Week 9 of the College Football season is here and it’s time to start getting our lineups ready for another full day of DFS over at DraftKings. We have two very manageable slates of games, but there’s still a bunch of ground to cover with 26 games in all. Let’s get started by taking a look at the early slate.
We have our usual 12pm kickoff time for the early set which includes 15 games this week, a nice little breather from last week’s 17 games for the same slate. Two huge tournaments kick the day off in style, the CFB $120K Redshirt and the CFB $110K Tailgate. Both tournaments offer a $10,000 first place prize, just with different tournament sizes and entry fees. The Redshirt is a large-field GPP with a $3 entry fee, while the Tailgate has a $27 buy-in and a smaller field.
On to the games themselves, we have projected totals ranging from a low of 43 points all the way up to a high of 79 points. Five games come in with at least 60 projected points, only two come in at less than 50 and the rest are in between. Of the higher scoring games, two come in with projected totals over 70 points while one just misses that mark. We’ll start with those three games to find some core players for our lineups.
- Oklahoma State @ Texas Tech. Oklahoma State -2 ½, 79.
- Tulsa @ SMU. Tulsa -2 ½, 75 ½.
- USC @ Cal. USC -5 ½, 69 ½.
Texas Tech is another one of those teams that seems to make our potential high-scoring games list each week. The Red Raiders have played eight games this season. Six of those games have had at least 89 combined points at the final whistle. Two of their games have gone as far as to break 100 points. When they are projected to be in a high-scoring affair, it’s wise to stop and take notice – both to the Red Raiders and their opponents. Players to keep in mind from the higher-scoring games:
- SMU QB Matt Davis, $7,600. Davis and the Mustangs welcome a Tulsa team to town that is allowing 301 yards passing per game. He is averaging 27.6 points per games and has delivered multiple touchdowns in five games this season. Our projections love Davis this week and we have him as our top projected quarterback of the early slate.
- Oklahoma State RB Chris Carson, $4,100. Texas Tech is allowing 281.5 yards per game on the ground and has given up 26 rushing touchdowns this season. We’ll want some exposure to the Cowboys running game. Carson leads the team in carries and while he’s only averaging 10.8 points per game, he does have a two-touchdown, 26.8-point effort under his belt in Week 3. He has good upside for a fantastic price, keep Carson in mind while setting your lineups.
- USC WR Juju Smith-Schuster, $7,300. This game could turn into a good old PAC-12 points fest and Smith-Schuster could be one of the biggest beneficiaries. He is averaging an incredible 28.4 points per game and has found the end zone on eight occasions. Cal can be had through the air, look for Smith-Schuster to find the end zone another once or twice.
The above three games look like they should have plenty of offensive fireworks. There are plenty of options to look at for all six teams, ranging from low-cost value plays to high-cost but high-upside players. Whichever direction you choose to go, be sure to have at least some exposure to these games. For the rest of the games on the early slate, here are some more players to keep on your radar.
- Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, $8,400. Mayfield was a bit of a letdown last week with only 17.08 points versus Texas Tech. Our memories are short for DFS and he has another prime opportunity in front of him against Kansas. Mayfield has five games with at least three touchdown passes this season and has a solid chance to add another to the list on Saturday.
- Iowa QB C.J. Beathard, $5,600. Beathard faces off with a beatable Maryland team that has allowed 17 passing touchdowns in 2015. He’s averaging 18.0 points per game this season but our projections like him to finish well north of there this week.
- Boise State RB Jeremy McNichols, $7,900. McNichols is quite simply a touchdown machine with 16 already this year. He’s averaging 31.5 points per game and our projections call for him to be the top producing running back of the early set of games.
- Texas A&M RB Tra Carson, $4,500. The Aggies suffered through their worst offensive performance of 2015 last week when they scored a paltry three points against Ole Miss. There’s uncertainty at the quarterback position and we could see a little more reliance on the ground game, making Carson a great target to keep in mind.
- UCLA WR Jordan Payton, $5,800. UCLA faces off with a Colorado team that can be beaten through the air as evidenced by their 14 passing touchdowns allowed in 2015. Payton is averaging 16.9 points per game but has only found the end zone four times. He has a great chance of increasing both numbers this Saturday.
- Nebraska WR Jordan Westerkamp, $4,500. Westerkamp is the leading receiver for a Cornhuskers squad that will turn the quarterback reins over to junior Ryker Fyfe due to Tommy Armstrong Jr. being held out due to injury. There’s some risk with a new quarterback, but he could rely on the team’s top target even more. Westerkamp is a value and a contrarian play with upside this week.
Saturday’s late slate kicks off at 7pm and includes 11 games. Featured tournaments include the CFB $70K Redshirt ($3 entry fee, $5,000 to 1st) and the CFB $50K Tailgate ($27 buy-in, $10,000 to 1st). The 11 games range from a low of 38 ½ projected points to a high of 63 ½. Only two games reach the magic number of at least 60 points and four of the games are projected for less than 50 points. Let’s take a look at the two 60+ point games to start plus one game that’s just a little south of there.
- Tulane @ Memphis. Memphis -32 ½, 63 ½.
- Stanford @ Washington State. Stanford -10 ½, 62.
- Arizona @ Washington. Washington -4 ½, 58.
We have one projected close game, one in-between and one projected blowout. The lines are a fantastic starting point to begin our research and help point us in the direction of how the game script may play out for each particular game. Starting from the top with Tulane @ Memphis, we see that Memphis should run the score up pretty well, pointing us to the Memphis passing game early and the Memphis running game for later in the game while they try to run out the clock. On the Tulane side of the ball, the running game will probably not be too much of a factor with such a big deficit to make up, but the game sets up pretty well for some second half garbage time points from the passing game.
For the Stanford @ Washington State game, the Stanford running game and the Washington State passing attack look to be good targets. As luck would have it, that happens to be an area of strength for both teams. Arizona @ Washington looks to be pretty close, so we’ll have to dig a little deeper into this one. Taking a look at the year-to-date defensive stats by team, we find that Arizona is allowing 281.8 yards per game through the air and 169.9 yards per game on the ground, while they have allowed 17 passing and 16 rushing touchdowns in 2015. For Washington, the numbers come in at 226.3 and six touchdowns through the air and 138.0 and eight touchdowns on the ground. Washington’s offense looks like a go on both fronts. Arizona’s offensive attack leans towards the run, which is a strength of the team, so we’ll look there as a first priority but won’t totally shy away from the passing game. Some players to keep on your radar for these projected high-scoring affairs:
- Memphis QB Paxton Lynch, $10,100. Lynch has been on fire along with the rest of the Memphis team. He produced an incredible 43.48 points last week against Tulsa and has great upside for this week’s matchup with Tulane. The blowout risk is high and his production will not come cheap, but we like him to be one of the top quarterbacks for the night games.
- Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey, $9,800. McCaffrey has been on a tear over the last two games, scoring 52.7 points in Week 7 and 45.1 last week. Stanford will be looking to slow down the high-powered Washington State offense, leading to plenty of caries and opportunity for McCaffrey. There’s no guarantee that he’ll break 40 points again of course, but we still like him to be one of the top backs of the evening.
- Washington WR Jaydon Mickens, $3,900. Arizona is susceptible to the passing game and Mickens leads Washington in targets. Although not a high-powered offense, he has a great opportunity to produce and has a bargain basement price to boot. We’ll need some value to fit in some of the high-priced studs and Mickens fits the bill.
Rostering both Lynch and McCaffrey would be next to impossible. Choose one as your base if you’re comfortable with the price and search for some value out of the other game as an alternative. There are plenty of intriguing value plays from all three of these high-scoring games, finding the right combination is half of the fun. For the rest of the late games, here are some more players to keep in mind:
- Kentucky QB Patrick Towles, $5,800. Towles has struggled of late and was pushed for some reps by Drew Barker last week. Monitor the news in case there’s a switch, but if Towles remains at the helm he’ll need a strong performance to cement his hold on the gig. This is a great price for a quarterback that could be pressed into delivering a big game.
- Duke QB Thomas Sirk, $6,800. Sirk threw for four touchdowns last week and produced 42.7 points against Virginia Tech. He faces of with a Miami team that just had 58 points dropped on them, resulting in the early departure of their head coach. As with any coaching change, there’s a risk of an inspired performance by the affected club, but we like Sirk’s chances to produce this week.
- Michigan RB De’Veon Smith, $5,000. Smith leads a strong Michigan team in carries by a wide margin with 96. No other back on the team has more than 42. He’s averaging 15.8 points per game this season and our projections call for him to top that number with some room to spare.
- Tennessee Jalen Hurd, $6,400. Hurd is averaging 20.8 points per game but has not broken the 20-point plateau for the last three games. Kentucky is allowing 172.7 yards per game on the ground and has surrendered 15 rushing touchdowns in 2015. This is a nice price for a back who is a key cog in an offense devoid of playmakers.
- Duke WR Max McCaffrey, $3,800. McCaffrey benefited from Sirk’s big day in a big way last week, finding the end zone twice on his way to 27.4 points. He’s the top receiving option for Duke and comes in at a bargain price, something we’ll need plenty of with the high-priced options for the night games.
- Texas WR Daje Johnson, $3,900. Johnson is another bargain option for your lineups on Saturday night. He leads the Longhorns in receptions this year and while they haven’t exactly been a prolific offense this season, he has the potential to produce. Iowa State is a defensively challenged squad. We could see some flashes of that potential this week.
That takes care of Saturday Sleepers and GPP plays for Week 9 and our walkthrough of the 26 games featured between the early and late slates. The season is going by quickly as always, be sure to get your lineups ready and get set to enjoy another huge Saturday of College Football action. Best of luck this weekend!