2011 QUARTERBACK RANKINS
1. Denard Robinson, Jr., Michigan
Robinson's unmatched rushing ability likely makes him the top college fantasy football target regardless of position. His passing totals of 2,570 yards and 18 touchdowns last year were nothing special, but his 1,702 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground were downright staggering. He ran for 200 or more yards twice last year, and surpassed 100 yards or scored on the ground in all but three games. His slight build makes him a bit of an injury worry, but his upside is too much to pass on.
2. Case Keenum, Sr., Houston
After being last year's consensus No. 1 pick, Keenum heads into 2011 as a much riskier target. He still has huge upside in Houston's pass-happy offense, but he suffered a torn ACL in September and has 13 interceptions in his last five games. Still, as someone who should throw about 45 (or more) passes per game, Keenum likely is a standout QB1 by default, even if he doesn't throw for more than 5,000 yards like he did in 2008 and 2009.
3. Dominique Davis, Sr., East Carolina
Davis threw the ball more than any quarterback in the country last year, with his average of 46.8 pass attempts per game resulting in 3,955 yards and 37 passing touchdowns in 13 games. He also ran for nine touchdowns. Davis has a rough schedule to start the year, however, with matchups against South Carolina, Virginia Tech and North Carolina in the first month. If your team can survive that stretch, Davis should be a golden QB1 thereafter.
4. G.J. Kinne, Sr., Tulsa
The loss of coach Todd Graham is a bit concerning, but the in-house replacement of Bill Blankenship should result in the team retaining the pass-happy offense that made Kinne a great fantasy option last year. With 31 touchdowns through the air and 561 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground last year, Kinne is a big threat both as a passer and runner. It helps that his top target, wideout Damaris Johnson, will be back in 2011.
5. Taylor Martinez, So., Nebraska
Martinez is an injury worry after ankle troubles derailed the second half of his 2010 season, but the incredible upside he displayed he last season makes him a tempting target at the top of drafts nonetheless. He showed Denard Robinson-like upside in the beginning of the year, running for 737 yards and 12 touchdowns in the first five games. If his health could be guaranteed, Martinez would be worth ranking higher.
6. Robert Griffin, Jr., Baylor
Griffin had no trouble returning from his 2009 ACL tear last year, throwing for 3,501 yards and 22 touchdowns while running for 635 yards and eight touchdowns. But given that he was only one year removed from the injury, it might be reasonable to expect improvement in 2011. Griffin's top two receivers (Kendall Wright and Josh Gordon) are both back, and he should be a bit sharper with another offseason to get his knee in shape.
7. Andrew Luck, Jr., Stanford
The loss of coach Jim Harbaugh shouldn't be a big deal given that his replacement is David Shaw, who has been Stanford's offensive coordinator since 2007. While Stanford's ball control offense generally results in less than 30 pass attempts per game for Luck, his fantasy value is nonetheless high due to his extreme efficiency 8.6 percent of his passes went for touchdowns last year as he passed for 3,338 yards and 32 touchdowns.
8. Austin Davis, Sr., Southern Mississippi
Davis doesn't have a ton of upside as a passer, but he showed last year that he's enough of a dual threat to qualify as an elite fantasy quarterback. In addition to 3,103 yards and 20 touchdowns as a passer, Davis ran for 452 yards and 10 touchdowns. With a favorable schedule and the same offensive scheme in 2011, he should have another big year.
9. Geno Smith, Jr., West Virginia
Smith was impressive in his first year as a starter in 2010, throwing 24 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. But with the arrival of offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen (ex-Oklahoma State, Houston), Smith's numbers are about to get even better. With roughly 10 more passes per game and three good wideout targets (Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey and Brad Starks) in 2011, Smith could make a push for the top 5.
10. Bryant Moniz, Sr., Hawaii
Moniz led the nation with 39 passing touchdowns and 360 passing yards per game last year, but he's probably in for a bit of a drop in 2011. Wideouts Greg Salas and Kealoha Pilares are gone, and 3,195 yards and 29 touchdowns go with them. The loss of running back Alex Green also hurts, as he scored 19 total touchdowns and averaged 8.21 yards per carry last year. Moniz should still put up big numbers, just not as big as he did in 2010.
11. Landry Jones, Jr., Oklahoma
This might seem low for a quarterback who ranked second in the nation last season in both passing yards (4,718) and touchdowns (38), but Jones falls because he offers virtually nothing as a runner. He averaged just 3.6 rushes per game and scored only one rushing touchdown last year. His passing abilities still make him a productive fantasy quarterback, though. Plus, Ryan Broyles and Kenny Stills are a talented combo at receiver, and Oklahoma's system always provides big numbers.
12. Chandler Harnish, Sr., Northern Illinois
Harnish is an injury worry after missing some time in 2008 and 2009, but he was too good last year to not be considered a top fantasy option heading into 2011. He totaled 2,530 yards and 21 touchdowns through the air while running for 836 yards and seven touchdowns in 13 games making him one of the best fantasy quarterbacks over that span. He'll have a taller task in 2011 with running back Chad Spann gone, but he should be up for it.
13. Dan Persa, Sr., Northwestern
Persa is reportedly recovering well from his late-season Achilles' tendon rupture, but it's still a bit scary to invest a high pick in a player with that injury. But if Persa plays anything like he did last year, he'll be worth it. His passing totals of 2,581 yards and 15 touchdowns in 11 games were modest, but his 519 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground drove up his fantasy value.
14. Zach Collaros, Sr., Cincinnati
While 26 touchdowns to 14 interceptions isn't the worst performance, Collaros' 2010 season was generally quite disappointing. Playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in the BCS conferences he was limited both as a runner and a passer he was sacked 30 times. But with a year of experience in coach Butch Jones' system, expect 2011 to be better to Collaros, who is one of the nation's better dual threats.
15. Kyle Padron, Jr., Southern Methodist
The loss of wideout Aldrick Robinson and his 1,301 yards and 14 touchdowns from last year will hurt a bit, but Padron should still post numbers similar to last season's 3,828 yards and 31 touchdowns. Cole Beasley and Darius Johnson are a solid returning tandem at receiver, and Padron himself should be improved as he heads into his second full season as starter in coach June Jones' prolific system.
16. Darron Thomas, Jr., Oregon
Thomas was a big hit in his first season as a starter last year. The memory of Jeremiah Masoli faded quickly as Thomas threw for 2,863 yards and 30 touchdowns while running for 486 yards and five more touchdowns, and there's not much reason to expect him to slow down in 2011. The loss of receiver Jeff Maehl could hurt a bit, but Oregon does a good job of plugging in replacements year to year.
17. Jeff Godfrey, So., Central Florida
Godfrey was a prized recruit for UCF last year, and he wasted no time showing why in his true freshman season. He was the running threat everyone expected, taking off for 566 yards and 10 touchdowns, but he was better than expected as a passer. He completed 66.8 percent of his passes while averaging 9.1 yards per attempt, throwing 13 touchdowns to eight interceptions in the process. With UCF's favorable schedule, big numbers should be in store for 2011.
18. Collin Klein, Jr., Kansas State
Klein was a hit as a rushing specialist last year, running for 432 yards and six touchdowns despite starting just one game. With Carson Coffman out of the picture, Klein has the offense to himself in 2011. He might not be the best passer, but the rare rushing ability he's shown to this point makes him a potential QB1 at a QB2 draft expense in all-120 leagues.
19. Alex Carder, Jr., Western Michigan
Carder would probably be ranked higher if he didn't lose his two star receivers from last year. With the exit of Jordan White and Juan Nunez, the Western Michigan offense is left with a 2,410-yard, 20-touchdown void in the passing game. Still, Carder earns a high ranking after throwing for 3,334 yards and 30 touchdowns and running for 226 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games last year.
20. Nate Scheelhaase, So., Illinois
Scheelhaase didn't disappoint in his first season as starter, throwing 17 touchdowns to eight interceptions while running for 859 yards and five touchdowns. He'll need to take up a bigger role heading into his redshirt sophomore season, as running back Mikel Leshoure is gone after totaling 1,902 yards and 20 touchdowns from scrimmage last year. Whether he successfully picks up the slack will determine whether he can make the jump from good to great.
21. Kriss Proctor, Sr., Navy
If you can tolerate a missed game or two, rank Proctor a bit higher. He takes over for Ricky Dobbs in Navy's profitable triple-option offense, so while he'll take a lot of hits, he'll also put up nice numbers on the ground. Proctor might be an even better runner than Dobbs, as he ran for more than 200 yards in his only start last year. Like Dobbs (1,527 passing yards last year), Proctor likely won't do much through the air, but his combined touchdowns (27 for Dobbs) makes him a fantasy asset.
22. Seth Doege, So., Texas Tech
Doege is the favorite to start at quarterback for Texas Tech in 2011, so he'll be a relatively high selection by default. It's not clear what the expectations should be, however. Outside of a brief showing in 2009, Doege is basically untested. Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield combined for 4,085 yards and 38 passing touchdowns last year, so Doege has upside in the Texas Tech system. It's not clear where his floor might be, though.
23. Kellen Moore, Sr., Boise State
Moore will remain extremely efficient in 2011, but the Boise State offense might be a bit less aggressive now that Titus Young and Austin Pettis are gone. Tyler Shoemaker and Geraldo Hiwat should be fine replacements, but there's still no doubt that the offense is less talented than it was a year ago. Consider Moore a high-floor, moderate-ceiling option at quarterback.
24.Bryan Ellis, Sr., Alabama-Birmingham
Ellis was one of last year's surprise breakout players, starting the year as a backup but finishing with 2,893 yards and 25 touchdowns as a passer in 10 games. He also had a positive total in the rushing yardage column. Last year's performance was convincing, and with a favorable Conference-USA schedule, Ellis should be able to put up more big numbers through the air in 2011.
25. James Franklin, So., Missouri
Franklin doesn't figure to be razor-sharp as a passer, but he brings a lot of athleticism to the position and should be a good running threat in Missouri's spread offense. The Missouri offense threw the ball 37.7 times per game last year, so Franklin will get plenty of chances to make plays this year. After running for 116 yards and two scores in very limited time last season, he should prove to be an effective dual threat.
26. E.J. Manuel, Jr., Florida State
Manuel might be a bit reckless, but he brings a lot of playmaking ability for Florida State. Although his opportunities likely will be limited by the generally conservative nature of the Seminoles offense, Manuel's 9.0 yards per pass last season indicates he'll make the most of them. His fantasy production also will get a nice boost from his running ability he totaled 80 yards and a touchdown on the ground in his two starts last year.
27. Ryan Tannehill, Sr., Texas A&M
Tannehill could be worth ranking higher than this, as the Texas A&M offense has a ton of talent to offer. But a lot of that talent is at running back where Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael could limit Tannehill's pass attempts. Also, Tannehill had a worrisome tendency last season to only produce against bad defenses he threw for 604 yards and seven touchdowns against Kansas and Texas Tech but totaled just 504 yards and three touchdowns against Nebraska, Texas and LSU.
28. Dayne Crist, Sr., Notre Dame
Crist isn't guaranteed to start in 2011, but it would be generally surprising if he didn't. He threw for 2,033 yards and 15 touchdowns in eight games last year, his first in coach Brian Kelly's system. He also provided a nice boost to his fantasy numbers with 74 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Michael Floyd and Theo Riddick are a good wideout combo, so Crist should be in position to succeed in 2011.
29. Aaron Murray, So., Georgia
Murray was excellent as a redshirt freshman last year, throwing for 3,049 yards and 24 touchdowns in 13 games. He also proved to be a bit of a dual threat, running for 167 yards and four touchdowns. The loss of receivers A.J. Green and Kris Durham really hurts, but Murray is a standout talent who should be able to hold his own in Georgia.
30. Tino Sunseri, Jr., Pittsburgh
Sunseri wasn't especially impressive last year, showing little ability to make plays downfield. Luckily for him, the arrival of former Tulsa coach Todd Graham will shift the attack from a pro-style system to a spread offense focused on short passes, which plays to Sunseri's strengths. Sunseri likely will throw a lot in 2011, so he could be worth ranking higher if he picks up Graham's system quickly.
31. Tim Jefferson, Sr., Air Force
Jefferson was superb in 2010, throwing for 1,459 yards and 10 touchdowns while adding 794 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground. It would be surprising if he produced quite at that level in 2011, and option quarterbacks like him are always an injury worry, but Jefferson has clearly established himself as one of the nation's top dual threats.
32. Brandon Weeden, Sr., Oklahoma State
Few players saw their fantasy stock tumble more this offseason than Weeden. Offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen left for West Virginia, and while Oklahoma State has implied that it will implement the same system in 2011, it's doubtful the Cowboys will orchestrate it as well as Holgorsen did. Standout wideout Justin Blackmon is still around, so Weeden won't have it too rough in 2011.
33. Alex Gillett, Jr., Eastern Michigan
It wasn't always pretty (it never is for Eastern Michigan), but Gillett generally had a successful 2010 season, his first as a full-time starter. While 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions aren't impressive, Gillett flashed dynamic running ability by rushing for 766 yards and five touchdowns. Consistency was a big problem for Gillett in 2010, but his upside is quite high when he has favorable matchups.
34. Nick Foles, Sr., Arizona
With targets like wideouts Juron Criner and Dan Buckner in Arizona's pass-happy spread, Foles will have the opportunity to put up (more) big numbers through the air in 2011. He finished 2010 with 3,191 yards and 20 touchdowns as a passer in 11 games, including 1,343 yards and 10 touchdowns in his final four games. Foles has steadily improved in Arizona, so he could be better in 2011 than he was last year.
35. Ryan Aplin, Jr., Arkansas State
Aplin is one of the nation's better dual-threat quarterbacks, combining last season for nearly 3,500 yards and 32 touchdowns. This year, however, Aplin might not get the opportunity to put up those kinds of numbers. Offensive coordination Hugh Freeze he of The Blind Side fame as the high school coach of NFL offensive tackle Michael Oher replaces the departed Steve Roberts as head coach, and plans to use a two-quarterback system with Aplin and Phillip Butterfield sharing snaps in the Red Wolves' no-huddle spread attack.
36. Corey Robinson, So., Troy
37. Tyler Wilson, Jr., Arkansas
38. B.J. Daniels, Jr., South Florida
39. Matt Barkley, Jr., USC
40. Tevin Washington, Jr., Georgia Tech
41. Tyler Bray, So., Tennessee
42. Tyler Lantrip, Sr., Nevada
43. MarQueis Gray, Jr., Minnesota
44. Casey Pachall, So., Texas Christian
45. Jake Heaps, So., Brigham Young