Week 8 is in the books and we are approaching crunch time in the march towards bowl season and the playoffs. The SEC is well represented in the latest Top 25 poll with five teams, led by Alabama at number seven and undefeated LSU at number four. It will be interesting to see if any of the SEC teams can separate themselves from the pack or if the war of attrition that is the SEC schedule fails to produce a viable title contender. We have some time for that to sort itself out, for now we’ll take it one week at a time. Let’s take a look back at the week that was in the SEC, starting with a dominating performance by one of the top quarterbacks in the nation.
Kentucky @ Mississippi State
Game Recap: A dominating offensive performance by Dak Prescott led the Bulldogs to their third consecutive victory, this time by a score of 42-16.
Key Players: Kentucky – The Wildcats were able to move the ball on Saturday as evidenced by their 423 total yards of offense, but turnovers and an inability to convert that yardage into enough points to keep pace ultimately doomed their efforts. Patrick Towles completed 23 of 42 for 218 yards, two picks and added on 13 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Drew Barker also saw time at quarterback, throwing for 42 yards and a pick and also rushing for 20 yards. Stanley Williams had another productive day with 111 combined yards but failed to find the end zone. Garrett Johnson led all receivers with 74 yards off of five catches.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs offense was dominant on Saturday, compiling 586 total yards en route to scoring 42 points. Dak Prescott had an incredible six total touchdowns, three through the air and three on the ground. He threw for 348 yards and ran for 117 yards. The only negative against his performance was a second quarter interception. Prescott accounted for the bulk of the team’s rushing yards, but Brandon Holloway averaged 6.0 yards per carry while rushing for 36 yards. Ten different Bulldogs recorded catches, with Holloway’s 5/98/1 leading the way. Fred Ross threw for a 34-yard touchdown and chipped in two catches for 11 yards. De’Runnya Wilson caught four passes for 91 yards and a score.
Key Injuries: None.
Players to Watch: Kentucky – The Wildcats will welcome Tennessee to town on Saturday. Towles should continue to lead the offense, but there is the possibility that Barker’s involvement was somewhat of an audition. Tennessee is a middle of the road defense against both the pas and the run. Williams should remain on the DFS radar and is the most reliable option from the Wildcats. Johnson and Dorian Baker remain the top two receiving targets, with 33 and 37 receptions respectively.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs have the week off before traveling to Missouri for a Thursday Night game on November 5th. Prescott remains an elite option for DFS, but his typically high salary may be a little too much to risk against a tough Missouri defense. We can continue to avoid the running game as Prescott is also the team’s leading rusher. Wilson and Ross continue to be the top two receiving threats, with 33/524/6 and 40/433/1 respectively.
Auburn @ Arkansas
Game Recap: Auburn and Arkansas needed four overtimes to decide things on Saturday. Brandon Allen’s 25-yard touchdown pass to Drew Morgan in the fourth overtime proved to be the game-winner as Arkansas went on to secure a 54-46 victory.
Key Players: Auburn – Sean White completed 19 of 32 passes for 254 yards and no touchdowns, but was hampered by a slew of dropped passes. All six of the Tigers touchdowns came via the running game as the team combined for 162 rushing yards and six scores. Peyton Barber led the way with 37 carries for 120 yards and four touchdowns. Jason Smith and Jeremy Johnson ran in the other scores. Ricardo Louis was again the top receiving option with six catches for 79 yards.
Arkansas: A balanced attack of 244 passing yards and 213 yards on the ground proved to be a winning formula for the Razorbacks. Brandon Allen completed 19 of 31 for 233 yards, three touchdowns and a pick. The ground game was led by Alex Collins and his 25 carries for 106 yards and a score, but two other backs had an impact on the score sheet. Kody Walker carried the ball only eight times for 32 yards but found the end zone twice, while Dominique Reed had three carries for 25 yards and a score of his own. Hunter Henry and Drew Morgan were the top receiving options with 5/68/0 and 6/56/2 respectively. Jeremy Sprinkle was on the receiving end of Allen’s other touchdown throw, taking his only reception 23 yards for a score.
Key Injuries: Arkansas RB Rawleigh Williams III suffered a scary injury after a tackle in the third quarter and was taken to a local hospital. Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema announced in a statement that he underwent successful surgery and is expected to make a full recovery.
Players to Watch: Auburn – Auburn takes on a tough Ole Miss team on Saturday. Ole Miss has been pretty strong against the run and decent against the pass, allowing 121.1 yards and 217.4 yards per game respectively. White seems to be coming around as a passer, but there are better targets for DFS. Louis makes for an interesting receiving option as he leads the team in receptions and yardage by a wide margin with 32 receptions for 426 yards this season. Barber is firmly in control of the backfield and has put together some nice stats, with 770 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Arkansas: Arkansas faces of with a Tennessee-Martin team this week that was destroyed by the other SEC team it faced this year. Ole Miss racked up 76 points in Week 1 and managed to hang on for a 76-3 victory. While Arkansas does not possess the firepower of Ole Miss, they should be able to rack up some nice stats. A combo of Allen and either Morgan or Henry could be a nice low-cost option on 2 QB sites. Collins should have his way in the backfield on Saturday, just be wary of a second half spent on the bench if it turns into a blowout.
Texas A&M @ Ole Miss
Game Recap: Ole Miss stormed to a 16-3 halftime lead and clamped down defensively on Texas A&M throughout the game on their way to a 23-3 victory.
Key Players: Texas A&M – This was by far the Aggies worst offensive performance of the year. They could not move the ball effectively in either facet. Kyle Allen struggled throughout and completed only 12 of 34 for 88 yards and a pick. Jake Hubernak saw time behind center as well, completing six of 11 for 46 yards. The team as a whole combined for 58 rushing yards, 48 of which belonged to Tra Carson. Ricky Seals-Jones led all receivers with three catches for 75 yards.
Ole Miss: A balanced attack did the trick for the Rebels on Saturday, as they gained 241 yards through the air and 230 yards on the ground. Chad Kelly completed 26 of 41 with three touchdowns, but also had three picks. Jaylen Walton was the most productive back in the backfield, carrying the ball 22 times for 97 yards. Laquon Treadwell had his third consecutive 100-yard receiving day. He caught five balls for 102 yards and a touchdown, his fourth touchdown over the past three games.
Key Injuries: None.
Players to Watch: Texas A&M – For the Aggies, they have little time to regroup before turning around to face South Carolina at home on Saturday. There is uncertainty at the quarterback position due to Allen’s poor play on Saturday. Monitor the news, it might be time to take a pass on the Aggies quarterback for a week until we see how things shake out. That being said, a bargain basement or very low price would make whoever starts an intriguing option. This is still a high-powered offense when they are clicking on all cylinders. It was an off week for Carson, Christian Kirk and the rest of the Aggies offense, but the two players remain the best DFS options at their respective positions.
Ole Miss: The Rebels travel to Auburn this week and we may get the high-scoring affair next week that many were anticipating this week. Fire up Kelly and Treadwell at will – Treadwell especially. He’s playing at a very high-level and going for his fourth consecutive 100-yard receiving game. The Rebels running game looked much improved on Saturday Night, placing Walton back on the radar as a low-cost running back or flex option.
Tennessee @ Alabama
Game Recap: A 14-yard Derrick Henry touchdown run with a little over two minutes remaining was the difference as Alabama squeaked by Tennessee, 19-14.
Key Players: Tennessee – Joshua Dobbs played better than the stat sheet would indicate in a tough environment against an even tougher opponent. He completed 13 of 22 for 171 yards and a touchdown, an 11-yard strike to Josh Smith. Jalen Hurd was also impressive against a strong defense, carrying the ball 18 times for 92 yards and a score. Alvin Kamara chipped in 65 combined yards, 44 on the receiving end which led all receivers.
Alabama: Jake Coker was an efficient 21 of 27 for 247 yards, but failed to find the end zone and had one pick. Ardarius Stewart and Calvin Ridley tied for the team lead in receiving yardage with 88 apiece, while O.J. Howard chipped in seven catches for 55 yards. The day belonged to Derrick Henry, who put forth his second consecutive extremely impressive performance. Henry carried the ball 28 times for 143 yards and two touchdowns, the second game in a row that he has found the end zone twice.
Key Injuries: None.
Players to Watch: Tennessee – The Volunteers travel to Kentucky this week. Dobbs and Hurd can be rolled out with confidence for what should be an entertaining game. Dobbs has thrown for 1,272 yards and nine touchdowns and rushed for 387 yards and five scores so far this year. Hurd has accumulated 749 combined yards and nine touchdowns. There remain no viable receiving threats for DFS purposes.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide have a much needed week off before welcoming LSU to town on November 7 for what should be a tough defensive battle. Coker has settled in fairly well as starting quarterback but is probably best left off of your DFS rosters for the LSU game. It’s hard to take a pass on Henry with the way he’s rolling, we’ll have to see how he’s priced for the game before making a final determination. Rolling with a Tide receiver could be considered for a GPP flier depending on price, but temper expectations and view it as a boom-bust play. Ridley would be the top choice due to his deep-threat ability, followed by Stewart.
Missouri @ Vanderbilt
Game Recap: Vanderbilt prevailed in a low-scoring, defensive-oriented game, walking away with a 10-3 victory.
Key Players: Missouri – As you would expect, a defensive-oriented game produced little in the way of productive DFS performances. Drew Lock completed only 14 of 34 for 108 yards and was also the team’s leading rusher with 39 yards on eight attempts. Russell Hansbrough had little to show for his eight rushing attempts, finishing the day with 12 yards. Wesley Leftwich led receivers with 38 yards on three catches.
Vanderbilt: Kyle Shurmur and Johnny McCrary both saw time behind center on Saturday. Shurmur completed 10 of 20 for 89 yards while McCrary completed 7 of 8 for 47 yards. Ralph Webb was the engine for the Commodores offense and scored the lone touchdown of the game. He carried the ball 26 times for 99 yards and a score and also caught one pass for 11 yards. Trent Sherfield paced receivers with five catches for 35 yards.
Key Injuries: None.
Players to Watch: Missouri – The Tigers have some time off before facing Mississippi State on Thursday, November 5. Even with what will be a small slate of Thursday games, the Tigers look to be an avoid for DFS purposes. Mississippi State is allowing 213.5 yards passing per game and 161.8 per game on the ground. The only Tiger even worth a look at this point is Hansbrough and he has not produced anything noteworthy with 259 combined yards and zero end zone trips this season.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores travel to Houston this week to take on the Cougars. It’s unclear if we are looking at a committee situation at quarterback or if one is in line for the majority of reps going forward, so it’s probably best to avoid Commodore quarterbacks until we have some more clarity. Webb is the top option for DFS purposes but will be facing a tough rushing defense this week. Expectations should be tempered if you plan on including him on your roster. Sherfield has shown some flashes this season, but represents little more than a GPP flier without more clarity or production at quarterback.
Western Kentucky @ LSU
Game Recap: LSU went into halftime with a 14-7 lead but kicked it up a notch in the second half and cruised to a 48-20 victory.
Key Players: Brandon Harris had his finest game of the season on Saturday, completing 11 of 20 for 286 yards and three touchdowns. Leonard Fournette slowed down a little bit off his torrid pace, but still ran for 150 yards and a touchdown. Travin Dural and Malachi Dupre were again the standouts at wide receiver, posting lines of 5/132/1 and 3/86/1 respectively. Tyron Johnson received the other touchdown on his only reception of the game, a 61-yard pass from Harris.
Key Injuries: None.
Players to Watch: LSU has the week off before a pivotal game on November 7 against Alabama. Harris is turning into a pretty decent DFS option with seven touchdowns over his past three games. We should hold expectations in check for what should be a slugfest type of a game, but keep him on the radar going forward. While Fournette may not produce a monster game against the Tide, he should still produce. His salary will remain high and there may be better options for that particular week. Dural and Dupre are also turning into pretty reliable options but should be viewed as GPP fliers for the upcoming game
Other SEC Teams: Florida, Georgia and South Carolina were off this week.