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CFF: 2019 ACC Preview

The ACC has seen many a Fantasy Stud over the past several seasons. Lamar Jackson (2016-17), Travis Etienne(2018), and Rashad Greene (2014) all had remarkable seasons and 2019 is sure to spark another stud in a conference that is as top heavy as it has been over the past several seasons. The ACC welcomes in new coaches and a slew of recruits ready to make a splash over the next three to four years. And with that introduction, I welcome you to the 2019 Fantasy Preview for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

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2019 ACC Preview

Boston College

Additions: TE Danny Dalton (Penn State), QB Sam Johnson, RB Patrick Garwo

Losses: WR Jeff Smith, TE Tommy Sweeney

Retentions: RB AJ Dillon, QB Anthony Brown, RB EJ Perry, WR Ben Glines, WR Kobay White

I’m going alphabetically here so we are starting off with the Eagles of Boston College. Right out the gate, we have to mention AJ Dillon is 1,100 yards away from the all-time rushing record for rushing yards at Boston College and is likely done at the end of the season. Dillon struggled last season, missing two contests due to injury which opened the door for Ben Glines and EJ Perry to show off what’s to come for BC.

Anthony Brown is a slightly better than average quarterback and the losses of Jeff Smith and Tommy Sweeney are going to hurt. Luckily for Brown, leading receiver Kobay White is back along with Penn State-transfer Danny Dalton. Dalton left PSU with three receptions and 19 yards to his name. Boston College uses tight ends frequently and Dalton should be considered a dark horse tight end for the 2019 season.


Additions: WR Frank Ladson, WR Joe Ngata, TE Jaelyn Lay, WR Brannon Spector

Losses: WR Hunter Renfrow, TE Milan Richard, TE Garrett Williams, RB Adam Choice

Retentions: QB Trevor Lawrence, RB Travis Etienne, WR Tee Higgins, WR Justyn Ross, WR Derion Kendrick, RB Tavien Feaster

I’ll go ahead and throw out that Amari Rogers is done for a while after suffering an ACL tear this week.

On a brighter note, the defending national champions return one of the most explosive running backs in college football, pro-ready quarterbacks in college football, and deepest receiving corps in college football. Clemson’s offense is the best part of this football team in 2019 and is one of the best in college football in 2019.

The problem lies with who to pick up. Even in Lawrence’s best games last season, Etienne still found ways to break off big runs and score in the redzone and that’s why he’s still listed as most experts number two back in CFF this season. Lawrence’s downfield passing might dip considering teams will attack him using high safeties and limit him to short and mid-range passes. He’s still a top ten quarterback for the 2019 CFF season.

With Rogers sidelined, expect Derion Kendrick to pick up the load in his place. Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross are a deadly combination and even though both are in for big numbers, I don’t believe that there are enough minutes in a game for both Higgins, Ross, and Etienne to all be top ten at their positions.


Additions: WR Eli Pancol

Losses: QB Daniel Jones, WR TJ Rahming, TE Daniel Helm, WR Johnathan Lloyd

Retentions: RB Deon Jackson, RB Brittain Brown, QB Quentin Harris, TE Noah Gray, WR Chris Taylor

Let’s start with the positives. Quentin Harris looked dynamite in the weeks Daniel Jones missed with a broken collar bone and likely should’ve played against Virginia Tech. Harris’ abilities are only complimented by a stable of backs in the playmaking Deon Jackson and the consistent Brittain Brown. The loss of Daniel Helm opens the door for Noah Gray who averaged 11.7 yards per reception in 2018.

Now the bad news. The welcoming party for Quentin Harris is the Alabama defense. Harris also has to defeat the Natty runner-up without three of last years top five receiving targets. After Alabama, they do have both Virginia schools on the road but have the rest of there more difficult games at home while also avoiding Clemson.

My one concern with Duke’s playmakers it the lack of consistency in the run game. Jackson has these games where he goes off for 100+ yards then follows it up with a 20 yard game with 18 carries. Brown will go for as far as you block for him. If Duke wants to contend in 2019k, they must get better on the ground.

Florida State

Additions: QB Alex Hornibrook (Wisconsin), QB Jordan Travis (Louisville), QB Wyatt Rector (Western Michigan), TE Ryan Roberts (Northern Illinois)

Losses: QB Deondre Francois, WR George Campbell, WR Nyqwan Murray

Retentions: QB James Blackman, RB Cam Akers, WR Tamorrion Terry, WR DJ Matthews

Coaching Additions: OC Kendal Briles

Florida State kicked off their offseason with former players coming after Willie Taggart. They followed it up with losing out on not one, but two four-star quarterbacks. Then they brought in Alex Hornibrook to save the day. So… Not the best of offseasons for Florida State.

Cam Akers is in for another tough season behind an offensive line that didn’t get that much better. James Blackman actually looked pretty solid in spots last season and is likely the guy for the Noles this season. Blackman’s background suits Taggart’s offense better than Francois was which is already an improvement.

I should also mention that Florida State’s attempt at fixing their offense is off to a great start by hiring the best young offensive mind in college football in Kendal Briles. Briles spun gold at FAU and Houston and is facing a tough test at FSU. On top of an all-star hire, the Noles return Tamorrion Terry who went off late last season and averaged 20+ yards per reception.

Terry and Akers are interesting pickups this season if they come in later rounds. If Blackman looks as good or better than he did in relief last season he could work his way into talks of fantasy relevance.

Georgia Tech

Additions: RB Jamious Griffin, WR Marquez Ezzard (Miami FL), TE Tyler Davis (UConn)

Losses: RB Qua Searcy, QB TaQuon Marshall, WR Brad Stewart

Retentions: QB Tobias Oliver, RB Jordan Mason

The hire of Geoff Collins was one that I was completely on board with. Collins has done plenty with little over the past several seasons at Temple and recruiting the best of the best is hard at a school like Georgia Tech. It’s always going to be the number two school in the state, it’s very highly regarded academically, and is in the middle of Atlanta.

Judging the offense this season is difficult for a man in my position. I assume that Collins is going to do some sort of hybrid read-option system and work his way into the pro-style system he ran at Temple. But he does have some personnel that he can work with, out the gate. Tobias Oliver showed potential with his blazing speed and athleticism but he’s thrown a whopping 12 passes in his career.

On top of retaining Jordan Mason, The Jackets bring in transfers Marquez Ezzard and Tyler Davis who will help out in Collins’ offensive-transition. The most notable addition is four-star running back Jamious Griffin. Griffin is great in space and is nearly unstoppable if he makes it into the secondary. Do they have anyone who can pass though? This is the question.


Additions: RB Aidan Robbins

Losses: TE Micky Crum, WR Jaylen Smith

Retentions: WR Seth Dawkins, WR Dez Fitzpatrick, RB Trey Smith, RB Hasaan Hall, QB Malik Cunningham, QB Jawon Pass

Poor Scott Satterfield. The mess that he’s walked into left by Bobby Petrino will take years to turn around. It’s hard to believe that three seasons ago they were the favorite to defeat Clemson on the road and finished up two seasons later with only two wins. Satterfield headed up one of the most successful transitions from FCS to FBS college football has ever seen and I’m on board with the hire.

Player wise, the Cards’ return two of the three receivers from a pretty swell group from last season in Seth Dawkins and Dez Fitzpatrick and a strong pair of rushers in Trey Smith and Hasaan Hall. The most interesting development this offseason was Malik Cunningham. Cunningham mentioned that this offense was made for him and, given that Puma Pass was a monumental disappointment last season, that has at least me excited for his potential.

Satterfield has produced fantasy relevant players at any position outside of tight end while at App State. I’m likely going to pick up some shares of Cunningham in later rounds of drafts. In the future, let’s hope that Satterfield can recruit players instead of starting so far behind the eight ball.

Miami FL

Additions: WR Jeremiah Payton, QB Tate Martell (Miami FL), RB Asa Martin (Auburn), WR KJ Osborn (Buffalo)

Losses: QB Malik Rosier, RB Travis Homer, WR Lawrence Cager, WR Ahmmon Richards

Retentions: WR Jeff Thomas, QB Jarren Williams, QB N’Kosi Perry, RB DeeJay Dallas, TE Brevin Jordan

Remember when the U was back, Good Times. In 2019, the U is back under a new head coach and a new offensive coordinator. Manny Diaz moves from DC to Head Coach and his first hire was Alabama quarterbacks coach Dan Enos. I don’t know much about Enos other than that he’s developed some great quarterbacks. Tua Tagavailoa was the man last season, Jalen Hurts was a better passer than he had been against UGA, Brandon and Austin Allen both passed for 3,000+, and he began Cooper Rush’s development at CMU.

Quarterback was an issue for the Canes last season as neither Malik Rosier nor N’Kosi Perry could really get a handle on the job or outplay the other if I’m really blunt about it. This year, they’ve added a very mobile Tate Martell to the roster and prevented Jarren Williams’ departure. Williams certainly has a high ceiling but was never given the opportunity to play in 2018.

At the other skill positions, Miami brings in a fair amount of talent. The convinced Jeff Thomas to come back from Illinois, signed Jeremiah Peyton, brought in a stud-G5 receiver in KJ Osborn, and a capable back in Asa Martin. They also bring back DeeJay Dallas, Lorenzo Lingard, and Brevin Jordan who will all contribute this season.

Enos was a strong candidate to take over Alabama’s OC job but instead left for Miami. I admire his ability to develop quarterbacks but I’m not sure how his offenses look since leaving Arkansas in 2017. I also expect Martell to win out but don’t be surprised if Williams makes him earn it.

NC State

Additions: RB Zonovan Knight, QB Bailey Hockman (Florida State), WR Tabari Hines (Oregon)

Losses: QB Ryan Finley, RB Ryan Gallaspy II, WR Kelvin Harmon, WR Jakobi Meyers

Retentions: WR Emeka Emezie, RB Ricky Person Jr.

Coaching Changes: Des Kitchings OC, George McDonald OC

NC State is very much in a period of transition. OC Eli Drinkwitz is out along with the man who refused to graduate, quarterback, Ryan Finley. They also lose receivers, Kelvin Harmon and Jakobi Meyers, who both finished with top ten single-season receiving yard numbers in 2018.

The Pack aren’t left without talent, however. They bring in Bailey Hockman who left FSU after losing out to Deondre Francois. Hockman is left-handed and throws a nice deep-ball. His pro-style skill set works well within the NC State offensive schemes. Emeka Emezie finished last season as the third leading receiver with 616 yards and five scores. They add Tabari Hines from Oregon who transferred there from Wake Forrest. Hines averaged over 12 yards per reception over his three-year career at Wake. Hines is very much a field stretcher and could make a valuable asset for a quarterback like Hockman.

Ricky Person is likely the next man up at running back and new OC Des Kitchings has helped produce three consecutive 1,000-yards backs while at NC State. Person will have to take a step forward if he wants to improve upon his 4.2 yards per carry from 2018.


Additions: QB Davis Beville, RB Daniel Carter, TE Nakia Griffin-Stewart (Rutgers)

Losses: RB Qadree Ollison, RB RB Darrin Hall

Retentions: QB Kenny Pickett, WR Maurice Ffrench, WR Taysir Mack

Coaching Changes: Mark Whipple OC

Not a lot to hope for with Pittsburgh. Darrin Hall and Qadree Ollison were the offense for Pitt last year and both are gone. Kenny Pickett threw for less than 2,000 yards and under 60%. Pickett was a dark horse fantasy player going into 2018 and fell about as short of that mark as most of his downfield passes were.

A bright mark for the Panthers, and specifically Kenny Pickett, is the hire of Mark Whipple. Whipple has made a name for himself at UMass with his great offensive mind. Whipple’s last quarterbacks threw for 2,500+ yards and some pretty great NFL prospect receivers in Andy Isabella, Adam Breneman, and Tajee Sharpe.

Hopefully, this hiring will make Maurice Ffrench or Taysir Mack can develop into Whipple’s next big receiver. He has his work ahead of him with Pickett and he has to find someone to replace an excellent pairing of running backs.


Losses: QB Eric Dungey, WR Devin Butler

Retentions: QB Tommy DeVito, RB Moe Neal, RB Dontae Strickland, WR Jamal Custis, WR Sean Riley, WR Taj Harris

Syracuse is coming off of their most successful seasons in recent history behind quarterback Eric Dungey. Dungey finished as Cuse’s all-time leading passer and third all-time in passing touchdowns.

The loss of Dungey is made easier with the return of Tommy DeVito who shined at last season in the absence of Dungey. They also return their three leading receivers in Jamal Custis, Sean Riley, and Taj Harris. Cuse won’t miss a beat next season as DeVito develops under the offensive genius of Dino Babers.

They didn’t lose much and didn’t add much this offseason. The Orange added mostly defensive players and that doesn’t help them on offense, obviously. Not much to add here, let’s just hope DeVito can stay healthy.

North Carolina

Additions: QB Sam Howell, WR Khafre Brown

Losses: QB Nathan Elliot, WR Anthony Ratliff-Williams

Retentions: RB Michael Carter, WR Dazz Newsome, RB Antonio Williams

Coaching Changes: HC Mack Brown, OC Phil Longo

I wasn’t much of a fan of North Carolina’s hiring of Mack Brown at first glance. I was sold when he flipped Sam Howell’s commitment and hired Phil Longo.

UNC’s turnaround won’t be done swiftly but it’s off to a great start. Sam Howell is a full back that plays quarterback and I’m likely going to pick up some shares of his in dynasty and redraft leagues. Longo has produced some of the best rushing seasons that Ole Miss has seen since Branden Bolden in 2010.

Longo inherits two capable backs in Antonio Williams and Michael Carter and a mobile quarterback in Howell. North Carolina’s offense will see immediate improvement from last season in Brown’s first season. I like the upside of whichever back is featured in 2019 and Dazz Newsome’s upside in a passer-friendly system. It’s also worth noting that slippery, speedy, and elusive Khafre Brown is in for a decent workload given his incredible skill set.


Additions: WR Dontayvion Wicks

Losses: RB/WR Olamide Zaccheaus, RB Jordan Ellis

Retentions: QB Bryce Perkins, WR Hasise Dubois

Virginia will likely look back on 2018 as a season that should’ve finished better. They had a surplus of offensive weapons and a solid defensive unit but lost out in games they should’ve won.

There are some things to look forward to in 2019. Most of the CFF Experts have quarterback Bryce Perkins in their top ten quarterbacks. Perkins was a quarterback that I advocated for last season after his dominance at the junior college level. He’s going to have to run more to make plays with the absence of Olamide Zaccheaus and Jordan Ellis.

A few names to remember for this season though. Hasise Duboise returns after catching 52 passes last season for 578 yards behind Zaccheaus. They also bring in Dontayvion Wicks who is expected to play receiver. Wicks played as a triple option quarterback in high school and could be the dynamic playmaker the WaHoos need in Zacchaeus’ absence.

I’m buying Perkins in any league I can get him in without over drafting and I’d take some shots at Dubois and Wicks. Perkins and his run ability are the only sure things on this roster this season.

Virginia Tech

Additions: WR Jaden Payoute, WR Tayvion Robinson, RB Keshawn King, WR Jacoby Pinckney

Losses: QB Josh Jackson, RB Steven Peoples

Retentions: QB Ryan Willis, RB Deshawn McClease, WR Damon Hazelton

Virginia Tech lit the world on fire with their dominant win over Florida State at the beginning of last season. But an accumulation of injuries led them to a measly 6-7 season. The loss of Josh Jackson didn’t result in a hopeless season for the Hokies as quarterback Ryan Willis throwing for 2,716 yards and 24 touchdowns with solid production on the ground.

Justin Fuente is deep in his tenure at Virginia Tech and is nearing a full implementation of his offense. He returns last season’s receiving leader Damon Hazelton who caught 51 passes for 802 yards. The Hokies also bring in tons of receiving talent in their 26th ranked recruiting class. Jaden Payoute is college ready, aggressive on the ball, and has elite speed while Jacoby Pinckney doesn’t have college speed but he plays bigger than his 6-3 frame. They also bring in Tayvion Robinson who served as a triple option quarterback at Cox High School. He’s coming in to play receiver and will likely be used in screen passes, jet sweeps, and slot duties.

Fuente has often produced fantasy relevant quarterbacks and wide receivers and Hazelton is a player I’m investing in late. Willis is likely a waiver wire pick up as it stands and Deshawn McClease should only be considered a flex option until proven otherwise.

Wake Forest

Additions: WR Donovan Greene, WR Nolan Groulx

Losses: WR Greg Dortch, WR Alan Bachman, RB Matt Colburn II

Retentions: QB Jamie Newman, QB Sam Hartman, WR Sage Surratt, WR Scottie Washington, RB Cade Carney, WR Kendall Hinton

Dave Clawson has killed it since Tommy Elrod stopped selling his playbook. John Wolford ended up leaving Wake as a good quarterback and Greg Dortch won leagues year after year with his explosive playmaking. Now we look to the next generation of Demon Deacons who will bless our fantasy lineups.

Sam Hartman played admirably for most of his Freshman season and Jamie Newman proved to us why he had won the job in the preseason after Hartman ended his season due to injury. The hole left by Greg Dortch is expected to be filled by former quarterback Kendall Hinton who has made strides over this past offseason.

If you’re looking for dynasty plays, Wake Forest added two of the highest rated recruits in program history in Nolan Groulx and Donovan Greene. Groulx is very similar to Greg Dortch in the way he plays and Greene averaged 24.7 yards per reception in his junior season with 19 touchdowns.

No reason to expect that Newman, Hartman, Hinton, Surratt, or Washington will backslide under the offensive genius of Dave Clawson.

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