Quarterback Dwight Dasher had a breakout year in 2009. Now the fantasy football world has high expectations for Dasher, but can he live up to the numbers he posted last season?
Cast of Characters
Former OC – Tony Franklin
QB – Dwight Dasher (Sr)
HB – Phillip Tanner (R-Sr)
HB – D.D. Kyles (R-Jr)
WR – Garrett Andrews (Sr)
WR – Shane Blissard (R-Jr)
WR – Sancho McDonald (Jr)
What’s the Scoop?
Fantasy waves were made during the winter of 2009 as former Troy and Auburn offensive coordinator Tony Franklin was hired as the new offensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee State. Franklin inherited a talented dual-threat quarterback in Dwight Dasher. Dasher spent most of the 2008 season injured, but fantasy owners saw big things in store for him in 2009 with Tony Franklin calling the plays.
Dwight Dasher did not disappoint during the 2009 season, racking up 3,943 total yards and 27 total touchdowns. Dasher finished the season as a top two fantasy quarterback.
But this winter brought question marks to the fantasy future of Dwight Dasher. Tony Franklin leaves in order to take over the Louisiana Tech offense. Running back Phillip Tanner looks to return from a knee injured sustained during the second game of 2009 that sidelined him for the remainder of the season.
The loss of offensive coordinator Tony Franklin should be a concern to the Middle Tennessee offense. He mastered a no-huddle based spread offense, where he would call the plays based on the defense’s alignment. Franklin knows his offensive system in and out, and knows how to set-up the many facets of this spread attack.
Now Mike Schultz takes over for the departed Franklin. He will continue to run the same offensive system, but plays on their own don’t get the job done. Schultz doesn't have nearly the experience of Franklin. Also, it is yet to be seen if Schultz can mold and develop Dwight Dasher during practice time—something Franklin did really well.
The receiver core sustained large losses as well. Dasher will no longer have two of his top three pass targets as wide receivers Chris McClover and Patrick Honeycutt graduate.
Desmond Gee has also been lost to graduation, and Malcolm Beyah has been moved from receiver to corner back. Dasher must find a new target to rely on if he hopes to duplicate the numbers he put up through the air in 2009.
Middle Tennessee returns running back Phillip Tanner after missing most of last year with a knee injury. Tanner has been a solid playmaker during his carrier, possessing the ability to threaten a defense on the ground and through the air.
D.D. Kyles stepped in for the injured Tanner in 2009, and accumulated 857 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Now the new offensive coaching staff will have two game hardened rushers to rely on, as well as help lighten the physical pounding that Dwight Dasher could take over the course of the 2010 season.
There are some receivers that return that have game experience under their belts. Senior Garrett Andrews is the leading returner, totaling 530 yards on 35 receptions with four touchdowns in 2009. A pair of juniors also return. Shane Blissard caught 19 balls for 283 yards and three touchdowns, while Sancho McDonald had 24 receptions for 255 yards and two touchdowns.
Four starters return on the offensive line which will help allow Dasher more time to throw the ball down field, as well as open up holes for Dasher, Tanner, and Kyles in the ground game.
If Your Fantasy Draft Were Today...
Quarterback Dwight Dasher will once again be an elite level fantasy quarterback in 2010, but buyer beware. Due to the loss of offensive coordinator Tony Franklin, it’s too much of a stretch to believe the offense will generate as many yards and touchdowns as it had in the 2009 season. So there will be a dip in offensive production to contend with right from the start.
Another issue that will hamstring Dasher’s 2010 production will be the addition of Phillip Tanner back into the starting lineup. Dasher spent much of the middle portion of the 2009 season banged up from the constant pounding that results from running the ball an average of 16.5 times a game.
Tanner will be used to ease the load off of Dasher as the coaches looks to keep him healthy throughout the season. There shouldn’t be a major drop in carries, but Tanner will most likely siphon off rushing touchdown opportunities from Dasher.
Like many running quarterbacks that come out of a breakout season, there is a dip in rushing production due to the injury concerns. This can be expected for Dasher in 2010. That means he must find a way to pick up the slack in the air. With two of his top three pass catchers moving on, it might take the offense until conference play to generate enough chemistry to start really clicking in the air.
Dasher should still be drafted in the first half of the opening round in your fantasy drafts. But be careful and don’t pass on more stable options. A player like Colin Kaepernick needs to be selected before Dasher, and if you want to play it safe you could go after players like Kellen Moore and Blaine Gabbert before taking a stab at Dasher.
The key to looking at Dwight Dasher’s fantasy future for 2010 is simple, don’t expect him to out-produce his 2009 numbers. If you draft with that single though in mind you will find yourself in good shape.
Joe Arpasi is the co-owner of CollegeFootballGeek.com , your premier resource for college fantasy football information. Check us out.