In this article I give six recommended plays each for the 12 PM ET and 7 PM ET slates of Saturday games. Within the six recommendations for each slate, three are “Paying Up” plays (top-12 salary at their positions), and three are “Digging Deep” plays (outside top-12 salary at their positions).

EARLY SLATE: 12 PM ET

QUARTERBACKS

Paying Up: Greg Ward, Jr. (Houston): $8,900

Salary Cap Percentage: 17.8 (3rd in slate)
Average Fantasy Points-Per-Game: 39.47 (2nd)
Passing Efficiency Rating: 184.6 (6th in FBS)
Adjusted Passing yards per Attempt: 11.0 (9th)
Team Rushing Yardage Percentage: 33.80 (1st on team)
Team Rushing Touchdown Percentage: 44.44 (1st)
Team Offensive Yardage Percentage: 60.66 (1st)
Team Offensive Touchdown Percentage: 70.59 (1st)
Team Points Scored per Game: 48.3 (6th of 128 in FBS)
Opposing Defense Points Allowed per Game: 39.0 (114th of 128)
Location: Road
Spread (pts.): -7
Over/Under (pts.): 80 (2nd in slate)
Implied Point Total: 43.5 (4th)

Playing Ward might be one of the easiest decisions of the early slate: He is a top-two positional producer available at a slight discount, has been one of the best college passers of the 2015 season, and leads his team as a rusher. Houston is projected to score a lot of points in a shootout with Tulsa, which means that Ward should be hugely productive, given how much of his team’s total offense he accounts for. Ward has a good chance of finishing Week 5 as the early slate’s most productive quarterback.

Digging Deep: Skyler Howard (West Virginia) – $6,500

Salary Cap Percentage: 13 (19th in slate)
Average Fantasy Points-Per-Game: 27.81 (9th)
Passing Efficiency Rating: 193.6 (4th in FBS)
Adjusted Passing yards per Attempt: 12.5 (4th)
Team Rushing Yardage Percentage: 13.31 (3rd on team)
Team Rushing Touchdown Percentage: 0 (NA)
Team Offensive Yardage Percentage: 61.60 (1st)
Team Offensive Touchdown Percentage: 56.25 (1st)
Team Points Scored per Game: 43.3 (14th of 128 in FBS)
Opposing Defense Points Allowed per Game: 21.7 (50th of 128)
Location: Road
Spread (pts.): +6.5
Over/Under (pts.): 59.5 (7th in slate)
Implied Point Total: 26.5 (18th)

This week, I’m not a big fan of the early slate’s “Digging Deep” options at quarterback. Howard is a good quarterback in a vacuum, and he presents a value, being available with the 19th-highest salary despite his top-10 position production. After all, WVU is a high-scoring team that is playing an Oklahoma squad with a defense that is about average in terms of points allowed per game — but OU’s strength of schedule to this point in the season is 16th in FBS, whereas WVU’s is 87th, and that seeming disparity between the teams manifests in WVU’s being a 6.5-point road underdog with an implied point total of only 26.5 points. Still, even with the tough matchup, Howard has a decent chance of doing well, given his production through three games and the record of previous quarterbacks who have played in Head Coach Dana Holgorsen’s offense. Howard is unlikely to finish Week 5 with a top-five positional performance, but top-10 production is more than feasible.


RUNNING BACKS

Paying Up: Zack Langer (Tulsa): $6,100

Salary Cap Percentage: 12.2 (11th in slate)
Average Fantasy Points-Per-Game: 27.77 (6th)
Team Rushing Yardage Percentage: 59.94 (1st on team)
Team Rushing Touchdown Percentage: 71.43 (1st)
Team Receiving Yardage Percentage: 4.61 (5th)
Team Receiving Touchdown Percentage: 0 (NA)
Team Offensive Yardage Percentage: 24.33 (2nd)
Team Offensive Touchdown Percentage: 33.33 (1st)
Team Points Scored per Game: 41.7 (16th of 128 in FBS)
Opposing Defense Points Allowed per Game: 23.0 (59th of 128)
Location: Home
Spread (pts.): +7
Over/Under (pts.): 80 (2nd in slate)
Implied Point Total: 36.5 (8th)

Langer isn’t a great player, but he has been a consistent producer throughout the season, and we’re not looking for greatness. We’re looking for consistent and predictable fantasy production available at a discount, and Langer provides that. In each of his three 2015 contests, he has gone over 100 scrimmage yards and scored at least one touchdown. With his big role on offense as both a yardage accumulator and a touchdown producer, Langer should receive a lot of touches and sufficient goal-line opportunities, given that Tulsa is participating in the game with the slate’s second-highest over/under and has an implied point total of 36.5 points. Tulsa is a seven-point underdog to Houston, but Langer is playing at home and Tulsa should keep the game competitive long enough for the Golden Hurricane lead back to put up a top-12 positional performance. Last week, in a 52-38 loss to OU on the road, Langer still had 181 scrimmage yards and a touchdown on 31 carries and two receptions. This week, 120 scrimmage yards and a touchdown are reasonable to expect.

Digging Deep: Vic Enwere (California) – $4,600

Salary Cap Percentage: 9.2 (29th in slate)
Average Fantasy Points-Per-Game: 13.23 (40th)
Team Rushing Yardage Percentage: 27.21 (2nd on team)
Team Rushing Touchdown Percentage: 50 (1st)
Team Receiving Yardage Percentage: 0.71 (15th)
Team Receiving Touchdown Percentage: 0 (NA)
Team Offensive Yardage Percentage: 10.09 (3rd)
Team Offensive Touchdown Percentage: 22.72 (2nd)
Team Points Scored per Game: 45.8 (9th of 128 in FBS)
Opposing Defense Points Allowed per Game: 24.0 (72nd of 128)
Location: Home
Spread (pts.): -18
Over/Under (pts.): 71 (3rd in slate)
Implied Point Total: 44.5 (2nd)

Enwere was my early slate “Digging Deep” running back last week at $4,500, and he responded with a serviceable performance of 82 scrimmage yards and a touchdown on 23 carries and a reception. As he did last week, Cal starting RB Daniel Lasco is likely to miss Cal’s Week 5 matchup against Washing State, and in his place Enwere should once again start. Because of the uncertainty of Lasco and Enwere’s situations, the potential injury fill-in is not a recommended cash game play, but he could do well in tournaments, especially since Cal is a large favorite at home and Enwere, even though he is not an accumulator of yardage, leads Cal in touchdowns rushing, with five on the season and at least one in each contest. This game against WA St. is the type of contest in which a lead back, with a big lead at home, could score a couple of touchdowns, and as a big, physical runner Enwere is the guy to get those touchdowns. Enwere should have at least 70 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in this game, and he has 120-yard, two-touchdown upside.


WIDE RECEIVERS

Paying Up: Keevan Lucas (Tulsa) – $6,900

Salary Cap Percentage: 13.8 (4th in slate)
Average Fantasy Points-Per-Game: 30.1 (3rd)
Team Receiving Yardage Percentage: 29.18 (2nd on team)
Team Receiving Touchdown Percentage: 62.5 (1st)
Team Rushing Yardage Percentage: 6.32 (3rd)
Team Rushing Touchdown Percentage: 0 (NA)
Team Offensive Yardage Percentage: 21.03 (3rd)
Team Offensive Touchdown Percentage: 33.33 (1st)
Team Points Scored per Game: 41.7 (16th of 128 in FBS)
Opposing Defense Points Allowed per Game: 23.0 (59th of 128)
Location: Home
Spread (pts.): +7
Over/Under (pts.): 80 (2nd in slate)
Implied Point Total: 36.5 (8th)

Of all the wide receivers with top-12 salaries, Lucas may be the only one who is available at a discount. He was one of the best FBS wide receivers last year, and despite not even leading his team in yards receiving Lucas is even better this year. He’s not likely to outperform his salary on a drastic way, but he does provide a high degree of security. Again, Tulsa is a touchdown underdog to Houston in what should be a high-scoring game. The Golden Hurricane will need to throw the ball to keep pace with UH’s offense, and Lucas — who currently accounts for an insane 62.5 percent of his team’s touchdowns receiving — will have opportunities to get touchdowns and the yards that accompany them. Lucas has five touchdowns in three games and has scored in every contest. This week he has a 5-80-1 floor and a 10-160-2 ceiling.

Digging Deep: Jaylen Samuels (North Carolina State): $4,400

Salary Cap Percentage: 8.8 (30th in slate)
Average Fantasy Points-Per-Game: 25.2 (9th)
Team Receiving Yardage Percentage: 25.63 (1st on team)
Team Receiving Touchdown Percentage: 50 (1st)
Team Rushing Yardage Percentage: 9.94 (4th)
Team Rushing Touchdown Percentage: 25 (2nd)
Team Offensive Yardage Percentage: 17.35 (2nd)
Team Offensive Touchdown Percentage: 30.77 (2nd)
Team Points Scored per Game: 46.2 (8th of 128 in FBS)
Opposing Defense Points Allowed per Game: 22.0 (53rd of 128)
Location: Home
Spread (pts.): -4.5
Over/Under (pts.): 47 (13th in slate)
Implied Point Total: 25.75 (21st)

Samuels is listed as a wide receiver, but he’s really a tight end . . . but he’s not really a tight end, either. He’s actually a tight end/H-Back hybrid who, despite having only the 30th-highest “wide receiver” salary, is actually the slate’s ninth-most productive player with the “wide receiver” designation, with a lot of his production deriving from his work as NC St.’s goal-line running back. Not only is Samuels his team’s leading receiver, but in four games he has rushed 12 times for 103 yards and five touchdowns — and most of his touchdowns rushing actually have come in the first half of contests, during meaningful game action, so his rushing production is not a fluke. Samuels is simply a guy who touches the ball in a variety of ways. NC St. isn’t expected to score many points in this contest, but with Samuels’ versatility and importance in the offense he has a good chance, one way or another, of getting 100 scrimmage yards and a touchdown this week.


LATE SLATE: 7 PM ET

QUARTERBACKS

Paying Up: Kyle Allen (Texas A&M) – $7,500

Salary Cap Percentage: 15 (5th in slate)
Average Fantasy Points-Per-Game: 26.75 (2nd)
Passing Efficiency Rating: 179.9 (8th in FBS)
Adjusted Passing yards per Attempt: 11.0 (8th)
Team Rushing Yardage Percentage: 9.52 (5th on team)
Team Rushing Touchdown Percentage: 28.57 (2nd)
Team Offensive Yardage Percentage: 54.24 (1st)
Team Offensive Touchdown Percentage: 68.42 (1st)
Team Points Scored per Game: 41.5 (17th of 128 in FBS)
Opposing Defense Points Allowed per Game: 14.8 (17th of 128)
Location: Home
Spread (pts.): -5.5
Over/Under (pts.): 63 (2nd in slate)
Implied Point Total: 34.25 (6th)

As was the case next week, I’m not a big fan of many of the quarterback options in this slate, given that there are fewer contests and lower over/unders in comparison to the early slate. Still, Allen is one of the few quarterbacks with a top-12 salary who is priced at a discount to his 2015 production. He’s been a strong passer through four games, and he is second on the team in touchdowns rushing. A&M has a high-scoring offense, and the over/under for the Aggies’ matchup with Mississippi State is the second-highest of the slate, even though the Bulldogs don’t allow many points per game. With an implied point total of 34.25 points, the Aggies should provide Allen with the opportunity to produce a top-five positional performance in Week 5.

Digging Deep: Jerrard Randall (Arizona) – $6,000

Salary Cap Percentage: 12 (17th in slate)
Average Fantasy Points-Per-Game: 23.01 (7th)
Passing Efficiency Rating: 64.1 (NA)
Adjusted Passing yards per Attempt: 1.7 (NA)
Team Rushing Yardage Percentage: 25.61 (2nd on team)
Team Rushing Touchdown Percentage: 30.77 (2nd)
Team Offensive Yardage Percentage: 17.78 (3rd)
Team Offensive Touchdown Percentage: 25 (3rd)
Team Points Scored per Game: 48.2 (6th of 128 in FBS)
Opposing Defense Points Allowed per Game: 19.5 (38th of 128)
Location: Road
Spread (pts.): -13.5
Over/Under (pts.): 61 (3rd in slate)
Implied Point Total: 23.75 (17th)

This recommendation comes with all sorts of caveats. Assuming that starting QB Anu Solomon sits out this game — and Solomon is questionable with the head injury that forced him from last week’s game — Randall is an intriguing (if terrifying) fill-in option. Out of the quarterbacks with non-top-12 salaries, the options are limited. Jeff Lockie with Oregon might start in the place of Vernon Adams, Jr., who still has an injured finger — but that decision reportedly won’t be made till the team warms up for the game on Saturday. Oregon has a high implied point total, but the risk with that quarterback situation is high. And Will Grier with Florida is a decent value — but the Gators really could struggle against No. 3 Mississippi. Randall is a bad passer — but he is an exceptional runner and in a part-time role is second on the team in rushing. Head Coach Rich Rodriguez has had success before with running backs who aren’t good at throwing the ball, and Randall, if playing for a full game, truly has the capacity to rush for 200 yards and two touchdowns and pass for 100 yards and another touchdown. He could ruin cash game lineups — but he could also win tournaments with a big game.


RUNNING BACKS

Paying Up: Leonard Fournette (Louisiana State) – $9,800

Salary Cap Percentage: 19.6 (1st in slate)
Average Fantasy Points-Per-Game: 41.23 (1st)
Team Rushing Yardage Percentage: 66.77 (1st on team)
Team Rushing Touchdown Percentage: 80 (1st)
Team Receiving Yardage Percentage: 5.30 (6th)
Team Receiving Touchdown Percentage: 0 (NA)
Team Offensive Yardage Percentage: 51.88 (1st)
Team Offensive Touchdown Percentage: 66.6.7 (1st)
Team Points Scored per Game: 25.0 (16th of 128 in FBS)
Opposing Defense Points Allowed per Game: 38.2 (111th of 128)
Location: Home
Spread (pts.): -45.5
Over/Under (pts.): 60.5 (4th in slate)
Implied Point Total: 53 (1st)

I seriously just wasted about an hour dissecting the data on 11 other running backs so that I wouldn’t be the guy to tell you that, of the running backs with top-12 salaries, the guy with the highest salary is the best. The thing is that Fournette’s not just the best — the extent to which he is the best is greater than the extent to which the other top-12 running backs are good. Given the Vegas lines and Fournette’s dominance in LSU’s offense Fournette not only has No. 1 RB overall upside this week — he seriously has record-breaking 500-yard, five-touchdown upside against Eastern Michigan. All that will limit him is the whim of Head Coach Les Miles. His floor is 125 yards and two touchdowns — and that would simultaneously be a great game and maybe the biggest letdown of the 2015 season.

Digging Deep: Tra Carson (Texas A&M) – $5,600

Salary Cap Percentage: 11.2 (15th in slate)
Average Fantasy Points-Per-Game: 19.46 (16th)
Team Rushing Yardage Percentage: 42.90 (1st on team)
Team Rushing Touchdown Percentage: 42.86 (1st)
Team Receiving Yardage Percentage: 7.63 (5th)
Team Receiving Touchdown Percentage: 8.33 (4th)
Team Offensive Yardage Percentage: 21.58 (2nd)
Team Offensive Touchdown Percentage: 21.05 (1st)
Team Points Scored per Game: 41.5 (17th of 128 in FBS)
Opposing Defense Points Allowed per Game: 14.8 (17th of 128)
Location: Home
Spread (pts.): -5.5
Over/Under (pts.): 63 (2nd in slate)
Implied Point Total: 34.25 (6th)

This really might be my least favorite slate of the season so far. Outside of the top-12 running backs, no one presents a clear strong discount in comparison to his likely Week 5 production. As a result, I’m going with the relatively vanilla recommendation of Carson. He’s the clear lead back on a high-scoring team playing at home and favored to win a game with the slate’s second-highest over/under. He is fairly valued at his salary and has a high floor: In his four games, he has either scored a touchdown or rushed for 100 yards in each contest. He has low-end RB1 upside in Week 5 and limited downside. He’s not going to win your matchup for you, but he probably won’t lose it for you either. In this slate, that will have to be good enough — and there is value to having players with limited downside in your lineup.


WIDE RECEIVERS

Paying Up: Ed’Marques Batties (Middle Tennessee State) – $6,200

Salary Cap Percentage: 12.4 (7th in slate)
Average Fantasy Points-Per-Game: 31.15 (1st)
Team Receiving Yardage Percentage: 35.37 (1st on team)
Team Receiving Touchdown Percentage: 53.85 (1st)
Team Rushing Yardage Percentage: 0 (NA)
Team Rushing Touchdown Percentage: 0 (NA)
Team Offensive Yardage Percentage: 23.39 (1st)
Team Offensive Touchdown Percentage: 33.33 (1st)
Team Points Scored per Game: 44.5 (11th of 128 in FBS)
Opposing Defense Points Allowed per Game: 19.8 (42nd of 128)
Location: Home
Spread (pts.): -2.5
Over/Under (pts.): 48 (12th in slate)
Implied Point Total: 25.25 (14th)

Of the top-12 wide receivers, Notre Dame’s William Fuller is also a good option with high upside and limited downside — but I have to go with Batties. The most productive receiver in the slate, Batties is available for only the seventh-highest wide receiver salary. The knock against him is that he plays for a non-Power Five school competing this week against a school from the Southeastern Conference — and when that happened in Week 2 he had only four receptions for 28 yards and no touchdowns. Of course, that narrative ignores the facts that MTSU has one of the highest-scoring offenses in the country, played against powerhouse Alabama in Week 2, and this week is playing against Vanderbilt, which — if we’re being honest — doesn’t measure up as an SEC team. Even if the Blue Raiders reach only their implied point total of 25.2 points, the odds are still good that Batties would get a touchdown and probably a minimum of 75 yards — but I also believe that the favored Blue Raiders might blow out the Commodores. MTSU hung with Alabama in Tuscaloosa for a quarter and a half of football. I doubt that Vanderbilt could do that. If MTSU scores 30 points or more, Batties will have 150-yard, two-touchdown upside.

Digging Deep: Bralon Addison (Oregon) – $5,300

Salary Cap Percentage: 10.6 (14th in slate)
Average Fantasy Points-Per-Game: 15.18 (19th)
Team Receiving Yardage Percentage: 22.48 (1st on team)
Team Receiving Touchdown Percentage: 28.57 (1st)
Team Rushing Yardage Percentage: 1.84 (8th)
Team Rushing Touchdown Percentage: 0 (NA)
Team Offensive Yardage Percentage: 11.27 (2nd)
Team Offensive Touchdown Percentage: 10.52 (2nd)
Team Points Scored per Game: 42.5 (15th of 128 in FBS)
Opposing Defense Points Allowed per Game: 16.5 (26th of 128)
Location: Road
Spread (pts.): -7.5
Over/Under (pts.): 69 (1st in slate)
Implied Point Total: 38.25 (3rd)

With lead WR Byron Marshall out for the season, Addison has the opportunity to emerge as the Ducks’ No. 1 receiving option. Addison is now the only active receiver who has caught more than one touchdown this season, and he already leads the team in receptions and yards receiving. His quarterback situation is uncertain and/or disappointing, but Oregon still possesses a high-scoring offense and Addison enters Week 5 as the presumptive top receiver on a 7.5-point favorite playing in the game with the slate’s highest over/under. In such a game, the top receiver is likely to have at least a high-end WR2 game. A 75-yard, one-touchdown performance from Addison is more than feasible, regardless of who plays quarterback in this game.