Headed into Week 3 of the college football season there have already been several games canceled or rescheduled due to Hurricane Florence. All of the games on the main slate on DraftKings appear to be safe to play at this point, so there is little concern that any games currently on the slate will be interrupted. With two or three games in the books for most of these teams, there is much more clarity regarding what each player's role in his respective offense will be. The college football season is heating up, and a handful of teams are entering conference games, which always matter just a little bit more considering the implications on conference championship berths and New Year's Six bowl auto-berths.
College football lineups on DraftKings are built entirely different from NFL lineups. The same $50,000 is allotted to build a lineup, but in college football, the lineup is comprised of 1 quarterback, 2 running backs, 3 wide receivers, 1 super-flex, and 1 flex position. The super-flex position can be filled by a player from any position, including quarterback. It is also worth noting that tight ends are included in the wide receiver player pool.
Listed here are the most notable games for DFS purposes. In green are games with the highest projected totals, according to betting markets, and in red are the games with the lowest projected totals on the slate. Try to avoid using too many players in any single lineup from one of the games in red. On the other hand, the games in green should provide enough points and fantasy points across the board to make multiple pieces on each team viable for fantasy lineups.
- Florida State @ Syracuse | GAME TOTAL: 68
- Hawaii @ Army | GAME TOTAL: 62
- Boise State @ Oklahoma State | GAME TOTAL: 63
- LSU @ Auburn | GAME TOTAL: 45
- BYU @ Wisconsin | GAME TOTAL: 44.5
Kyler Murray, Oklahoma, $10,200
Kyler Murray, the successor to Baker Mayfield under center for the Oklahoma Sooners, has hit the ground running. In Oklahoma’s opener, a 63-14 win over Florida Atlantic, Murray and the rest of the starters exited the game early in an effort to ensure that the team entered Week 2 healthy. Unfortunately, Oklahoma was not as lucky in Week 2, as they lost Heisman candidate Rodney Anderson to a season-ending knee injury. Anderson’s absence for the majority of the matchup against UCLA led to dual-threat quarterback Kyler Murray leading the team in rushing. Murray is an elite athlete and passer, and combining the two of those traits at a discounted price ($800 cheaper than last week) makes Murray the number one quarterback option for Week 3.
Trace McSorley, Penn State, $9,900
The weather in Happy Valley will be a major factor in this game. As of Thursday night, the chance of rain is hovering between 15 and 20 percent. Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall hundreds of miles away on Friday afternoon, but this is subject to change. Should the hurricane’s devastating wind and rain drift up and impact the weather in central Pennsylvania, Trace McSorley’s projected output will decrease substantially. If the weather holds up, as expected, McSorley and the Penn State Nittany Lions have one of the best matchups they will all season. The Nittany Lions are projected to score a whopping 48.75 points at home against Kent State this week, the highest total of any team on the main slate. Penn State’s passing game has one more tune-up before conference play kicks off next week against Illinois. Look for McSorley fully exploit one of the weakest defenses he will face all season and get his Heisman campaign back on track this weekend.
Deondre Francois, Florida State, $8,700
Rostering Deondre Francois this early in the season, given the results this offense has put up thus far, is not for the faint of heart. Florida State has struggled early under new head coach Willie Taggart-- losing to Virginia Tech in the opener, and scraping by Samford last week. Florida State’s Week 3 opponent, Syracuse plays at one of the fastest paces in the entire nation. Syracuse’s up-tempo offense leads to shootouts, such as their Week 1 game against Western Michigan that totaled 97 points between the teams. Francois and the Florida State offense have not impressed through their first two games, but this Saturday in Syracuse is the perfect time to figure things out. It is tough to stomach the risk associated with rostering Deondre Francois this week, but there is no better boom-or-bust option on the slate than this Florida State quarterback.
Fred Holly III, Hawaii, $5,100
Fred Holly III spearheads the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors’ rushing attack as they head to West Point, New York to face off against Army in Week 3. Army’s rushing defense was amongst the worst in the nation last year, ranking 112th in rushing S&P+ allowed. This season, the team has picked up right where it left off and allowed over five yards per carry to opponents. Holly III is the clear top-dog in the Hawaii backfield: he has carried the ball 17 times in each of the team’s first 2 games and scored at least once in each of them. In an elite matchup with the weak Army run defense, Holly III will surely be one of the most popular and most viable options at running back this weekend.
Jordan Mason, Georgia Tech, $5,700
Jordan Mason has successfully filled in for KirVonte Benson in each of the first two weeks of the season. In Week 1, Mason saw the field in a massive blowout of Alcorn State, and in Week 2, Benson went down with an injury. Mason has averaged about 7.5 yards per carry in his time on the field for Georgia Tech. This weekend, against Pittsburgh, Mason fills into the highest volume role at any skill position in the Georgia Tech offense. The Georgia Tech running game enters the game with a significant advantage over the Pittsburgh run defense, and, as a five-point favorite, the projected game flow favors Georgia Tech’s run game. Mason, as the up-back in Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense, projects for higher volume and efficiency than any comparably priced player on the slate.
Jafar Armstrong, Notre Dame, $7,500
Jafar Armstrong has seized the starting role in the Notre Dame backfield this year. In Week 3, Notre Dame takes on the Vanderbilt Commodores at home as 14.5-point favorites. Notre Dame is projected to dominate the trenches, as their offensive line has significantly outperformed Vanderbilt’s defensive line, should lead to a big day for Armstrong. The top-tier of running backs is littered with bad matchups and low projected game totals, but Jafar Armstrong and Notre Dame buck this trend. As heavy favorites in the game, the Fighting Irish should pound the rock and establish a run-heavy offense, leading to maximum production out of Jafar Armstrong.
Trey Sermon, Oklahoma, $7,300
Unfortunately, Oklahoma's starting running back, Rodney Anderson, went down with a season-ending knee injury last week against UCLA. Trey Sermon, a sophomore, is projected to fill Anderson's shoes in this prolific offense that has proved time-and-time-again to be fully capable of supporting top-flight quarterback and running back production. Last season Sermon ran for over 700 yards and 5 touchdowns while backing up Rodney Anderson on the depth chart. Now, with Trey Sermon as the starter, the Oklahoma Sooners head into Des Moines, Iowa to take on the Iowa State Cyclones as 17-point favorites. Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma's head coach and play caller, is one of the bright young offensive minds in college football. If all goes as planned and Oklahoma takes care of business, Riley will look to get Sermon off to a hot start in his first game as the starting running back. Sermon is filling the same role that has led 5 different players to rush for over 1,000 yards over the past 4 years, and for $7,300 the price does not match the role.
Jamal Custis, Syracuse, $6,500
Syracuse’s offense was left with two massive voids following the departures of Steve Ishmael and Ervin Phillips. Jamal Custis, a 6’5” senior has stepped into the top receiving role on the offense, and the 16 targets he has amassed over the first 1.5 games of the season (many starters were pulled around halftime of Syracuse’s Week 2 drubbing of Wagner) speak to just how much confidence quarterback Eric Dungey has in him. In Week 3, Syracuse faces off with the reeling Florida State Seminoles at home in a game projected to total about 68 points. Florida State’s secondary, in the past, has always been the calling card of the team, so much so that Jon Ledyard has gone so far as to call them “DBU.” This year, however, the FSU secondary has looked a bit shaky, allowing both Virginia Tech and Samford to throw for multiple touchdowns against them in the first two weeks of the season. Levonta Taylor was a player widely considered to be one of the top cornerbacks in the country entering the season, and he checks in at a generous 5’10”. This lack of size was exposed in the Seminoles’ opening game against Virginia Tech when quarterback Josh Jackson simply lofted the ball up in the end zone to Damon Hazelton, a 6’2” wide receiver for a touchdown. It was simply a case of “my guy is taller than you, so I trust my guy to make a play on the ball,” and Hazelton dominated the showdown in the air. Jamal Custis was targeted in the end zone three times in just the first half last weekend against Wagner, and this weekend up against Levonta Taylor and Florida State, more of the same should be in the game plan when the Orange are in a position to put points on the board.
Juwan Johnson, Penn State, $5,800
K.J. Hamler has found the end zone in each of the first two weeks, but Juwan Johnson is the number one target in Penn State’s offense. Through two games, Johnson has been targeted more than Hamler with a higher marginal efficiency than Hamler. This week against Kent State is one of the best matchups that Penn State’s passing game will have all season. The Nittany Lions are projected by the betting markets to score nearly 49-points in this matchup, which makes it the perfect matchup for Johnson to find the end zone and put to rest all worries of him being supplanted by Hamler as the top-dog through the air. There may be no better time than the present to stack Johnson with Trace McSorley, as the correlation between the two is as high as any reasonably priced quarterback and wide receiver stack on the slate.
Kalija Lipscomb, Vanderbilt, $5,400
The Vanderbilt passing attack runs through Kajila Lipscomb, and even against the tough Notre Dame defense he is likely to see more volume than nearly any other wide receiver on the slate. Lipscomb has been targeted over three times as much as any other wide receiver on Vanderbilt’s roster through two games. After leading all returning receivers in targets and receptions in 2017, Lipscomb has scored in each of the first two games. Against Notre Dame, as over 14-point underdogs, Vanderbilt will likely be playing catch-up throughout the game. Teams, when trailing by this much, pass substantially more than average to score as quickly as possible. If and when Vanderbilt falls behind in South Bend, Kalija Lipscomb’s target and reception numbers will shoot through the roof.
Florida State @ Syracuse | FLORIDA STATE -3.5, GAME TOTAL: 68
Florida State heads up to the Carrier Dome to take on Syracuse in New York this weekend in the game with the highest projected score of the entire slate. Syracuse runs one of the fastest offenses in the whole country, as shown by their 92 offensive plays in Week 1 against Western Michigan. Florida State lost to Virginia Tech in Week 1 and struggled to get by Samford last week, which is certainly cause for concern. Willie Taggart was hired to take over following Jimbo Fisher's departure in large part because of his offensive prowess. This offense is loaded with top-tier athletes and talent, and it is just a matter of time before they start to click. After their struggles to start the season, many players on Florida State's roster have seen their prices fall on DraftKings, making this a perfect buy-low opportunity in DFS. On Syracuse's side of the ball, senior Eric Dungey is starting for the fourth straight offense for the Orange. He has clearly taken the next step that Syracuse fans have been waiting for-- his 7 touchdowns through the first 2 games of the year already matches half of his total throughout the entire 2017 season. Syracuse's offense is heavily reliant on their passing game, and they consistently support two elite DFS wide receivers. Devin Butler and Jamal Custis will make big plays through the air, while Sean Riley sees higher volume underneath.
Hawaii @ Army | ARMY -6.5, GAME TOTAL: 62
Hawaii heads across the country to take on Army in a brutal 12:00 EST game, which is 6:00 AM in Hawaii. In similar games for the Rainbow Warriors, they have shockingly performed well in these early games. In 2010, Hawaii took on an Army team that finished the season 7-6 in a 12:00 EST game and pulled out a 31-28 victory. Through 3 games this season, Hawaii's offense has undoubtedly impressed by putting up at least 43 points in every game. There are two top options through the air: John Ursua and Cedric Byrd, but neither of them is cheap. On the ground, Fred Holly III is their bell cow running back (at least 16 carries in each of their first 3 games), and he is wildly underpriced at just $5,100 on DraftKings. For Army, the triple option offense muddies the waters a bit. Kelvin Hopkins, Jr. is in his first season as the starting quarterback for the Black Knights, but he will see the most consistent volume on this side of the ball. Fullback Darnell Woolfolk's role in this offense is to pound the ball up the middle in the triple option, which leads to plenty of opportunities to get in the end zone against a tired and weakened defense. Outside of these two, Calen Holt and Glen Coates are low-volume players with big-play potential in a possible shootout. Neither have very high floors, but in just one play they can make a huge difference at a bottom-dollar price for a GPP lineup.
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