Heisman Watch: A daily fantasy-focused look at the best 2015 college football QBs


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The college game is changing the way NFL teams prepare for the future.

With high-volume, high-energy offenses supplanting "pro-style" offenses around the country, the idea of "pro-style" has completely lost meaning because NFL teams are continually adding spread and Air Raid concepts to playbooks and play-calling styles. This means quarterbacks coming into the NFL in the coming years may not have the intense learning curve once accepted as a necessity.

This matches the general NFL theme of relying more and more on rookies and young players at important positions. The salary cap and rookie salary structure rules make it very advantageous to have a long-term option at quarterback on his rookie contract because it frees up so much money for other positions—the Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts are great examples of this.

With a look ahead at NFL and one-week fantasy football potential, here are some signal-callers could dominate the Heisman discussion this season. In the weeks ahead, we'll take a look at other positions, but passers have won the last five Heismans and eight of the last 10, so it's a good bet one of these guys will end up with the hardware.

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5) Cody Kessler, USC Trojans

While there are plenty small-school quarterbacks who could surpass Kessler in bare statistics next season and do so for successful mid-major programs, I would vault the Trojan signal-caller toward the top of the list if he meets expectations this year, while helping them qualify for any sort of major bowl. Kessler is a dangerous weapon in Steve Sarkesian's offense, and even though he's lost a load of surrounding talent to the 2015 NFL Draft, he should have more than enough help to win 10-plus games and challenge for a Pac-12 title.

Looking ahead at NFL and DFS potential: Kessler lacks ideal NFL size at 6'1″ and his arm strength is similarly limited. Yet, he's been successful in an extremely pro-style scheme at a big-time program, which will appeal to plenty of NFL decision makers. He has some Alex Smith and Matt Schaub to his game, and has been criticized for not taking more chances downfield. Barring a drastically different 2015 season, it's likely he tops out as a fringe starter who can put up big fantasy numbers only against good matchups and with plenty of talent around him.

4) Connor Cook, Michigan State Spartans

Cook's 2014 season was disappointing, as many in NFL circles expected him to not only declare for the draft, but end the season as one of the top three quarterback prospects. Yet, a myriad of mistakes and uninspiring decision-making led him to fall down boards and stay in East Lansing for another season. Heading into 2015, Cook has lost a bunch of talent around him, but could end up shining brighter if he manages to put this team on his back and challenge Ohio State for the Big Ten title.

Looking ahead at NFL and DFS potential: Many of Cook's issues are mechanical and correctable. He's been working with famed QB guru George Whitfield and could end up reascending to expected heights. He's got the size and the arm to eventually perform better in pre-draft work than on-the-field exploits anyway, so he's likely a first-round candidate regardless. If he lands in the right situation, he could be a high-risk/high-reward fantasy football play down the road. NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah has compared Cook to Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer, and he's got that kind of upside.

3) Dak Prescott, Mississippi State Bulldogs

Prescott might be the wildcard of the entire 2015 college football season.

For much of last year, Prescott and the Bulldogs were one of the most exciting teams in the entire nation, as the dual-threat passer bewildered and crushed opponents both on the ground and through the air. Under head coach Dan Mullen, I expect Prescott and the Mississippi State offense to take another huge step forward this season. The sky is the limit when it comes to Prescott's ability is matched with Mullen's creativity.

Looking ahead at NFL and DFS potential: The comparisons to Philadelphia Eagles QB and former Mullen prodigy Tim Tebow need to stop. Though the two have similar physical builds and natural ability sets, Prescott has developed infinitely more as a passer than Tebow ever had at the college level. His decision-making and perimeter throws are light years ahead of Tebow, and could be the difference between being a successful college quarterback (though, honestly, he won't match Tebow in that regard) and being a great NFL passer.

2) The Ohio State Quarterback

Braxton Miller, Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett could all be starting for major college programs this season. In fact, they would've all been pretty highly regarded in the 2015 NFL Draft had they been available. Yet, they'll all be back for what should be one of the all-time great college QB competitions at Ohio State for a team that is probably headed toward another National Championship Game regardless of who starts (not only because of their talent, but because of running back Ezekiel Elliot).

Looking ahead at NFL and DFS potential: Jones has the best NFL potential of the bunch right now, but had so little tape available in 2014 it would've been difficult for an NFL team to actually do any sort of due diligence on him. If he improves on that this season, he could draw some serious Cam Newton or even Ben Roethlisberger comparisons en route to NFL stardom. As for Miller and Barrett, Miller is likely headed for a position switch if he really wants to make a splash on Sundays, and Barrett just needs more time, but could end up being a great volume passer in the NFL.

Is Braxton Miller Done Playing Quarterback?

1) Trevone Boykin, TCU Horned Frogs

Head coach Gary Patterson, Boykin and Co. are returning as much of their talent in 2015 as anyone, and that could mean absolutely terrible things for the rest of the Big 12. This was a 12-win team with an explosive Air Raid offense, and they have the profile to run the table this year and vault Boykin into a fantastic Heisman campaign with No. 1 QB potential in the 2015 draft.

Looking ahead at NFL and DFS potential: The college-style offense will work against Boykin in the eyes of NFL decision makers, but his physical talent is through the roof. If he manages to land with a team willing to build around his skill set, he could make a huge splash with huge fantasy impact. Realistically, he might need some time to acclimate to the NFL, but could be an incredibly accurate passer in the right system.

Also Considered: Christian Hackenberg (Penn State), Kevin Hogan (Stanford), Deshaun Watson (Clemson), Anu Solomon (Arizona), Jared Goff (California), Malik Zaire (Notre Dame)

Turn your fantasy football knowledge into cash! We're hosting a one-week $1 million league on FanDuel in Week 1. It's only $5 to enter and first place walks away with $100,000. Enter now and change your lineup anytime until 9/13 at 1:00pm (ET). Here's the link.

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