The ACC Coastal is often considered the lesser of the ACC divisions, mostly because Clemson resides on the opposite side of the conference. Don’t let that fool you though. There may be more talent on this side of things, at least for Campus 2 Canton purposes. In this article, I’ll try to include all the relevant offensive players for the 2021 season, broken into the following groups:
- Fantasy Relevant
- Roster Fillers
I’ll also provide one player on each squad I am avoiding at current cost, if applicable. All teams listed in alphabetical order.
Duke is probably the least talented roster for fantasy purposes, which should not be much of a surprise. The Blue Devils do typically have one or two players that could be difference-makers for you, and this year is no exception.
Running back Mateao Durant is the name that you should be most aware of. Durant was in a timeshare with Deon Jackson last year but still had a strong statistical year.
With Jackson gone, and no obvious successor beyond Durant, the senior running back should be in for a solid season. NFL upside may be limited, but at worst Durant should serve as a solid bye week option at the running back position.
There probably aren’t any players beyond Durant that are rosterable in a typical C2C league. The closest may be Jalon Calhoun, the third-year WR. Calhoun put up strong numbers as a freshman, falling just short of a 20% Weighted Dominator Rating and was close to that threshold in Receiving Yards Per Team Pass Attempt. The entire passing offense struggled last season, so a bounce-back could occur. He’s a fringe player, but one that should at least be on watch lists.
I got nothin’. There aren’t any other players you’d expect to roster at this point, except in much deeper leagues.
Players To Avoid
None! Durant is the most expensive player on the roster now with an ADP of 292, so you don’t need to break the bank for him. Similarly, Calhoun is in the 400s.
Any discussion regarding Georgia Tech must start with Jahmyr Gibbs, the second-year running back who most analysts have as a top 3 option in the 2023 draft class. Not only does Gibbs have excellent vision, but his skills as a pass-catcher give him a great floor for fantasy purposes. He’s a first-round pick in start-ups for a reason; he’s damn good and is a likely top 40 pick in two years.
Beyond Gibbs, Yellow Jacket QB Jeff Sims could be a weekly starter this year for CFF purposes. Sims is erratic and undeveloped as a passer, but his legs make him a typical “Konami Code” quarterback. Plus, Georgia Tech should be behind in games this season, which provides a positive game script for Sims and his favorite target, Gibbs.
There aren’t many other players on the roster that I think NEED to be rostered as we enter the season. Sims and Gibbs should be making most of the fantasy impact on this roster.
Two noteworthy stashes here for the Jackets, both at the wide receiver position. True freshman James BlackStrain was a 4-star kid in this class and already has the size to contribute at 6’2 190. He’s also received good reviews from the coaching staff and media through spring practices.
The other stash I like is Nate McCollum, the second-year speedster. I’m not sure how much his skill set meshes with Sims’ inability to push the ball downfield accurately, but he should be dangerous on special teams and could flash a bit during the season.
Players To Avoid
None at current ADP. Sims’ potential makes him a solid value, and you barely have to spend a draft pick on any of their receivers.
Miami is such an odd squad. The talent is there at almost every skill position, but they’ve not been an over-powering fantasy presence in recent times. Part of that has been issues at quarterback, so the Hurricanes secured transfer QB, D’Eriq King, last offseason, and he performed well in his first season in Miami. King is a true dual-threat guy who shows some nuance as a passer. The real fantasy asset is his legs though, as he’s rushed for over 2,000 yards in his collegiate career (not including sacks). The knee injury is concerning, but reports suggest he’s on schedule with his rehab and should be back in time for their opener.
Behind King, the player that figures to be most relevant in 2021 is TE Will Mallory. The fourth-year man has NFL size at 6’5 and 245 lbs., and is a strong athlete for the position. He should be startable this season and can secure Day 2 draft capital with a strong showing.
#MIA ‘Canes TE Will Mallory is one of my favorite late round grabs in #C2C.— Cory P. (@FF_Guitarist) July 31, 2021
6-5, 245 lbs, fluid athlete – menace in the seams. Mismatch vertical threat. Sprinting & hurdles background.
Taking over for Brevin Jordan, Canes 2nd leading rec the past 2 years. LEGIT NFL upside #Devy pic.twitter.com/XP3CJ8Y3EI
There are a few other names that are arguable, but the only one I’m confident in including here is senior WR Mike Harley. Harley was King’s favorite target last season, finishing with a 57/799/7 line. Probably not much in the way of pro prospects there, but should be a serviceable college producer for this season.
I didn’t include Miami’s crowded backfield above, simply because I don’t have a read on which guy will receive enough touches to be fantasy relevant. But all of Cam’Ron Harris, Don Chaney, and Jaylen Knighton should be rostered in case one separates himself from the pack. I’ve been picking whichever has been cheapest in drafts this offseason, but at this point they all have ADPs between 180 and 210, making it essentially a tie.
At receiver, there is another log jam of unproven talent. My favorite of the group is Keyshawn Smith, a 6’1 and 188 lbs. second-year receiver who should see snaps in the slot this year. Like BlackStrain at Georgia Tech, reports have been overwhelmingly positive regarding Smith. I’m not sure the passing offense will be prolific enough to support Harley and another guy, but Smith would be my pick of the bunch.
Lastly, freshman QB Jake Garcia should be on all rosters heading into 2021. Garcia was a 4-star in this year’s class who got to shine this spring with the absence of King. He’s the heir apparent there now and is likely too high profile to classify as a “stash.”
Garcia is the only guy that is a true stash, but his ADP is 135 through July. Beyond him, there are some intriguing receivers on the team like Michael Redding III and Romello Brinson. Both are virtually free in drafts right now and could provide value if Garcia, a more traditional pocket passer, wins that job in 2022.
Players to Avoid
The only guy I’m truly avoiding at ADP is D’Eriq King. His ADP is 179 currently, and while that’s not particularly expensive for his potential, I have some concerns. He’s a dual-threat guy who needs his legs to be effective, and I’m worried the ACL injury from last year will slow him down. He’s also not likely to be a QB in the NFL, so you are paying for one year of uncertain production.
All UNC conversations must start with Junior QB Sam Howell, one of the best quarterbacks in college football. While he does not possess a ton of rushing upside, he has been a prolific passer, helping Dazz Newsome and Dyami Brown hit strong seasons. With that duo gone, he’ll need to build chemistry with his new crew. Even if he doesn’t Howell is likely a top-10 NFL draft pick next year.
Speaking of replacement receivers, Josh Downs is projected to be the best pass catcher for the Tar Heels. He’s slightly undersized at 5’10 and 180 lbs., but he’s a dynamic athlete (4.47 40 and 42-inch vert) that can work all areas of the field. He also has an extremely strong recruiting pedigree (former 4-star) and was one of the best players at the All-American Bowl. The slot receiver in Phil Longo’s offenses have put up the following stat lines the past four seasons:
- 2020 (Dazz Newsome): 54/684/6
- 2019 (Dazz Newsome): 72/1018/10
- 2018 (AJ Brown): 85/1320/6
- 2017 (AJ Brown): 75/1252/11
Expect plenty of volume for Downs this season.
Howell has supported two receivers each of the past two years, so figuring out that second guy could bring big returns this season. The easy money should be on Khafre Brown, Dyami’s younger brother. Khafre is basically a clone of Dyami, as they are both similarly sized and have overlapping skill sets. He should step directly into that role and produce at a good clip. By the end of the season, he may look like the steal of C2C drafts this offseason with an ADP of 230 in July.
My Campus2Canton pod co-host Colin disagrees with me on this one, but I’m not sure Ty Chandler should be classified as “fantasy relevant,” so he slips to this tier. Chandler had 4 solid yet unspectacular seasons at Tennessee in which he averaged 105/511/3 on the ground and another 12/116/1 as a receiver. Could this UNC offense unlock him? Possibly, but I’m not buying it. I’d rather invest in the younger backs on the roster, Kamarro Edmonds and Caleb Hood.
Hood is one of the best values across drafts this season with an ADP north of 280 prior to July. The true freshman is already built for the college game at 5’11 230. He was an early enrollee and got to get valuable reps with the first team through the offseason workouts. He probably isn’t a major contributor this year (I wouldn’t rule it out either though), but he can fight for touches there in 2022 and onward.
Edmonds is a highly touted back who is built like Hood. They have overlapping skill sets, so it remains to be seen if both can carve out separate roles or if they’ll need to split one. I think that’s a genuine concern, which makes Edmonds a huge pass for me at his current ADP of 73. He is definitely talented and should be rostered everywhere.
Hood is probably the biggest “stash” on this roster if we are using a definition that implies the player must be off most radars. If we are using the term more generally, however, then-freshman 4-star QB Drake Maye takes that crown. Maye is considered by most to be the obvious replacement for Howell, and he looked the part in the spring game. He is incredibly accurate and rarely makes bad decisions. Maye is a favorite of several writers here at Campus2Canton.com.
Players To Avoid
I’m not avoiding him, per se, but Sam Howell goes a bit earlier in drafts than I’m comfortable with. I don’t have much Howell across my rosters as a result. I think most of the other top QBs and RBs possess more upside than he does.
I’m also avoiding Kamarro Edmonds at the current cost. Edmonds was not an early enrollee, which opened the door for other backs to eat into his touches. I liked Edmonds as a prospect, but part of his value at the beginning of the year was the opportunity in UNC’s backfield. If that obvious opportunity no longer exists, I’m out on Edmonds.
Jordan Addison is the most well-known Pitt Panther, and for good reason. Addison had plenty of offers coming out of high school, but many schools wanted him to play Safety. Pitt’s staff let him have a shot at receiver and the rest is history. As a true freshman in 2020, he led the team in receptions (60), yardage (666), and touchdowns (4). He’s a strong YAC threat, but his frame doesn’t necessarily match that at 6’0 175. If he can bulk up a bit, he could contend for 1st round draft capital in 2023. Until then, he’s a day two pick who should be a strong contributor in college.
Pitt has a lot of potential on the roster, but I question whether their offensive scheme can help any of them reach their heights. Top of the list is Israel Abanikanda. “Izzy”, as he’s known around the program, was a strong RB prospect in last year’s class, but he didn’t have much of an impact as a freshman. He spent this offseason bulking and working out, and he’s now got great size at 5’11 and 215lbs. He looked like Pitt’s best player during the spring. I recently wrote an article detailing my 10 bold predictions for 2021, and I’m all aboard the Abanikanda hype train.
Pitt was extremely excited to land TE transfer Lucas Krull last offseason, but he was injured early in the season. He’s back for this year and looked great throughout spring. The coaching staff is very excited about him. He may not be a startable fantasy option this year, but I do think he should probably be rostered in the majority of leagues. Guys at his size with his athletic ability are a rarity, plus he loves to block.
Some may argue for Pitt QB Kenny Pickett, but I am not quite on that train, except for the deepest of leagues. He’s a very average college starter, good enough to steady the ship but not spectacular enough to elevate the offense. I wouldn’t touch him any earlier than the 40th round in drafts and would rather take a chance on someone like Nebraska’s Adrian Martinez.
There aren’t many stashes on Pitt’s roster. It’s not clear who the next QB is, and the offense isn’t prolific enough to care much about that anyway. They probably can’t support more than one WR and RB at any given time, and both of those guys still have two years left on campus at minimum.
Players To Avoid
I’m not buying Jordan Addison at his current fourth-round ADP. I don’t see a WR1 ceiling, and I don’t trust the Pitt offense to produce enough to keep him relevant. Plus, the receiver room lacks star power but there are plenty of other competent guys in that group. Addison is going to disappoint managers in 2021.
As a Zero QB zealot, I’m always looking for values at the position. Kaleb Eleby is probably my favorite cheap QB pick-up in all of college football, but Brennan Armstrong is a close second. In 2020, Armstrong outperformed plenty of other top QB options on a per-game basis, including Spencer Rattler, Sam Howell, Jake Haener, and D’Eriq King. He’s not a very good quarterback, but he’s dangerous with his legs and Virginia should see some positive game scripts for him this year. You could do a lot worse at his July ADP of 240.
While Armstrong may be a strong QB option, none of his weapons are particularly exciting. Last year’s leading receiver was Lavel Davis, a monstrous 6’7 and 210 lbs. receiver who creates mismatches on jump balls. Davis injured his knee this spring and will miss the entirety of 2021. He’s been forgotten about with an ADP of 241, but he should be rostered in all leagues.
Senior receiver Billy Kemp is the only other guy that I have my eyes on. Kemp led the team in receiving with 67/644/1. I’m not sure he’s a startable option, but he should at least be on watch lists this year.
There aren’t any stashes on Virginia’s roster.
Players To Avoid
There aren’t any players on Virginia’s roster that I am avoiding at current value.
I’m not sure that any players on Virginia Tech should be classified as fantasy-relevant or must-haves for 2021. The offense will only go as far as Braxton Burmeister can take it. Reports out of spring have generally been positive, but he struggled last year as a passer, completing less than 60% of his passes. He’s a good athlete though, so he could have a nice rushing floor.
If Burmeister can play well, Tayvion Robinson may put up some numbers. Robinson has performed well his first two years on campus, especially if you look at some of his advanced stats:
Tight End James Mitchell is also an intriguing player for this season. Last year he put up a strong stat line with 26/435/4. That’s great for the TE position in college. I wish he was a bit taller, but he moves well for 6’3 and 255 lbs. and should have NFL upside.
While Robinson is probably the superior player, Tre Turner is no slouch. Turner has nice size at 6’2 and 190 lbs., and looks to be an NFL-level athlete. I’m not necessarily saying that he should be rostered in all leagues, especially with the uncertainty in the Hokies offense, but he should at least be on watch lists.
True freshman receiver Da’Wain Lofton is one of my favorite stashes in all of college football. Lofton is an excellent athlete with decent size (5’11 and 190 lbs.) and he is dangerous with the ball in his hands. I’m not sure he will contribute much this year, but he’s received rave reviews from everyone around the Virginia Tech program. If he’s available in your league, scoop him up before he flashes.
Players To Avoid
There are no players on Virginia Tech’s roster that I am avoiding at the current ADP.