In this article I give six recommended plays each for the Noon ET and 7:15 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).
The data in this piece is taken from DraftKings, Sports Reference and VegasInsider.com.
EARLY SLATE: Noon ET
Paying Up: Paxton Lynch (Memphis): $8,100
Memphis has lost three straight games after peaking at No. 15 in the AP Poll, and during that time Lynch has averaged only 246.3 yards and one touchdown passing per game. This week, however, Memphis is a 21.5-point home favorite against Southern Methodist and has a slate-high implied team total of 46.75 points. SMU’s 44.1 points allowed to opposing teams is the third-highest total in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Finally, in Memphis’ seven wins against FBS teams, the Tigers have averaged 45.7 points scored and Lynch has averaged 375.9 yards passing, 20.1 yards rushing, 2.7 total touchdowns, and a very strong 31.3 fantasy points per game. In all seven of those games Lynch threw for more than 300 yards, so he has an excellent chance of earning the passing bonus, and in six of those games he scored multiple touchdowns. With the slate’s third-highest quarterback salary, Lynch has the potential to be the slate’s highest-scoring player at his position.
In Week 13, Lynch has a good chance of passing for 350 yards, rushing for 15 yards, and scoring three touchdowns.
Digging Deep: Travis Wilson (Utah) – $5,900
Available for the 17th-highest quarterback salary, Wilson is the slate’s 11th-most productive quarterback on a per-game basis. Utah is a 16.5-point home favorite over Colorado and has an implied team total of 32.75 points. Wilson isn’t much of a passer, with only 1,914 yards and 12 touchdowns passing in 10 games, but he supplements his production as a rusher, having accumulated 436 yards and six touchdowns on the ground this season. More importantly, not counting the Utah State game in which Wilson was injured, in Utah’s six wins with Wilson as the starter he has been very productive, passing for 209.2 yards and 1.3 touchdowns and rushing for 42.3 yards and 0.8 touchdowns per game. In these six games, Wilson has averaged 22.8 fantasy points per contest. With positive game script, Wilson should have ample opportunities to accumulate production as Utah controls the ball.
In Week 13, Wilson has a good chance of passing for 200 yards, rushing for 50 yards, and scoring two touchdowns.
Paying Up: Derrick Henry (Alabama): $9,100
North Carolina’s Elijah Hood, West Virginia’s Wendell Smallwood, and Clemson’s Wayne Gallman are all decent options — but Henry is one of the best running backs in college, and he is the most productive running back in the slate. He leads the FBS in touchdowns rushing, and is averaging 1.9 scores per game. He has never had fewer than 10 touches for 50 yards and a touchdown in a game. Additionally, in Henry’s eight contests against Power Five opponents, Henry has averaged 26.1 rushes and 1.1 receptions for 172.4 yards, 1.9 touchdowns, and 32.2 fantasy points per game. In these eight games, the worst performance Henry had was a 95-yard, one-touchdown campaign. Alabama is a 14.5-point road favorite over Auburn and has an implied team total of 31.5 points. With positive game script, Henry should have no problem reaching 20 touches throughout the course of the game.
In Week 13, Henry has a good chance of compiling 150 yards and scoring two touchdowns.
Digging Deep: Devine Redding (Indiana): $4,900
Utah’s Joe Williams, Southern California’s Ronald Jones II, and WVU’s Rushel Shell are all good “Digging Deep” options — and in my own personal lineup I would like start Williams over Redding — but Redding deserves some attention. The backup to the prolific Jordan Howard, Redding has a strong chance to start this weekend against Purdue, as Howard, who has dealt with a knee injury throughout the season, exited Indiana’s game last week with knee issues after only three carries. Indiana is a 6.5-point road favorite over Purdue and has the slate’s second-highest implied team total with 37.5 points. In the four games that Howard’s injury has caused him to miss either partially or entirely, Redding has stepped in quite capably, averaging 20.5 carries and 1.8 receptions for 88 yards, a touchdown, and 17.3 fantasy points per game. If Howard misses this game, Redding should approach and potentially exceed 20 carries.
In Week 13, Redding has a good chance of having 80 yards, two receptions, and a touchdown as long as Howard is out.
Paying Up: Calvin Ridley (Alabama): $5,500
Since becoming Alabama’s lead wide receiver in the fourth week of the season with WR Robert Foster’s injury, Ridley has produced like one of the slate’s top-eight receivers, and so his 12th-highest salary at the position is not out of line. Alabama is a 14-point road favorite over in-state rival Auburn and has an implied team total of 31.5 points. Ridley should have sufficient opportunity to produce throughout the game. In his six SEC contests as the lead receiver, he has averaged 6.7 receptions per game for 87.8 yards, 0.5 touchdowns, and 19.5 fantasy points per game. In each of those six games he has either scored a touchdown or caught at least seven receptions for 50 yards. In four of the six games he has at least 75 yards receiving.
In Week 13, Ridley has a good chance of finishing with six receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown.
Digging Deep: Jaylen Samuels (North Carolina State): $4,400
In previous weeks I have gone with tight ends and Samuels in particular as my “Digging Deep” recommendation at the receiver position, and I’m going back to the tight end well this week. In this format, even high-scoring tight ends are discounted, likely because compared to the best wide receivers they have limited upside — but with the 33rd-highest salary at the receiver position Samuels is an absolute steal considering that he is the slate’s fifth-most productive receiver — not tight end, but receiver. An atypical short-and-thick tight end who doubles as a fullback/H-back hybrid, Samuels is very versatile, leading the team in all receiving categories with a 58-502-7 stat line and also contributing with a 50-310-7 stat line as a runner. With NC St.’s lead RB Matt Dayes out for the rest of the season with an injury, Samuels is the active team leader in yards and touchdowns rushing. NC St. is a 5.5-point home underdog to UNC and has an implied team total of 30 points. Throughout the contest the Wolfpack is likely to feed the ball the ball to its best all-around player. In Samuels’ 11 games, he has scored a touchdown in nine of them.
In Week 13, Samuels has a good chance of having at least five receptions and five rushes for 60 scrimmage yards and a touchdown.
LATE SLATE: 7:15 PM ET
Paying Up: Chad Kelly (Mississippi): $6,900
Last week, Kelly was my early slate “Paying Up” quarterback, and he reward me with 280 yards passing, 81 yards rushing, and four total touchdowns. This week I’m going back to the well. As he was last week, Kelly is the slate’s second-most productive quarterback, this week available for only the sixth-highest positional salary. Ole Miss is the eighth-highest-scoring team in the FBS with 40.5 points scored per game, and Mississippi State has allowed exactly 40.5 points per game over the last two weeks. Ole Miss is a one-point road favorite over State and has an implied team total of 32.5 points. In his seven games against SEC opponents, Kelly is averaging 313 yards and two touchdowns passing, 40.9 yards and 0.9 touchdowns rushing, and 30.7 fantasy points per contest.
In Week 13, Kelly has a good chance of passing for 300 yards, rushing for 20 yards, and scoring three touchdowns.
Digging Deep: J.W. Walsh (Oklahoma State) – $5,000
Walsh is fairly priced in that he has the 19th-highest quarterback salary while being the 19th-most productive player at the position. He’s something of a risky play — perhaps best for tournaments — because is OK St.’s second quarterback, and really he functions as more of a goal-line specialist and gadget player. Hardly does he touch the ball more than eight times per game. Of course, he touches the ball in high-leverage situations and has scored 22 touchdowns on the season in 11 games. Given that OK St. is the fifth-highest-scoring team in the FBS with 42.8 points scored per game Walsh get a lot of opportunities to produce even though he is not a starter. OK St. is a seven-point home underdog to Oklahoma and has an implied team total of 30.5 points. As an underdog, OK St. could potentially use Walsh more in gadget situations to gain an edge, and even if that’s not the case Walsh should still see his standard usage. In OK St.’s eight games against Big 12 opponents, Walsh has averaged 5.63 carries for 23.5 yards and 1.25 touchdowns and 2.75 pass attempts for 36.63 yards and 1.13 touchdowns per game, scoring 15.82 fantasy points per contest. Walsh has scored multiple touchdowns in six of those eight games.
In Week 13, Walsh has a good chance of rushing for 20 yards, passing for 20 yards, and scoring two touchdowns. Considering that Walsh’s cheap salary will enable you to spend more money at other positions, that production is probably good enough.
Paying Up: Donnel Pumphrey (San Diego State) – $7,900
Last week, Pumphrey was my late slate “Paying Up” running back at $7,900, and he had 28.9 fantasy points. I’m going with him again this week because he is the same price and that sort of production is repeatable. Pumphrey is fairly priced in that he is the slate’s fourth-most productive running back and is available with the fourth-highest salary at his position. Pumphrey, however, is undervalued when one looks at his matchup and game splits. San Diego State is a 17.5-point home favorite over Nevada and has an implied team total of 34 points. Against Nevada, Pumphrey should benefit from extremely positive game script and have the opportunity to score multiple times. In the Aztecs’ seven wins against FBS teams, all of which have been by at least 14 points, Pumphrey has averaged 22.7 carries and 1.4 receptions for 169.3 yards, 1.9 touchdowns, and 32.5 fantasy points per game. In all of those games, not once has he failed to hit 21 fantasy points.
In Week 13, Pumphrey has a strong chance of accumulating 150 scrimmage yards and scoring two touchdowns.
Digging Deep: Chase Price (San Diego State) – $4,300
Yep, I’m recommending two running backs on the same team — two weeks in a row. Price was my late slate “Digging Deep” running back last week at $4,300. He had 16.4 points and is fully capable of replicating that production this week. Price is a dynamic change-of-pace runner who consistently gets the ball when the Aztecs win. While his overall seasonal numbers might not seem impressive, Price is in a highly favorable matchup and in the Aztecs’ seven wins against FBS teams — which just happen to be the previous seven games — Price has averaged 16.1 carries and 0.9 receptions for 96.1 yards and 0.9 touchdowns per game. Priced as just the 20th running back in the slate, Price has production rivaling a high-end RB2 across the last seven games, and only once in the last seven games has he failed to live up to his current valuation.
In Week 12, Price has a strong chance of accumulating 70 scrimmage yards and scoring a touchdown.
Paying Up: Laquon Treadwell (Mississippi) – $6,500
Treadwell is the slate’s most productive receiver, and he is available at a slight discount with the third-highest salary at the position. Treadwell is really the only elite receiver in the slate, and Ole Miss is a one-point road underdog with an implied team total of 32.5 points. Going against in-state SEC rival Mississippi State, Treadwell should see a steady stream of targets throughout the contest. Since conference play started in Week 3, Treadwell has scored a touchdown in seven of nine games, and he has also accumulated at least 80 yards in seven of his last nine games. And in his seven games against SEC opponents Treadwell have averaged 5.9 receptions for 94.7 yards and 0.7 touchdowns. Even though he is playing against an SEC opponent, Treadwell should still be productive.
In Week 13, Treadwell has a good chance of catching at least five receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown.
Digging Deep: Mark Andrews (Oklahoma): $3,000
This is a total tournament punt play. OU is a seven-point road favorite over in-state conference rival Oklahoma State and has the slate’s second-highest implied team total with 37.5 points. In a game that could easily turn into a fast-paced shootout, Andrews — a freshman tight end — could score a touchdown. With six receiving scores on the season, Andrews is actually second on the team in that category. Additionally, all six of Andrews touchdowns have come in high-scoring affairs, so OU’s slate-high total does bode well for Andrews. Finally, even though he is a minimum salary player, Andrews has scored at least seven fantasy points in seven of OU’s 11 games, and in the contests in which he actually catches the ball he averaging 10.2 fantasy points.
Andrews might do absolutely nothing in Week 13, but for a player who costs almost nothing to roster he has a decent chance of scoring a touchdown.