Can you believe it is already week three of the college football season? College offenses are starting to find their rhythm, meaning your devy fantasy football prospects are beginning to show differences between perceived and actual value. Let’s look at five quarterbacks to monitor for this weekend’s slate of games.
Brennan Armstrong - Quarterback - Virginia
The two-time captain has been wheeling and dealing through the first two games, completing more than 71 percent of his passes and scoring nine total touchdowns. In the 42-14 victory over Illinois last weekend, Armstrong recorded over 400 yards and five touchdowns through the air, leading Virginia’s offense, the second-ranked passing attack in the nation according to PFF College, to a 2-0 start. The 6’2” 215-pounder has earned back-to-back ACC Quarterback of the Week honors, the first Cavalier signal-caller to do so since Shawn Moore was throwing passes to Herman Moore in 1990. The lefty from Ohio heads to Chapel Hill for “The South’s Oldest Rivalry” against North Carolina, a team they have not lost to since 2016. The redshirt junior has seemed to thrive when the pocket breaks down, and the Tar Heels have struggled against mobile quarterbacks. Do not be surprised if the red-hot Armstrong has another solid performance.
Seth Henigan - Quarterback - Memphis
Henigan took advantage of a Grant Gunnell camp injury to become the Tigers’ heir apparent to Brady White. The Denton Ryan High School product was okay against Nicholls State in the opener but came alive last week when Memphis traveled to Jonesboro to take on Arkansas State. In his first career start on the road, the 6’3” 200-pound signal-caller converted 67 percent of his passes and threw for 417 yards, landing him eighth in school history in passing yards in a single game. Four of his six touchdowns on the year have been of distances 40 yards or longer. For a kid who was playing 5A Texas football a year ago, Henigan has been surprisingly efficient early on, converting on nine of the team’s 14 third-down attempts and has yet to turn the ball over. Saturday will be the first sizable test for the freshman, as Mississippi State will be the best defense he has faced by far. With the initial over/under coming at 64.5, expect plenty of offensive firepower at Liberty Bell Memorial Stadium.
Payton Thorne - Quarterback - Michigan State
Many around East Lansing were unsure about Mark D’Antonio’s choice to start Thorne over Temple transfer Anthony Russo. Through the first two games, it looks like he made the right decision. After leading the Spartans in a win on the road over Northwestern, the redshirt sophomore was nothing short of excellent last weekend. Against Youngstown State, the 6’2” 210-pounder completed over 71% of his passes and scored five touchdowns, ending the game with a passer rating of 246.3. His performance graded out with the highest passer rating for a Michigan State quarterback since 2000. The Naperville Central product has developed a remarkably strong connection with Jayden Reed, a high school teammate who has accounted for over 50 percent of his passing yards. This week will be a good test for how Thorne performs under pressure as the Spartans head to Hard Rock Stadium to take on the Hurricanes. Miami bounced back from the Alabama game with a solid performance defending the pass against Appalachian State, so this should be a compelling matchup to follow.
Tanner Mordecai - Quarterback - SMU
After beating out highly-touted freshman Preston Stone over the summer for the starting job, the Waco, Texas native has proven to be quite an exciting passer to watch through two games. Mordecai starred in the opener against Abilene Christian, completing 80 percent of his attempts and throwing seven touchdowns, passing Shane Buechele (2019) and Mike Romo (1990) for the single-game program record. The team captain that spent three seasons at Oklahoma is currently leading the country in passing touchdowns with 11, and his passer rating of 203.4 ranks third in the nation. This week, the 6’3” 218-pounder has an extremely favorable matchup as the Mustangs head to Ruston to take on Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs defense has been a quarterback’s paradise through two games, giving up an average of 432.5 yards through the air. A week ago, Southeastern Louisiana’s Cole Kelley completed 74.6 percent of his passes and passed for almost 500 yards, so we expect Mordecai to continue to dazzle.
Will Rogers - Quarterback - Mississippi State
The second-year signal-caller has carried the momentum from a solid year one performance down in Starkville into 2021. In the opener against Louisiana Tech, Rogers led the Bulldogs back from a 20-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win 35-34, the biggest comeback in program history. He ended the game with 370 yards, three touchdowns, and an 83 percent completion percentage. Last week, the Brandon, Mississippi product completed over 67% of his passes and threw for 294 yards against North Carolina State, showing advancements in decision-making from the week prior. According to SECStatCat, the 6’2 210-pounder has the second-lowest uncatchable pass rate at 9.5 percent, and his depth-adjusted accuracy percentage of 64.6 is the highest in the SEC. Rogers will look to go 3-0 against Memphis, a defense that allowed 582 yards and five touchdowns through the air last week against Arkansas State.
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