College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: Saturday 12/19/20
Late cancellations strike again. Florida State and Wake Forest are on the Saturday slate, but the matchup has been cancelled. A few players from this matchup would have been good additions to our lineups, but be sure to avoid both teams when putting together your roster.
In this preview, I'll break down the Saturday main slate into three categories based on FanDuel 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 Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA ($11,500) vs. Stanford
Dorian Thompson-Robinson carries the highest salary on the slate, but he's worth squeezing into some lineups against this Stanford defense. The Cardinal are allowing 24.4 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, the second highest mark in the Pac-12. DTR has eclipsed 30 points in three of four games and carries a safe floor every week due to his strong rushing numbers. Excluding sacks, Robinson is averaging 9.8 carries and 73.8 rushing yards per game.
QB Justin Fields, Northwestern ($11,000) vs. Northwestern
Northwestern is holding quarterbacks 6.2 fantasy points below their average, so be prepared for the possibility Justin Fields falls below expectations. However, Fields has topped 30 fantasy points in four of five games and appears to be matchup proof. Ohio State carries an implied total of 37.0 points, so it's probably safe to trust Fields to do his usual damage.
QB Mac Jones, Alabama ($10,000) vs. Florida
Alabama's implied total is set to 45.5 points, which gives Mac Jones an elite ceiling in this potential shootout. Jones has been held under 20 fantasy points in two of his last four games, but the Tide are unlikely to wrap up this game early enough for Jones to rest for an extended period of time in the second half. Due to those recent inconsistent performances, Jones' salary actually fell by $800 this week, so he's coming at a discount in what could be one of his strongest fantasy performances of the year.
QB Max Johnson, LSU ($8,900) vs. Ole Miss
Max Johnson was brilliant in his starting debut for LSU, leading the Tigers to an upset victory over Florida while posting 26.8 fantasy points. Johnson was banged up in the game but is expected to start against a terrible Ole Miss defense. The Rebels are allowing opposing quarterbacks to score 7.3 fantasy points above their season average, the worst rate among Power 5 defenses.
RB Najee Harris, Alabama ($11,200) vs. Florida
After a predictably light workload last week, Najee Harris' usage should be back to normal in the SEC championship game. Florida has allowed at least 25 points to running backs in six of 10 games. Harris' usage near the goal line -- he has multiple touchdowns in seven games -- makes him an option every week.
RB Breece Hall, Iowa State ($10,700) vs. Oklahoma
In the first meeting between Iowa State and Oklahoma, Breece Hall ran 139 yards on 28 carries, while posting 27.2 fantasy points. That heavy workload came despite Iowa State trailing for the majority of the game, demonstrating Hall's lack of game-script dependency. Hall has a 31 percent usage rate inside the 10-yard line, so it's no surprise he's scored in every game, including seven games with multiple touchdowns.
RB Jerrion Ealy, Ole Miss ($8,900) vs. LSU
According to Sports Info Solutions, LSU has allowed 5.9 yards per carry versus 11 personnel formations, compared to 4.9 in all other formations. This trend bodes well for Jerrion Ealy, as Ole Miss uses 11 personnel on 89 percent of its rush attempts. Ealy has at least 15 carries in six straight games and could potentially see an increased workload in the passing game due to the Rebels' depleted receiving corps.
WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama ($11,000) vs. Florida
DeVonta Smith will primarily be lined up against Gators' cornerback Marco Wilson, who has been a liability in coverage. According to Sports Info Solutions, Wilson is allowing a 57.8 percent completion rate and 8.6 yards per target in coverage. Smith would likely see a strong workload regardless of the matchup, but this appears to be a mismatch Alabama will want to exploit often.
RB Keyvone Lee, Penn State ($6,400) vs. Illinois
Keyvone Lee might be splitting carries with Devyn Ford ($6,100), but Ford has been injured and Lee has been effective as the primary ball carrier the last few weeks. Whoever is the lead back for Penn State finds themselves in an ideal matchup against the Illinois defense. The Nittany Lions run the ball from 11 personnel on 81 percent of their attempts, according to Sports Info Solutions. Against those formations, Illinois is allowing 6.2 yards per carry.
TE Jalen Wydermyer, Texas A&M ($7,900) vs. Tennessee
The Tennessee defense has struggled to defend downfield passes, giving up 13.5 yards per target and nine touchdowns on explosive routes -- defined as route types on which FBS receivers average 20 or more yards per reception -- according to Sports Info Solutions. Tight end Jalen Wydermyer has been Texas A&M's most consistent weapon on those routes (seven receptions and four touchdowns), but all-purpose weapon Ainias Smith ($8,000) and receiver Chase Lane ($6,400) have also been used at elevated rates on these types of routes.
WR Dontario Drummond, Ole Miss ($7,500) vs. LSU
With Elijah Moore and Kenny Yeboah opting out, Ole Miss will be without 53 percent of their targets. Dontario Drummond's usage has been inconsistent, but he'll be forced into a larger role this week. Among Ole Miss' remaining receivers, the 6'0" senior leads the team with eight red zone targets.
WR Jonathan Mingo, Ole Miss ($7,000) vs. LSU
Jonathan Mingo is listed as the starting slot receiver in Elijah Moore's absence. Mingo had previously been starting on the outside but slides into the role where Moore saw a 39.5 percent target share this year. Given the success quarterback Matt Corral has demonstrated throwing to the slot, it's probably safe to bet on Mingo leading the way for Ole Miss' receivers against LSU.
WR Kayshon Boutte, LSU ($7,000) vs. Ole Miss
Opt-outs have decimated the LSU offense, leaving Kayshon Boutte as the top weapon in the passing game. Boutte has seen a 28 percent target share over the last two weeks, and that rate could rise with tight end Arik Gilbert opting out this week. Ole Miss is allowing 52.9 fantasy points to opposing receivers, the second most in the nation. With a low salary and an ideal matchup, Boutte is a must-roster player this week.
WR Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman, Northwestern ($6,900) vs. Ohio State
Northwestern will try to slow down the pace of this game, but if Ohio State builds a lead, the Wildcats will be forced to pick up the pace and throw downfield. The Buckeyes' secondary has been vulnerable at times this year, allowing a receiver to reach 30 fantasy points twice in five games. Northwestern spreads the ball around, but Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman is their primary downfield weapon with 11 targets on explosive routes.
WR Kyle Phillips, UCLA ($6,500) vs. Stanford
Kyle Phillips leads UCLA with a 29 percent target share and primarily lines up in the slot. Stanford is allowing 10.5 yards per target to slot receivers, the fourth most in the nation, per Sports Info Solutions.
Players to Avoid
RB Mohamed Ibrahim, Minnesota ($9,500) vs. Wisconsin
Mohamed Ibrahim is having a stellar season for Minnesota and could out-play expectations, but this will be his toughest test of the year. Wisconsin is allowing just 2.0 yards per rush attempt against 12 personnel, the formation Minnesota has used on 55 percent of Ibrahim's carries, according to Sports Info Solutions. Additionally, Wisconsin's slow style of play has allowed opponents to attempt an average of just 54 plays per game, the fewest in the nation. Minnesota's opponents are running only 60.2 plays per game, the fifth fewest -- so it's probably best to just stay away from this game entirely.
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.