It’s that time of year when fantasy football gets as much attention as real football.

Even though college fantasy football isn’t the juggernaut that NFL fantasy football is, it’s still an interesting discussion. Fantasy football is all about numbers. It isn’t predicting who will win all-conference accolades.

Guys can be on losing teams and still be valuable fantasy assets. In fact, the two teams that played in last year’s B1G Championship don’t have a single player represented on this list.

Here are the guys who did make the ideal B1G fantasy football team for 2016:

QB: J.T. Barrett, Ohio State

My reasoning — Remember when Barrett set the B1G record for touchdowns? Yeah, that was only two years ago. That was also the last time he was the bonafide starter. I don’t think Barrett gets all the way back to that level because of the young pieces around him. There’s actually a decent chance that Barrett finishes outside of the top three in the B1G in passing yards and passing TDs. But because of the rushing production, he gets the nod at QB1.

RB: Saquon Barkley, Penn State

My reasoning — I mean, where do you want to start? How about the fact that Barkley played in less than nine games behind a sub-par offensive line and still rushed for over 1,000 yards as a true freshman. People forget that Barkley wasn’t the bell cow until the Ohio State game. Joe Moorhead’s offense will revolve around Barkley, which will mean he’ll crush the 182 carries he got last year. He also figures to crush the 20 catches he had in 2015. That’s going to yield a monster sophomore season.

RB: Justin Jackson, Northwestern

My reasoning — Yes, Jackson lacked touchdowns in 2015. That, to me, was a combination of two things. He’s not a big-play back and when the Wildcats were in the red-zone, teams could bring safeties up to help in the run game because Jackson was the obvious choice to get the ball. As Clayton Thorson improves as a passer, Jackson will benefit in the red zone. In a year where one-back systems are rare in the B1G, I’m counting on the guy who got 333 touches last year alone.


WR: Simmie Cobbs, Indiana

My reasoning — The 6-4, 220-pound wideout finished third in the B1G in receiving in his first year getting regular snaps. He could’ve had an even bigger year if not for his 8.2 percent drop rate. Cobbs has a new quarterback — I’m assuming it’s Richard Lagow — but he still has the same offensive guru running the show. Ricky Jones will also help take some pressure off him and allow Cobbs to again break the 1,000-yard mark and finish as one of the league’s most productive receivers.

WR: Chris Godwin, Penn State

My reasoning — Despite all the struggles PSU had in the passing game last year, Godwin still managed to finish with 1,101 yards, which is more than any returning receiver in the B1G. He isn’t the biggest or fastest, but he finds ways to get open. That should fit him well in Moorhead’s offense. I expect Trace McSorley to be named the starter and rely heavily on Godwin. Barkley is the star of the show, but the Lions will target Godwin often. I expect him to build on the 100-plus yards he averaged per game in the second half of 2015.

WR: Amara Darboh, Michigan

My reasoning — This spot nearly went to Jordan Westerkamp, but here’s why it didn’t. We know Westerkamp and Darboh can both make freakish catches and that both are proven seniors. Darboh gets the nod because Westerkamp has so much returning talent around him, and Nebraska isn’t likely to throw as much as it did in 2015. Jim Harbaugh has been nothing but complimentary of Darboh’s offseason development. He even admitted that Darboh passed the banged-up Jehu Chesson as the team’s No. 1 receiver. Darboh will be the most targeted option — and most talented — for whoever gets the start at quarterback.

TE: Jake Butt, Michigan

My reasoning — In fantasy, I don’t like it when players are touchdown-dependent for their production. Meaning, they don’t gain many yards and all of their fantasy points come from touchdowns. You can’t predict touchdowns. Tight ends are often guilty of that. Butt is not. Last year, Butt had 51 catches. No B1G returning tight end had more than 33. Unlike most B1G tight ends, the preseason All-American is a major factor in the passing game. The guy who seemingly catches everything could be in store for another uptick in production in 2016.


Flex: Janarion Grant, Rutgers

My reasoning — I could’ve easily gone with Corey Clement or Devine Redding here. Both could have monster seasons as the full-time feature backs. I went a little off the board with Grant because I think he’s going to get A TON of work. Drew Mehringer’s new no-huddle, up-tempo attack is perfect for a speedster like Grant. In the spring game alone, Grant had 11 catches for 140 yards. He’s going to be the go-to receiver for an offense that could find itself trailing often. Don’t forget that he’s still returning punts and kicks, which he did as well as anyone in the country last year. Don’t be shocked if Grant ends the season with 1,300 yards from scrimmage and double-digit touchdowns.

K: Griffin Oakes, Indiana

My reasoning — Fantasy kickers are all about volume, which Oakes will get plenty of. The All-B1G kicker made more field goals, attempted more field goals and had a higher success rate than anyone in the conference last year. IU’s offense will once again find itself in scoring territory frequently, making Oakes the safest bet to produce.

DEF: Michigan

My reasoning — For as dominant as the Wolverines were on defense for most of 2015, they actually only scored one defensive touchdown and they recovered just two fumbles. They were also tied for 10th in the B1G in interceptions. But yards and points allowed are a better indicator of overall performance. Michigan was fourth in the country in yards allowed and sixth in scoring. Wisconsin finished better in both categories, but they don’t have All-Americans across the board like Michigan. And the Badgers lost their up-and-coming defensive coordinator while the Wolverines inherited one of the nation’s best. Don Brown will bring some Dave Aranda-like pressure and increase Michigan’s turnover rate in the process. All signs point to the Wolverines putting the clamps on and becoming one of the top defenses in the country.