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When The Devy Breaks: 2019 ACC Opportunity Report

Opportunity is the most important factor to consider when analyzing fantasy football. Whether it’s at the NFL level or in college, the more pass attempts, carries, and targets that a player gets, the better. It’s far from an exact science but last year’s opportunity reports highlighted the likes of Eno Benjamin, Jalen Reagor, Hakeem Butler, and Miles Sanders as targets in devy leagues set to see a boost in value.

In last year’s set of articles I profiled two or three specific prospects at each position. This year I’m going to take a more holistic look at the opportunity landscape in each power five conference. In doing so I hope to cast a wider net of potential beneficiaries of vacated opportunity. Not every name mentioned here will end up panning out. But each prospect should have a chance to boost their potential draft positions this season and beyond.

Let’s get started with the ACC.

Quarterback

Several entrenched starters are gone including Daniel Jones, Ryan Finley, Deondre Francois, and Eric Dungey. From a devy perspective however, the likely replacements aren’t on my buy list. At least not yet. Florida State’s James Blackman was terrific in three games played last season following a somewhat inconsistent freshman campaign. He should put up prolific numbers in Kendal Briles’ air-raid offense assuming he gets the nod over Wisconsin transfer Alex Hornibrook. Tommy DeVito is also worth a look as the heir apparent to the aforementioned Dungey at Syracuse. While any talk of a potential Heisman run seems premature, he will be running a high-paced offense with a strong group of WRs highlighted by sophomore Taj Harris. 

Running Back

There’s a boatload of backfield touches up for grabs at Pitt following the departure of Qadree Ollison and Darrin Hall. The problem is it’s unclear as to who will emerge as the main replacement. It’s a situation worth monitoring given how fruitful the position has been in the past. But I’m in a wait-and-see mode for now. N.C. State sophomore Ricky Person Jr. was profiled in last year’s ACC Opportunity Report but averaged just 4.2 yards per carry. That said, he tested well in terms of burst in high school and is staring down a potential workhorse role if he can hold off spring game standout Zonovan Wright.

I wrote up DeeJay Dallas as an early breakout from 2018 and he should have a chance to show he can handle a larger workload with Travis Homer gone. But I’m not ready to write off sophomore Lorenzo Lingard quite yet. A former five-star recruit, reports indicate that he may finally be healthy. Another sophomore, Cam’Ron Davis, could also play a role for the Hurricanes. A look-ahead special is Clemson sophomore Lyn-J Dixon. There’s a cap on his potential opportunity in 2019 barring an injury to Travis Etienne. But he’s a solid athlete waiting in the wings who averaged an astounding 8.8 yards per carry in 2018.

Wide Receiver

Scott Bracey, a former four-star prospect is a possible breakout candidate at WR for the Duke Blue Devils. But junior RB Deon Jackson is an accomplished pass catcher (26-253-2 as a receiver last season) as a 220-pound back with WR experience dating back to high school. It’s possible he becomes the focal point of the Blue Devil’s offense as they break in a new starter at QB.

N.C. State junior Emeka Emezie is likely to replace Kelvin Harmon as the main outside receiver for the Wolfpack while Wake Forest sophomore WR Sage Surratt will look to build off a strong redshirt freshman season (41-581-4) in the wake of Greg Dortch’s early draft declaration. Emezie and Surratt lack a breakout season but are extremely affordable in devy formats making them worthwhile buy-low candidates.

Tre Turner is another worthwhile target despite Virginia Tech’s middling vacated target total. After a dynamic freshman campaign in 2018 (26-535-4), Turner replaces Eric Kumah, the Hokies’ second-most targeted WR last season. He’s also in the mix to see an elevated role in the kick return game which a) speaks to his athleticism and b) is a hidden source of value when evaluating WR prospects.

Image Credit: David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: DeeJay Dallas.

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