As the conference schedule continues the unveiling process for the potential participants of the College Playoff, the byproduct of the top-level competition reveals valuable player reliability. The early non-conference schedule littered statistical reports with unreliable trends that conference play will work to correct for use down the stretch.
Aggressive gunslingers targeting receivers on 20-plus yard (deep) attempts.
Deshaun Watson ($8,000) – Clemson @ Miami
Watson’s inclusion on this list should not be considered as anything less than a significant achievement after losing WR Mike Williams, one of the nations top vertical threats, in Week 1. Facing off with the top-ranked passing defense of Boston College, Watson completed 4-of-10 vertical targets en route to passing for 420 yards, and included a 51-yard TD strike to Artavis Scott.
Sefo Liufau ($6,100) – Colorado @ Oregon State
The vertical capacity for Liufau will be capped in Week 8 after his preferred deep threat, Shay Fields, was ruled out with an ankle injury. That said, Liufau’s big day should in no way be overlooked. Liufau connected with Fields on touchdown completions at depths of 70 and 30 yards. Finding success on 4-of-6 20-plus attempts, Liufau produced 49.3 percent of his passing yardage on deep throws.
Phillip Ely ($6,400) – Toledo @ Massachusetts
Ely may not be the name you’d expect to see, but the results have been more than enough to justify his place. Facing off with an underwhelming Eastern Michigan defense does present a reason to doubt, but Ely capped a three-game stretch with eight TD passes to two INTs. The third quarter against EMU saw Ely generate 100 percent of his vertical yardage on TD darts of 55, 88, and 22 yards. A Week 8 matchup with the defensively-challenged Minutemen should push Ely into the GPP-conversation.
Previously discussed: 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
The 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).
Paxton Lynch ($9,100) – Memphis @ Tulsa
No quarterback has done more for his NFL draft stock through seven games than Lynch and his legitimacy was truly solidified facing Ole Miss’ top-ten defense in Week 7. Lynch was required to attempt 52 passes to maintain the Tigers’ lead over the charging Rebels offense, but Lynch was up to the challenge after completing 38 of those targets, and furnishing an 85.4 accuracy percentage.
Nate Sudfeld ($5,300) – Indiana @ Michigan State
Sudfeld will faceoff with the ninth-ranked pass rush of Michigan State in Week 8, but he was able to systematically dismantle the Rutgers secondary last week. In his return from a one-game absence due to an ankle injury, Sudfeld connected on 32-of-42 attempts, and manufactured an 85.4 accuracy percentage.
Joel Stave ($5,300) – Wisconsin @ Illinois
Stave is a tricky player to properly utilize within your DraftKings lineups due to the Badgers run-first philosophy. While volume works against him, he was impressively sharp against Purdue in Week 7, completing 30-of-39 passing attempts, and resulting in his second-straight 322 yard passing output. Should he find a way to shift a few of his completions within the endzone, an 86.8 accuracy percentage would be both all-the-more impressive and useful.
Previously discussed: 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.
Christian McCaffrey ($8,000) – Stanford vs. Washington
Let’s go ahead and get this entry out of the way as McCaffrey’s recent play is the definition of a breakaway threat. A 50.6 breakaway percentage would normally fall just short for inclusion, but that is merely a formality for a 243 yard rushing day. McCaffrey took three runs an average of 41 yards per pop and led the Cardinal to a big win over UCLA.
Anthony Wales ($5,400) – Western Kentucky @ LSU
Wales will not be in the tier one cash game discussion facing LSU in Death Valley, but he stepped-up big time against North Texas as the teams new featured back. Wales produced 61.1 percent of his total rushing yardage on six carries of 15-plus yards. Wales has a four-game stretch beginning in Week 9 at Old Dominion that will provide fantasy owners with substantial upside.
Saquon Barkley ($5,600) – Penn State @ Maryland
Many performances from Week 7 were of the eyebrow-raising variety, but Barkley’s exploits may have, arguably, been the most impressive. After missing multiple games to injury, all Barkley did upon his return was shred the (previously) top-20 ranked Ohio State run defense for 194 yards, with exactly half of that yardage generated from a trio of 15-plus yard bursts.
Previously discussed: 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).
Myles Gaskin ($5,000) – Washington @ Stanford
With back-to-back rushing yardage totals of at least 134 yards against Pac-12 opponents, Gaskin has proven to be a considerable option. It’s true that Gaskin furnished a dominant 194.4 elusive rating against Oregon in Week 7 but, with only four broken tackles, he did so with a the nations weekly-high value of 7.39 yards after contact per attempt. His carry competition, Dwayne Washington, is questionable with a knee injury, but opposing Stanford in Week 8 has presented previously-faced running backs with an extremely formidable challenge.
Travis Greene ($6,400) – Bowling Green @ Kent State
Make no mistake, the Bowling Green offense is the definition of a pass-first philosophy. Even with that in consideration, Greene has been able to carve out a substantial role that centers upon efficient per carry production, and involvement within the passing game. Effectively tapping into both of those goals, Greene eluded six would-be tacklers in only 13 attempts (188.5 elusive rating), and secured an eight-yard TD reception facing Akron in Week 7.
Robert Martin ($4,100) – Rutgers vs. Ohio State
Another player recently stepping forward as a mid-season contributor facing a tough Week 8 test, Martin ran through-and-around Hoosier defenders in Week 7 toward 124 rushing yards, and three TDs. Ohio State will likely look to correct the mistakes made against Saquon Barkley and Penn State, but Martin seems to have stepped ahead of Josh Hicks in the pecking order, and a 157.4 elusive rating will go a long way to reaching that result.
Previously discussed: 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.
Artavis Scott ($6,200) – Clemson @ Miami
WR Mike Williams proved last season that he was one of the top vertical threats in the country after procuring 9-of-11 catchable deep targets with three taken for TDs. His loss greatly affected the offenses downfield ability without a receiver emerging to fill the role. Scott made an obvious attempt to do just that in Week 7, doubling his season-long total of vertical receptions from two to four, and posting more vertical yards than any other Tiger receiver had accumulated all season (84).
Taywan Taylor ($6,400) – Western Kentucky @ LSU
Matching up with LSU CBs Tre’Davious White and Kevin Toliver II in Week 8 will present a challenge, but the Hilltoppers will be without TE Tyler Higbee, and the offense will need to counter the Tigers’ production. In Week 7 against North Texas, Taylor continued his breakout season by collecting both of his catchable 20-plus targets, and taking them into the endzone.
Allen Lazard ($5,100) – Iowa State @ Baylor
Cyclones QB Sam Richardson has struggled for most of the year, but Lazard has been relatively productive all season. Taking on TCU last week, Lazard erupted for 147 yards, a 74-yard TD, and 28.7 DraftKings points. He amazingly accumulated 95 percent of his yardage on vertical receptions and will be counted on to repeat that performance in Week 8 facing Baylor.
Previously discussed: 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.
Ricardo Louis ($5,000) – Auburn @ Arkansas
Louis put forth an under-the-radar performance against Kentucky last week, seeing 12 targets on only 20 snaps in route, and generating 7.70 yards per route run (YPRR). Over the last 4 weeks, Louis leads the NCAA with 5.97 YPRR, and will face an Arkansas defense with a bottom-20 secondary in Week 8.
Anthony Miller ($4,800) – Memphis @ Tulsa
Miller has been one of the key contributors in the meteoric rise of QB Paxton Lynch in 2015. Any attempts to explain Miller’s second-ranked 4.90 YPRR value through Week 6 was negated after his production utilizing 14 targets on 31 snaps in route against the vaunted Ole Miss defense. A registered 4.26 YPRR against the Rebels should only be bested tonight against the Tulsa secondary.
Kermit Whitfield ($4,600) – Florida State @ Georgia Tech
FSU QB Everett Golson has been searching for a No. 1 target since Travis Rudolph failed to materialize as that option. If the last two weeks are a true indication, the Seminoles may have found their man. Whitfield emerged to average nine receptions, 133.5 yards, and 0.5 TDs against Louisville and Miami the last two games. The possession receiver-type put on a show against the Cardinals in Week 7 by converting 26 snaps in route into an impressive 6.62 YPRR.
Previously discussed: 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.