This article is part of our Conference Preview series.
We continue to add to our conference preview series with the American Athletic Conference. While the Power 5 conferences get all the attention when it comes to conference realignment, the AAC has undergone more changes than any of them heading into the 2023 season. Three of the conference's top-four finishers from last season – Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston – have moved to the Big 12. To supplement those losses, the AAC raided Conference USA to add Charlotte, FAU, North Texas, Rice, UAB and UTSA. On top of the changes to the makeup of the conference, individual rosters will look significantly different as well. Seven teams will head into the season with a new quarterback under center, and half of the conference has a new head coach.
Last season's conference champion Tulane heads into the 2023 campaign as clear favorites to repeat in a significantly weaker conference. This weaker competition bodes especially well for Green Wave quarterback Michael Pratt's fantasy outlook coming off an already impressive 37 total touchdown season. Last season's Conference USA champion UTSA has a slightly more difficult schedule this season, but the Roadrunners high-powered offense should be able to translate nicely to a new conference, especially given nearly the entire offense is returning.
Check out the 2023 College Fantasy Football Draft Kit, sleepers, busts and all-conference fantasy teams below.
2023 College Fantasy Football Draft Kit
- College Football Fantasy Quarterback Rankings
- College Football Projections
- College Football Fantasy Five
- College Football Rankings
- SEC Conference Preview
- ACC Conference Preview
- Big Ten Conference Preview
- Big 12 Conference Preview
- Pac-12 Conference Preview
- C-USA Conference Preview
- Mountain West Conference Preview
- College Football Cheat Sheet
- National Championship picks
- National Championship odds
- Heisman watch
- Heisman odds
Get ready for another exciting AAC season with the BetMGM Bonus Code!
AAC All-Conference Fantasy Teams
- QB: Frank Harris, UTSA
- RB: Kevorian Barnes, UTSA
- RB: Jermaine Brown, UAB
- WR: Joshua Cephus, UTSA
- WR: De'Corian Clark, UTSA
- TE: David Martin-Robinson, Temple
- QB: Michael Pratt, Tulane
- RB: Larry McCammon, Florida Atlantic
- RB: Shaadie Clayton-Johnson, Tulane
- WR: Luke McCaffrey, Rice
- WR: Jordan Kerley, SMU
- TE: RJ Maryland, SMU
- QB: Preston Stone, SMU
- RB: Jaylan Knighton, SMU
- RB: Marlon Gunn, ECU
- WR: Lajohntay Wester, Florida Atlantic
- WR: Amad Anderson, Temple
- TE: Oscar Cardenas, UTSA
2023 AAC Fantasy Sleepers
E.J. Warner, Quarterback, Temple
Warner struggled in his first seven starts last season as a true freshman. He threw for just 215 yards per game, tossed eight touchdowns and nine interceptions and had just one game completing over 60 percent of his passes. However, he completely turned his season around in the final four games as he averaged 381 passing yards per game, threw 10 touchdowns to three interceptions and completed over 70 percent of his passes in three of the final four games. Now playing in a weaker conference with another full offseason of training under his belt, Warner has a chance to be a borderline elite fantasy quarterback if he can continue his momentum from the end of last season.
Edward Saydee, Running Back, Temple
Saydee did not have a great season as the Owls' lead back last season, but he showed flashes of brilliance highlighted by his 265 yards and three touchdowns versus South Florida. Similar to his quarterback listed above, Saydee was much better in the second half of the 2022 season, especially through the air. In his first six games, he caught six total passes for 34 yards. In his final six games, he caught 30 passes for 228 yards, directly correlating with EJ Warner's improved play. With that aspect of his game unlocked in addition to his ability to dominate versus weaker opponents, Saydee could turn into a high-floor, high-ceiling option, especially in PPR formats.
Jaylen Johnson, Wide Receiver, East Carolina
The Pirates had a rough offseason, as the program lost its starting quarterback, running back, top two wide receivers and tight end. With all that production lost, Johnson has an opportunity to be a massive part of the offense. Last season's top two wide receivers – Isaiah Winstead and C.J. Johnson – both went for over 1,000 yards last season, in addition to combining for 155 receptions and 16 touchdowns. Although last year's starting quarterback is also gone, the offensive system which produced two elite receivers remains. While Jaylen Johnson is not a carbon copy of Winstead or C.J. Johnson, the former Georgia recruit is extremely talented and looks primed to be the Pirates' top option in the passing game.
Joseph Scates, Wide Receiver, Memphis
Similarly to Jaylen Johnson, Scates enters the 2023 campaign as one of the few returning contributors from last season. Quarterback Seth Henigan is returning, but his top four receivers from last season have all moved on. Scates was fifth on the team in receiving yards last season (412), third in touchdowns (four) and led the team with an impressive 22.9 yards per reception. Scates is unlikely to become an elite option given Henigan loves spreading the ball around evenly, but an increased target share for an explosive player like him could mean leading the team in yards and touchdowns this season.
2023 AAC Fantasy Busts
Tai Lavatai, Quarterback, Navy
There is no guarantee Lavatai will even start for the Midshipmen as he is currently in a battle with Xavier Arline for the starting job. If he does manage to keep the job, his fantasy prospects are not great. Coming off a season-ending knee injury is not ideal for any player, but even more so for a quarterback in an option offense. He was not particularly productive in the past two seasons either, outside of a few elite performances. Last season he only threw for over 150 yards once and only managed over 40 rushing yards once as well. Even if he does start the season under center, it's best to stay away from the senior quarterback.
Tyler Lavine, Running Back, SMU
Lavine stepped up big time last season after the Mustangs dealt with a plethora of injuries in the backfield. He came into that season as a complete afterthought and ended it with 689 total yards and eight touchdowns in the final six games of the season as the starter. While it was a great story, a sequel may not be in the cards. Jaylan Knighton transferred to the program from Miami (Fla.) and LJ Johnson transferred in from Texas A&M. On top of that, Camar Wheaton, a now-sophomore who struggled with injuries last season, is back and healthy. Lavine is also recovering from offseason knee surgery and while he is expected to be ready for the start of the season, that missed time could affect his place on the depth chart. It is unlikely Lavine will be completely locked out of the backfield, but it is hard to imagine him receiving a workhorse role in a backfield with this much talent.
Iverson Celestine, Running Back, Tulane
Thanks to Tyjae Spears, Tulane's backfield production was one of the best in the country last season. With Spears off to the NFL, there is a massive opportunity in the Green Wave backfield. Unfortunately for Celestine, there are a lot of running backs vying for that chance. Celestine and Shaadie Clayton-Johnson were the second and third options last season, and while Celestine received 20 more carries, Clayton-Johnson out-rushed him, gained nearly two more yards per carry and scored two touchdowns to Celestine's zero. Liberty transfer Shedro Louis and three-star recruit Arnold Barnes will also be vying for playing time. While Celestine could win the job early on in the season and become the workhorse back, with so much talent in the backfield the odds are against him.
Moochie Dixon, Wide Receiver, SMU
The Mustangs lost Rashee Rice this offseason, who was third in the country with 1,355 receiving yards in addition to his 96 receptions and 10 touchdowns. There is a lot of production to make up for in the SMU passing attack, and while Dixon was third on the team in receptions and yards, new recruits may push back down the depth chart. Jordan Kerley is the most likely to take over the No. 1 role and Jake Bailey will likely retain his role as slot receiver after missing most of last season with an injury. Jordan Hudson joined the program this offseason after one solid season at TCU, and Key'Shawn Smith transferred in after three seasons at Miami (Fla.), following his offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee who took over as head coach at SMU. With two talented receivers joining the roster and two players returning who were already ahead of him in the depth chart, Dixon may be the odd man out in the Mustangs' passing attack.