Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Las Vegas Classic Teams Announced

The 2011 Las Vegas Classic lineup has finally been announced, and WVU should have an excellent opportunity to make some noise. The Mountaineers will be joined by Missouri State, Baylor, and Saint Mary's as the top programs for the tournament. Each team will be play two games against lesser opponents before heading to Sin City for the Semi's. WVU is yet to hear who their first two opponents will be from a group that includes Kennesaw State, Tennessee State, Bethune-Cookman, and Texas A+M Corpus Christi.

The young Mountaineer team will be facing some more veteran-laden teams when the tournament shifts to Vegas. Baylor returns most of their key players, and is expected to be ranked fairly high to start the season. Missouri State is always tough in the MVC, and return most of their key players as well. And Saint Mary's lost only one starter from a team that was very competitive in the WCC.

This should be a good test for Bobby Huggins, who will have a handful of games with the youngsters before this tournament kicks off. The Mountaineers will certainly be relying on Kevin Jones and Truck Bryant, especially early on. Kevin Noreen missed most of last season with an injury, and Deniz Kilicli battled inconsistency. That's it for returners. Jabarie Hinds, Keaten Miles, and the rest of the 654 new Mountaineers will be asked to step up early and often.

This will be a very fun team to watch. Huggins continues to build towards his ideal team, full of superior athletes, and straight-up hustlers. However, a lot rides on this giant recruiting class to work out, considering there isn't much to show from the last two recruiting seasons.

Big East WR Fantasy Rankings

As we get closer to the fantasy season, it's time to take a look at the wideouts in the conference. This is always the toughest to rate, considering there's probably four or five guys that nobody has ever heard of that will have good years. Here's a look at the guys we have at least heard of.

Zeus Level:

Tavon Austin (West Virginia): The 2010 break-out start should put up monster numbers. Austin is the top returning WR for Geno Smith, in a new pass-happy system. Look for huge numbers and double-digit touchdowns in 2011.
Pros: Speed, Hands, QB
Cons: Size, Route Running
2010 Stats: 58 Rec, 946 Total Yards, 9 Total TDs

D.J.Woods (Cincinnati): A very productive WR for the Bearcats, and can also boost a special teams' unit. Look for double-digit TDs this season, especially with his QB improving in the Cincy System. Woods' biggest downfall? Fumbles. He could be a top-10 fantasy receiver if he holds onto the damn ball.
Pros: Speed, Versatility, QB
Cons: Hands, Fumble-Prone
2010 Stats: 57 Rec, 985 Total Yards, 10 Total TDs

Early Round Value:

Mohamed Sanu (Rutgers): His receiving numbers were pretty good last year, but Sanu capitalized in other ways. He ended up throwing for three scores, and had four more on the ground, as the Wildcat QB for the Knights. 2011 should bring more success for him on the outside, with being healthy and Chas Dodd getting more used to college football.
Pros: Versatility, Hands, Size
Cons: Durability, QB
2010 Stats: 44 Rec, 887 Total Yards, 9 Total TDs

Mark Harrison (Rutgers): Benefited from Sanu's injuries last season. Harrison ended up being a scoring machine for Rutgers in 2010, and will undoubtedly be right there again. Don't be surprised if you hear "Sanu to Harrison" a few times. There will be a lot of pressure on Dodd with all this receiving talent.
Pros: Size, Hands
Cons: QB, Route Running
2010 Stats: 44 Rec, 829 Total Yards, 9 TDs

Mike Shanahan (Pittsburgh): He will benefit from Jon Baldwin being gone. Shanahan has great size, great ability, and now just has to find the endzone. He put up great PPR numbers last season, but has to be more of a TD machine to improve his fantasy value. Of course, a lot of that falls on his QB.
Pros: Size, Hands, Ability
Cons: Explosiveness, QB
2010 Stats: 43 Rec, 589 Total Yards, 1 TD

Middle Round Value:

Van Chew (Syracuse): Who doesn't want a dude named Chew on his team? He ended up with pretty solid numbers in 2010. As Ryan Nassib gains more confidence, look for Chew to be the primary beneficiary.

Stedman Bailey (West Virginia): It's hard to gauge who will be the secondary target for Geno Smith this season. But, certainly Bailey will be in the mix. Geno's high school teammate proved he can be a big time playmaker with four TD's in his Freshman year.

Josh Bellamy (Louisville): There's a question about the Cardinals' QB right now(sharing the job is never good), but when it is figured out Bellamy will be there to clean up. Look for the speedy wideout's TD numbers to improve in 2011.

Evan Landi (USF): He'll probably slide in the draft due to his 2010 numbers, which were just okay. But, those numbers should be much better with BJ Daniels being more comfortable in Todd Fitch's offense.

Marcus Sales (Syracuse): Two consistent seasons has many believing Sales will truly break through in 2011. Could be good value later in the draft.

Possible Late Round Steal:

Brad Starks (West Virginia): He only had 19 receptions last season, but four went for TDs. He is one to watch in the Holgorsen offense.

Kashif Moore (UConn): With Michael Smith being out for 2011, The Huskies will primarily rely on Moore. He did lead the UConn WRs in TDs last year. Could be a late steal if UConn finds a suitable QB.

Andrell Smith (Louisville): Missed the whole Spring due to injury. If healthy, Smith could be a nice late pick, considering he has proved he can score.

Devin Street (Pittsburgh): He had a very respectable Freshman season, and looks to truly explode in 2011.

Anthony McClung (Cincinnati): Will benefit with so many leaving the program. McClung showed solid promise in 2010.

Alec Lemon (Syracuse): He may be behind a few receivers, but watch for his numbers to steadily improve. A great offseason has a lot of people buzzing about this kid.


A.J. Love and Sterling Griffin (USF): Both missed 2010 with injuries, and could be nice late round steals, especially if Daniels is going to bounce back in 2011.

Isiah Moore (UConn): Moore will be one of the go-to guys in Storrs this season. However, everything will rely on the new QB.