs like Jacquizz Rodgers, Jermar Jefferson, and B.J. Baylor. It’s worth noting that Fenwick is the experienced veteran in this backfield and will likely see a higher workload earlier in the season before Martinez is fully acclimated. 

Roster Fillers

None.

Stashes

None. 

Players to Avoid at Cost

None. 

Stanford Cardinal

Fantasy Relevant

Courtesy of Jim Shorin / isiphotos.com

Legacy players are always worth keeping your eyes on. RB E.J. Smith (son of Emmitt) is no different. He is the next man up in an offense that struggled to find and maintain an identity last season. This season, though, the offense returns all five starters on the offensive line and is expected to return to form. There’s continuity here with David Shaw’s staff, and the ground game is an important part of his team culture. 

Additionally, TE Benjamin Yurosek returns as the teams leading receiver. He put up 658 yards on 43 receptions in 2021, and with an offense that should improve overall efficiency, those numbers are expected to climb in 2022. He’s a strong candidate to finish as a top 10 TE.

Roster Fillers

Some outlets have propped up this passing game behind the arm of Tanner McKee and are selling McKee as a potential NFL prospect for the upcoming draft. I personally don’t see it, but as Davis Mills shows, there is value found in Stanford QBs if they perform. As mentioned above, the entire offensive line returns to start for another season, which can only help in giving McKee time to throw. Therefore, it’s hard to fault anyone for projecting growth. 

If McKee indeed does climb in value, then it’s inevitable that his weapons should also. WR Elijah Higgins is the primary wideout that has chemistry with McKee from 2021. He’s the only one that had over 300 yards last season, and it would suggest that if another pass-catcher rose with McKee’s performance (outside of Yurosek), it would be Higgins. 

Stashes

Four-Star RB Arlen Harris is the top signee from the Cardinal’s signing class this season and is the expected heir to E.J. Smith’s backfield. Securing Harris at the end of C2C drafts is betting on David Shaw’s ability to return a strong run-game identity to the program. That’s a bet that I’m willing to take. 

Players to Avoid at Cost

None. 

Washington Huskies

Fantasy Relevant

The Huskies made a splash hire with Kalen DeBoer this Spring, and it has renewed interest in the UW offense from fantasy analysts all over. Last year at Fresno State, DeBoer built an offense that finished 15th in the nation in total yards per game (446.8) in 2021. Doing the same in Seattle will require a ton of new construction, but in the meantime, DeBoer hopes to speed things along by bringing in his former QB Michael Penix Jr. from Indiana. Penix had his best year under DeBoer (1,513 yards from scrimmage and 12 total touchdowns over six games) and is the expected winner of the QB battle in Fall camp. The tough sell on Penix is just his injury history. However, it’s not a stretch to expect his finest performance to date if he can stay healthy. 

His weapons supersede those Penix had as a Hoosier as well. WRs Jalen McMillan and Rome Odunze are both attractive fantasy options as the passing production in DeBoer’s previous stops has been enough to spread over multiple receivers. Despite not having a 1,000-yard receiver last season, I still believe in DeBoer WRs. That Fresno State offense had one of the deepest WR rooms in the nation, and if that production is condensed into half the recipients, McMillan and Odunze should be great options in 2022. 

Courtesy of Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Roster Fillers

DeBoer’s offenses at Fresno State never featured a prominent TE; however, during his 2019 campaign in Indiana, Peyton Hendershot had 52 receptions for 622 yards and four touchdowns (the best season of his college career). Devin Culp is the Huskies’ TE this season, and he flashed a bit behind Cade Otton last season (Culp had 20 receptions for 222 yards and a touchdown). Investing in Culp means expecting this offense to produce multiple pass-catching fantasy options and, while a lofty goal, that is well within the possible outcomes (particularly if Penix stays healthy). 

Stashes

None.

Players to Avoid at Cost

None.

Washington State Cougars

Fantasy Relevant

System. System. System. That’s what this Washington State team has that gives it such an intriguing projection into 2022. The Cougars mimicked the plan pulled off by Western Kentucky last season and brought a proven FCS coach and his QB to turn things around at the next level. Cam Ward followed his former head coach Eric Morris to Pullman this year, and the expectations are sky-high. At Incarnate Word last year, Ward threw for 360 yards per game and 48 touchdowns. He owns the single game and career records at Incarnate Word for passing yards (single: 610; career: 6,908) and touchdowns (single: 7; career: 71) and now has his sights locked on those at Washington State. His current ADP is 108 overall, and he was an easy first-round pick in Supplemental Drafts this Summer. 

So who is Ward throwing it to? Well, great question. The top options are Renard Bell and DeZhaun Stribling. In my estimation, Bell is being undervalued at the current ADP (432 overall). Compared to Stribling, Bell is being drafted 140 spots later (as Stribling’s ADP is 292 overall) and possesses the same upside for the 2022 season. Bell was injured last season and out for the entire year, but he returns and looks to end his career as a Cougar on a high note. 

If Morris’ system translates, expect multiple relevant fantasy options to emerge in this WR room as Incarnate Word’s leading receivers accounted for 1,145 yards, 815 yards, 771 yards, and 620 yards, respectively. So, although I think Stribling’s price is inflated compared to his peers in this offense, I think it’s still worth the squeeze.

Courtesy of Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokane-Review

Roster Fillers

As you just read, Ward had four WRs over 620 receiving yards last season. So WRs Donovan Ollie and Lincoln Victor provide incredible upside if this offense hits. Not only do they have nice floors if the system proves successful, but they could also easily find themselves in one of the top two roles in this offense if they strike up the right chemistry with Ward. If you believe Morris’ offense is thriving at the FBS level, there’s no reason not to be in on the peripheral options in this WR room

Stashes

None.

Players to Avoid at Cost

Although I like Renard Bell over Stribling at costs, I’m alright with drafting Stribling at the current ADP. 

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