Last week, minor pricing errors in the DraftKings player pool was the overwhelming theme of the main slate of Saturday's college football action. Suppressed prices led to players like J.K. Dobbins becoming instantly viable in all formats, and in that specific instance, it paid massive dividends via a 40.5-point performance. This weekend, injury uncertainty looms over the DraftKings main slate, emphasizing the need for contingency plans leading up to lock (and even after lock.) Players like Colorado's Laviska Shenault, Jr. lead the way at their respective positions, but given the lack of quality injury reporting in college football his availability for Saturday's game is unknown.
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
- OLE MISS @ TEXAS A&M | TEXAS A&M (-11), GAME TOTAL: 66.5
- NORTHWESTERN @ IOWA | IOWA (-10), GAME TOTAL: 47.5
- OKLAHOMA STATE @ OKLAHOMA | OKLAHOMA (-21), GAME TOTAL: 79.5
NOTE REGARDING ALL QUESTIONS FOR THE WEEK
Given the relative lack of information regarding player availability and injuries in college football, having a plan before the slate for all (reasonable) situations involving injured players will prove to be critical in separating the sharp players from the rest of the field. To ensure that all FootballGuys readers are a piece of the former group instead of the latter, I will be sure to answer any and all questions (within reason) on twitter at @ThaGreatZambino via either DM or a simple tweet! This week may be trickier than most, but this should prove to give the sharpest college football DFS players a significant edge over the competition.
Kyler Murray and the Oklahoma Sooners have risen in the College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings as they sit at 6th, on the outside looking in. The Sooners lone loss against Texas was certainly no fault of Kyler Murray’s (he posted over 300 passing yards and 5 total touchdowns in the game.) Had it not been for that loss, he and Tua Tagovailoa would likely be 1A and 1B in the Heisman trophy conversation at this point, but instead Tua is the clear frontrunner (-1000 in the betting markets.) This weekend, Kyler Murray and the Sooners face off with in-state rivals, the Oklahoma State Cowboys. This game is projected to total nearly 80 points, by far the highest total on the entire slate. When Oklahoma scores, Kyler Murray is the root cause more often than not. At this point in the season, Murray averages an astronomical 38 DraftKings points per game, and on the heels of a 46 point performance against the Texas Tech Red Raiders, he has shown no signs of slowing down. In this matchup projected to amass 79.5 points between the teams, Oklahoma is also 21-point favorites. Oklahoma’s implied team total is over 50 points, a feat not yet seen on a DraftKings college football main slate this season. Murray will be the most popular option in all formats this weekend, and for good reason. Any other quarterback in cash games would simply be overthinking it.
Tyler Cornelius, on the other side of the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State shootout, is an elite option at super flex this weekend. Cornelius has filled the vacant spot atop the depth chart at quarterback this season at a far higher level than many had expected. Cornelius and the Oklahoma State offense rank 13th in offensive S&P+. Tyler Cornelius averages nearly 30 DraftKings points per game this season, a mark far higher than his $7,700 price tag would indicate. Tyler Cornelius has posted at least 25-points in 6 out of 9 starts this season, and all signs point to Cornelius clearing that benchmark on Saturday afternoon once again. Last weekend, the combination of Eric Dungey and Sam Hartman (the respective quarterbacks for Syracuse and Wake Forest in the game projected to total the most points on the slate) was a popular duo amongst sharp College Football players in cash games. This weekend, Cornelius finishes off an Oklahoma-Oklahoma State stack at quarterback and super-flex.
Kellen Mond, at $7,400, makes for a perfect pivot away from Tyler Cornelius this week. Mond is an elite dual-threat quarterback for Texas A&M as they take on Ole Miss at home in Week 11 of the college football season. Ole Miss’ defense ranks 98th in S&P+ allowed on passing plays. Kellen Mond has sputtered a bit following a strong start to the 2018 season, but that can be attributed to the high-quality SEC defenses he has battled in recent weeks. This reprieve against Ole Miss will be welcomed with open arms as Texas A&M looks to bounce back following two straight road losses to SEC competition. Kellen Mond’s floor may not match that of Tyler Cornelius, but in GPPs he offers a very similar ceiling at a far lower percent-rostered mark. In cash games, Mond is not for the faint of heart, but if the $300 difference between he and Cornelius is critical in paying up elsewhere, it is an acceptable pivot there as well.
James Williams, Washington State’s running back, has been the team’s leader in targets over the last month of action, which is highly unusual. It is only fitting that Washington State runs a highly unusual offense to pair with this unique pattern of production. Mike Leach, Washington State’s head coach and play caller, has recently been quoted saying that believing that “balance” on offense is 50 percent run and 50 percent pass is “50 percent stupid.” Leach believes that “balance” is having all offensive players produce or be a threat to produce at all times. James Williams is constantly a threat in the Washington State offense because even when he is not rushing the ball, he is an option in the passing game. Totaling no less than 8 targets over the last 3 games, Williams has proven to be a consistent and reliable option for quarterback Gardner Minshew through the air. On DraftKings, with a full 1.0 points per reception, this involvement in the passing game adds enough value to make his $6,900 price tag entirely worth it this week. Behind the mid-7,000 options at running back, Williams is by far the best option in any format.
Miles Sanders and Penn State have struggled mightily recently. Last weekend, the Nittany Lions were handed yet another defeat at the hands of the Michigan Wolverines. At first glance, this week’s matchup against Wisconsin would forecast to be no easier than the recent defensive juggernauts that Sanders has gone up against. Upon further investigation, however, this Wisconsin defense is not what it used to be. Wisconsin ranks 84th in S&P+ allowed on rushing plays this season, a massive fall from their position as the 12th ranked rush-defense last season. Wisconsin has allowed the opposing running back to surpass 100 yards rushing in 3 of their last 4 games, a truly shocking statistic following many years as one of the nation’s premier defensive units. Miles Sanders is the beneficiary of this comparatively easy matchup this weekend, and at a sub-6,000 price-point, Sanders is a fine option as a second running back in any lineup. The expensive options at quarterback make it increasingly tough to fit multiple high-end running backs into any lineup, but below Sanders there is not much to like. Miles Sanders, at $5,900 on DraftKings, falls in the perfect middle-ground between the top-priced running backs and the bargain-bin options that frequently leave college football DFS players praying for a lucky touchdown.
Trayveon Williams and the Texas A&M Aggies play host to the Ole Miss Rebels this weekend, as stated in Kellen Mond’s write-up. Trayveon Williams is Texas A&M’s number-one running back without much dispute. Williams has carried the ball double-digit times in every game except the Aggies’ clash with the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. Williams, like Mond, has one of his most favorable matchups of the season this week: Ole Miss’ rush defense ranks 112th in S&P+ allowed on run plays this season, the worst mark on the slate. Texas A&M is projected to win this matchup by about 11 points and is expected to near in 40 points. In a high-scoring affair that favors the home Texas A&M Aggies, the flow of the game heavily favors a run-heavy approach throughout the game by Jimbo Fisher’s team. Last week, Trayveon Williams proved yet again that he is a reliable source of offense for Texas A&M, as he scored all three of the team’s touchdowns against Auburn. While it is unlikely that Williams will get in on every touchdown for Texas A&M this week, there will likely be more production to go around. Facing off with Ole Miss is the best matchup that an SEC offensive player could hope for in conference action, as Ole Miss has failed to hold a single in-conference opponent to less-than 31 points yet this season. Trayveon Williams checks in at $7,500, slightly higher than both previously mentioned running back options, but his ceiling far exceeds that of either James Williams of Miles Sanders. In cash games, he should be the top option because of his combination of consistent volume and unmatched ceiling. In GPPs, he will likely be one of the most-rostered players at the position, but not to a point that he should be faded. There is a good chance that Trayveon Williams finishes this weekend’s main slate as the highest scoring running back overall.
Juwann Winfree & Kabion Ento
These two Colorado receivers will likely be amongst the most-rostered wide receivers on the entire slate if Laviska Shenault, Jr. and K.D. Nixon are unable to play on Saturday afternoon. At this moment, both receivers are listed as questionable and head coach Mike MacIntyre has stated that they are “day-to-day.” Last weekend, when neither played, Kabion Ento was targeted 11 times in Colorado’s loss to Arizona. This weekend, if Shenault, Jr. and Nixon are unable to play, he may not see as much volume, but his level of involvement will positively exceed that of his $3,000 price tag. Juwann Winfree has seen 10 and 9 targets in his last 2 games, respectively. It is not a coincidence that this spike in production perfectly aligns with the span of games in which Shenault, Nixon, or both players were unavailable for the game. At $5,100, Winfree’s market share of targets surpasses that of nearly every player at or below his price. If news breaks, and neither starter is available for Colorado, Ento will almost certainly be the most-rostered receiver on the entire slate. However, Winfree makes for an excellent pivot in GPPs to get exposure to Colorado’s underpriced passing game without the most-rostered player at the position.
Now, it must be said that there is certainly a chance that Laviska Shenault, Jr., K.D. Nixon, or both players are available for Colorado’s matchup with Washington State at 3:30 PM EST on Saturday. In the lineup building process, it is essential to have pivots at the ready in case news of Shenault’s or Nixon’s availability breaks after lock. College football allows for late swaps, and this is exactly the situation those swaps need to be made. To avoid panic and/or dead lineups, build contingent lineups before lock that involve swapping solely other players whose games kickoff at 3:30 PM. To be clear, if initial builds have Ento and/or Winfree and then after lock Shenault, Jr. and/or Nixon are announced to be playing, have a lineup at the ready that involves taking out Ento (and potentially Winfree if both Shenault, Jr. and Nixon are playing.)
Winfree is primarily a GPP play regardless of Shenault, Jr.’s or Nixon’s availability, but if both pieces of that duo are inactive on Saturday, Ento is an elite cash and GPP option.
Cody White has re-entered the Michigan State offense as the number-one aerial option following an extended absence with a broken hand. During his absence, Felton Davis stepped up in a big way for the Spartans, but unfortunately, he suffered a torn Achilles and has been lost for the season. Cody White’s return was a bit slow out of the gates last weekend against Maryland, but this week against Ohio State is when the team needs him most. Michigan State desperately needs Cody White’s journey back to his previous levels of production to kick into high-gear against Ohio State this weekend. Ohio State enters on the heels of a less-than-stellar performance against Nebraska, and it is largely due to the failures of their secondary. Ohio State’s passing defense has taken a significant step backwards this season, as they rank 90th in the nation in S&P+ allowed on passing plays. If the Spartans want to defend its home field and pull off an upset of the Buckeyes, they will surely need Cody White to step up in a big way through the air. White’s price ($4,200) does not reflect his level of involvement in the offense prior to his injury, and if he is able to close in on that production this weekend he will make for one of the best point-per-dollar plays on the entire slate. Look for White to step up in a big way this weekend against Ohio State and resume his role as the number-one wide receiver in Michigan State’s passing attack.
Quartney Davis fits two of the big themes of this article: his viability is slightly dependent upon the injury news of other players on his respective roster, and he plays for Texas A&M. Davis has established himself as Texas A&M’s top threat through the air amidst the absence of Jhamon Ausbon. Then, last week Texas A&M’s second starting wide receiver, Cameron Buckley, was forced to exit due to an apparent head injury. Buckley’s availability for this weekend’s matchup with Ole Miss is not yet known, but if he is unable to go, Davis skyrockets up rankings. Davis has already commanded no less than 9 targets in any of Texas A&M’s last 3 games, and if Buckley is unable to play against Ole Miss, Davis may be in for an even larger workload. At $5,500, Davis sits squarely in the middle tier of wide receivers on the DraftKings main slate, but his market share of team targets dominates the leaderboards in this current Texas A&M offense. Also, while two other Texas A&M Aggies have already been listed in this article, it will likely be a suboptimal decision to roster all three of them in the same lineup. The ceiling of each players’ production will theoretically be capped by at least one of the other two players, and in GPPs, a stack of that kind rarely works. Picking 2 of the 3 is an extremely viable decision, as a quarterback/wide receiver stack may correlate favorably, while a running back/wide receiver stack may serve as a hedge on the quarterback’s production besides throwing to the specified wide receiver.
Oklahoma vs Oklahoma State | Oklahoma -21, total: 79.5 points
Both quarterbacks, Kyler Murray and Tyler Cornelius, were already mentioned earlier in the article, but they are not the only viable fantasy producers in a game projected to total nearly 80 points. On Oklahoma’s side of the ball, Trey Sermon has proven to be a freak of nature by missing zero games following what appeared to be a gruesome leg injury. Sermon, as the running back is such a high-powered offense, has one of the highest ceilings on the entire slate. Just last week Sermon eclipsed the 200-yard mark and posted over 40 DraftKings points against Texas Tech. At wide receiver, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown has seen his price fall to $7,400 after his steady climb up to nearly a $9,000 price tag. Hollywood Brown is one of the fastest players in the nation, and in Oklahoma’s up-tempo offense he combines this big-play ability with remarkably high usage. Brown has failed to find the end zone in three consecutive games, but this matchup is the perfect bounce-back spot for him. On Oklahoma State’s side of the ball, at the running back position, Chase Hubbard is a surprisingly viable option. Hubbard is the back-up running back to Justice Hill, but he has carried the ball at least nine times in back-to-back games. He is far from a safe play, given his comparatively low volume level, but at $3,700 he is one of the better value plays at the running back position. $3,700 for approximately 10 touches in a game projected to total nearly 80 pooints is something that should not be ignored. Tyron Johnson is Oklahoma State’s number-two wide receiver behind Tylan Wallace. While Wallace is a fantastic fantasy option, his price makes him tough to fit into lineups this weekend. Tyron Johnson, on the other hand, is just $5,300 on DraftKings. Last weekend, Johnson registered 14 targets against Baylor, and while that was his highest total of the season, this matchup is the ideal situation for a repeat performance. Johnson is the most reasonable piece to stack with quarterback Tyler Cornelius given the pricing and expected production of Oklahoma State’s wide receivers.
When the dust settles, lineups with multiple non-quarterback pieces from this game will be highly popular (and viable) in both cash games and GPPs this weekend.