Welcome back everyone – it is a joy and honor to be back for the 2020 College Football season, no matter the capacity we get it in. We likely will have some non-traditional slates and some smaller ones at that, but nevertheless, we still get football and I think that is all that really matters to us. If you are reading this, you likely can note that it is completely free. All written content on FantasyCruncher is free – the only time you will be charged is if you want access to the optimizer and access to my projections. In that case, you can follow this link to sign up – with weekly/monthly/annual options across three different tiers that should be able to fit every level of DFS player. I will be providing written content for any slate of three games or more, though projections and optimizer access will be available for all normal and showdown slates. With a seven-game slate on tap for DraftKings and a large 25k to first GPP, those will be the games our pool will be analyzed from in this article. I will provide my top two or three favorite plays at each position and a GPP play as well if I see viable. Follow the link at the end of the article to see my cheat sheets for each site. Please note that FanDuel is running an 11-game slate that is made up of games from DraftKings Main and Late slates.
Sam Howell, UNC – DK: $8,900 | FD: $10,100
Howell is fresh off of a freshman season that saw him throw for 3,641 yards and 38 touchdowns for a team that ended up going just 7-6 (though against some tough ACC foes). With a year of experience under his belt and virtually his entire offensive slew of weapons back at his disposable, Howell and the Tarheels are a team to keep a very close eye on as they have the firepower to rival Clemson. In fact, this team rivaled Clemson last year, falling to them just 21-20. Howell has a first-round grade in most NFL circles and the strong-armed sophomore starts his second year with a favorable matchup against Syracuse. Syracuse themselves are going through some changes but will need big ones out of their defense to stay competitive. The Syracuse defense was exploited last year to the tune of allowing 464 yards per game and 30 points – including 262 yards passing per game as well. If you are a returning reader of my content, seeing Howell up here may be surprising as you all know my theory of not paying up for a non-dual-threat quarterback, but Howell actually has the upside of 400 yards and 4+ touchdowns passing in this game. There is always the week one risk of the jitters, maybe lack of practice, etc in a matchup, but Howell has a three-headed monster of receivers and if your budget allows it, then I have no problem paying purely for the arm of Sam Howell.
Brock Purdy, ISU – DK: $7,300 | FD: $10,000
Purdy’s price on FanDuel will make me think twice about the prospect of rostering him, but the price on DraftKings is about $1,000 too low. Purdy passed for 3,982 yards and 27 touchdowns last season while also running for eight touchdowns. Towards the latter half of the season, around the emergence of Breece Hall, Purdy stopped relying on his legs as much which did hurt his overall ceiling but allowed him to lock in his passing game. Iowa State takes on Louisiana Lafayette which is no pushover. In fact, ULL allowed under 20 points per game last year and held passing attacks on average under 200 yards. Of course, this is subjective to the conference as there is a difference in facing the Sun Belt and the Big 12. ULL also lost their leader on the defensive line and their leading tackler at linebacker – as well as their starting nickel back and top safety. Purdy and the Cyclones have a projected team total of 34 and that is shaking out to around five touchdowns this offense can get us. I like a lot of pieces from Iowa State this week mostly due to DraftKings keeping the prices on them pretty low as compared to where they should be – I also think the ULL defense of 2019 is being factored into the pricing more than it should be. I don’t necessarily think we need to target Purdy on FanDuel, as they seemed to have gotten the price right and with 11 games over there, there are better options.
Skylar Thompson, KSU – DK: $6,800 | FD: $9,000
With Thompson, we get the benefit of something a lot of these others don’t have and that is a game against an opponent who has already played a game. Kansas State is taking on Arkansas State who lost to Memphis 37-24 last weekend. Skylar Thompson has always been a bit of a polarizing DFS guy and someone who can burn us pretty easily, but the dual-threat talent is there and unlike some other years this is going to be his team to lead this year. I do like the running game in this game and I will touch on that more below in a bit. Kansas State is a team that falls heavily into their game plan. If you look at game logs from last year you can see this develop – when Kansas State wants to run, they will prioritize it – when they want to pass – you will know it. The key we need here is for Arkansas State to keep this game close and with a spread of -10 in KSU favor, I think ARKST will be able to hang in there. What we need from Thomspon to have a big fantasy performance is a trust from the coaching staff and his willingness to do work with his legs. With a running game that isn’t super established outside of Trotter (who will be seeing his first real action as a starter), I can see Thompson possibly feeling the need to use his legs more which is the catalyst to this being a good play or not. All that being said, Memphis handled this Arkansas State defense pretty handily. Brady White threw for 275 yards and four touchdowns, while the running game was able to eclipse over 225 yards on the ground. The price on either site won’t break the bank, though I am still more inclined to use him on DraftKings
Breece Hall, ISU – DK: $7,000 | FD: $9,200
Breece Hall didn’t get meaningful touches for Iowa State until week seven of the season, but over the last eight games of the year, Hall took 186 carries for 897 yards and ten touchdowns while averaging 4.8 yards per carry. Not only that, but Hall was also involved in the passing game, catching 23 passes for 252 yards and a touchdown. I touched on the ULL defense when discussing Brock Purdy, but the key to beating ULL last year was to do it on the ground as they allowed 174 yards per game rushing. As mentioned, gone is their leading middle linebacker and though their defensive line remains intact, it didn’t do much in stopping anyone last year. I don’t think you should use Purdy and Hall together, but matching them up is a strong GPP tactic as it will be a lower owned combination. The running back option on this DraftKings main slate aren’t that strong and very few are established while also being in a positive matchup. Because Hall offers us stability and is a clear-cut #1 back for Iowa State, I can see this play ending up as chalk.
Jashaun Corbin, FSU – DK: $6,800 | FD: $8,800
Corbin started his 2019 season with Texas A&M and after losing his season to injury after the second game of the year, Corbin tossed his name in the transfer portal and was granted immediate eligibility to Florida State. Though Corbin is listed with an -or- designation on the Seminoles first depth chart of the year with JUCO transfer La’Damian Webb, it would be hard for me to imagine that Corbin isn’t the defacto starter here and still given a bulk of the carries. Corbin himself is a four-star recruit who likely would still be the starting running back at Texas A&M if it wasn’t for his injury. I mentioned above that this slate isn’t packed with running back options, but for Corbin and Florida State they face a Georgia Tech team who was massacred by the run in 2019. In fact, Georgia Tech allowed over 215 yards on the ground per game which ranked almost dead last in all of college football. The worrisome thing here is the Florida State offensive line showed major struggles last season. Without improvement, it won’t matter how talented the running back is (unless they play to Cam Akers levels of football). The price here feels right on each site, and given the options and the raw matchup, Corbin checks all the boxes for me.
Deuce Vaughn, KSU – DK: $4,100 | FD: $6,000
I am prefacing this with a very strong and loud statement that this is a GPP play only and one that could flop on us but if you are here for a little bit of risk, Vaughn could pay off handsomely at his low price. Vaughn is a true freshman who has been the loudest praised guy in Kansas State camps being labeled “electric”, “a home run hitter”, “the next Darren Sproles”. Harry Trotter is listed as the starting running back for Saturday’s game, though Trotter’s experience isn’t that high, though he did appear in every game last season for the Wildcats. I don’t view Trotter as a home run hitter, he is going to be a chunk yardage guy and that is fine – Trotter’s price is low enough where we can grab some exposure to him as well. But Vaughn, again, as a true freshman, is listed with an -or- designation as the backup for Kansas State. Vaughn wasn’t expected to make it on the two-deep depth chart, but a great camp has placed him there and can not only exist in the running game but also in the passing game as well. Vaughn stands at just 5’5 which can make staying low behind the tackles an advantage in the screen game. Kansas State hasn’t had an offensive target to really be excited about in the last few years and I feel like Vaughn is going to fill that void for a team that desperately needs a standout play-maker. My key worry here is though I am high on Vaughn as a prospect, is this the game we instantly see him show out in? This is a name to watch as the season goes on, but I will definitely have exposure against a weak Arkansas State defense that was gashed for 225 yards rushing last week.
Dazz Newsome, UNC – DK: $7,900 | FD: $9,000 & Dyami Brown, UNC – DK: $6,900 | FD: $9,300
I really can keep this one nice and short and sweet. Newsome and Brown are the top two options in a passing attack led by Sam Howell who threw 38 touchdowns last season. Newsome averaged 8.5 targets per game and a 24% team target share, while Brown was targeted around seven times and had a 21% target share. Not to be outdone, and not in the header but certainly in play here is Beau Corrales, who averaged six targets per game and a 17% share. So of those three, you are getting almost 70% of the teams total passing offense. Newsome and Brown both eclipsed 1,000 yards last year, with Brown doing it on 21 less receptions. Newsome still averaged about a fantasy point higher per game than Brown, but Brown was the big hitter downfield. On DraftKings I give the edge to Newsome, even at price, as his reception numbers can easily creep into double-digits. On FanDuel, Brown may be a bit more enticing due to his big-play prowess. Corrales also shouldn’t be overlooked as he falls as a great mid-to-low priced option in an offense that should score plenty against a weak Syracuse defense.
Jonathan Adams Jr., ARKST – DK: $6,000 | FD: $7,200
Adams Jr. was a guy who made this writeup last week and though he didn’t have a ground-breaking game, he still was targeted ten times and caught six passes for 65 yards. The quarterback play for Arkansas State was very inconsistent and well, that is expected when you are shuffling between two guys every other series. Adams’ averaged eight targets a game in 2019, even while being behind Omar Bayless and Kirk Merritt. With Adams now the top guy in this offense, at worst we can still expect to see double-digits targets to him every week. The Kansas State defense was strong against the pass in 2019, but Arkansas State will need to pass to stay in this game. The price is for sure too low here on FanDuel and is in a sweet spot on DraftKings. I am going to view Adams as a high floor option every week and on the weeks he finds the end zone his salary will be paid off easily. Until the price creeps higher then Adams will be a core target for me as the uncertainty of “will he get the ball” won’t be there.
Xavier Hutchinson, ISU – DK: $4,900 | FD: $6,500
Hutchinson is an interesting prospect and a guy who I think could go overlooked on this slate. Hutchinson is listed as the starting X receiver on the Iowa State depth chart and has been a camp name to watch that has carried a considerable amount of hype. Hutchinson himself is a JUCO transfer who turned down an offer to play at Oklahoma to play for the Cyclones. The three-star prospect stands 6 foot three inches tall and will bring instant size that is much needed to this Iowa State offense. This is the third Cyclone player to make this write-up but with a favorable matchup against ULL and a projected team total of 34, I have no problem grabbing three players from this offense that should be able to move the ball with ease. There will be a lot of targets to fill with the departure of Deshaunte Jones and Tarique Milton, Xavier Hutchinson, and Charlie Kolar appear to be the top three favorites to grab them. There is some risk in this play as we don’t have any established field time to assess how the Cyclones will use their corp of receivers, though with what should be an inch advantage, this seems like the perfect price to round out a roster with.
FanDuel + DraftKings Late Slate
FanDuel loves to do this thing that makes writing CFB content kind of difficult – they take the DraftKings Main slate and the DraftKings Late slate and combine them together and they call it their Main slate. So to avoid multiple articles I am just going to add some additional thought on the DraftKings Late slate here, which in the end will cover the entire FanDuel Main slate. I will post a Cheat Sheet for both the DraftKings Late Slate and the FanDuel Main slate, so I am not going to list my favorite plays individually.
The late slate is really where the talent shines for quarterbacks as we get Sam Ehlinger, Trevor Lawrence, Spencer Rattler, and Micale Cunningham. Texas and Sam Ehlinger carry a crazy 50.5 team total against UTEP – a team they should absolutely demolish. The key worry here is how long do they let the Texas starters give the beatdown. Ehlinger will 100% get his share of fantasy points here, but if he only plays three quarters how much will he get in general will be the question. Ehlinger is the most expensive option on each site and due to the price and potential playing time, I am not sure about pulling the trigger – he remains as a great GPP option for me rather than a core play. Trevor Lawrence and Clemson aren’t too far being in a team total sense as their projected total against Wake Forest is over 45 points. Lawrence also gets a $1,100 discount in comparison to Ehlinger. For this reason alone, Lawerence becomes a great play for DraftKings – however, FanDuel priced him at $10,200 which puts him in a very muddled quarterback tier there. Keon Howard from Tulane at $8,000 on FanDuel is a name I like for his rushing upside and matchup against South Alabama. We just saw SALA take down Southern Miss, but that was also a game played so poorly it got the SOMISS coach fired. If you are really interested in firing a risky GPP bullet, Tyrrell Pigrome, the Maryland transfer, will get his first start for Western Kentucky and though they are large underdogs against Louisville, the price of just $6,700 on Pigrome is in prime GPP territory.
The exposure from the late slate is going to mostly come from the heavy hitters in the Clemson, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisville’s. FanDuel left Oklahoma off of their Main slate, which makes sense since they are playing Missouri State. TJ Pledger is going to grab the start for the Sooners, though this is a great game out of the gate to get experience to their younger running backs in Marcus Major and Seth McGowan. I think Major has a better chance of seeing double-digits carries here, though $5,000 still may be a bit too much to spend. The best value here for me is Roschon Johnson at $5,600 on DraftKings and $7,700 on FanDuel. Texas will win this game in blowout fashion, but Johnson may get a slightly longer leash than Keontay Ingram as I can see him being hooked from the game pretty early. Pooka Williams gets a favorable matchup and price against Coastal Carolina, but that is another DraftKings only game. Kyren Williams isn’t a guy I touched on in this article, but he will be the lead back for the Irish to start out the season. A $8,500 price on FanDuel is pretty modest. Lyn-J Dixon at $4,800 on DraftKings and $6,200 on FanDuel has the makings of great value if they allow him to see over ten carries – he is firmly a GPP target only, but I mention him as he is likely the lowest I am comfortable reaching down the pricing ranks.
Jalen Tolbert is the most expensive wide receiver on FanDuel at $9,900 and while he did have a six reception, 169 yards and two touchdown performance against SOMISS, South Alabama’s 21 point team total against Tulane leaves a lot to be desired. This price is inflated solely on his one performance and isn’t really an option – in fact, it is a laughable price in my opinion. Josheph Ngata is one of my favorite wide receivers on the late slate, with a price of $6,500 on DraftKings and $8,300 on FanDuel. I believe Ngata ends up being the top target for Trevor Lawrence after the loss of Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross. Houston Baptist makes another appearance on the DraftKings slate after having two wide receivers over 45% owned last weekend with Ben Ratzlaff and Jerreth Sterns. Both actually paid off their salaries and were optimal in the end, though there is a difference between North Texas and Texas Tech. The field might chase these guys at their low prices and there is a world where it works out, but the Texas Tech defense should be better equipped to slow down their offense. On the flip-side though, Texas Tech should be able to score at will has three capable receivers in Ezukanma, Vasher, and Rigdon. Ridgon is actually the lowest priced guy here on DraftKings at $5,200 and for me holds equal upside to the other too so I have no issue paying down for him.