In the CFB Game Breakdown, Russell Clay looks at and evaluates the ten most DFS-friendly matchup for the Saturday slates.
Cincinnati vs East Carolina
Line: East Carolina -2.5
Cincinnati’s quarterback situation is up in the air after Gunner Kiel ( $7,200) got benched after the first quarter last Saturday. Neither Kiel or Hayden Moore ($6,400) could gain any traction against eh South Florida defense. Luckily this week they have a much easier matchup. Keep an eye on whoever starts, both would be good valued in tournaments, and will definitely be low-owned after last week.
Mike Boone ($4,800) has been extremely productive when you look at his season long production, unfortunately he’s been very tough to pin down week-to-week. In the nine games Boone has played this year, five of them have been above 16.8 DraftKings points, the other four have all been below 8. That inconsistency makes him a tournament play only, but he’s in play with the relatively high implied point totals.
The passing game has been hard to pin down as well, but if you’re looking for some consistency in cash games, Shaq Washington ($5,900) is a nice option. Chris Moore ( =$5,800) has had one game below 70 receiving yards since week 3, and has provided four 20 plus DraftKings point games.
Chris Hairston ($6,100) is in play for cash games against a weak Cincinnati run defense. He’s been inconsistent this year, but has provided solid returns against below average run defenses. Isaiah Jones ($6,300) provides huge upside, as he displayed last weekend with a 47 Draftking point performance. Obviously you can’t expect that every week, but this is another plus matchup.
Clemson vs South Carolina
Line: Clemson -17
Tough to argue with what DeShaun Watson ($8,900) has done over the last month or two. Four of Watson’s last six games have been over 37 Draftkings points. Deon Cain ($4,800) has been over 14 DraftKings points in five of his last six games. He doesn’t have huge upside, but if you’re playing Watson in cash games, he’s an ok stacking option.
After missing last week’s game against Wake Forest, Wayne Gallman ($6,600) is set to return this week. He’s a bit of a risk because we’re not entirely sure how they’re going to manage his usage, but he provides a reasonable ceiling and floor for his price.
Pharoh Cooper ($6,400) is always in play, and will likely be lower owned with his price and matchup considered. He’s a contrarian tournament play at best, but in that setting, provides a ton of upside.
Indiana vs Purdue
Line: Indiana -7
Jordan Howard ($7,500) is arguably the biggest risk on the slate after he surprisingly only got three carries last week. News surfaced after the game that he’s been dealing with a knee injury for a while now, so , even if he does play, there’s no way to gauge what type of role he’ll have. He’s a reasonable tournament play because of upside, but I wouldn’t invest a substantial piece of lineups in him.
Nate Sudfeld ($6,400) and Simmie Cobbs ($4,400) were stars of the early slate last week, and were on winning lineups in all formats. They have another plus matchup this week against Purdue and are great values again.
Markell Jones ($5,500) has four straight games above 14.7 Draftkings points and is a nice options against a weak Indiana run defense.
SMU vs Memphis
Line: Memphis -21.5
There is some blowout potential here, but Paxton Lynch ($8,100) has a nice floor in this game after facing three straight tough opponents in previous matchups. Before the last three games, Lynch had seven straight games above 25 DraftKings points.
Moze Frazier ($5,600) and Anthony Miller ($5,700) are solid stacking options with Lynch. Frazier is the more trusted option as Miller has been struggling with injury of late, but with an implied team total of 47, you want as many pieces of this Memphis offense as you can get.
Matt Davis ($7,100) and Courtland Sutton ($5,400) don’t have a great matchup, but they make for a solid contrarian stacking option. Xavier Jones ($4,900) is also in play in what should be a high paced game.
Colorado vs Utah
Line: Utah -16
Travis Wilson ($5,900) and Joe Williams ($5,300) are both really cheap and provide high ceilings for their prices. Normally stacking a quarterback and running back from the same team isn’t a smart strategy, but Wilson has struggled to throw the ball recently and they’ll be without their top receiving option Brittan Covey.
Wilson has gone over 10 carries in seven straight games. Williams is taking over the feature back role for injured Devontae Booker, a player who had over 20 touches in every game he played in 2015. Williams performance last week and price makes him a huge value.
Nelson Spruce ($6,100) has yet to have a game under 12 DraftKings points. He isn’t going to win you a tournament, but even in a tough matchup, you can count on him to be the main contributor on Colorado’s offense.
Penn State vs Michigan State
Line: Michigan State -10.5
Saquon Barkley ($7,000) has already proven that he can come up big in any matchup. Just two weeks ago he scored 38 DraftKings points against a tough Northwestern defense. The best part of that was he was under five percent owned in tournaments. Michigan State has a good defense, but nothing like what they’ve put together in previous years. He’s has been inconsistent this year, though, so he should be listed as tournament-only this week.
Before last week, Chris Godwin ($4,400) had gone over 100 receiving yards in three of four games. His price plus recent production makes him a nice stand-alone play in tournaments.
It’s tough to really trust any Michigan State player with Connor Cook’s ($6,300) status up in the air. If he does play Aaron Burbridge ($6,500) is obviously in play in all formats.
UCLA vs USC
Line: USC -3
I’m staying away from Cody Kessler ($7,300) and Juju Smith-Schuster ($6,600). Injured in recent weeks have really diminished the consistent upside they provided earlier in the year. They face a tough UCLA defense and have really gotten their running game rolling the last few weeks. I don’t see much changing this week.
Justin Davis ($5,200) and Ronald Jones ($4,900) are both good talents and have provided high ceilings relative to the touches they receive. However, guessing which one will go off in a given week is tough. They’re both receiving the same amount of carries and have similar efficiency in recent weeks. Diversifying between the two in tournaments will likely give you one really good result.
Paul Perkins ($7,100) is finally back to workhorse status. He’s received over 20 carries in three straight games, has five straight games above 80 rushing yards and has four touchdowns in his last four games. He’s a nice fit in cash game lineups.
Josh Rosen ($7,000) is too inconsistent to trust, but he’s made both Jordan Payton ($6,000) and Thomas Duarte ($5,300) realistic options in tournaments. Much like the USC running backs, you’re not entirely sure which receiver will provide the high upside on a given week, but you know one of them will. This is another combination I would diversify in tournament lineups with.
North Carolina vs North Carolina State
Line: North Carolina -5.5
Marquise Williams ($8,500) is obviously an elite option at quarterback. His ability to score points in the running game raises his floor higher than anyone not named DeShaun Watson. He’s in play for both cash games and tournaments. His receiving options are a much different story, as you can’t trust any of them. Both Mack Hollins ($4,600) and Ryan Switzer ($5,100) had over 80 yards in Weeks 9 and 10, but in the last two weeks they’ve combined for 102. They’re always great tournament options, they’ll both be low owned after the last two weeks and have proven a few times this year they have 30 DraftKings point upside.
Elijah Hood has been above 22 DraftKings points in five of his last six games, and even on semi-limited touches, provides a great floor for cash games.
Not many options to like on North Carolina State as they’re still scrambling to find a replacement for injured star running back Matt Dayes, but Jaylen Samuels ($4,400) and Nyheim Hines ($4,500) have provided interesting production. Both are used in the running and passing game. Samuels is the more established player but over the past few weeks, Hines almost doubled him in touches. North Carolina has a tough defense, but with an implied team total of 30, there’s going to be production that filters through to Hines and Samuels.
Oklahoma vs Oklahoma State
Line: Oklahoma -7
Baker Mayfield ($8,600) has practiced this week and looks to be a go this weekend. Oklahoma state is a tough defense, especially at home, so it’s going to be hard for him to hit value at his price. A few lineups with him in as a contrarian play in tournaments is an interesting move, but investing a significant amount of your bankroll would be something to avoid.
Sterling Shepard ($6,800) is a different scenario, however. He’s scored over 28 DraftKings points in three of his last four games and has scored seven touchdowns in his last six games. The Sooners are back to featuring their top receiver in the passing game. He’s a nice stand-alone value this week, one that I’d feel comfortable playing in tournaments and cash.
As mentioned with Mayfield, Oklahoma State has a really solid defense, and they perform well at home, so it would probably be smart to avoid the Samaje Perine ($7,500) at his price. Joe Mixon ($5,000) doesn’t provide as much upside as normal either, and with the limited amount of touches he receives, it will be tough for him to hit value.
James Washington ($6,300) has a tough matchup against the Oklahoma secondary this week. He’s an interesting tournament play, but there should be hesitation on using him in cash games. Marcell Altman ($4,400) has emerged as a nice secondary option the last three weeks. He’s scored over 13 DraftKings points in each of his last three games and provides nice value at his price.
Colorado State vs Fresno State
Line: Colorado State -10
The Fresno State defense has been something smart players have been targeting all season. Their complete lack of a passing game combined with a really weak defense has caused some huge games for opposing offenses. This week they face a Colorado State team that’s finally seeming to hit their stride.
Nick Stevens ($5,900) and Rashard Higgins ($6,700) are in play as a combination to build lineups around. Over the last two weeks they’ve combined for over 50 Draftkings points per game.
Dayln Dawkins ($4,900) has three straight games over 94 rushing yards and is a great candidate to go over 100 this weekend. Stacking all three of main Colorado State contributors is an interesting cash game option.