In the CFB Game Breakdown, Russell Clay looks at and evaluates the ten most DFS-friendly matchup for the Saturday slates.
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Indiana vs Maryland
Line: Maryland -2.5
Indiana finally gets some relief in terms of their opponent this week. In the last two weeks they’ve faced Michigan and Iowa, teams that have shut down every team they’ve come across.
Nate Sudfeld ($5,100) and Ricky Jones ($4,000) are two of the better stacking values of the weekend. Their prices are indicative of injuries the team has sustained and their schedule, not of the talent and upside they actually provide.
Jordan Howard ($8,000) is back to being an elite option at running back. Even with the tough road the past two games, it hasn’t seemed to shift Howard production-wise at all. He missed quite a few weeks with injury, but clearly that isn’t an issue anymore. He’s a player you want to build your lineups around, regardless of if it’s cash games or tournaments.
Perry Hills ($6,500) is also a really nice option at quarterback in all formats. Hills fantasy production is normally based on his running ability, and Indiana has been vulnerable to that all season. He already has three 100 rushing yard games under his belt this year, and another with 94, so it’s not an unusual occurrence for him to have big days on the ground. Feel comfortable playing him in all formats.
Purdue vs Iowa
Line: Iowa -23
C.J. Beathard ($5,800) is still dealing with a hip injury, but it hasn’t stopped him from getting three rushing touchdowns in the last two weeks and scoring over 23 DraftKings points in both contests. Iowa does most of it’s damage in the running game, but with an implied team total of 40, don’t be shocked if Beathard tacks on a passing touchdown or two.
LeShun Daniels ($5,400) and Jordan Canzeri ($5,200) are currently in a battle for touches. While Canzeri was fantastic earlier in the year, Daniels performed amazing last week, to the tune of 195 yards and three touchdowns. It’s very likely that Daniels gets the start based on last week, but there’s a solid chance both can hit value against a weak Purdue defense.
Matt Vandeberg ($4,100) is an ok stacking option with Beathard in tournaments, but he hasn’t shown the upside you’d like to see this year, from a fantasy perspective. There’s likely better options around his price.
North Carolina vs Virginia Tech
Line: North Carolina -5
Marquise Williams ($8,400) has been the best fantasy quarterback in the nation over the past two weeks. He’s scored above 39 DraftKings points in back-to-back weeks, and most amazingly, he’s done just as much in the running game as he has in the passing game. In those games he had five passing touchdowns and four rushing touchdowns, quite the even distribution. With an implied team total of over 30 yet again, expect Williams to find his way to solid fantasy production, one way or another. He’s safe to play in all formats.
Elijah Hood (6,500) is emerging as a relatively dominant player from a per touch perspective. He’s gone over 20 touches just twice this year, but that hasn’t stopped him from scoring over 20 DraftKings points five times. He doesn’t have the highest ceiling for tournaments considering the lack of feature touches, but he’s once again a safe cash game play.
Mack Hollins ($4,400) and Ryan Switzer ($4,600) have been consistently inconsistent this year, and are tournament only plays. However, they do have immense upside and only need one or two plays to go in their direction to hit value. Virginia Tech is perceived to be a tough defense, but they’ve struggled against strong offenses this year.
Travon McMillian ($7,600) has been over 19 DraftKings points in four of his last five games (Since he became the starter). His price has steadily risen though, and with this being a tough North Carolina defense, It’s going to be an uphill battle for him to reach value.
I’m staying away from the Virginia Tech passing game this week, again, North Carolina’s defense is much improved, and doesn’t resemble the 2014 version.
LSU vs Mississippi
Line: Mississippi -6.5
Leonard Fournette ($8,600) has disappointed owners in back-to-back weeks, not something you would expect after the first half of the season. While the results have likely cost you victories, his price makes him an appealing option once again. This is the first time his cost is under $9,000 since week 1 and this is the same player that just had a six game streak of 150 yards or more and a touchdown. If he throws up another dud this week I’ll be worried about him going forward, but he’s still a matchup proof weapon in my view.
Brandon Harris ($4,900) isn’t likely to find many lineups, but he hasn’t been as bad as his price indicates. He has three multi touchdown games in his last five and has thrown for over 200 yards in four of his last five. These aren’t appealing numbers for any reasonably priced quarterback, but at his current salary, all he needs is 15 to 20 points to reach value. Malachi Dupre ($4,300) has emerged as the top option in the passing game. He’s gotten over 17 DraftKings points in four of his last five games. Travin Dural ($3,900) hasn’t been as consistent but he’s a great option if you’re looking for a cheap tournament option.
Chad Kelly ($6,600) and Laquon Treadwell ($7,100) have proven to be a borderline elite stacking option over the last five weeks. Treadwell has been over 24 DraftKings points in each of the last five games, and Kelly has been over 22 DraftKings points in all but one game. The best news is that they still aren’t priced as elite options. I’d feel comfortable using them in any format, but they bring an extra high floor to the table for cash games.
USC vs Oregon
Line: Oregon -4.5
Cody Kessler ($7,200) simply isn’t a DFS option after the way he’s performed in the previous six weeks. He’s only had one game over 20 DraftKings points, and had two games under 10 points. While more inconsistent than before and tethered to Kessler, Juju Smith-Schuster still provides the upside you look for in a higher priced wide receiver. He’s a tournament only play because of lack of consistency against easier competition of late, but as mentioned, he does still have two games above 130 receiving yards and a touchdown in the last four weeks.
While the results weren’t there, Ronald Jones ( $5,100) had 20 touches for the second straight week, which is a season high. The explosive freshman has the ability to break big plays and if given borderline feature carries, most weeks he’ll pay off.
Vernon Adams ($7,900) isn’t as inconsistent as Kessler, but he costs $700 more and has had consistency issues of his own. While I don’t like Adams, I think Darren Carrington ($5,600) is a great way to get a piece of this game for cheap. In the four games since returning from suspension he’s gone over 100 receiving yards or had a touchdown in every game. Carrington has a hold on the top receiving spot in that offense, and until his price goes up significantly, he’s a great option in all formats.
Royce Freeman ($7,500) has been over 100 rushing yards in six straight games, and a USC defense that struggles between the tackles doesn’t seem like a foe that will end that. The touchdown distribution hasn’t been in his favor all year, but Freeman is a more than solid cash game play at his price.
Wake Forest vs Clemson
Line: Clemson -29
Deshaun Watson ($8,700) has been over 35 DraftKings points in three of his last six games. He’s had a rushing touchdown or 50 rushing yards in each of those games. This week should be an easy game, however, Clemson is in the national championship hunt and won’t be pulling any punches until the 4th quarter. They have voters to impress. I like Watson as a high end tournament play.
Wayne Gallman ($6,700) and Zac Brooks ($3,000) are arguably the most important pivot point of the slate. If Gallman does play, he’s probably too risky to play because of the injured ankle, and also because of the blowout factor. If he doesn’t play, though, Brooks becomes a super value play, that has the ability to get you 20 or 30 Draftkings points at a minimum salary.
Artavis Scott ($6,000) has only returned value in one game so far this year, and while he’s the cheapest he’s been all year, I’d rather take a chance on Deon Cain ($4,500) for $1,500 less.
Navy vs Tulsa
Line: Navy -12.5
Keenan Reynolds ($8,100) and Chris Swain ($5,300) both have huge upside against this struggling Tulsa team. They’ve given up an average of three rushing touchdowns a game this year, so this seems to be a perfect matchup for Navy. That’s reflected in the implied team totals and line.
Dane Evans ($7,000) still isn’t someone I’m trusting, even in tournaments. Keyarris Garrett ($6,800) however, is a great boom/bust tournament play. In his last four weeks, Garrett has two games over 160 receiving yards and two games under 30. He’s been the definition of boom or bust, but to win tournaments, hitting on a player like that could set you apart from a lot of other lineups.
The Tulsa running game and usage has been all over the place because of injuries. A situation you want to stay away from.
Boston College vs Notre Dame
Line: Notre Dame – 15.5
Boston College has proven to be a truly dominant college defense. They’ve had multiple performances proving themselves, including shutting down Florida State phenom running back Dalvin Cook. They were the only team so far this year to hold Cook under 6 yards per carry and out of the endzone. With that understood, I’m staying away from both C.J. Prosise ($6,800) and Josh Adams ($6,300).
Deshone Kizer ($8,200) would be an appealing contrarian play if he were cheaper, but that’s a lot of value to give up with opponent considered. Will Fuller was held without a touchdown for the first time this season last week, against an easier matchup in Wake Forest. He was highly owned and disappointed a lot of owners. Fuller is talented enough to be considered matchup-proof, and should be evaluated by his entire body of work this year, not just last week.
TCU vs Oklahoma
Line: Oklahoma -10
There’s no line on this game because there still hasn’t been clarification on the status of Trevone Boykin ($8,800). A once promising season for TCU has quickly fallen off as the Dynamic duo of Boykin and Josh Doctson have succumbed to injuries. Without Doctson, Boykin’s ceiling was lowered, and with him now fighting injuries of his own, he’s not worth the huge price you have to pay for him.
TCU as a whole is an avoid this week, they face a tough Oklahoma defense that has really shut down their opponent’s best players the past couple weeks.
Baker Mayfield ($8,400) has thrown three or more touchdowns in three straight games. If you’re paying up at quarterback, Mayfield is a nice option. If you do go with Mayfield, make sure to stack him with Sterling Shepard ( $6,700) who has finally gotten to be the featured part of the passing game over the last three weeks. Shepard has at least one touchdown in each of the last three games and went over 170 receiving yards and ten receptions in two of those games.
Semaje Perine (6,800) hasn’t been in a consistent enough role to be a solid cash game play this week, but he certainly has the ceiling to be a running back in your tournament lineups. He’s gone over 13 carries twice in the last four weeks, resulting in a 166 and 201 rushing yard performances. Joe Mixon has struggled against stronger defenses this year, he’s scored the bulk of his points on big plays against Kansas State, Texas Tech, Arkansas and Kansas. He’s a reasonable tournament play if Boykin doesn’t play and TCU gets overwhelmed, but his upside hasn’t been as high against better defenses.
California vs Stanford
Line: Stanford -11
Christian McCaffrey ($8,600) has gone over 100 rushing yards in eight straight games. Stanford isn’t subtle about him being the key to victory on offense. He’s received over 25 touches in each of the last five games and has been over 30 DK points in three of those games. California has been inconsistent against the run this year, but when they’ve been bad, they’ve been really bad. Three players have gone for over 160 rushing yards against them this year and five have been over 100.
Kevin Hogan ($7,300) has been shockingly consistent over the past four games. He’s been over 22 DraftKings points in all four games. Most interesting about those four games is that he’s had over eight rushing attempts in all of them, something that hasn’t been part of his game to this degree for most of his college career.
Jared Goff ($7,100) and the California offense is off limits for this week. On the road and underdogs to a strong defensive team is too many factors to trust Goff or his inconsistent skill position players.