The College Football Rundown – DraftKings & FanDuel DFS – October 31, 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.
Note: Due to FanDuel’s late release of their CFB Main Slates, this article will primarily focus on DraftKings.
Micale Cunningham, UL – DK: $8,000 | FD: $9,000
There are six starting quarterbacks on DraftKings priced above Cunningham, but in the end I think saving a bit of money here while keeping a similar ceiling is the optimal path this week. I do like Hooker, Corral, and Ridder to an extent, but if we are approaching this from a top point per dollar play, I keep landing on Cunningham. The VT/LOU game holds the highest game total on this slate at 68 and Cunningham is off one of his best performances of the year where he passed for two touchdowns and also ran for two against Georgia Tech and then last week passing for 278 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Florida State. Cunningham didn’t have to do much with his legs last week with Javian Hawkins averaging 10.9 yards per rush. Neither of these teams has a great defense and both have been absolutely exposed at some point – Louisville allowing 46 points to Georgia Tech and then Virginia Tech losing last week to Wake Forest. If I had to put a mark on a game that has shootout potential, this is it. Each team features strong running backs and dual-threat quarterbacks. We have to worry about an always running clock here, but I don’t think that is an issue in the end. I love the potential here, and Cunningham has always proved to have a high floor in positive matchups.
Brock Purdy, ISU – DK: $7,200 | FD: N/A
Purdy was a quarterback I frequently rostered a year ago, when his dual-threat ability was on full display and he had a much more competent passing game. However, this year has been much more reserved for the NFL prospect, as the offense has shifted to being a run-first attack behind Breece Hall. That isn’t saying Purdy hasn’t had some decent games, in fact, he is averaging a hair over 22 fantasy points per game over his last three games (18-26 range). We have also seen 19 total rushing attempts from Purdy the last two games which is an encouraging sign for fantasy sake. On a normal week, Purdy wouldn’t hit the radars, but I am giving a one-week exception to this week solely for Iowa State’s matchup against Kansas. When it comes to individual team totals, only Clemson at 46 tops Iowa State who is projected for 40 points. Though this feels like a game Breece Hall could absolutely dominate, his price tag pushes me to the passing game a little bit more. The key for Purdy here is it is a game he could dominate if the game plan allows it, but it is also a game he could conservatively play and cruise to an easy win and see him pulled in the fourth quarter. At the price, I am willing to risk the former here.
Edit: With Trevor Lawrence out now, five-star recruit DJ Uiagalelei will start for Clemson. At just $6,800, this is a pivot off of Purdy to save a little money and keep dual-threat upside.
Spencer Sanders, OKST – DK: $6,600 | FD: $9,100
I don’t like putting a stamp on a player as my “favorite” play of the week, as there are always variables that can tank any play, but right now at price, Spencer Sanders is hands down my favorite quarterback play of the week. Sanders returned last week after missing five weeks due to injury and looked strong against a tough Iowa State defense. Sanders completed 70% of his passes for 235 yards and a touchdown and added 71 yards on 15 rushes and a touchdown. The rushing attempts and yardage are a key for me, as Sanders did not show any signs of lingering injury or fear to tuck it and run. This week Oklahoma State gets Texas – who is allowing near 400 yards and over 30 points per game. The Cowboys get a home advantage here and Sanders should remain involved for the whole game. You can see the pricing difference here between DraftKings and FanDuel, Sanders is actually $100 more than Cunningham, and $1,400 cheaper on DraftKings.
Travis Etienne, CLEM – DK: $8,700 | FD: $10,000
Though I had this article ready to go, the news of Trevor Lawrence being out due to COVID makes Etienne the top play on the board this week. Clemson should lean on their experienced back as much as possible to take the pressure off the less experienced quarterbacks. This is a short update as I do not feel a long one is necessary, we know what Etienne can do on the field, and Clemson will need him to step up against a Boston College defense that has limited points, but not necessarily yards this year. They also have not faced an offense like Clemson’s, Trevor Lawrence or not.
Khalil Herbert, VT – DK: $7,900 | FD: $9,600
There are plays above Herbert on DraftKings that I like as well here, like Hall and Etienne, but Herbert offers us something that I love to target in DFS and that is a large price correction in what may be an over-reactionary spot. Herbert was priced at $8,800 last week against Wake Forest and though he didn’t have the best day, a $900 price “correction” on him may be a bit steep. Herbert still averaged 4.6 yards per carry and caught two passes for 39 yards, but Virginia Tech played from behind and the game came in way under projection as Wake Forest managed the clock well and turned over Hendon Hooker a few times. Herbert is arguably in a better spot this week against Louisville than he was last week, as Louisville is allowing 35 points per game and nearly 400 total yards of offense a game – including 160 yards rushing per game. If you played Herbert at $8,800, then we have almost no real reason to not play him at $7,900.
Jerrion Ealy, OLE – DK: $6,600 | FD: N/A
Simply put, Jerrion Ealy has been a rock-steady option for an Ole Miss offense that has been able to score in bunches this year. Ealy’s worst fantasy output on the year was 11.90 points against Kentucky four games ago, since then he has seen an output of 29.8, 23.2, and 16.6, and that was against Alabama, Arkansas, and Auburn. This week presents the Ole Miss offense its best matchup in weeks as they travel to face Vanderbilt and their bottom-feeding defense and honestly the worst team by miles in the SEC – though they have only played three games and have only scored 26 points on the year. Ole Miss has a team total of 40 here and my only concern is that Vanderbilt isn’t able to keep this game remotely close. However, Ole Miss’ defense has been just as porous, so this game has a sneaky potential for a shootout and Vanderbilt has some sneaky DFS value if you can land on the right guy. There is also an argument that could be made for Snoop Conner at $4,300 if you think this game gets out of hand quickly.
Velton Gardner, KU – DK: $4,800 | FD: N/A
This was a play we went after last week at $4,400 but I do not have any issue with going back to it this week even at the $400 price increase. Gardner is now the lead back for the Jayhawks after Pooka Williams opted out and though the Kansas offense hasn’t been strong, it is an offense that is playing for the future right now. Kansas named Freshman quarterback Jalon Daniels the starter who turns 18 today – meaning he was 17 in his first career start. Kansas is going to put their best offense forward, despite the outcome or score of the game. Gardner had a respectable game against Kansas State last week, rushing 16 times for 72 yards and catching three passes for 10 yards. This week against Iowa State presents a very similar matchup, but as mentioned, Gardner should still see 14-20 carries in this one and despite not having a high team total, this is a young offense that is growing. We are still getting a speedster starter at a very cheap price. This is more of a tournament play, but all-in-all, the home game and declared starter may present a little more stability for this Jayhawks team.
Jamauri Wakefield, VAND – DK: $4,200 & Keyon Henry-Brooks – $3,900
A bonus write-up this week for everyone is Jamauri Wakefield from Vanderbilt. I spoke above at how poor the Vanderbilt offense has been, scoring just a combined 26 points through four games. However, a matchup with Ole Miss is the best you can ask for as a struggling offense as Ole Miss is allowing around 600 total yards per game and 46 points per game. Vegas has Vanderbilt projected for 24 team points, which is almost all of their first three games combined. Ja’Veon Marlow is still banged up for the Commodores, and if he missed then this should be Wakefield or Henry-Brooks backfield in a positive matchup. There is bust potential here, but with Marlow currently not on the depth chart and a $4,200 price tag on Wakefield here, it may be worth a dart or two. Keyon Henry Brooks also will factor into this backfield and is $300 cheaper – for me it is a toss-up which sees the dominating share here but there isn’t standout running back value on this slate and we are going to have to create our own. Henry-Brooks for fairness is listed a top the depth chart for the Commodores.
Tylan Wallace, OKST – DK: $7,100 | FD: $8,700
With the return of Spender Sanders, this should also mark the “return” of Tylan Wallace. Wallace had a slow start to the season before a big breakout game against Kansas. Wallace saw 10 targets last week against Iowa State, though only caught five for 76 yards. We can approach this play knowing he has a floor of around 12 fantasy points but with Sanders, the ceiling is elevated so high after a 2019 with 53 receptions and 903 yards with eight touchdowns which was cut short after just eight games. Last season, Wallace had over 115 yards in 50% of his starts. The Texas passing defense has been variable on the year, but I give Oklahoma State an uptick here with home-field advantage. Wallace was routinely a $8,000 or higher play and getting him at $7,100 feels like the steal of the century. I am not saying this is a lock of a play, but I am saying that it is one of the highest ceiling plays and the highest ceiling based on point per dollar.
Seth Williams, AUB – DK: $6,000 | FD: $8,800
I called Seth Williams a broken price at $4,900 last week and this proved to be true after Williams caught 8-of-10 targets for 134 yards and a touchdown, leading to the best overall wide receiver value on the main slate. The price is raised here by $1,100, but at just $6,00 he is still cheaper than his price the first three weeks of the season. Through five games, Williams has 51 total targets, which is an average of 10.2 a game and holds a 30% target share on this Auburn offense. Auburn holds a 31 point team total in what is setting up as a shootout with an LSU defense that was been poor, but corrected a bit last week against South Carolina. This still shakes out as a positive matchup and Williams is still underpriced. If you want to save a bit more, Anthony Schwartz is just $4,900 and actually holds a higher target share than Williams does. Schwartz is averaging 11 targets per game and holds a 33% target share. The fantasy output on Schwartz is just suppressed a bit as he has not found the end zone and is typically targeted on shorter swing routes. Until DraftKings prices these guys up properly you can expect to see them in these writeups.
Tahj Washington, MEM – DK: $4,500 | FD: $7,500
In the two games after star receiver Damonte Coxie has opted out, Tahj Washington has stepped up in a big way for the Memphis Tigers as he has 19 targets over his last two games and a total of 12 receptions for 208 yards and two touchdowns. I feel like a broken record, but this is another play that for some reason hasn’t seen a proper price correction, as an average of 25 fantasy points over a two-game sample should elevate a price past this level but it has not. This is definitely the toughest on paper matchup in this write-up, as Memphis takes on a strong Cincinnati defense, though Memphis still holds a team total of 25 points. We have seen this matchup a lot over the past year, as these teams met up twice last year with Memphis winning both games and scoring 34 and 29 points. The matchup might cap Washington’s total upside here, but he is still going to be a top option in the passing game and if the Cinci defense over commits to Austin or Dykes, Washington has the speed to punish.