College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: 9/29/18 Late Slate
Week 5 of the college football season is upon us. And after four full weeks of games, we're in store for another exciting Saturday, both on the field and on the daily fantasy slate.
College football DFS? Yes, you heard that right. And in case you're unfamiliar with how it works, you can check out the rules and scoring on FanDuel, where you can hit the lobby each week to see the full array of slates and contests being offered.
As for the basics, your roster consists of a quarterback slot, two running back slots, three wide receiver slots (which also includes tight ends) and one super flex slot. In the flex, you can insert one player from any position, including quarterbacks.
Here, our goal is to help you field a roster full of fantasy goodness, and in true numberFire fashion, we'll use our in-house projections as well as betting totals and advanced statistics to tackle both early and main slates all the way up to the College Football Playoff. But this week, we're shaking it up a bit and breaking down the late slate over the early slate. The late slate consists of 12 games and shares just 3 games with the main FanDuel slate, which we'll mention where applicable. Lock is at 7:00 p.m. EST for this one, and it should be exciting with a Big Ten showdown between two top-10 teams in the Ohio State Buckeyes and Penn State Nittany Lions.
Who should we be targeting, and why?
Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State ($10,200): Somewhat surprisingly, tomorrow's big matchup of Big Ten rivals carries the single highest over/under (70.0) of all games on the late slate. While the defenses are respectable, both offenses are expected to do work, with Haskins and his Buckeyes getting a 36.75 implied total as 3.5-point road favorites. You can ignore the favorites part of that, though, given Haskins as the epicenter of the offense and the game expected to be close throughout. Penn State has been inconsistent on defense, according to Football Outsiders' percentile performance marks. And while they have been solid against the pass (ninth in passing marginal explosiveness), the Nittany Lions have yet to face a signal caller of Haskins' caliber, or a unit as good as the Buckeyes' pass offense, which ranks fifth in passing marginal efficiency. If you're of the belief that Penn State's defense will hold up, Hawaii's Cole McDonald ($10,500) is worth paying more for against a San Jose State defense that ranks 113th in defensive S&P+, 99th in passing marginal explosiveness (36.6%) and 125th in sack rate (2.2%). Accordingly, the Warriors are second on the slate with a 37.50 implied total.
Chase Garbers, California ($7,800): There's nothing too exciting about Garbers himself, or the California passing offense for that matter. The freshman quarterback has just 454 yards and 6 scores through 2 games and Cal is outside the top 100 in both passing marginal efficiency and explosiveness as an offense. But it's all about the matchup here. The opposing Oregon Ducks give up the second-most adjusted passing yards per attempt (9.0) on the slate, rank 77th in defensive S&P+ and 96th in passing marginal efficiency. Cal has a decent 28.25 total (up from 27.75 on Thursday) as two-point home 'dogs, so there's value to be had, giving Garbers flex appeal on FanDuel.
J.J. Taylor, Arizona ($9,500): In Week 4, Arizona Wildcats back J.J. Taylor earned Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honors as he ran for 284 yards, 2 touchdowns and 40.4 FanDuel points in a road win over Oregon State. Now, I know it's not about past production, but this matchup with USC is one to exploit. The Trojans have been a solid defense, ranking 25th in defensive S&P+, however, they're outside the top 70 in rushing marginal efficiency, opportunity rate and stuff rate, as well as 119th in rushing marginal explosiveness, per Football Outsiders. Arizona, meanwhile, is 32nd in offensive rushing marginal explosiveness with Taylor turning 6.56 highlight yards per opportunity. At a couple dollars less, LSU's Nick Brosette ($9,300) is an option as a decent favorite (-10.5, 35.50 implied total) at home against Ole Miss, who rank 108th in defensive S&P+ and 119th in rushing marginal efficiency against.
Eno Benjamin, Arizona State ($9,100): This, to me, is the best point-per-dollar play on the board. For starters, the Sun Devils take top honors with the highest implied total (43.00, the only one above 40) while they sit 22.0-point home favorites over the same Oregon State team that was just lit up for over 400 rushing yards by Taylor and the Arizona offense. Sophomore Eno Benjamin is the team's lead back with 283 yards and two 100-yard games, including a score in each. And further increasing both his floor and ceiling, Benjamin's added 18 catches, 127 yards and 1 touchdown (on 24 targets) in the receiving game, thanks in large part to 16 catches in the last 3 weeks.
Fred Holly III, Hawaii ($7,800): Either way, the Warriors are set to put up points and rack up yards. They're also decent -10.0 favorites over the Spartans, who sit 90th in defensive rushing marginal efficiency, so you could go with the run game over the passing game. It's been a minute since Holly's put in a good performance, accounting for only 31 yards over the last 2 games, but the opposing defense gives him a boost, and the upside is there. The sophomore has averaged 5.05 highlight yards per opportunity, and earlier this year rushed for 182 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 2-game span.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
John Ursua, Hawaii ($10,000): Specifically for this slate, I'd probably advise spending down at wide receiver to pay up elsewhere, but if you opt for a cheap option at quarterback and/or running back, why not pay up for Hawaii's top wideout. Ursua, a junior wideout, is a target monster and scoring machine. With a team-leading 59 targets, Ursua has commanded a 32.4% target rate (via Football Outsiders), turning that opportunity into seven receiving scores (he has one more on a one-yard run). He has a 0.78 marginal explosiveness and goes up against a team whose best cornerback has a marginal explosiveness of -0.21 (negative is better for defenders) -- no where near the level of Ursua's potency on successful plays.
Jalen Reagor, TCU ($8,600): Speaking of players with large target shares, Reagor's 34.3% target share ranks among the best in the Big 12. He's turned 46 total targets into 23 catches, 292 yards and 2 scores. Per NCAA Savant, 13 of those have come in the red zone, where Reagor owns a 7.51% share of TCU's targets. This week's opponent, Iowa State boasts a strong defense, but it's held up by a good run defense (51st in rushing marginal efficiency), which is accompanied by a pass defense that ranks 97th in marginal efficiency and 87th in marginal explosiveness. If quarterback Shawn Robinson gets back on track in Fort Worth, the Horned Frogs could exceed their 28.50 total, and Reagor could benefit in a big way at a not-so-high price tag. Duke's Johnathan Lloyd ($8,000) also makes for a strong mid-range play against the Virginia Tech Hokies. While the Blue Devils' 27.25 total ranks just 15th on the slate, Lloyd will almost certainly factor in with 13 catches, 243 yards and 3 touchdowns (on 18 targets), and his 18.7 yards per catch will play well against a Hokies defense ranked 123 in passing marginal explosiveness.
JoJo Ward, Hawaii ($6,600): Have enough Warriors? That might not be possible this week, so back to the well we go. We already know San Jose State's vulnerabilities to the pass, so Ward -- a junior wideout -- is a steal at this price. On a 15.9% target share, the big-play wideout is averaging 20.8 yards per catch with a marginal explosiveness of 0.70 and three touchdowns to his name. And it doesn't hurt that he's coming off of a 6-catch, 89-yard (with a touchdown) performance. If you're convinced that somehow there is such a thing as too much Hawaii, you can go for USC's Michael Pittman, Jr. ($6,600). This is totally dependent upon the status of USC's Amon-Ra St. Brown, who was limited Wednesday with a shoulder injury. If he's forced to sit, that's 20.1% of the team's targets up for grabs, and Pittman is currently third with an 18.7% share, which he's converted into 189 yards and a touchdown along with a 0.73 marginal explosiveness.
Brett Oswalt is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Brett Oswalt also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username BRO14THEKID. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.