We are reaching the final weeks of the college football regular season, but it is never a good time to take a break from the research that will give you an advantage over your competition. Week 11 was littered with performances of note and some extremely interesting individual trends will be discussed to aid the identification of future DraftKings roster targets for cash and GPP-consideration.
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Aggressive gunslingers targeting receivers on 20-plus yard (deep) attempts
Jared Goff ($7,100) – California at Stanford
Only three other quarterbacks in the country have attempted a greater number of targets to the third-level of opposing defenses and Goff continued the trend. Attempting a healthy 10 vertical targets, he was able to find a home for six of those passes, and registering 205-of-453 passing yards. He connected with RB Tre Watson for a 45-yard TD strike in the second and WR Maurice Harris in the third quarter to account for two of his six passing TDs on the day. A week 12 matchup with Stanford’s 41st-ranked passing defense will provide a significant challenge, but the Golden Bears will need Goff to continue the high volume if it has a chance to succeed.
Jake Rudock ($6,100) – Michigan at Penn State
Rudock’s play has greatly improved recently, posting the highest PFF College grade in the country over the last two weeks. Despite facing the 112th-ranked passing defense of Indiana, the numbers accumulated are impressive nonetheless. He began the day with a 34-yard hook-up with WR Jehu Chesson that resulted in one of three TDs between the two on the day. Rudock closed out the first-and-second overtimes with 20-plus TD passes to Jake Butt and Amara Darboh, respectively. In total, Rudock manufactured 44 percent of his total passing yardage on deep passes and we will learn a significant amount about Rudock’s recent success in Week 12 if he is able to continue the progress facing a Penn State defense that has only allowed seven TDs through the air on the season.
Jarrett Stidham ($7,100) – Baylor at Oklahoma State
The Baylor Bears College Playoff chances were likely dashed by Oklahoma in Week 11 and a portion of that responsibility rests on the shoulders of Stidham in light of his fourth quarter struggles. In attempt to keep pace with the scoring of the Sooners, Stidham attempted nine passes of 20-plus yards while connecting on five. He will have his work cut out for him in Week 12 against the 37th-ranked passing defense of Oklahoma State on the road in Stillwater.
Previously discussed: Mason Rudolph, Marquise Williams, Brandon Allen, Vernon Adams Jr., Sean Maguire, Quinton Flowers, Paxton Lynch, Christian Hackenberg, Jerrard Randall, Deshaun Watson, Sefo Liufau, Phillip Ely, Connor Cook, Brad Kaaya, DeShone Kizer, Baker Mayfield, Brett Rypien, Cardale Jones, Hayden Moore, Brent Stockstill, Josh Rosen, Jerrod Heard, Dane Evans, Matt Davis, Luke Falk, Greg Ward Jr., Tanner Mangum, Matt Johnson, Chad Kelly, Joe Hubener
Quarterbacks who simply dominated opponents with pinpoint accuracy. These signal callers will be chosen based on the PFF College metric termed Accuracy Percentage: (Completions + Drops) / (Attempts – Throw Aways – Spikes – Batted Passes – Hit As Thrown)
J.T. Barrett ($7,800) – Ohio State vs. Michigan State
Why is accuracy percentage a valuable resource for evaluating a quarterback? Simply by providing an insight into the forces beyond their control impacting the result. A perfect case in point, Barrett was only successful on 15-of-23 passing attempts in Week 11, but three were beyond his control, and one was thrown away. A 67.6 completion percentage is decent, but an 80.0 accuracy percentage provides a far greater evaluation of his successful performance.
DeShone Kizer ($8,200) – Notre Dame vs. Boston College
Kizer has been a tremendous find for the Fighting Irish and a major factor in Notre Dame’s success this season. It speaks volumes as to the able recruiting by HC Brian Kelly and co. to replace top athletes at the skill positions and maintain growth as a program. Notre Dame will need Kizer to continue to show progression upon the 73.9 accuracy percentage on the season and he did just that in Week 11. Throwing one ball away and having another catchable target dropped, Kizer accrued a respectable 77.8 accuracy percentage against Wake Forest. The eighth-ranked passing defense of Boston College will travel to South Bend in Week 12 looking to spoil the Irish’s bid for a Playoff berth.
Cade Apsay ($5,400) – Colorado at Washington State
You may be aware that Colorado took USC to the brink of defeat in Week 11, but what may have eluded your attention was that it was Apsay who entered during Buffaloes third drive and led the upset bid in Boulder. Consecutive defeats over (then No. 3) Utah, California, and Arizona provide insight into the challenge provided by USC for the redshirt freshman. How was he able to respond? Simply by finding security for 18-of-23 passing attempts and the seventh-best accuracy percentage (82.6) in the country from Week 11. Apsay will be challenged in Week 12 by the 66th-ranked passing defense of Washington State in Pullman during the youngsters first official start.
Previously discussed: Jarrett Stidham, Brad Kaaya, Matt Johnson, Deshaun Watson, Kyler Murray, Jake Browning, Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan, Joel Lanning, Paxton Lynch, Nate Sudfeld, Joel Stave, Greg Ward Jr., Everett Golson, Brandon Harris, Mason Rudolph, Blake Frohnapfel, Nick Mullins, Skyler Howard, Brett Rypien, C.J. Beathard, Nate Peterman, Blake Kemp, Greyson Lambert, Skyler Howard, Drew Hare, Jacoby Brissett, Malik Zaire, Will Grier, Mike Bercovici.
The homerun ability of a running back is, in its nature, a game altering addition to an offense, and DraftKings gold in your pocket. These are the backs who emerged with the most production on 15-plus yard (long) runs
Elijah Hood ($6,500) – North Carolina at Virginia Tech
Seemingly from nowhere, North Carolina has emerged as serious contenders for a run at the ACC conference title. While the play of QB Marquise Williams can be considered as the most vital piece to equation, Hood is not far down on the list. Not only has Hood scored 22-plus DraftKings points in four of the last five games, the 6’0”, 220-pound power back displayed a new dimension facing Miami in Week 11 – breaking four runs of 15-plus yards. Accounting for 68.2 percent of his 132 yard rushing total, Hood would be deserving of tier-progression if he can continue to showcase a homerun-hitting ability.
Alvin Kamara ($5,100) – Tennessee at Missouri
The Volunteers have been plagued be extremely poor play from a group of talented, underperforming wide receiving group. Luckily for Tennessee, Kamara has emerged to form an impressive one-two punch to combine with the gifts of RB Jalen Hurd. A date with the 1-8 North Texas Mean Green provided an opportunity to evaluate Kamara with a larger role and he did not disappoint. Successfully finding seems for three runs of 15-plus yards, Kamara took two of those long runs into the endzone, and furnished Tennessee with 127 rushing yards.
LeShun Daniels Jr. ($5,400) – Iowa vs. Purdue
The honor of Iowa’s, seemingly, weekly addition at running back to this column goes to Daniels after another huge performance for a Hawkeye ball carrier. Fed with a healthy 26 rushing attempts in the back-and-forth scoring affair with Minnesota’s 62nd-ranked run defense, Daniels manufactured four runs of 15-plus yards that included the eventual game-winning 51-yard TD scamper. “Only” 55.9 percent of Daniels’ yards were provided from the long runs, but 109-of-195 yards is more than enough by anyone’s standards. Unfortunately, with Akrum Wadley set to return in Week 12 and Jordan Canzeri also at 100 percent … it may be difficult to predict the back fed the lions-share of carries going up against the 111th-ranked run defense of Purdue.
Previously discussed: Jordan Howard, Akrum Wadley, Ramadi Warren, Kalen Ballage, C.J. Jones, Gerard Wicks, Kenneth Farrow, Joe Mixon, Ronald Jones II, Christian McCaffrey, Anthony Wales, Saquon Barkley, Jordan Canzeri, Travon McMillan, Mike Warren, Ezekiel Elliott, L.J. Scott, Alex Collins, DeAndre Washington, Matt Dayes, Wendell Smallwood, Samaje Perine, Adam Hine, Larry Rose III, C.J. Prosise, Brian Hill, Boom Williams, Ray Lawry, Tre Maddon, Soso Jamabo.
Depending on long runs can be a fruitless endeavor, but the ability to elude defenders is a talent these running backs have mastered, and in reliable fashion. These backs generated dominant Elusive Ratings (a runner’s success beyond the point of being helped by his blockers)
Samaje Perine ($6,800) – Oklahoma vs. TCU
The early season declaration of Perine’s demise was greatly exaggerated as evidenced by the sophomores nine TD runs and 138-yard rushing average over his last four games. While OC Lincoln Riley and QB Baker Mayfield have been major catalysts in the Sooners-revival, it would be unwise to overlook the role played by Perine. Week 11 found Oklahoma in Waco in front of an intimidating enemy audience, yet Perine used 29 carries to elude 11 tackle attempts, and register a 159.9 elusive rating. Obviously reserved for a late season workload, Perine should again be a monster on the ground in Week 12 going against the Horned Frogs 55th-ranked rushing defense.
Kalen Ballage ($5,200) – Arizona State vs. Arizona
The RB carries have been split 57/43 in favor of RB Demario Richard over the Sun Devils’ last three games. Despite being on the short-end of the rushing attempt spectrum, Ballage has led the team in yards and TDs during that time. Facing off with a Washington defense allowing a mere 3.32 yards per rushing attempt, Ballage ran through Huskies’ defenders en route to producing 6.27 yards after contact per attempt, and a 156.8 elusive rating.
Tre Watson ($3,600) – California at Stanford
In addition to the 45-yard TD reception from Jared Goff mentioned above, Watson took full advantage of the Oregon State run defense and in-game injuries to Khalifani Muhammad and Daniel Lasco in Week 11. Watson evaded a pair of tackles on the ground and post-reception to score a 106.7 elusive rating and ending the day as the leading Golden Bears’ ball carrier with 110 yards. He will again split carries with Vic Enware in Week 12, but will find the running lanes greatly diminished facing the 29th-ranked run defense of Stanford.
Previously discussed: Sony Michel, Marlon Mack, Josh Ferguson, Jacques Patrick, Demario Richard, Wendell Smallwood, Matt Dayes, Soso Jamabo, Jamarius Henderson, Myles Gaskin, Travis Greene, Robert Martin, Shannon Brooks, Conor Hundley, Dare Ogunbawale, Brian Hill, Wayne Gallman, Nick Scott, Vic Enware, Elijah Hood, Kelvin Taylor, Saquon Barkley, Joseph Yearby, Justin Silmon, Dalvin Cook, Terrell Newby, Chris Carson, Shaun Wilson, De’Veon Smith, Jahad Thomas.
A list of the receivers who furnished the weekends best performances on tracking down (deep) targets traveling greater than 20 yards
Jehu Chesson ($4,300) – Michigan at Penn State
The premier receiver that ably showcased his vertical prowess in Week 11 came seemingly from nowhere. Accounting for 44 percent of both his receiving yardage and TDs to date, Chesson was huge, to say the very least, in Week 11’s double-overtime victory. Three deep targets, all catchable, were secured by Chesson, and two were taken for TDs. An impressive 68 percent of his 207 receiving output was generated from vertical yardage and he’ll have an opportunity in University Park to prove whether his performance was an outlier or a true breakout declaration.
Domonique Young ($3,700) – Purdue at Iowa
Another player looking to add his name to the list of DFS-options at receiver, Young emerged in Week 11 as a potential GPP-target. The Cerritos College junior-transfer was vertically-targeted on two occasions, securing both, and adding 90 of his 107 receiving yards on the day. A 68-yard TD strike from QB David Blough in the first quarter highlighted the performance, but the duo will face significant opposition from the Iowa defense in Week 12.
Jamir Tillman ($3,000) – Navy at Tulsa
Lost in the excitement over the early-season perfect records of Houston, Memphis, and Temple out of the American Athletic Conference is the success of the Navy program. Following a pair of defeats to both Memphis and Temple, only Houston remains unblemished, and the Midshipmen exploits are finally being noticed. Nobody should confuse Tillman as a high-volume, or even reliable, option for cash game rosters … but he does hold a certain amount of bottom-salary consideration for GPP-usage. Considering that QB Keenan Reynolds only attempted two passes – as compared to 65 Navy rushing attempts – against SMU, but Tillman was on the receiving end of one pass that led to a 72-yard score. He will have another excellent opportunity to repeat that performance facing the 124th-ranked passing defense of Tulsa in Week 12.
Previously discussed: Chris Moore, Mack Hollins, Dominique Reed, Travis Rudolph, Ricardo Louis, Antonio Callaway, Keyarris Garrett, Chris Godwin, Anthony Miller, Artavis Scott, Taywan Taylor, Allen Lazard, Leonte Carroo, Tim White, Jerome Lane, Kenny Lawler, Marcell Ateman, DeAngelo Yancey, Ed’Marques Batties, Demarcus Ayers, Thomas Sperbeck, Aaron Burbridge, Jordan Westerkamp, Carlos Harris, Roger Lewis, Trevor Davis, Tyrain Taylor, Gehrig Deter, Courtland Sutton, Braxton Miller.
While many of the nations receivers are capable of producing high yardage output with a large number of targets, this list will highlight the players who generated the most efficient use of each snap in route
Michael Thomas ($5,000) – Ohio State vs. Michigan State
Easily one of the most talented draft-eligible wide receivers in the nation, Thomas has had his reputation held back only by a lack of volume within the talent-laden Buckeye offense. His abilities were on full-display in Week 11 opposing Illinois, deployed on 24 snaps in route, and producing 3.17 yards per route run (YPRR). While an accumulation of 76 receiving yards and a TD is not reason enough for alarm, an upcoming schedule that includes Michigan State, Michigan, and possible postseason dates will provide Thomas with a national stage to find an audience prior to an NFL-relocation.
Marcel Ateman ($4,400) – Oklahoma State vs. Baylor
One of the more impressive performances from Week 11 was submitted by Ateman, who had previously showcased an impressive ability to track down vertical targets. What is most impressive about Ateman’s game was his route efficiency, utilizing 29 snaps in route, and manufacturing 4.55 YPRR. In a game when the Iowa State Cyclones keyed on bottling up WR James Washington, Ateman emerged as the go-to for QB Mason Rudolph, and should continue to provide useful statistics at an affordable price in Week 12 facing the porous Baylor secondary.
Michael Rector ($4,100) – Stanford vs. California
The overriding opinion pinned WR Devon Cajuste as the No. 1 option for QB Kevin Hogan when the season began. Rector has mostly halted that discussion, falling short of becoming a true No. 1 due to the presence of top-TE talent Austin Hooper, and RB-extraordinaire Christian McCaffrey. Rector refused to be outdone in facing the Oregon Ducks secondary, leading the team in targets (8), receiving yards (103), and furnishing 3.68 YPRR. The Cardinal offense will need Rector to continue his high-level play in Week 12-and-beyond as the team will face offensively-gifted programs to close out the season.
Previously discussed: Darren Carrington, Thomas Duarte, Devon Blackmon, Johnny Holton, Justin Hobbs, Ryan Switzer, Britain Covey, Cayleb Jones, Robby Anderson, Ricardo Louis, Anthony Miller, Kermit Whitfield, Deon Cain, Stacy Coley, Hunter Sharp, KaVontae Turpin, Calvin Ridley, Dede Westbrook, Laquon Treadwell, Christian Kirk, Drew Morgan, Isaiah Ford, Ricky Jones, Trent Sherfield, Quincy Adeboyejo, Mitchell Juergens, Matt VandeBerg, Rashawn Scott, Johnell Barnes, Bug Howard.