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.
Spencer Sanders, OKST – DK: $7,600 | FD: $9,600
Sanders didn’t have a 2019 season that was necessarily amazing by any stretch, but the truth is he didn’t need to be with star running back Chuba Hubbard by his side. Sanders still had a productive year as a dual-threat quarterback, passing for 2,065 yards and 16 touchdowns while also running for 628 yards and two more on the ground. Realistically, all we are asking for out of a dual-threat running back is the stability to do a bit with both sides and that is what we got with Sanders. Sanders never broke 300 yards passing in a single game, but also never had less than 30 yards rushing. The worry and the constant with Sanders is the massive upside of Chuba Hubbard and how many potential fantasy points do we lose to Hubbard dominating the game on the ground? Oklahoma State is projected for around six touchdowns against Tulsa and Sanders should be able to have his hand in at least three of them. When these two teams met last year, Sanders threw for 169 yards and a touchdown and ran for 59 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Is the ceiling massive for this play? Potentially not – but it is now a Sophomore quarterback with a year under his belt on a team that is sitting right outside of the top ten. This slate has 12 games on it, but over half feel like potential blowouts. Though Oklahoma State should win this game handily, I think Tulsa’s offense is good enough to keep it close which in return should keep the Cowboy starters in for the whole ride. I am not in love with the quarterback offerings this week – they all feel as they pose some potential risk and the likes of Ian Book, Desmond Ridder, Trevor Lawrence feel overpriced in their matchups/offenses. Sanders may not have been flashy in 2019, but he has the tools to be flashy if he needs to be – with Hubbard I don’t think he needs to be, but he is getting Tylan Wallace back from injury.
Keon Howard, TUL – DK: $6,100 | FD: $8,100
Typically I am going to type up three quarterbacks here but this week I just don’t have a standout player to focus on and write up. Above I mentioned I don’t like Ridder/Book/Lawrence at their prices and that is true. But moving down further I am not in love with the rest either. Charlie Brewer probably has the best shot of being a highly active arm this week and he definitely will deserve some exposure. Dillon Gabriel as well against Geogia Tech, but that isn’t anywhere near a promise. Moving lower Zac Thomas for Appalachian State has upside, but the Mountaineers ran the ball over 40 times in their first game and appear to be moving to a more run focused offense. Chase Brice looked good against Notre Dame, but we really don’t know what Duke is yet. Kenny Pickett is solid against Syracuse, but a Pittsburgh quarterback is never really one who can break open a slate. So as we walk ourselves down this list none of these guys feel like guys I am comfortable singling out and writing up just for the sake of doing it. I think everyone I listed deserves exposure, but they don’t really stand out to me. All that being said, Keon Howard is really the next guy who truly intrigues me and falls at just $6,100. Howard made his first start for Tulane after transferring from Southern Miss after the 2017 season and went 14-for-30 for 190 yards and no touchdowns. Those numbers aren’t good, but Howard still ended with 17 fantasy points as he found the end zone on the ground (along with 31 total yards). The point here is on paper this is a bad game, but he still managed to lead a comeback to win and still managed to reach a decent floor from a fantasy standpoint. What really intrigues me here is the matchup with Navy. Navy got absolutely trounced against BYU in their opener, losing 55-3 and allowing near 300 yards on the ground. Really, it was a Navy defense that couldn’t stop any part of the BYU offense. There is a world where Tulane just pounds Spears and Jones into the ground but I think Howard will factor into the running game here too. This also feels like a matchup to encourage your new quarterback to continue throwing the ball to build confidence. Tulane is just an eight-point favorite, but Navy is going to have to do way more to correct themselves than Tulane is going to have to do to become more efficient. My worry is this game is just burned upon the ground and the clock is gone before we know it. But at a low low price of $6,100 Howard is a great super-flex play, though he isn’t my preferred QB1.
Chuba Hubbard, OKST – DK: $8,500 | FD: $10,400
It’s rare that I am going to list the QB1 and the RB1 from the same team, but it feels completely inevitable for me to do so with this slate of guys. As said with Spencer Sanders, Oklahoma State should have no problem moving the ball and scoring on Tulsa, though Tulsa has the sneaky tools on offense to keep this game close enough where all the key players play the full four quarters. I really don’t have a lot to say here – Hubbard ran for 2,094 yards last season scoring 21 touchdowns and averaging 6.4 yards per carry. When these two met last year Hubbard absolutely destroyed the Tulsa defense by totaling 256 yards and three touchdowns. If you are paying up for any running back this is it. Travis Etienne likely won’t see the field for Clemson in the second half and comes in at a higher price.
David Bailey, BC – DK: $6,900 | FD: $8,700
An early-season personal note for me is if a depth chart is ever rocking an “or” between two quarterbacks on the top, just be prepared for the running game to be in full effect. Bailey was one of my favorite running backs to watch and roster (when applicable) in 2019 as he picks up the big play ability left behind from AJ Dillon. Dillon rushed for 1,685 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2019 which is an absolutely amazing stat line, but looking on the spot behind him was Bailey and his own numbers of 844 yards and seven touchdowns. The backfield is going to be Bailey’s this year and after averaging 5.7 yards per carry in 2019, I think there is a world where we can really expect more of the same. The offensive line is the golden goose here as it will return four starters and two highly touted recruits. The BC offensive line has always been the strength here – hence some massive rushing numbers. Boston College is a slight underdog here, but with the line advantage and a passing game that I don’t trust at all no matter who starts, Bailey is worth paying up a little bit for.
Daetrich Harrington, APPST – DK: $5,100 | FD: $8,300
The Mountaineers have a three-headed rushing attack right now which makes playing any guy from this game a little worrisome, however, I think Harrington right now is in the best spot for a few reasons. Reason one, he still holds the top spot on the depth chart – this saw Harrington get 15 carries for 60 yards and two touchdowns against Charlotte. Reason two, both Marcus Williams Jr. and Camerun Peoples were non-contact participants in early week practices per an App State beat reporter. Now, this doesn’t hold a ton of weight for me as a lot can change between whenever this is published and the start of the game, but it is 100% a situation that needs to be eagle-eyed. It appears that App State’s offense is going to be a running offense this year and with a 61 point game total and tight spread, the running game should be the constant we can look forward too in the offense and for DFS. The simple truth for me here is this: If one of Williams or Peoples is ruled out, then Harrington is near lock and load for me. If they all play, Harrington is still in play but this would strictly be a GPP play instead. The value RB’s don’t exist much on this slate and though there are maybe three or four other potential rosterable options in this range, I think Harrington fits with the best scheme at the lowest price. Greg McCrae is a direct pivot for me at $4,900 – though I wish I knew just a little bit more about his role behind Otis Anderson this year.
Dazz Newsome, UNC – DK: $6,700 | FD: $8,500 & Dyami Brown, UNC – DK: $7,100 | FD: $9,500 These two didn’t do us a lot of justice last Saturday against Syracuse and one of them probably sunk a lot of lineups, so you may be asking why they are back. But here, I am a firm believer that a one week sample isn’t enough to hang our hat on, and really we are putting ourselves at a disadvantage using bias here. Newsome and Brown combined for 2,052 yards of the 3,641 that Sam Howell threw for in 2019. Howell didn’t have the best of games against Syracuse, with just a QBR of 56 and only one touchdown. But this isn’t a trend that we should expect as the Tar Heels still sit as the #12 team in the country. Dazz Newsome only was targeted three times, but after averaging 8.5 per game in 2019 I do not think we need to read into this week one performance too much. Newsome also sees a massive price drop down to $6,700. The matchup for both of these guys against Charlotte shouldn’t divvy up any issues and they should be able to move the ball at free-will. This is right on the fringe of “do we play guys in a blowout” with UNC favored by 29, but I also think they will want to use it as a game for Howell to regain some confidence he may have lost against Syracuse. I think Brown is safer as he saw 11 targets in week one, but I still think Newsome has the higher ceiling and holds the discounted DK price.
This game has been PPD due to COVID-19 concerns. The top tier of WR here is a bit too expensive for my tastes. Clemson will score, but I am not paying over $7,000 for one half of football out of either Ngata or Rodgers. Alec Pierce at $7,900 is laughable which leads us to another Oklahoma State player in Tylan Wallace as the best play at this upper pricing. I honestly think wide receiver is the position we should save money on this week, though guys like Tyquan Thornton and Marquez Stevenson are intriguing GPP targets for me this week.
The Mid-tier of pricing: Taj Harris, Dillon Stoner, Marlon Williams
I am typically not a fan of writing content without a definitive answer, but the mid-tier of pricing on DK has me pinned in a corner a bit with a decision that I just can’t explicitly make. Taj Harris ($5,900), Dillon Stoner ($5,800), and Marlon Williams ($5,700) all fall into a pricing range on DraftKings within hundreds of dollars of each other and each offers us an equal ceiling but in a few different circumstances. Starting with Harris we get a guy who just had 15 (!) targets in his week one game against UNC. Sounds great right? Well, the downside is he just caught five of those 15 for 64 yards. Still, not a horrible day, but the quarterback play for Syracuse will be a constant headache, but it does appear Harris is a guy who could be a volume receiver as the season grows. Syracuse plays Pittsburgh this week in a game that sees Pitt favored by 20. This should keep the Syracuse passing attack going – but how successful it will be is hard to say.
After Harris, we have Dillon Stoner and Oklahoma State. I have touched on Oklahoma State twice now, but Stoner fits the offense with everything I said. Tylan Wallace will still be the top guy here, but Stoner has big-play potential and still averaged around six targets and 22% of the teams targets. This number isn’t that high, but in the right matchup it is one we will look to exploit. I think this is more of a GPP play than a plug and play, but Stoner did catch 52-of-77 total targets last season and brings the Cowboy offense just another consistent weapon in a deep offense. As mentioned, this is GPP only for me.
Marlon Williams is the last guy in this tier and actually might be the one I lean towards the most when it comes to a decision here. UCF is a six-point favorite and holds a team total of around five touchdowns as they travel to face Georgia Tech. Williams only averaged six targets per game last season but averaged ten per game over his last three. Williams ended 2019 with 51 catches for 717 yards and six touchdowns – averaging 14.1 yards per reception. The key here is Williams never really had any dud performances, outside of games against Pitt and Cincinnati. Not much has changed in the UCF offense, I mean, they did have some players opt-out here, but they all came from the defensive side – and as selfish as it sounds, that in return may make the offense be more efficient. The plain truth is we should expect 2019 production from Williams at a minimum, which makes a $5,700 price tag enticing. I think one of these three guys is almost certainly a massive value. Harris if you want volume, Stoner if you want a big play potential, and Williams if you want consistency. Of the group, I lean Marlon Williams for most of my exposure.
Sam Crawford Jr., TLSA – DK: $4,800 | FD: $7,200
“This game again?!” – yes, I am putting a lot of stock into the Tulsa/Oklahoma State game, but if we are going to be on the side of fantasy points from Oklahoma State, we are also going to follow game theory and run any stacks or exposure back with a player from the other side. Sam Crawford averaged eight targets per game last year and that number is skewed a bit by a three target performance midseason. Crawford had four weeks of double-digit targets and two of 13 or more. Crawford now sits atop the Tulsa depth chart and with a $4,800 price tag on DraftKings, he offers a lot of upside as a guy who caught 59 passes for 777 yards and five touchdowns last season. Last season in this matchup Crawford caught three passes for 55 yards and if that is the bare minimum that we get at this price we can’t call it a complete bust. This is probably the highest floor play under $5,000 on the slate and with a guy who averaged 13 yards per reception, we have the upside for it to be more valuable than just a floor play.
There are only three games on the FanDuel slate that aren’t on the DraftKings main. Those are: North Texas/SMU, Miami/Louisville, and Wake Forest/NC State. All three of these match-ups actually hold some players worth rostering almost from every game and every position. At quarterback, we get a great matchup of dual-threat options in D’Eriq King and Micale Cunningham. Both are in play in what should be a high scoring game that sees a game total of 64.5. Not to be outdone is a 69 game total in the SMU/North Texas game. Both of these games have a full touchdown higher game total than any of the games on the earlier set of games – making them great stacking pieces. You can see my overall FanDuel player pool below in my Cheat Sheets.