The College Football Rundown – DraftKings & Fanduel CFB DFS – September 25, 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.
Malik Cunningham, LOU – DK: $8,800 | FD: N/A
We land on a slate where pricing between DraftKings and FanDuel varies quite a bit and DraftKings decided to put some cheap prices on running backs, while the quarterback position got priced up. So while we have a ton of options at the top with Mordecai and Duggan, I think Cunningham on DraftKings is the best player of the three. This isn’t to discredit the arm of Mordecai or the legs of Duggan, but Cunningham offers us both at what I consider a little bit of a higher skill gap. Louisville is projected for 31.25 points on this slate against Florida State, a team whose defense has struggled so far this year. Florida State has allowed over 420 yards of total offense per game and 32 points per game, while one of these games was even a low-scoring affair with Jacksonville State. Cunningham has six rushing touchdowns through just three games and is averaging 32.6 fantasy points per contest. These two teams met last year, with Lousiville winning big 48-16, in that game Cunningham passed for around 280 yards and two touchdowns while running for another 52 yards. But with Javian Hawkins gone now and Jalen Mitchell not yet seizing the full rushing snaps, Cunningham is option #1 in the red zone right now. The only worry for me is that this is a road game, but Louisville is the better team here and Cunningham, no matter the score, will be heavily involved.
Max Johnson, LSU – DK: $8,300 | FD: $10,800
Johnson tossed five touchdown passes against Central Michigan last weekend, ending with 372 yards passing. The Tigers sit at 2-1 on the year after their opening week loss to UCLA, though in that game Johnson passed for 330 and three touchdowns. Ultimately, Max Johnson isn’t the issue for this LSU team that hasn’t been able to establish any form of running game and whose defense has been less than appealing. Corey Kiner actually leads the Tigers in rushing at 130 yards, and he didn’t play in week one. While the running back room is deep, it also isn’t being that productive. But, for DFS sake, that at least leaves Johnson as a safe option who we know is going to throw a lot. On paper, it could look like the Mississippi State defense is better than it is, but even when they held NC State to 10 points, Devin Leary still attempted 49 passes for 303 yards. Miss State allowed 34 points to LA Tech and Austin Kendall, and also lost to Memphis last week. While one could argue that Memphis offense is a strong one, LSU should still be the best offense Miss State has seen this year. As long as Johnson has a weapon like Boutte at his side, his arm is in play. While the legs of Johnson aren’t what he is known for, he did attempt 11 rushes against UCLA and 8 against McNeese. I prefer Johnson just gets it done with his arm here against a squeaky secondary.
KJ Jefferson, ARK – DK: $5,700 | FD: $9,000
There is not a ton of quarterback value on DraftKings and this is really a DK only play for me, but KJ Jefferson, despite the tough matchup with Texas A&M, carries high enough of a ceiling to make the risk of this play worth it for the low price. Jefferson has led the Razorbacks to a 3-0 start, which included a huge win over Texas. However, that win over Texas only ended in 11.82 fantasy points, more so because Jefferson never found the end zone. But, that doesn’t mean he had a bad game. Jefferson completed 74% of his passes and ran for 73 yards in the 40-21 win. Last week against Georgia State, Jefferson threw for 366 yards and three scores – in week one against Rice he showed off his legs a bit more, running for 89 yards and two scores. Jefferson is the dual-threat option we look for at a low price and I wouldn’t be shocked to see Jefferson as a super-flex chalk play this weekend. That being said, at price, the upside we get on him is pretty unreal – however, with Texas A&M passing defense looking very strong early in the year, I think Jefferson is going to need to do it with his legs if we want a big fantasy performance out of him.
Bijan Robinson, UT – DK: $7,200 | FD: $11,000
Sometimes I try to understand how DraftKings lands on their player pricing and then I realize it probably isn’t worth it to hurt my head. We can see the large gap from DK to FD here and while Robinson is the most expensive on each site, he has become the entire Longhorn offense. Texas opened the year with Hudson Card at QB, but Casey Thompson has since taken the reigns. I would give a slight edge to Thompson as a better passer, but Texas is going to live on the ground for the most part. Robinson turned in 13 carries for 127 yards and three touchdowns last week against Rice. This week Texas draws Texas Tech, who has allowed just 54.7 yards per game on the ground so far this year. But not so fast, Texas Tech has played Houston, Stephen F Austin, and Florida International so far this year, so we can throw the rush defense numbers out the door. Aside, Texas Tech only beat SFA by six. Thompson was efficient with his arm last week, with an 84% completion percentage and he does have mobility himself, but Robinson’s price is probably $1,800 too cheap on DraftKings so the value can’t be ignored.
Zach Evans, TCU – DK: $6,200 | FD: $8,500
TCU carries the third-highest total on this slate and getting some piece of the offense is pretty important in my opinion. While I do love Max Duggan, he doesn’t come clear cut with a stacking option, so just riding out the running game feels a little safer. TCU entered the season with a full running back room, but Zach Evans has always been hyped as “the guy” for the last year. Evans had a slow start to the season, only seeing five carries against Duquesne. But that was also a game where ten different players had a carry and no one had more than ten. Against Cal, Evans carries the rock 22 times for 190 yards and a touchdown, while the next closes running back only had four touches. Emari Demercado is out with an injury, but Evans may have already seized his opportunity to lead this backfield. The worry with Evans is Max Duggan could carry the ball 15+ times a game as well, so the red zone touches are not a guarantee. What should however be a guarantee is scoring here and the SMU defense hasn’t had a test to this level yet this year.
Will Shipley, CLEM – DK: $5,800 | FD: $7,200
Shipley shared a co-starter spot with Kobe Pace last week against Georgia Tech, but ended up leading the backfield by a landslide, carrying the ball 21 times for 88 yards and two touchdowns. Two things came from this performance. Thing one, Lyn-J Dixon decided to enter the transfer portal. Thing two, there is no “or” on the depth chart anymore as Shipley has been named the starter for the Clemson backfield. It goes without saying that D.J. Uiagaleli hasn’t exactly got it going yet and that the run game seems to be the lean so far to start conference play. This is likely a price that will continue to rise as the year goes on and not sure we see it this low on Shipley again. NC State is another defense that looks solid on paper, but they have played South Florida, Miss State (loss), and Furman.
Kayshon Boutte, LSU – DK: $7,700 | FD: $9,700
While Boutte has had some “quiet” weeks over his last two matchups, it is really just because of that, the matchup. Even so, Boutte managed to catch five passes for 31 yards and two touchdowns against McNeese and six for 44 and a touchdown against CMU. In the one tighter matchup we have to go off of, Boutte caught nine for 148 and three touchdowns against UCLA. Overall through three games, Boutee has 30 targets and 20 receptions, and a 25% target share in the LSU offense. But again, with two large victories, Boutte wasn’t needed nor did he play all four quarters. This matchup is way closer, with LSU just a two-point favorite over Mississippi State and with conference play starting I expect the target share to climb here for one of the nation’s best receivers.
Khalil Shakir, BSU – DK: $7,400 | FD: N/A
The Utah State/Boise State game was left off of the FanDuel main slate, but it very well could be the game that decides the slate on DraftKings. This game has shoot out written all over it and with a 70-point game total you can see why. Boise State does enter this as a 9-point favorite and Shakir ranks 24th in the nation for targets through three weeks. Shakir’s stat line was suppressed a bit last week against a tough Oklahoma State defense, but he still managed eight receptions for 78 yards on 13 targets. On the season, Shakir has 29 total targets, and that included a limited snap count in the opener against UCF. Shakir makes up for 30% of the team target share and with Stefan Cobbs status still unknown that could trend upwards a little bit more. Ultimately, Shakir is the most talented receiver on the Boise State side who sees the most consistent target share. The Utah State defense has been horrible to start this season, allowing almost 500 yards of total offense a game and over 30 points. While those stats are bad in their own right, Utah State has played Air Force, North Dakota, and Washington State (and Washington State isn’t even the team who did the most damage to them). It would be hard to not touch on the Utah State offense as well. The issue is, they rotate their quarterbacks so while both Bonner and Peasley are cheap, it is too hard to say who will see the field for 50% of the time. Deven Thompkins and Brandon Bowling remain two great tournament options who should be heavily featured, though their price tags are a bit high.
Michael Mayer, ND – DK: $5,700 | FD: $7,000
Mayer is in a bit of a tough spot, mostly due to the matchup and his week three performance. Mayer started the season on fire, being targeted 24 times over his first two games and turning it into 16 receptions for 201 yards. However, against Purdue, Mayer was targeted just twice, catching one lone pass for five yards. The Wisconsin defense is one of the best in the nation and certainly not one who is going to give up a ton of space. I do play a bit of a narrative card here as the Irish quarterback Jack Coan is a Wisconsin transfer, so there is a bit of intrigue here that Coan will want to use his arm a bit more. Mayer, despite the two target week three, still has a 26% target share in the Notre Dame offense. This game is at a neutral site and while Mayer comes with his own risks, we are getting him nearly $2,000 cheaper than his first few weeks. This is not the safest pick on the board and will be heavily reliant on how the game script ends up for this game.
Reggie Roberson Jr., SMU – DK: $4,500 | FD: $7,100
While it has been a relatively quiet start to the season for Roberson, this price and matchup is too hard to ignore. Roberson has just 14 catches for 171 and a touchdown through three games but lets not forget his 52-802 and 43-803 seasons of 2018 and 2019. While Roberson only has a 15% target share currently in the SMU offense, there are a lot of mouths to feed there. Danny Gray, Rashee Rice, Roberson, and Calcaterra make up a killer wide receiver room for the Mustangs so we do fight through the kitchen a bit here so to speak. However, SMU has no issue in throwing the ball around, as Tanner Mordecai already has 1,023 yards passing through just three games on the season with 16 touchdown passes. Despite Rashee Rice being $1,800 more than Roberson, Roberson carries a 6% higher target share in the offense. Grant Calcaterra at just $4,900 makes another terrific option here as SMU has always heavily featured their tight end.