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: $9,200 | FD: $10,600)
We start at the top with someone who will likely be here weekly. Justin Fields is averaging over 32 fantasy points per game right now while barely attempting passes in the second half due to blowouts. In two games Fields has an astonishing 75% completion percentage and three rushing touchdowns. Conference play starts this week for Fields and the Buckeyes as they travel to face Indiana. Ohio State is a near three-touchdown favorite in this matchup but he should see himself on the field for nearly all of it as we usually don’t see quick hooks or foot-off-the-gas in conference matchups as we do in non-conference games.
Tua Tagovaliola, ALA (DK: $9,000 | FD: $10,200)
Users on DraftKings have a tough decision if choosing to spend up this week between Fields, Spencer Sanders, and Tua. I left Sanders out of this writeup as I didn’t want to highlight three top-priced quarterbacks, but when in question reference the projections. Tua, much like Fields, has a completion percentage over 70 through two games while averaging 32 fantasy points per game. He has only attempted seven total rushing attempts though he has turned that into 48 yards and a touchdown. When breaking down high priced options I typically will reference the weapon pool around a certain player which is where my edge to Tua comes in. Though Sanders has Tylan Wallace, after that it becomes a little less clear with Dillon Stoner. Sure, he has rushing equity, but so does Tua, though less relied upon. The reason it isn’t relied upon is Tua has a wide array of weapons spanning from Jerry Juedy, to Jaylen Waddle, to Devonta Smith, to Henry Ruggs. You get the idea here. Between Fields, Sanders, Tagovaliola, you are getting three similar Vegas lines and I don’t personally think you can go wrong with any of them. A Tua to Juedy stack falls about $800 cheaper than a Sanders to Wallace stack and since I view the ceilings equal, I will save the money where I can.
Sean Clifford, PSU (DK: $7,300 | FD: $9,800)
We have come to get used to Penn State quarterbacks filling a specific role. An accurate passer who can lower the shoulder and get some yards on the ground through physical play. We saw that with Trace McSorley and we are now seeing it with Sean Clifford. Clifford is averaging over five yards per carry right now while passing for 280 in each of his first two games. Penn State looked a little shaky in the first half against Buffalo last week but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the final score as they won by four touchdowns. One thing Penn State doesn’t have right now is a settled running game. We have been spoiled over the last few years from the Nittany Lions as they have had rushing attacks led by Saquon Barkley and Miles Sanders, but now currently land in a more by committee approach. This doesn’t affect the way we approach rostering the Penn State team at all, though it should lead to Clifford being more of a primary play-maker instead of having a sure bet rushing option in the red zone. Clifford’s price for me is out of play on FanDuel, which is something I will say a lot in this write-up. FanDuel priced several players above their means this week which essentially has made some options a pick-em.
Matthew McKay, NCST (DK: $6,700 | FD: $10,000)
Box score hunters may see Matthew McKay’s performance against Western Carolina and lose interest. Looking deeper this was a 41-0 victory where McKay was not needed at all, in fact, back-up Bailey Hockman closed this game out for the Wolfpack. In reality, McKay’s price is actually cheaper than it was to start the season by $100. Back in the season opener against East Carolina, McKay passed for over 300 yards while adding two touchdowns on the ground. We like to target dual-threat options when possible since it increases the ceiling compared to a pure pocket passer. This week the Wolfpack face a West Virginia team that I am not sure could have looked any worse in their first two games. The Mountaineers barely snuck past James Madison in week one before taking a beating from Missouri last week. West Virginia’s key weakness right now is in stopping the running game, though they are allowing over 355 total yards per game. There is a world where the Wolfpack dominate this game on the ground in a rotation of their three backs, though McKay has the talent and will have the ball in his hands enough to take advantage of this porous defense himself.
Josh Jackson, MD (DK: $6,600 | FD: $9,100)
Maryland has been a surprise offense to start the season, putting up 79 against Howard and then another 63 against Syracuse. The offense is now being led by Virginia Tech transfer Josh Jackson and he has looked strong and confident through his first two as a Terp. Jackson has seven touchdown passes through two games and has the ability to use his legs, yet we haven’t seen that much yet this season as he only has four rushing attempts. This is a strange week for quarterbacks as I really don’t see an option I am comfortable using under the $6,500 price point. Kedon Slovis falls into this same range as Jackson as Slovis passed for 377 yards and three touchdowns in the freshman’s first career start. He will match up with a BYU team this week. I think Slovis and Jackson fall into very similar situations in their matchups and their projections. You could argue that Slovis should get the edge due to something I said earlier about following the talent in the receiving corp, as USC has by far the better complement of receivers.
Chuba Hubbard, OKST (DK: $8,300 | FD: $10,000)
I mentioned earlier that I wouldn’t be on Spencer Sanders a ton and I think one of those reasons is that I will have increased exposure to Chuba Hubbard. Hubbard showed what made him special back in week one against Oregon State when he ran 26 times for 221 yards and three touchdowns. He wasn’t needed or used much against McNeese State as the Cowboys won by five touchdowns and there is no incentive to risking your stars to injury in the non-conference season. Tulsa is also a non-conference matchup, but their likeness is much more comparable to an Oregon State than an FCS team. Oklahoma State plays at a fast pace which means more points and more plays, which has already been displayed by averaging over 550 total yards so far on the season. This game only has a fourteen-point spread, which is more indicative of Oklahoma State’s poor defense than any real fear of the Cowboys losing.
Kylin Hill, MSST (DK: $7,500 | FD: $9,100)
Going into Saturday Mississippi State is in a bit of a quarterback quandary. Starter Tommy Stevens is listed as “day-to-day”, though conventionally we can just label this as questionable. Stevens has looked strong in his first two games though running back Kylin Hill has looked even stronger. Hill through two games has over 315 yards and last year in this same matchup Mississippi State ran for a total of 384 yards with Hill accounting for 220 of them. If Stevens were to sit in this game, Mississippi State will rely on the run more than ever, leaving Hill in line to possibly see one of the largest workloads of the week.
JK Dobbins, OHST (DK: $7,500 | FD: $9,600)
J.K. Dobbins came in at an insane 7% owned last week in large field GPPs. Dobbins is the leading rusher on a top-five team in the nation who is putting up six touchdowns a game. Either the blowout risk scared people off of Dobbins or people are chasing chalk way too much. Dobbins carried the ball 21 times against FAU and another 17 against Cinci, despite not seeing a carry in the second half. Through two weeks Dobbins is averaging 116 yards a game and has three touchdowns. There is a large gap between Dobbins and his backups and Dobbins should see more work in a conference game. Don’t forget that Dobbins is and will remain a premier rushing prospect in all of CFB and unless facing a top tier elite defense should always carry ownership. Getting him at sub 10% owned in any contest is next to criminal.
James Gilbert, KSU (DK: $5,200 | FD: $9,000)
Kansas State is a team who is difficult to nail down as they aren’t going to beat you with a passing game. Last week against Bowling Green, Kansas State had nine different rushers take a carry and the team only attempted a total of 19 passes. The Wildcats did win this game 52-0 which explains so many players getting touches. We can realistically expect James Gilbert and Jordon Brown to lead this rushing attack and Gilbert led it last week with 103 yards and three touchdowns. In the past, we would be fading running backs against Mississippi State, but this is no Mississippi State team of old. In fact, through two games, Miss St has allowed over 135 yards rushing to and that is to Southern Miss and Louisiana-Lafayette. Gilbert is a talented runner who transferred from Ball State while leaving them with the seventh-most rushing yards in program history. The key to this game is keeping it close enough where the Wildcats won’t be forced into passing situations, but with Tommy Stevens currently questionable for Mississippi State, this game could be way closer than we think and I think Kansas State has a great shot at pulling the upset here.
Elijah Collins, MSU (DK: $3,000 | FD: $7,200)
Sometimes I take a good hard look at a slate and at the end, I just shake my head and wonder what the hell DraftKings is thinking or how inept their algorithm must be. Sure, Elijah Collins was named the starter after salaries for week three came out, but there is no reason why Collins week three performance of 17 carries for 192 yards should have let him remain at stone-cold minimum price. To recap the previous sentence, Michigan State freshman Elijah Collins ran for 192 yards last week, was named the starting running back this week against Arizona State and is still just $3,000 on DraftKings. The Spartans still have capable backs behind Collins that will certainly get carries, but there is no way to argue against playing Collins this week. He needs to do so little to produce value and he looked like an energized and unstoppable runner against Western Michigan. Arizona State will provide a tougher challenge, but Collins is as close to a value lock as you can get this week and possibly all season.
Tylan Wallace, OKST (DK: $8,600 | FD: $9,800)
I am not in love with the wide receiver pool this week, which usually ends up leading to a few inflated ownerships on the slate. It is hard to say if Wallace will be one this week as he is by far the most expensive wideout at $8,600. Through two games Wallace has ten catches for 272 yards and five touchdowns. The touchdown equity is the big take away here as he has caught five of the six touchdowns thrown by quarterback Spencer Sanders on the season. It should be noted that Wallace hasn’t played a full-game in either of his first two weeks. With Oklahoma State only being a two-touchdown favorite over Tulsa we may see extended Wallace on the field. You don’t want to over-expose yourself here as it will eat up a giant part of your salary, but Wallace’s ceiling is going to be one of the highest weekly.
Jerry Jeudy, ALA (DK: $8,000 | FD: $10,300)
Speaking of ceilings, there won’t be one higher week to week than Jerry Jeudy’s. Jeudy through just two weeks has 18 receptions for 240 yards and four touchdowns. Jeudy scored 14 touchdowns last season and on pace to crush that mark already. Alabama goes without saying on how strong of an offense they have, but Jeudy is Tua Tagovailoa’s clear cut top target. Jeudy projected out as the top wide receiver on a slate of a lot of mid-tier options. Alabama carries the highest total on the slate at 43 points right now and an SEC battle will keep the talent on the field for Crimson Tide longer.
Emeka Emezie (DK: $6,100 | FD: $8,100)
I am still waiting for the breakout game from Emeka Emezie, but I am not going to miss it when it happens. Emezie is a 6’3 junior who played third fiddle behind Kelvin Harmon and Jacobi Meyers. To be fair, Matthew McKay is now the quarterback so we shouldn’t expect the same firepower in the passing game as they had under Ryan Finley. 15 of McKay’s 43 completions this season so far have gone to slot receivers. I am not saying go and jam Emezie in every one of your lineups, but when Emezie breaks out it is going to be in a big way. I will be pairing Emezie in at least half of my stacks with McKay and as I have said, with a field of receiving options this week that has a lot of boom or bust potential, I rather take another shot on Emezie against a bad West Virginia team than some others.
KJ Hamler, PSU (DK: $5,800 | FD: $9,300)
With Penn State having a shaky running back rotation right now, focusing on the passing game is a strong idea and even stronger when stacking with quarterback Sean Clifford. KJ Hamler is the guy to lead the charge, as he gained nearly 1,500 all-purpose yards last season. Hamler snagged two touchdown passes against Idaho in week one and Penn State led a lot of quick scoring drives in the second half against Buffalo that left Hamler uninvolved. Penn State is favored by seventeen over rival Pittsburgh, but the rivalry should keep this offense rolling from start to finish. Jahan Dotson is another option in this passing game to look at with his salary being only $3,900. Dotson lines up outside and had two big-play touchdowns last week. With someone with such a small career sample size, it is hard to tell if this is an outlier or not, though he makes a decent tournament play at his price.
Brandon Aiyuk, ASU (DK: $5,400 | $8,000)
This is an extremely tread light play as Arizona State has one of the lowest team totals on the entire slate. However, Aiyuk is going to come into this slate as a very small owned receiver and as we have seen Aiyuk has huge play potential with blazing speed. Michigan State has one of the best rushing defense in the nation and if Eno Benjamin is shut down the Sun Devils are going to be forced to pass the ball. I think there is upside to taking a stab on Aiyuk in tournaments but he is nowhere near being in play for cash games.
Deshaunte Jones, ISU (DK: $4,600 | FD: $8,000)
One of the things I try to never do in DFS is to chase a prior weeks performance so I am trying to not appear that that is what I am doing with Deshaunte Jones. Jones caught 14 receptions for 126 yards against Northern Iowa though this was a double-overtime game. Regardless Jones appeared to be Brock Purdy’s top target as he amassed 16 total targets. Both passing touchdowns went to La’Michael Pettway on just three receptions. Jones is still priced low, at just $4,600 and in a rivalry game against Iowa you are going to get your best out of these guys. Gone is the day of David Montgomery and a strong rushing game from Iowa State and now we have a more balanced offense. Iowa is a strong defense but Iowa State is going to have to pass the ball and it is as simple as that. If Jones remains a volume guy then he will have no issues paying off his price on DraftKings, which is a full PPR site. I wouldn’t personally touch this play on FanDuel.
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