Conference Preview: Sun Belt
Conference Preview: Sun Belt

This article is part of our Conference Preview series.

For each conference preview, we will have first-,second-, and third-team All-Fantasy teams as well as sleeper and bust selections. To the right of each player's name will be their overall positional ranking.

All-Sun Belt Fantasy Team


First Team


QB: Justice Hansen, Arkansas State
RB: Jalin Moore, Appalachian State
RB: Trey Ragas, Louisiana-Lafayette
WR: Marcus Green, Louisiana-Monroe
WR: Justin McInnis, Arkansas State
TE: Gabe Schrade, Texas State

Second Team


QB: Caleb Evans, Louisiana-Monroe
RB: Wesley Fields, Georgia Southern
RB: Warren Wand, Arkansas State
WR: Malcolm Williams, Coastal Carolina
WR: Jamarius Way, South Alabama
TE: Ari Werts, Georgia State

Third Team


QB: Zac Thomas, Appalachian State
RB: Derrick Gore, Louisiana-Monroe
RB: LA Ramsby, Georgia Southern
WR: Elijah King, Texas State
WR: R.J. Turner, Louisiana-Monroe
TE: Ellis Richardson, Georgia Southern

Sleepers


Kaleb Barker, QB, Troy
Brandon Silvers has been the man under center for the Trojans for a while. Now, he has moved on, but head coach Neal Brown remains. He knows how to put together an offense, and now Barker is primed to be the new starter. We don't know a ton about him yet, as the junior has only attempted 17 passes. However, he finds himself in a better spot than any other new starter in the Sun Belt.
Wesley Fields, RB, Georgia Southern
In truth, most players in the Sun Belt are sleepers, given how overlooked the conference is. After all, only one running back from this conference made our rankings. Fields is the lead running back in Georgia Southern's run-focused offense. Last year, he had 811 rushing yards and five scores on 173 carries, and we know, if nothing else, he's going to get the ball plenty. A few big runs and he could be in for a fine fantasy year.
Derrick Gore, RB, Louisiana-Monroe
In his first year as the lead running back for the Warhawks, Gore rushed for 585 yards and six touchdowns. There is nobody likely to challenge him for the job this year, his senior season. Louisiana-Monroe is stuck playing two SEC teams on their schedule, Texas A&M and Ole Miss, but outside of that it is a pretty easy schedule. The ceiling here isn't super high, but the floor is also not terribly low.
Thomas Hennigan, WR, Appalachian State
As a freshman, Hennigan managed 45 catches for 585 yards and seven scores. That includes four touchdowns in the regular-season finale against Louisiana-Lafayette, which is both fluky and impressive. Hennigan is the top returning receiver for the Mountaineers, and with a year of experience under his belt he should be even better in 2018.
Deondre Douglas, WR, Troy
Douglas' numbers declined in 2017 from his 2016 performance (60 catches for 740 yards and six scores). However, his 48 receptions for 628 yards and four scores were still solid, especially since he missed a game. Though Troy is breaking in a new quarterback, the offensive scheme is the same, and Douglas can help shoulder the load for the new signal caller as a senior with a lot of experience.

Busts


Shai Werts, QB, Georgia Southern
Werts is the quarterback in a run-based offense, which means he has to do his damage with his legs. Case in point, though he was the starting quarterback for the Eagles he only attempted 152 passes. The sophomore only had seven touchdowns to five picks as well. On the ground, he led the team in carries with 207, but only had three rushing scores. With so many quarterbacks airing the ball out, there are better options out there, and they run less risk of getting injured rushing the ball as well.
B.J. Smith, RB, Troy
Thanks to graduations, Smith finds himself atop the depth chart for the Trojans. There are a lot of carries available now, but will Smith be able to do much with them? The junior only carried the ball 27 times last year, but he averaged a mere 3.2 yards per carry. There are too many questions about Smith, and if he was a promising player he probably would have gotten more carries by this point.
Tra Minter, RB, South Alabama
Minter led the Jaguars in touches as a freshman with 107. However, he only managed 341 yards and a touchdown on those carries. That gave him a 3.2 yards per carry average. In four of his last five games he was held to single-digit yards, which doesn't bode well for the new season.
Malcolm Williams, WR, Coastal Carolina
Many players in the Sun Belt don't really have any expectations, so they can't really be busts. There are some expectations for Williams, enough to get him on the second team, but there are also reasons for concern. He has 43 catches for 793 yards and seven touchdowns, big numbers for that amount of receptions. Plus, nine of those catches and 266 of those yards came in one game against Louisiana-Monroe. That game was with Tyler Keene under center, and he's gone now. Likely starter Kilton Anderson only completed 45 percent of his passes last year.
Glenn Smith, WR, Georgia State The top receiver in the Sun Belt last season was Georgia State's Penny Hart. He's gone, leaving his 74 catches up for grabs this year. Smith is in line to be the top receiver for the Panthers in 2018, but the former running back isn't the same player. He only caught 47 passes for 377 yards and a touchdown last season, and the position is still relatively new to him.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Morgan
Chris Morgan is a writer of sports, pop culture, and humor articles, a book author, a podcaster, and a fan of all Detroit sports teams.
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