The College Football Rundown – DraftKings & FanDuel DFS – September 26, 2020
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 Rattler, OKST – DK: $8,200 | FD: $10,100
Rattler falls in line as the next big named quarterback to take over for Oklahoma. We can start looking back on the past four years and see the fantasy production we have gotten out of this position, but if comparing Rattler to Mayfield, Murray, or Hurts, he compares closer to Baker Mayfield than the other two. Now, that is a loose comparison, but it is just comparing a small sample size. Rattler does have the dual-threat ability, but unlike Murray or Hurts, it isn’t going to be his first move. In his first game against Missouri State, Rattler passed for 290 yards and four touchdowns on just 17 attempts and just 14 competitions. Of course, this opponent is a poor judge of talent, but it still shows how deadly the Sooners offense can be in quick bursts. Rattler didn’t run much in this game, but more importantly because he didn’t have to. Oklahoma carries a 44 point team total this week against Kansas State in what should actually be a bit of a test for the Sooners. I say test loosely, not in the terms that Oklahoma can/should lose here, but test as in the second game of the season against a semi-competent opponent. The Sooners are favored by four touchdowns, which feels a bit high as the running game isn’t entirely established yet, but we should absolutely know what we have with Rattler once this game is completed. I do like Ehlinger and Cunningham at this price point as pivots, but I think Rattler gives us the same ceiling for a little big lower of price.
Alan Bowman, TTU – DK: $7,000 | FD: $9,000
Maybe it’s swept under the rug a bit, but Texas Tech almost got beat by Houston Baptist two weeks ago. This can be attributed to a few things, but really the blame falls on a lot of shoulders that weren’t Alan Bowman’s. Texas Tech won that game 35-33 but Bowman completed 73% of his passes (which was 52 of them) for 430 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 21 yards on the ground on four attempts. Texas Tech might not be a very good football team with a defense that is struggling against Houston Baptist, but I am also willing to give the benefit of the doubt as Houston Baptist has a very good air raid offense. (shoutout Bailey Zappe). The simple fact here though is this – Texas Tech is hosting Texas in a game with a 70 point total. Alan Bowman will likely be playing from behind and if you don’t think he was going to throw a lot to begin with then you are in for a big surprise when he throws even more. Texas Tech will need to keep this game close which is my worry, but I don’t think it changes a bunch with the Red Raider passing game. Texas Tech has an implied total of four touchdowns and the wide receiver corp here is the strongest asset of this team. Bowman’s price on DraftKings feels $1,000 too cheap.
Jeff Sims, GT – DK: $6,300 | FD: N/A
Sims is still adjusting a bit, seeing as he is a freshman who grabbed the starting job and is heading into just his third career start, but his first two starts showed a lot of promise despite some freshman mistakes. Against Florida State, Sims completed 67% of his passes for 277 yards and added 64 yards on the ground. Last week against UCF, Sims completed only 50% of his passes for 244 yards while adding 82 yards on the ground. So really, this is simple – we have a dual-threat quarterback who is averaging 15 rushing attempts per game, who is also averaging 35 passing attempts. If Sims can limit the mistakes he has the upside to be an absolutely devasting fantasy quarterback and I do believe he will get to that point. Until he gets some more experience, there are going to be the interceptions and the fumbles. But if we were rostering Sims against Florida State and UCF, then we have to be rostering him against Syracuse. I don’t think the Syracuse defense is bad, but they are still allowing over 400 yards of total offense. Sims price is creeping up on DraftKings, but it is still too low for someone with the dual-threat upside.
Chuba Hubbard, OKST – DK: $8,700 | FD: $10,200
There is the good and the bad here with Chuba Hubbard – the good: arguably the best running back in all of college football. The bad: might not have his starting quarterback and defenses can really zone in on him. There are two sides to this play and I am not entirely sure which side will happen more yet. If Spencer Sanders plays, then Hubbard is still my favorite play, he gets some pressure off of him as the defense will have to refocus on Tylan Wallace and the passing game. This isn’t saying Sanders is a savant at throwing the football, but there is no disputing that right now he isn’t the best option to play quarterback for Oklahoma State. If Sanders misses the game, Hubbard will likely be the focus of the defensive gameplan, but Hubbard should also be the focus of the offensive gameplan. We didn’t exactly see the best version of Hubbard in their first game, as he only averaged 3.4 yards per carry, taking 27 attempts for 93 yards. I view Hubbard’s game against Tulsa as his floor – he didn’t play well and left a lot to be desired, but how much of that was the gameplan being thrown out the window with the early injury to Sanders we might not know. West Virginia’s defense is not bad, but its strength is it’s back of the field and its secondary. If Oklahoma State is forced to throw from behind in this game they may be in trouble, but if they maintain the game, Hubbard should feast. Give the coaching staff a week to re-gameplan with Hubbard and I think despite the high price tag he pays this off handsomely.
Javian Hawkins, LOU – DK: $6,700 | FD: $8,900
Being honest here, but I am not sure why Hawkins’ price was so low to start the season and why it has been slower climbing upwards. Hawkins ran for 1,525 yards last season, averaging 5.8 yards per carry with nine touchdowns. In 2020 so far he has ran for 235 yards on 46 attempts (5.1 yards per carry) and has found the end zone twice. As much talk as Malik Cunningham and Tutu Atwell get, Hawkins is just as big of a piece of this offense if not bigger at times. Now despite the build up, here is where the caution comes in. Louisville’s opponent, Pittsburgh, leads the nation in defense right now, allowing only 10 points through two games. Now, let’s be fair, as one of those games was a shutout against Austin Peay, but they also held Syracuse to under 200 yards of total offense and only allowed ten points. Realistically, I don’t think this means anything. Syracuse’s offense may be one of the worst right now in CFB at the D-1 level and Austin Peay is exactly who they sound like. This game doesn’t carry the highest total in the world, but at 55.5 we are still going to see offense. Hawkins price is just too cheap here for the volume running back he is and though there is definitely a world where the Pittsburgh defense is elite, this will be the game to tell us. I think Louisville has too much fire-power to not score here.
Shaun Shivers, AUB – DK: $4,400 | FD: $8,200
This one is pretty easy and will almost certainly be the chalk of the slate, at least on DraftKings. Shivers was named the starting Auburn running back this week, though DraftKings apparently did not see that coming, pricing him at just $4,400 while DJ Williams is at $5,800. In a perfect world, these prices would have been flipped, but DraftKings released this slate on a Monday (no complaints here really). Williams and Tank Bigsby find themselves behind Shivers and this backfield likely will be shared so this isn’t a complete lock and load play, as I could still see Williams getting a lot of goal-line work. But rarely do we get a starter at this cheap of a price on a team that is also favorited. The Kentucky defense was strong last season, finishing 21st in the country and 14th in scoring and they return 70% of their starters. Though with Auburn having a 29 point team total, I have no problem saving my money on Shivers here.
Tutu Atwell, LOU – DK: $7,500 | FD: $9,200
I was back and forth on a few higher-priced options for wide receiver but I ultimately continued landing on Atwell above Rambo and Moore. A note on the other two quick, I love Rambo on this slate for his big play ability. Rattler found him twice for touchdowns against Missouri State. Since I can’t write up every player and since Atwell is slightly higher owned for me, then Atwell got the spot. The Sooners do have a very deep wide receiver corp, even more if Obi Obialo plays this weekend. That depth in general scares me with a new quarterback. Joshua Moore is similar, he had a great debut, but if Jake Smith returns I am not sure how that impacts him. The success was also against UTEP, so it’s hard to judge. I don’t think we overpay for a one-week performance. Terrence Marshall now has a new quarterback and despite his overall talent, this offense should focus on a run-first game now. We need a week of data to have a better idea from LSU. But what we do have is two weeks of data on Tutu Atwell, which has seen him get 18 targets and a 29% target share in the Louisville offense. Of those 18 targets, Atwell has caught 15 for 192 yards and two touchdowns. Atwell has competent receivers behind him, but he is the undisputed favorite target of Malik Cunningham. As mentioned with Hawkins, this matchup could be tougher than perceived, but I am a firm believer in talent winning out and Lousiville on the offensive side of the ball has plenty of it. I think you could use the wide receiver position to save money this week and I don’t think a high priced one is a necessity this week, though Atwell will garner plenty of ownership from me in spots I can afford him.
TJ Vasher, TTU – DK: $5,700 | FD: $8,200
Vasher goes hand in hand with Alan Bowman on this slate and most of the writeup on Bowman translates here. Vasher is the big body of this offense, towering at 6’6″ which creates a nightmare matchup even for the best corners. Vasher has never really put together a full season, whether it be injury or suspensions, but that doesn’t deter the size and athleticism here either. In Texas Tech’s first game, Vasher saw 10 targets, corraling eight of them for 79 yards. Though the Red Raider offense runs kind of deep, Vasher still is getting a 20% target share in the offense. Considering Texas Tech should be playing from behind, the ball should be in the air a lot in this game. If you need to save money, Dalton Rigdon also offers us some value at $4,600. But this price is very low for who in my eyes is still the top option in the Red Raider passing game and Vasher now has his senior season to put it all together to increase his draft stock, which certainly will exist from a 6’6″ wide receiver.
Mississippi State – Austin Williams, Tyrell Shavers, Malik Heath
Well, this will certainly be interesting if nothing else but it is also going to be a massive pain in the ass for us. So here is the deal if you aren’t aware – Mike Leach is the new head coach at Mississippi State, coming from Washington State where Leach uses an air raid style offense, which essentially is a shotgun formation with four wide receivers. Long story short, these offenses are pass, pass, and then pass again. This is not something we are used to seeing out of a Mississippi State team, who has been kinda air inefficient over the past few years. KJ Costello however is the new quarterback here, transferring over from Stanford, which gives him a legitimate one season shot to make a name for himself. But aside from the man throwing the ball is going to be the guys catching the ball and DraftKings dropped that ball when it comes to their pricing. The three names you see above in bold have been named the starters, with Shavers beating out the one returning name you might know in Osiris Mitchell. Shavers himself is an Alabama transfer, while Malik Heath was the third-rated JUCO receiver available. The annoyance here is the matchup, as Miss St has to open against LSU. The matchup however might not be as bad as it seems, as LSU lost six starting defenders and two of their top three tacklers. No one from the LSU starting linebacker corps is returning this season in fact. This will still be a strong defense, but it will also be a new one, playing in their first game of the year. I do not know how to rank these three receivers, though one of the three almost certainly smashes through their ceiling. If I had to put pen to paper here, Shavers>Heath>Williams is likely the order of highest exposure to lowest for me. Shavers is $3,400, Williams $3,300, and Heath $3,000. This is a large pricing fail and it almost forces our hands to get one right this weekend. Even if it doesn’t smash through a ceiling, with a Mike Leach offense, the ball will be in the air 40-50 times.