This article is part of our Conference Preview series.
Rotowire's Conference Preview series rolls on with a look at the PAC-12, a conference looking to rebuild its reputation after a pair of down seasons across the board. There is enough collective talent to make it happen between a loaded crop of quarterbacks and a handful of NFL-caliber running backs. There are also several true breakout candidates to make this a conference to target for fantasy purposes.
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-PAC-12 1st Team
QB: Gage Gubrud, Washington State (11)
RB: Eno Benjamin, Arizona State (5)
RB: Joshua Kelley, UCLA (6)
WR: Laviska Shenault, Colorado (5)
WR: Isaiah Hodgins, Oregon State (21)
TE: Colby Parkinson, Stanford (1)
All-PAC-12 2nd Team
QB: Khalil Tate, Arizona (15)
RB: Jermar Jefferson, Oregon State (12)
RB: Zack Moss, Utah (15)
WR: Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC (79)
WR: Michael Pittman Jr., USC (86)
TE: Hunter Bryant, Washington (9)
All-PAC-12 3rd Team
QB: Justin Herbert, Oregon (30)
RB: J.J. Taylor, Arizona (17)
RB: CJ Verdell, Oregon (38)
WR: Jordan Duncan, Cal (87)
WR: Tyler Vaughns, USC (94)
TE: Jacob Breeland, Stanford (11)
JT Daniels, QB, USC
Daniels had an up-and-down freshman campaign, struggling at times with turnovers while also throwing for at least 280 yards on five occasions. Things should slow down in his second year for the former five-star recruit, and he's got a bevy of talented receivers to throw to in high school teammate Amon-Ra St. Brown, Michael Pittman Jr., and Tyler Vaughns.
Max Borghi, RB, Washington State
Borghi was a touchdown machine as a freshman, with eight rushing touchdowns and four receiving touchdowns on the year. He should see even more opportunities in both rushing and passing game in year two following the departure of James Williams. Last season Williams lead the team in rushing and receptions on his way to 1,113 yards from scrimmage and 16 touchdowns. Borghi has proven he can be an effective option out of the backfield, and now he'll get the chance to show he can handle the increased role.
Salvon Ahmed, RB, Washington
The departure of all-time leading rusher Myles Gaskin opens the door for the junior to finally star in the Washington offense. While Ahmed hasn't been tasked with performing every down in college, he's been effective when deployed, averaging 6.4 yards per carry as a freshman and 5.8 as a sophomore. Washington may not be as run-oriented with Georgia transfer quarterback Jacob Eason leading the offense, but Ahmed should still have plenty of opportunities to shine in an offense that is still dedicated to running the ball.
Stanford came into last season with the expectation that it could continue to ride running back Bryce Love on offense, but Love struggled with injuries. His back ups were unspectacular, leading to quarterback K. J. Costello's breakout season. Costello is back, but three of his top four receiving options from last season are gone. Tight End Colby Parkinson will see his share of receptions, but Stanford will need to find other options on the field. Enter St. Brown and Wedington. Both have shown flashes, and with defenses focusing in on Parkinson in the passing game, it could leave them with room to work with in the secondary.
Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Herbert drew attention last season when rumors began to swirl that John Elway was scouting him. Herbert eventually decided to return to Oregon for his senior year, but the hype remains. Herbert has always had good ball security, and reached the 3,000 yard passing milestone for the first time last season. While Herbert isn't likely to regress, his numbers also aren't likely to take off. He threw for more than 300 yards just twice last season, and threw for more than 2 touchdowns in just one PAC-12 game last season.
Tyler Huntley, QB, Utah
Huntley was in the middle of a strong junior season, leading the Utes to a 6-2 record before breaking his collarbone against Arizona State. While he made strides in completion percentage and limited the turnovers, much of the Utes success was also due to a strong showing by their defense. Huntley's best game came in a 341-yard, 4 TD performance against USC, but he threw eight of his 12 passing touchdown in two games. Huntley is primed to regain his starting job this fall for his senior year, but Utah's style of play could limit his upside.
Jermar Jefferson, RB, Oregon State
Jefferson exploded onto the scene last season with his week 2 performance when he ran for 238 yards and four touchdowns. That also came against a FCS opponent. After scoring 12 touchdowns through the first half of last season, Jefferson failed to reach the end zone in the second half. Opposing defenses will be keying in on the sophomore whenever he's in the game, which means he'll need his team's offense to come through if he has any hopes of matching his production from last season.
CJ Verdell, RB, Oregon
Verdell is the other state of Oregon sophomore back who enters the season with a lot of hype, topping 1,300 yards from scrimmage and recording 12 touchdowns on the year. But after a hot start, Verdell struggled down the stretch, topping 100 yards just once in his final seven games. While Tony Brooks-James is gone, Verdell will still have fellow sophomore Travis Dye siphoning off carries. It's possible both backs will be productive, but it might be a situation where the offense decides to ride the hot hand on a game-by-game basis.
Isaiah Hodgins, WR, Oregon State
Hodgins is looking to follow up on a breakout season that saw him lead the Beavers in receptions and receiving yards. But while Hodgins put up eye-popping numbers at times, including a 200-yard day against Nevada early on and a 146 yard day against Colorado, he lacked consistency, finishing with fewer than 50 receiving yards in half his games last season. Hodgins will no doubt play a big part of the Beavers offense, but how much can the Oregon State offense be trusted?