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
Lurking in the West is the 800-pound elephant in the room, the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide. One could argue that the team needs its own separate article. The team is loaded with talent, and now it’s grabbing the most talented player in the transfer portal every year.
The division features several teams that could easily win almost any other division in the country. Texas A&M has the talent – add a good quarterback – and they are one of the best teams in college football. Arkansas and Auburn have talent and routinely challenge teams far more talented. LSU has new head coach Brian Kelly, talent, and a national title within the last five years. Mississippi State has an offense that can score on any defense. Ole Miss can also score at will but have an entirely revamped offense that replaced a lot of skill position players.
- Fantasy Relevant
- Roster Fillers
- Players to Avoid at Cost
All teams are listed in alphabetical order.
QB KJ Jefferson is one of my favorite later signal callers to target for CFF. He threw for 2,676 yards with 21 TDs and only four INTs in 2021 but is a dangerous runner. He also rushed for 664 yards and six scores. Losing Treylon Burks hurts, but the Hogs have some other WRs in an excellent position to step up. Jefferson is currently being drafted in the 14th round on average. He will produce in the right matchups and is a perfect QB3 in CFF.
So who is going to step up? My money is on a more prominent role for Raheim “Rocket” Sanders. The sophomore rushed for nearly 600 yards in his freshman season and caught 11 passes. He is a converted WR and excels in cutting and changing direction. He’s got some speed, too, but it takes a minute to get up to full speed. Sanders has good size at 6’2” and 225 pounds, and I like him and his situation. He may end up splitting carries with junior Dominique Johnson, another bigger back with decent production in limited carries. Sanders is the lead, and I like him in plus matchups, though.
In the wake of Burks’ departure, the Razorbacks landed former Sooner and former 5-star WR Jadon Haselwood. He’s got the big body and can win contested catches with strong hands that Jefferson has favored. Haselwood has a golden opportunity to revamp his draft stock with a big season, and it’s time for him to ball out.
There are a few fillers on Arkansas – starting with WRs Ketron Jackson Jr. and tight end Hudson Henry. Jackson has some NFL upside with top-end speed and big play ability. He’s got body control and the ability to make those highlight sideline grabs as Burks did.
Henry is the younger brother of Hunter Henry, and he’s a former 4-star with minimal college production to this point. At 6’5” and 255 pounds, his frame is perfect for making the leap to an NFL TE, but Arkansas needs to get him involved.
At RB, sophomore AJ Green is an interesting one to keep an eye on. He may not get many carries but if they start feeding him, he may not let them stop. Green is athletic as heck with top-end speed and power to break tackles. He’s got the burst and speed but needs to work more on the nuances of playing RB. I love him as a 2023 breakout.
Freshman WR Isaiah Sategna is a guy who could see a bit of time this season but will bring an explosive element to the Arkansas offense. He’s fluid and creative in space, able to break long runs with every touch. The Hogs will need to get him in the slot and find ways to get him the ball.
Players to Avoid at Cost
Alabama Crimson Tide
The whole team?
Okay, I will break this down without spending too much time on the big names. QB Bryce Young will be in the running for another Heisman trophy award. He threw for nearly 4,900 yards, 47 TDs, and seven INTs. He’s mobile, but not a runner and will be a top-five pick in the 2023 Draft. I expect a slight drop in numbers but not enough to make him less valuable.
📝🏈 2023 #NFLDraft early take, Jahmyr Gibbs by the end of the season will be in contention for RB1 👀— Marissa Myers (@Marissa_M27) April 26, 2022
Just look at what he did in Alabama’s spring game
-Long speed/ acceleration 🔥 @Jahmyr_Gibbs1 #RollTide #CollegeFootball pic.twitter.com/TGUIGmfPqV
The significant offseason addition was getting former Georgia Tech RB Jahmyr Gibbs through the transfer portal. I thought it was finally Jase McClellan’s turn and Alabama pounced on Gibbs when he threw his name in the hat. I can’t blame them; Gibbs is an extraordinary talent. A bit undersized at 5’11” and 200 pounds, he will finally get a chance to be unleashed in an offense. Gibbs rushed for 1,200 yards and eight TDs over two seasons but caught 59 balls for 768 yards. The Crimson Tide hasn’t had as dynamic of a pass-catching back that is equally dangerous on the ground. Gibbs could be in for a monster 2022.
Another transfer, WR Jermaine Burton, is also due for a monster season. Mired in an archaic passing attack at rival Georgia, Burton is now ready to be unleashed. I like Burton more than I liked Devonta Smith and Jameson Williams. He’s a much different type of receiver but should see a similarly meteoric rise. Burton plays with a chip on his shoulder and is more physical, creating separation with strength and body positioning. He’s versatile and has an ideal size at 6’0” and 200 pounds. Burton has speed, hands, and the ability to create after the catch.
Sophomore Ja’Corey Brooks is in for a big season and possibly the biggest value on this team right now. Brooks is a big guy with long arms and explosive off the line. He understands how to run routes and use fakes and positioning to create separation. Brooks has quick feet and phenomenal hands and could even overtake Burton if Young favors him.
Many have been selecting Louisville transfer, Tyler Harrell, over Brooks, and I think it’s a mistake. Don’t get me wrong, Harrell should have a solid season, and in this offense – there’s enough to go around. He’s got the wheels to take the top off defenses and be a factor in the return game.
The Crimson Tide TE, Cameron Latu, will also give you some production, but I don’t see him translating to the next level. He had 26 catches for 410 yards and eight scores and was stable when former starter Jahleel Billingsley faltered.
Jase McClellan may have a role, and I still see an NFL future, but for now, he’s a filler that you just have to look at on your C2C roster and dream of what could have been. Trey Sanders and Roydell Williams are also likely rostered and are just holds. Perhaps some of this trio will find opportunity next season, a la Camar Wheaton’s transfer to SMU.
The same goes for JoJo Earle. He’s out six to eight weeks, but who knows if there will be a steady spot for him when he returns. If the offense is clicking, it likely will be, Nick Saban may not want to disturb the peace.
Everyone not mentioned above! Pretty much!
Who’s the QB when Young takes his talent to the NFL? I think it’s sophomore Jalen Milroe, but freshman Ty Simpson will press him. Both of these guys will play at the college level, one likely not with Alabama.
Freshman RB Jamarion Miller is the truth and has the potential to be the next great Bama back. Fellow frosh Emmanuel Henderson will challenge him.
And at WR, freshmen Shazz Preston, Isaiah Bond, and Aaron Anderson are guys I really like. This team is scary loaded, to nobody’s surprise.
Players to Avoid at Cost
Surprisingly, all are priced pretty reasonably. I don’t like Harrell in the twelfth round, but I don’t think it’s egregious for CFF either. Especially in best ball.
It feels strange talking about Auburn without Bo Nix. He’s been the leader there for years, but he’s on to Oregon and greener pastures. The QB options now are TJ Finley and Zach Calzada, and a hard pass for me.
The only player I like for fantasy is RB Tank Bigsby. The junior back rushed for 1,099 yards and ten scores while adding 21 receptions for 184 yards. He’s one of the top backs for the 2023 Draft and should have similar numbers this season while splitting the backfield with Jarquez Hunter. The Tigers will feature a ground and pound attack, and Bigsby will get a lot of touches.
Honestly, I don’t love anyone else on this roster to be a filler. Auburn is going to win games, and it won’t be pretty.
Hunter is a role player for now, but the backfield will be all his in 2023. He’s strong and plays with immense passion, never quitting on a run. He slashes through the hole and has good enough speed to break long runs. Hunter is one of my favorite backs for next season and, for now, a stash.
Incoming freshman Damari Alston is also worth a stash, possibly the next man up after Hunter. He’s a 4-star with good size at 5’10 and 205 lbs., ran track, and looked good in his first scrimmage. Alston is shiftier than Bigsby and Hunter, with more wiggle in his running style.
Players to Avoid at Cost
It’s all about the Boutte down in Baton Rouge, at least for now. Kayshon Boutte is my WR1, and no matter who the QB is, he will ball out. Over two partial seasons, he has 83 catches for 1,244 yards and 14 TDs. Boutte is complete – he can block, run routes, is versatile, has excellent hands, and is dangerous after the catch. If the Tigers don’t shore things up, I could see Boutte opting out early to prepare for the draft.
This team has talent up and down, but specifically for CFF, the team is full of roster fillers for me. At QB, Myles Brennan was atop the depth chart but recently retired, leaving the job in the hands of former Sun Devil Jayden Daniels. I love his dual-threat ability; he’s fun as heck as a runner but as a passer, not so fun. He could open up this offense, though.
At RB, we have former 5-star John Emery as the lead back (finally), will he finally deliver what we have been hoping for? Coming out of high school, I thought he was a first-round NFL talent with power, speed, and burst. Brian Kelly could turn to Penn State transfer Noah Cain if he stumbles. He’s built like an every-down back but was sort of putrid as a runner last season in limited action.
Behind Boutte, Malik Nabers is positioning himself as a valuable second option, and I love his skill set to translate to the next level. He’s fast and fluid, can be moved all over the formation, and is dangerous every time he touches the ball. I just don’t see enough volume in the offense to make him a startable receiver weekly.
Nabers is also a stash if that’s an option; I like him next season and beyond.
Freshman QB Walker Howard will push hard for the job next offseason, and he should win it. He’s one of the most consistent passers I saw in the class and generates some power on his throws. Howard will push this offense, and hopefully, LSU gets back on track.
Players to Avoid at Cost
I LOVE Boutte, but in CFF, his ADP is the early third round, and when I have been on the clock there, I’d rather have someone in a more secure situation. I know he’s the lead guy at LSU and undeniable talent, I don’t love the QBs, and I still am worried he will opt out and not finish the season.
Mississippi State Bulldogs
Give me all the Will Rogers, all day every day and twice on Saturdays; I love any QB in a Mike Leach offense. In his sophomore campaign, he threw for 4,739 yards and 36 TDs while only chucking nine INTs. Rogers is going to chuck the ball all over the yard. He’s going as the seventh QB off the board in our CFF July ADP, and I will smash that value every chance I get. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.
If you are in a PPR league, the most fun pass-catching option is actually RB Jo’quavious Marks. He rushed only 106 times for 416 yards and six scores. Meh. But, he caught 83 passes for 502 yards and three scores. Marks is the RB version of Jarvis Landry, holy smokes. I’d expect the same in 2022, and in PPR, that’s gold.
Projecting receiving options beyond Marks is tricky, and each of these following gents should be targeted later in CFF drafts, especially in best ball format. Jaden Walley and Austin Williams are the first two I like. I feel like Walley is the safest bet, but man, he burned me bad last year. He and Williams finished with just over 600 yards and a handful of TDs. Caleb Ducking mans the Z spot vacated by Makai Polk but is unproven with only nine career catches as a senior.
Justin Robinson, a former 4-star receiver that transferred from Georgia, is an interesting one to keep your eye on. He could be rostered, so maybe shoot over an offer. The receiver room is crowded, and Robinson is behind several spots on the depth chart at this moment. He’s the most athletically talented receiver in the bunch, and when he grasps the offense, he could see a massive boom in value.
Freshman Zavion Thomas is a bit smaller at 5’11” and 190 pounds but incredibly electric and dynamic in space. And he’s a former track stud – we always love that.
Players to Avoid at Cost
Ole Miss Rebels
I love what Lane Kiffin can do with an offense, but this one is replacing a lot of weapons, and we still don’t know who the starting QB is. I want whatever one wins, but there’s always this lurking fear of both guys playing and killing each other’s value. Jaxson Dart was heavily recruited from the transfer portal and brought moxie with the way he plays – as did Matt Corral – and I think he gives them the best shot to have a potent offense. But sophomore Luke Altmyer has been impressive and no slouch either. He’s had a high completion percentage in spring and scrimmages. Altmyer pushes the ball downfield and has shown good composure.
The transfer portal also brought an embarrassment of RB riches to Ole Miss – former 5-star TCU back Zach Evans and former SMU workhorse Ulysses Bentley. Evans was just a sliver behind Bijan Robinson for me in the class of 2020 and has been phenomenal – when he gets on the field. Over two seasons, he rushed for 1,063 yards on only 146 carries for a 7.3 yards per carry average. He’s elusive in tight spaces, has ridiculous start-stop ability, and doesn’t lose speed when cutting.
Transfer WR Jaylon Robinson, who came over from UCF, is my favorite guy to target as far as the receivers go. He’s 5’9” and 180 lbs., should play the slot, and with Ole Miss’s tendencies to hit the shorter quick routes – Robinson should feast. His best season at UCF was 2020, with 55 grabs for 979 yards and six scores. I don’t think he’s as talented as Elijah Moore, but he has a similar skill set and could replicate Moore’s 2020 season (86/1,193/8) if everything falls right.
And one more transfer for this section, Dart’s roommate at USC was TE Michael Trigg, who followed Dart to the Rebels. Trigg is my TE2 in C2C, and Devy – he’s an athletic freak with great hands and ball skills – he’s going to be a big part of this offense. Trigg wasn’t just a basketball player; he was a star on the hardcourts, which shows his athletic prowess.
Bentley will still have a role, but I don’t see him as explosive or fantasy relevant. He’s a smaller back at 5’10” and 185 pounds but isn’t afraid to run inside and is a smooth pass-catcher.
Jonathan Mingo, someone who was actually on Ole Miss last year, will be a solid pass-catching option as well, but someone I am not targeting for CFF or C2C. Malik Heath, a transfer from Mississippi State, should also get some targets and is a bigger-bodied possession type of receiver.
Evans and Bentley should be gone after the season; then it’s freshman Quinshon Judkins‘s time. He’s already impressed the coaching staff with his ability to break tackles, and his burst – the kid has an amazing burst. Judkins is someone I have aggressively targeted in freshman and supplemental drafts.
Players to Avoid at Cost
Texas A&M Aggies
Lateral quickness and burst from Devon Achane— EJHolt_NFLDraft🏈 (@EJunkie215) May 11, 2022
Looks like IZ. LG fell down and couldn’t climb to 2nd level, leaving #10 clean. #10 has Achane dead to rights in the alley, but then……
(Slo Mo first then regular speed) pic.twitter.com/ozHhKVVbqQ
The starting RB, Devon Achane, is one of the fastest backs in the country and adds an explosive element this offense needs. He has rushed for 1,274 yards on only 173 carries, 7.4 YPC for you analytic nerds, and had 24 receptions in 2021. I am projecting him to duplicate that yardage total this season and add 50 receptions or more. Achane is in line for 1,500 total yards and should reach the end zone a dozen times.
The team likes using Ainias Smith all over the formation, and he’s a lock for 1,000 total yards – depending on his status. He was arrested earlier in the summer, and I expect a suspension at some point. If he’s on the field, Smith is in your fantasy lineup.
Freshman Evan Stewart is already making waves and is as talented of a wide receiver as there is in the class. If A&M can push the ball, and they need to, Stewart could see enough targets in year one to be fantasy relevant. He’s borderline Relevant/Stash for me.
The Aggies starting QB is Haynes King, and I love his mobility, but he hinders the offense, and I was kind of hoping Max Johnson won the job. If Johnson gets the helm, the pass-catching options get a nice uptick for me.
LJ Johnson was an early freshman pick a season ago and is now third on the depth chart. If they need power, he could still see the field, and I’m not totally writing him off yet. He’s a one-cut, north-south runner with good lower body strength. Johnson is a filler for now, but hopefully, he gets a chance next year and impresses.
Max Wright is the new TE1 and should see some volume, enough to be startable in fantasy with bye weeks and injuries. Not a TE you will want to rely on, though.
After bringing in an impressive freshman class, this team has about as many stashes as Alabama. QB Conner Weigman could be the QB that finally takes the Aggies to the next level. He’s got a great arm and quick release, with the ability to break off big plays on the run. QB has held them back for years; Weigman will end that cycle.
I mentioned Stewart, and the Aggies also added 5-star Chris Marshall to their receiving corps. He’s a bit rawer, I think he’s not ready this season, but he is an impressive athlete. Marshall made big play after big play in high school, and you could see improvement each year on tape. He’s got great size at 6’3” and 205 pounds and has a huge catch radius.
They also added the top TE prospect in the nation, 4-star Jake Johnson from Bogart, Georgia. He’s got the pass-catching chops already, runs clean and crisp routes, and showcases athleticism in his run-after-the-catch ability. Johnson needs to add some weight to his frame but could push for playing time early.
Players to Avoid at Cost