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Sun Belt Preview: Abundant runners

Mario Puig

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

All-Sun Belt Fantasy Team

1st Team

QB: Taylor Lamb, Appalachian State (22)
RB: Elijah McGuire, Louisiana-Lafayette (5)
RB: Matt Breida, Georgia Southern (17)
WR: Penny Hart, Georgia State (31)
WR: Tyrian Taylor, New Mexico State (65)
TE: Gerald Everett, South Alabama (3)

2nd Team

QB: Tyler Rogers, New Mexico State (36)
RB: Marcus Cox, Appalachian State (27)
RB: Larry Rose III, New Mexico State (32)
WR: Callen Hightower, Idaho (68)
WR: Dijon Paschal, Arkansas State (69)
TE: Deon Watson, Idaho (6)

3rd Team

QB: Matt Linehan, Idaho (51)
RB: Warren Wand, Arkansas State (62)
RB: Xavier Johnson, South Alabama (76)
WR: Shaedon Meadors, Appalachian State (75)
WR: Robert Davis, Georgia State (76)
TE: Buck Cowan, Idaho (10)


Justice Hansen and Chad Voytik, QB, Arkansas State

One of these two former BCS transfers needs to decisively lay claim to the starting quarterback role in order for the sleeper status of either to reach realization, and unfortunately that won't be the case as Arkansas State takes on Toledo in Week 1. Coach Blake Anderson said both quarterbacks would play against the Rockets, as evidently Hansen (Oklahoma) and Voytik (Pittsburgh) remained close during the fall competition. If one should emerge as the starter, though, their fantasy value would be significant. Arkansas State runs a high-tempo offense with dual-threat opportunities at the quarterback position, and both players have the pedigree to stand out in the Sun Belt despite their struggles at the BCS levels.

Anthony Jennings, QB, Louisiana-Lafayette

Arriving as a graduate transfer from LSU, Jennings had a disadvantage in the Lafayette quarterback competition when it came to practice time and scheme familiarity, but his talent advantage quickly won out, and he was named Lafayette's starting quarterback mid-August. Although he was usurped by Brandon Harris at LSU, Jennings' pedigree is strong for the Sun Belt level due to the mere fact that he once was a starter for the Tigers. His sub-50 percent completion percentage from his last starting stint of course implies limited upside as a passer, but his athleticism should stand out at the Sun Belt level, allowing him to establish himself as a standout rushing threat.

Jordan Chunn, RB, Troy

Chunn missed nearly all of 2015 with a broken collarbone, and missed time in the spring with a hamstring injury, but he's reportedly healthy heading into the fall and is poised to take over as Troy's starting running back as a result. The bruising big back ran for 14 touchdowns in 2013 and six more while splitting the workload in 2014 with Brandon Burks and Khary Franklin. Both Burks and Franklin are no longer around, the Troy backfield has no other obvious candidates to step up into a prominent running back role. A career year could be in store for Chunn as long as he stays healthy.

Johnston White, RB, Arkansas State

While Wand might be the favorite to emerge as Arkansas State's top fantasy back in 2016, this uptempo offense leaves plenty of room for a second running back (or in 2015's case, second and third) to make a fantasy impact behind the leader. Indeed, although he had fewer carries than Wand last year (117 to 99), White was arguably the better overall runner. Despite serving as the team's goal-line specialist (14 touchdowns on 99 carries), White averaged 6.2 yards per carry, outpacing Wand's 6.0 in the process. There's a good chance that both Wand and White will possess significant fantasy value this year.

Tyler Tutt, RB, Texas State

Tyler Siudzinski is the top returning runner for Texas State, but Tutt likely is the most talented runner on the roster. For a team that can't spare any competitive advantage, the idea of playing Siudzinski over Tutt for long just doesn't seem viable. Expect Tutt to roughly split the workload with Siudzinski out of the gates, with Tutt eventually taking over as the lead runner by the second half of the season. Although he's unproven at the FBS level, Tutt is a surprisingly good recruit for Texas State, as he reportedly chose Texas State over schools like Boise State, Iowa, Wisconsin and several other notables.

Cameron Echols-Luper, WR, Arkansas State

Echols-Luper is a TCU transfer with standout athleticism who figures to play a leading role in the Arkansas State offense this year. With slot wideout JD McKissic off the to NFL and Dijon Paschal serving as the primary outside receiver, Echols-Luper is expected to handle more of the slot and underneath routes while otherwise serving as a versatile gadget threat thanks to his background as a former quarterback. In an uptempo offense looking to replace central 2015 players like McKissic an Michael Gordon, there is the potential for Echols-Luper to get lots of work as both a receiver and runner.


Tyler Siudzinski, RB, Texas State

Siudzinski doesn't really deserve to be listed here he's mostly off the radar in fantasy leagues but I'm reaching because it's hard to identify Sun Belt players whose acquisition costs significantly deviate from what I perceive to be their real values. Siudzinski in any case might be someone you'd identify as the by-default replacement for the now graduated Robert Lowe, as Siudzinski is the team's top returning runner, but I think Tyler Tutt will lay claim to this backfield sooner rather than later.