Conference Preview: Sun Belt

Conference Preview: Sun Belt

This article is part of our Conference Preview series.

The Sun Belt got more attention than usual last season, in part because of how impressive Appalachian State was. Well, mostly because of how impressive the Mountaineers were. This is an unusual season for college football, to undersell it. In other years, Sun Belt teams would start the season usually playing power conference teams, perhaps serving as the proverbial cupcakes. Not this year. That makes it a lot easier to consider them for your fantasy teams and lineups. Let's see what the Sun Belt has in store for us.

ALL-SUN BELT FANTASY TEAM

FIRST TEAM

QB: Levi Lewis, Louisiana-Lafayette (29)

RB: CJ Marable, Coastal Carolina (7)

RB: Josh Johnson, Louisiana-Monroe (13)

WR: Jonathan Adams, Arkansas State (10)

WR: Peter LeBlanc, Louisiana-Lafayette (33)

TE: Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina (NR)

SECOND TEAM

QB: Zac Thomas, Appalachian State (22)

RB: Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana-Lafayette (16)

RB: Marcel Murray, Arkansas State (17)

WR: Kaylon Geiger, Troy (NR)

WR: Thomas Hennigan, Appalachian State (NR)

TE: Tyler Lamm, Louisiana-Monroe (NR)

THIRD TEAM

QB: Layne Hatcher, Arkansas State (30)

RB: Trey Ragas, Louisiana-Lafayette (22)

RB: Wesley Kennedy, Georgia Southern (NR)

WR: Cornelius McCoy, Georgia State (NR)

WR: Jamal Bell, Louisiana-Lafayette (NR)

TE: Roger Carter, Georgia State (NR)

SLEEPERS

QB: Gunnar Watson, Troy

Last season, Kaleb Barker for Troy was the clear top passer in the Sun Belt in terms of sheer quantity. Barker attempted 460 passes (70 more than any other quarterback in the conference) for 3,628 yards. No other signal caller in the Sun Belt even cross the 3,000-yard plateau. Well, Barker has graduated, and now Watson has been named his replacement as the starter. Watson may not end up being as good as Barker, but even if he's not this offense is lined up to give him a ton of opportunities, maybe more than any other quarterback gets.

RB: Wesley Kennedy, Georgia Southern

The Eagles are a team built around running the ball, as they still are running the triple option offense. Last season, Kennedy and his teammate J.D. King finished within 16 yards of each other in terms of yards. However, that's with King getting 65 more carries. I think there's a chance those carries could flip. Kennedy averaged 6.9 yards per tote to King's 4.4, and Kennedy also had 10 rushing touchdowns. Hey, having the top running back in an offense built entirely around its backs isn't a bad idea.

RB: Daetrich Harrington, Appalachian State

The Mountaineers were a Sun Belt team that ended up ranked because of tenacious defense and a potent offense. Zac Thomas is back, but top rusher Darrynton Evans has moved on. Evans had 236 carries for 1,323 yards. Where are those carries going to go? Right now, Harrington is on top of the App State depth chart, though he will be competing with Marcus Williams for touches. Somebody is probably going to come up big this season, especially against an easy schedule. Why not take a shot on Harrington.

WR: Cornelius McCoy, Georgia State

You don't think much about Georgia State's offense. It's OK. I don't blame you. That might meanyou might not know about McCoy, though. Among returning receivers, McCoy ranks fourth in receiving yards. He finished with 70 receptions for 757 yards. The only negative? Only five touchdowns. As the number-one option coming off a 70-catch season, there's potential to find the end zone more times in 2020.

WR: Roshauud Paul, Arkansas State

Arkansas State's passing game was so potent last season that three different players finished in the top five in receiving yards. That includes Omar Bayless, who led all of college football with 1,473 receiving yards during the regular season. He's graduated, and Kirk Merritt is also gone. That's a ton of targets available, and Arkansas State has plenty of talent at quarterback. Jonathan Adams is not a sleeper, though I am high on him, but Paul has a lot of upside potential.

BUSTS

RB: Trey Ragas, Louisiana-Lafayette

The Ragin' Cajuns have a two-headed attack at running back, but both guys are highly ranked and it may be hard for them to both live up to their billing. Of the two, I'm less high on Ragas. The script was flipped between him and Mitchell last season. In 2018, Ragas got 207 carries to Mitchell's 146. Last season, Mitchell had 198 carries to Ragas' 116. Ragas' value came from his 11 rushing scores, but it was his first time with double-digit rushing scores. If Mitchell's touches keep going up, Ragas' can pretty much only go down.

RB: DK Billingsley, Troy

Billingsley broke out last season in his first year getting any real touches for the Trojans. He rushed 155 times for 901 yards and 10 touchdowns. Although, two of those touchdowns did come against Campbell. My concern is less about Billingsley than about the offense as a whole. While I consider Watson a sleeper at quarterback, this offense is getting a new starter under center. It could look different. Theoretically, Watson could struggle. If that's the case, it could mean more attention for Billingsley, which could tamp down his numbers.

WR: Jamal Bell, Louisiana-Lafayette

There is upside potential in Bell, given that Ja'Marcus Bradley, who has graduated, was third in the conference in receiving yards. Bell is now the top of the depth chart, but that's a little speculative. He only had one touchdown all season, and there were a lot of games where he only had one reception. Bell will get more targets, but there's the potential for him to not be able to do as much with them as we hope. Plus, Bell had a procedure on his foot this offseason. Will he be at full speed when the season begins?

WR: Corey Sutton, Appalachian State

If not for an injury, Sutton would probably have been the top receiver for the Mountaineers last year, as opposed to Hennigan. Though he only played in nine games, Sutton still pulled down 41 catches for 607 yards and seven touchdowns. However, that injury he suffered was a torn ACL. There's reason for concern about him returning, especially since the team can rely on Hennigan to be a number-one receiver.

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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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