Conference Preview: Conference USA
Conference Preview: Conference USA

This article is part of our Conference Preview series.

The jewel of Conference USA, for fantasy purposes at least, is gone. Devin Singletary of Florida Atlantic had 55 touchdowns over his last two seasons. Now, he's a Buffalo Bill. There are still plenty of interesting fantasy options in the conference, though.

For each conference preview, we will have first-, second-, and third-team All-Fantasy teams as well as sleeper and bust selections. To the right of each player's name will be their overall positional ranking.

All-Conference USA Fantasy Team

First Team

QB: Mason Fine, North Texas (14)

RB: Spencer Brown, UAB (10)

RB: B.J. Emmons, FAU (27)

WR : Rico Bussey, North Texas (18)

WR: Ty Lee, Middle Tennessee (42)

TE: Harrison Bryant, FAU (5)

Second Team

QB: James Morgan, FIU (NR)

RB: DeAndre Torrey, North Texas (30)

RB: Benny LeMay, Charlotte (41)

WR: Quez Watkins, Southern Miss (49)

WR: Adrian Hardy, Louisiana Tech (NR)

TE: Armani Levias, Marshall (NR)

Third Team

QB: J'Mar Smith, Louisiana Tech (NR)

RB: Brenden Knox, Marshall (44)

RB: Jaqwis Dancy, Louisiana Tech (NR)

WR: Victor Tucker, Charlotte (NR)

WR: Jaelon Darden, North Texas (NR)

TE: Kyle Fourtenbary, Western Kentucky (NR)

Sleepers

Asher O'Hara, QB, Middle Tennessee

Rick Stockstill is the head coach of the Blue Raiders, and for seemingly a decade his son, Brent, was their starting quarterback. In reality, the younger Stockstill was only the starting quarterback for the last four seasons, but nevertheless it's been a while since somebody else stepped into that role. O'Hara, a sophomore, seems primed to get the first crack at it. If he does grab hold of the job, the potential is high. Stockstill had two seasons of over 3,500 yards passing, and two seasons where he had at least 30 passing touchdowns. The question that needs to be answered is how much of that is Rick's offense, and how much of that was Brent's own skill. O'Hara could help us answer that question.

Kesean Strong, RB, Old Dominion

Last year, Strong rushed 106 times for 499 yards and nine touchdowns. He also had 177 yards and two scores through the air. However, that's while he was sharing carries with Jeremy Cox, who was the established guy in the Monarchs' backfield. Cox had 103 carries of his own, but now Cox has moved on, as is often the case in college football. The lead back role is decidedly Strong's, which should mean more carries and touches. If he can keep scoring touchdowns like last year, and add some more yards to the equation, he could be in for a nice year. Old Dominion also has questions under center, which could mean an offense that leans on the running back.

Juma Otoviano, RB, Rice

Look, it's understandable if you haven't been paying much attention to the Rice offense for a while. However, you should make yourself aware of Otoviano. As a freshman running back last year, the Owls were careful with him. Then they unleashed him in the season finale against Old Dominion. In his first game getting the bulk of the carries, Otoviano rushed for 224 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries. I like the potential here if he gets the starting job for Rice. He's fighting Nahshon Ellerbe for touches, but I'd bet on the talent of Otoviano winning out.

Obi Obialo, WR, Marshall

Obialo is primed to step into a much bigger role for the Thundering Herd in 2019. Tyre Brady has been the alpha and omega of the Marshall passing game since he joined them as a transfer prior to 2017. He had 62 catches for 942 yards in his first year with the Herd, and then last year he had 71 receptions for 1,002 yards and nine scores. As you can probably guess, Brady has graduated, getting signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Obialo had 42 catches for 505 yards and four touchdowns in 2018 as a clear second banana. What can he do when he's the first banana?

Kyle Fourtenbary, TE, Western Kentucky

There aren't many tight ends who get love in college football these days. There is one offense where tight ends have gotten use, though, and that's Western Kentucky. Last year, Fourtenbary had 36 receptions, which isn't bad for a tight end. However, that was with Mik'Quan Deane having 44 catches for 530 yards and six touchdowns as the primary tight end for the Hilltoppers. Fourtenbary had more receptions than a lot of teams' starting tight ends as a secondary option. There is one reason for concern. Western Kentucky has a new head coach in Ty Helton. What will that mean for the role of the tight end in this offense? I don't know, but there is still real sleeper potential here, which isn't something you can say about a lot of tight ends.

Busts

Jack Abraham, QB, Southern Miss

The Golden Eagles have a solid recent history of quarterbacks putting up some gaudy numbers in the passing game. Early last year, it seemed like Abraham might join that litany of signal callers. He threw 10 touchdowns through the first three games. However, those games were against Jacksonville State, Louisiana-Monroe, and Rice. The rest of the season, which admittedly included games that he missed, he threw only five touchdowns. Quez Watkins is a legit wide receiver, but the rest of the depth chart for the Golden Eagles is sketchy. To me, it's more likely Abraham loses the gig than it is he has a big fantasy year.

B.J. Emmons, RB, Florida Atlantic

Count me as skeptical about Emmons. The argument for him is his recruiting pedigree and the numbers Singletary put up in Lane Kiffin's offense. Yes, Emmons was recruited by Alabama, but he never really got into its rotation. That's why he had to transfer, spending last season at a JUCO school. And while Singletary had great numbers, let's not underestimate his skills. Emmons has buzz, obviously, which is not something that you can say about a lot of Conference USA running backs. That also raises his bust potential. He will probably get the starting job, but I want some proof before I buy in all the way.

Napoleon Maxwell, RB, FIU

Maxwell rushed for 684 yards and seven touchdowns in 2018. Those aren't bad numbers, and one might thing that he'll step it up in his senior year. After all, last season was his first time with a real notable role in the Golden Panthers' offense. However, a lot of his output came from two games. He rushed for over 100 yards and two touchdowns twice, once against UMass, and once against Charlotte. In that Charlotte game he only got seven carries. The math says you probably aren't going to rush for 102 yards and two touchdowns when you only get seven carries all that often. I think there is a chance his numbers will actually regress a bit.

Willie Wright, WR, FAU

Jovan Durante is gone, so Wright is on top of the receiving depth chart. That being said, he's still behind tight end Harrison Bryant in the pecking order. Plus, this is a rush-heavy offense. Devin Singletary, and Kerrith Whyte, may both have graduated, but they will still probably run the ball primarily. That seems to be Lane Kiffin's M.O. these days. There are also questions about starting quarterback Chris Robison's ability to helm a passing game. Last year, he only threw for 12 touchdowns against 12 interceptions.

Lucky Jackson, WR, Western Kentucky

Last season, Jackson led the Hilltoppers in receptions (51) and yards (563). On top of that, the guys who were second and third in receiving yards for the team last year have graduated. There are questions, though. Jackson is a senior who has never had more than 600 yards receiving in a season. Western Kentucky has a new head coach, and they will likely have a new starting quarterback as well. I feel like we've seen Jackson's ceiling, with or without a new offense. Fifty catches for 550 or so yards isn't bad, but if that's likely the best he's capable of, betting on him doing more than that would make him a bust.

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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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