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Devy Fantasy Football: Sleepers in the ACC

May 19, 2021

Every off-season, devy managers are tested to see if they can determine which players will be breakout candidates in the upcoming year. If you want to succeed as a devy manager, knowing which players have a chance at that breakout and drafting them before their value increases is key to achieving long-term success in these leagues. To help you with those tough decisions, I broke down key players at each position that are primed for a breakout type year and are worth drafting in your upcoming devy drafts. In this edition of devy sleepers, I took a deep dive into the ACC Conference.


Jeff Sims  (SO) 6-3 215lbs Georgia Tech: Jeff Sims started 10 games last season as a true freshman for the Yellow Jackets. The results were mixed. He completed 141 of 257 attempts for 1,811 yards and 13 touchdowns while also adding 492 yards on the ground and six touchdowns. While those numbers look good for a true freshman, Sims struggled with his accuracy (54.9%) and had turnover issues. He threw 13 interceptions and had five fumbles lost. But when you watched him play last season, he had moments that made you excited about his future. He is a true dual-threat talent with playmaking ability. Sims possesses the arm talent needed to succeed in Division One and did exhibit great ball placement at times last season. If Sims can develop his awareness and learn how to read defenses, we could see a breakout season from the sophomore QB.

Running Backs

Jashaun Corbin (JR) 6’0 215lbs Florida State: Before playing at Florida State, Corbin played college football at Texas A&M, where he was responsible for over 1,000 all-purpose yards and was a threat all over the field. Corbin transferred to FSU after the 2019 season and saw average production in 2020. He rushed for 401 yards on 81 attempts and scored five touchdowns. He also caught 19 passes for 115 yards. Florida State had one of the worst offensive lines in the country last season and passing attacks, but Corbin came on strong towards the end of the season and is primed for a breakout year in 2021. Corbin should benefit from playing in Mike Norvell’s system for a second season as well. As a runner Corbin, has excellent acceleration and vision. He’s an explosive one cut back and can catch the ball well out of the backfield. Corbin reminds me of a bigger version of former Memphis running back Kenneth Gainwell Jr. He should be their starter this year, and with that opportunity, we could see his stock rise. His current ADP is one of the best values in devy drafts. 

Phil Mafah (FR) 6’1 215lbs Clemson: While everyone in college football has been waiting for the arrival of five-star running back Will Shipley, the player I am most excited about on the Clemson Tigers is Phil Mafah.  Mafah played his prep school career in Georgia, where he ran for a career total of  2,526 yards on 288 attempts and 37 touchdowns. Mafah is a massive runner with elite size and strength. Even with his size, he was underrated breakaway speed and has excellent footwork for a running back his size. The comparison that I have for him is former USC running back Leendale White. Like White, Mafah has a big frame, but one area that sets him apart is his excellent athleticism, and he is a bit faster. It would not surprise me to see Mafah get early playing time this season and for him to get a majority of Redzone carries for the Tigers.  

Wide Receivers

Joseph Ngata (JR) 6-3 220lbs Clemson: The 6’3 220lb receiver amassed 188 receptions for 3,682 yards with 55 touchdowns through his high school career. Ngata was one of the best wide receiver prospects in California state history. Unfortunately for Ngata, he has struggled with injuries the past two seasons, which has limited his production at the college stage. If Ngata can stay healthy, he will be one of the biggest risers in the 2022 WR class. He has a rare combination of size and athleticism for the position. He has one of the best releases on the Clemson team and is a YAC threat every time he touches the ball. He can also catch the ball no matter where it’s thrown on the field. His hands are special! The only area that Ngata needs to improve is his ability to stay on the field. If he can do that, Ngata should be D.J. Uiagalelei’s top target next season, even with the return of Justyn Ross

Josh Downs (SO) 5-10 180lbs North Carolina: North Carolina’s football team lost Javonte Williams, Michael Carter, Dyami Brown, and Dazz Newsome to the NFL this past year. The player that should help fill that void is Josh Downs. Downs played sparingly last season, but he showed up big time in their bowl game against Texas A&M. He had four receptions for 91 yards and two touchdowns. Downs should be the number one target of All-American QB Sam Howell. He has a recorded forty-time of 4.46 and is a big-play threat all over the field. His speed allows him to beat defenses over the top and create separation in his routes. His most impressive attribute is his release off the line. He’s one of the top sophomore wide receivers in the country, and his stock should rise with Howell throwing him the football. 

Tight Ends

James Mitchell (JR) 6’3 252lbs Virginia Tech: Mitchell has quietly had two terrific seasons for the Hokies. Over the last two seasons, he has caught 47 receptions for 796 yards and six touchdowns. Even though he doesn’t have the biggest frame, he has been able to add almost twenty-five pounds of muscle over the past two seasons. Mitchell was a quarterback in high school and was asked to move to tight end his freshman season at Virginia Tech. Considering that, his development has been phenomenal. He’s a versatile athlete that has been used at every position on the field, including H-Back. As a receiver, he uses his body well to create separation against defenders and is a matchup problem for defenses. He has solid hands and can make defenders miss in the open field. He’s a very solid prospect, and with another year of development at the position, we could be talking about him as an NFL prospect in 2021.

Kevin Coleman is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Kevin, check out his archive and follow him @Daboys_22.

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