Back to School: Welcome Back College Football DFS - Footballguys

For the first time since 2015, we will have college football DFS. Footballguys staffer breaks down his thoughts and reminisces on some of the best fantasy performances in college history. 

Welcome Back College Football DFS

On Thursday, August 23, DraftKings announced the return of one of my personal favorite games - College Football Daily Fantasy. Leaving us at the end of the 2015 season was tough and those that love the game were worried it would never come back.

This article is an introductory piece on our college football product talking about why I love college football DFS and encourage you to give our Daily Fantasy Pro subscription a shot if you’re remotely interested in it after this article.

Why Play College Football DFS:

  1. My favorite part of college football and college football DFS is the stories that you remember for years after they happen. Something about digging through all of the research and all of the different teams that when it works out it is something to be extremely proud of.

  2. It is an extremely fun, fast-paced, and high-scoring brand of football. Watching the elite players go for yardage numbers that are unheard of NFL is extremely exciting to watch as the scoreboard updates frequently. College fantasy football is different in that the scoring is so much higher as the average points scored in a game is about 10 points higher and will frequently have over/under games in the 70s and sometimes 80s.

  3. Let’s face it, on Saturday nights or even during the day, sometimes we all want that football fix. Building a lineup, setting it, and sitting down for a couple of hours to watch some teams that you otherwise would have no interest in is a tremendous time.

  4. You become a better NFL DFS player and fantasy football player in general. When I first opened my projections model from 2015, here are some names at the top of the list that I had projections for - Jordan Howard, Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, DeShaun Watson, Nick Chubb, and Dalvin Cook. Look at those names!

  5. The edge for well-informed players is bigger than the NFL. Think about the average college football fan. At this point, it might be yourself sitting here reading this and wanting to learn about college football. Can you name more than 10 quarterbacks in college football? What about five running backs? Three wide receivers? For most people, they don’t start learning about the best players until Week 6 and never learn about the running back from Florida Atlantic or San Diego State. Our two top running backs in all of college football are from these two schools: Devin Singletary and Juwan Washington.

Why Footballguys College DFS Content?

If you're still reading, you may be sold on playing college DFS. But why should you use our content to do so?

Data-Based Approach

While Footballguys is not the only daily fantasy site to cover College Football DFS, we are going to be one of - if not the only site - that is taking a data-based analytical approach to our projections.

We’ve been asked what our projections are based on and how they are calculated. While we are not going to reveal the secret sauce, here are some things we have included in them.

Baseline projections for all 130 teams that are updated each week. These are the same projections and tools that I use as a starting point. Each Sunday/Monday, it is all about updating these baselines and looking at what happened and why it happened each week.

  • Is a player losing playing time?
  • Is a player dealing with an injury?
  • Is a player simply not as good or better than what I had projected in my early season projections. This happens all the time with 18- to 22-year-old athletes.

Once Monday comes, it is all about looking at matchups for that week. Here is what I use to determine a matchup rating to adjust off of the baseline.

  • Coaching history

  • Normalized defensive strength rating. How has the defense performed against running backs relative to how those running backs have performed against other teams on their schedule. This is critical to any good projections when you have to project 130 teams. Far too often, poor projections just look at a team's overall numbers against the run or against the pass. But without factoring in the competition they have played, you really aren't able to tell anything from the overall season numbers.

  • Normalized strength of schedule. Far too often a team may look better or worse on paper than what they truly are. Take the SEC East as an example. Often, the SEC East has some of the best defenses against the pass if you just look at their total numbers. However, what is not taken into account in the total numbers is that the quarterbacks in the SEC East have been some of the worst over the last few years. We normalize all of this and look at how each team has fared against teams compared to that team's average.

  • Normalized tempo. Unlike the NFL, tempo is a major thing in college football. Some teams play very high- paced where others like to slow the game to a grinding halt. This is critical as it determines how many plays your team may get in a given game.

  • Vegas spreads/totals. This is one of the cooler things in the projection model as we have a formula that is a good estimator for when a player may not play the entire game due to a blowout. For example, especially early in the season, there are a lot of spreads that are 20+, 30+, 40+ and determining the cliff and how much it matters is something that we studied extensively over the last seven seasons.

  • Plus many more formulas that we are not able to share.

Building Trust

There is an old saying that you should never trust a skinny chef. While that saying may no longer be true due to an increasing focus on healthier food in restaurants, the meaning behind the original saying remains true. If you can not trust the people giving you a service, then you should not go with them. This is true in any aspect of life whether it is a financial advisor, real estate agent, and even fantasy football analyst.

Simply put, my job and our team’s job is to outwork and have better analytics/projections than every other site that is covering college fantasy football.

I tried to go back and think about my first college DFS season. It took me a while as the years have kind of run together, but I realized it was in 2011. The way I remembered it is based on an undersized quarterback who most said would never make it in the NFL. That player threw nine touchdowns in a game in 2011 and threw for 5,631 yards. He’s now entering his eighth season in the NFL, was in a conference championship game, and is now the starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos. Case Keenum maybe one of the greatest college fantasy football quarterbacks of all time.

Favorite College Football DFS Stories

As we touched on earlier, college football is made for storytelling. Here are a few that have stuck with me over the years.

  1. Johnny Manziel in 2012 vs Louisiana Tech
    This is one of those games that you will never forget where you were when it happened if you were watching it. It was one of the last games of the night, and we all saw Manziel who was a freshman at the time have one of his biggest performance he ever had in his sixth game as a starter. Manziel threw for 395 yards and three touchdowns including 137 yards and a touchdown to Mike Evans. Manziel also ran for 181 yards and three touchdowns in this game accounting for six total touchdowns.

  2. West Virginia vs Baylor in 2012
    In this game, there were 1,507 yards between the two teams. Geno Smith threw for 656 yards and 8 touchdowns, while Stedman Bailey had 303 yards receiving with 5 touchdowns. Tavon Austin (now with the Cowboys) had 215 yards and 2 touchdowns receiving. On the Baylor side, Terrence Williams (Cowboys) had 314 yards and 2 touchdowns in the losing effort. This was one of the craziest games that I can remember.

  3. Baker Mayfield in 2013
    Baker Mayfield, to our knowledge, is the only walk-on to start his first college game as a true freshman. At Texas Tech, Mayfield beat out Davis Webb, and his first game was one for the history books. Against SMU, Mayfield threw for 413 yards and four touchdowns and ran for a touchdown as a true freshman. Mayfield was largely minimum price on DFS sites as he was a walk-on.

  4. Melvin Gordon III and Samaje Perine breaking records
    In 2014, one of the strangest occurrences happened in back-to-back weeks. On November 16, 2014, Melvin Gordon III broke LaDainian Tomlinson’s single-game rushing record as Gordon ran for 408 yards. The best part about the game was that Gordon did this in just three quarters as he sat out the fourth quarter as the game was a blowout. One week later, Samaje Perine against Kansas broke Melvin Gordon III’s new record by running for 427 yards. Tomlinson’s record stood for 15 years, was broken by Melvin Gordon III, who only held the top spot for a single week. You have to wonder if Gordon wishes he played the fourth quarter.

To quickly wrap this up, college DFS is back, and it's going to be amazing. You need to join up and be part of the great 2018 season.