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AAC Preview: Red Flag WR

Mario Puig

Mario is a Senior Writer at RotoWire who primarily writes and projects for the NFL and college football sections.

We'll be posting the all-fantasy team of each conference, with the player's overall positional ranking noted parenthetically. A section for sleepers and busts will follow the all-fantasy first-, second- and third-teams.

All-AAC Fantasy Team

1st Team


QB: Greg Ward, Houston (6)
RB: Mike Boone, Cincinnati (13)
RB: Jahad Thomas, Temple (31)
WR: Joshua Atkinson, Tulsa (22)
WR: Courtland Sutton, SMU (28)
TE: Elkanah Dillon, South Florida (19)


2nd Team


QB: Quinton Flowers, South Florida (14)
RB: Marlon Mack, South Florida (33)
RB: Duke Catalon, Houston (45)
WR: Anthony Miller, Memphis (35)
WR: Tre'quan Smith, UCF (42)
TE: Jeremiah Gaines, SMU (23)


3rd Team


QB: Matt Davis, SMU (18)
RB: Arkeel Newsome, Connecticut (59)
RB: Doroland Dorceus, Memphis (52)
WR: Rodney Adams, South Florida (44)
WR: Justin Hobbs, Tulsa (46)
TE: Daniel Montiel, Memphis (27)

Sleepers

Riley Ferguson, QB, Memphis (20)


Ferguson is a former Tennessee transfer with good recruiting pedigree, and he's the favorite to start at quarterback in what should be a highly favorable Memphis scheme. Justin Fuente is gone, but the new scheme installed by new head coach and former Arizona State offensive coordinator Jay Norvell has many of the same uptempo concepts and quarterback running demands that made Memphis such a profitable spot for Paxton Lynch. In fact, Norvell's may be better Memphis was uptempo but run-heavy, whereas Norvell's Arizona State offense attempted around 40 passes per game last year. Memphis should score plenty of points this year, as they return plenty of skill position talent to plug into Norvell's scheme.

Doroland Dorceus, RB, Memphis (52)

The Memphis backfield has been a nightmare to approach for fantasy purposes during the Fuente years, but Doroland could be poised to take a true lead back role in 2016 due to the transfers of Jamarius Henderson and Jarvis Cooper. Not only that, but it appears RB/WR tweener Sam Craft will focus more on wide receiver going forward. Dorceus has breakout potential as a result of this greater opportunity, and he likely has the talent to capitalize. Despite losing 233 carries to Cooper, Henderson and Craft, Dorceus ran for 659 yards and eight touchdowns on 155 carries. The year prior he ran for 237 yards and four touchdowns on 46 carries (5.2) while injury limited him to four games. Darrell Henderson will take up some significant role in the Memphis backfield, but Dorceus should still push for 200 carries after Memphis' two running back transfers.

Sherman Badie and Dontrell Hilliard, RB, Tulane (79 and 80)

Remember the circus-like rushing attack at Georgia Southern? Well head coach Willie Fritz headed to Tulane this offseason, and now the Green Wave will try to make its own version of that option attack after Matt Breida, LA Ramsby and Wesley Fields combined for 3,106 yards and 37 touchdowns on 469 carries (6.6 YPC). Badie and Hilliard are about equal and it's therefore hard to guess which might take a lead in this backfield, but it's possible that both could produce in a relatively even split. Hilliard was certainly better last year, totaling 646 yards (5.6 YPC) and six touchdowns while Badie struggled his way to 310 yards (4.3 YPC) and two touchdowns, but the year prior Badie led the team with 688 yards (5.7 YPC) and three touchdowns while Hilliard finished with 452 yards (4.7 YPC) and three scores.

Nate Cole and Braxton Neal, WR, Cincinnati

With the broken foot injury suffered by Tshumbi Johnson, which is expected to keep him out through the first month, there should be a big opportunity for Cole and Neal as Cincinnati attempts to replace an absurd amount of graduated wideout talent. Chris Moore, Shaq Washington, Max Morrison, Mekale McKay, Alex Chisum and Johnny Holton are all gone after the six combined for 264 receptions for 3,912 yards and 24 touchdowns. There are no typos in there. Even if Cole and Neal aren't particularly good, they should be able to put up significant by-default production, especially while Johnson is out.

Ventell Bryant, WR, Temple (51)

Robby Anderson was Temple's lead wideout last year, but Bryant actually averaged more yards per target, besting Anderson's 7.7 with a 8.3 mark. Bryant finished the year with 39 catches in 14 games for 579 yards and three touchdowns. That he did that as a redshirt freshman is impressive, and it implies room more fast growth in 2016 now that Anderson is off to the NFL after catching 70 passes for 939 yards and seven touchdowns last year. Temple is short on returning pass catchers, so Bryant's target volume could drastically increase.

Busts

Gunner Kiel, QB, Cincinnati


Kiel has the talent, if not the temperament and durability, to produce as a quarterback in both college and the NFL. The problem is that the temperament and durability really might be lacking. Kiel has had an exceedingly bizarre trajectory to his career with the two transfers, the 2015 bowl season disappearance from Cincinnati, recurring injuries and depth chart oscillations. Coach Tommy Tuberville attributed it to injury, but Kiel entered the fall third on the depth chart behind Hayden Moore and Ross Trail. My guess is that Kiel ascends to starting status before Week 1, but between injury or meltdown I suspect he'll lose that starting job for at least a few games, and he'll be liable to inexplicably disappoint in any given game he does play. It's also possible that Kiel will definitively turn the corner this year and become reliable I just don't see how it's likely.

Keevan Lucas, WR, Tulsa

Let me be clear: Lucas is on this list only due to the patellar tendon tear he suffered last year. Lucas was my No. 1 wideout going into last year and I'm sincerely saddened by his injury it's a criminal turn of misfortune but I can't convince myself he'll ever be the player he used to be. It's the same injury suffered by Victor Cruz, Germane Crowell and Ryan Williams, as well as Jimmy Graham in a more ambiguous recent example. I would like nothing more than to be entirely wrong about this, but I don't foresee much more for Lucas than mediocre production and recurring leg injuries going forward. He's not really on my draft board at this point.

Chance Allen, WR, Houston

Allen is a good player and will likely be a good fantasy asset this year, but beware of the price tag. I noticed some folks expected Allen to replace Demarcus Ayers' production in the offense, but the two have vastly different skill sets, and there are at least two other ascending Houston wideouts who figure to stake a claim on the targets previously demanded by Ayers. One is Ra'Shaad Samples, an Oklahoma State transfer, and Isaiah Johnson, who torched the Houston spring game for 189 yards and three touchdowns. The Cougars also bring in four standout freshmen recruits, and Baylor transfer Chris Johnson at tight end. I think Allen might post last year's 14-game number of 56 catches, 752 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games, but I don't expect much more improvement than that.