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MAC Daddy Series - Five QBs poised to dominate the Mid American Conference
DeQuan Finn, DJ Irons, and Kurtis Rourke headline a sneaky solid group of QBs in the MAC
Can he do it on a cold, wet night in Muncie, Indiana?
- The lads at the pub
The realm of college fantasy football is a captivating blend of excitement, unpredictability, and spirited discussions. Within this sphere, conflicting opinions, ostentatious claims, and diverse perspectives are abound. Yet, amidst the commotion, certain universal principles do emerge. Among them, one stands as the cornerstone: unwaveringly adhere to the volume — a mantra we ardently propagate. Additionally, a sagacious guideline deserving equal attention is to keenly monitor the Mid American Conference (MAC) for prospective superstars. Indeed, I need not remind my fellow CFF managers and degenerate gamblers of the scale of performances we’ve seen in recent years via MACtion. Lord Patterson vs. House Kent in 2020 immediately comes to mind.
Some people are turned off by the small school feel and low quality of play of this great conference. But others like myself embrace it. I like that there’s a feeling of desperation in the air of MAC stadiums. The coaches and the players alike are trying to get the hell out of there as soon as possible. This fervent feeling necessarily balances the chill in the air of the famously cold midwestern autumn eves. Lovely.
Sure, the glitz and glamor of the SEC is exhilarating, and the pageantry and tradition of the BIG10 is unmatched. But whenever I see a budding CJ Stroud or Bryce Young break through the consciousness of even the casual college football fan, I am left wondering one thing: can he do it on a cold, wet night in Muncie, Indiana?
Simply put, it’s a different ball game over here, player. And that’s what makes it delicious. The closer the league is in caliber of play to high school football, the better in my opinion. Why is that? You ask with a healthy amount of trepidation in your tone. Because it means: 1) more mayhem and 2) (perhaps more importantly) programs are going to lean on their best players. Depth? Never heard of her. That’s for those hoighty toighty aristocrats in Athens and Tuscaloosa. This here league is for the common man. We eat off the (mold infested) stadium floor and we like it that way. With nary a jumbotron or NFL scout in sight.
As such, I have prepared a list of notable names at the QB position (in no particular order) for the college football fan to familiarize themselves with ahead of the 2023 season. Follow me, dear friends, as we descend into the depths of CFB hell—but fair warning to the reader: where we’re going, we won’t need eyes to see…
Toledo QB DeQuan Finn — 6’2, 210
2022 FPG: 24.9
This is an easy one to start off with. A freebie? Shoot, we’re just warming up over here, partner. Give it some time, we’ll put the ‘G’ in degenerate soon enough. Dequan Finn is a household name in the CFF sphere already, and the reasoning as to why is clear. In 2022, he remarkably had a strong performance against OOC opponent Ohio State (27.12 points) on his way to a strong campaign. In most instances, I suggest the reader ignore the raw FPG average of MAC players, due to the OOC schedule weighing them down. But Finn actually torched the competition, scoring 27.12, 28.84, 31.48 and 19 points. What’s weighing him down is a game where (I believe) he was knocked out early, scoring only -2.6 points vs. WMU.
He is a potent runner, eclipsing 60 yards rushing in seven out of 12 games played last season. His season high came against Kent State, scoring 55.22 points. However, overall he was pretty volatile. We’re at the point in the offseason where the hype might have surpassed the value—his current ADP is around sixth/seventh round (83). Nonetheless, I can’t do a MAC QB highlight list without mentioning Finn. He is a definite value in a bestball format, I like him much less in re-draft formats.
Ohio QB Kurtis Rourke — 6’5, 215
2022 FPG: 26.8
I’m not just highlighting Rourke because he’s a fellow Canadian; however, I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t part of it. Accordingly, I’ve already privately DM’d him requesting his finest maple syrup recommendations. I have yet to hear back as of writing this article.
Nonetheless, I like Rourke this year in the MAC. In fact, I would say I am high on the Ohio program to do major damage as a whole. They’ve got a talented stable of skill players, and with a healthy Rourke back in the fold, the sky should be the limit. I am currently toying with the idea of throwing down some guapé on them to win it all (the MAC championship, that is)—let’s see how many paid subs come in next month…
Out of 11 games played, Rourke eclipsed 30 points in a game five times. He eclipsed 40 points twice, nearly reaching 50 in one of those (49.98 vs. Fordham). He finished 2022 with a total of 29 TDs to only 8 turnovers (includes INTs and FLs). His season high in rushing was 64 yards on 7 carries vs. NIU—I include that just to note that he is a good runner, though not as good as his older brother was.
His ADP is a similar range to Finn (81.9). I don’t fully understand that, though perhaps it is discounted because of the uncertainty around Rourke’s injury. He is a better buy in a re-draft than Finn, in my humble opinion. Far less fluctuations in his game, and the latest word is that he’ll be good to go for the season opener.
As it happens, the Maple Missile’s home town of Oakville is a mere few hours from me as I write this very article.
Akron QB DJ Irons — 6’6, 205
2022 FPG: 18.97
I’ve been a spokesman for the Irons hype train since late February of this year. I will promptly remind the reader of CFF principle #1 mentioned in the preamble: follow the f*****g volume. Our guy here attempted a total of 379 passes along with 133 rush attempts across only 10 games last season. That’s a cosmic 51.2 plays a game where he was eligible for points. He finished the season with a 67% completion percentage, which is pretty damn good. The problem? Scoring TDs. The 6’6 gunslinger only threw 10 TDs and accounted for four on the ground. Those numbers need to increase for the value to be here. I trust my instinct that where the volume is, the points will follow…
Irons will have a good array of targets to throw to. Notably, there is CFF darling Alex Adams, who I wrote about in the link below. There is also Daniel George by way of Penn State at the WR position. This is an exciting new offence with the staff in place here (details of which are in the link above and below), and I’m looking forward to seeing how much of a step forward Akron takes this year (assuming they do).
Irons’ ADP is currently set at 199.6 (about the 16th round). I think this is going to be a much-improved offence overall this season, and I could see Irons outpacing a player like Finn, for example. That being said, in terms of how his profile stands up currently, there are concerns that the team could be bad again, and he would struggle to score TDs. Even in a re-draft, I’d be willing to take a chance on Irons before the 16th round, though. The exact round would depend on how the draft is shaking out etc. but anywhere in the teens I’d be fine with.
Buffalo QB Cole Snyder — 6’2, 208
2022 FPG: 18.1
Wait, what?! That’s right—you thought we were going all chalk team over here? Nah, hombré. We’re entering year two in the program for the former P5 transfer, and if he learned anything from his time down there in New Jersey, it’s to shoot first and ask questions later. In 2022, my guy attempted a monstrous 450 passes across 13 games played with the Bulls. That’s an average of 35 a game. Unfortunately, his completion percentage was weaker than a stool pigeon’s resolve. He finished 2022 hovering around 59% completion. Those are rookie numbers and he knows it.
The good news is that he wasn’t overwhelmingly turnover prone—only throwing 8 interceptions to 18 TDs. He also ran 110 times for 146 yards and 4 more TDs. All told, that’s a lavish 43 plays a game where he was eligible for points. He did lose his top receivers from a year ago, but something tells me they’ll be fine…
The new OC—DJ Mangas, is a disciple of the fabled 2019 LSU team. Could he be looking for his next Joe Burrow? I can’t think of a better place to look than up-state New York. After all, Burrow himself was a Rustbelt baby…
Snyder currently does not have ADP data, which probably means he’s going undrafted.
Miami (Ohio) QB Brett Gabbert — 6’0, 215
2022 FPG: 15.5
Don’t pay much attention to the 2022 FPG average, our guy only played in four games as he battled injury. Unfortunately, his absence cleared the way for his backup—Aveon Smith to assert himself in an uncomfortably strong way. Even so, the coaching staff have been pretty clear that Gabbert’s the guy this season (barring another injury, of course). Big G’s strongest season came in 2021, when he finished 11 games averaging 22.5 FPG (season highs of 44.98, 43.4 and 34.74). As with all MAC players, we need to go a bit deeper to discover the true value. His in-conference FPG (i.e. ignoring the OOC opponents) was 28 FPG. Sure, there were some wild fluctuations in there, but this guy is a big value in a bestball format especially. I think even in a re-draft format he could be a potent comeback player this year.
Like Snyder, Gabbert is likely going undrafted in most leagues. That makes more sense, as even now it is still not definitively determined that he is the starter. The writing seems to be on the wall, though.
Oh, and yes, for those of you wondering—he is the younger brother of former NFL’er Blaine Gabbert. I guess that makes him ‘little G’, instead.
(Bonus) EMU QB Austin Smith — 6’2, 210
2022 FPG: 10.1
There’s bonuses around here? That’s right. I’m adding in Smith as a bonus because I honestly don’t know if he’s the starter yet for EMU. Information is sparse (just the way we like it), so it would feel wrong prescribing him in the main section.
Again, I urge the reader to look past the FPG average from a year ago. That number is counting in games where he barely played. In the games where he attempted more than 10 passes, he finished with 24, 14.18, 19.08 and 17.4 points in standard scoring. Notably, he demonstrated immense rushing upside—with performances against Buffalo and Ball State of 12 rushes for 74 yards and a score, and 19 attempts for 52 yards and a score, respectively. He’s got some good targets at WR, and EMU returns all-VP award winner in RB Samson Evans. This offence is a good under-the-radar buy low/high upside candidate.
Smith was a redshirt freshman last year, with only one game played to his name previously. If he is indeed the guy at QB (you’ll have to verify this as we lead up to the season), there’s some nice hidden value here.
I don’t have to pull up the ADP data to tell you that this kid is going undrafted. Unless you’re in a very deep league, I wouldn’t advocate that you draft him either. But this is a name to mark down for a waiver add if the early signs look strong.
So, my friends, we’ve reached the conclusion of this godforsaken article. What did you think? Do you enjoy these shotgun style articles covering multiple players? Or do you prefer the in-depth style breakdowns. Or maybe both? Because if you want in-depth solo editions of these MAC QBs, you know señor VP is always good for it (except when the loan sharks start calling for repayment—how many times do I have to tell them? These gambling websites take a few days to process withdrawals…).
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