DraftKings CFB Thursday/Friday Breakdown: Week 9

An in depth breakdown of the Week 9 Mid-Week DraftKings CFB slates

Thursday Details:

  • Entry Deadline (First Game Kickoff): 10-29-15, 7:00 PM EST
  • Number of games in slate: 6 games

North Carolina at Pittsburgh

Kickoff: 10-29-15, 7:00 PM EST

Spread: UNC -3

O/U: 54.5

North Carolina

Expected Team Total Points: 28.75

QB Marquise Williams – 7,900

Analysis: Marquise Williams is once again having a very uneven season. He had spectacular showings against Wake Forest and Georgia Tech, but face-planted against Virginia and even got benched against FCS opponent Delaware. His rushing ability is largely what gives him the ability to produce at an elite level in certain matchups. He’s twice rushed for 100 yards this season and has five rushing scores on the season.

Recommendation: The Pittsburgh defense hasn’t yet faced a quarterback with a similar skillset to Williams, so it’s unclear exactly how this matchup sets up for the UNC quarterback. He’s an ideal GPP play, as he could easily have the best day of any quarterback in this slate. However, he has three games with below 16 fantasy points this season and his floor is also significantly lower than what we would like from a cash game play.

Pittsburgh

Expected Team Total Points: 25.75

RB Qadree Ollison – 5,700

Analysis: Ollison has solidified his role as the top running back for Pittsburgh with his work over the past month, averaging 19 carries and 89 yards in the team’s last four games. Ollison has scored in every game but one this season, and, even though he had fumble issues a few weeks ago, Pittsburgh clearly trusts him around the goal line. He now faces North Carolina’s run defense that is allowing 211.7 rush yards per game, good for 112th in the FBS. In 2014, the UNC run defense was one to target on a weekly basis and that once again appears to be the case this season.

Recommendation: We like Ollison this week in this favorable matchup. Assuming Pitt keeps this game close, we like Ollison’s chances of surpassing the 100 yard threshold and reaching pay dirt. He probably doesn’t have the upside of other running backs in this slate and is is better utilized in cash games than tournaments.

West Virginia at TCU

Kickoff: 10-29-15, 7:30 PM EST

Spread: TCU -14

O/U: 75

West Virginia

Expected Team Total Points: 30.5

WR Shelton Gibson – WR 5,200 David Sills – 3,300 WR Ka’Raun White – 3,000

Analysis: Shelton Gibson is the only West Virginia receiver that can be counted on to any degree, but he is mainly a deep threat and is only seeing a shade over six targets per game. He only had two 100 yard games on the year, but he is up to six receiving touchdowns. Gibson’s 23.5 yards per catch average serves as evidence for just how explosive of a player he is. True freshman David Sills was recruited as a quarterback, but had his redshirt burned in West Virginia’s last game against Baylor. In that game, he caught two passes for 64 yards and a touchdown and is now listed as a starting receiver on the team’s depth chart. Ka’Raun White, Kevin White’s brother, made his first impact in the box score against Baylor as well, catching two passes for 40 yards. He’s a physically imposing target that has the look of a potential impact player, but he’s just now starting to see playing time.

Recommendation: All three of these guys are best utilized as GPP options due to West Virginia’s tendency to spread targets around. Gibson is clearly the best of the bunch, as the only receiver who right now really has a defined role in the team’s offense. Sills and White are high risk fliers that can help you get to higher priced studs. We give the slight edge to Sills due to his label as a starter heading into this game.

TCU

Expected Team Total Points: 44.5

QB Trevone Boykin – 9,700

Analysis: Simply put, Boykin has been an absolute monster this season. He’s accounted for at least 330 total yards in every game this season, and has totaled a minimum of four touchdowns in every outing with the exception of week one. He’s now facing a beat up West Virginia defense that lost its superstar safety, Karl Joseph, and has given up over 300 yards passing two of the past three weeks. Boykin should once again be in for a big game.

Recommendation: Boykin’s salary of 9,700 is the highest of any player in this slate, but he’ll undoubtedly hit value in what projects to be a shootout this week. Still, you can work him into your lineup without too much trouble, as there is plenty of value in this slate, and he is a great cash game play.

WR Josh Doctson – 8,300

Analysis: To give you an idea of just how dominant Josh Doctson has been so far this year: over TCU’s last five games, Doctson has not had less than five catches, 129 yards, and two touchdowns in any outing. He now faces West Virginia’s secondary that was just torched for 10 catches, 199 yards, and three touchdowns by the similarly dominant Corey Coleman.

Recommendation: Doctson is worth paying up for as he should once again have a huge day. His floor and ceiling are both as high as any receiver in this slate, making him great for both cash games and tournaments. Ka’vontae Turpin (4,100) has shown that he has the ability to have a major impact, but coming off of an injury against Iowa State two weeks ago, we’re only considering him for tournaments this week.

Western Michigan at Eastern Michigan

Kickoff: 10-29-15, 7:30 PM EST

Spread: Western Michigan -20

O/U: 67

Western Michigan

Expected Team Total Points: 43.5

QB Zach Terrell – 7,000

Analysis: On paper, it looks like Eastern Michigan has a very solid pass defense, but in reality they have not faced very many competent quarterbacks, and teams have often chosen to just run the ball against their FBS worst rush defense. The last two weeks however, against Toledo and Northern Illinois, Eastern Michigan’s pass defense has surrendered 640 yards and nine touchdowns. Zach Terrell and his talented receiving duo of Corey Davis and Daniel Braverman will combine to form the most fearsome passing threat that Eastern Michigan has faced so far this season.

Recommendation: Zach Terrell is one of the safer options at quarterback in this slate. He’s thrown for at least two touchdowns in every game this season and should have no trouble meeting that mark again this week. The only thing stopping him from having an absolutely huge day is the likelihood that this game will likely turn into a blowout. Still, we feel that it’s reasonable to expect Terrell to approach 300 yards passing and he makes for a fine cash game option at quarterback if you don’t want to pay up for Trevone Boykin.

RB Jarvion Franklin – 4,800 RB Jamauri Bogan – 5,100

Analysis: Eastern Michigan is allowing over 340 rushing yards per game in 2015, easily the worst in the FBS. While Franklin was one of the best running backs in all of the nation as a freshman last season, he has taken a substantial step backwards this year, and now appears to be in a true timeshare with Jamauri Bogan.

Recommendation: There is a strong chance that one or both of Franklin and Bogan will have a strong game Thursday against Eastern Michigan. Franklin is a cash game option, as he starts and should be a lock for at least fifteen touches. Bogan’s role, though trending upward, is less certain and we consider him more of a GPP play.

WR Corey Davis – 5,600 WR Daniel Braverman – 7,400

Analysis: Corey Davis has largely played second fiddle to Daniel Braverman this season, but he’s still putting up solid numbers, accounting for 42 catches, 564 yards and five touchdowns so far in 2015. Davis caught seven passes for 113 yards last week, and scored in each of the previous two contests against MAC opponents, giving him a solid three game stretch to open conference play. The duo of Davis and Braverman has accounted for 75% of WMU’s catches and 77% of the team’s receiving yards.

Recommendation: Both Davis and Braverman are great cash game options in this slate. The fact that they see so many targets gives them really solid floors even in what should be a blowout. We feel that Davis is the better value of the two, and see him as one of the better options in this entire slate.

Eastern Michigan

Expected Team Total Points: 23.5

RB Shaq Vann – 3,500 RB Darius Jackson 5,400

Analysis: Darius Jackson’s 799 yard and 12 touchdown season is all the more impressive considering how awful his team is. Even though Eastern Michigan gets blown out regularly, Jackson is productive most weeks. Shaq Vann is Jackson’s back-up but he is averaging 12 touches per game. He is up to 21 catches on the year in eight games, but he had zero grabs in the two games that Reginald Bell started at quarterback. Expectation is that Brogan Roback will start at QB this week, which should enhance Vann’s floor.

Recommendation: Jackson has been a stellar option all season, but at 5,400, we’d prefer to spend a little more and lock in Qadree Ollison or Jordan Johnson, both of whom should be in close games and see plenty of carries. While the trend this season has been that Jackson gets carries regardless of the score, we don’t love investing in running backs who are going to be playing on a team that is a 20 point underdog. Vann should be involved in a pass catching role, while also pushing for double digit carries. At 3,500 he doesn’t have to do much to hit value, and is a sneaky cheaper option in this slate.

Buffalo at Miami (OH)

Kickoff: 10-29-15, 7:30 PM EST

Spread: Buffalo -7.5

O/U: 50.5

Buffalo

Expected Team Total Points: 29

RB Jordan Johnson – 6,100

Analysis: With starting running back Anthone Taylor sidelined with an ankle injury, Jordan Johnson got his first career start last week against Ohio. He made the most of it, rushing for 147 yards and two touchdowns. Taylor was in uniform leading up to Saturday’s game, and he was considered a game-time decision. His status for this week’s game is unclear, but the matchup against Miami Ohio will present ample opportunity for whoever is carrying the ball for the Bulls. Miami Ohio is allowing 189.8 yards per game on the ground and Buffalo is averaging almost 37 carries per game this season. Last week Johnson received 28 of the team’s 34 attempts and would be a great bet to receive 25 or more carries again this week if Taylor were to sit out.

Recommendation: If Anthone Taylor were to be ruled out in advance of Thursday’s game, Jordan Johnson would make for a great option for both cash games and tournaments. Buffalo should have little trouble running ball against the weak Miami Ohio rush defense and the game plan would largely revolve around Johnson. Unfortunately, as of now there’s no word on if Taylor will play, making the situation too risky to touch. If Taylor does play, we’d expect close to a 50/50 timeshare. As of Wednesday night, Taylor is not listed on the depth chart (a bad sign for chanced of playing), but it has been announced that he will travel with the team.

Miami (OH)

Expected Team Total Points: 21.5

None of the Miami players come as recommended plays this week. The offense is generally inept and the limited offense that is generated is spread around fairly equitably. Wide receiver Sam Martin (4,000) is the one player that could go off for a decent game as he has two 100 yard performances this year, but we’re not counting on him, or any other Redhawk this Thursday.

Texas State at Georgia Southern

Kickoff: 10-29-15, 7:30 PM EST

Spread: Georgia Southern -21

O/U: 68.5

Texas State

Expected Team Total Points: 23.75

QB – Tyler Jones 4,700

Analysis: Tyler Jones has been very up and down as a passer this season, throwing for over 270 yards in three games, while throwing for under 110 in two others. He has been very reliable as a runner however, rushing for at least 35 yards in every game this season, while scoring via the ground in each of Texas State’s last five games.

Recommendation: Jones is our favorite value pick at quarterback in this slate. His rushing ability gives him a nice cushion of a floor. Though Texas State would likely prefer to rely on Robert Lowe like they did last week to the tune of 30 carries, they are 21 point underdogs and should be forced to throw it around more than in other contests this year. Last season against Georgia Southern, Jones threw for 302 yards and two touchdowns and while we don’t think he is a lock to hit throw for that many yards again this week, he should have little trouble hitting value at his soft price tag of 4,700.

Georgia Southern

Expected Team Total Points: 44.75

RB Matt Breida – 8,000

Analysis: Last week was the first time in 2015 since the season opener against West Virginia that a defense was able to contain Matt Breida. Breida was only able to amass 78 yards on 14 carries against Appalachian State, but now he faces off against a Texas State defense that has been repeatedly gashed on the ground this season. With the exception of a matchup with lowly Prairie View A&M, Texas State has given up over 250 yards rushing to every opponent they’ve faced this season. That spells trouble against Georgia Southern’s option offense that is averaging an FBS best 368.9 yards per game.

Recommendation: Breida will likely only see 15-18 carries, but the potential is there for him to have a big day in one of the softest matchups he will face all season. He’s already averaged over 10 yards per carry on four occasions in 2015, and is a good bet to make it five this week. We think Breida is one of the better tournament options at running back this week due to his ability to explode for a big game without necessarily receiving a large quantity of touches. There’s potential for 200 yards and multiple scores, but his floor is also lower than other highly priced options in this slate.

Oregon at Arizona State

Kickoff: 10-29-15, 10:30 PM EST

Spread: Arizona State -2.5

O/U: 66

Oregon

Expected Team Total Points: 31.75

RB Royce Freeman – 8,300

Analysis: Freeman has been an absolute workhorse for Oregon this season. He’s received exactly 27 carries in each of the Ducks’ last three games and has averaged 182 yards in that span. Oregon may be without two of their starting offensive linemen against an Arizona State defense that blitzed more than any team in the FBS. That impact will likely be felt more in the passing game, but Arizona State’s FBS-leading 9.9 Tackles For Loss per game highlights the impact that these blitzes have on the running game as well. Arizona State managed to slow down two of the PAC-12’s other elite running backs in recent weeks, only allowing 118 yards to Utah’s Devonte Booker and 63 yards to UCLA’s Paul Perkins.

Recommendation: Freeman will likely turn in another a solid performance in what should be a close game, however we prefer to pay up for an elite receiver when constructing your lineup as opposed to paying up for Freeman. The drop in quality between first and second tier running backs looks to be less steep than that between the first and second tier receivers.

WR Darren Carrington – 4,000

Analysis: Carrington returned from a season long suspension two weeks ago and immediately made his presence felt, catching five passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns. He had emerged as the Ducks’ best receiver down the stretch as a freshman in 2014, and clearly he was not rusty in his first action in 2015.

Recommendation: Carrington’s price is currently deflated due to him only returning from suspension two weeks ago. He could probably cost 25 percent more and it would still be considered fair pricing. Oregon historically spreads the ball around to its receivers, but we fully expect Carrington to be Oregon’s number one receiver going forward. He’s good value at 4,000.

Arizona State

Expected Team Total Points: 34.25

WR Tim White – 4,000

Analysis: Since starting off slowly to begin the season due to a hand injury, Tim White has really come on strong and established himself as Arizona State’s top threat in the passing game. White only caught eight passes in ASU’s first four games, but has reeled in 14 grabs in the last three contests and also has four touchdowns in that span. He gets to square off with one of the nation’s worst pass defenses, as Oregon is allowing 306.6 passing yards per game.

Recommendation: White is a quality cash game option as one of the cheaper, but reliable, receivers in this slate. He could absolutely blow up for a big game against the Oregon secondary and has a nice floor as a receiver that is averaging over eight targets per game in three outings this month.

Friday Details:

  • Entry Deadline (First Game Kickoff): 10-30-15, 7:00 PM EST
  • Number of games in slate: 4 games

Louisville at Wake Forest

Kickoff: 10-30-15, 7:00 PM EST

Spread: Louisville -12

O/U: 42

Louisville

Expected Team Total Points: 27

QB Lamar Jackson – 6,700

Analysis: Lamar Jackson’s running ability has been evident since he entered at quarterback in the second half of Louisville’s season opener against Auburn – and promptly ran for 106 yards and a touchdown. We’ve really seen Jackson make strides as a passer though in recent weeks, throwing for 307 yards and three scores against Florida State two weeks ago, and throwing for 230 yards against a tough Boston College defense last week. He now faces a Wake Forest defense that has given up 85 points in its last two games.

Recommendation: Jackson’s running ability gives him substantial upside every time he steps on the field. This game only has an over/under of 42 though, and we are not recommending him for cash games.

Wake Forest

Expected Team Total Points: 15

WR Cam Serigne – 3,500

Analysis: Serigne is far and away the best tight end option in this slate. He is tied for the Wake Forest team lead in receptions and is third in yards with 372. He’s been the most consistent source of offense for Wake Forest this season, but of late, with the team rotating quarterbacks in-game, Serigne has seen less targets, only averaging five over the last three games versus eight targets in the first five.

Recommendation: At his price, Serigne is a decent punt play, as he’s the top option in the Wake Forest passing game. We wouldn’t expect a big game though.

East Carolina at UConn

Kickoff: 10-30-15, 7:00 PM EST

Spread: East Carolina -7.5

O/U: 53

East Carolina

Expected Team Total Points:  30.25

WR Trevon Brown – 4,700 WR Isaiah Jones -5,900

Analysis: Trevon Brown seems to have established himself as the number two option in the ECU passing game behind Isaiah Jones. Since returning from a suspension that cost him the first three games of the season, Jones has caught at least four passes in every contest, and has scored three times. Jones has been inconsistent on a game to game basis this season, largely due to ECU’s propensity for changing quarterbacks mid-game. In ECU’s last five games, he’s twice caught 10 passes, but also has two and three catch efforts to his credit.

Recommendation: The ECU passing game has been largely unpredictable game to game this season. We don’t love Jones this week at his price of 5,900, relative to the similarly priced options at running back and wide receiver in this slate. Trevon Brown has managed consistent production despite the ECU QB carousal amassing at least 14 DK points in four of the five game he has played this season, and has a good chance of hitting value this week against UConn’s mediocre pass defense.

UConn

Expected Team Total Points: 22.75

RB Arkeel Newsome – 5,000

Analysis: Newsome has taken hold of the UConn backfield over the past month, averaging 12.5 carries and 4.5 catches in UConn’s last four games. His pass catching ability keeps him involved in the offense even when the Huskies fall behind. He mostly has to contend with his quarterback, Bryant Shirreffs, for carries, but Newsome should find a reasonable amount of success against ECU’s run defense that is allowing 171.8 rush yards per game, and has given up 17 rushing scores already in 2015.

Recommendation: Newsome's proclivity for catching passes gives him a very high floor most weeks. He’s exceeded 20 DK points in four straight games even though he hasn’t rushed for 100 yards in any of those contests. We like him in cash games this week.

Louisiana Tech at Rice

Kickoff: 10-30-15, 8:00 PM EST

Spread: Louisiana Tech -12.5

O/U: 64

Louisiana Tech

Expected Team Total Points: 38.25

QB Jeff Driskel – 7,800

Analysis: Driskel has thrown for at least 300 yards in three straight weeks and has a good shot at making it four against Rice this Friday. The Rice has been gashed both times they have faced quality quarterbacks this season, with Seth Russell and Brandon Doughty combining to throw for 686 yards and 10 touchdowns against the Owls. Driskel’s wide receiver corps is finally back near full strength with Trent Taylor, Paul Turner, and Carlos Henderson set to suit up for just the fourth time together as a unit this season.

Recommendation: Jeff Driskel is our favorite cash game option. Hiss week to week consistency, and choice matchup, make him the most reliable quarterback in this slate.

RB Kenneth Dixon – 8,500

Analysis: Kenneth Dixon returned from a leg injury last weekend and promptly got back to his touchdown scoring ways, finding the end zone four times on only 16 touches. He’s up to 12 total scores on the year despite missing two games, and now has a dream matchup against Rice’s 108th ranked rushing defense.

Recommendation: Dixon is a no-brainer cash game play this week. The only thing to note is that he’s still getting back to 100 percent from his leg injury (Dixon was held out of practice Monday, but returned Tuesday) - it’s better to be safe than sorry and check Twitter for updates leading up to lineup lock to make sure he’s still expected to play.

WR Trent Taylor – 6,800 WR Paul Turner - 4,500 WR Carlos Henderson – 3,900

Analysis: Trent Taylor has been one of the more consistent receivers in the nation this season. He’s hauled in at least five passes and 78 yards in every game except Louisiana Tech’s season opener, and has been extremely impressive lately, catching 31 balls for 370 yards in the team’s last three games. Paul Turner got off to a great start to 2015, catching 10 passes 185 yards in the first two weeks of 2015, but has been slowed by a hamstring injury since then. He’s reportedly back to full health now and though his output has been modest the last two weeks, Turner should resume his role as the number two option in the passing game for Louisiana Tech. Henderson has dealt with nagging injuries all season, but returned to his role as a deep threat for Jeff Driskel, catching a 55 yard touchdown pass last week.

Recommendation: Taylor is a fantastic cash game option as the receiver with the highest floor in this slate of any receiver. Turner or Henderson could go off in a game that should have lots of offense, but lack consistent production over the course of the season. However, in a short slate that has many teams that struggle to create offense, filling out your roster with the second and third receivers on a team that should push to score 40 points is reasonable as well.

Rice

Expected Team Total Points: 25.75

QB Driphus Jackson – 6,300

Analysis: Jackson has been very up and down this season, but he’s been largely predictable in that he’s struggled in his two matchups against Power Five opponents, while playing well in all but one other contest. This week Jackson faces Louisiana Tech’s defense that is allowing 277.9 yards per game through the air – 112th best in the FBS. Jackson’s best receiver, Dennis Parks, is expected to return to the field this week after missing Rice’s last game due to injury.

Recommendation: This game should be the highest scoring affair in this slate. Rice has little chance of stopping Louisiana Tech’s high powered offense and Jackson should be throwing often in an effort to keep pace. At the reasonable price of 6,300, we like Jackson as a cash game option.

WR Dennis Parks – 4,900

Analysis: Dennis Parks is off to a solid start to the season, catching 25 passes for 381 yards and three touchdowns through Rice’s first seven games. Those numbers could be even better though if Parks had not missed the season opener with a hamstring injury, and more recently, he did not suit up for Rice’s last game against Army due to a foot injury. Rice’s beat writer, Stephanie Kuzydym has reported that Parks will return this Friday. In the four full games that Parks has played this season, he’s averaged 5.75 catches on 8.5 targets and 92.5 yards.

Recommendation: Assuming Parks suits up, he projects as one of the better values in this slate. Rice will need to throw to keep pace with Louisiana Tech and Parks should be a top target of quarterback Driphus Jackson. We recommend checking Twitter for updates near lineup lock just to make sure nothing negative has come out on game day. If Parks’s status was looking less promising leading up to kickoff, we recommend pivoting to Rice’s other receiver Zach Wright (4,000) who stepped up in Parks’s absence the past two weeks with a combined 14 catches and 153 yards in that span.

Update: Per beat writer Stephanie Kuzydym (on Twitter), Dennis Parks 'may actually not be ready to go today. On Wednesday, their last pracice, it was still a caution' (referring to Parks)We're seeing Parks as being too risky for cash games at the present. Pivot options include teammate Zach Wright, who would be line to continue his recent trend of solid play with Parks out, and Louisiana Tech's Paul Turner, or ECU's Trevon Brown.

Wyoming at Utah State

Kickoff: 10-30-15, 10:15 PM EST

Spread: Utah State -28

O/U: 50.5

Wyoming

Expected Team Total Points: 11.25

RB Brian Hill – 6,000

Analysis: Hill is essentially the entire Cowboys offense at this point. Quarterback Cameron Coffman is doubtful to play Friday as is the team’s top receiver Tanner Gentry. Hill is fourth in the NCAA in rushing with 1,061 yards, but only had three touchdowns on the season. The fact that the team total for Wyoming is only 11.25 says a lot about Vegas’s confidence in Hill adding a fourth score to his resume this Friday.

Recommendation: Considering that we feel Kenneth Dixon is a cash game lock, it is exceedingly difficult to roster both Hill and Dixon without making major sacrifices at other positions. Also factoring in Hill’s lack of touchdown upside, we feel he’s best utilized in tournaments this week.

Utah State

Expected Team Total Points: 39.25

QB Kent Myers – 6,300 WR Hunter Sharp – 6,400

Analysis: Kent Myers and the Utah State offense are coming off one of their worst collective performances in recent seasons, getting smoked 48-14 last Friday. Myers looked particularly miserable, committing several inexcusable turnovers. Despite the extreme circumstances, Hunter Sharp still had a good game, catching four passes for 63 yards and a touchdown, and he has been Utah State’s only consistent option in the passing game all season.

Recommendation: Myers has an excellent matchup against an awful Wyoming team. After last week’s performance we consider him a GPP play that could blow up in a game that his team is projected to score almost 40 points. Sharp is someone we also feel is best utilized in tournaments, as we’d prefer to pay the extra $400 to lock in Trent Taylor as a high floor WR1 in cash.

RB Devonte Mays – 4,400

Analysis: Mays’s role has been increasing steadily in 2015. Though LaJuan Hunt began the year as the top running back for the Aggies, Mays has clearly usurped him. Mays has seen the most carries in this backfield each of the last two weeks, received a season high 15 totes last week, and has scored five times in the team’s last three games. He now faces a miserable Wyoming defense that is allowing 212.8 rush yards per game.

Recommendation: There’s very little chance that this game remains close for long and Mays should set a season high for carries this week. He should score for a fourth consecutive game and we’re fine with plugging him into cash games in a slate that is severely lacking in quality running back play. At 4,400, he shouldn’t have any trouble returning solid value.