College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: Saturday 12/17/22

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.

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.

Surprisingly, the first Saturday of bowl season has been loaded up with teams and players we're targeted in daily fantasy all season. This slate is a great mix of Power 5 and Group of 5 talent, and these matchups could spark some explosive fantasy efforts.

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

The Slate

Total Road
Florida Oregon St -10.5 52.5 21 31.5
Washington St Fresno St +4.0 52.5 28.25 24.25
Rice Southern Miss -6.5 45.5 19.5 26
SMU BYU +4.0 64.5 34.25 30.25
N Texas Boise St -10.5 59.5 24.5 35

The 64.5-point total between Southern Methodist and Brigham Young blows the others out of the water, but as we'll get to, there's one massive reason to believe in the under.

Surprisingly, it's a pretty hefty total on deck for North Texas and Boise State. UNT scored just 27 points on Texas-San Antonio two weeks ago, so a 24.5-point implied team total against a defense as good as Boise's is...interesting.

Rice and Southern Mississippi aren't expected for a shootout, but there's a decent reason to believe in one there, too.

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)
Oregon St1638
Washington St9049
Fresno St1595
Southern Miss8539
N Texas86100
Boise St3120

Personally, these matchups are more important to me than the totals.

As mentioned, the Owls and Golden Eagles have the lowest total of the day, but they both also have pass defenses that ranked 85th or worse in yards per attempt (YPA). There could be explosive plays on deck.

On the flip side, Boise State is a top-35 school against harder competition than North Texas. I don't love the Mean Green's outlook in this one.

It's not the defensive matchups that'll scare you off stacking SMU-BYU. Both schools have been defense-optional this season, ranking outside the top 100 in FBS on the ground and through the air.

One final note -- Fresno State's air raid offense could have a great day against Washington State's 90th-ranked pass D (in terms of YPA).


Here's the caveat of why SMU-BYU may disappoint: the Cougars might not have a quarterback.

Jarren Hall ($11,000) is not expected to play in this one. That source notes both Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters ($7,000) and Nick Billoups ($7,000) have split reps at practice. It could be a dreaded timeshare or "hot hand" scenario for an offense to target on the slate.

We'll still have Tanner Mordecai ($11,400) regardless. Mordecai stumbled to the finish line, failing to eclipse 20 FanDuel points in three straight, but his 10-touchdown outing last month against Houston speaks to his upside against this scuffling BYU secondary.

Jake Haener ($10,100) also draws Wazzu's weak secondary, and he had surpassed 23 FanDuel points before clunkers -- in poor weather -- against Boise and Wyoming. At salary, he's arguably the best play on the slate.

On the other side, Cam Ward ($10,000) is starting to use his legs, rushing for at least 25 yards in three of his past five. Fresno's pass defense is tough on paper, but this is still a Power 5 team playing a Group of 5 squad. Ward lit up Oregon for 375 passing yards. He'll have success in this one.

Taylen Green ($10,300) is the other quarterback I'd consider. Remember, no Anthony Richardson for the Gators as he preps for the NFL Draft.

Running Backs

The five bell-cow backs (over 50.0% rush share in the past five weeks) on this slate are salaried as such. They are Jordan Mims ($9,400), Frank Gore Jr. ($9,200), Tyler Lavine ($9,100), Nakia Watson ($9,500), and Damien Martinez ($8,500).

Among them, Gore is my top pick against the awful Rice defense. He might be contrarian due to the total, too. Watson, at the highest salary, also has a great matchup; the Bulldogs are 95th in FBS in terms of Rushing YPA allowed. Martinez's salary also comes in handy given the passable matchup with Florida.

The only one of said group I'll likely fade is Mims. It's much easier to throw on Wazzu than rush, and the other four backs have pristine matchups.

In terms of value behind them, Christopher Brooks ($8,000) is sensational. He fought injuries midseason, but he returned to 23 carries (47.9% of the team's total) in the last game against Stanford. This BYU offense should be run-heavy with no reliable signal-caller.

Montrell Johnson ($8,200) and Trevor Etienne ($5,800) might also be in line for heavier work with Richardson out for Florida. They both got 17 carries against Florida State, so the nod has to be towards Etienne given the salaries.

Wide Receivers

SMU's Rashee Rice was college football's target leader this year, but he'll sit for SMU due to a "toe injury" -- and prepping for the NFL Draft.

That should thrust Jordan Kerley ($8,200), Roderick Daniels Jr. ($6,200), and RJ Maryland ($6,100) into phenomenal roles for their salary. Dylan Goffney ($5,500) was the only other Mustang to run more than 15 routes per game in the final three contests.

With Rice out, Southern Miss' Jason Brownlee ($9,000) leads the slate in target share for the year (33.3%). He's a gem against the awful Owls' defense. Others with a target share above 25% in their last three games include Fresno's Jalen Moreno-Cropper ($8,500), Oregon State's Treshaun Harrison ($7,000), and Wazzu's Renard Bell ($5,500).

Bell's status is up in the air for this one, but Donovan Ollie ($5,000) and De'zhaun Stribling ($5,000) have also had multiple games with double-digit targets. It's a hard passing attack to target if Bell sits. Robert Ferrel ($8,800) isn't close to worth his salary with just a 17.3% target share this year.

No one other than Puka Nacua ($10,000) has had better than a 16.0% target share for BYU. Nacua (20.6%) is also questionable to play. Given the uncertainty at quarterback, I'll probably just fade this situation and hope the weak quarterback play prevents a splash game.