College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: Saturday 9/26/20 Main Slate
Week 4 of college football will feel a little more like the real thing as the SEC joins the action for the first time. And your lineups will probably be dominated by the SEC, with six of the 12 games on the slate coming from the conference.
In this preview, I'll break down the Saturday main slate into three categories based on FanDuel's salaries: players to build around, value plays, and players to avoid.
Players to build around carry expensive salaries, but their ceiling is high enough to consider prioritizing them in your lineup. Value plays are lower-salaried options who usually come with some risk, but adding them to your lineup will help you pay for the expensive stars. Players to avoid are fantasy-relevant options you might normally consider but have a tough matchup this week and are unlikely to live up to their usual expectations.
All references to betting totals and spreads are from the FanDuel Sportsbook.
Players to Build Around
QB Sam Ehlinger, Texas ($10,800) vs. Texas Tech
Texas Tech allowed 40 fantasy points to Houston Baptist's Bailey Zappe in its season opener and is coming off a year in which it allowed 28.7 fantasy points per game to opposing FBS quarterbacks. Sam Ehlinger lit up the Red Raiders' defense for 36.2 fantasy points last year. This game also carries the highest total on the slate at 70.5 points, making Ehlinger a fairly obvious target.
QB Mac Jones, Alabama ($9,900) vs. Missouri
In four starts last season, Mac Jones averaged 25.3 fantasy points per game and never scored fewer than 21.5 points, so we can be reasonably confident in projecting a similar score for him this week. Missouri's strength was its defense last year, but it did allow three quarterbacks to eclipse 20 fantasy points. It's also worth pointing out Missouri avoided LSU and Alabama last year, which helped inflate its defensive numbers relative to conference opponents who weren't so lucky.
QB Kyle Trask, Florida ($9,200) vs. Ole Miss
The Ole Miss defense allowed 19 fantasy points per game to opposing starting quarterbacks last season. It's possible the unit has improved, but it's also likely new head coach Lane Kiffin has given the Ole Miss offense a boost. This game features a total of 56.5 points and definitely has the potential to turn into a shootout. After taking over as Florida's starter last season, Kyle Trask topped 20 fantasy points in six of 10 games and closed the season with 25 or more points in three of his final four games.
RB Cam'Ron Harris, Miami FL ($9,500) vs. Florida State
Cam'Ron Harris has been one of the breakout stars of the season so far, topping 20 fantasy points in each game -- and needing only 10 touches to do so against Louisville last week. Florida State allowed nine running backs to reach at least 15 fantasy points last season, and Georgia Tech racked up 161 yards on the ground against the Seminoles in their season debut, so Harris should have no issues putting up a solid number in this game.
RB Zamir White, Georgia ($8,700) vs. Arkansas
This is the best matchup Zamir White will get all season, and since it's his debut as Georgia's starter, it may also be his lowest salary. Arkansas' run defense was abused last season, giving up at least 18 fantasy points to seven different running backs. White's workload may be diminished by the game getting out of hand -- Georgia is favored by 27.5 points -- but Georgia tends to give a solid workload to its lead back regardless of the situation. In 2019, D'Andre Swift never had fewer than 13 touches against a conference opponent.
WR Terrace Marshall Jr., LSU ($9,100) vs. Mississippi State
LSU had five players with at least 40 receptions a season ago and only Terrace Marshall Jr. returns, making him a strong bet to dominate the target share early in the season. Marshall was frequently used as a downfield weapon, with 37 percent of his targets coming on explosive routes (routes on which FBS receivers average at least 20 yards per reception), according to Sports info Solutions. This game carries a total of 56.5 points, but with Mike Leach running Mississippi State's offense, it has the potential to far exceed that number, making all offensive weapons in this game solid options.
WR T.J. Vasher, Texas Tech ($8,200) vs. Texas
If you want to stack this matchup -- the game with highest total on the slate -- T.J. Vasher is the top weapon for Texas Tech. Despite missing two games last year, Vasher still led the team with 82 targets and picked up where he left off with a team-high 10 targets in the season opener. The 6'6" Vasher is also a serious threat near the end zone and finished sixth in the nation with 21 red zone targets last year, according to Sports Info Solutions.
QB K.J. Costello, Mississippi State ($8,000) vs. LSU
There are 23 quarterbacks on this slate with a higher salary than K.J. Costello, which is absurd to say about Mike Leach's starting quarterback. LSU's defense certainly presents a challenge, but we've seen Leach's offense humble plenty of good defenses over the years. Just last season, for example, on a mediocre Washington State team which went 6-7, Anthony Gordon put up 33.7 fantasy points on against a strong Oregon defense. Based purely on volume, Costello is virtually a lock to overperform based on this salary.
QB Jarrett Guarantano, Tennessee ($7,500) vs. South Carolina
If you're hoping to save as much cap space as possible at quarterback, Jarrett Guarantano looks like the best bet. This is expected to be a low-scoring game with a total of just 43.5 points, but Guarantano should still put up a solid number against South Carolina's defense. In 2019, seven out of 11 FBS quarterbacks reached at least 18 fantasy points against the Gamecocks, including Guarantano (18.7 points).
RB Brian Robinson Jr., Alabama ($6,400) vs. Missouri
Brian Robinson Jr. is the backup to Najee Harris, but with Alabama favored by 27.5 points, they're likely to see similar workloads in this game. For example, in last year's season opener against Duke, Harris saw a team-high 12 carries, but backup Jerome Ford (now with Cincinnati) had 10 carries and led the Alabama running backs with 14.5 fantasy points. With a small workload expected, any of the Alabama running backs are a risky play, but with such a cheap cap hit, Robinson is worth a dart throw in tournaments in hopes he reaches the end zone.
WR Tyrell Shavers, Mississippi State ($7,300) vs. LSU
When drafting Costello, be sure to pair him with one of Mississippi State's receivers. We don't know who will emerge as the top target yet, but we can make some educated guesses based on the depth chart and Leach's past offenses. On the initial depth chart, Tyrell Shavers is listed as the starting Z-receiver with Osiris Mitchell ($7,600) behind him. This is the same spot on the depth chart where Leach listed Dezmon Patmon and Easop Winston last year at Washington State. Winston and Patmon combined for 201 targets, so there should be enough opportunities for Shavers and Mitchell to make a fantasy impact this season for the Bulldogs.
WR Austin Williams, Mississippi State ($6,900) vs. LSU
Of the Mississippi State receivers with a slightly cheaper cap hit, Austin Williams looks like a good bet to emerge as a weapon. He's listed as the starting Y-receiver, a position held by Brandon Arconado (106 targets) in Leach's offense in 2019. The Y-receiver lines up in the slot, as does the H-receiver, a position held by JaVonta Payton ($6,200) on the initial depth chart. Given the volume of targets available in Leach's offense and the cheap salaries for all the receivers, it's reasonable to target one of Shavers or Mitchell along with one of the slot receivers.
TE Arik Gilbert, LSU ($5,300) vs. Mississippi State
Taking a true freshman tight end is a risk, but at this miniscule cap hit, it's worth gambling on Arik Gilbert. Gilbert has been the talk of LSU's training camp, with some comparing him to Calvin Johnson and others saying he could become the best tight end in college football history. It's tough to know what to trust from training camp, especially this year when reporters were mostly not present, but it's safe to say Gilbert is among the most talented players with a salary usually reserved for third-stringers. Last year's LSU tight end, Thaddeus Moss, saw 54 targets, so we can be fairly confident Gilbert will have a role in the passing game.
Players to Avoid
Ole Miss Quarterbacks
Matt Corral ($8,500) and John Rhys Plumlee ($8,500) have been battling for this job, and Ole Miss beat writers are expecting to see both players on Saturday. Since many preseason reports have identified Corral as the favorite, it's tempting to roster him in a stack with Florida quarterback Kyle Trask and some other offensive weapons, but there are just too many unknown factors to justify going that route. Keep on an eye on what transpires Saturday, and potentially someone will emerge as a good option in future weeks.
RB Najee Harris, Alabama ($10,000) vs. Missouri
As previously mentioned, Alabama tends to lighten the workload on its running backs in blowout victories. As a result, Harris didn't see 15 touches in a game until Alabama was six games into its season last year. With the second-highest salary among running backs on this slate, Harris's cap hit is far too expensive with Alabama playing as a near four-touchdown favorite.
WR Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State ($8,900) vs. West Virginia
After quarterback Spencer Sanders went down with an ankle injury in the season opener against Tulsa Golden, Oklahoma State's offense looked lost. With Sanders' status still in doubt, it's hard to trust any of Oklahoma State's weapons in this matchup. One of the nation's elite receivers obviously still has a high ceiling based on his usage, but with just four receptions on 12 targets last week, we have to wonder if anyone other than Sanders is capable of feeding him the football. If Sanders is announced as the starter, however, it's safe to consider Wallace an option again.
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.