College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: Saturday 10/31/15
Why worry about the trick in trick-or-treat when you can just get the treat?
That's what this Saturday's slate of college football games feels like if you're a college football fanatic like me. It may not be what we're accustomed to so far this year -- multiple matchups between ranked teams -- but it's sure to be full of fantasy sweetness.
There are five games with an over/under of at least 60 points and involving a top-25 team, which has all the makings of a high-scoring college football Saturday. The same goes for daily fantasy scoring, and with high-powered offenses like Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Washington State, Houston, Memphis and Western Kentucky taking to the field that comes as no surprise. But with so many good offenses on hand where do we direct our attention?
Our in-house projections are here to guide us in the right direction. 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.
Let's see who we should be targeting on this Halloween Saturday.
Early Slate - Brandon Doughty, Western Kentucky ($9,400)
It was two weeks ago that I heard a TV commentator most accurately describe the Hilltopper offense as a "Baylor, Jr." That sounds about right as Western Kentucky is averaging 41 points per game on the back of the nation's 12th most efficient passing offense (according to our metrics). Brandon Doughty and the Hilltoppers throw for an average of 396.9 yards per game, which is good enough for fourth in the country, and this week they get an Old Dominion team that surrenders 7.84 adjusted yards per pass. Coming off a blowout loss to LSU and going up against a middling pass defense, the numbers like WKU to get back to their usual ways. Our projections have Doughty down for just under 310 yards while Vegas gives the Hilltoppers an implied total of 41 points. Doughty's a no-brainer.
Late Slate - Luke Falk, Washington State ($10,000)
Last week, I rolled out Falk against a weak Arizona pass defense and he did not disappoint. While I don't expect him to have a repeat performance this week against a stiffer Stanford defense he should still be one of the biggest fantasy producers this week, and for one simple reason -- he's on fire. In his last three games, the Cougar quarterback, on an average of 62 pass attempts per game, owns a completion percentage north of 71% and has thrown for an average of 475 yards and 5 touchdowns per game. That's just shy of 40 FanDuel points per game -- wow! Some will be scared off by Stanford's defense but they've been susceptible to the pass this year, allowing 7.26 yards per pass. Don't be scared -- it's just Halloween.
Top Running Backs
Early - Joe Mixon, Oklahoma ($6,400)
After his 2015 coming out party, a lot of daily fantasy footballers are going to be all over Samaje Perine -- and I'm saying, let them! I don't doubt Perine's ability to meet value this week, but I do like his backup, Joe Mixon, and his ability to do so even more. At his reduced price point, Mixon could have nearly if not the same number of carries as his running mate. Just last week in a blowout win over Texas Tech Mixon tallied 16 carries to Perine's 23, and I don't expect this week to be any different. The Sooners are 39.5-point favorites over the Kansas Jayhawks in a game with an over/under of 60.5 points. Oklahoma is likely to score a handful of touchdowns in the first half alone so I could see Mixon getting all of the second half work in this one. He should be a big part of his team's projected 200-plus rushing yards so fitting him into your lineup would me a smart move this week.
Late - Christian McCaffrey, Stanford ($9,400)
Opposite the pass-happy Washington State offense is the Cardinal's run-heavy attack powered by star running back Christian McCaffrey. This is where I like the game script to play out perfectly for both team's play style. As Vegas favorites (-10.0), Stanford should get up in this game and look to stay ahead by utilizing the strength of their running back and offensive line. Conveniently, run defense isn't the Cougars' strong suit either. Washington State allows 4.49 adjusted yard per rush so far this season, and now we're talking about them trying to stop one of the better overall runners in the country. Our numbers see that combination leading to over 200 yards for the Stanford run game of which McCaffrey will be the primary beneficiary.
Top Wide Receivers
Early - Jared Dangerfield, Western Kentucky ($6,800) & Kenny Lawler, California ($6,100)
I really like stacking wide receivers with elite quarterbacks (like Doughty above) in high-powered passing offenses with high implied point totals. Many people will likely be doing the same but not with Dangerfield, the team's de facto number two wideout -- rather they'll be on Taywan Taylor, the team's most productive wide receiver to date this year. Taylor could be a great play too, but he'll run you nearly $2,000 more than Dangerfield, who could see an increase in targets with star tight end Tyler Higbee still out due to injury. With one fewer mouth to feed I could see Dangerfield producing way above value.
With an over/under of 69.5, USC and Cal are headed for a Pac-12 shootout in Berkeley. Goff, Kessler and their respective passing offenses will be looking to keep up with one another as they duel it out on the field this week. I want to get my hand in this game somehow because points are going to be scored in bunches, and I don't see any better bang for my buck than Kenny Lawler. Lawler leads the Golden Bears in receptions (39), yards (497) and touchdowns (9) -- the latter leading the entire Pac-12 conference -- and he'll be a big part of a California offense we expect to throw for just under 300 yards.
Late - River Cracraft, Washington State ($5,700) & Tevin Jones, Memphis ($5,500)
Another quarterback/wide receiver stack? Why not? I don't always stack but when there are limited pass catching options, as there is in this late slate, I love to use this practice and try to pay up elsewhere. So, instead of going with fellow Cougars Gabe Marks or Dom Williams I'd recommend throwing Cracraft into your lineup for a big discount -- especially after his 8-catch, 102-yard performance a week ago. With Falk on point Cracraft could pay off his cheap number and then some as the Cougars try to speed up the slow rushing-oriented Cardinal offense.
This isn't a stack play here but it is a play I'd be making solely on the quarterback throwing it to him. Tevin Jones is really the third receiver on this Memphis team, and that's nothing to scoff at, but a lot of people won't be on him due to inconsistency. It might be a big opportunity for those willing to roll the dice on the unpredictable distribution of Paxton Lynch's throws. The Tigers have an implied total of 48 points and we project them to pass to the tune of nearly 300 yards. And don't worry Lynch has been throwing the ball regardless of the game's circumstances.
Top Tight Ends
Early - George Kittle, Iowa ($2,000)
With the aforementioned Higbee out for Western Kentucky and Jaylen Samuels facing a tough Clemson defense, there really aren't any great tight end options this week. That makes for a great week to punt at tight end and spend elsewhere. The best punt option on the board is Iowa's second tight end, George Kittle. He has a mere six catches on the season but half of those have been for touchdowns. He has a chump change price and could really pay that off with a score for the Hawkeyes, who Vegas has pegged for about five scores in a blowout against Maryland.
Late - Joshua Perkins, Washington ($3,200)
I'm not exactly into punting the position on the late slate, and at the same time I'm not paying up for Austin Hooper, so I'd prefer to settle in around the $3,000 price range. Perkins, the productive Washington tight end, is my guy here. He has just a single touchdown on the year but he has 13 catches and 152 yards over his last three games. If he can pull in four-plus catches that could be enough at his price on FanDuel. An Arizona defense giving up 7.74 yards per pass and a team total of roughly 31 points are also factors working in favor of the Huskies' tight end.