College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: 10/27/18 Main Slate
Week 9 of the college football season is here. And after eight full weeks of games and action, 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 as many slates as possible in the lead-up to the College Football Playoff. This week, we are only breaking down Saturday's main slate, which locks at 12:00 p.m. EST. It features 14 games, including a head-to-head showdown between Houston and USF, both of whom enter this week at 7-0 atop the American West division.
Who should we be targeting there and elsewhere in Week 9?
D'Eriq King, Houston ($10,500): As King and the Cougars square off with their conference foes, they draw the second-highest total (41.25) as 7.5-point favorites in the game with by far the highest over/under (75.0) on the main slate. The Bulls boast a respectable defense against the pass (25th by Football Outsiders' S&P+), but they have been terrible against run, ranking 93rd overall and 72nd in stuff rate (runs held for at least no gain). As we know, King does a lot damage on the ground, having tallied 9 rushing touchdowns on 57 carries and averaging 11.7 FanDuel points on the ground alone. Add in that he's put up at least 200 yards and 2 passing touchdowns in all but one game this year, and you get a sky-high floor and 40-plus-point ceiling. If you prefer to go contrarian, though, Oklahoma's Kyler Murray is also a no-brainer at $100 less. He's averaging 35.3 FanDuel points and his Sooners carry the highest implied total (44.50) into Saturday's games.
Ian Book, Notre Dame ($9,900): Ian Book is really good at this college quarterback thing. Per Sports Reference, if the junior had played the entire season, and therefore qualified, he would rank top 20 in both adjusted passing yards per attempt (9.0, 20th) and passing efficiency rating (167.9, 8th). Since he's taken over the starting job, the Fighting Irish are averaging 284.5 passing yards and 2.5 touchdowns through the air. And this week, they get to take on a Navy defensive ranked 117th overall and 107th against the pass. Even with Notre Dame favored by 24, they'll be looking to improve their Playoff resume on the road against the Midshipmen.
Blake Barnett, USF ($9,300): If you can't already tell, you should be all of this Houston/USF game. So why not go after the Bulls' quarterback against Houston's exploitable pass defense? The Cougars are 109th in passing S&P+, and our models have them pegged as the least efficient defense on the main slate, allowing 8.53 adjusted passing yards per attempt. Barnett has amassed at least 22.88 FanDuel points in four of six games this year all the while averaging 291 total yards with 17 total touchdowns (7 via the ground). He's a borderline cash play and should be used in game stacks in tournaments.
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin ($9,700): Now, this is more of a tournament play, as most of the top-priced backs are risky based on cost and tough matchups. Taylor is no different as he takes on Northwestern, who as a defensive unit rank 39th overall and 39th against the run. They're also 34th in adjusted line yards allowed per carry and 48th in stuff rate (21.1%), but Wisconsin sports the nation's best offensive line. They rank first in adjusted line yards per carry and stuff rate against (8.6%). The Badgers should win this one and help Taylor get in the end zone for the first time in three weeks. Stay tuned to the injury news, too, as Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook is questionable after suffering a concussion. If he sits, the Badgers will rely on Taylor even more, so a ground-and-pound multi-touchdown game is in the cards.
Trey Sermon, Oklahoma ($8,800): Although Taylor comes with upside, the risk is present, so paying for running backs in the mid-range is the optimal play on the main slate. On a point-per-dollar basis, Sermon might be the best play regardless. Not only is he taking on Kansas State's 120th-ranked defense, but he's coming off a 17-carry, 110-yard, 2-touchdown game (23 FanDuel points) a week ago. While many may gravitate to Dexter Williams ($9,400) as the Fighting Irish's lead back, Jafar Armstrong's return from a knee injury is almost certain to eat into his workload. Happily take the $600 discount.
Reggie Gallaspy, NC State ($8,500): Usually, it's pretty hard to find a feature back this low in the pricing pool, but Gallaspy is a steal. As North Carolina State gets set to battle Syracuse, the big senior will face the nation's 101st-ranked run defense. He should carry low ownership after a nine-carry performance against Clemson a week ago. But the workload was understandable given the matchup; plus, Gallaspy still managed 13.2 FanDuel points on 59 yards and a touchdown. In his previous three games, he totaled 63 carries for 232 yards and 5 rushing scores. Gallaspy is a fine cash or tourney play, but Oklahoma's Kennedy Brooks ($7,700) is a solid pivot in GPP lineups. While he serves as Sermon's backup, Brooks went for 168 yards, a touchdown and 24.6 FanDuel points last week, and if the score gets out of hand he could do just as much damage on Saturday.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Rondale Moore, Purdue ($9,500): Yes, this game is on the road against a tough Michigan State Spartans defense -- one that sits 15th in the nation by S&P+. However, a lot of that stems from Michigan State's defensive line and second-ranked rush defense. They're 60th against the pass and 114th in adjusted sack rate on passing downs. That's in case you didn't already think that Moore is matchup-proof, which the dude is. Just last week, he hung 37.4 FanDuel points in a big win over Ohio State. He's the sixth-most expensive receiver, but he might be the most talented, though I can't fault you for going with others at the top, including Notre Dame's Miles Boykin ($9,300) -- 23 catches, 345 yards and 4 scores in his last three -- or Oklahoma State's Tylan Wallace ($9,700). According to NCAA Savant, Wallace is fifth in the Big 12 in target share (26.13%), and Texas will be without multiple starters -- two senior corners -- for the first series or so for disciplinary reasons. Wallace could turn in a big score as he squares off with two freshman early on.
Collin Johnson, Texas ($8,600): To piggy back off of that, the Longhorns' most explosive wideout, Lil'Jordan Humphrey, will join his teammates in sitting out at least the first offensive drive due to a violation of team rules. That only helps the fantasy prospects for teammate Collin Johnson, who actually leads the team with a 25.40% target share, which includes 11 targets in the red zone. Texas has a nice 32.50 implied total and Johnson should get one of those four-to-five scores. He has five touchdowns on the year, but more notably one in four straight, and OK State is mediocre (76th) against the pass.
Courtney Lark, Houston ($8,000): In case you were wondering, here's a cheap target to pair with the Houston quarterback. Lark sits second on the team with a 15.55% target share and 10 red zone targets on the year. He's averaging 15.1 yards per catch for 424 yards. He's a pivot off of cash option Marquez Stevenson ($9,600) at the top, though either way one of the two should be in for a nice day against a USF secondary that comes in 87th in S&P+ on passing downs.
Brett Oswalt is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Brett Oswalt also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username BRO14THEKID. 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.