The final week of the 2018 college football regular season is here and it brings a slate filled with rivalries. Some of the most storied programs in college football history will duke it out one last time before heading into conference championship games for the select few and subsequent bowl games for many. Pricing is tight on this final regular season state, and while there are some elite options atop each position, the edge will come in finding the value down the board. There are a few injuries that could potentially open up popular value plays, and as soon as that information is known to the public I will update this article to ensure that everyone is on the same page and we all share the same edge!
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
- ARIZONA @ ARIZONA ST | ARIZONA ST (-1.5), GAME TOTAL: 64.5
- BAYLOR @ TEXAS TECH | TEXAS TECH (-6.5), GAME TOTAL: 65
- FLORIDA @ FLORIDA STATE | FLORIDA (-5.5), GAME TOTAL: 52
Tua Tagovailoa | $9,900
If Tua Tagovailoa had not already become a household name following his role in Alabama’s national championship victory a year ago, he certainly is one now. This 2018-19 campaign for Tagovailoa has been one of the most dominant and efficient seasons for a quarterback in recent memory.
In rivalry week, the Crimson Tide plays to the Auburn Tigers for the Iron Bowl. This game is typically a closely contested battle between two of the SEC’s strongest programs, but this season Alabama enters as 24-point favorites. Tua Tagovailoa enters the week as the most expensive quarterback on the DraftKings main slate ($9,900,) but he has yet to close-in on his ceiling of production. Entering the final week of the season Tua has yet to throw a pass in the fourth quarter of any game this season. As Alabama prepares for a trip to the SEC Championship game, this may be the week for Tua to finally finish out a game and put together a full four quarters of production for DFS lineups. If that is the case, it would come as a surprise if he sets a new season-high for DraftKings points this season.
Alan Bowman | $7,800
Alan Bowman possesses one of the dreaded red “doubtful” tags on DraftKings at the time of this writing, however, it has been reported that coach Kliff Kingsbury is leaning towards starting the true freshman in Texas Tech’s season finale. Bowman was one of the most impressive quarterbacks in the nation to start this season, but unfortunately, he has battled injuries throughout the second half of the season. Texas Tech is increasingly thin at quarterback entering the final game of the year (the team’s top three quarterbacks are at least questionable for this game,) but many believe Kliff Kingsbury’s status as head coach depends on the outcome of this game against Baylor. If Alan Bowman, the team’s top quarterback when fully healthy, is deemed to be healthy enough to suit up on Saturday he will likely start under center for the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech faces off with Baylor in the final game of the season, and Baylor’s defense has not looked particularly good this season. Ranked 90th in S&P+ allowed on passing plays, the Bears have the 4th worst pass defense on the entire slate. Earlier this season, when healthy, Alan Bowman was consistently priced between $9,000 and $10,000 on DraftKings, but following his injury scare(s) his price has dropped down to just $7,800. On the DraftKings main slate there are not many quality options in the most expensive tier of quarterbacks (besides Tua Tagovailoa,) so searching for a bit of value will be a very popular move. Should Alan Bowman start under center as expected, he will likely be an extremely popular player at quarterback in all formats.
NOTE: If Alan Bowman is unexpectedly inactive for this game, Jet Duffey will likely start at quarterback for Texas Tech. Duffey will be a great option for DFS lineups as well.
J.J. Taylor | $6,200
J.J. Taylor is Arizona’s undoubted number-one running back on the depth chart. Taylor has registered at least 20 carries in 3 straight games (averaging 30 carries per game over that span,) and should that volume continue for another week, Taylor is poised to gash Arizona State for a day of massive production. $6,200 for J.J. Taylor is a baffling price, his volume is nearly unmatched on this slate and the matchup is as good as any. Taylor will likely be one of, if not the, most popular play(s) on this Saturday’s DraftKings main slate of action.
Arizona State’s run defense is the worst on the slate, checking in at 100th in the nation in S&P+ allowed on run plays. This PAC 12 matchup of in-state rivals is projected to total the second-most points on the entire slate with an over/under set at 64.5 points. There should be no shortage of scoring and this season, with Khalil Tate tailoring his style of play to fit what NFL scouts will look for in the coming years, J.J. Taylor is Arizona’s lone source of production on the ground. In cash lineups this weekend, there is no need to get cute and fade J.J. Taylor. He should be one of the first players locked into cash teams and he is a piece worth building around. In GPPs, his ceiling matches that of any other running back on the slate. Taylor will likely be the most-rostered running back on the slate, which should certainly factor in the GPP lineup building process, but that is not to say he should be ignored.
Eno Benjamin | $8,500
On the other side of the Arizona vs. Arizona State clash is another talented running back, Eno Benjamin. Benjamin is far more expensive than Taylor, but for good reason. Benjamin has eclipsed 30 points in 3 out of 4 games, with at least 149 yards in every one of those games. Benjamin’s volume, much like Taylor’s, is consistently among the highest in the nation. With at least 25 carries in 7 out of 8 games, it may not be possible to find a higher rate of involvement anywhere in the nation, let alone on this slate.
Benjamin should convert these touches into production against Arizona’s struggling defense here in rivalry week. Arizona’s defense overall ranks 76th in S&P+ allowed, and 62nd in S&P+ allowed on rushing plays. This game is expected to be one of the highest scoring battles on the entire slate, and if all goes as planned it should include a heavy dose of Eno Benjamin. Arizona State is favored by about 1.5 points, and if they get a lead early look for Benjamin to be called upon to drain the clock with an effective day on the ground. It certainly will be tough to fit Benjamin into a lineup with studs like Tua Tagovailoa and Jerry Jeudy, which may lead to a very unique lineup either including all three of them or fading a few of them. When all is said and done, Benjamin’s volume makes him an elite cash play, but he also offers a great position to differentiate elsewhere, as paying up for one or two running backs will lead to unique combinations elsewhere that could lead to a strong GPP lineup.
Travis Homer | $5,200
Running back on this final regular-season slate is especially shallow. There are some really good options up near the top (Benjamin and Taylor,) but after that, there is not much to like. Travis Homer sits atop the Miami Hurricanes' depth chart at running back, but this position has not accompanied enough volume to make Homer a viable DFS option on a consistent basis. Homer has, however, reached double-digit DraftKings points in 5 straight outings. This is not an exceptionally high bar to clear, but at $5,200 it is a nice piece of reassurance that there is some safety with this value play.
Pittsburgh's rush-defense ranks 63rd in efficiency allowed as well as 95th in their ability to mitigate big-plays on the ground. The former number does not exactly jump off the page, but the latter explains why Homer could be one of the best GPP options on the slate. Miami has struggled this season under center, with N'Kosi Perry and Malik Rosier both being benched at various points throughout the season. Should Miami gain the lead on Pittsburgh in this matchup, it is highly unlikely that they would rely on strong quarterback play to close out the game. Instead, the gameplan would likely feature Travis Homer and the run-game above all else. Travis Homer would be tough to stomach in cash games, but in a GPP lineup it is unlikely that he will be the one to sink a team, and Pittsburgh's deficiency with regards to limiting big-plays could lead to a ceiling game for Homer. He is a strong GPP candidate, but an extremely risky option in cash-games.
Jerry Jeudy | $7,300
Jerry Jeudy started off the season by finding the end zone twice in each of Alabama’s first three games. He’s an electric playmaker with the ball in his hands, but that touchdown-scoring pace is impossible for anybody to keep up. Right now Jeudy is in the midst of a month-long touchdown drought, but all of the underlying numbers remain consistent for Alabama’s number-one wide receiver. Jeudy has been targeted more than 10.5 times per game over the last month, more than 3.5 targets higher than his average number of targets per game over the entire season.
Jeudy especially sticks out this week because of the tantalizing prospects of stacking he and Tua Tagovailoa in the same lineup. Throughout the season, many of the best CFB DFS players have proven that stacking wide receivers with their respective quarterbacks is one of the sharpest strategies out there. The matchup is nothing sensational, as Auburn’s defense has held up their end of the bargain throughout the season, but Alabama’s offense is unlike anything Auburn has seen yet this season. A slightly tougher matchup may actually increase Jeudy’s fantasy value because he and the starters may potentially play deeper in the game, offering more opportunity for Tua Tagovailoa and Jerry Jeudy to connect and potentially find the end zone. Stacking a wide receiver with a quarterback has been a widely popular and widely successful strategy this college football season. On Alabama’s roster, there is no better option to pair with Tua Tagovailoa than Jerry Jeudy at $7,300.
Taj Harris | $4,300
Taj Harris has been targeted at least 8 times in 5 out of last 6 games for the Syracuse Orange. He has converted this volume into double-digit fantasy production in the same 5 out of 6 games. Such a low price tag for Harris is merely a byproduct of his inability to find the end zone (only two touchdowns this season.) At such a low price, Harris does not need to contribute very much to be a viable fantasy wide receiver. His production floor is substantially higher than almost any other player priced around his $4,300-mark. One place to keep an eye on is the Syracuse quarterback situation. Eric Dungey, the team’s four-year starter, got dinged up last weekend against Notre Dame, which led to Tommy DeVito taking over at quarterback. If Eric Dungey is unable to give it a go against Boston College this week, Harris becomes slightly more volatile, as DeVito’s tendencies and abilities are an unknown at this point.
As mentioned, Syracuse faces off with the Eagles of Boston College this Saturday. Boston College’s defense has been above-average this season, but once again the matchup can be largely ignored for Harris’ DFS viability. Boston College runs one of the fastest offenses in all of college football (4th in adjusted pace and 15th in plays per minute,) which should lead to a very up-tempo style of football for both teams. This increased pace of play offers Harris more opportunity to rack up targets and potentially cash in big on one of his many opportunities he will likely see throughout the day. Taj Harris will likely be one of the most popular salary-saving options on this DraftKings main slate, and he should see plenty of opportunities to reach and exceed value at just $4,300.
T.J. Vasher | $6,700
As previously referenced in the breakdown for Jerry Jeudy, stacking a quarterback and wide receiver from the same team is a widely popular and widely successful strategy in college football DFS. T.J. Vasher is the reasonably priced option from Texas Tech to pair with Alan Bowman in lineups this weekend. At $6,700, Vasher is in his own price range entirely. In fact, he is the only player priced between $5,900 and $7,100 at wide receiver on the entire slate. Vasher has registered at least 7 targets in each of his last 4 games, and while he may not be his team’s #1 wide receiver, his volume is nothing to sneeze at.
Unlike the other two previously listed wide receivers, Vasher’s matchup against a weak Baylor Bears’ defense increases his value significantly. Baylor’s pass defense ranks 90th in the nation in S&P+ allowed on passing plays, and this matchup is expected to be a good old fashioned BIG 12 shootout. The total for this matchup is set at 65.5 points between the teams, with Texas Tech expected to score about 36 of those points. Given T.J. Vasher’s awkward price-point, he must be considered in the lineup-building process. The options $800 below him pale in comparison to his volume and matchup, while his expected production rivals the lone option within $500 above his price tag.
ARIZONA @ ARIZONA STATE
Both running backs from this matchup were listed above, and for good reason: they are the top options at the running back position on the entire slate. Both quarterbacks from this game offer intriguing options in cash and GPP lineups. Khalil Tate has shifted towards a pocket-passing style of play to tailor to what NFL scouts will want to see in the future. While this has limited his incredible rushing upside, he has gradually improved as a passer throughout the season. For Arizona State, Manny Wilkins has been a consistent producer under center for Arizona State with at least 24 points in 4 out of 5 games. Neither pass defense in this matchup is especially strong, and both are viable in all formats. It would be a contrarian strategy, but stacking both of them in one cash lineup (potentially without one of the previously listed running backs) is a viable strategy. The top pass-catcher for Arizona State, N'Keal Harry, is one of the best wide receivers in the entire nation. Harry is widely regarded as one of the top wide receiver draft prospects this season, and his college production matches that. At $7,800 it will be an expensive move, but a pivot from Eno Benjamin to N'Keal Harry in tournaments looks like a sharp strategy. On Arizona's side of the ball, the final target should be Shun Brown. Poindexter may be the more expensive wide receiver, but that is merely a product of an unsustainable touchdown rate. Brown is the most-targeted receiver on the Wildcats roster and his floor is substantially higher than Poindexter's. Should Shun Brown positively regress and find the end zone, this could be a true ceiling game for him, as all of the other stars have aligned. Brown should be considered both in cash and GPP formats as the top option to stack with Khalil Tate.
Good luck, all and if there are any questions, you can find me on Twitter @ThaGreatZambino! I'll respond to any and all questions as soon as I see them and I'll also tweet out whenever any updates to the article are made!
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