The Campus2Canton writing staff will be covering all of the conferences from now until the beginning of the college football season. To view previous conferences, click one of the links below:

The American Athletic Conference is the home of the first Group of 5 school to make the College Football Playoffs, the Cincinnati Bearcats. But the road to getting back to the playoffs will be steep after losing many of their starters to the NFL. 

Houston returns many starters and challenged for the AAC title; they will be right in the mix again in 2022. East Carolina, UCF, and Memphis also lurk waiting to challenge for the division title. Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF will join the Big 12 after this season, adding a little extra motivation to win what could be the last title in the division. 

  • Fantasy Relevant
  • Roster Fillers
  • Stashes
  • Players to Avoid at Cost

All teams are listed in alphabetical order.

Cincinnati Bearcats

Fantasy Relevant

Corey Kiner, a former four-star, transferred in from LSU and is the name I am most interested in here. He’s got great size, 5’10” and 210 pounds, and will be running behind a stellar offensive line. Jerome Ford had over 1,300 yards rushing, and it’s reasonable to expect nearly the same for Kiner. Kiner could be a screaming value with an ADP in the ninth round for C2C and early sixth round for CFF. 

Roster Fillers

Courtesy of Front Office News

Now is where it gets interesting. Evan Prater should step in for Desmond Ridder as the starting QB, but it’s not certain. Prater was the highest-ranked recruit in Cincinnati’s history and is a dangerous dual-threat QB. Sounds great, right? I am just not sold that he will be a quality starting QB in C2C or CFF but could find a spot in the NFL like Ridder did. 

If the offense opens up, I am keeping an eye on receivers Tyler Scott and Nick Mardner; either could establish themselves as an alpha. Alec Pierce tallied 884 and eight scores, and I could see either of these players producing similar stat lines. But for now, I am approaching the situation with caution. 

Josh Whyle is a late-round TE to target if you need help at the position. He scored six TDs in each of the last two seasons and is a steady red zone target. 

Stashes

Chamon Metayer is an interesting stash at the TE spot and looked impressive in the spring. He could even push Whyle for snaps and receptions. Metayer was recruited as an athlete and linebacker but has impressive athleticism and the requisite size for a TE. 

Players to Avoid at Cost

None. 

East Carolina Pirates

Fantasy Relevant

I massively love Keaton Mitchell and target him in CFF drafts and later in C2C drafts. He has little NFL hopes at 5’9” and 190 lbs., but he’s a fun college-producing back. He accumulated over 1,300 yards and scored ten times. The Pirates lost their top two receivers, and the offense should lean heavily on the run as it finds its footing early. 

Ryan Jones is a fun TE to target later in CFF and very late in C2C also. He emerged later in 2021 and finished with 442 yards and five TDs. QB Holton Ahlers could lean heavily on Jones while the offense finds its way. 

Roster Fillers

Speaking of Ahlers, he’s a solid fill-in QB if you are in dire need of a start. He provides a little extra with his legs and is capable of a big game in the right matchup. He torched Navy for 405 yards and three TDs and also threw for over 285 yards in five other games. Ahlers isn’t someone to lean on, but if you are struggling with byes and injuries, he could fill in. 

Expect a pass catcher to emerge, but at the moment, I don’t see a popular candidate to be “the man.” Jsi Hatfield is smaller, 5’9” and 180 lbs., but is the leading candidate. Isaiah Winstead, a transfer from Toledo, and Jaylon Johnson, a Georgia transfer, should also be monitored. 

Stashes

None.

Players to Avoid at Cost

None. 

Houston Cougars

Fantasy Relevant

QB Clayton Tune is the engine that makes the Cougar vehicle run. He threw for over 3,500 yards and 30 TDs last season, and I expect him to improve on those numbers in 2022. Tune is a fun CFF QB, but I don’t see any chance of an NFL future. 

Courtesy of Houston Chronicle

The player I target most from the Cougars is WR Nathaniel Dell. In C2C, he’s being drafted in the 13th round on average, but in CFF, he’s a second-round pick. Dell had 1,329 yards and 12 scores in 2021 and could build on that in 2022. He’s 5’10” and 155 pounds but has a nickname of “Tank.” For the NFL, though, I don’t see a fantasy-relevant path on Sundays. 

Roster Fillers

The RB position for Houston is up in the air, and I recommend taking a late dart throw at Ta’Zhawn Henry and Brandon Campbell. One could emerge in Alton McCaskill’s absence, or it could be a maddening timeshare. Either way, if you get it right and one does emerge, you will be a happy person. 

Stashes

McCaskill is a stash, don’t cut bait on him and definitely target him in trades or late in drafts. He’s a back with great size at 6’0” and 200 lbs., can run inside and out, and has pass-catching chops. McCaskill will be a redshirt sophomore when he returns in 2023 and should be one of the top backs in college with NFL aspirations. 

Players to Avoid at Cost

None. 

Memphis Tigers

Fantasy Relevant

Memphis has been one of the most fun offenses for fantasy, and sophomore QB Seth Henigan is the player you will want. He was impressive as a freshman, throwing for 3,322 yards and 25 scores with only eight picks. Henigan isn’t going to give you much rushing, but those numbers are perfect for a QB2/QB3 on your fantasy teams. With a July ADP of 193rd in CFF, it’s a no-brainer. He has lost top options, but Memphis continuously throws on offense, and I expect a step forward in 2022. 

Roster Fillers

Brandon Thomas burst into 2021 with a 147-yard performance versus Nicholls State and followed it up with 191 yards against Arkansas State. And became THE waiver wire add early in the season. The rest of the season was less than spectacular, and the Tigers added former Northern Illinois back Jevyon Ducker from the transfer portal. Ducker had 1,184 yards rushing last year and murks the situation. Both guys are worth later adds in CFF, but it could be a committee. 

Calvin Austin is gone, and the lead role is up for grabs. Junior Jason Ivory is the lead candidate, and Eddie Lewis, from the slot, could be viable fantasy starters. It’s a situation to monitor and take late shots on also. 

Stashes

None.

Players to Avoid at Cost

None. 

Fantasy Relevant

The Midshipmen will run the ball 50 times a game and give a few defenses fits but as far as fantasy production – you will need to look elsewhere!

Roster Fillers

None.

Stashes

None. 

Players to Avoid at Cost

All Navy players are free! 

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