Conference Preview: AAC

Conference Preview: AAC

This article is part of our Conference Preview series.

The American is pressing forward with its season, meaning that several of the top players in the fantasy landscape are still in play. Offenses like Memphis, SMU, UCF, and East Carolina are all top notch systems to target, and there are plenty of other quality options within the conference. Look for the AAC to play one of the most exciting brands of football in the nation this fall. 

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-AAC Fantasy Team (2020 Ranking)

First Team

QB: Holton Ahlers, East Carolina (2)

RB: Kenny Gainwell, Memphis (2)

RB: TJ McDaniel, SMU (28)

WR: Reggie Roberson, SMU (1)

WR: Marlon Williams, UCF (9)

TE: Kylen Granson, SMU (2)

Second Team

QB: Shane Buechele, SMU (8)

RB: Re'Mahn Davis, Temple (33)

RB: Otis Anderson, UCF (23)

WR: Damonte Coxie, Memphis (10)

WR: C.J. Johnson, East Carolina (15)

TE: Leonard Taylor, Cincinnati (8)

Third Team

QB:  Dillon Gabriel, UCF (15)

RB: Gerrid Doaks, Cincinnati (41)

RB: Shamari Brooks, Tulsa (40)

WR: Marquez Stevenson, Houston (17)

WR: Rashee Rice, SMU (44)

TE: Christian Trahan, Houston (13)

Sleepers

QB: Clayton Tune, Houston

Last season was a season of transition in Houston as Dana Holgerson took over the program, but the excitement around the Cougars faded fast when D'Eriq King decided after four games to shut his season down to preserve a year of eligibility. That thrusted Tune into the starting role, who didn't appear ready in two rough outings after becoming the starter in Weeks 5 and 7. But he settled into the role as the season went on, ending the year on a high note with 393 yards and four touchdowns in the finale against Navy. Look for him to build on that strong showing now that he's firmly established as the man under center.

RB: Johnny Ford, South Florida

Ford fell into hot water with the coaching staff last season, resulting in an eight game streak where he didn't see the field after violating team rules. But prior to that absence, the running back recorded 13 catches on 22 targets in three games for 2 touchdowns and 149 yards. He came back for the regular season finale to lead the team with 58 yards on 11 carries against UCF, and now finds himself in an open situation after last year's starter Jordan Cronkrite graduated.

RB: Jerome Ford, Cincinnati

The one-time four star recruit in high school originally signed with Alabama, but he now finds himself in a Bearcats' uniform after transferring in the off season and receiving immediate eligibility from the NCAA to play in 2020. The Cincinnati offense has arguably one of the toughest tasks in the conference this year to replace Michael Warren. It looks like Gerrid Doaks will have the first shot at taking over the mantle, but Ford will be waiting in the wings for when an opportunity arises.

WR: Rashee Rice, SMU

It's no secret that SMU runs one of the most high-flying, electric passing attacks in the country, and that only means good news for the guys running the routes. Now they're tasked with replacing the conference's top fantasy wide receiver last year after James Proche graduated, and it'll be Rice's job to step into that role. Reggie Roberson, now the team's top receiver, recorded 64 targets in eight games as the second option, so the opportunities should be there for Rice for some solid outings.

WR: Jadan Blue, Temple

Blue is coming off of arguably the best season the Owls' have ever seen from a wide receiver, ending the year as the school's first ever 1,000 yard receiver in a single season as only a sophomore. Every major facet of Temple's passing attack is back, including quarterback Anthony Russo and Blue's counterpart Brandon Mack on the other side of the offense. Now with another year of playing time together, Blue has a chance to build on what has already been a historically good career in Philadelphia.

Busts

QB: Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

Ridder is building on what has been a pretty solid career with the Bearcats in his first two years, but he'll have an uphill battle this year as the team losses three of their top offensive weapons with the departures of Warren, wide receiver Reshad Medaris, and tight end Josiah Deguara. Top receiver Alec Pierce does return, but he's the only pass-catcher on the roster who topped 250 receiving yards in 2019. Ridder's legs will offer some fantasy value on the ground, but he'll need some weapons to step up to have a great year.

RB: Kyle Porter, Houston

Porter had one of the most impressive outings of conference play last season when he rushed for 107 yards on 16 carries in Week 7 against a tough Cincinnati defense, but he failed to build on that showing for the rest of the year. Although Porter enters the fall as the team's top back, Mulbah Car has challenged him when healthy and was last seen with back-to-back 130 yards games in Weeks 8 and 9 before sitting the rest of the year to preserve his redshirt. With that restriction no longer on his shoulders, Car should dig heavily into Porter's role.

RB: Amare Jones, Tulane

Normally any starting running back would carry some value in fantasy leagues, and Jones does fit that bill atop the depth chart, but the ceiling for the junior appears to be limited in 2020. The entire passing attack for the Green Wave resembles a giant question mark this year as the offense is looking to replace quarterback Justin McMillan and leading receivers Darnell Mooney and Jalen McCleskey. That actually leaves Jone as the team's top returning receiver, but with no other weapons for defenses to focus on, many game plans will revolve around limiting the running back both on the ground and in the air.

WR: Randall St. Felix, South Florida

St. Felix came in with big expectations for 2019 after recording 679 receiving yards as a freshman in 2018, but he struggled all season and ended the year with only 261 yards. Although that was still good enough for second on the team, the passing attack as a whole was down as the team suffered from poor quarterback play between Blake Barnett and Jordan McCloud. Although McCloud will come into the year with another year of experience with Barnett graduated, St. Felix will likely have a season resembling his 2019 statline more than the 2018 one.

WR: Tyler Snead, East Carolina

With UConn now gone from the AAC, East Carolina takes title of basement-dweller of the conference, meaning they'll be playing catchup in most of their games. As a result, the passing attack can be one to target, but Snead finds himself looking up on the depth chart. Both him and C.J. Johnson put up respectable numbers at a glance in 2019, but each are aided by insane 240-yard performances late in the season. Now that Johnson has acclimated to the college game with a year of experience, Snead finds himself as the second option in the passing attack.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erik Helm
Working as a writer for college football and basketball since he started in 2016, Erik considers himself a champion of the little guy and the mid-majors. While yet to win any writing awards, he was the proud recipient of the Best Benchwarmer Award on his high school volleyball team.
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