In this article I give six recommended plays for the slate of bowl games on Saturday, Dec. 26th. Within the six recommendations, three are “Paying Up” plays (top-five salaries at their positions) and three are “Digging Deep” plays (non-top-five salaries at their positions).

The data in this piece is taken from DraftKings, Sports Reference and VegasInsider.com.

{color:#FF6C00}*Dec. 26 BOWL GAME SLATE: 2 PM ET*%

QUARTERBACKS

Paying Up: Thomas Sirk (Duke): $7,200

Finding discounts in five-game slates is a challenge, and Sirk doesn’t look like a discount, since he is the slate’s second-most expensive and fifth-most productive quarterback — but the difference between Sirk and the second-most productive quarterback is negligible on a per-game basis and Sirk has high floor on account of his rushing production. Sirk isn’t an elite player, but in 11 games he has 143 rushes for 564 yards and six touchdowns, making him one of the best running quarterbacks in the slate. Duke is a 2.5-point underdog to Indiana and has the slate’s third-highest implied team total with 34 points. Because the game should be relatively close throughout, Sirk should remain active as a passer and runner for the entirety of the contest.

In the Pinstripe Bowl, Sirk has a good chance of passing for at least 225 yards, rushing for 60 yards, and scoring three touchdowns.

Digging Deep: Nick Mullens (Southern Mississippi) – $6,300

Mullens is the second-most productive and eighth-most expensive quarterback in the slate, so he is rosterable at a sizable discount to his production over the course of the season. In only three of 13 games has he passed for fewer than two touchdowns, and in seven of 13 games has he passed for at least three touchdowns. In nine of 13 games he has passed for at least 300 yards, and only once has he passed for fewer than 250 yards. Southern Mississippi is an 8.5-point underdog to Washington and has a slate-low implied team total of only 23.25 points, but Washington is stout against the run and the Golden Eagles should be throwing the ball for most of the contest.

In the Heart of Dallas Bowl, Mullens has a good chance of passing for 300 yards and three touchdowns.


RUNNING BACKS

Paying Up: Travon McMillian (Virginia Tech): $6,900

McMillian is the slate’s third-most expensive and ninth-most productive running back if one looks at seasonal data, so he is seemingly rosterable only at a premium, but McMillian is actually available at a bargain since he has been Virginia Tech’s lead back only since the team’s sixth game. In his seven games as VT’s primary rusher, he has averaged 21.7 rush attempts per game and never had fewer than 80 yards rushing in any contest. In those seven games, he has scored five touchdowns and surpassed 100 scrimmage yards five times. Virginia Tech is a 14-point favorite over Tulsa and has a slate-high implied team total of 37.75 points. Tulsa is one of the worst teams in the FBS against the run, allowing 238.6 yards and 2.7 touchdowns rushing per game. Additionally, McMillian was the lead back for two games in which VT finished with scores comparable to the team’s implied total in this matchup, and McMillian averaged 20 rushes and 1.5 receptions for 128 yards, 1.5 touchdowns, and 24.8 fantasy points in those contests. With a high implied total, a big spread, and positive game script, McMillian should touch the ball at least 20 times and get regular opportunities throughout the game.

In the Independence Bowl, McMillian has a good chance of rushing for 100 yards and scoring a touchdown.

Digging Deep: Devine Redding (Indiana) – $5,600

Redding is the backup to prolific starting RB Jordan Howard, who has battled a knee injury for half of the season and was forced to miss Indiana’s most recent game. In the five games that Howard has partially or fully missed due to injury, Redding has stepped in quite capably, averaging 20.8 carries and 1.4 receptions for 99.2 yards, a touchdown, and 18.5 fantasy points per game. In four of those five games he has either scored multiple touchdowns or rushed for at least 130 yards. Indiana is a 2.5-point favorite over Duke and has the slate’s second-highest implied team total with 36.5 points. With positive game script, Redding should receive touches regularly throughout the game, especially if Howard misses the contest, for which he is currently questionable. But even if Howard is active, he is likely still to be limited, and as it is Redding has received at least 12 touches in nine of 12 games this season, and he scored three touchdowns in the first four games of the season, before Howard injured his knee. With Howard — but especially without him — Redding is likely to touch the ball a lot against Duke.

In the Pinstripe Bowl, Redding has a good chance of finishing with 100 scrimmage yards and a touchdown.


WIDE RECEIVERS

Paying Up: Gabe Marks (Washington State): $6,800

Marks is the most productive active and second-most expensive wide receiver in the slate and has been one of the best and most consistent receivers in the FBS this season. Marks has scored touchdowns in nine of 12 games and has also surpassed 75 yards receiving in nine of 12 games. Washington State is a 2.5-point favorite over Miami and has an implied team total of 32.5 points. Even though the Cougars’ implied total isn’t elite, in the seven games in which they scored between 22.5 and 42.5 points — averaging 31.4 points in those contests — Marks still produced exceptionally well, with 9.1 receptions for 98.3 yards, 0.9 touchdowns, and 25.4 fantasy points per game. With the game expected to be close, Marks should benefit from positive game for most of the contest.

In the Sun Bowl, Marks has a good chance of finishing with eight receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown.

Digging Deep: Jordan Westerkamp (Nebraska): $4,800

Nothing is particularly special about Westerkamp, but he is the cheapest of the slate’s ten-most productive wide receivers. He is the eighth-most productive active wide receiver and 11th-most expensive player at the position, so he is available at a slight discount and provides some salary relief. In seven of 12 games played has a touchdown, and he also has 75 yards in seven of 12 games. Nebraska is a 6.5-point underdog to California-Los Angeles, and so Westerkamp should benefit from positive game script and regular targets. Nebraska has an implied team total of only 27.25 points, but Westerkamp, the clear leader in all receiving categories for the Cornhuskers, should still get his production with the team likely to pass consistently in order to keep pace with UCLA.

In the Foster Farms Bowl, Westerkamp has a good chance of finishing with five receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown.