College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: Saturday 12/3/22

Fresh off his monster day in Columbus, Donovan Edwards should carry the load again for Michigan against Purdue in the Big Ten title game. Which other players can we look toward on FanDuel?

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.

Finding target data for pass-catchers in college can be difficult, 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! Your running back's monstrous first half could lead to a bagel in the second.

It's Conference Championship Saturday, and normally, we see some of the best offenses in college football in action this weekend. That's not really the way this slate turned out, though. The average spread in the four Power 5 title games is 11.0 points. Plus, we've got some of the best defense in the country in action. This one will be tricky.

Note: All stats are from All tables are sortable by any category.

The Slate

Total Road
Toledo Ohio +3.0 54.5 28.75 25.75
Kansas St TCU -2.5 61.5 29.5 32
Coastal Carolina Troy -8.5 47.5 19.5 28
LSU Georgia -17.5 51.5 17 34.5
Fresno St Boise St -3.5 54.5 25.5 29
UCF Tulane -3.5 56.5 26.5 30
Clemson N Carolina +7.5 63.5 35.5 28
Purdue Michigan -16.5 51.5 17.5 34

The Clemson-North Carolina game is fascinating both by total and spread. The 63.5-point total is the highest in a Clemson game this year by 5.5 points, and I'd have expected UNC to be a more distant underdog after losing in consecutive weeks. It's peculiar.

As expected, Georgia and Michigan are huge favorites facing nowhere close to the second-best teams in their conferences. I wasn't planning on stacking against their elite defenses anyway, but now the offense might come with concerns about pulling starters to prep for the College Football Playoff.

Another great game stack appears between Kansas State and Texas Christian. The two played a fantasy-friendly affair with 66 total points in Fort Worth earlier this season, and it'll likely deliver again with a 61.5-point total and tight spread.

Defensive Matchups and Rankings

Note: Higher numbers are easier matchups for the opposing team. Lower numbers are better rankings and tougher matchups.

Team Defensive Passing Yards
Per Attempt Rank (FBS)
Defensive Rushing Yards
Per Attempt Rank (FBS)
Kansas St2866
Coastal Carolina12368
Fresno St2495
Boise St2929
N Carolina10398

Matchups are crucial on these small slates.

For instance, Tulane's excellent defense is much better against the pass than the rush. That's important to know against Central Florida's rush-heavy attack. Fresno State also struggles against the rush in terms of yards per attempt (YPA) despite a solid pass defense.

On the flip side, Purdue has been much more vulnerable through the air than on the ground (53rd in YPA).

These defenses are way better than what you see on an average main slate, but there are still a few imposters. North Carolina, Coastal Carolina, and Ohio are all below the FBS average in YPA against both the rush and pass.

Another reason the total and spread are so curious in Charlotte is that Clemson's defense is elite. They're top-30 against both the pass and run, but Wake Forest dropped 45 points on them earlier this year. They're the "elite" defense I'm most willing to stack against on this slate.


I was out on UNC freshman Drake Maye ($11.700) as lazy, overwhelming chalk in games with high totals all year. That paid handsomely the past two weeks. This -- apparently -- isn't a bad spot to fire him up.

Sharp money is backing both UNC's spread and the over in this game. Maye's Tar Heels have eclipsed 35 points seven different times this year, so it wouldn't be the most shocking outcome in the world if they're able to move the ball on a Clemson defense that isn't foolproof.

Of course, DJ Uiagelelei ($10,500) is on the table against them. UNC's pass defense is atrocious. The only concern would be, if ineffective early, he might have a short leash with a title on the line, and Cade Klubnik ($5,500) has been tremendously efficient in relief.

Adrian Martinez ($10,600) is questionable to return for this weekend's game, but I'm fine with Will Howard ($10,600) instead for K-State. Howard posted 25.1 FanDuel points in part-time relief of Martinez against TCU in his first 2022 appearance. Max Duggan ($10,700) dropped 25.4 FanDuel points on the Wildcats in that same game, and he's reliable access to an ugly TCU target tree.

I'm a bit concerned John Rhys Plumlee ($11,000) tweaked his hamstring and didn't return last Saturday. As a running quarterback, effectiveness is just as much of a worry as leaving early again. I'll probably fade him against a stout Tulane front.

J.J. McCarthy ($8,200) broke out in a big way last week against Ohio State with 31.2 FanDuel points in the Wolverines' first game without star back Blake Corum. He'll have an easier draw with Purdue this week.

In the SEC title game, Stetson Bennett ($9,800) has shown the upside to break 25 FanDuel points four times this year, so I think he works. However, to pay off, LSU probably needs to cover a 17.5-point spread, and in that event, dual-threat Jayden Daniels ($8,500) probably has made progress on the other side and would be the better play anyway.

Running Backs

With rush share percentages over 60.0% last week in friendly matchups, Deuce Vaughn ($10,000), Tyjae Spears ($9,800), and Donovan Edwards ($9,000) are the clear headliners at the position. Building around them in tournaments is more difficult.

In the "matchup over workload" category are Will Shipley ($9,100), George Holani ($8,800), and Kenny McIntosh ($7,900). All are lead tailbacks in elite matchups, but they also are in a committee, handling no more than 45.0% of the team's carries in their last game.

In the "workload over matchup" category, Elijah Green ($7,600), and Devin Mockabee ($6,700) all got over 70.0% of the team's carries, but Clemson and Michigan are brutal matchups for both. Fresno's Jordan Mims ($8,200) also has a 62.5% rush share for the season in a difficult matchup with Boise.

Two names are a wonderful balance of both. Kimani Vidal ($8,500) has 52.1% of Troy's carries this season facing a mediocre Coastal Carolina defense, and Peny Boone ($6,600) is the can't-miss play on the slate. He got a season-high 15 totes (62.5 of Toledo's carries) last game as the ineffective Micah Kelly ($5,900) got zero. He's worth a dart at his salary.

Wide Receivers

If Maye and the Tar Heels hang, it's once again Josh Downs ($9,700) over Antoine Green ($8,700).

Downs got 13 targets to Green's 10 last week versus North Carolina State, but their season target shares aren't close. Downs has an appropriate 25.7% share (considering he missed three games) for his salary, and Green is at a paltry 13.3%.

Even in one of the most difficult matchups in the country, Charlie Jones ($8,500) has to be in play at a salary this low. His 30.2% target share for the season is second on the slate, and he's seen 11.2 looks per game in his past five.

In the past five games for Tez Johnson ($8,100), he's held a 39.1% target share. On the other side of the Trojans, Sam Pinckney ($7,400) actually leads the slate in season-long target share, but his numbers have tanked since Grayson McCall ($10,000) exited the lineup. McCall is questionable to play Saturday.

Similar to Jones, Ryan O'Keefe ($8,300) has a solid workload in a tough matchup. He's gotten 9.2 targets per game in his past five, but both Jerome Baker ($7,300) and Kobe Hudson ($7,200) have emerged to steal high-leverage work recently. Honestly, with Plumlee, this offense doesn't throw enough to bother against the Green Wave secondary.

I love this spot for Ronnie Bell ($6,900). Bell didn't hop in on the fun last week in Columbus with teammates catching long scores, but he still ran the most UM routes and leads the Wolverines in target share (29.1%) in the past five games.

Both Malik Nabers ($5,900) and Kayshon Boutte ($5,700) are talented guys on the outside for LSU, and they figure to trail all afternoon. I wouldn't be surprised if one (or both) paid off handsomely as value plays despite the brutal matchup.

In a game with plenty of scoring, Malik Knowles ($7,000) has a funky gadget role with touchdown equity for K-State, too.