College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: 9/15/18 Main Slate
Week 3 of the college football season is upon us. And after two weekends of games, we're in store for another exciting Saturday, both on the field and on the daily fantasy slate.
College football DFS? Yes, you heard that right. And in case you're unfamiliar with how it works, you can check out the rules and scoring on FanDuel, where you can hit the lobby each week to see the full array of slates and contests being offered.
As for the basics, your roster consists of a quarterback slot, two running back slots, three wide receiver slots (which also includes tight ends) and one super flex slot. In the flex, you can insert one player from any position, including quarterbacks.
Here, our goal is to help you field a roster full of fantasy goodness, and in true numberFire fashion, we'll use our in-house projections as well as betting totals and advanced statistics to tackle both early and main slates all the way up to the College Football Playoff. This week's main slate includes 10 games -- excluding the cancelled West Virginia/North Carolina State tilt -- and locks at 12:00 p.m. EST.
Who should we be targeting, and why?
Justin Herbert, Oregon ($9,900): This one is a smash play. Herbert's Oregon Ducks have a 54.75 implied team total, easily the highest on the slate. Herbert ranks fourth among quarterbacks with at least 40 passing attempts, sporting a 213.4 passer rating. Only Hawaii's Cole McDonald has thrown for more touchdowns than Herbert among FBS quarterbacks. Furthermore, only 10 players and 5 quarterbacks have better Heisman odds than Herbert, and some analysts consider him to be the top quarterback prospect in this upcoming draft class. The talented junior is set to have a field day against San Jose State. which ranks an atrocious 119th in Defensive S&P+ per Football Outsiders. If you want a cheaper option, look to Michigan's Shea Patterson ($8,100). Only Oregon and Alabama have a higher implied team total, and despite his struggles, we know Patterson has the talent. He ranks eighth among quarterbacks in Heisman odds, and Rotoworld's Thor Nystrom had Patterson as his sixth- best quarterback prospect entering the season.
Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama ($9,800): The Alabama quarterback position was one that was won fairly quickly, regardless of what coach Nick Saban wants to say. You can make the case that Tagovailoa won it back in January when he replaced Jalen Hurts in the championship game against the Georgia Bulldogs and was actually able to move the ball down the field. But if that wasn't enough to convince Saban, the current Heisman favorite has posted 13.0 yards per attempt and a 237.2 passer rating. Both rank first of all of FBS quarterbacks with at least 30 pass attempts. Alabama has a 46.25 implied team total as they get set to take on a Mississippi Rebels defense that ranked 113th in Defensive S&P+ last year and 115th this year, Tua is a great play this Saturday.
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin ($10,100): Sometimes, DFS doesn't have to be hard. Jonathan Taylor is the most expensive running back on the slate, but for good reason. Taylor leads the FBS in both rushing yards and touchdowns. It's no wonder he has the third-shortest Heisman odds (+900) in the country and the best among non-quarterbacks. With the Badgers expected to dominate this game, as shown by their role as 21.5-point favorites over BYU, a team that ranks a middling 73rd in Defensive S&P+ so far this year,Taylor should have himself a day, improve his Heisman resume, and make DFS players some dough. For a slightly cheaper option, look toward Damien Harris ($8,100). One of the Alabama backs should have a good game, and Damien is probably the most talented back on the roster. He started out the year as a Heisman favorite and has averaged 6.1 yards per carry, and Rotoworld's Thor Nystrom had him as his fourth-best running back prospect entering the season. As discussed in the Tua section, the Ole Miss defense is a sieve; they ranked 113th in Defensive S&P+ last year and are 115th so far in 2018.
D'Andre Swift, Georgia ($9,200): The Georgia Bulldogs have had pretty good success with running backs in recent years. A few years ago, they had this guy named Todd Gurley; you may have heard of him. And just last year, they saw a running back go in the first and second rounds of the NFL Draft, in Sony Michel and Nick Chubb, respectively. D'Andre Swift is just the latest in the line of big-time Bulldog backs. Only Taylor, Bryce Love and A.J. Dillon have better Heisman Odds among running backs, and the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders rank 97th in Defensive S&P+. For another cheap guy, Larry Rountree III ($6,900) is your guy. He has 24 carries to Damarea Crockett's 31, so it's a bigger split than their prices would seem to indicate. The Purdue Boilermakers rank just 82nd in Defensive S&P+ so far this year.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
A.J. Brown, Mississippi ($9,400): As a sophomore, A.J. Brown finished last season 10th in the FBS with 1,252 yards. He also tied for 11th with 11 receiving touchdowns on the year, so he has a history of past production. This year, he's picked up right where he left off. He again ranks 10th in the nation with 251 receiving yards, and only 7 players have more than his 3 receiving touchdowns. Brown ranked as Nystrom's best wide receiver prospect coming into this season. With Ole Miss 21-point home underdogs, Jordan Ta'amu will be forced to keep the ball in the air, which can only help Brown's production.
Rondale Moore, Purdue ($9,100): Rondale Moore has been incredibly unlucky in the touchdown department to start the season. Per NCAA Savant, he ranks 11th in the nation in red zone target share, with a 9.72% mark, and he's even hauled in six of his seven red zone targets. Despite this, he somehow has caught zero touchdowns, so expect his touchdown fortunes to turn around, possibly as soon as this week's matchup against the Missouri Tigers. It helps that Moore sees all kinds of opportunity, not just in the red zone. He has a 29.17% overall target share this year, which ranks top-20 in the country among receivers.
A.J. Taylor, Wisconsin ($8,900): Wisconsin's touch distribution is highly concentrated. Jonathan Taylor is the bellcow running back, but few probably realize that A.J. Taylor actually ranks fourth in the country with a 38.46% target share. His usage doesn't go down in the red zone either, as his 12.82% red zone target share, which also ranks fourth. With Vegas projecting Wisconsin for 33 points, you know Taylor has a terrific chance to find the end zone. If you're looking for a cheaper option, look toward Auburn's Anthony Schwartz ($6,900). The freshman dazzled on the field last week, and the fact that he was fed three carries in that game gives him that much more upside below $7K.
Akash Bhatia is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Akash Bhatia also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username tenswimrun1. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.