College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: Saturday 9/3/22
With daily fantasy football so popular, it was only a matter of time before it translated to the college level.
FanDuel offers college football daily fantasy contests now in most states, and there's a twist on the NFL ruleset. You select a quarterback, two running backs, three wideouts (which can include tight ends), and a "SuperFLEX" that can be any of those positions.
Target data for pass-catchers in college can be difficult to find, so finding out which players are on the field and getting work can make all the difference. Naturally, there are also more lopsided outcomes in college, so balance game scripts appropriately as well! Your running back's monstrous first half could lead to a bagel in the second.
Last week's appetizer of mid-major schools led into this Week 1 main course. Plenty of interconference, Power 5 affairs have led to a juicy, 14-game slate on Labor Day weekend, and some of college football's brightest stars are back in action.
Note: All stats are from PFF.com.
|North Carolina||Appalachian State||+0.5||55.5||28||27.5|
|Arizona||San Diego State||-5.5||47.5||21||26.5|
|Notre Dame||Ohio State||-17.5||59.5||21||38.5|
|NC State||East Carolina||+11.5||51.5||31.5||20|
Other team totals I'll target include Arkansas, San Diego State, Mississippi State, and North Carolina State. Despite the lofty projected total, I'm a bit wary of Ohio State against the vaunted Notre Dame defense.
In one of the marquee games for fantasy, Louisville senior Malik Cunningham ($11,200) is the top signal-caller on the slate.
Others are in blowout environments, but Cunningham is a dual-threat that should score in bunches. He averaged 89.4 rushing yards per contest last year for context. Syracuse isn't a pushover defensively (projected 45th in ESPN's SP+ preseason rankings), but the pace should be phenomenal.
Will Rogers ($10,400) is a high-floor option as well. Rogers led FBS at 52.6 attempts per game last year in Mike Leach's system at Mississippi State. His efficiency (6.9 yards per attempt) could have been better, but save those concerns for another week. It'll just help them not blow out Memphis.
Both Anthony Richardson ($10,000) and KJ Jefferson ($9,400) are dual-threat guys as well. Both averaged over 55 rush yards per contest, and their respective matchups, Utah and Cincinnati, aren't nearly as scary as they were last year with both defenses sending plenty of talent to the NFL.
Other experienced starters in plum spots are Clayton Tune ($9,500) from Houston and Phil Jurkovic ($8,800) from Boston College.
Notre Dame is eighth in ESPN's SP+ defensive projections for good reason. It's a defense littered with seniors, so there will be better weeks to target C.J. Stroud ($10,700) and the Buckeyes.
Cam Rising ($9,200) also was a fantasy darling opposite Stroud in January's Rose Bowl, but he'll be in for a tough assignment against a vicious Florida front seven.
A perfect bring-back option for Cunningham is Sean Tucker ($9,800) from the Orange.
Tucker leads all backs on this slate in carries per game last year (20.4), and Louisville's front seven was 79th last year in rushing yards allowed per attempt. Even with an offseason to improve, they probably won't be juggernauts.
While my default strategy is spending up more at running back, it's a tough week to do. TreVeyon Henderson ($10,000) has an even more difficult matchup than Stroud into the Irish front seven, and Blake Corum ($9,500) and Jahmyr Gibbs ($9,200) are unlikely to see much second-half work.
Eric Gray ($8,400) has a salary low enough to roll the dice on a couple of touchdowns for Oklahoma, though.
Considering he saw 17.3 attempts per game last year, Pat Garwo III ($7,800) is criminally undersalaried. B.C. will usually have issues with efficiency, but lowly Rutgers is far from a concerning matchup.
Greg Bell is now in the NFL, so his heavy workload at SDSU could end up in the hands of Chance Bell ($6,800). No relation except -- hopefully -- a firm hold on the top running back spot.
D.J. Jones ($5,100) is listed atop the depth chart for UNC, but it's Omarian Hampton ($8,700) at the top of the player pool. That's a cloudy situation that carries a ton of risk despite the marquee spot.
Jordan Houston ($7,500) is another potential lead back in the mid-range. NC State was a rush-heavy attack last year and lost both Zonovan Knight and Ricky Person Jr, this offseason.
Georgia's nightmare running back committee might have more clarity this year with senior Kenny McIntosh ($8,200) leading the way. Kendall Minton ($6,000) should mix in, but McIntosh is likely the goal-line back.
There are too many good mid-range options to spend up often on this slate, personally.
Part of the reason to spend down at running back is a loaded crop of wideouts.
Josh Downs ($9,700) had a 41.6% target share last season -- and 11.6 targets per game. Any limitations for him to score will be the fault of his pedestrian quarterback play, but I'll still use him heavily without a quarterback. He'll be fed just as much as UNC's one true playmaker.
Nathaniel Dell ($9,500) also got 9.6 targets per game last year as a sophomore. That was good for a 31.6% share of a pass-happy Houston attack. In one of the day's highest-totaled affairs, Dell could erupt. Zakhari Franklin ($8,800) had a 30.1% share of UTSA's targets in 2021 on the other side, so there's a high-floor stack for cash games.
Receivers are even riskier than backs in blowout affairs, so be wary of Jermaine Burton ($8,800) this week. The Georgia transfer will make noise for the Tide, but his afternoon will likely be short.
Due to several transfers, Marvin Mims ($7,400) is the undisputed top guy in Norman. With the highest-salaried quarterback on the slate, he's a no-brainer with not much risk of the blowout considering the salary.
Zay Flowers ($7,000) was a cash-game gem with a 30.0% target share for Boston College last year, and he's back for another campaign. If Jurkovic takes another step as a passer, Flowers might have more of a ceiling.
Tight ends -- especially early in the year -- are usually a good bargain with touchdown equity, and it's no different this week. Notre Dame's Michael Mayer ($6,800) is a beast that should flirt with double-digit targets weekly as he did a year ago (7.5 per game), and Louisville's Marshon Ford ($5,800) has their highest returning 2021 target share (20.1%) as well.
After receiving 8.8 targets per game last year, Arizona's Jacob Cowing ($8,100) is great value and pairs well with Ford in a script where the Aztecs lead.
The Mississippi State passing game has so much volume that it can't be ignored. Someone will separate just as Makai Polk did last season. Rara Thomas ($6,800) is listed as the "X" starter in Polk's old role, but Caleb Ducking ($4,100) could be an insane value as the starter on the other side. Rufus Harvey ($7,000) is much more of a tight end in a "Y" role, but he'll get targets, too.
There are enough value options here -- and at tailback -- to really think hard about using two quarterbacks in every lineup. It's Week 1; they're the ones with the most assured volume at this stage.