College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: 9/22/18 Early Only Slate
Week 4 of the college football season is upon us. And after three full weeks 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 consists of 10 games and shares 4 games with the main FanDuel slate. Lock is also at 12:00 p.m. EST, like the main slate, so with that being said we will mention some overlapping plays from the full main slate helper.
Who should we be targeting, and why?
Malcolm Perry, Navy ($9,800): Basically, with the options you have at your disposal, you're paying up at quarterback. The bigger question is, "How much?" Now, you could certainly roll with Boston College's Anthony Brown ($10,100), who was mentioned in the main slate helper and takes on a Purdue defense ranked 92nd in defensive S&P+, per Football Outsiders. But let's save a few shekels and go with the Navy signal caller on the road against SMU. The Mustangs are 116th defensively and have allowed over 170 rushing yards per game through three games, which gives Navy's option offense added value. Perry has already ran for 497 yards and 6 touchdowns while also throwing for 106 yards and a touchdown on 5 completions. The Midshipmen are 6.5-point favorites with a 34 implied total, so multiple rushing scores are not out of the question.
Woody Barrett, Kent State ($8,600): If for some reason you'd rather pay up elsewhere, or just simply roll out a quarterback in your flex spot, Kent State's Woody Barrett is your guy. Before you move on and dismiss this, having seen Barrett struggle to just 9.24 FanDuel points with negative yards on the ground and only 176 through the air against Penn State last week, consider this. Penn State is 17th in the nation in defensive S&P+, whereas Ole Miss -- this week's opponent -- ranks 122nd defensively. The Rebels were just torched by Alabama for 62 points, 500-plus yards and over 300 in the passing game. The Golden Flashes aren't the Tide, but their quick-paced approach (80.3 plays per game) and Ole Miss' early tendency to give up points and get into shootouts will play into hands of a Kent State team that's expected to trail yet score 23 points, according to the oddsmakers.
Scottie Phillips, Ole Miss ($9,700): On the other hand, Ole Miss is a big home favorite (-28.5) and their 51.5 implied total is tops on the early only slate. Sure, at first, they'll sling it around, but when they go to the run game it will be Phillips getting all the ground work. Through three weeks, the junior's totaled 43 rush attempts for 355 yards (8.3 per attempt) and 4 scores. He should easily see 15-plus carries, which will almost certainly amount to fantasy production. The Kent State defense is 113th in defensive S&P+ and they ranked 87th against the rush a year ago. As noted for the main slate, A.J. Dillon ($9,800) -- the Heisman hopeful BC back -- is another top option with a Boilermakers squad that gave up 233 yards to Missouri backs in Week 3.
Jordan Ellis, Virginia ($8,500): In what could be an overlooked ACC matchup, the Virginia Cavaliers are 6.5-point favorites with a 29.75 implied total over the Louisville Cardinals. They should rely heavily on the run game, and of the backs below $9,000 Ellis is one of a select few with a firm hold on his own backfield. After turning 215 carries into 836 yards a year ago, the senior has rushed for an average of 7.5 yards and 5 touchdowns on 51 carries -- 3 more than his quarterback but 45 more than the next back. Meanwhile, Louisville is 67th on defense this and ranked 94th against the run, according to S&P+, in 2017. They've allowed 188 rushing yards and 2 rushing scores per game so far, including over 200 to Alabama in the opener.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Diontae Johnson, Toledo ($9,200): There's usually a nice selection of top receiving targets, but this slate is particularly rich with them. Given previous high-priced suggestions, though, it's probably worth sliding down to Diontae Johnson, Toledo's unquestioned number-one guy. Johnson leads the team with a target share over 30% while en route to 8 catches for 179 yards and 3 touchdowns. That's after hauling in 74 catches for 1,278 yards and 13 scores as a sophomore last year. This week's matchup with Nevada is one to exploit. The Wolf Pack rank 108th in defensive S&P+ -- a minor improvement over last year's 121st finish -- and are expected to surrender the slate's third-highest total (39.00) to Johnson and the Rockets. As an alternative, SMU's James Proche ($9,000) is an option against Navy. He possesses a league-leading 39.05% target share, according to NCAA Savant, while being targeted 11 times in the red zone alone. His team's expected to trail in a close game at home, which should make Proche a focal point in the team's attempt to keep up with the rush-heavy Navy offense.
Jeff Smith, Boston College ($8,300): We already know that Purdue is a team we want to target, especially through the air. The Eagles have a nice 36.25 implied total and the Boilermakers have allowed the fifth-most adjusted pass yards per attempt (8.25) on the slate. Anthony Brown's receiving corps is muddled to a point, but Smith stands out with a team-high 16 targets and 9 catches. He has 184 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns not to mention 8 rushes for an impressive 97 yards. His price is a steal for the upside. However, If you want to stick with BC but fit in another high-priced stud, you could opt for the touchdown potential of tight end Tommy Sweeney ($7,000), who has 42 catches, 587 yards and 5 scores in the last 14 games (an average of 7.83 FanDuel points per).
DaMarkus Lodge, Ole Miss ($7,300): With such a gaudy point total, getting more exposure to Ole Miss is a must. In the passing game, Lodge seems like the best point-per-dollar play against a Kent State team giving up 247 yards through the air so far. The senior's 17 targets is third on the team behind two more expensive receiving options. He's also seen two looks in the red zone, where he made his mark with seven total scores last year. But if you don't trust the spread-the-love nature of the Ole Miss attack, Virginia's Hasise Doubois ($7,700) is in the same price range and is the Cavs' clear-cut number-two. His 19 total and 6 red zone targets are both second on the team, and the 6'3" junior's turned 13 receptions into 154 yards and 2 touchdowns (11.3 FanDuel points per game) in 2018.
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.