College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: Saturday 10/24/15
Do you find yourself saying that often this time of the work week? So do I -- but maybe not for the same reasons. Sure, I'm thankful that the work week is now finally coming to an end. That's not it though. It's the itch -- the itch that can only be satisfied by a great Saturday of college football.
If you're like me, what better way to scratch that itch than by plopping down on the couch for 10 to 12 hours, tuning into the games and tracking your fantasy players. Just thinking about it makes me anxious for it to be here already.
If that sounds like you, here's a little something to help you out with your own picks and preview just a small portion of what's on tap for this college football Saturday.
Our in-house projections are here to help me help you. These projections produce team-based statistics based on our algorithms, so this type of approach is logical, as the basic principles of any daily fantasy sport are to target high point projections and teams that are supposed to perform well offensively.
Without further ado, let's get scratchin'!
Early Slate - Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma ($9,400)
Can you say revenge game? It was just two years ago that Mayfield, in pursuit of greener pastures, transferred from Texas Tech to Oklahoma. This Saturday, Mayfield will finally meet up with his old team in his new home, likely out to prove himself in what should be a Big 12 shootout in Norman. This game has an over/under of 73, and the Sooners are favored by 14, making for an appealing implied team total of 43.5. So it's a revenge game and a high-scoring affair -- what's not to like about Mayfield? It's certainly not our projections, as our model predicts the Sooners to throw for nearly 270 yards on their way to over 485 total yards. I wouldn't be surprised if Mayfield, an underrated dual-threat quarterback, accounted for four or five touchdowns after all is said and done.
Late Slate - Brett Rypien, Boise State ($6,900)
There are a lot of intriguing quarterback options on this week's late slate. That doesn't mean you have to leverage the farm for one, though. While everyone's doing just that in order to roster guys like J.T. Barrett, Chad Kelly or Dak Prescott, you could be basking in the value of the Broncos' star quarterback, Brett Rypien. Prior to putting up a stinker last week against a tough Utah State defense, Rypien was averaging over 310 yards per game with 7 touchdowns over a three game span. That's the Rypien you should expect to see this week as he and the Broncos match up with Wyoming's 13th-worst pass defense, according to our metrics. And don't worry about the 35-point spread -- in the aforementioned three game span the Broncos won by an average of 32 points, so our projection of 280-plus passing yards isn't out of the question.
Top Running Backs
Early - Kareem Hunt, Toledo ($7,100)
Toledo and Massachusetts is one of only two games in the early slate involving non-Power 5 conference foes. Matchups of this kind can sometimes go unnoticed, but this one should have your full attention for two reasons. First, Toledo can really run the ball, and second, Massachusetts can't really stop the run at all. According to our metrics, Toledo ranks 27th in the nation in adjusted rush yards per play (5.11) while Massachusetts comes into the matchup giving up the 10th most adjusted rush yards per play (5.27). Enter Kareem Hunt. Hunt is finally healthy and should be good to go as the Rockets' lead back in this one. As such, he should produce some big numbers for a rushing offense we project to amass over 250 yards via the ground attack.
Late - Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State ($9,900)
It probably doesn't take me mentioning this again but there's going to be a lot of people on J.T. Barrett this week -- and that's okay. He's probably going to have a good week against a weak Rutgers defense, but I think more people should be on Elliott than I expect there to be. He's seen at least 21 carries in five of seven games this season, rushed for over 100 yards in every game this season and has three multi-touchdown games. He's been the most consistent running back not named Leonard Fournette, and he has a matchup just as good as Fournette's this week at a $500 discount. Rutgers surrenders 4.72 adjusted yards per rush, so why wouldn't we project Elliott and the Ohio State rushing game to go for over 250 yards in this one?
Top Wide Receivers
Early - Jay Lee, Baylor ($6,300) & Gabe Marks, Washington State ($7,100)
Jay Lee hasn't been all too consistent this year as he's dependent on the big play. His numbers -- 21 catches, 494 yards and 6 touchdowns in 6 games -- say as much. Baylor's number two receiver averages just 3.5 catches per game, but on average, one of those has been for a score (likely a long one). Expect him to do that again this week with Baylor poised to put up big points against an Iowa State team allowing 8.12 adjusted yards per pass. Baylor has the highest implied total (57.75 points) on the slate, and our numbers like them to do a lot of that (290 yards) through the air. Lee is in a prime spot to take his few catches and make the most of them.
Washington State loves to throw the ball -- we all know that. But did you know that Arizona, the Cougars' opponent this week, is coming off a game in which they allowed Colorado to pass for 339 yards and 2 touchdowns? Did you also know that the Wildcats have given up an average of 33.5 points per game on the year? And that's just on average. Washington State's offense (particularly their passing attack) is definitely not average, which is why this game is headed for a complete aerial shootout. It has an over/under of 73.5 with a spread of just 7.5 points in favor of the Wildcats. With their implied total at 33 points, the Cougars are projected to pass for over 315 yards. Gabe Marks is the best wide receiver on a team that will be throwing the ball possibly 50-plus times this week. A reasonable price tag is even further reason to target him this week.
Late - Christian Kirk, Texas A&M ($7,400) & Thomas Sperbeck, Boise State ($7,700)
Kirk is the most talented freshmen in the country. Don't believe me? Just last week he faced off against Alabama, and everyone knew he was going to get the ball, and he still tallied 7 receptions for 90 yards and a carry for 11 yards. This week A&M gets an Ole Miss team that's given up at least 37 points in two of their last three games and was torched by Memphis receivers a week ago. With an implied total of 29.5 points in a game they'll likely be trailing but within reach. The Aggies might be throwing the ball even more than they usually do. We have them down for 250 yards passing, of which Kirk should be the biggest beneficiary.
As I explained above, game script doesn't matter for the impending Boise State blowout. The Broncos continued to sling the ball around the field in three previous blowouts a few weeks ago. Some people may be looking elsewhere due to that sizable spread, but that's why I (and you should) like pairing Sperbeck up with his quarterback here. In the last four games -- and that's including a matchup last week with Utah State -- Sperbeck has 21 catches for 542 yards and 5 touchdowns. With Boise poised to put up a big number in this one, there's no reason to doubt their number one target in the passing game.
Top Tight Ends
Early - Mark Andrews, Oklahoma ($2,000)
See: Mayfield, Baker. No, but seriously why not stack one of the better tight end options on the slate with a quarterback who should be out to prove a point this week. Oh, and did I mention he's minimum salary? I feel like I'm stealing something by rostering Andrews, especially if he catches his fifth score of the year. That makes the Oklahoma tight end a great GPP target.
Late - Gus Walley, Mississippi State ($2,000)
Not paying up at tight end this week? Neither am I. There's value to be had in a little known tight end from Mississippi State named Gus Wally. He's coming off an early exit last week with what has been an undisclosed injury, so that might be factor in his pricing. Either way I'm happy to take advantage of a guy who, in three full games, has 15 catches for 109 yards and a score. It also helps that he's part of a Bulldog team with an implied total of 34 points, according to Vegas, and a projection of nearly 250 passing yards, according to our numbers.