The College Football Rundown – DraftKings & FanDuel DFS – October 10, 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.
Sam Ehlinger, UT – DK: $9,200 | FD: $11,000 & Spencer Rattler, OU – DK: $8,900 | FD: $10,200
It is Red River showdown week and this year’s version of it comes with both Texas and Oklahoma sitting in disappointing spots and having a lot to work on. Last week, Texas fell to TCU, while Oklahoma fell to Iowa State, which gets us something we very very very rarely ever get and that is both teams entering this matchup both coming off of loses. This game currently has a game total of 72, though I actually expect that to climb a little bit throughout the week as neither of these teams boasts defenses that should be able to contain each other. Oklahoma has had the slightly better defense here, but Texas has had the slightly better offense as well. Ehlinger has been very hit or miss this year, having one of the worst passing games of his entire Longhorn career against TCU last week in which he only completed 47% of his passes. The takeaway here is he still managed 29.3 fantasy points. That is what makes guys like Ehlinger so special at the college level is he still finds ways to get it done. The quarterback position isn’t that great this week for DFS purposes. There is no easy dual-threat value play like Duggan last week. Most guys have been priced up, and the rest sit between $6,500-$7,500. Outside of Ehlinger and Rattler, that is where we are going to need to live this week and I think when people see the names in this writeup they are going to think I have gone crazy. But it is a unique weeks with some unique matchups and now that we have a few weeks under our belt we should have a better sense going forward. Back to this game, I prefer Ehlinger here – with Jake Smith back (we will get to him shortly) Ehlinger will have a full array of weapons at his disposal. For the Rattler side, this will be a big moment for him. His decision making has been a bit rough, highlighted with three picks in a loss against Kansas State and another against Iowa State. Of course, for a freshman quarterback these things will happen, but the thing we aren’t seeing out of Rattler is use of his legs. Through three games he has 21 carries for just 16 yards. Until we get a correction on him using his legs more, Rattler isn’t going to be a guy I am going to pay up for. For this specific matchup, he falls as a great GPP play. Playing these two together is viable, but I lean Ehlinger.
Kellen Mond, TA&M – DK: $7,200 | FD: $8,300
I mentioned it briefly on my cheat sheet last week that Mond was a sneaky pick against Alabama due to him usually playing up to his competition. We did indeed see this again as Mond had a respectable game against Bama, passing for 318 yards and three touchdowns. The Aggies still got beat by 28 points, but nevertheless, it shook out to 28 fantasy points. The Aggie pass catchers are my main concern here, but they do seem to at least have a deep core of options. I mentioned it above, but the quarterback options aren’t great this week, especially more so with Bowman and Thompson being questionable for their given teams. I don’t think Mond carries a ton of ownership and that is the key here really. Florida has been able to move the ball with ease on the year and Trask should continue to put up high volume numbers. For me, the key here is Florida jumping out to a lead. When Texas A&M plays close games, the running game stays a bit too involved for me. If Florida jumps out to a lead and forces Mond to make plays, then I think the “tougher” matchup is actually better for his fantasy production. Florida’s pass defense hasn’t been anything special to start the year, in fact, they are allowing 327 yards per game and 29.5 points. There isn’t really a stacking option I am comfortable with here, though Jalen Wydermyer appeared to be Mond’s favorite target last week and is only $4,200. I think people shy away from this play, but I am going to stand firm and say Mond is actually the best GPP play on the board this week.
Brennan Armstrong, UV – DK: $6,800 | FD: $9,000
I really hope this is a play that goes under the radar as well as Armstrong may be my favorite overall quarterback play on the board for price this week. This statement might have you saying “what?” but Armstrong has turned in two strong performances in two pretty tough matchups. Against Duke, Armstrong threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns while adding 47 yards on the ground on 10 carries. Last week against Clemson, Armstrong passed for 270 yards and three touchdowns, while adding 89 yards on 22 carries on the ground. Now, to the bad quick, Armstrong has thrown four interceptions through two games and his completion percentage just sits at 54%. But all things considered, averaging 28.6 fantasy points through two games against Duke and Clemson is pretty damn good. With over 40 passing attempts in both games and the ability to run the ball, I am excited to see what Armstrong can do in a more positive matchup this week against NC State. The Wolfpack are giving up an average of 39 points per game and over 460 yards. Top target Billy Kemp got a massive price increase from $4,000 to $6,000 this week, but when you catch 10 passes against Clemson that will likely happen. Billy Kemp is the Joe Reed of last year and though a bit expensive, is a great stacking target for Armstrong this week.
Breece Hall, ISU – DK: $8,600 | FD: $9,700
For a high target option, Hall is the easy pick for me this week if you have the money to spend up on him. Hall has turned into the top option in this Iowa State offense as Hall has six touchdowns through three games and 66 carries on the year. Hall was instrumental in the wins over TCU and Oklahoma, rushing for 154 yards and three touchdowns against TCU and 139 (on 28 carries) and two touchdowns against Oklahoma. The one knock here is Hall hasn’t been used a ton in the passing game, hauling in just five catches on the year. But that isn’t to be said that he can’t or won’t be used. When a running back is carrying the ball an average of 22 times per game, it isn’t that necessary to also hammer him with targets. Next up for Hall and Iowa State is a Texas Tech defense that is allowing 42.3 points per game and 493 yards. For fairness, the Texas Tech run defense has been better than their pass defense, but Brock Purdy hasn’t looked that interested or comfortable throwing the ball so far this season. It is possible the gameplan shifts to Purdy’s hands this weekend, but I am a firm believer in not fixing something that isn’t broken. This offense is Breece Hall’s right now and though the price is high here he has multiple touchdown upside and at least a one-touchdown floor.
Kevin Harris, SC – DK: $6,700 | FD: N/A
The mid-tier of options this week could go a lot of different ways. I think Javonte Williams from UNC is still a great play this week, and Lopini Katoa is in a great bounce-back spot. But in the end, I think Kevin Harris is a bit safer than each and gets a prime matchup against Vanderbilt. Harris last week against Florida (in a losing effort) took 22 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown while adding four receptions for 27 yards and a receiving touchdown as well. There was a bit of worry entering the year that Deshawn Fenwick would either get equal touches or be the primary back, but Harris seems to have added more separation in that battle. The worry in this play will lie in Fenwick and his workload or if he gets a “hot hand” during a series. This game also has a game total of just 41.5 – looking at that it will scare plenty of people away as that is extremely low for college football. But putting it in a bubble, South Carolina still carries a 28 point total themselves, so really the total is just very anti-Vanderbilt – and for good reason. Vanderbilt has scored just 19 points through two games while allowing 29. Now the allowing 29 is a bit of a weird stat, as they actually held Texas A&M to 17 points in their first game of the year. That game felt more like the Aggies adjusting to new offensive personnel than it was Vandy’s defense being good. As I have said a few times now, this is a bit of a weird slate, and I am trying to think a bit more outside the box. Harris likely goes under-owned this week with no real strong variable for it to happen.
Trelon Smith, ARK – DK: $4,400 | FD: $6,100
Every week I write this article I always try to do the positions in pricing tiers. Some weeks it is harder than others to find a cheap running back and this week is no exception. Rakeem Boyd exited last week’s game against Mississippi State for Arkansas and his status for this weekend is very unknown at this point. Trelon Smith didn’t do a whole ton as his replacement, averaging just 3.4 yards per carry (14-for-48), but he did catch five passes out of the backfield for 22 yards. The prior week, against Georgia, Smith averaged 6.3 yards per carry (6-for-38) and caught three passes for 13 yards. So with or without Boyd, Smith is still seeing work in this Arkansas offense. The big factor here is if Boyd misses or not. If Boyd plays, I wouldn’t put much stock into this outside maybe a 5% owned GPP dart. However, if Boyd misses, I think Smith has the potential to be the best point per dollar running back play on the slate even against Auburn. The Auburn rush defense hasn’t been that great to start the year, allowing 173.5 yards through two games and those two games were Georgia and Kentucky. Getting the five or six targets in the passing game remains important here, but right now without knowing Rakeem Boyd’s status he is the best value running back on the slate.
Kyle Pitts, UF – DK: $7,200 | FD: $9,400
I wanted so badly to stay away from the Florida offense as much as possible but as someone who had faded them the last two weeks they have made me look silly. Pitts only caught four passes last week against South Carolina, but two of them were for touchdowns (and easy ones). Florida leaned on the running game a little bit more last week, but when they are forced to be in a shootout we saw the incredible impact Pitts can make when he caught eight passes for 170 yards and four touchdowns against Ole Miss. The 52 (!) point fantasy performance Pitts saw in week one made his price jump from $5,400 to $7,300 – but after just a 21.7 point performance last week his price actually rolled back a bit to $7,200. In my opinion, it is just too low still as Pitts and his 6-6 frame is a massive mismatch for anyone in the secondary of Texas A&M. That being said, Texas A&M does have one of the larger secondaries in the SEC, with them all standing at 6-1 or taller, but none over 6-3. Pitts may be the top pass catcher right now in all of college football and if DraftKings is going to give us a price drop, even if just $100, then they aren’t doing enough to persuade me to spend in other places. Maybe I am jumping on the Pitts train a week too late, but it is hard for me to imagine him not paying off this salary.
Jake Smith, UT – DK: $5,200 | FD: $7,100
I view this as a massive pricing error on the part of DraftKings and FanDuel and I think this ends up being pretty chalky. Smith returned last week after missing the team’s first two games and was instantly Sam Ehlinger’s favorite target, being targeted nine times and catching six passes for 49 yards and a touchdown. Sure, that stat line isn’t massive, but the game against TCU was sloppy, overrun by officiating, and a bad judger overall. Josh Moore didn’t record a catch against TCU, which may be due to a leg injury, though he still saw snaps in the offense. Jake Smith is just $5,200 and was targeted nine times in his first game back and now gets a matchup with Oklahoma in a game with a total of 72. I don’t need to over-analyze this one really. I don’t trust Joshua Moore much this weekend, though if you believe his non-involvement was more due to injury, then he could be a great tournament play – but the $7,500 price tag (more than Kyle Pitts, lol) is more than enough to keep me away from it. Smith has double-digit target upside and multiple-score upside this weekend at a price that is at worst $1,000 too low.
Anthony Schwartz, AUB – DK: $4,100 | FD: $6,400
Seth Williams and Eli Stove both exited last Saturday’s game with an injury and though Gus Malzahn sounded hopeful on the status of Williams, there haven’t been many updates on Stove yet. If both of these guys were to miss, then Schwartz is an easy lock for me, but if Stove misses, Schwartz still is a very interesting option at a dirt-cheap price. Anthony Schwartz was targeted 15 times last week against Georgia and though he only caught eight of those, it is still an encouraging number for us. The good news is regardless of the injury status, the matchup for us improves against Arkansas. Seth Williams has 22 targets through two games and still saw 10 before exiting last week. I could easily make the argument that Schwartz was already the second-best option in the passing game, which makes us wonder why Eli Stove is priced above him to begin with. Add this to the list of a few questionable pricing decisions this week by DraftKings and the value starts shaking out pretty nicely for us. Keep an eye on Seth Williams’ status as he is the one that really matters here – but having Stove off the field would be helpful as well.