College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: Saturday 10/3/20 Main Slate
Week 5 in the college football world brings us another large slate of games, many with shootout potential. As a result, it looks like the best strategy this week may be to target high-salaried quarterbacks while looking for value at other positions.
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 ($11,000) vs. TCU
Through two games, Sam Ehlinger has posted the highest fantasy score among quarterbacks this season (44.4 against Texas Tech) and the seventh-highest score (38.2 against UTEP). Although his salary is $500 more expensive than anyone else on this slate, if you can find some undervalued options to slide into your lineup, you can justify using Ehlinger every week.
QB K.J. Costello, Mississippi State ($10,500) vs. Arkansas
K.J. Costello was featured as a value play in last week's DFS helper, and after just one offensive explosion, his salary has climbed $2,500, giving him the second highest cap hit on this slate. He isn't the must-roster player he was last week, but you can still trust him to put up a big number against a terrible Arkansas defense. Last week Arkansas gave up 18.4 fantasy points to Stetson Bennett, who was effectively Georgia's fourth-string quarterback at one point -- only promoted after Jamie Newman opted out, J.T. Daniels was injured and D'Wan Mathis was benched after a shaky first half.
QB Shane Buechele, SMU ($10,200) vs. Memphis
Shane Buechele has been a fantasy disappointment so far this season, being held under 20 points twice in three games. However, his matchup with Memphis features the highest total on the slate (73.5) and gives Buechele a huge ceiling. Last year Buechele put up 29 fantasy points in Memphis' 54-48 victory in the a wild shootout between these two teams. Expect the stars in this matchup to be rostered at a high rate, but you'll still want to get in on the action in anticipation of another high-scoring affair.
QB Brady White, Memphis ($9,700) vs. SMU
If you want to get in on the SMU-Memphis shootout while saving a little cap space at the quarterback position, you can opt for Memphis' Brady White. Memphis tends to throw less often than SMU, setting a lower weekly ceiling than Buechele has, but they'll turn White loose in a close game. In last year's shootout, White put up 25 fantasy points on 33 pass attempts. He also threw the ball 37 times in Memphis' season opener against Arkansas State.
QB Brock Purdy, Iowa State ($8,700) vs. Oklahoma
The Oklahoma defense is coming off a game in which it allowed 334 passing yards and 36.4 fantasy points to Kansas State's Skyler Thompson, who is not known as an elite passer -- he averaged just 178 yards per game in 2019. Despite two disappointing outings to start the season -- he's averaging just 9.7 fantasy points per game -- Brock Purdy is someone we can trust to bounce back against this Sooners defense. In last year's 42-41 loss to Oklahoma, Purdy generated a career-high 43 fantasy points.
RB Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State ($9,800) vs. Kansas
Chuba Hubbard hasn't quite lived up to lofty expectations this year, averaging just 15.9 fantasy points per game through two contests. However, the Kansas defense is may be just what he needs to get going. Last week against Baylor, Kansas allowed three different Bears running backs to reach double-digit fantasy points, with the trio combining for 47.8 points.
RB Kylin Hill, Mississippi State ($9,500) vs. Arkansas
In his debut in Mike Leach's offense, Kylin Hill put up 29.2 fantasy points on just 15 touches, demonstrating the elite fantasy ceiling he'll have every week this year. In a potential blowout against Arkansas, he may not see the same passing-game volume as last week (10 targets), but he should see more than seven touches in the run game. Georgia's running backs combined for 22 fantasy points against the Arkansas defense last week, with 16 coming from starter Zamir White.
WR Damonte Coxie, Memphis ($9,400) vs. SMU
Damonte Coxie saw a 30 percent target share in Memphis' season opener, which was identical to his target share in 2019. In a likely shootout, stacking Coxie with White is a smart strategy if you can find the right mix of cheaper salaries to pull it off.
QB Collin Hill, South Carolina ($7,700) vs. Florida
Florida is expected to have a strong defense this year, but Ole Miss' Matt Corral put up 31.8 fantasy points on the Gators last week. It's possible Florida's offensive improvement works against them this year -- at least from a fantasy perspective -- forcing teams to air it out earlier and leading to more high-scoring games. Collin Hill had a strong debut for South Carolina with 18.8 fantasy points against Tennessee. Hill's smooth transition to the South Carolina offense was no surprise, as he played for new Gamecocks offensive coordinator Mike Bobo at Colorado State over the previous three seasons.
QB Brennan Armstrong, Virginia ($6,800) vs. Clemson
As a 27.5-point underdog, Virginia isn't expected to do much against the Clemson defense, but Brennan Armstrong is worth a dart throw after putting up 27.5 fantasy points in his debut as the Cavaliers starter last week against Duke. What makes Amstrong particularly appealing is his dual-treat ability. Excluding sacks, Armstrong carried the ball nine times for 56 yards and a touchdown against a solid Duke defense.
RB Keaontay Ingram, Texas ($7,700) vs. TCU
Keaontay Ingram and Roschon Johnson ($7,400) each have 24 touches this season, but Ingram remains listed atop the Texas depth chart and has been decidedly more effective, averaging 6.3 yards per carry, compared to 3.4 for Johnson. After Johnson averaged just 2.8 yards per carry against Texas Tech, perhaps this is the week Ingram separates himself. The TCU defense was gashed by Iowa State's Breece Hall last week for 155 yards and 35 fantasy points. And, according to Sports Info Solutions, the TCU defense had a broken/missed tackle rate of 16.7 percent and allowed 3.7 yards after contact per attempt.
RB Deneric Prince, Tulsa ($7,100) vs. UCF
Tulsa lost starting running back Shamari Brooks to an ACL injury shortly before the season, forcing Deneric Prince into the feature-back role in the offense. In the season opener against Oklahoma State, Prince picked up 9.8 fantasy points on 13 carries and one target in the passing game. UCF should provide an easier test, as the Knights are allowing 39.8 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, which ranks 64th out of 72 schools. There's some risk of this turning into a blowout -- UCF is favored by 21.5 points -- but big wins over Georgia Tech and East Carolina clearly haven't stopped opposing running backs from doing some damage.
RB Harry Trotter, Kansas State ($7,000) vs. Texas Tech
Harry Trotter missed Kansas State's last game for undisclosed reasons, so keep an eye on his status leading up to this game. If he's cleared to play, this is an extremely cheap salary for a starting running back. Trotter's low cap hit is likely due, in part, to the emergence of freshman Deuce Vaughn ($8,000), who is averaging 19.1 fantasy points per game as Trotter's backup. However, the 5'5" Vaughn will probably never be more than a gadget weapon in the Kansas State offense due to his size. Even during Trotter's absence last week, Vaughn saw just eight carries, indicating he probably isn't a threat to Trotter's job.
RB Rakeem Boyd, Arkansas ($6,800) vs. Mississippi State
Georgia's defense held Rakeem Boyd to just 4.9 fantasy points last week, but Mississippi State is unlikely to provide as much of a challenge for the Arkansas offense. An encouraging number from Boyd's season debut was his five targets in the passing game. If that workload continues, he could be a viable fantasy target in most weeks, even as Arkansas struggles. There's certainly some risk in using any player from an offense that has averaged 16.6 points per game in SEC play over the last two seasons, but Boyd's cap hit is low enough to make him worth the gamble.
TE Hunter Long, Boston College ($7,900) vs. North Carolina
Shortly before the start of the season, Boston College lost number-one receiver Kobay White, which opened the door for Hunter Long to take over as the top weapon in the passing game. Through two games, Long has seen a 33 percent target share and posted fantasy scores of 18.8 and 18.6 points. With Boston College playing as a 14.5-point underdog, Long should see another strong workload as the Eagles play from behind.
WR Tyrell Shavers, Mississippi State ($7,500) vs. Arkansas
Tyrell Shavers is Mississippi State's starting Z-receiver. However, it was his backup, Osirus Mitchell ($9,800) who went off for 37.8 fantasy points on 12 targets last week against LSU. As I mentioned last week, we should expect plenty of targets to be available for both of these receivers, so don't read too much into Mitchell having the first big game of the season. Last year at Washington State, Mike Leach's offense generated a combined 201 targets (over 90 apiece) for Z-receivers Dezmon Patmon and Easop Winston.
WR Austin Williams, Mississippi State ($6,700) vs. Arkansas
Austin Williams was on last week's value play list due to his role as one of Leach's starting slot receivers. He cashed in 15.2 fantasy points on eight targets, and somehow his salary dropped by $200. Leach's slot receivers typically don't have the same ceiling as his Z-receivers, but this is a very reasonable salary for Williams, making him an ideal addition to any lineup in which you're using Costello at quarterback.
TE Kylen Granson, SMU ($6,300) vs. Memphis
Kylen Granson sticks out as an elite value this week due to the likelihood this game turns into a shootout. Gransen is the third option in the SMU passing game, seeing a 14 percent target share. More importantly, he's the go-to receiver in the red zone with a team-high seven targets (41 percent target share) inside the 20.
WR Billy Kemp, Virginia ($5,900) vs. Clemson
Billy Kemp lined up all over the field for Virginia in his season debut and led the team with 13 targets. According to Sports Info Solutions, six of those targets came while lined up wide, five more came from the slot and two while lined up in the backfield. Clearly Virginia wants to move him around and find creative ways to get the ball in his hands. In a game in which Virginia will likely be playing from behind, Kemp is virtually a must-use player given his dirt-cheap salary.
Players to Avoid
QB Charlie Brewer, Baylor ($8,600) vs. West Virginia
Baylor's potent offense usually puts Charlie Brewer on the fantasy radar, but West Virginia's improved defense may pose a challenge. The Mountaineers haven't really been tested yet this year, facing only Eastern Kentucky and Oklahoma State with backup quarterback Shane Illingworth. But it's worth noting they've held those quarterbacks to a combined 5.5 fantasy points. Maybe we'll learn those two early season games were a fluke, but for now it's probably best to steer clear of the West Virginia defense.
WR Seth Williams, Auburn ($8,100) vs. Georgia
In the season opener against Kentucky, Seth Williams saw a 46 percent target share (11 targets) and cashed in with 26.2 fantasy points. He draws a significantly more challenging matchup this week, however, against Georgia cornerback Eric Stokes. According to Sports Info Solutions, Stokes allowed just 4.8 yards per target in coverage last season and gave up just one reception for six yards -- and also picked off a pass -- last week against Arkansas.
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.