It seems as long as Chip Kelly is going to be around, Oregon is going to be a fantasy factory for players select from. 2011 was no different as both QB Darron Thomas and RB LaMichael James put up big-time numbers. They also got some surprise help from some players who were made the most of
their limited opportunities on the field. Let’s take a peek at what transpired for the Rose Bowl champion Oregon Ducks during their 12-2 season.
Biggest Surprise- De’Anthony Thomas, Freshman Wide Receiver
If there was a picture next to the word versatile in the dictionary, Thomas would be in that photo. The stud freshman finished third on the team in rushing, and actually led all receivers in yards in just his first season with the Ducks. Thomas also finished with 16 total touchdowns — a number that should grow in the upcoming seasons. The only issue going forward as far as fantasy goes is if he will stay as an all-around weapon or stay at one specific position. If he becomes a running back full-time, his production could grow exponentially.
Biggest Disappointment- Josh Huff, Sophomore Wide Receiver
Huff did suffer a lower leg injury towards the beginning of the season that caused him to miss a few games, but a lot more was expected of what could be one of the most dangerous weapons on the offense. While he did improve his receiving numbers, it was only a slight increase (31 rec, 430 yards). Huff also did not get a single carry in 2011, after being utilized a great deal in that fashion in 2010 when he would be brought around a fly sweeps and reverses on multiple occasions. Hopefully Huff can stay healthy for a full season next year, because he is oozing with potential because of that speed he can bring to this fast-paced offense.
Most knew there would be a very slight drop off running the football in 2012 with the departure of LaMichael James. What we didn’t expect was the questionable decision of Darron Thomas to enter the NFL Draft. Ducks’ fans got a small glimpse of what to expect when Thomas missed time this year because of injury. Bryan Bennett should step right in and continue where he left off in 2011 when he threw for six touchdowns and zero interceptions in the six games that he appeared in last season. Some even think he could be better than Thomas which could signal another explosive season for the Chip Kelly-lead offense. Many of the other pieces will return as well and gives Bennett a wide array of options to get the ball to, including Kenjon Barner who decided to come back for his senior season.
(photo credit, Alan K. Fox)