Kellen Lewis electrified the Big Ten in 2007 with a style reminiscent of former Hoosier great Antwaan Randle El. He led his Hoosiers to a 7-6 record and their first bowl game in fourteen years.
Expectations were high for the dual threat QB in 2008, but a rocky offseason foreshadowed what would be a disastrous year for Lewis and company. Can he turn things around in 2009?
What’s the scoop?
Kellen Lewis followed up an encouraging 2006 season with an outstanding 2007 campaign. Lewis was on fire that season accounting for 37 total touchdowns. He was a fantasy owner’s dream, producing consistent statistics in all but one game.
Heading into 2008, the big concern was how Lewis would perform without the services of his top wide receiver, James Hardy. Little did we know there would be more serious problems on the horizon.
In the spring, Lewis was suspended from the team for skipping classes and team meetings. Backup Ben Chappell took advantage of the opportunity and impressed the coaching staff. When Lewis returned in August, he was in the middle of a full-blown position battle with Chappell.
As fantasy draft day loomed, the Kellen Lewis situation left owners in a quandry. Were the Indiana coaches using the media to fabricate a quarterback controversy to motivate Lewis? Or was this a legitimate position battle? Lewis was certainly a Top 10 fantasy QB talent, but was he worth the gamble with a high draft pick?
Lewis got the start in week one against Western Kentucky and blew up for 185 rushing yards and two touchdowns, plus 144 passing yards and another two scores. Those fantasy owners that took a chance on Lewis looked brilliant at the time. Then, things began to slowly unravel. After accounting for four touchdowns in that first game, he only was able to muster up five more scores for the remainder of the season.
By the end of September, Lewis was being used partially as a wide receiver. Fantasy owners started to get nervous, and justifiably so. Then he suffered a dreaded high ankle sprain injury and missed a few games. He returned from the injury, but did so in unspectacular fashion. Before you knew it, the season was over and Lewis had accumulated a fraction of his gaudy ‘07 statistics.
2006: Passing 2,221 yards, 14 TD's; Rushing 441 yards, 5 TD's
2007: Passing 3,043 yards, 28 TD's; Rushing 736 yards, 9 TD's
2008: Passing 1,131 yards, 6 TD's; Rushing 500 yards, 3 TD's
So, what can we expect this year? Will Lewis bounce back and become a fantasy force once again? Right now, that does not appear to be a good bet. The Hoosiers are in a total state of flux. Coach Lynch is considering a number of major personnel changes heading into spring practice. Top receiving threat Ray Fisher is getting a look at cornerback. Lewis is going to play “all over the place”. Plus, Ben Chappell returns to further muddy the situation.
We’re expecting the offseason in Bloomington to raise more questions than answers. As long as Ben Chappell is healthy and playing relatively well, Lewis is not likely to fulfill his fantasy potential.
If your fantasy draft was today (2/25/09)....
Our advice would be to avoid Kellen Lewis...unless you are a gamblin’ man.
Todd DeVries writes for CollegeFootballGeek.com. This article can be found there, as well.