Fantasy Football Guide For AAC Fans
By Matt Seidel
Fantasy football has swept the nation to the point where everybody who spends more than 20 minutes in a year has a fantasy team or six. Its ubiquity has reached the point where hordes of players care more about their fantasy teams than their real teams. Since fantasy football for college is more than likely an NCAA violation, let’s take a look who would be the best assets at each position in the American Athletic Conference. Since most skill players have been previewed during the extensive offseason coverage, who is shaping up as the best player at every position for fake football?
QB: PJ Walker, Temple
For fantasy purposes, the allure of dual-threat quarterbacks is tough to ignore. Shane Carden and John O’Korn will definitely throw for more yards, and probably more touchdowns, but Walker has the ability to scramble for yards and could potentially crack double-digits in rushing scores. Walker should flirt with 3,000 yards passing and 20 touchdowns. Add 500 yards on the ground along and conservatively project six scores rushing to make him the most tantalizing fantasy prospect.
RB: William Stanback, UCF
George O’Leary’s offense always features a workhorse runner and Stanback is this year’s starter. Most of the conference running back situations are timeshares so since Stanback’s stellar work in a part-time role should net an easy 200 carries, he is the best choice. The sophomore for the Knights added almost 200 yards receiving so a full-time gig should bolster his chances of notching 1,400 total yards and 10 touchdowns.
WR: Deontay Greenberry, Houston
In a PPR league, Justin Hardy would be atop the position, but in standard formats, Greenberry is the easy call. Yardage should be a push in his head-to-head against Hardy, but Greenberry is a more viable option in the red zone. In a coin-flip pick, always side with the player who will garner more looks deep in opponents' territory. If Cougars quarterback John O’Korn can complete more than 60 percent of his passes, the sky is the limit for Greenberry.
TE: Mike McFarland, USF
In a conference that rarely features tight ends, McFarland is the best pick there almost by default. However, McFarland was one of the few positives on offense in Willie Taggart’s first year of coaching Southern Florida. He reeled in 23 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns in 2013, providing a safety outlet for the Bulls’ revolving door under center. Taggart’s offense features two tight ends and Sean Price could take some of McFarland’s targets this year, but Price has underachieved relative to his recruiting hype while McFarland surprised in his debut season.
With a gang of starters returning, UCF is clearly the conference’s best defensive unit. For fantasy purposes, the Cougars are the premier squad. Houston is going to force turnovers in spades and hold opponents to a solid point total. Last year’s defense intercepted 25 passes, ranking second in the country, and registered 31 sacks under David Gibbs’ aggressive scheming. The team is susceptible to getting gashed for big yards, but has too many positives to fall down the board.
K: Marvin Kloss, USF
Given South Florida’s uncertainty at quarterback and inability to reliably move the ball into the end zone, Kloss is the easy pick at kicker. The Groza Award finalist knocked in 18 of 23 attempts last season, including 11 from longer than 40 yards (16 attempts). Kloss converted 15 point-after attempts as the Bulls couldn’t score touchdowns if you let them, but the rewards from long distance make him the cream of the conference crop at his position.