Welcome back to the College Football Rundown. The goal of this article is to highlight players listed on the cheat sheet in a more in-depth fashion, including some tricks and tips to help better you as a player.
Justin Fields, OHST (DK: $8,900 | FD: $10,400)
This is a play where you need to cede a bit of the hype and keep your eye on the overall picture. Justin Fields lit the field on fire against FAU last week, passing for four touchdowns and rushing for another almost all in the first half and four of them in the first nine minutes of the game. Ohio State took their foot off the gas in the second half otherwise this could have been an even large blowout. The price here makes it tough to fit in a lot of other very suitable fantasy options this week and the Cincinnati defense is nothing to scoff at. Ohio State is still two-touchdown favorites but they are only projected for around five. If you believe all five come at the hands or feet of Justin Fields than his top price tag on both sites is worth it. If you think only three touchdowns come through him, then you need to start accessing the value associated with his price. Fields to me is not a cash play as we can get equal upside with Kelly Bryant and save ourself $1,200. But it would be negligent to not note how high his ceiling is going to be weekly.
Kelly Bryant, MIZZ (DK: $7,700 | FD: $9,900)
Bryant attempted 48 passes and 11 rushing attempts in Missouri’s loss against Wyoming. Takeaways here are this, Missouri is not good and being not good keeps the ball in your quarterback’s hands more often. But, Kelly Bryant is good, which in return makes him a sole proprietor of the offense. Missouri has pieces in their offense to be high powered and productive, but their defense showed plenty of weakness against a Wyoming team that finished 6-6 in 2018. There is a reality where we want teams defense to be bad to always give more equity and time of possession to the offense. We don’t care why Kelly Bryant has the ball in his hands as long as it is. I think Bryant is underpriced on DraftKings and a matchup with an equally bad West Virginia team has all the ingredients for a shoot-out.
Steven Montez, COL (DK: $7,300 | FD: $9,600)
Colorado didn’t need much help in getting past Colorado State. Though Colorado State was able to put up 31 points, the Colorado offense moved at will scoring 52. Colorado ended up running the ball 40 times which in return saw Montez only attempt 20 passes. The Buffaloes have a talented wide receiving corp led by Lavishka Shenault (which you can read more about below). We have to remember that low fantasy output is directly tied to the game plan and game flow. Montez was still efficient in only 20 attempts, completing 65% for 232 yards and two touchdowns. We are attacking this Colorado/Nebraska game heavily and it starts with quarterback play. A tighter contest should up Montez’s attempts.
Adrian Martinez, NEB (DK: $7,000 | FD: $9,000)
All bless the DraftKings algorithm. There are raw truths that Adrian Martinez did not have a good week one. He only rushed for six yards on 13 attempts. He threw an interception. He only passed for 178 yards. All these things, completely true. Also true, Martinez had a 65% completion percentage in 2018 and averaged near five yards per carry with eight rushing touchdowns. These two teams met last year, almost exactly one calendar year to the date. Martinez completed 15-of-20 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 117 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. I am more comfortable saying that week one was an outlier than it was admitting that Martinez regressed from a top-five Heisman candidate into someone not relevant. One option is more believable than the other. Martinez, at his best, is a $9,500 quarterback on DraftKings. Apparently, at his worst we get him at $7,000. This is a price purely based around results that I am not giving merit to. This game has the highest total on the slate and one I am absolutely going to be hammering, not because of total, but because DraftKings doesn’t care to price players correctly. Expect all of Nebraska to be very high owned but I truly believe there is no edge to fading them.
Austin Kendall, WVU (DK: $6,200 | FD: $8,000)
Of everyone in this write-up, Kendall will probably be my least owned, but I still think he warrants information and ownership. West Virginia struggled mightily against James Madison, an FCS opponent. The West Virginia offensive line was bullied most of the game, which is surprising considering the amount of junior or senior starters. Missouri’s defensive front, however, isn’t that strong in their own right, allowing almost 300 yards rushing. West Virginia comes into this game as 14 point underdogs to a Missouri team who just lost to Wyoming. I hope reading that sentence puts into perspective how low West Virginia is perceived as a threat. However, Kendall is an Oklahoma transfer and four-star recruit who will likely be forced to throw the ball 40 times in this game. We want to attack volume no matter where it comes from and this checks this box at a very manageable price. I view Kendall as a super flex play.
Tobias Oliver, GT (DK: $4,300 | FD: N/A)
The entire Georgia Tech offense struggled against the top team in the nation Clemson. This was expected and should not be factored into decisions going forward. Oliver was given the starting nod for the Yellow Jackets and though he struggled he did run the ball 20 times. This is what we want out of Oliver, rushing equity. Georgia Tech has recently been a triple-option offense and that was supposed to be changing under new leadership, however if you want to succeed with Oliver, the passing game needs to be an after-thought. Georgia Tech is actually a favorite this week against South Florida and as long as Oliver remains the starting quarterback. Lucas Johnson was rumored to be the starter for the Clemson game, someone who could run a more “balanced” offense, yet the nod went to Oliver. I feel there is a scenario where Oliver and Johnson both play. Or even Oliver and another quarterback James Graham. Even at the low price, there is a risk, but if Oliver gets the nod this is by far the best point per dollar play on this slate.
Travis Etienne, CLEM (DK: $9,400 | FD: $10,200)
I was on team fade for Etienne last week due to workload management. I got half of that correct. Etienne did not have a large workload, rushing the ball only 12 times. Problem being, he turned those 12 rushes into 205 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 17 yards per rush. When placed in a pool with an outrageous price-point and a limited volume to track, it is easy to convince yourself that not playing Etienne is the correct play. On most slates from a pure game theory stand-point, I don’t disagree. But in the best offense in the nation and his big-play ability, Etienne will be a constant thorn in our side whether we play him or not. Etienne is match up proof and don’t let Texas A&M only allowing eight rush yards to Texas State confuse you to them being strong.
Larry Rountree, MIZZ (DK: $7,200 | FD: $8,500) & Tyler Badie, MIZZ (DK: $5,900 | FD: $8,400)
A high total game with two teams that looked to be destined to be under .500 this season is always tricky for fantasy sake. Both Missouri and West Virginia looked rough in their openers with Missouri losing to Wyoming and West Virginia barely beating James Madison. After the departure of Damera Crockett, Larry Rountree is the undisputed top back in the backfield and the Tigers had to abandon the run after going down multiple scores. That reason alone is one to justify why Tyler Badie saw seven receptions, however it doesn’t help with why he saw 16 carries, two more that Rountree. It is possible that the coaching staff just liked how Badie was playing, but it is concerning going forward to trust Rountree. I truly believe one of these two guys will be on a winning roster on Saturday. If Missouri has a lead, Rountree should lead the backfield from the start, but if trailing, and given his early reception and target numbers, Badie may be the guy to own.
Alex Fontenot, COL (DK: $6,300 | FD: $9,500)
Guys who didn’t produce much last year (or weren’t asked to produce) are one of the harder to project in college football which is why I often say we need to take a wait and see approach. Well, we waited, and we saw Alex Fontenot lead the Buffaloes backfield taking 19 carries for 125 yards and three touchdowns. Fontenot got a sizeable price increase but still nothing that will limit our budgets. Nebraska had a very poor defense in 2018 and any stats against a South Alabama team aren’t going to help project anything out in the end. But we use the information we have and that is Fontenot is the lead back who was given multiple red zone opportunities.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn, VAND (DK: $6,200 | FD: $8,700)
Ke’Shawn Vaughn is one of the more talented backs in college football who just happened to have to open his season against Georgia. Vaughn still managed 4.9 yards per carry but had a very low ceiling due to matchup. Vanderbilt is still an underdog this week, but much less of one as they are one touchdown underdogs to Purdue. A major flaw in the DraftKings algorithm for pricing is it takes previous weeks performance way too much into account in relation to the matchup. We are getting Vaughn at an $800 discount from his price last week, against a much worse defense. Vaughn is a cash game lock and one of my favorite tournament plays, though I wouldn’t doubt to see his exposure on the higher side.
Dedrick Mills, NEB (DK: $4,700 | FD: $8,800)
I will start by saying I consider this a DraftKings only play. Mills rushed 15 times for 44 yards and two touchdowns in Nebraska’s season opener last week. The entire Husker offense looked out of sync and I am not factoring that performance into this week against Colorado at all. The drawback to Mills is Maurice Washington will resume regular playing time this week after being suspended for the first half last week. I believe that Washington will fill a more early-down role and passing game role, while Mills will be more of a goal-line back. There is risk here but the high total in this game and the sub $5,000 price tag makes Mills a risk worth taking.
Reggie Corbin, ILL [Q] (DK: $4,400 | FD: N/A)
It is important here to note the questionable tag on Corbin. He was removed from last week’s game against Akron with a hip pointer injury and there has not been much information on him since. The reason this needs to be monitored is that Illinois starting running back Mike Epstein is now done for the season with a knee injury. Epstein and Corbin were in a timeshare as it stood in the Illini offense, but with Epstein out it puts Corbin in the drivers seat for the lead role. Typically I would say to take a wait and see approach, but Illinois gets a juicy matchup against a bad UConn team this week that sees them favored by two touchdowns.
Rondale Moore, PUR (DK: $8,100 | FD: $10,000)
Moore was targeted a whopping 14 times against Nevada, catching 11 for 124 yards and a touchdown. Moore came into this game with a probable tag, but quickly shed any doubt that it would hinder him. Elijah Sindelar attempted 52 passing attempts and it appears that passing will still remain the focus of the Purdue offense. I reach a point where I can’t sell a player any more past what he is doing on the field. I know it is only week two, but that is going to be a theme weekly with Rondale Moore. You have to remember this is a guy who caught 114 passes for 1,258 yards last season as a freshman. Until his price reaches a higher point or he runs into a Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin type defense, he is a plug and play.
Lavishka Shenault, COL (DK: $8,000 | FD: $9,600)
Casual or new CFB DFS players will see Shenault’s price and production and give a quick pass. We have to be sharper than that and understand his place in this offense. Shenault was a 1,000 receiver last season while missing a few games to injury. Last weeks game against Colorado State wasn’t even that bad when looking deeper. Colorado ran the ball 40 times, three of those going to Shenault for 35 yards. Steven Montez only attempted 20 total passes and only completed 13. In the end, Colorado just didn’t need to focus the passing game in this one. Next up is Nebraska, who is favored by four points with a game total of 65. This is the smash game of the slate and while everyone goes left with Moore (which is still a great play) we need to be going right with Shenault.
Tee Higgins, CLEM (DK: $7,300 | FD: $9,700)
Only two Clemson receivers received more than two targets last Thursday’s against Georgia Tech and those two were Justyn Ross and Tee Higgins. Those two names will probably be weekly staples of write-ups and cheat sheets as the number one team in the nation doesn’t need a ton of explanation. Clemson will be heavy favorites the entire year, but we will pick and choose the spots it makes the most sense to use them. This week Clemson gets Texas A&M in a rematch of what was a close game last season. Ross will continue to be a deep downfield threat and that won’t change much week-to-week. I think Ross’ ceiling will remain higher than Higgins with Higgins floor being higher than Ross’. When it comes down to choosing one over the other, I lean Higgins slightly. With a closer game on tap this week, I think Higgins make a lot of sense for both cash and tournament builds.
Jalen Knox, MIZZ (DK: $6,200 | FD: $7,400)
This is strictly a tournament play but comes in at a nice mid-tier price. The Missouri offense spread the ball around in the receiving game against Wyoming with nine different receivers catching passes. Arkansas transfer Jonathan Nance ended up finding the endzone twice and five receivers, including Knox, had over 60 yards receiving, with no one going over 72 yards. This game has one of the highest totals on the slate and Kelly Bryant attempted 48 passes. It should be noted that Missouri was beaten by Wyoming. Their next opponent, West Virginia, only scored 20 against James Madison. This is proving to be an early test of two maybe not so good football teams. Knox is a big play waiting to happen but the usage in the offense is worrisome. However, this will be a low owned play that still carries a high ceiling.
Binjimen Victor, OHST (DK: $5,400 | $7,900)
The entire Ohio State offense was clicking against FAU in a game that they could have scored 70 if they kept their foot on the gas. This is Victor’s first year as a starter for the Buckeyes and he finished with two receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown. The first game is hard to judge but a take away was that Victor was looked for on big plays. That is a blessing and curse for daily fantasy as we are probably looking at a season of high ceilings and low floors. Victor now has 11 touchdowns in 18 career games as a Buckeye and if you are looking to get pieces of the Ohio State offense he comes at the lowest price.
JD Spielman, NEB (DK: $4,700 | $8,500)
Spielman had a quiet week one only catching two passes on three targets for 36 yards. This stat line was lower than any game in 2018 and though it was disappointing I am safe calling it an outlier. Spielman averaged 12.8 yards per reception last year, totaling 66 catches for 818 yards and seven touchdowns. That was with Stanley Morgan lined up opposite of him. The loss of Morgan may prove to be detrimental to as the Huskers aren’t chalked full of wide receiver talent. Regardless, this was an $8,000 play on DraftKings last year. Nebraska has the firepower with Spielman and Adrian Martinez and the combo is one of my favorite stacks on the slate; coming at a low price.
My projections are now live on FantasyCruncher and will be available for every slate all season for both DraftKings and FanDuel. Though this content is free I encourage you to take your game to the next level by considering a subscription to FC Premium. If you are a lower stakes player, FC Lite gets you all the tools that Premium does, just with a lower lineup crunch cap. I will post the link below for anyone interested. I will be in Discord chat (something that comes with a subscription) before lock of all slates if you have questions. You can also reach out to me on Twitter @iKezims