Big East Football: Ranking the Playmakers by Fantasy Value

Dan Kelley@DanKelleyWritesCorrespondent IAugust 22, 2010

CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 13: Quarterback Zach Collaros #12 of the the Cincinnati Bearcats looks to pass the ball in the first quarter of the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Nippert Stadium on November 13, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images


1) Zach Collaros, Cincinnati: He only started four games last season while Tony Pike was injured, but he put up absolutely ridiculous numbers. Despite the limited action, he finished seventh in the Big East in total yards last year by hurting teams with both his arm and his legs.

2) B.J. Daniels, USF: Although Tom Savage threw for a couple hundred more yards last season, Daniels was a tad more accurate and had a slightly better QB rating. Where he truly separates from the other star sophomore is in the running game though, where he supplemented his 14 passing touchdowns with nine more on the ground. He led USF in rushing last year and finished second in the Big East in total yards.

3) Tom Savage, Rutgers: Savage had a very solid year as a true freshman last season and, if his offensive line gives him time to throw, he should be very dangerous this season.

4) Geno Smith, West Virginia: After the top three, there isn't a whole lot of experience among the Big East's quarterbacks, including Geno Smith. So why Smith over the rest? He should be a better passer than either Pat White or Jarrett Brown, but in WVU's offense, he'll also have plenty of opportunity to run with the ball.


Running Backs:

1) Dion Lewis, Pittsburgh: The Panthers have a new quarterback this season, which means they'll be leaning on their sophomore Heisman hopeful even more this season. This one's a no-brainer. 

2) Noel Devine, West Virginia: He's in a very similar situation to Lewis and may also be leaned on more. However, he still won't receive as many carries as Lewis, who ran the ball almost 100 more times than Devine last season. He may be the more dynamic of the two, but it's hard to make up for that many carries.

3) Jordan Todman, UConn: Last year both Jordan Todman and Andre Dixon ran for over 1,000 yards. Now, Dixon is gone and Todman may be featured even more than he was last season. He's a home-run threat and probably one of the most underrated backs in the country.

4) Delone Carter, Syracuse: Carter is a guy who a lot of people probably overlook, but he rushed for over 1,000 yards last season and could be in for an even bigger season in 2010. Only three returning Big East players found the end zone more frequently than Carter last season: Lewis, Todman and Devine.

5) Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati: Pead might be a touch undervalued here, but it's hard to say. The main thing that's held him back in recent years is the pass-heavy offense the Bearcats have featured. With a new coach that could change a bit. However, the Bearcats will still probably pass a ton with all the talent they have at quarterback and wide receiver.


Wide Receivers:

1) Armon Binns, Cincinnati: Last year Binns caught 61 passes for 888 yards and 11 touchdowns as the No. 2 option behind Mardy Gilyard. He should be the featured receiver this year with Gilyard gone, but the Bearcats still have enough talent to make sure that opposing defenses can't overload on him.

2) Jonathan Baldwin, Pittsburgh: Baldwin is the Big East's top returning receiver in terms of receiving yards after an 1,111 yard, eight touchdown season a year ago. A future pro, he will be the focal point of the Pittsburgh passing attack. But the question mark that the Panthers have at quarterback undermines his value just a bit. Still, he's far too talented to be ranked any lower than No. 2.

3) Mohammad Sanu, Rutgers: Sanu came out of nowhere to emerge as Rutgers No. 2 receiver last year as a freshman. He caught 51 passes for 639 yards and three touchdowns, but he separated himself from some of the other receivers in the league by contributing in the running game. Sanu also ran for 346 yards and five touchdowns last season.

4) Jock Sanders, West Virginia: Sander's isn't the much of a home-run threat, but he does catch a lot of passes. Last season, he snagged in 72 for 688 yards and three touchdowns. 

5) Vidal Hazelton, Cincinnati: Sort of a dark horse pick, Hazelton is eligible this season after transferring from USC. Hazelton has a lot of talent and plenty of size (6'3, 213 pounds) to be a serious threat in the red zone.