College Football Fantasy Five: Big Ten Offensive Analytics and Trends

College Football Fantasy Five: Big Ten Offensive Analytics and Trends

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

Even though there are no official college football games being played, it doesn't mean that we can't start preparing for the 2022 fantasy college football season. I've already revealed my top five new head coach landing spots with significant college fantasy football (CFF) implications. 

Now I'm going to dig into each conference to find some interesting offensive trends with an emphasis on Offensive Yards Per Play data over the last five seasons. Offensive YPP is a great indicator for a team's true efficiency and is extremely relevant for CFF purposes. I'll also sprinkle in some team passing and rushing percentages which help us understand whether a team has a tendency towards a certain play style on offense. Please be aware that 2020 was an odd season with the COVID-19 protocols and a smaller sample size of games.

Here are five interesting trends and patterns that popped off the paper at me:

Top Five Offensive Trends and Analytics for the Big Ten Conference

5.) Mel Tucker is Ushering a New Era at Michigan State

The Spartans were perhaps the most surprising story of the 2021 season while finishing with a 11-2 record and a Peach Bowl win over Pittsburgh. Even more shocking was how they did it by ranking as the 27th team in the nation at 6.4 YPP. Before they hired Tucker and during the 2017-19 seasons, the team averaged 5.01 YPP which averaged a rank of 112th in the nation. 

Although Kenneth Walker III was one of the best running backs in the country during the 2021 season, they were one of the most balanced teams in the conference with a passing percentage of 45.51 percent. Only Ohio State (53.87 percent), Maryland (52.69 percent), Penn State (52.65 percent) and Indiana (47.68 percent) were more balanced. With this in mind, I have no problem taking a chance on the Spartans' playmakers in CFF Drafts as the offense should be balanced again and there's great value here.

CFF Players to Consider
WR Jayden Reed (ADP ~ 4-6 Rounds) 
RB Jalen Berger *Transfer from Wisconsin (ADP ~ 18-22 Rounds)
QB Payton Thorne (ADP ~ 18-22 Rounds)
RB Jarek Broussard *Transfer from Colorado (ADP ~ Sleeper Potential)

4.) Avoid Northwestern and Rutgers Players for CFF

Over the last five years, the statistics do not lie for these two teams. Here's a table showing their Off YPP and corresponding rank nationally over that timespan:

   20212020201920182017
Northwestern Rank12011212812498
  Off YPP4.74.724.234.755.31
        
   20212020201920182017
Rutgers Rank123117126128128
  Off YPP4.54.624.464.144.43

Sometimes it can be just as valuable to avoid certain teams as it is to target others.

CFF Players to Consider
None

3.) Maryland has an Intriguing CFF Squad

I'm not sure the Terps will be any good during the 2022 season; however, I do think the offense is going to put up some points and this team should be taken seriously in CFF Drafts. They were in fact the fifth-best offense in the Big Ten at 6.2 YPP (42nd nationally) and during the 2020 shortened season were the second-best at 6.62 YPP (21st nationally). Head coach Mike Locksley is entering his fourth year and is coming off a 54-10 rout of the Virginia Tech Hokies in the Pinstripe Bowl. The best part is that these playmakers will likely fly under the radar all off-season and could ultimately be on the waiver wire at the beginning of the year.

CFF Players to Consider
WR Rakim Jarrett (ADP ~ 8-10 Rounds)
WR Dontay Demus (ADP ~ 16-20 Rounds)
QB Taulia Tagovailoa (ADP ~ 20-24 Rounds)

2.) Minnesota & Wisconsin Will Not Stop Running the Ball

The rival Gophers and Badgers obliterated the conference in run percentage during the 2022 season at 70.05 percent and 65.4 percent respectively. This was nothing new as both teams rarely eclipse a 40 percent pass rate. In fact, each team has done it just once over the last five years, Wisconsin at 42.43 percent in 2020 and Minnesota at 40.91 percent in 2018. With stable coaching staffs and stubborn philosophies, their lead backs are not being drafted high enough and there's really no reason to chase the passing game with either of these squads.

CFF Players to Consider
RB Braelon Allen (ADP ~ Mid to Late 1st Round)
RB Mohamed Ibrahim (ADP ~ 8-10 Rounds)
RB Trey Potts OR Bryce Williams (ADP ~ Sleeper Potential)

1.) Deconstructing CFF's Perfect Offense Known as Ohio State

Ohio State's offensive efficiency over the last five years with Ryan Day speaks for itself and it's no surprise they were the number one offense in football in 2021. In fact, it wasn't really that close with Coastal Carolina (7.7), Western Kentucky (7.1), Georgia (7.0) and Virginia/Oklahoma (6.9) rounding out the top five in Offensive YPP.

   20212020201920182017
Ohio St Rank1871210
  Off YPP87.296.946.726.88

What I'm interested in is either targeting the passing or running game as we all know that the studs for the Buckeyes will fly off the CFF Draft Boards. Here's the trend for the Buckeyes and their pass-percentage over the last five years.

The 2021 season ended up being a huge correction from the 2019 and 2020 seasons where the Buckeyes tended to run the ball more than they threw it. C.J. Stroud was able to get comfortable early and understandably so with Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba. I'm predicting it to go the other way this season which means that TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams are much better values in my opinion.

CFF Players to Consider
WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba (ADP ~ Early 1st Round)
QB C.J. Stroud (ADP ~ Early 1st Round)
RB TreVeyon Henderson (ADP ~ Early to Mid 1st Round)
WR Marvin Harrison (ADP ~ Rounds 2-3)
WR Emeka Egbuka (ADP ~ Rounds 10-12)
RB Miyan Williams (ADP ~ Sleeper Potential)
WR Julian Fleming (ADP ~ Sleeper Potential)
 

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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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