With football right around the corner, many fans will use the month of August to squeeze in fantasy drafts to keep themselves distracted as they await the real action on the field. Of course, those fantasy drafts don’t have to be limited to the NFL alone.
There’s nothing wrong with extending fantasy to college football, and the ACC in particular is loaded with offensive talent in 2015. However, for those holding ACC drafts, who will be the top picks?
Based on 2014 statistics, here are the conference’s top five returning quarterbacks.
5. Chad Voytik (Pitt)
2014 stats: 2,233 pass yds, 16 TD, 7 INT, 466 rush yds, 3 TD
2014 fantasy points: 206.82
Voytik may not be one of the five best returning quarterbacks in the ACC, but in terms of fantasy stats, he had one of the best seasons of all returning signal-callers in the league. As a sophomore, Voytik showed that he could pick up yards with his feet when needed, and he did a solid job of avoiding turnovers in the second half of the season. He’s not a guy who will be the focal point of Pittsburgh’s offense as long as James Conner is around, but he’s throwing to one of the top receivers in the country in Tyler Boyd. His dual-threat ability makes him more valuable than some of the players who are strictly pro-style quarterbacks.
4. Justin Thomas (Georgia Tech)
2014 stats: 1,719 pass yds, 18 TD, 6 INT, 1,086 rush yds, 8 TD
2014 fantasy points: 260.04
Thomas is a perfect fit for Paul Johnson’s spread-option offense. The junior is coming off a spectacular 2014 season, and he could be leaned on even more this fall with three new starters in the backfield. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Thomas’ passing numbers take a slight dip with DeAndre Smelter and Darren Waller gone, but with four returning starters on the offensive line, he could do more damage on the ground. The third-team All-ACC selection from a year ago isn’t as attractive of an option as Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and others, but he’s definitely a QB1 in an eight-man league.
3. Jacoby Brissett (NC State)
2014 stats: 2,606 pass yds, 23 TD, 5 INT, 529 rush yds, 3 TD
2014 fantasy points: 261.14
Another player who can be dangerous with both his arm and legs, Brissett has tremendous upside as a fantasy player. He was inconsistent as a junior last fall, but his performances against Florida State and North Carolina showed that he can put up jaw-dropping numbers when at his best. NC State has a solid stable of running backs and saw two key receivers transfer in the offseason, so it’s questionable whether or not Brissett will have the same type of stats in 2015. However, his skill set alone is enough reason to make sure he’s one of the first five quarterbacks off the board.
2. Everett Golson (Florida State)
2014 stats: 3,445 pass yds, 29 TD, 14 INT, 283 rush yds, 8 TD
2014 fantasy points: 306.10
There are a few reasons why Golson is a fascinating option. On one hand, he threw for more yards and tossed more touchdown passes last year than any returning quarterback in the ACC. On the other hand, he’ll be lining up under center for a new team this fall. While Notre Dame crashed and burned in the second half of the 2014 season, Golson still racked up impressive stats from a fantasy standpoint. He’ll be surrounded by top-level talent at Florida State, so there’s no doubt that he could be in for another big year.
1. Marquise Williams (North Carolina)
2014 stats: 3,068 pass yds, 21 TD, 9 INT, 788 rush yds, 13 TD
2014 fantasy points: 355.22
In terms of fantasy production, Williams was the top signal-caller in the league last season, and it wasn’t even close. Even without the passing numbers, Williams’ 788 yards and 13 scores on the ground would’ve made him a solid option as a running back.
The second-team All-ACC selection finished with four or more combined touchdowns on six different occasions as a junior, and this year he’ll be leading an offense that returns nine other starters. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Williams could throw for 3,000 yards and run for 1,000 as a senior, making him a strong candidate for the top overall pick in a fantasy draft.
ESPN standard scoring used for all fantasy stats. Fumbles lost not included in the calculations.