In this article I give six recommended plays each for the Noon ET and 7 PM ET slates of Saturday games. Within the six recommendations for each slate, three are “Paying Up” plays (top-12 salaries at their positions), and three are “Digging Deep” plays (non-top-12 salaries at their positions).
Looking for more CFB content? Check out these articles:
EARLY SLATE: Noon ET
Paying Up: Trevone Boykin (Texas Christian): $10,100
As the player with the highest salary in the slate, Boykin is $1,400 more expensive than the slate’s second-most expensive quarterback, and he is $1,600 more than the slate’s second-most productive passer. In truth, Boykin’s high salary may render him prohibitive for this weekend. If you want Boykin, you will have to pay a premium for him, but he is worth it, as he leads the slate’s quarterbacks in per-game scoring by a wide margin. As one of the best players in the Football Bowl Subdivision, Boykin is averaging 374.7 yards and 3.2 touchdowns passing and 66.3 yards and 0.89 touchdowns rushing per game. In only two of nine games this season has Boykin scored fewer than four touchdowns. In a third of his games he has scored more than four touchdowns.
TCU is a 45-point home favorite over Kansas and has a slate-leading implied team total of 58.25 points. Kansas scores the eighth-fewest points in the FBS on a per-game basis and allows the most points, with opponents averaging 48.4 points per game. Given that TCU is second in the FBS in scoring with 46.7 points per game, Boykin should have plenty of opportunity to produce against the Jayhawks, even with No. 1 WR Josh Doctson likely to be limited because of a wrist injury suffered last week. The Jayhawks allow 330.6 yards and 2.4 touchdowns passing and 252.8 yards and 3.0 touchdowns rushing per game. Given that he is so central to TCU’s offense, with involvement in 71.2 percent of the team’s offensive touchdowns, Boykin should be able to have a big game against Kansas.
In Week 11, Boykin is likely to do no worse than 300 yards passing, 50 yards rushing, and four total touchdowns.
Digging Deep: Joe Hubener (Kansas State) – $6,500
Hubener has the 13th-highest quarterback salary despite being only the slate’s 15th-most productive quarterback, so he is slightly overpriced relative to his 2015 production, but in Hubener’s six games in which KSU has finished with a point total similar to the team’s implied total for this game he has averaged 163 yards and 0.83 touchdowns passing and 62.83 yards and 1.33 touchdowns rushing for 25.1 fantasy points per contest. Hubener, with only 1,114 yards and six touchdowns passing on the season, is clearly not much of a passer, but as the Wildcats’ leading rusher Hubener accounts for 30.2 and 47.1 percent of the team’s yards and scores on the ground, and he is involved in 56 percent of all KSU’s offensive touchdowns, so he has a good chance of scoring multiple touchdowns when KSU isn’t blown out.
KSU is a 5.5-point road underdog to Texas Tech and has an implied team total of 33 points. In what should be a fast-paced shootout, KSU is likely to rely on its best player to move the ball in order to keep up with Tech’s high-scoring offense, and although KSU is averaging only 26.9 points scored per game this year the game should remain fairly close throughout on account of Tech’s allowing 42.2 points per game to opponents. Tech is specifically vulnerable to the running game, allowing 46.9 rushes per game for 273.6 yards and 2.8 touchdowns rushing, and Hubener should be able to exploit Tech’s weakness.
In Week 11, Hubener has a strong chance of passing for 175 yards, rushing for 75 yards, and scoring three touchdowns.
Paying Up: Sony Michel (Georgia): $6,600
With the slate’s ninth-most expensive running back salary, Michel is overpriced in comparison to the stats he has accumulated over the course of the season, but when one considers that Michel has been Georgia’s lead back for only the last four games then his salary is placed within a more representative context that reveals him to be fairly priced. Since the season-ending injury to star RB Nick Chubb a month ago against Alabama, true sophomore Michel has been Georgia’s workhorse, very much in the mold of previous Bulldogs runners. On the season, Michel leads the team with 924 yards and eight touchdowns from scrimmage in nine games, and in his seven SEC contests Michel is averaging 103.1 yards and 0.71 touchdowns from scrimmage on 16.3 carries and 2.1 receptions.
Georgia is a 1.5-point road underdog to Auburn and has an implied team total of 25.5 points. Auburn is about average in terms of points allowed to opponents, with 27.2 points per game, and Auburn’s defense relatively speaking is more susceptible to the run than the pass, allowing 164.8 yards and 1.7 touchdowns rushing on 34.7 attempts per game. In his four games as the lead back, Michel is averaging 21.25 rushing attempts per game and has 67.3 and 50 percent of the team’s yards and touchdowns rushing. In a close game, Michel should receive his full complement of touches.
Against Auburn, Michel has an excellent chance of rushing at least 18 times and having two receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown. He might not have the highest ceiling, but he has a solid floor.
Paying Up: Josh Adams (Notre Dame): $5,900
Recent reports indicate that ND’s star RB C.J. Prosise is likely to miss the team’s Week 11 game because of a potential concussion suffered in last week’s victory over Pittsburgh, and if that happens then Adams will likely fill in as the lead back, just as he did in Week 10 when he rushed for 147 yards on 20 carries and turned his one reception into a five-yard touchdown. While Prosise might seem irreplaceable given his production to date and his capabilities as a receiver out of the backfield, the fact is that prior to this season the senior had managed only 10 carries in his entire college career and was known more as a special teams player and wide receiver than a running back before his 2015 breakout. It’s possible that Adams could approximate Prosise’s production as long as the lead running back is out. In limited work this year, Adams has 412 yards and three touchdowns on 54 rushes, good for 7.6 yards per carry.
Although ideally Adams would be rosterable for less than the slate’s 16th-highest running back salary, Adams has a matchup that is too good to ignore. ND is a 27-point favorite at home against Wake Forest and has an implied team total of 39.5 points, tied for the third-highest total in the slate. Even though WF allows only 23.0 points per game to opponents, the team has benefitted from an average strength of schedule and the defense is relatively more susceptible to the run than to the pass, allowing 38.0 rushes for 160.9 yards and 1.2 touchdowns rushing per game. With little competition for carries and a positive game script that should enable Adams to run the ball throughout the entirety of the contest, Adams should receive multiple opportunities to run the ball relentlessly against a far inferior opponent.
In Week 11, Adams has a strong chance to rush 20 times for 110 yards, catch a couple passes for 15 yards, and score a touchdown.
Paying Up: James Washington (Oklahoma State): $5,700
Washington has the slate’s eighth-highest wide receiver salary and is the ninth-most productive players at the position on a per-game basis, so he is fairly valued, but he presents as an exceptional value once one realizes that his role within the offense has drastically changed since the first month of the season. In OK St., first four games, Washington averaged 3 receptions per game for 38.75 yards and no touchdowns. In the five games since then, Washington has become the team’s clear lead receiver, averaging 4.8 receptions per game for 123.4 yards and 1.4 touchdowns receiving. Phrased differently, in only 55.6 percent of his games, Washington has captured 66.7 percent of his receptions, 79.9 percent of his yardage, and 100 percent of his touchdowns — but he’s currently being valued on the basis of his entire season, not his most recent and representative production, and so Washington is a strong value play.
OK St. is a 14-point road favorite over Iowa State and has an implied team total of 37.5 points. On the season, the Cyclones have allowed an average of 32.1 points per game to opponents, and the Cowboys have an average of 44.6 points per game as the seventh-highest scoring team in the FBS. Additionally, against teams with comparable offenses, such as Baylor, TCU, Tech, and Oklahoma, the Cyclones have allowed 45, 45, 66, and 52 points respectively. OK St. has a strong chance of exceeding its implied team total, and with six of the team’s 13 touchdowns receiving in the last three games Washington will likely benefit from OK St.’s overproduction.
In Week 11, Washington has an excellent chance of catching five passes for 100 yards and a touchdown.
Digging Deep: Jaylen Samuels (North Carolina State): $4,900
On DraftKings, Samuels is listed as a wide receiver. In reality, Samuels, listed at 5’11” and 236 pounds, is a tight end who also doubles as a fullback/H-back hybrid. Because of his real position, Samuels has only the 15th-highest salary at the receiver position despite being the sixth-most productive receiver in the slate. As an all-around versatile weapon, Samuels is by far NC St.’s leader in all receiving categories with a 49-467-5 stat line, good for 25 and 35.7 percent of the Wolfpack’s yards and touchdowns receiving, which are high percentages for a tight end. Perhaps even more impressive is that Samuels also has 37 rushes on the season for 240 yards and seven touchdowns, and although rushing production for an H-back is hard to predict Samuels is likely to receiver regular carries in future games because NC St.’s lead RB Matt Dayes sustained a foot injury a couple of weeks ago and will miss the rest of the season. In fact, last week, in the first full game without Dayes, Samuels had eight carries, the most he’s ever had in a game.
NC St. is a 9.5-point road underdog to Florida State and has an implied team total of only 22.25 points. Nevertheless, because of the expected game script, NC St. will likely be throwing for much of the game in an attempt to keep pace with FSU, and Samuels should see plenty of targets as a result. Additionally, when NC St. gets near the goal line, Samuels will likely have the opportunity to serve as a short-yardage rushing specialist. With touchdowns in seven of nine games played and at least five receptions in seven games, Samuels has a high floor.
In Week 11, Samuels has a good chance of catching five passes for 40 yards, rushing five times for 35 yards, and scoring a touchdown. Of course, if you are looking for upside, rostering someone like the comparably priced KaVontae Turpin of TCU is probably a better move for your lineup.
LATE SLATE: 7 PM ET
Paying Up: Jarrett Stidham (Baylor) – $7,800
The investment case for Stidham is simple. You are not investing in him. You are investing in the quarterback position of Baylor’s high-powered offense. Stidham might actually be a good player. At the same time, he might also be for Baylor what Barry Switzer was for the Dallas Cowboys in the ‘90s — proof that anyone could do the job. Although Stidham has accumulated a few attempts in limited mop-up duty at the end of blowouts — amassing an insanely efficient 331 yards and six touchdowns passing with an 85.7 percent completion percentage on 28 attempts and also rushing for 26 yards and a touchdown in his first seven appearances — we have really only one game on which to judge him, his starting performance last week against Kansas State on the road. In that game, Stidham completed 69.7 percent of his 33 pass attempts for 419 yards and three touchdowns, and he added seven rushes for 1 yard and another touchdown. In that one game, he scored 37.86 fantasy points. Although he isn’t quite the runner that Seth Russell is, Stidham proved in that game that, when it comes to fantasy production, he basically is Russell, just like Russell is Bryce Petty is Nick Florence is Robert Griffin III.
In what will be its most challenging game of the season to date, Baylor is a 2.5-point home favorite over Oklahoma. In a matchup with the slate’s second-highest over/under at 76 points, both teams have implied team totals above 35 points, with Baylor’s being 39.25 points, the fifth-highest total in the slate. In what is almost certain to be a fast-paced affair between two of the top offenses in the FBS, both teams will likely be passing the ball aggressively in an attempt to outpace the opposing team’s offense, and in such a shootout Baylor could easily find itself in the situation of needing to have Stidham throw the ball at least 40 times.
In Week 11, Stidham has a strong chance of passing for 300 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for another 20 yards and an additional score.
Digging Deep: Quinton Flowers (South Florida) – $5,300
Despite being the slate’s 11th-most productive quarterback, Flowers has only the 20th-highest quarterback salary. Although Flowers isn’t much of a thrower with only 1,446 yards and 12 touchdowns passing in nine games, he makes up for that shortcoming as a runner, with 657 yards and seven touchdowns rushing on the year. As USF’s leading rusher in touchdowns and second-leading rusher in yards, Flowers is the team’s offense, accounting for 61.3 percent of its offensive touchdowns. Even if the Bulls do not score a lot of points, the odds are always good that Flowers will finish with multiple touchdowns, as he has done in seven of nine games.
As it happens, USF is a 2.5-point home underdog to Temple and has an implied team total of only 21 points. Temple has a stingy defense, allowing only 18.4 points and fewer than two actual offensive touchdowns per game. While this is unfortunate, the fact is that it probably won’t impact Flowers’ performance as much as one would think. In six games this season, four of which were losses, USF scored within seven points of this week’s 21-point implied total. In those six games, USF averaged 19.2 points and Flowers averaged 158.2 yards and 1.3 touchdowns passing and 56.3 yards and 0.3 touchdowns rushing, good for an average of 19.3 fantasy points per game. In those six games, Flowers scored multiple touchdowns four times and he scored fewer than 14 fantasy points only once. Given his current price point, that production is more than acceptable.
Against Temple, Flowers has a good chance of passing for 150 yards, rushing for 50 yards, and scoring two touchdowns.
Paying Up: Jeremy McNichols (Boise State) – $7,600
For the first time in weeks, I am making a recommendation that literally excites me. Everything points toward McNichols being a must-play running back this week. He is the slate’s second-most productive running back, but he is available with only the seventh-highest running back salary. As a point of comparison, Leonard Fournette is $1,800 more expensive and only 2.95 fantasy points per game more productive. In rostering McNichols, you are getting over 90 percent of Fournette at about 80 percent of the price, and whereas Fournette has to play against an SEC defense this week, McNichols gets to face a middling Mountain West team. On the season, McNichols has a team-leading 1,025 yards and 17 touchdowns from scrimmage on 155 carries and 29 receptions in eight games. Not once this year has McNichols failed to score a touchdown, and he has scored multiple touchdowns in every game except for one. In only two games this year has he failed to reach 100 yards.
Best of all, BSU is a 30-point home favorite over New Mexico and has the slate’s second-highest implied team total with 43.75 points. The Broncos allow only 18.3 points per game to opponents, and so their defense should create extra scoring opportunities for their offense, and as a team they already score 39.9 points per game. In a matchup like this, McNichols should benefit from favorable game script and be given the ball early and often. In a blowout like this, the only limit to his productivity will be the extent to which the coaching staff wishes to ride their workhorse to needless production.
In Week 11, McNichols is almost a lock for 125 scrimmage yards, three receptions, and two touchdowns.
Digging Deep: Khalfani Muhammad (California) – $3,300
Only $300 above the minimum salary, Muhammad might seem like a weird recommendation, especially since he to this point has had to share a backfield with Daniel Lasco, who last year had 1,471 yards and 14 touchdowns from scrimmage, and with Vic Enwere, who leads the team this year with six rushing touchdowns. But the fact is that through nine games, on only 66 rushes and 14 receptions, Muhammad has been not only Cal’s most explosive running back but maybe even its most explosive player as well. As the team’s change-of-pace third-wheel running back, Muhammad actually leads the entire team with 584 scrimmage yards, and he has also run circles around Lasco and Enwere, leading the team with 462 yards rushing and with an elite 7.0 yards per carry. In the four games in which he has garnered double-digit touches, Muhammad has been amazingly productive, with 98.25 scrimmage yards and 0.5 touchdowns on only 9.75 carries and three receptions per game. In these double-digit contests, Muhammad has averaged 16.6 fantasy points per game and has scored fewer than 12 fantasy points only once.
The reason this split is significant is that Muhammad has been named the starter for Cal’s Week 11 contest against Oregon State, in which Cal is a 21.5-point home favorite with an implied team total of 40.5 points, the third-highest total in the slate. With extremely positive game script and going against a defense that allows 41.2 rushes per game for 204.1 yards and 2.3 touchdowns, Muhammad is almost certain to receive more than 10 touches in this game, giving him ample opportunity to produce.
Against OSU, Muhammad has a good chance of totaling 100 scrimmage yards, securing three receptions, and scoring a touchdown.
Paying Up: Corey Coleman (Baylor) – $8,600
I swear, I try to temper my enthusiasm for him by recommending him as little as possible, because you already know that he is awesome if you are reading this, but the extent to which Coleman is better than every other wide receiver in this slate is astounding. Oregon’s Darren Carrington is the slate’s second-most productive receiver (assuming that one doesn’t count the injured Keevan Lucas), and Carrington has been truly spectacular since returning from his injury, averaging 25.8 fantasy points per game in his three contests — but Coleman is outscoring Carrington by more than two touchdowns per game, with an average of 40.3 fantasy points across eight games. Coleman likely won’t get any Heisman hype, but he should. He has scored multiple touchdowns in every game this season except for one — and in that game he had five receptions for 178 yards. He also has at least 100 yards receiving in every game except for one — and in that game he had six receptions, two touchdowns, and even 17 yards rushing, putting him over 100 scrimmage yards on the game. Coleman is the most expensive player at his position, but he is worth every digital dollar.
As only a 2.5-point home favorite over Oklahoma, Baylor with its implied team total of 39.25 points will almost certainly pass the ball aggressively in order to outscore OU’s potent offense, and this game script should be positive for Coleman, who is likely to be heavily involved throughout the game. But, really, regardless of the game script, Coleman is always involved. He is the motor of Baylor’s FBS-leading offense.
Against OU, Coleman has a strong chance of catching at least six passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns.
Digging Deep: Drew Morgan (Arkansas): $4,600
Morgan is cheap even if you look at his total season production — he is the slate’s 14th-most productive wide receiver, acquirable with the 26th-highest receiver salary — but Morgan really presents himself as a value play when one considers that he didn’t become his team’s lead receiver until WR Keon Hatcher suffered an ankle injury in Week 2, missing all of the games since. Whereas Morgan has averaged 18.9 fantasy points per game across the entire season, in those six games in which he has been his team’s lead receiver in contests against FBS opponents Morgan has exploded for 24.1 fantasy points per game with six receptions for 83.3 yards and 1.3 touchdowns per contest as well as three rushes for 11 yards across those timespan. In those six games, Morgan has scored a touchdown in every game except for one, in which he had five receptions and 118 scrimmage yards.
Morgan is so discounted this week because Arkansas is a 7.5-point road underdog to Louisiana State and has an implied team total of only 23.25 points. LSU has the reputation of having a stout defense, and it certainly is good, but it allows 217.4 yards and 1.8 touchdowns receiving per game, which aren’t huge numbers, but they’re big enough to suggest that Morgan could still be productive in this game. In the four contests in which he has been the lead receiver and Arkansas has scored no more than 24 points, Morgan has averaged 19.6 fantasy points per game on 5.25 receptions for 81.25 yards and 0.75 touchdowns receiving. In general, Arkansas doesn’t need to score a lot of points for its No. 1 receiver to produce.
In Week 11, Morgan has a decent chance of securing five receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown.