The College Football Rundown – DraftKings & Fanduel CFB DFS – Friday, November 26, 2021

The College Football Rundown – DraftKings & Fanduel CFB DFS – Friday, November 26, 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.

Before we jump into the article, since this is our first large slate of the season that isn’t on a Saturday, I thought I would just type some thoughts up in general about it. Usually a few days before a slate I go over it a few times to make sure I am up on injuries and to accurately set projections for the highest usage players on a team over the last few games. I am a firm believer that your overall season sample for projections is also critically affected by your last 3-4 game sample as well. I can already tell this is just going to be a ramble so here we go. This might sound corny, but usually, the last thing I think about before I fall asleep is college football and DFS. When it is dark, quiet, and there are no distractions, I feel you get the clearest thought. It isn’t me setting lineups, or editing projections, or anything – it is just me – trying to quietly critically think about roster construction, matchups, and the highest upsides we can get on the week. So then we get this 12-game Friday slate and I thought to myself last night that it felt like a video game. What I mean by that, is like in a standard video game, you beat a level, advance to the next, and then in that next level, there is some new element to the game. As you progress in the game, all of these elements start to get implemented in every level you play and by the end of the game, all the skills and strategies you have learned throughout the entire game are all put into one final battle. I am not saying this slate is our final battle, but if you are a CFB DFS player, you are going to find several elements of different slates all put into one. We have Texas and Kansas State, Cinci, Iowa, Nebraska, TCU, Iowa State, etc. These are teams we are used to seeing – these are teams that have been on several main slates this year. We know the players and we know how to approach these teams. But then we also have teams like UNLV and Air Force, also Utah State and New Mexico. These are teams we usually see in Late Late Slates – which are typically just 2-4 game slates. On top of this, we have Ohio, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, and Central Michigan. These are our MAC teams that we usually see on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in what is usually 2-4 game slates as well. So we have a little bit of everything here, MAC, Main, Late slate teams that we are used to targeting in a vacuum and usually targeting a specific way. For the MAC, we know what we are getting – usually unpredictable, high-scoring offenses that have posted some crazy outlier performances. But how do rostering MAC players play when they are mixed in among teams we usually see in Main Slates? Should we target a MAC 63 point total more than say the USF/UCF 63 game total? I think this is an interesting dynamic that will make was seems like a standard 12-game slate really anything but that.

Quarterback

KJ Jefferson, ARK – DK: $7,900 | FD: $9,800

I do think that Desmond Ridder is the top overall QB play on this slate against Eastern Carolina, but at almost $2,000 more than Jefferson I do not see myself going to Ridder much on this slate. Jefferson was forced to throw against Alabama and played one hell of a game which saw the Razorback comeback fall just short against Bama. Jefferson managed 326 and three touchdowns through the air, while rushing for just 22 yards on 13 attempts. While Jefferson has been a bit inconsistent this year, he has been reliable with a 23.3 fantasy point average. Jefferson has also attempted double-digit rush attempts in five of his last six games. This week Arkansas gets one of, if not the best on paper matchup as they face Missouri and their defense that is allowing 35 points per game and 450 yards. My only concern here is that Arkansas could really put an emphasis on the ground game here and control it from there, but I also think teams in their season finales like to leave it all on the line.

Brock Purdy, ISU – DK: $6,600 | FD: $8,500

I may be wrong, but I think this is the first time Purdy has made a writeup for me this year which is me showing a lot of restraint. If he did make one, it was back in the first few weeks of the season. I have always been a big Brock Purdy fan as he just plays with a gritty smash-mouth style – albeit one we haven’t really seen in general this season. Mostly due to Breece Hall, Purdy does not need to run unnecessarily anymore, which is seen by his usual sub double-digit rushing attempts per game. However, Purdy has been throwing at high volume recently, with 38 or more attempts in each of his last three games. What is more interesting to me here is the price. I am not saying the price is wrong, but it is the cheapest price for Purdy in the last two weeks and also features the best matchup for him. Usually the matchup gets baked into the price a bit, but that does not seem to be the case here. TCU’s defense has been horrible all season, featuring one of the worst rush defenses in the league and a pass defense that isn’t much better. In general, TCU is allowing 34 points per game and over 454 yards. Rarely do we see Iowa State with a 37-point team total, but here we are. While Breece Hall may be the focal point here, the price on Purdy makes him worth a shot.

Logan Smothers, NEB – DK: $5,100 | FD: $6,000

While there is a lot of risk in this one due to the matchup with Iowa, we can’t ignore a near basement price on a starting quarterback ever. With the news that Adrian Martinez has had shoulder surgery and is out for the finale, Logan Smothers will get his first career start for Nebraska here. While Smothers is relatively unknown, he is a 4-star dual-threat recruit who passed for more than 2,000 yards with 27 touchdowns and 800 yards rushing with another 13 touchdowns on the ground in his senior year of high school. Smothers got some game action against Fordham this year, passing for 50 yards and rushing four times for 36 yards. We know Iowa’s defense is good – allowing just 314 yards per game and 17 points. But Nebraska still carries a 3-touchdown team total here and while I am not expecting a ton out of Smothers, this is a big spot for him. Anytime we can get rushing capital for this price the reward is worth the risk. One rushing touchdown out of Smothers and we are fast-tracked to a positive outcome.

Running back

Lew Nichols, CMU – DK: $10,000 | FD: $11,200

It is kind of gross to write up a running back at this price, but numbers do not lie. Since week four, Nichols has seven of eight games go 33 fantasy points or higher. Nichols has had 26 or more carries in six of his last seven games and has gone over 215 yards rushing in each of his last two games. To extend the sample, Nichols has at least two rushing touchdowns in each of his last four games and seven over his last two. On the season, Nichols has 1,514 yards rushing, which averages out to 137.6 per game and that is with his meteoric rise not starting until roughly week six. Nichols is the FBS leader in rushing right now and gets to face an Eastern Michigan squad that is allowing almost 200 on the ground per game, and 437 yards total. As long as Nichols stays healthy, there is a very strong possibility that this is this slates leading scorer and with 75 total rushes over the last two games, this absolute workhorse may be the key to a takedown this weekend. While I normally don’t suggest targeting the most expensive option on the slate, the numbers speak for themselves here.

Tavion Thomas, UTAH – DK: $8,500 | FD: $10,200

Thomas carries a high price here as well, but after missing week 11 to an undisclosed injury, Thomas returned in the upset against Oregon, rushing 21 times for 94 yards and three touchdowns. Back in week 10 against Standford, Thomas rushed 20 times for 177 yards and four touchdowns and the week prior 160 and four touchdowns against UCLA. So if keeping score at home, over Thomas’ last three starts he has 11 rushing touchdowns in what has basically become his offense. This matchup against Colorado is the best matchup he is going to see in the last four weeks as while Utah manhandled Stanford, the Colorado offense is way less efficient, ranking as one of the worst in college football. This means if we believe in game script, Thomas should see ample opportunity here. This is another play that can break the slate open based on touchdown equity alone. I think a lot of people go Breece Hall or Deuce Vaughn here – both of which I like a lot, but I think we can get the same from Thomas for a slightly cheaper price on DraftKings.

Johnny Richardson, UCF – DK: $5,900 | FD: $6,100

This play is making this article more for the price on FanDuel rather than the price on DraftKings. As we speak of often, if we ever get prices near one another on both sites, the value usually lies on the FanDuel side and no exception to that line of thinking here. For DraftKings, I consider Richardson a tournament play only, but on FanDuel he helps open up a ton of salary to spend elsewhere while still keeping our ceiling. Of course, this play hinges on the status of Isaiah Bowser, but as Bowser was thought to be probable yesterday, he has shifted to questionable today. With this in mind, it usually makes me think that the player won’t be full strength even if they were to play. Richardson started back in week 11 against SMU and while he only had six carries, he managed five receptions. It wasn’t a stellar outing, but UCF was also down big all game and lost by 27 so the running game was never going to come into play. Last week against UConn, Richardson had 14 carries for 147 yards and a touchdown and a 17-yard touchdown reception. This week UCF gets a home matchup against a poor USF team that is allowing 36 points per game and 489+ yards. UCF carries a 40-point team total, so on paper, all things point positively for Richardson here.

Dominique Johnson, ARK – DK: $4,700 | FD: $6,300

With Trelon Smith and Raheim Sanders also involved in the running game, Johnson is actually the teams leading rusher over the last three weeks. Johnson didn’t do much against Alabama last week, but again, Arkansas was forced to pass from behind against the Crimson Tide. Against LSU in week 11, Johnson had 15 carries for 40 yards and two receptions for 40 yards and a touchdown. Against Mississippi State in week 10, Johnson had 17 carries for 107 yards. The Sophomore has been way more involved recently and has jumped Trelon Smith and Sanders in usage. While we got Johnson at the minimum price last week, this price is still pretty good in a great matchup against Missouri.

Wide receiver

Treylon Burks, ARK – DK: $8,200 | FD: $9,000

Wide receiver really is the toughest position this week as there are a lot of options we can target, but some of the prices feel a little bit unfair or too high. This is now the third Razorback to make the article, but Treylon Burks has been a stud all season with 60 receptions for 994 yards and 11 touchdowns. Burks hauled in eight receptions for 179 yards and two touchdowns last week against Alabama and has five games over 100 yards on the season. Of the 12 games played, Burks has 24 or more fantasy points in eight of them. Burks dominates the target share for this offense, with a 31% share.

Dylan Drummond, EMU – DK: $4,900 | FD: $7,500 

This is just trying to take advantage of a low price tag as I think Drummond is slightly too low here, even if he has been a bit inconsistent as of late. Drummond has scored a touchdown in six of his last eight games while he only saw two targets last week, he had 10 targets against Toledo and 13 against Ohio the two weeks prior. The return of Tanner Knue has added another mouth to this EMU passing game, but Beydoun, Knue, and Drummond make up a very high-powered three-set of receivers. Since Knue’s return, the target share between Drummond and Knue has virtually been the same, and Beydoun’s has actually gone up recently. This is a team, in general, that is going to throw the ball with last week against Western Michigan a bit of an outlier as the game missed the game total by 24 points (the under hit). Since week three, Drummond has only fallen into single-digit fantasy scoring one time and again, that was last week against Western Michigan in what was a very strangely paced game. Central Michigan’s pass defense is allowing 264 yards per game.

Derius Davis, TCU – DK: $4,700 | FD: $6,600

Davis hasn’t been often used in the TCU offense – in fact, prior to week nine, he had just two games over 40 yards receiving on the year. However, around week 9, when fellow receiver Quenten Johnson started dealing with an injury, Davis was more involved, hauling in five passes for 95 yards against Kansas State, five for 81 against Baylor, and then six for 103 last week against Kansas. Davis has also had five carries over the last two games, one resulting in a touchdown. If you look at Davis’ season as a whole, it isn’t too impressive, but at 10.5 yards per target, Davis’ targets become a little more impactful with the big play punch. Quentin Johnson is questionable for this game, though reports make it sound more close to doubtful. Max Duggan also retakes the starting job to preserve Chandler Morris’ redshirt. Iowa State does feature a solid passing defense, but Davis’ big-play potential and lower price here make him an accessible tournament option.

Click here for Saturday’s Cheat Sheets for both DraftKings and FanDuel

My projections are now live on FantasyCruncher and will be available for every slate all season for both DraftKings and FanDuel. Though this content is free I encourage you to take your game to the next level by considering a subscription to FC Premium. If you are a lower-stakes player, FC Lite gets you all the tools that Premium does, just with a lower lineup crunch cap. I will post the link below for anyone interested. You can also reach out to me on Twitter @iKezims

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About James Smizek

James is a Daily Fantasy Sports Veteran dating all the way back to his days of writing content on DraftStreet.com for contest tickets. James specializes in College Football - qualifying for the CFB World Championship in 2018, though you can find his content for NFL, NBA, MLB, and NASCAR on FantasyCruncher. James also picked up some new tricks during the Covid/sports shutdown, carving out a niche in League of Legends, Rocket League, and Call of Duty eSports. A winner of multiple large field GPP's, James hopes his knowledge can help you take down the next one. James currently resides in Wisconsin and is a huge Wisconsin sports fan. If you have any questions you can reach out to him @iKezims on Twitter.

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