College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: 1/1/19 Main Slate
It's officially bowl season in college football! We've had many weeks come and go, but this week should be fun 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 breaking down Tuesday's main slate, which locks at 12:00 p.m. EST and consists of five games, including a showdown between #5 Georgia and #15 Texas in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
Who should we be targeting in what matchups this week in college football?
Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State ($10,500): Haskins' ceiling is unmatched by anyone else on the New Year's Day slate. Not only is he the single guy to average north of 30 FanDuel points per game this season, but he has posted six games of at least 32.66, three of which have gone for 40 or more. His 10.4 adjusted yards per attempt rank fifth in the nation, and he's converted that to an NCAA-leading 47 touchdowns and a 175.8 passer rating. His opponent, Washington, sports the nation's third-best defense by Football Outsiders' S&P+, behind a top-20 pass defense. But Haskins is only a month removed from tearing up Michigan's highly-rated defense for nearly 400 yards, 6 touchdowns and 43.24 FanDuel points. According to the oddsmakers, Ohio State will put up points (32.00 implied total), and it will be their young quarterback spearheading the attack.
Sam Ehlinger, Texas ($9,800): You might be having doubts just two picks in here, but we're making due with what we got, as we've been dealt a hand of 7 top-25 defenses of the 10 at our disposal. Georgia ranks 16th overall and allows a stingy 18.5 points per game (14th in the nation). The sportsbooks aren't expecting too much from Ehlinger and the Longhorns, pegging them for 22.5 points, or 8.8 below their season average. However, there's upside to be had in Ehlinger and his legs. Baked into his 26.5 FanDuel points per game are 32.2 yards and a score on the ground. On three occasions he's scored two or more touchdowns on the ground on top of two touchdowns through the air. He's going to go lower-owned due to Texas' low total and Georgia's defensive reputation, but the opportunity for him to get you at least 35 FanDuel points is there.
Jake Browning, Washington ($8,200): On the opposite end of that Ohio State/Washington clash in the Rose Bowl, an experienced Jake Browning brings in a far more limited ceiling but at a discounted cost in a plus matchup. The Huskies' pass-to-run ratio of 0.66 is the fifth-lowest mark on the slate, so don't expect them to sling the ball around more than 35 times. In fact, Browning's only topped 35 attempts once this season, and he's averaged 25.7 a game. For that reason, he's averaged just 15.5 FanDuel points, maxing out at 24.68 on 23 attempts against Oregon State. He threw for three touchdowns and ran for 30 yards in that one, which is really what you're looking for in his upside. His floor is low, but that's okay, especially if he's the second quarterback you slide into your flex spot. Ohio State has the worst pass defense on the slate, ranking 74th by S&P+.
Myles Gaskin, Washington ($10,000): If Browning's a tournament play, that means that Gaskin's your cash game play from this Washington offense. For the fourth straight season, the senior back toted the ball 220-plus times en route to 1,147 yards and 10 touchdowns. He added another score through the air while averaging 104.3 rushing yards in the 11 games he was active. As with Browning, the matchup is ripe for the picking, as the Buckeyes rank (79th) even worse against the run, having allowed 4.6 yards per carry and three games of more than 200 rushing yards this season. So long as the Huskies aren't trailing too much early, they should ride Gaskin in a close game.
Miles Sanders, Penn State ($9,300): On its face, the Kentucky/Penn State tilt isn't very attractive. Its 47.0-point over/under is second-lowest on the slate, and neither offense is a top-25 unit. But of them, the Nittany Lions' rushing game, led by Sanders, is the most appealing; it ranks 16th behind a line ranked 22nd in adjusted line yards. Kentucky is 21 places worse against the run than the pass, and as 6.5-point favorites the game script favors Penn State with a lead. The $700 gap between Sanders and Gaskin shouldn't be as large as it is, with the former averaging only two fewer FanDuel points per game and producing five 20-point games in 2018.
Elijah Holyfield, Georgia ($8,300): The 58-point over/under between the 'Dogs and 'Horns is the highest on the slate, suggesting we target at least a couple of players involved. For the Georgia run game, their two-headed monster of Holyfield and D'Andre Swift has them seventh in rushing offense ahead of a matchup with the Longhorns' 44th-ranked rushing defense. And while others will pay up for Swift at $9,700, the two have split carries at 155-147 in Swift's favor. Holyfield should see his 9 to 15 carries, and if Georgia gets up by enough they might lean even more on the run game. At this price, 70-plus yards and a score should be enough to justify paying down at back for Haskins at quarterback.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Lil'Jordan Humphrey, Texas ($9,300): If you're asking me, Humphrey is probably the most talented and physically-gifted wide receiver on the slate. At 6'4", 225 pounds, the junior has already checked in on his draft status after tallying a team-high 79 catches for 1,109 yards and 9 touchdowns in his 13 regular season contests. Now, the downside is that Humphrey could see a lot of stud corner Deandre Baker, who's expected to be a first-round pick himself. Going with Ehlinger and Humphrey should be a contrarian stack, but it's one I'd look to capitalize on, particularly on the speedy surface of the Superdome.
Johnnie Dixon, Ohio State ($8,300): Again, the Huskies aren't the easiest of matchups. With first-round NFL talent Byron Murphy leading the way from his corner spot, Washington's defense is ranked ninth on passing downs and third in IsoPPP+. But unlike most teams, the Buckeyes have a crew of speedy wideouts at Haskins' disposal, and only one will be held down by Murphy. Dixon is the cheapest of them all, and he's been performing of late. Dating back to October 20, the senior's hauled in 23 passes for 416 yards and 4 touchdowns, while racking up over 18 yards a catch. As a result, he's averaged 14.8 FanDuel points per game over that five-game span.
Mecole Hardman, Georgia ($7,600): The Bulldogs have the second-lowest pass-to-run ratio, which could limit their passing game, but they should benefit from facing a Texas team averaging 74.1 plays a game -- third on the slate and 8.2 more than Georgia. The Longhorns' defense has also been worse against the pass, so Hardman could find a rare blowup spot in this run-first offense. He hasn't had more than three catches in any of the past seven games, but he's still managed 17.1 yards a catch in that span and 15.9 for the entire season. He's a big play waiting to happen. If he's your lowest-priced player, you should feel really good about your lineup heading into the new year.
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.