College football fans across the country were finally treated to a week of pure chaos last week. Oregon pulled off the upset at home against Washington, LSU dominated Georgia, and Michigan State shockingly handled Penn State, leading to one of the biggest shake-ups in the AP top-25 in recent memory. This slate on DraftKings features a handful of those teams looking to either bounce back or keep the good times rolling. There are certainly some subjective factors in college football that are very tough to quantify, like sandwich games and rivalry games, but, as always, I will certainly do my best to break all of that down as clearly and concisely as possible using all relevant data.
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 the game(s) in red. On the other hand, the game(s) in green should provide enough points and fantasy points across the board to make multiple pieces on each team viable for fantasy lineups
- AUBURN @ OLE MISS | AUBURN (-4), GAME TOTAL: 62.5
- MEMPHIS @ MISSOURI | MIZZOU (-7.5), GAME TOTAL: 74
- MICHIGAN @ MICHIGAN STATE | MICHIGAN (-7), GAME TOTAL: 41.5
Brady White -- $6,600
Brady White played in the game with the highest projected total on the slate last weekend, against the UCF Golden Knights, but unfortunately mother nature had other ideas. The game still totaled over 60 points, but the passing games played relatively minor roles in that shootout. This weekend, Brady White’s price has dropped to $6,600, yet he once again plays in the game projected to total the most points on the slate. Going up against Missouri’s defense, Brady White and the Memphis Tigers are projected to score 32.25 points (this number is derived from the betting markets spread and total) this weekend. Missouri’s defense is far better than most American Athletic Conference teams, but at this bottom-dollar price of $6,600, as long as White and the Tigers are not going up against one of the nation’s elite defenses, he is a viable play. Brady White provides salary relief on a slate with many elite options at running back and wide receiver, giving him substantially more value given the context of the slate.
Trace McSorley -- $8,900
Following back-to-back losses, Trace McSorley’s price has dropped below $9,000 for the first time all season. McSorley’s production certainly has not warranted this drop in price; aside from a poor showing last weekend against the Michigan State Spartans, McSorley has produced at least 23.4 DraftKings points in every single game this season. That floor, 23.4 points, even came in a game at Pittsburgh in which it was pouring rain for a majority of the game, but McSorley still managed to throw for two touchdown and add another one rushing. McSorley provides value both through the air and on the ground, topping out at 175 rushing yards in a single game this season (against Ohio State.) Indiana this weekend poses little threat to Penn State, and Penn State enters as two-touchdown favorites in the game. Penn State, regardless of their recent losses at the hands of Ohio State and Michigan State, is still a very good team, and the likelihood of three straight losses is extremely small. Look to McSorley to provide fantasy production worthy of a near-$10,000 price tag this week, and he’ll do it for just $8,900
Shea Patterson -- $6,200
DISCLAIMER: Shea Patterson should only be used in GPP lineups, or in the cash games of the absolute most risk-tolerant players out there.
Shea Patterson, over the past two weeks, has shown glimpses of the Ole Miss version that many (including myself) were so excited about entering this season. Last week, Patterson got out into space running the ball and, not including the 81 yard run or sacks, he scrambled for about 30 yards in the game. This change in rushing volume shows that Michigan may finally be adjusting to Patterson rather than forcing Patterson to adjust to Michigan. In Week 8, on the heels of a monster game against Wisconsin, Michigan faces off against in-state rival, Michigan State. Michigan State is also coming off of their biggest win of the season thus far, and there may be a bit of a hangover in store for the Spartans. All of that, however is subjective and (mostly) unmeasurable. What can be measured, on the other hand, is the Michigan State pass defense. Simply put, Sparty’s pass defense is not good. The unit ranks 77th in marginal efficiency allowed per pass and 111th in completion rate allowed. Combine those numbers with their inability to rush the quarterback (88th in the nation in sack rate), and Patterson should have all day to pick apart Michigan State’s weak secondary. As previously mentioned, Patterson has proven throughout the year that he does not offer a safe floor for cash games, but this is the perfect matchup for Patterson to reach his ceiling for just $6,200
Others to consider: Jet Duffey vs. Kansas, Drew Lock vs. Memphis (see: Game Stack), A.J. Bush vs. Wisconsin (GPP ONLY)
Jonathan Taylor -- $9,700
Jonathan Taylor is many things, but this week cheap is not one of them. The price tag, however, is not reason enough to fade him in cash-games. Jonathan Taylor has eclipsed 100 yards rushing in every game this season, even last week’s matchup with Michigan’s elite defense. This weekend, against Illinois, Taylor gets one of the easiest matchups he will see all season. Illinois’ run defense ranks no better than 117th in marginal efficiency allowed, opportunity rate allowed, or stuff rate. Illinois fields one of the weakest defenses in the entire country, and Wisconsin will certainly be looking to bounce back from their drubbing last week at the hands of the Michigan Wolverines. Jonathan Taylor’s floor needs to be high to warrant this near-$10,000 price tag, and it is unmatched amongst running backs. Couple the floor with his incredible ceiling (multiple 40-point games this year,) and Taylor is the top option at running back in Week 8.
Tony Pollard -- $4,500
Tony Pollard was one of the most popular options last week in cash games amongst sharps and the field alike. This week, Pollard’s price has risen $1,200 but it still may not match his level of involvement in the offense. Pollard is a rare playmaker, the likes of which are unmatched on the Memphis roster this season. Tony Pollard is the type of player that offensive coordinators and play callers love to get the ball to in open space and let him go to business. Last week, he hauled in 6 passes for 45 yards and scampered for a 19 yard touchdown on the ground as well. This week, against Missouri, Memphis is expected to engage in another shootout. If Memphis is going to pull off this upset, they will need to get the ball to their top playmakers as much as possible. Typically that would involve a heavy dose of Darrell Henderson, but Missouri sports one of the nations top-30 rush defenses according to most relevant metrics. Through the air, however Missouri struggles quite a bit, and even though Pollard is classified as a running back, he does a large chunk of his damage in the passing game. At running back this weekend, Tony Pollard will likely be one of the chalkier options when players look to save some salary.
Jatarvious Whitlow -- $5,200
Auburn is absolutely reeling at this point in the season. If scouts did not know any better, they may think Jarrett Stidham was tanking his draft stock on purpose. Originally a playoff-hopeful, Auburn is just hoping to hold onto its winning record at this point in the season, and in order to do that the Tigers are going to need to go into Ole Miss and come out with a victory. Jatarvious Whitlow currently (this is being written on Wednesday afternoon and will be updated as more news flows in) hold a questionable tag on DraftKings, but he practiced on Wednesday, signalling he will play this weekend. Ole Miss’ offense is one of the most entertaining in the nation, with their plethora of top-notch wide receivers, even without D.K. Metcalf (get well soon, D.K.) On defense, however, the Rebels struggle mightily in all phases of the game. Their rush-defense ranks no better than 98th in the nation in any of the three major metrics for evaluating defenses (marginal efficiency allowed, opportunity rate allowed, and stuff rate.) The Auburn Tigers’ offense is primed to bounce back this weekend against the Rebels, and if they do, Whitlow will surely be a major factor in their victory.
Others to consider: Pookie Williams Jr. vs. Texas Tech, Trey Sermon vs. TCU, Miles Sanders vs. IndianaWide receiver
Jalen Reagor -- $6,900
Jalen Reagor and the Horned Frogs of TCU host the Oklahoma Sooners this weekend. TCU is a 7.5-point underdog in the game, as Oklahoma is a clearly more talented team, and they are coming off of a bye week. Oklahoma fired its defensive coordinator following their loss to Texas in the Red River Rivalry in which they allowed nearly 50 points. Oklahoma may look different defensively, but the chances of that happening are not very good, and this is especially tough to forecast. What is not tough to forecast is Reagor’s massive role in the passing game for TCU. Reagor has commanded at least 10 targets in 5 straight games. This volume is nearly unmatched on the entire slate, and every player who can threaten Reagor’s involvement costs nearly $8,000 and is in a significantly tougher matchup. On this slate, there is no need to pay up for a wide receiver more expensive than Reagor in cash-games.
Ryan Davis -- $4,800
Ryan Davis is the most reliable receiver for the Auburn Tigers, and regardless of their recent results, this matchup is one of the best matchups the offense will have all season. Ole Miss loves to play fast, and that means more possessions (and opportunities) for their opponents as well. Ryan Davis is Auburn’s go-to receiver when they need someone to make a play in the open field. Last week when the Tigers fell behind Tennessee, the offense relied upon a variety of intermediate routes by Davis to move the ball up and down the field as they tried to make a late surge. Ryan Davis has been targeted over 10 times in each of Auburn’s last 2 games, and this weekend against Ole Miss forecasts to be a great game for Davis to make it 3 in a row. Davis’ price does not reflect this high-volume role in Auburn’s aerial attack. For just $4,800, Ryan Davis is one of the most reliable options on the slate amongst players below $5,000.
Justyn Ross -- $5,000
Justyn Ross entered Clemson as one of the most highly touted freshman wide receivers in the nation. In recent weeks, Ross has shown exactly why many collegiate scouts were so high on him: few can match his big-play ability. Ross has broken a 50+ yard play in 3 out of 4 weeks, and the week he did not, Clemson threw the ball with rarity. Justyn Ross fails to provide a floor like the other wide receivers listed above, but in a GPP, Ross is a great place for differentiation. Tee Higgins, Clemson’s top wide receiver, is questionable for this game against NC State, and if he is unable to suit up, Justyn Ross’ playing time and opportunity will sky rocket. It is yet to be seen what kind of volume and target share Ross will see as one of the top two receivers in the offense, but that adds to his GPP viability. While the field will likely reserve judgement until Ross proves himself in an expanded role, being ahead of the curve and rostering Ross before everyone else hops on the bandwagon makes for a great GPP move.
Other options to consider: Albert Ogwuegbunam vs. Memphis (see: Game Stack), Damonte Coxie vs. Missouri (see: Game Stack), Ja'Deion High vs. Kansas
Memphis @ Missouri, GAME TOTAL: 74
The Memphis Tigers were featured in this section of last week’s article as well, and this weekend against Missouri, they will be playing in the game with the highest projected total on the slate. In this matchup, look for exposure to the aerial attacks rather than the ground-games of each team. Drew Lock was less-than-stellar last week against Alabama, but it was Alabama, after all. This week, Lock and the Missouri Tigers face off with a Memphis secondary that is ranked in the middle-of-the-pack in most pass defense categories. Along with Lock, look to big Albert “Albert O” Okwuegbunam to be the focal point of the passing game. Since Missouri’s top wide receiver, Emmanuel Hall, went down with a groin injury, Albert O has been the most targeted player in Missouri’s offense. He also is a very inexpensive piece to pair with Drew Lock this week. Jalen Knox is also worth a look as a viable pivot off of a guy like Ryan Davis or Tony Pollard (in the flex) this weekend. For Memphis, Brady White & Tony Pollard have already been listed as some of the top options at their respective positions. Along with those two, look to Damonte Coxie to near his production ceiling this weekend in an up-tempo and high-scoring game. Coxie is the most-targeted player in Memphis’ offense, and in a game that could turn into an all-out aerial onslaught from both teams, he is primed to eclipse 100 yards for the third time this season.
If you have any questions or recommendations for the article, as always, let me know on twitter @ThaGreatZambino!