The Big Three are back.
Behind Door No. 1 is Timothy Richard Tebow. 2007 Heisman winner. Two-time national champion. You know what they say down in Gainesville...When it rains in the Swamp Tim Tebow doesn’t get wet. The rain gets Tim Tebow’d.
Behind Door No. 2 is Samuel Jacob Bradford. 2008 Heisman winner. Racked up 4,767 yards and 55 touchdowns last season. Made the Willie Aimes 1978 hair dew fashionable again.
Behind Door No. 3 is Daniel “Colt” McCoy. Named 2008 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press. Also named 2008 Big 12 2nd Team Quarterback by the Associated Press. Huh? Oh, those zany AP-ers.
Fast forward to the dog days of August. Your college fantasy football draft has just begun. You want to kick off your roster with a franchise QB. “The Big Three” are on the board. You’re on the clock.
Tick, tock, tick, tock… Who ya got?
Cast of Characters
Sam Bradford (Oklahoma) - junior
2007: Passing 3,121 yards, 36 TD’s; Rushing 7 yards, 0 TD’s; 268 fantasy points
2008: Passing 4,720 yards, 50 TD’s; Rushing 47 yards, 5 TD’s; 424 fantasy points
Colt McCoy (Texas) - senior
2006: Passing 2,570 yards, 29 TD’s; Rushing 170 yards, 2 TD’s; 248 fantasy points
2007: Passing 3,303 yards, 22 TD’s; Rushing 510 yards, 4 TD’s; 295 fantasy points
2008: Passing 3,859 yards, 34 TD’s; Rushing 561 yards, 11 TD’s; 412 fantasy points
Tim Tebow (Florida) - senior
2006: Passing 358 yards, 5 TD’s; Rushing 469 yards, 8 TD’s; 129 fantasy points
2007: Passing 3,286 yards, 32 TD’s; Rushing 895 yards, 23 TD’s; 440 fantasy points
2008: Passing 2,746 yards, 30 TD’s; Rushing 673 yards, 12 TD’s; 368 fantasy points
What’s the scoop?
Obviously, all three of these signal-callers will be excellent fantasy prospects in 2009. The purpose of this article is to breakdown the trio from a statistical standpoint. Will one stand out above the others?
Below are four criteria that are important for a fantasy quarterback. We’ll rank the the trio in each category, and take a stab at a 2009 projection.
Tale of the Tape
Exhibit A: Pocket Protection. Who has the best returning offensive line?
1. McCoy - Four of the five starters return.
2. Tebow - About half of the line returns, two full-time starters and one part-timer.
3. Bradford - Big losses on the Sooner front line. Only one starter returns.
The Verdict: This one is easy. There is a clear distinction between the three lines. While McCoy will have the luxury of the most experienced group of big uglies, Bradford might get his jersey a little bit dirty this season.
Exhibit B: Targets. Who has the best returning set of receivers?
1. McCoy - Quan Cosby is gone, but his favorite target Jordan Shipley returns. Tight end Blaine Irby is also back to give the offense a boost. There are a bevy of youngsters like Malcolm Williams and James Kirkendoll that will step up and contribute.
Colt is in a good situation here.
2. Bradford - The good news is All-American TE Jermaine Gresham is back, to the surprise of many who thought he was NFL-bound. Wide receiver Ryan Broyles showed flashes of brilliance last fall.
He’ll likely become the top outside target for Sammy. The bad news is the other two top wide receivers, Juaquin Iglesias and Manny Johnson are gone. They combined for 116 catches, 1,864 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2008.
Bradford is going to have to lean on Gresham and Broyles a bit while he establishes a rapport with the rest of his inexperienced receiving corps.
3. Tebow - The big loss here is obviously the multi-talented Percy Harvin. His production will be nearly impossible to match. Solid wide receiver Louis Murphy also exits the scene.
However, the Gators don’t rebuild—they reload. They’ll find a few young guns to come in and make their mark (Deonte Thompson and Andre Dubose are two candidates). Tight end Aaron Hernandez returns, which is a huge plus.
The Verdict: McCoy gets the nod again. Bradford is a clear number two thanks to the returning duo of Gresham and Broyles. Tebow is a distant third due to the departure of Harvin, the biggest weapon lost among these three teams.
Exhibit C: Schedule. Who’s got the easiest schedule from a “racking up the stats” standpoint?
Non-conference: Wyoming, Louisiana-Monroe, Central Florida and UTEP
Conference: Misses Nebraska, Kansas State and Iowa State
Bye: Week 5
Fantasy Playoffs (Weeks 12 and 13): Kansas and Texas A&M
Non-conference: Idaho State, Tulsa, BYU and Miami(FL)
Conference: Misses Colorado, Iowa State and Missouri.
Bye: Week 4
Fantasy Playoffs (Weeks 12 and 13): Texas Tech and Oklahoma State
Non-conference: Troy, Charleston Southern, Florida International and Florida State
Conference: Avoid Alabama, Ole Miss and Auburn.
Bye: Week 5
Fantasy Playoffs (Weeks 12 and 13): Florida International and Florida State
The Verdict: Bradford and Colt have a big edge here thanks to the woeful Big 12 defenses. Timmy will once again navigate his way through the treacherous SEC gauntlet. Colt gets the nod over Bradford due to Texas’s joke of a non-conference schedule.
Exhibit D: Intangibles. Who’ll be “ridin’ the mojo” next fall?
1. Tebow - Timmy is back for his final victory lap. He has a chance to build upon his college football immortality. And he knows it. He will let it all hang out and have another big year.
2. McCoy - Motivation is the name of the game here. Colt’s Longhorns were snubbed by the Big 12 tiebreakers, which not only eliminated them from national title contention but it might have cost him the Heisman Trophy as well. The senior has one last chance to exact his revenge.
3. Bradford - Things went about as perfectly as they could have for Bradford in 2008 (except for that pesky national title loss). He won the Heisman. His team controversially leap-frogged their arch-rival into the BCS title game. He was projected to be a high NFL draft pick. Can he possibly repeat all of that success this year?
The Verdict: Tim Tebow eats Intangibles for breakfast. Colt has motivation on his side. Bradford will be dealing with heightened expectations in Norman.
Exhibit E: 2009 Projections
Colt McCoy: Passing 3,900 yards, 35 TD’s; Rushing 500 yards, 8 TD’s; 394 fantasy points
Tim Tebow: Passing 3,000 yards, 30 TD’s; Rushing 650 yards, 14 TD’s; 389 fantasy points
Sam Bradford: Passing 4,300 yards, 44 TD’s; Rushing 25 yards, 3 TD’s; 368 fantasy points
If your fantasy draft was today (Mar. 1, 2009)...
All three are Top 10 quarterbacks in all-120 league formats, and Top Five in BCS-only leagues. So who comes out on top? Our projections pretty much tell the story. Colt McCoy is our man by the slimmest of margins.
He has the most returning personnel, his schedule is cake, and he should be motivated. Tebow comes in a close second. He should produce stats that fall somewhere in between his 2007 and 2008 numbers. Bradford finishes third. We see a slight dip in his production this year.
So there you have it. You can’t really go wrong with any of these studs, but Colt McCoy looks to be the best option of the bunch. Now please excuse us while we make a few adjustments to our initial player rankings.
Todd DeVries is the founder of CollegeFootballGeek.com, your premier resource for college fantasy football information. Check us out.