The College Football Rundown – DraftKings & Fanduel CFB DFS – September 18, 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.
C.J. Stroud, OHST – DK: $10,000 | FD: $11,000
There is a fair world where we can fade this extremely high price, but Stroud does carry the highest overall ceiling on the slate so it would be hard to not touch on him. In the loss to Oregon last week, Stroud attempted 54 passes, completing 35 for 484 yards and three touchdowns. While a lot of Ohio State fans wanted to focus on a few mistakes and poor throws by Stroud, he is not the reason the Buckeyes lost as their rush defense once again proved it is the weak point of the Buckeyes. Stroud did make mistakes last week, but it was his second career start and he still managed to throw for near 500 yards. Maybe the Ohio State faithful have just been extremely spoiled over the last few years to talk about wanting Stroud benched already, but that talk is absolutely insane to me. Ohio State carries a 42.50 team total into this matchup with Tulsa. With Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson (and maybe a defense that allows one two many points), Stroud’s arm is always going to be in play. I concede that this price is a tad high, but there are spots to save on this slate and when compared to the other top options, I still prefer him. With the early season loss, I don’t see Ohio State letting their foot off the gas much the rest of the season as they try to play themselves back into the playoff picture.
Kedon Slovis, USC – DK: $7,200 | FD: N/A
Through two weeks Slovis’ average fantasy points per game sit at just 17.7, but we are getting a ton of passing volume out of him as he is averaging 39 passing attempts through two weeks. Slovis’ passer rating has been 144.7 and 112 and he is completing 65% of his passes, the lack of touchdowns and yards are just holding him back from having a breakout performance. But, we also need to talk about last week where USC was embarrassed by Stanford which led instantly to the firing of Head Coach Clay Helton. This may be a difficult transition as Helton was well-liked inside the program. Top wide receiver Drake London carries a questionable tag right now, but I really do not think he is in any danger of missing. London and Tahj Washington make up a strong 1-2 punch for this team and we just have not seen the best from this offense yet. The matchup this week is against Washington State, who has allowed 270 yards passing and 430 yards of total offense through two weeks – to Utah State and Portland State. The Washington State defense is a weak one, and Slovis is set up to have a field day if everything goes well. We have to remember, this is a guy who threw for 3,502 yards and 30 touchdowns on a 71% completion percentage just two years ago in his last full season. While the offensive talent is a little less than 2019, Slovis is still a high upside option who is price adjusted down too low for his first two-week performances.
McKenzie Milton, FSU – DK: $6,100 | FD: $6,500
I will put another risk warning on this one, but it is certainly an intriguing play at its price, especially on FanDuel. Florida State was upset last week by Jacksonville State and the offense was pretty stagnant – that of course doesn’t spark a ton of confidence here, but there is still upside here. Milton went 18-for-31, for 133 yards and a touchdown and ran three times for 16 yards. With the leg injury, I think Milton’s days of running are mostly over, though as a football player we could still see him taking off if opportunity presents itself. The big key here is Milton is now atop the Florida State depth chart with no “or” attached, implying Jordan Travis shouldn’t be in the picture – this at least gives us some security, for at least the start of the game. Up this week for Florida State is Wake Forest, who are five-point favorites in a 61.5 game total. This still paints Florida State for 28.25 points and while the running game has the edge here, Milton has another week of game action under his belt. In the end, this is a pricing play for me as it does free up a lot of salary while still retaining a ceiling.
Christian Beal-Smith, WAKE – DK: $5,900 | FD: $8,300
We have not seen a huge amount of volume out of Beal-Smith to start the season, but Wake Forest also has outscored their opponents by a total of 83-26 through two weeks. Despite not seeing full burn, Beal-Smith still has 20 carries for 134 yards and two touchdowns on the season. With a 6.7 yard per carry mark under his belt, it feels Beal-Smith still has a large gap over Michigan transfer Christian Turner who has 17 carries for 64 yards and two touchdowns on the year. While Turner will certainly steal some carries, Beal-Smith is still the guy Wake will look towards in a tighter matchup. Wake enters Saturday as a five-point favorite over Florida State and carries a team total close to five touchdowns. While there are some backs above this price-point that I also like (they will be listed in the cheat sheet), I just believe Beal-Smith is slightly too cheap here to not include in this article. Florida State’s rush defense is slightly above average as they managed to keep Notre Dame in check in week one and Jacksonville State averaged around 4 yards per carry from their running backs. But I still believe that sample is a little too small to really paint Florida State’s defense as “strong”.
Cam’Ron Harris, MIA – DK: $5,400 | FD: $7,200
My favorite plays this week at running back fall more into the mid-range and Cam’Ron Harris lands in a good spot this week against Michigan State due to some injuries. Miami backup, Donald Chaney Jr. tore his ACL on Saturday and is now out for the season. Chaney saw seven carries against Alabama and four against App State before the injury occurred. Jaylan Knighton, another running back who was supposed to play a big role for this offense was suspended four games to start the season due to violation of team rules. So besides any quarterback on the Miami roster, there has not been another player to take a carry this year besides Cam’Ron Harris and with the injury to Chaney, Harris is the only running back currently on the Miami roster who has attempted a rush this year. So for me, this paints Harris in a workhorse role going forward and we saw it a bit against App State, when he took 18 carries for 91 yards and a touchdown. Harris had a strong 2020, averaging 5.1 yards per carry and 643 yards and 10 touchdowns overall but there were times when he seemed to take a backseat in the backfield to Knighton of Chaney. With both of them out of the picture now, we get a high volume back on paper at a very cheap DraftKings price. The Michigan State defense has been average so far this year and teetering more on the poor side as they have allowed 352 yards per game. D’Eriq King has looked a little shaky to start the year, so backing the running game feels pretty safe here.
King Doerue, PUR – DK: $4,600 | FD: $5,900
As comes with any low salary option there is always going to be a little bit of a downside, but King Doerue carries a very cost-effective salary on both sites for us this weekend. While Doerue opened the season second on the Purdue depth chart, the injury to Zander Horvath that will keep him out for around 4-6 weeks has propelled Doerue into the starting role here. Purdue is still going to be a pass-first offense, but Doerue did average 6.2 yards per carry last week in relief, totaling 74 yards on 12 carries. We didn’t see Doerue in a ton of action last season, but in 2019 he was a big factor in both the running and the passing game, finishing the year with 20 receptions. On paper, the matchup with Notre Dame doesn’t look great, but the Irish have allowed 198 yards rushing per game, so it has been the weak spot early on in the year. Notre Dame has also played close games now against Florida State and Toledo, so discounting Purdue seems like a poor idea as well here. I am not sure I see Doerue as a true workhorse here, but I do see him getting the necessary quantity. The price here on FanDuel frees up salary to really roster whatever we choose, while you will not find a starting running back at this price on DraftKings. While I do still like Doerue at price, I prefer the Purdue passing game a bit more and their top receiver in…
David Bell, PUR – DK: $7,700 | FD: $9,400
Through two games, David Bell has 14 receptions for 255 yards and three touchdowns on 19 targets. Last week, Bell saw just seven targets but caught six for 121 yards in a 49-0 blowout of UConn. We can factor the lower target amount into the score as Bell didn’t play late in this game. In 2020, Bell averaged 13 targets per game, and that was with Rondale Moore averaging 14.7 a game along with him, Moore, of course, is now in the NFL. With a current 30% team share of team targets in a pass-first offense I think Bell is in one of the higher upside spots on this slate even in a tougher matchup with Notre Dame. While I did write up King Doerue above, Bell is likely the best overall play from this Purdue team. Bell has an NFL future and is a strong contender to end the 2021 season as the highest fantasy scoring wide receiver in college football. If we believe in game script, Purdue should be forced to keep the ball in the air and if the script leans Notre Dame, then we should really get the ball in the air. But as mentioned, Notre Dame barely escaped Florida State in overtime and then a comeback to beat Toledo. So Notre Dame is not a lock for anything and has faced Jordan Travis/Mackenzie Milton and Carter Bradley in their first two weeks which are not pass-first quarterbacks. Jack Plummer presents the first real air attack that Notre Dame will see this year and while $7,700 is a lot, it actually is probably still a bit too low for the target share that should be expected over a longer stretch this season.
Garrett Wilson – DK: $6,400 | FD: $8,800
Daily Fantasy Sports sites – what are you doing? After making Wilson just $5,900 last week and chalk, both sites thought to themselves “Lol, I guess we will just do it again”. Wilson at just $6,400 seems broken and once again he will make this article. Wilson hauled in eight passes against Oregon for 117 yards and a touchdown. Through two games, Wilson now has 25 targets, which ranks him fifth in all of College Football. Teammate Chris Olave has 23, and did out-target Wilson 17-to-15 last week, but really when we are reaching levels that high who is counting anymore. The funny thing is, Chris Olave is correctly price-adjusted this week to $8,100, up from his $7,200 mark in week two. We get a top-five targeted wideout in college football at a price that doesn’t meet his production and now for a team who has an early-season loss when they are not used to it. As mentioned in the Stroud write-up, I don’t see Ohio State phoning their offense in at all even if they are leading large.
Tahj Washington, USC – DK: $5,000 | FD: N/A
Washington is a Memphis transfer who is now the number two options in the USC offense. In 2020, Washington was a big-play threat for the Tigers who averaged 17.3 yards per reception and 43 catches for 743 yards on the year. So far in 2021, Washington has been targeted 15 times and has turned that into ten catches for 103 yards and a touchdown. In a similar vein to what I said about Kedon Slovis, this offense just hasn’t got it fully going yet and a matchup with a poor Washington State defense should be just the thing to correct it. While I do love Drake London as the top option in this offense, his price tag pushes him a little out of reach for us. Washington carries a big play upside while London carries the safer PPR floor. With this just being a $5,000 price tag there isn’t really a player on this slate who could absolutely blow it up as Washington could.
Mario Williams, OKLA – DK: $4,100 | FD: $5,600
The pricing on Mario Williams is one of the greatest mysteries to the 2021 DFS football season. Williams, a highly touted speedster freshman entered week one of the season minimum priced on DraftKings and ended up catching six passes on eight targets, for 37 yards and a touchdown. In week two, DraftKings though, hey, let’s just do that again, and priced him once against at minimum price and he caught four passes on four targets for 49 yards and a touchdown in a 76-0 blowout that did not see him on the field for the second half. In both site’s defense, Williams is no longer the minimum price – in their criticism, neither site is factoring the injury to Theo Wease into pricing whatsoever. With Wease on the shelf for at least 3-4 more weeks, Williams is going to see a healthy role in this passing game that really doesn’t have a dominant target share yet. Mims has seen 14 targets, Haselwood 10, Woods 8, and Williams 12. A matchup with Nebraska should keep the first-string offense a bit more involved, but Williams is still far too cheap (a theme in this article) and draws a great matchup.