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.
Jamie Newman, WAKE (DK: $7,900)
FanDuel chose to use the afternoon and evening slate as their main slate again, therefore this article is mostly based off of DraftKings pricing, though the plays could go either way if they make the FanDuel slate. After the loss of top receiver Sage Surratt, there was a bit of an assumption that production could slip here, but what we actually saw against Duke was a quarterback revitalized with his legs as he ran the ball 29 times for 144 yards and a touchdown. On top of that, Newman passed for 284 yards and another touchdown. Newman gets the best paper matchup this week with a Syracuse team allowing over 450 yards of total offense a game.
Lynn Bowden, UK (DK: $7,300)
When rostering Lynn Bowden you aren’t really rostering a quarterback, but a wide receiver turned quarterback, who is basically a running back. Follow all of that? Bowden has started the last six games for the Wildcats and has rushed for over 100 yards in all but one (in which he had 99). You are essentially paying this price for a running quarterback who can throw it if needed. The passing game is the extra bonus here but if Bowden was listed as a running back at this price, I would still be playing him against a bad Louisville defense. Therefore him being labeled a quarterback doesn’t change anything for me.
Justin McMillian, TUL (DK: $6,400)
When it comes to point per dollar, this is my favorite play and favorite ceiling play on the slate for a quarterback. McMillian isn’t going to set the world on fire in the passing game but he has been using his rushing ability more in the past few weeks. Tulane at the core is still a run-first offense which makes this play a bit risky, but the matchup against a strong SMU offense and bad SMU defense has the recipe for a shootout. McMillian carries a floor of around 15 into this game and I would not be shocked at all to see him crack the 100-yard rushing mark.
Others to consider: Ian Book, ND | Justin Herbert, ORE | Holton Ahlers, ECU
Johnathan Taylor, WISC (DK: $8,500) & Travis Etienne, CLEM (DK: $8,400)
I really couldn’t choose one or the other to write up so you get both. Taylor is playing Minnesota for the Axe, the conference, and possibly a trip to the Rose Bowl. Taylor has rushed for over 200 yards in his last three games and there is really no reason the volume should change. However, Minnesota has a very good defense, allowing just a tick over 300 yards total per game. There is risk there, but I think the matchup scares more people off of Taylor than it should. As for Etienne, he gets a much easier matchup in a season-ending game against South Carolina. Clemson needs to win to essentially guarantee themselves a playoff spot. Etienne has averaged over 32 fantasy points in his last five games and is seeing work in both the running and passing game. 13 weeks into the season I don’t need to over-explain these guys.
UPDATE: Keep an eye on the weather in Minnesota. This game could be snowy and wet. Etienne has become my preferred play here.
Najee Harris, BAMA (DK: $6,700)
With the loss of Tua for the year, this is now a Mac Jones lead football team. This is in no way a knock on Mac Jones, as if you are a quarterback recruited to the top program of the last decade, you are obviously going to have natural talent. I personally worry more about the chemistry and this will be the first true test for Jones against a ranked opponent. In the end, the safest route for Alabama is a consistent ground game with Najee Harris. Auburn has a strong rush defense, but I am a true believer in talent winning out and with Harris involved through the air and on the ground this price point is begging us to play him.
Javian Hawkins, LOU (DK: $5,800)
Hawkins had a career day last week against Syracuse, rushing 23 times for 233 yards and a touchdown. Somehow that performances doesn’t move the pricing needle much as he received only a $300 raise this week on Draftkings. Up next for Hawkins and Louisville is a Kentucky team ranked 30th in the nation against the pass, allowing less than 180 yards per game. If the passing game struggles, don’t be surprised to see Hawkins once again the focal point of the offense. The running back position is not strong this week and the guys I am writing up here are likely to be the only ones in my player pool, with the addition of the ones listed below.
Others to consider: JK Dobbins, OHST | Darius Pinnix, ECU
Isaiah Hodgins, ORST (DK: $7,800)
Though I do love James Proche for all the reasons I have written about him in the last two weeks, the price tag of $8,200 is a bit out of my range for a wide receiver. Proche is still one of the best plays on the board for tournaments, but this is a week where you need every dollar you can save. Hodgins has been quiet in the last three weeks, though one game was against a tough Washington defense. On the season though, Hodgins is over 1000 yards and has 78 receptions to go along with his 13 touchdowns. This week it is the Civil War between Oregon and Oregon State. Oregon has one of the better rushing defenses in the nation and will also likely be playing ahead in most of this game, which leaves the Oregon State passing game in a prime position for quantity.
Kendall Hinton, WAKE (DK: $6,500)
With the loss of Sage Surratt for the season, Hinton now has to shoulder the load in the Wake passing game. Hinton saw 16 targets against Virginia Tech and 10 against Duke, leading to similar stat lines of 6-and-8 receptions for 162-and-189 yards. Syracuse is a beat-up defense who is allowing teams to score at will. Newman to Hinton is my favorite stack this week.
Tyler Snead, ECU (DK: $5,400)
Though every internet tough guy out there will tell you that you probably need to play CJ Johnson, if you are digging into the ECU offense then I rather take my chances on Tyler Snead, a guy who has done it prior to this season and has a larger sample size than a freshman in Johnson, who had 20 targets in one game, one time. Twitter was contentious at me for saying that CJ Johnson was bad chalk a few weeks back as he carried a 40% ownership in a pricing range with about five different options. I took a lot of heat for this on Twitter because people claimed it was a hindsight take because I posted it after he got injured. Johnson didn’t make my write up that week and I was under-the-field on ownership. The problem with this, is ECU offense, outside of being really good as of late, is wildly inconsistent, they are a losing football team, and no players production from this team carries week to week. I urge you all to go look at the target data for each receiver and you will see there is no true pattern to it. CJ Johnson has had his week, Blake Proehl has had his week, and most recently Tyler Snead has had his two monster weeks. But the truth is, before Snead seeing 20 targets and then 18 targets, he never saw double-digit targets once this year. CJ Johnson became chalk after a 20-target, 12 reception, 283-yard receiving day, but if you look at his numbers overall this *huge* game is a massive outlier. Johnson started the season with 20 total targets through five games. This has turned into a rant, but the point I am making is if you are going to look at data to try and predict an outcome, you can’t just use the highest scoring, highest ceiling one game as the reason when there are other games to off-set that thinking. East Carolina can burn you, though Snead does have 38 targets over his last two games. Though, back to what I said earlier, prior to these two games, he never reached double digits. I wouldn’t doubt to see Snead as chalk, but this can still burn you. The price is nice, it feels like a trap, but also feels like the one guy who will make or break this entire slate.
Others to consider: Tyler Johnson, MN | Chris Finke, ND | Jalen McCleskey, TUL (deep GPP)
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