It’s rivalry week and the precious college football season is winding down. The opportune time to increase your bankroll from the game we love is now. Below, you will find the Week 12 edition of the performances that stood out within several key statistical categories useful for identifying future success. The Week 13 schedule is basically split between Friday and Saturday, which will require a few listings of players that have already or will play shortly after this information is published, but our goal is find talent for the long haul, and that focus remains unaltered.
Aggressive gunslingers targeting receivers on 20-plus yard (deep) attempts
Chris Johnson ($7,000) – Baylor at Texas Christian
The depth possessed by some rosters in college football is truly exceptional. That is particularly true in Waco where Baylor lost a pair of highly-talented QBs within four weeks to a broken back and a fractured fibula. Time to hit the panic button? Nonsense. The Bears simply ran out Johnson, who had been shifted to wide receiver just a few weeks prior. He responded by averaging 27.6 yards per completion and 7.0 per rushing attempt against the, previously undefeated, Oklahoma State Cowboys. In addition, he connected with WR Jay Lee on a 39-yard TD, and followed that with a 71-yard TD to a red-hot K.D. Cannon.
Karson Roberts ($6,800) – Air Force at New Mexico
The military, specialized rushing attacks of Air Force and Navy are firing on all cylinders this season. While Roberts and the Falcons offense is more likely to attack the opposition on the ground, Roberts has successfully added the deep ball to further the defensive difficulty. In Week 12, Roberts completed 3-of-7 vertical attempts for 156 yards and a pair of TDs. Air Force is 8-3 and sitting atop the Mountain West, a placement unlikely to change behind the countries 3rd-ranked rushing attack, and especially true should Roberts continue to find third-level success.
Jake Coker ($5,500) – Alabama at Auburn
It is important to keep in mind that volume is not necessarily needed to find value from successful deep completions that reach the endzone and that is particularly true for QBs with sub-$6,000 salaries. While facing an FCS opponent in Charleston Southern, it provided Coker and his receivers additional work, and the results are an encouraging sign for his usefulness within GPP lineups. He found WRs Calvin Ridley and Richard Mullaney on 30 and 21-yard scoring strikes, respectively, and, at the very least, offers further proof of the abilities of Ridley.
Previously discussed: Jared Goff, Jake Rudock, Jarrett Stidham, 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)
Dane Evans ($7,000) – Tulsa at Tulane
Some performances fall beyond the explanation of simply facing a lesser opponent and that is the case with the play of Evans last week against Navy. While Navy prevented Evans from hooking up with his receivers for TDs … that is the only blemish on one of Week 12’s finer performances. Accounting for a drop and two passes thrown away, Evans registered a 94.1 accuracy percentage on 36 passing attempts. Evans will close the season against a subpar Tulane defense with an opportunity to secure bowl eligibility.
Kenny Potter ($5,700) – San Jose State vs. Boise State
While in no way a recommendation to mimic his throwing motion when mentoring youths, these results simply cannot be ignored. The Spartans possess one of the most athletic, best-kept secrets at RB in Tyler Ervin, and the rushing ability of Potter only further adds to the value of this offense. Following a few very weak performances to begin his reign as the SJSU starter, Potter has exploded since Week 8 and is a strong option moving forward. In Week 12, Potter exploited the Hawaii defense with an 83.3 accuracy percentage on 32 attempted throws. Any further consistency with this sort of efficiency, when combined with his rushing totals, places Potter in the need-to-know category.
Vernon Adams Jr. ($8,100) – Oregon vs. Oregon State
At this salary, the only description is chalk. Despite the lofty price, Adams has impressively reached the lofty expectations placed upon him as the replacement for Marcus Mariota. Following his return to the field from a broken finger, Oregon has collected five-straight victories, including defeats over Stanford and USC. He was in top-form facing the Trojans in Week 12, completing 20-of-25 passes, five TDs, and an 88.0 accuracy percentage. He will close out the season against a reeling Oregon State program, but will be a strong play if they manage to sneak into the Pac-12 championship, and certainly during the Ducks eventual bowl game.
Previously discussed: J.T. Barrett, DeShone Kizer, Cade Apsay, 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
Jeremy McNichols ($7,900) – Boise State at San Jose State
Speaking of chalk plays, McNichols is a popular name within the DFS community. Regardless of his notoriety, it would simply be a shame to leave him off this list of this seasons breakaway threats. The Broncos fell to Air Force in Week 12, but McNichols did all he could to prevent the outcome. His very first carry from scrimmage resulted in an 83-yard TD run and ended the day with 69.5 percent of his 151 yards produced via 15-yard gains.
Brandon Ross ($0) – Game Not Available
Despite playing within the Power-5, many are likely unaware that Ross put forth the countries top rushing performance from Week 12. Five-of-19 rushing attempts against Indiana were carried at least 15-yards, allowing Ross to rack up 213 rushing yards on long runs alone! His 86.9 breakaway percentage was 17.4 percent higher than No. 2 on the list and is most definitely a player of interest moving forward.
Shannon Brooks ($5,100) – Minnesota vs. Wisconsin
One of the top true freshman running back performances this season has been greatly overlooked. The recognition will come with time and a continuation of his strong running. Week 12 saw Brooks shred Illinois for 174 yards on 17 rushing attempts. Three of those carries were taken for long runs and resulted in 128 of his total for a 73.6 breakaway percentage. His Week 12 opponent (Wisconsin) has a particularly stout run defense, but Brooks will need to succeed to spread his name, and help the Gophers secure bowl eligibility.
Previously discussed: Elijah Hood, Alvin Kamara, LeShun Daniels Jr., 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)
James Butler ($5,600) – Nevada at San Diego State
Another of the nations hidden gems is found backing up Don Jackson in Nevada. Butler will be one of the top options at running back next season after Jackson graduates. Despite the timeshare, the skills of Butler have been ever-present, and Utah State was the latest school to learn that lesson. Butler registered the weeks 17th-highest yards after contact per attempt (4.24) and avoided six tackle attempts on 17 carries. His 149.5 elusive rating closed as the seventh-best of the week and, despite a tough matchup with San Diego State, is an option well worth his salary.
Justin Davis ($5,200) – Southern California vs. UCLA
After the Trojans lost Tre Maddon to injury, early results actually appeared to signal that Ronald Jones II would be the featured back. That was clearly not the case in Week 12, as Davis racked up 141 rushing yards against a red-hot Oregon team, and did so in style. He furnished 4.27 yards after contact per attempt, six total missed tackles on 18 touches, and the eighth-best elusive rating of Week 12 (142.2).
Gerard Wicks ($4,000) – Washington State at Washington
It may be difficult to comprehend, but Washington State’s Week 12 offense featured the running game. It was Wicks who, again, emerged as the Cougars top back after he broke an impressive six tackles on only 13 rushing attempts. His 216.3 elusive rating was the fifth-best during the week and the questionable status of QB Luke Falk could make him a great option at a very low salary.
Previously discussed: Samaje Perine, Kalen Ballage, Tre Watson, 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
K.D. Cannon ($5,600) – Baylor at TCU
While all of the attention has been focused on teammate Corey Coleman, and rightfully so, Cannon is oozing with potential for great things in Waco. Following the loss of QB Seth Russell, it has been Cannon that has stepped forward, despite Coleman still seeing the most targets. Even with a mid-game change at QB, Cannon was equally as effective, securing all four catchable deep targets on the day for a remarkable 196 receiving yards, and two TDs. The scary part is what Cannon has in store for us when Coleman graduates to the NFL.
Devin Lucien ($5,200) – Arizona State at California
The 2015 season has certainly fallen short of the preseason expectations for the Sun Devils, but the emergence of several players has provided hope, and a fruitful ending to the season. Lucien is the receiver that has emerged from a solid, unproven group of wideouts. He enjoyed the finest game of his young career against Arizona, racking up 190 yards on nine receptions, and 117 of that yardage on vertical receptions. He was able to find the endzone on two occasions and makes an excellent play in Week 13 against a struggling California pass defense.
Chance Allen ($4,300) – Houston vs. Navy
While Demarcus Ayers has elevated himself to WR1-status, Allen has provided QB Greg Ward Jr. with a stable, consistent counterpart to Ayers. Allen has been inching upwards this season after transferring from Oregon and his reliable hands were stretched into the vertical-realm in Week 12 to secure all three catchable deep targets. He ended Houston’s first loss with 86 vertical yards and a TD. He and Ayers will give Ward a solid group for the 2016 season.
Previously discussed: Jehu Chesson, Domonique Young, Jamir Tillman, 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
Rashard Higgins ($6,700) – Colorado State at Fresno State
Despite the 67th-ranked total defense of Colorado State and taking passes from a redshirt sophomore with 25 career attempts, Higgins has transcended his situation, and led the team to a 6-5 record. He has provided the sixth highest QB efficiency on targeted passes and ranks 3rd in the country on yards per route run (YPRR). It was more of the same in Week 12, as Higgins produced 6.09 YPRR on 23 snaps in route, and his strong play should continue in Week 13.
Simmie Cobbs Jr. ($4,400) – Indiana at Purdue
After RB Jordan Howard went down with an injury and Maryland RB Brandon Ross erupted, the Hoosiers response was to feed Cobbs. He was provided with a season high of 14 targets, seeing 33 snaps in route, and generating 5.82 YPRR. A week 13 matchup with Purdue is certainly enticing at such a reasonable salary.
Jamari Staples ($5,200) – Louisville at Kentucky
The Cardinals’ ground game had been on a consistent run of production, but completely failed to emerge against Pittsburgh in Week 12. In addition, the Panthers dropped 35 points on Louisville in the second quarter alone, and forced the Cardinals QBs to air-it-out. The beneficiary of the altered game plan was Staples, who ran 37 snaps in route, was fed with 14 targets, and dropped 224 receiving yards in the desperate comeback attempt. His 6.05 YPRR ranked as the days fifth-best and will face a Kentucky defense in Week 13 that has seen a recent drop in effectiveness.
Previously discussed: Michael Thomas, Marcel Ateman, Michael Rector, 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.