The College Football Rundown – DraftKings & Fanduel CFB DFS – September 11, 2021
Welcome back everyone – it is a joy and honor to be back for the 2021 College Football season. 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 four games or more, though projections and optimizer access will be available for all normal and showdown slates.
Sean Clifford, PSU – DK: $8,100 | FD: N/A
Drawing the Wisconsin defense in week one is never going to lead you to produce slate-breaking results, but Clifford still managed 14.38 fantasy points against one of the nation’s better defenses. There really isn’t much we need to over-analyze or look into from week one as the week two matchup in Ball State should provide little resistance. In fact, outside of Florida, Penn State carries this slate’s highest team total at 40.50. Clifford wasn’t able to do much with his legs last week, but over the last two seasons combined he has 737 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. With weapons like Jahan Dotson and Parker Washington, Clifford won’t have any issues with finding guys against Ball State, as Ball State allowed 367 passing yards last week… To Western Illinois. The only worry here is a Noah Cain pop-off game and a massive lead that could limit the passing game. But, with a statement win already against Wisconsin, Penn State should keep the foot on the gas, and Ball State is sneaky enough to maybe keep this one close. There are eight quarterbacks priced above Clifford here, but I think the ceiling is equal for Clifford.
Spencer Sanders, OKST – DK: $7,500 | FD: $9,000
We did not see Spender Sanders in week one against Missouri State due to Covid-19 protocols, but in an interview on Thursday, it was revealed that Sanders was cleared and will return for the Cowboy’s week two matchup against Tulsa. Oklahoma State came away with just a seven-point victory over Missouri State with the running game looking like a big problem for the Cowboys. It was clear that the coaching staff wanted to give replacement quarterback Shane Illingworth a fair shot and while he threw for 315 yards, he completed just 52% of his passes against what should have been an inferior opponent. The rushing game was the biggest issue for Oklahoma State, as LD Brown averaged just two yards per carry – going 15 carries for just 30 yards. Dezmon Jackson saw just three carries, while Jaylen Warren saw six carries for just nine yards. Dezmon Jackson had some monster games at the end of last season, but with a three-person timeshare on tap, it is very hard to trust the running game – which looked to be true as Oklahoma State threw the ball 44 times against Missouri State. It goes without saying that Spencer Sanders is the far better quarterback here and he has completed around 63% of his passes over his last two years combined. Sure, the Cowboys have lost Tylan Wallace and deep-threat Dillon Stoner, but Tay Martin and Brennan Presley make up just as dangerous of a 1-2 albeit with a little less name recognition. Oklahoma State carries a 32-point team total to this home matchup and Tulsa allowed 311 yards through the air last week to UC-Davis (who also upset Tulsa). With Oklahoma State faltering a little bit against Missouri State, I look for them to use this game to build the confidence back up and for it to be the real first game for Sanders to build a connection with Brennan Presley and Tay Martin in their current roles. As a bonus, Sanders does offer us some rushing upside which may be needed if the running game doesn’t find their footing.
Brock Purdy, ISU – DK: $6,200 | FD: $8,200
If we are looking just at the score, Iowa State getting by Northern Iowa by a score of just 16-10 is absolutely frightening when we think of this Cyclones offense. But, really, Brock Purdy, despite not putting up wild numbers, had a wildly efficient game, completing 81% of his passes for 199 yards and averaging 6.4 yards per rush. While it is just a six-point victory and there was a ton to be desired, this game was never really in any danger for Iowa State. So while, Iowa and Iowa State matchup this week with the lowest total on the board at 46, we do have what should be a very competitive matchup. At worst, competitive matchups guarantee us full games out of our quarterbacks and Purdy was without arguably his best pass-catching option in Charlie Kolar last week. Kolar did dress and warm-up before being held out and is reported to be available for this game against Iowa. The last time these two teams met, Iowa came away with an 18-17 win, though Purdy still threw for 276 yards and a touchdown and added 34 yards on the ground. So, while the Iowa defense is very good, we are still getting Iowa State at a 25-point team total. Brock Purdy has started every season of his college career kind of slow before bouncing back in the next few games. With some rushing ability in what figures to be a very physical game, this could come away as a large statement game for Purdy. There is some risk here, but the price on DraftKings eliminates most of the risk as this is a high upside super-flex option with a few stacking options in Hutchinson and Kolar to go along with it.
Sean Tucker, SYR – DK: $6,800 | FD: N/A
Syracuse and Rutgers lands on this slate as one of the better on-paper matchups as these teams feel like they play a slightly similar brand of football and it shows in just a 2-point spread in favor of Rutgers here. Syracuse pulled off a 29-9 win in week one against Ohio, with Sean Tucker carrying the offensive load, taking 25 carries for 181 yards and a touchdown. No other running back on the Syracuse roster saw more than five carries, proving the freshman running back may be the top option overall for the Orange this season. Tucker broke onto the scene last year, taking 137 carries for 626 yards and four touchdowns, all while playing for a team that went 1-8. Despite that, Syracuse kept a pretty consistent grip on the running game, even letting Tucker rush 23 times for 101 yards and a touchdown against a tough Notre Dame defense. I don’t want to make the Syracuse offense sound too bad as it will contradict the play in Tucker, but with limited weapons and a quarterback in Tommy DeVito who usually is more of a game manager, Sean Tucker is a high volume rushing option in a game that Syracuse actually has a shot in winning. Rutgers allowed 113 yards rushing last week to Temple in a game that Rutgers won 61-14. I battled myself with writing up Sean Tucker or Isaiah Spiller here – I chose Tucker as he really is the Syracuse offense, while the Aggies have more mouths to feed. That being said, both are in great spots.
Jabari Small, TENN – DK: $5,800 | FD: $8,300
Tennessee is working in a new era of Volunteer football with a new quarterback in Michigan transfer Joe Milton and running backs Tiyon Evans and Jabari Small replacing Ty Chandler (transfer to UNC) and Eric Gray (transfer to OU). The Vols drew a cake matchup in week one with an anemic Bowling Green team in which Evans took 16 carries for 120 yards and a touchdown, while Small took 22 carries for 117 yards and a touchdown. When all was said and done, Evans averaged 7.5 yards a carry, while Small wasn’t far behind at 5.3. However, at a Thursday press conference, Tennessee Coach Josh Heupel made comments that strongly suggested that Tiyon Evans status for Saturday against Pittsburgh could be in question and internet reports paint it more towards the “doubtful” side. Of course, this is CFB reporting at it’s best – it is vague statements, perpetuated over-reaction, and desperate searching through Twitter reports to find concrete evidence. However, what we do know, is Tiyon Evans is injured right now – meaning Jabari Small could be in line for a massive workload against Pittsburgh this weekend. Now, just being in line for a large workload isn’t a lock, as Pittsburgh is actually favored in this game, but knowing how the Tennessee offense has functioned the last few years, including last week, the rushing attack is going to be the primary focus here. Pitt only allowed 44 yards rushing last week, but it was to a UMass team that they way outclassed. If Evans is officially out, the value on Small is undeniable – at this point based on comments, even if Evans were to play, it would be hard to see it in a workhorse role.
Update: Tiyon Evans is officially out so Jabari Small should be a workhorse back today.
Zaquandre White, SCAR – DK: $4,900 | FD: $8,400
I am putting this first that I am putting a large risk alert on this play, but I also think it does still have some merit. White started for South Carolina last week as Kevin Harris was returning from injury (and illness) last week. White filled in admirably, rushing 12 times for 128 yards and a touchdown and catching four passes for 39 yards and a touchdown. The risk here is that Kevin Harris is deemed fully healthy with no restrictions and will return as the Gamecocks starting running back this week. Harris finished last season with 1,138 yards and 15 touchdowns, though he had back surgery over the off-season. So, the question, is will Kevin Harris be fully unleashed with an un-capped workload? If you believe the reports from the coach, it seems that answer is yes. However, I still think no matter what is said, Harris is at least eased back in a little bit here. At worst, White has earned himself opportunity and the way he was used in the passing game can get us a little bit of a reception floor on DraftKings. The price here makes White unplayable on FanDuel, but with the matchup against East Carolina – a team that allowed over 225 yards last week – it seems that both pieces in the South Carolina rushing game are in play, especially with some inexperienced arms at quarterback. A direct price pivot here would be to Chris Tyree who should see plenty of work for Notre Dame this weekend as they are 17-point favorites over Toledo.
Jahan Dotson, PSU – DK: $7,000 | FD: NA / Parker Washington, PSU – DK: $4,000
I covered a lot of what there is to cover with Sean Clifford already, but anytime I use Clifford I usually am pairing him with one of the best receivers in college football in Jahan Dotson. Dotson caught 52 passes for 884 yards and eight touchdowns last year and for his career is averaging over 17.5 yards a reception. Dotson managed five receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown against a tough Wisconsin defense last week and gets an incredibly soft draw against Ball State this week. In the same breath, we can look at Parker Washington and Lambert-Smith at $4,000 and $3,900. With the 40 point team total, the Penn State offense offers a lot of value as the prices don’t quite match up with the level of production we could be looking at this weekend.
Garrett Wilson – DK: $5,900 | $8,900
I am not going to dig too deep on this one, it is just an extremely cheap price for Garrett Wilson who was priced at $7,500 against Minnesota last week. Dating back to last season, Wilson’s last four prices have all been between $7,900-$8,800 on DraftKings, so to see $5,900 is a bit wild here. Sure, CJ Stroud is the new quarterback at Ohio State and Chris Olave had the better game last week, but Wilson still hauled in five receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown. Ohio State is a 14-point favorite over Oregon this week and carries a team total of 38.75. We can compare the pricing difference between DraftKings and FanDuel here to really show how differently these two sites view Wilson. Despite Chris Olave breaking the big plays last week, Wilson saw 11 targets from Stroud, compared to Olave seeing just six.
Brennan Presley – DK: $5,600 | $6,100
As usually happens in these articles, Presley presents another great stacking option with the aforementioned Spencer Sanders. With Tylan Wallace and Dillon Stoner off to the NFL, the depth chart for the Cowboys has a lot of youth on it, but Presley is the name talked most highly through camp and through comments made by Spender Sanders himself. Presley was the Oklahoma Football Gatorade Player of the year in 2019 when he had 1,398 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns in his senior year of High School. At just 5-7, size isn’t what is going to make Presley great, but the speed puts him on a dangerous level against college defenses. Presley made a little bit of noise last season in the Cheez-It Bowl when he caught six balls for 118 yards and three touchdowns. Presley caught four balls for 68 yards last weekend, though the real excitement level comes with what he will do with better quarterback play. The price here on DraftKings makes Presley a super high upside mid-tier play, while the price on FanDuel makes him one of the best values on the entire slate.
Update: Fellow WR Tay Martin is questionable and Braydon Johnson is out. This should elevate Presley into an even larger target share than before. Bryson Green at just $3,300 becomes a great value on this slate as well.
Taysir Mack, PITT – DK: $4,400 | FD: $6,400
If you are looking for a potential home run hitting dart throw for a GPP this week then Taysir Mack from Pittsburgh checks the boxes for me this week. Mack caught three passes for 34 yards against UMass, though he did have a would-be touchdown go right through his hands, so this line could have been a little more appealing. What isn’t appealing is that 11 different receivers caught a pass last week for Pittsburgh, with seven of them having three or more receptions. Despite them sometimes going pretty deep, Mack is still a starter here for this offense that is led by one of College Football’s more experienced quarterbacks in Senior Kenny Pickett. Pitt travels to Tennessee this weekend in a game that sees them favored by a field goal and carries a 29.75 team total. Given how this should be a closer game, we should see a tighter group of talent on the field, as Pitt was able to get a lot of different people in their game last week due to a blowout win. This can be a frustrating offense to target, but Mack has big-play potential and saw six targets last week in a blowout.