College Football Fantasy Five: Fantasy Winners with New Head Coaches in the SEC

College Football Fantasy Five: Fantasy Winners with New Head Coaches in the SEC

This article is part of our College Football Fantasy Five series.

College Football Fantasy Five: Fantasy Winners with New Head Coaches in the SEC

Projections for specific players are not yet finished for the 2024 season, so let's spend the beginning of the summer reviewing the changes across each of the major four conferences as well as the rest of the teams (new article each week). Dominating your college fantasy league means finding an edge over your competition, and typically, an average player underestimates what a new coach can do at a new school. We're here to ensure you don't make that mistake by reviewing where the new coaches are in the conference and what players could benefit most from this new system. Usually, these players will likely go later in drafts because most people prefer known commodities instead of relying on unknown offensive schemes.

Head Coach Changes in the SEC

Alabama - Nick Saban to Kalen Deboer

Deboer will attempt to replace a legend in Tuscaloosa and the one sure thing is that he should be bringing over a dynamite offense. His Washington Huskies had top-10 offenses in the last two years, his only two years at the school. Before that, he had top-50 offenses at Fresno State.

2023 at Washington - 7.0 Offensive Yards Per Play (Off YPP) - 8th Nationally (*Alabama was 37th)
2022 at Washington - 6.9 Off YPP - 10th Nationally (*Alabama was 9th)

Mississippi State - Zach Arnett to Jeff Lebby

Lebby will finally get his shot at being the lead man with the Bulldogs, which is well deserved after his proven track record as OC with Oklahoma (2022-23), Ole Miss (2020-21), and UCF (2019). I would temper expectations as it can be an adjustment to be a head coach, and the Bulldogs weren't exactly efficient on the offensive end over the last two years. This doesn't mean there won't be some fantasy value here, though!

2023 at Oklahoma - 6.8 Off YPP - 10th Nationally (*Mississippi State was 97th)
2022 at Oklahoma - 6.2 Off YPP - 30th Nationally (*Mississippi State was 81st)

Texas A&M - Jimbo Fischer to Mike Elko

Elko comes over from Duke, and he'll need to rebuild an entirely new culture for the Aggies after Fischer was underwhelmingly average with some of the nation's best recruits. Before his successful stint at Duke, Elko was the defensive coordinator for A&M. Since his background is mostly with defenses, I'll focus more on the historical results for new OC Collin Klein, who comes over from Kansas State.

2023 at Kansas State - 6.0 Off YPP - 48th Nationally (*Texas A&M was 49th)
2022 at Kansas State - 6.1 Off YPP - 36th Nationally (*Texas A&M was 61st)

College Fantasy Football Links

Fantasy Winners with New Coaches

5.) Kobe Prentice, WR, Alabama

If you're wondering who Alabama's version of Rome Odunze in 2024 can be, my guestimate would be Prentice. Pretty much all of the Crimson Tide's receiving production from a year ago has departed, and Prentice is the lone man standing, as I don't really count Kendrick Law as a traditional receiver. Germie Bernard comes over from Washington in the portal and is Prentice's only competition for the top spot in the receiving rotation. I would feel comfortable rolling with Prentice in your fantasy line-up this year.

4.) Cyrus Allen, WR, Texas A&M

Allen is the leading candidate to be the No. 1 receiver in a brand-new Aggies offense. It's not often that you see an SEC school fight to grab a receiver out of Louisiana Tech, and that's exactly what they did with Allen, who had 778 yards and four touchdowns on 84 targets in 2023. With a better quarterback in Connor Weigman, Allen could be a steal in fantasy drafts this upcoming season.

3.) Blake Shapen, QB, Mississippi State

Lebby has done great things with the quarterback position, no matter where he's been. Will Shapen match Dillon Gabriel? Absolutely not at Mississippi State. But if he can even be 50 percent of what Gabriel was, he will be a useful fantasy player. It's not like Shapen wasn't an above average starter at Baylor when healthy. I like Shapen as a depth pick with significant upside in fantasy drafts this Fall.

2.) Jalen Milroe, QB, Alabama

Unlike the rest of this list, Milroe will be one of the top players picked in fantasy drafts. The idea of Milroe being a dual-threat version of Michael Penix is scary for the rest of the nation. Intriguingly, former five-star recruit Ty Simpson has stuck around, making me think there could be an underrated competition here. Moreover, Simpson is a nice insurance policy if Milroe cannot stay healthy or is inconsistent as he has been in the past. Either way, the Alabama QB will be a fantasy stud for the 2024 season.

1.) Rueben Owens, RB, Texas A&M

When I first saw the news of Klein as offensive coordinator in College Station, I immediately thought of how I could figure out who the running back of the future is there. Owens is a special recruit (former five-star) who may not start the year as the starter in his sophomore campaign, but by the end of the year could be one of the most exciting prospects in the nation. Le'Veon Moss and Amari Daniels are still there, as is transfer E.J. Smith (Emmitt Smith's son!), but Owens' ceiling is too high to ignore. Thinking of the possibility that Klein utilizes Owens in the offense as he did with Deuce Vaughn at Kansas State is fantasy bliss!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Grays
Grays covers college football for RotoWire by night and is a Financial Analyst by day.
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