College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: Friday 12/6/19

The final Friday night of the college football season before bowls kick off brings us the Pac-12 championship game between the Utah Utes and Oregon Ducks.

With both teams dominating on the defensive side of the ball, this is expected to be a low scoring game -- the total is set at 46.5 points -- which means fantasy scores are likely to be more touchdown-dependent. That's an important note to keep in mind when filling out lineups for this game, as high-volume receivers may not carry as much value, while red zone threats could have increased importance.

If you're new to the single-game format, you'll select one player from this game as your MVP. The fantasy points accumulated with this selection will earn 1.5 times his total fantasy points. You'll then select four other players who earn fantasy points at the standard rate.

In this preview, I'll break down the top MVP candidates -- who should also be used in the normal slots if not selected as your MVP -- while also highlighting some value plays and some players you may want to avoid. All references to betting totals and spreads are from the FanDuel Sportsbook.

MVP Candidates

RB Zack Moss, Utah ($16,000) -- Zack Moss is $2,000 more expensive than anyone on the slate, but he's worth it given his consistency and ceiling. Excluding Utah's game against USC, in which Moss was injured and saw just six carries, he's scored at least one touchdown and topped 15 fantasy points in every game. Oregon's defense has allowed 20 or more fantasy points to just two running backs (Washington State's Max Borghi and Washington's Salvon Ahmed), but Moss has proven to be matchup-proof. Most notably, Moss put up a 33.9 fantasy points against California, which ranks 25th in the nation in rushing defense.

QB Tyler Huntley, Utah ($13,500) -- Due to Utah's run-first offense, Tyler Huntley's fantasy production has been inconsistent this season. However, Utah does turn to Huntley at a significantly higher rate in close games, which boosts his value against the Ducks. According to Sports Info Solutions, Huntley drops back to pass on 37.9 percent of Utah's plays when the game is within 14 points, compared to just 21.4 percent when the Utes hold a lead larger than two scores. Utah is favored by 6.5 points in this matchup, and the Utes will likely need Huntley for four full quarters.

WR Johnny Johnson, Oregon ($11,000) -- Moss, Huntley and Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert will likely dominate the MVP selections, but if you're looking to fade that trio, Johnny Johnson looks like a high-upside option. Over the Ducks last five games -- which spans the time during which Penn State transfer Juwon Johnson has been healthy and fully integrated into the offense -- both Johnsons are tied for the team lead with a 22 percent target share. In terms of upside, however, Johnny Johnson appears to hold a slight edge due to his big-play ability. During that five-game span, he has a team-high seven receptions of at least 20 yards.

Value Plays

TE Brant Kuithe, Utah ($10,500) -- Brant Kuithe isn't exactly cheap, but he's slightly below the average price allotted per slot, so we'll call him a value. Over the last three weeks Kuithe has suddenly emerged as the dominant force in the Utah passing attack, leading the Utes with 23.3 percent target share. Kuithe has also posted an average of 25.47 fantasy points per game during this stretch. According to Sports Info Solutions, Oregon has been vulnerable to tight ends in the passing game, relative to wide and slot receivers:

Target Lined UpComp PctYds/AttTD-Int
Tight End63.6%7.361-2

RB Cyrus Habibi-Likio. Oregon ($8,000) --
Cyrus Habibi-Likio has emerged as the goal-line back for Oregon this season, leading the team with 24 attempts inside the opponent's 10-yard line, seven of which have resulted in scores. His fantasy value is touchdown-dependent, but given his role in the offense, he has the upside to warrant a dart throw.

WR Jaylen Dixon, Utah ($7,500) -- According to Sports Info Solutions, Jaylen Dixon is Utah's most frequently targeted wide receiver on the left side of the field, which will likely match him up against Oregon cornerback Deommodore Lenoir. While Oregon's pass defense has been strong all around, Lenoir is the closest thing to a weak link, allowing 7.4 yards per target. On the opposite side of the field, Thomas Graham Jr. is surrendering just 5.9 yards per target.

Players to Avoid

QB Justin Herbert, Oregon ($14,000) -- Justin Herbert is averaging a respectable 19.65 fantasy points per game, but those numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt based on Oregon's schedule. Herbert has faced eight teams who rank 100th or worse in passing defense and has faced just one team (Auburn) ranked in the top 50. Utah (14th in passing defense) will be the best defense Oregon has faced, and that probably sets a fairly low ceiling for Herbert -- who doesn't have a high ceiling to begin with. He's topped 30 points just twice this year (versus Montana and Nevada). If you're filling out multiple lineups it's reasonable to throw Herbert into the flex slot in a few, but he's unlikely to be the correct MVP selection in this matchup.

Ryan McCrystal is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ryan McCrystal also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username cfbfilmroom. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.