College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: 10/20/18 Main Slate
Week 8 of the college football season is upon us. And after seven weekends 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. This week's main slate consists of 13 games, including a rivalry matchup between the Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans, and a contest between two top-16 teams as the Clemson Tigers host the North Carolina State Wolfpack.
Who should we be targeting, and why?
Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State (10,600): Haskins is the perfect combination of efficiency and volume at the quarterback position. Rarely do we see a passer with such high volume maintain such high levels of efficiency, but Haskins is doing it. Of quarterbacks with at least 225 pass attempts on the year (Haskins has 242), the Ohio State Buckeyes' signal caller ranks first in both yards per attempt and quarterback rating. That's led to 28 passing touchdowns, the most in the nation. Take such a prolific quarterback and put him in a strong Big Ten matchup against Football Outsiders' 84th-ranked defense, the Purdue Boilermakers, and you can easily justify the pretty penny it takes to roster Haskins in DFS. If you're looking to save a little more salary, look toward Missouri's Drew Lock ($9,700). At 42.0 implied points, the Tigers boast the third-highest total on the slate as they get to take on the Memphis Tigers' 90th-ranked defense at home.
McKenzie Milton, UCF ($10,200): McKenzie Milton is an ideal fantasy quarterback. Not only does he rank top-25 in both yards per attempt and quarterback rating as a passer, he adds in plenty of fantasy goodness with his legs. After reaching 100 carries in each of his freshman and sophomore seasons, Milton is up to 204 rushing yards and 6 scores on the ground in his junior campaign. But that's not all. Central Florida gets to take on an East Carolina defense that ranks just 65th by defensive S&P+. As a result, the Knights are tied for the highest implied team total on the slate with a 43.00 mark. A cheaper option is Oregon Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert ($9,500), who is projected to go number-one overall in Pro Football Focus' early 2019 NFL mock draft. Once you consider that Herbert ranks top-10 in quarterback rating, yards per attempt, and passing touchdowns, this really shouldn't be a surprise. With a chance to feast against the Washington State Cougars' 74th-ranked defensive unit, Herbert is a very sensible play.
Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama ($10,000): Tagovailoa had a bit of a scare with his knee, but he is a "full-go" entering this contest, so there should be no concerns about his health. The Alabama Crimson Tide boast the other 43-point implied team total, making Tua an excellent value play after the injury-related price dip. He will be matched up against a Tennessee Volunteers defense that ranks a miserable 97th in defensive S&P+. After seven weeks of play and in spite of the injury last week, Tua still ranks first in the country in quarterback rating (248.1) and yards per attempt (14.3), and he is even top-5 in the nation with a 71.5% completion percentage. He is a well-deserving favorite to win the Heisman as a result. Take the injury discount and roll him out with confidence. Auburn's Jarrett Stidham ($7,700) is a punt option you can look to at the position. The Tigers get the softest matchup on the slate, as the Mississippi Rebels rank 112th in defensive S&P+. And while it's been a down year for Stidham, he has a history of past production, including a season with a 199.0 quarterback rating while at Baylor.
Travis Etienne, Clemson ($10,000): Travis Etienne is a terrific player. He ranks sixth in rushing yards, third in yards per attempt, and fourth in rushing touchdowns in the country so far this season. He's even added a score through the air. The Tigers are big 17.0-point favorites, and they have a big matchup on tap against the NC State Woflpack. With a playoff spot on the line, you can bet they're going to put the rock in the belly of their stud running back. But if you're not convinced, you can use Mizzou's Larry Rountree III ($8,300). Again, the Tigers carry a high total and are solid 10-point favorites, which ranks top-5 on the slate. With Rountree leading the team in rushing attempts, yards, and touchdowns, he stands to benefit the most from the positive game script against Memphis.
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin ($9,900): In an era of committees and running back rotations, Jonathan Taylor is a true workhorse at the position, as he leads the country in rushing attempts and sits second in rushing yards. It is a prime spot to use Taylor as well, as his Wisconsin Badgers are 25-point favorites at home facing the Illinois Fighting Illini and their 111th-ranked defense. For a significantly cheaper option, you can look toward Crimson Tide running back Najee Harris ($7,600). While three backs have been involved in this high-powered Alabama offense, it is Najee Harris who leads the team in carries and rushing yards through seven weeks. Yet teammate Damien Harris is far more expensive, and a handful of receptions doesn't justify the $1,300 difference in price. Najee is the value option on this slate as he should have himself a day with the Tide nearly 30-point favorites.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Jerry Jeudy, Alabama ($9,700): With Tua performing as well as he is, it makes sense to roster his number-one target. After all, Jeudy is the ultimate big-play threat as he leads the nation with 27.1 yards per reception. He is also tied for second in the nation with nine receiving touchdowns. With Tua expected to have another good performance, using his top wide receiver is a no-brainer play. But if you're looking for some salary relief, you can look at A.J. Brown ($8,800) of Ole Miss. Brown is top-10 nationally in both receptions and receiving yards. He also boasts a 23.96% share of Mississippi's passing attempts.
Parris Campbell, Ohio State ($9,500): The logic for rostering Campbell is the same for Jeudy. When you have such a talented, explosive offense, why not use the primary weapon in the passing game? Campbell is sixth in the country with seven receiving touchdowns, but don't mistake him for a red-zone fluke. He also ranks top-30 in both receptions and receiving yards as the main engine of this Buckeye passing offense. East Carolina's Trevon Brown ($8,500) is another cheaper option. But don't be fooled by his cheap price; he is a genuine alpha receiver, as indicated by his 27.43% target share. Next-highest on the team is just 14.6%, so it is pretty clear where the ball is going when the Pirates take to the air.
Jalen Reagor, TCU ($9,200): Reagor ranks top-35 in the country in receptions, and his monstrous 28.74% target share indicates that even more production may be in store for him. That mark is more than double that of the next-closest receiver on the team. As TCU is projected for a shootout at home against the Oklahoma Sooners' mediocre 77th-ranked defense, this is the game environment to use Reagor. In the recommended wide receiver list we have had two players with the last name Brown. Well, I'm about to recommend our second "A.J.", as Wisconsin's A.J. Taylor ($7,700) is a nice contrarian option. Like Trevor Brown, he is a genuine number-one receiver and boasts a tremendous 26.24% target share. Because Wisconsin has been so good this season, that dominant target share hasn't translated to eye-popping production thus far. But with the Badgers in a dream setup against Illinois' bottom of the barrel defense, good things should be in store for Taylor.
Akash Bhatia is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Akash Bhatia also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username tenswimrun1. 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.