College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: 9/15/18 Early Only 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 early slate includes eight games -- totally separate of the early games on the main slate -- and locks at 12:00 p.m. EST.
Who should we be targeting, and why?
Trace McSorley, Penn State ($9,900): At home against Kent State, McSorley and his Penn State Nittany Lions are 35-point favorites. Now, that type of game script doesn't exactly point to the Penn State passing game, but it's the massive 49.75 implied total that gives their top players nice floors and potential sky-high ceilings. As it pertains to McSorley, the dual-threat signal caller is the offense. His six total touchdowns -- three through the air and three on the ground -- make up 50% of the offense's 12 touchdowns through 2 games. Not only are the Nittany Lions 21st in Football Outsiders' offensive S&P+, but they should get a pace boost from an opponent averaging the second-most plays per game (82) of any on the early slate. Leading Georgia Tech's option offense, Taquon Marshall ($9,400) is another option as he takes on a Pittsburgh team that allowed over six yards per rush and three rushing scores to Penn State a week ago.
Deondre Francois, Florida State ($9,100): By the spread alone, Saturday's ACC showdown between Florida State and Syracuse should be the mostly tightly contested game of the slate. The 'Noles are three-point favorites on the road and carry a 35.5 implied team total. It sets up well for Francois to pass often, as he's done through the first two weeks. On 81 attempts, the junior has completed 65.4% of his passes for 3 touchdowns, 3 interceptions and 5.9 adjusted yards per attempt. He also added a score on the ground in last week's 36-26 win over Stamford. While FSU's offense is outside the top 100 by offensive S&P+, the Syracuse defense is 104th in S&P+ and coming off a year in which they rated 99th in the same category. Francois is a great tournament play this week.
Miles Sanders, Penn State ($9,600): When I suggested that I liked the Penn State offense, I really meant it. Though it's not usually the best strategy to stack a quarterback and running back, the run-pass option is a big part of the offense, and McSorley and Sanders are the guys running the show at the mesh point. Kent State has held their opponents to 3.5 yards per rush to date, but lesser opponents in Illinois and Howard have still averaged two rushing scores per game against them. Led by Sanders' 6.0 yards per carry and 209 yards per game, the big boys out of the Big Ten have averaged 207.5 yards and 4.0 tuddies in the run game. If you feel too sketchy about the proposition, though, Oklahoma's Trey Sermon ($8,800) could have a coming out party with Rodney Anderson sidelined and Oklahoma 17.5-point favorites on the road at Iowa State (67th in defensive S&P+).
Cameron Scarlett, Stanford ($4,900): In a similar situation to that of Oklahoma, Scarlett is expected to be Stanford's lead back with Heisman back Bryce Love on the shelf with an undisclosed injury. In his career, the senior has produced 708 scrimmage yards and 9 touchdowns on 141 carries and 6 catches. Last year alone, as Love's backup, the 6'1" back turned 91 attempts into 389 yards and 8 touchdowns. Clearly, he has a nose for the end zone, and the Cardinal should have no problem getting there against UC Davis. The Aggies, an FCS program out of the Big Sky conference, have bested lower competition in Weeks 1 and 2, but their opener saw them allow San Jose State to score 38 points with 143 rushing yards and 589 total yards. The opportunity for a big game is there.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Marquise Brown, Oklahoma ($9,500): Oklahoma owns the second-highest implied total (36.5) -- albeit nearly two touchdowns short of Penn State -- on this slate of games, so like I suggested, you want some good exposure to their offense. This shouldn't be a complete runaway for them, and the Sooners will have to slay the demons of last year's loss to the Cyclones, which should lead to a good mix of run and pass. That being the case, Brown is Kyler Murray's go-to receiver. He ranks 22nd in the nation and 1st in the Big 12 with a 28.57% target share, per NCAA Savant, which he's converted into 10 catches, 221 yards and 2 touchdowns so far in his junior season. Stanford's JJ Arcega-Whiteside ($10,000) is also an option at the top, as he could be more of a focal point with the team's top playmaker out.
Juwan Johnson, Penn State ($8,500): Here, we're going back to the well with Penn State. On the receiving end of McSorley, all the talk has been about KJ Hamler -- and rightfully so, as he's put up three total touchdowns on seven touches (combined rushes and receptions). However, Juwan Johnson is in for some regression as the team's top receiving target. The fourth-year junior has just 8 catches for 90 yards in 2018 after securing 54 balls for 701 yards in 2017, but he's been targeted 17 times at a 25% clip through 2 games. That's four more targets and a near 6% edge over Hamler. It's only a matter of time before Johnson and his quarterback hook up for a big play or two, so take advantage while the price is relatively low.
Miles Boykin, Notre Dame ($8,300): Last week, I suggested Miles Boykin, and things turned out pretty well. Against Ball State, the lanky 6'4" target tallied 6 catches for 119 yards (14.9 FanDuel points at $6,900). This week's opponent, Vanderbilt, aren't as much of a pushover, ranking 21st in defensive S&P+ so far this season. However, the Fighting Irish are 13.5-point favorites with a nice 32.75 implied total, and Vandy hasn't seen an opponent of their caliber yet. So long as Brandon Wimbush builds off last week's near-300-yard performance, Boykin -- with a team-high 25% target share -- should be back at it this week at Notre Dame Stadium.
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.