This article is part of our Conference Preview series.
We continue our College Football conference previews with the Big 12, where offense leads the way and typically where fantasy owners sharply follow. Texas and Oklahoma are still part of the conference for the next two seasons while they will welcome BYU, UCF, Cincinnati and Houston during the 2023 season. Thus, it will be the Big 14 for a single season in 2023 until Texas and Oklahoma leave for the SEC. Earlier this year, I wrote about what analytics, systems and trends caught my eye in this conference.
All-Big 12 Fantasy Team (2022 Position Rank)
Note: Rankings listed are for half-point PPR to best encompass both PPR and standard formats
QB: Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma (17)
RB: Bijan Robinson, Texas (1)
RB: Deuce Vaughn, Kansas State (3)
WR: Xavier Worthy, Texas (3)
WR: Myles Price, Texas Tech (15)
WR: Quentin Johnston, TCU (17)
TE: Ben Sims, Baylor (8)
QB: Adrian Martinez, Kansas State (30)
RB: Eric Gray, Oklahoma (23)
RB: Taye McWilliams, Baylor (28)
WR: Marvin Mims, Oklahoma (19)
WR: Isaiah Neyor, Texas (30)
WR: Brennan Presley, Oklahoma State (42)
TE: Baylor Cupp, Texas Tech (23)
QB: Quinn Ewers, Texas (31)
RB: Tony Mathis, West Virginia (72)
RB: Dominic Richardson, Oklahoma State (29)
WR: Jaden Bray, Oklahoma State (49)
WR: Malik Knowles, Kansas State (74)
WR: Monaray Baldwin, Baylor (86)
TE: Brayden Willis, Oklahoma (24)
Big 12 Fantasy Sleepers
QB: Spencer Sanders, Oklahoma State
Sanders will have yet another chance to shine for the Cowboys in his fourth year starting games at Oklahoma State. In fact, Sanders is just one of seven quarterbacks at a power five school that was a 2019 starter and remains at the same school. His completion percentage has hovered around 62 percent all three years, but he was able to have his most productive year in 2021 with 26 total touchdowns via 2,839 passing yards and 668 rushing yards. His upside as a fantasy play is his dual-threat ability which is trending well as he had a career-high 146 carries last year. The experienced senior is expected to have his best year yet but did lose his top weapons in Jaylen Warren and Tay Martin.
RB: Kendre Miller, TCU
Miller is set up to be the primary running back in TCU's new dynamic offense under head coach Sonny Dykes. With Zach Evans transferring out to Ole Miss, Miller can look to continue the impressive 7.5 yards per carry he posted during his sophomore season. In a committee role across 10 games in 2021, Miller rushed for 623 yards and seven touchdowns on just 83 carries. He also was utilized in the passing game with 12 catches for 117 yards and a touchdown on 14 targets. If he can sustain this positive momentum in an even better offense, the sky is the limit for Miller who could be a pleasant surprise for those who draft him for fantasy. It's worth noting that TCU has added Emani Bailey from Louisiana and Corey Wren from Florida State.
RB: Devin Neal, Kansas
Neal burst on to the scene during his true freshman season with 707 yards and eight touchdowns to go along with 57 yards and a score on seven catches, including a season-high 143 yards and three touchdowns in the Week 11 upset at Texas. There's little doubt he'll start leading the way in Lance Leipold's run-first offensive scheme, but he will have some competition with Minnesota transfer, Ky Thomas, and Nebraska transfer, Sevion Morrison. Expect Neal, Thomas and Morrison to all receive significant work during the 2022 season
WR: Xavier Hutchinson, Iowa State
It was a productive 2021 season for Hutchinson as he grabbed a school-record 83 catches for 987 yards and five touchdowns on 108 targets. Hutchinson could have left for the NFL, yet decided to return in his quest to lead the Cyclones in receiving production for the third straight year. This will be his greatest challenge yet as Iowa State returns just five starters with the team losing their top quarterback, running back and their two top tight ends who had combined for 88 catches. The opportunity will certainly be there for Hutchinson to exceed his catches and targets from a season ago.
WR: Bryce Ford-Wheaton, West Virginia
Ford-Wheaton has shown improvement in each of his three years at West Virginia and should be on pace for a huge year with quarterback JT Daniels transferring from Georgia to give the team an upgrade at the quarterback position. More importantly, the team also welcomes in offensive coordinator Graham Harrell who will install a pass-friendly offense right away. There's a great chance that Ford-Wheaton surpasses the 42 catches for 575 yards and three touchdowns on 68 targets that he posted a year ago. His 8.5 yards per target suggests that he could be in for a huge year of production with higher volume and better quarterback play behind one of the conference's best offensive lines.
Big 12 Fantasy Busts
QB: Blake Shapen, Baylor
Shapen won the quarterback battle in the spring which sent last season's starter, Gerry Bohanon, to the transfer portal and eventually South Florida. Shapen, one of third-year coach Dave Aranda's recruits, showed early upside in Baylor's final two regular season games and the Big 12 Championship win over Oklahoma State. In those three games, the strong-armed signal caller completed 71.1 percent of his passes for 571 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions. My only concern is with the talent around him as Baylor lost four of their top five receivers from a year ago. Moreover, they should have one of the best defenses in the conference which won't require them to put up a ton of offensive production.
RB: Jirehl Brock, Iowa State
Brock is the top returning running back for Iowa State after posting 174 yards and a touchdown on 37 carries in a reserve role behind the legendary Breece Hall. Hall received back-to-back First Team All-American selections and was named the 2021 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year before departing to the NFL. Brock should have a significant role on this year's squad; however, he's not expected to approach the production that Hall put forth the last two seasons. He will need to fend off freshman Cartevious Norton who could win the job by year-end.
RB: Tahj Brooks, Texas Tech
Brooks seems to have some ability and was certainly a productive ballcarrier for Texas Tech last year, but his pass-catching history is limited and he's stuck in one of the country's most crowded backfields. SaRodorick Thompson has functioned as the RB1 for the last three years and Xavier White is no slouch, so it's not clear how much Brooks might be able to build on a 2021 season that saw him average 6.5 yards per carry. It doesn't help that Texas Tech has a weak defense that tends to leave them playing catch-up
WR: Any Kansas Wide Receivers
While the Jayhawks are on the up-and-up, I don't trust their passing game very much. Kansas has struggled to find much production from the receiving position in recent years. Luke Grimm projects to be their top receiver with Trevor Wilson after Lawrence Arnold entered the transfer portal. I can see Kansas heavily leaning on their run game with running back Devin Neal and quarterback Jalon Daniels.
2022 College Fantasy Football Draft Kit
- College Football Fantasy Quarterback Rankings
- College Football Fantasy Running Back Rankings
- Conference Preview: ACC
- College Football Projections
- College Football Fantasy Five
- College Football Rankings
- College Football Cheat Sheet
- National Championship picks
- National Championship odds
- Heisman watch
- Heisman odds