Conference Preview: AAC
Conference Preview: AAC

This article is part of our Conference Preview series.

All-AAC Fantasy Team

First Team

QB: McKenzie Milton, UCF

RB: Darrell Henderson, Memphis

RB: Patrick Taylor Jr. Memphis

WR: Trevon Brown East Carolina

WR Tony Pollard, Memphis

TE Joey Magnifico, Memphis

Second Team

QB: Brady White, Memphis

RB: Adrian Killins UCF

RB: Terence Williams Houston

WR: Raelon Singleton, Houston

WR: Gabriel Davis, Central Florida

TE: Michael Colubiale, UCF

Third Team

QB: D'Eriq King, Houston

RB: Otis Anderson, UCF

RB: Hussein Howe, East Carolina

WR:Freddy Canteen, Tulane

WR: Marquez Stevenson, Houston

TE: Sean Dykes, Memphis

Sleepers

Mitchell Wilcox, Tight End, USF

USF has one of the most explosive offensive attacks in the nation, getting many of the weapons involved in the offensive game. Despite coming off a disappointing season last year with only 158 yards on 17 catches, the junior Wilcox showed some of his potential his freshman season when he averaged 23.2 yards per catch on 17 catches with two touchdowns. He saw his targets increase last season from 18 to 26, showing the attention he'll draw from quarterbacks, and could use his speed and system to end up the best tight end in the conference.

Shamari Brooks, Running Back, Tulsa

Brooks was well on his way to a great true freshman season in 2017 before he broke his collarbone in October and was sidelined for the rest of the year. In the nine games he did play, he rushed for 687 yards and ten touchdowns to lead his team and finish ninth in the conference despite the shortened season and being stuck behind D'Angelo Brewer. He'll return as the starter following Brewer's graduation and will be a big part of Tulsa's offensive gameplan.

Kevin Mensah, Running Back, UConn

UConn is thin at running back after losing Donevin O'Reilly to a torn ACL and Nate Hopkins transferring, which should mean a lot of chances for Mensah. The big "what if" worry with him should be how well his body can deal with the increased number of carries with him and Zavier Scott the only two backs on the roster with experience. If he can avoid the bruises and knicks that could slow him down, he's in a prime spot to improve on his true freshman season in 2017 when he rushed for 561 yards and four touchdowns.

Reid Herring, Quarterback, East Carolina

Herring will step into the quarterback position for the Pirates after only completing one pass in his entire career for 20 yards. But he'll be replacing his predecessors by throwing to a receiving corps that is the strength of the offense and has had six straight seasons with at least one 1,000-yard receiver. Last year that streak was continued by Trevon Brown, who returns to the outside as a target for Herring to rely on. Add in that East Carolina will need to throw in a lot of games to keep up with the high scoring offenses of the AAC, and Herring could be ready to surprise.

Cam Stewart, Wide Receiver, UCF

Stewart didn't do much in 2017, only taking six catches for 197 yards and a touchdown, but his average of 32.8 yards showed his big play potential. With the new coaching staff, Josh Heupel has said that he plans on more vertical strikes down the field compared to former head coach Scott Frost's philosophy of more underneath passes. Add in Stewart's move to the outside during the offseason and he could become a favorite downfield target of Heisman candidate McKenzie Milton.

Busts

Tyre McCants, Wide Receiver, South Florida

McCants is going to be USF's top receiver in a system that seemingly always puts up good receiver numbers, and his inclusion on this list is not to imply he won't be the next guy in the system. But USF is replacing some important pieces from a year ago, including one of the best quarterbacks in program history in Quinton Flowers, and it might take a while for the offense to find a rhythm. McCants should be able to put up pretty good numbers due to the system, but it could be a step back from what we've come to expect from the program's top receivers.

Gerrrid Doaks, Running Back, Cincinnati

It's not as if anybody is expecting Doaks to have a big season, as his 513 yards in his freshman season last year doesn't scream "All-American" or even All-Conference. But he did get a lot of playing time as a freshman and averaged 5.9 yards per carry, both indicators that normally we could expect improve his sophomore season. However, Cincinnati runs out one of the poorer offensive lines in the American, which could make it difficult for holes to develop for Doaks to exploit. Cincinnati will have one of the better defenses in the conference, which should translate to more rushes on offense, but Doaks might be heading more towards a sophomore slump than breakout.

Gabriel Davis, Wide Receiver, UCF

In the same vein that Cam Stewart could be heading towards a breakout season, Davis is looking more like a candidate to regress this season. Last year, Davis averaged 14.5 yards per reception, the second lowest on the team of all receivers with at least 25 catches. With Heupel looking more to push the envelope a little bit with routes down the field, the guys who make a living with underneath routes will probably start to see their targets dwindle a little bit. Add in that all the receivers ahead of Davis from last year are back and there's not a lot of upward trajectory for the sophomore receiver this year.

D'Eriq King, Quarterback, Houston

Last year as a sophomore, King split time with Kyle Postma at quarterback and neither were overly impressive. King was the better of the two, adding in his ability to make plays with his feet as well as his arm, and heads into 2018 as the clear-cut starter. However, Houston is losing their top two receivers from last year in Steven Dunbar and Linell Bonner, which actually leaves King as the team's top returning receiver with 264 yards. With him at quarterback, that makes the top returning receiver Courtney Lark, who had 235 yards in seven games. King could show some fantasy value with his feet and open field ability and will benefit from the system, but without the normal quality of receivers to throw to, his ceiling as a passer is limited.

Darrius Bradwell, Running Back, Tulane

Tulane struggled to run the ball in 2017 save the occasional big play, and this year could be more of the same. Now they lose their top two running backs from last season in Dontrell Hilliard and Sherman Badie, leaving them with the least explosive of last year's trio in Bradwell. They're also left with almost nobody behind Bradwell, returning Stephon Huderson, who rushed for 70 yards all season. Bradwell will be asked to shoulder a big load this year, and without other guys to help wear down the defense to make those explosive plays available, there might not be a lot of running room for the junior Bradwell.

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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.
Conference Preview: AAC
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