College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: Saturday 11/21/15
If you're like me, when someone isn't able to do something and you're the next person in line to get the job done, it feels good.
It kind of makes you feel like a very minor version of a superhero because, well, you kind of saved the day.
In sports, a lot of heroes are born out of this same type of situation. They step in for their team, as the backup quarterback, and lead the team to an all important victory.
The same thing happens in fantasy football. When a weekly starter is sidelined, there are times when his backup steps in off your waiver wire and leads your squad to a win. Just as season-long fantasy football has its heroes, so does daily (or weekly) fantasy football.
Injuries can be the key to a huge payday. This week might just be one of those weeks. With a few injuries to key, or even star, players, there is a lot of opportunity for the next man up this week. So it follows that the same opportunity applies to your daily college football lineup.
But who will benefit most from these injuries?
Our in-house projections are here to give us a healthy indication of who those beneficiaries might be. 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.
Here's who you should be fitting into your rosters in Week 12.
Early Slate - Deshaun Watson, Clemson ($10,100)
Sure, you could say this is a chalk play -- because it is -- but Watson has so much potential in a matchup at home with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. He's coming off of a monster game versus Syracuse where the Heisman hopeful accounted for a total of 465 yards and 3 touchdowns via the air and ground. If that's not enough, starting running back Wayne Gallman is questionable to play Saturday and might be held out for precautionary measures, so Watson's usage should be even higher. If you're still not convinced, Clemson has an implied total of 38.5 points, and we project them to throw for over 280 yards. I think three reasons should be enough to roll out Watson this week.
Late Slate - Keenan Reynolds, Navy ($8,600)
Reynolds' price has gone up from where it was a week ago, so we're not getting as much of a deal this time around. That's all right though. His matchup this week is even better than a week ago, so if you're asking me, he's still worth the higher cost. Reynolds and the Midshipmen face off against a Tulsa defense near the bottom of the barrel in both adjusted rush yards (5.17) and pass yards (8.12) per attempt. Convenient enough, Reynolds does a ton of running and a little passing on the side. We project Navy for over 480 yards of offense while Vegas projects a 13-point Navy win.
Top Running Backs
Early - LeShun Daniels, Jr., Iowa ($7,300)
Daniels is a hot player coming into a very favorable matchup with a more than favorable game script this week. Just last week, Daniels ran for 195 yards and 3 touchdowns on a hefty 26 carries. This week, he faces off against a Wake Forest team surrendering 5.37 adjusted yards per rush on the year. Because running the ball is Iowa's strength and stopping the run is Purdue's weakest link, it only makes sense that the Hawkeyes are 23-point favorites at home. In a likely blowout, our algorithms expect Iowa to rush for nearly 250 yards -- and with an implied total of 40, Daniels could be in for a 2-touchdown game.
Late - Samaje Perine, Oklahoma ($7,900)
One thing is certain: you don't have to pay up at the running back position on this week's late slate. It's actually impossible to because Perine, at $7,900, is the highest priced back on the board. Even though you have the ability to spend down even more I can't pass up Perine in this matchup. He had over 160 yards and 2 touchdowns in a win against Baylor a week ago -- and I expect more of the same this week. We project the Sooners to rush for over 165 yards once again as TCU struggles to stop opposing rushers (allowing 4.31 adjusted yards per rush). So "pay up" and reap the benefits.
Top Wide Receivers
Early - JuJu Smith, USC ($7,500) & Artavis Scott, Clemson ($5,300)
Full disclosure: there aren't many great wide receiver options on the early slate, so I'll generally be paying up at quarterback and running back. The only guy I think could provide value at his price is JuJu Smith. The Trojan wideout averages 6.3 catches, 116 yards and a touchdown per game on the season. He's had inconsistent numbers as of late, because USC has transition towards a more run-friendly approach, but he has two touchdowns in his last two games and has a good matchup with Oregon. The Ducks aren't the greatest pass defense, and we project the Trojans to throw for over 260 yards. In a game with an over/under of 71.5 points, Smith could go big this week.
With such a large spread and implied Vegas total, Clemson has to get points from someone in the absence of Gallman. One of its best playmakers is Artavis Scott, who averages nearly seven catches a game. His yardage (627 yards) and touchdown (4) totals aren't all that exciting, but he gets the ball a lot, and in this type of game, Scott could have the big game we've all been waiting for. At $5,300, he's worth the high hopes.
Late - James Washington, Oklahoma State ($7,000) & Fred Ross, Mississippi State ($5,400)
The wide receiver position on the late slate is a little messy. Corey Coleman has a backup quarterback at the helm, Josh Doctson's done for the year and DeRunnya Wilson's availability is in doubt as well. As a result, I look to James Washington of Oklahoma State as my top wideout in the nightcap. With a mere 4 receptions for 48 yards, he didn't exactly light it up a week ago, but in his three games prior Washington had a total of 15 catches, 487 yards and 6 touchdowns. Some people should be off of him, and that's a mistake. The Cowboys will be in a likely shootout with Baylor and we project Oklahoma State to total over 275 yards via the pass.
As I alluded to before, DeRunnya Wilson may not suit up for the Bulldogs this week, so Fred Ross should be in for a lot of work in the Mississippi State passing game. That's nothing new to Ross, however, who has totaled 19 catches and 229 yards and a score over his last two contests. He's a high-volume receiver, and without Wilson, he could be in for a double-digit catch kind of day. And if Dak Prescott and the Bulldogs pass for over 260 yards -- as we expect them to -- Ross should account for a lot of yards against a mediocre Arkansas secondary.
Top Tight Ends
Early - Jordan Leggett, Clemson ($3,500)
If you're beginning to sense a theme here, that's because there is. Clemson needs a few players to step up in Gallman's stead (assuming he is out). I already mentioned one -- and Leggett is another. He's been one of the better tight end options on DFS this year, with 6 of his 26 catches going for scores. At 6'5", he's a big red zone target, and like I previously stated, Clemson is expected to score a lot of points in this one. A Leggett touchdown isn't a bad assumption to make.
Late - Gus Walley, Mississippi State ($2,000)
Much like my thinking for the Clemson stack in the early slate the same can be said for Mississippi State in the late games. With a key playmaker likely out because of injury, others will have to step up. On the season, Walley has 17 catches in four games, so he's a pretty consistent pass catcher. He hasn't done much in the way of touchdowns, with just one on the season, but he's super cheap and worth a shot for a touchdown.