College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: Friday 8/30/19
A normally light Friday schedule is jam-packed with talent in Week 1, as some of the biggest names in college football take the field in this slate of games. If you're looking to kick your weekend off with some high-scoring games and an exciting DFS showdown, this lineup should provide plenty of entertainment.
If you're new to college football DFS, here's a rundown of the rules from FanDuel. 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.
In this preview, I'll break down the Friday slate into three categories: players to build around, value plays, and players to avoid.
Players to build around are more expensive but their ceiling is high enough that you should consider prioritizing them in your lineup. Value plays are cheaper options who usually come with some risk, but adding them to your lineup will help you afford the expensive stars. Players to avoid are guys you might normally consider at their price tag, but who have tough matchup this week and are unlikely to live up to their usual expectations.
All references to betting totals and spreads are from the FanDuel Sportsbook.
Players to Build Around
QB Jordan Love Utah State ($9,900) vs. Wake Forest
Jordan Love is the second-highest priced quarterback on the slate, but a low floor and sky-high ceiling makes him a good buy. Opposing starting quarterbacks averaged 21.3 points against Wake Forest last season with a high of 43 (Notre Dame's Ian Book). Wake Forest is favored by 4.5 points with a game total of 60, which means the game script also favors Love. This should be a competitive matchup and has the potential to turn into a shootout.
QB Jamie Newman, Wake Forest ($8,500) and WR Sage Surratt ($8,700) vs. Utah State
If you're looking for a quarterback-receiver stack in this slate, Wake Forest's Jamie Newman and Sage Surratt look like the best bet. Newman took over as Wake's starting quarterback for the final three games of the regular season in 2018. Prior to that point, Surratt's target share was just 17.5 percent, according to Sports Info Solutions, far behind top wideout Greg Dortch (32.1 percent). Over the final three regular season games, with Dortch (who has since graduated) still on the field, Surratt's target share skyrocketed to 29.8 percent.
RB Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State ($9,700) vs. Oregon State
Justice Hill was a reliable fantasy weapon for Oklahoma State last season, but the ceiling is even higher for the more explosive Chuba Hubbard. An impressive 27.4 percent of Hubbard's touches went for 10 or more yards last season, compared to 16.4 percent for Hill. Seven different running backs racked up at least 25 fantasy points against the Beavers defense last year, including 50-point games from Arizona State's Eno Benjamin and Oregon's C.J. Verdell.
RB Jermar Jefferson, Oregon State ($9,400) vs. Oklahoma State
Don’t be scared off simply because the Beavers are 15-point underdogs. Seven different running backs put up over 20 points versus the Oklahoma State defense last season. The Oregon State Beavers also leaned heavily on Jefferson despite often trailing. Jefferson took over as the primary ball carrier in Week 2. From that point forward, when the Beavers were trailing, Jefferson commanded a 30.7 percent opportunity share (percentage of carries and targets), according to Sports Info Solutions.
RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin ($10,400) vs. South Florida
Jonathan Taylor topped the 40-point mark four times last season, so he's always worth considering -- but be aware he's a boom-or-bust play in this type of matchup. The Wisconsin Badgers were favored by double digits seven times in 2018. In three of those games Taylor put up over 40 points -- but he also hit 16 points or fewer in three others.
RB Raheem Blackshear, Rutgers ($8,800) vs. Massachusetts
This might be the only time you'll want to invest in Rutgers all season. Massachusetts allowed 15 or more fantasy points to 13 different running backs a season ago, including a 30-point game for Florida International's Shawndarrius Phillips and a 48-point game for South Florida's Jordan Cronkrite. Raheem Blackshear led the team in rushing attempts and receptions last year and is one of the few NFL athletes on Rutgers' roster.
WR Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado ($10,300) vs. Colorado State
Laviska Shenault Jr. burst onto the scene in Week 1 last campaign with 11 catches for 211 yards against Colorado State. In addition to Shenault's 33-point outburst, the Rams allowed six other 20-point games to wide receivers. He's the second-most expensive player on the slate, but another huge performance in this rivalry game is a strong possibility.
RB Zander Horvath, Purdue ($7,700) vs. Nevada
While Jeff Brohm runs a pass-first offense, last year's running back duo of D.J. Knox and Markell Jones combined for 51 red-zone rushing attempts. An injury to Tario Fuller has bumped Zander Horvath into the starting role for Purdue, and at 6'3", 230 pounds, he's the obvious choice for goal-line carries.
WR Warren Jackson, Colorado State ($7,600) vs. Colorado
The 6'6" Warren Jackson takes over as the number-one receiver for Preston Williams, who commanded a 36 percent target share a season ago. Due to his size, Jackson finished second on the team with an 18 percent target share in the red zone last year, according to Sports Info Solutions, a number which should rise with Williams gone. The Rams are 13.5-point underdogs, which means there should be plenty of second-half opportunities for Jackson as Colorado State plays from behind.
WR Champ Flemings, Oregon State ($5,700) vs. Oklahoma State
In 2018, Oregon State's top three receivers -- Isaiah Hodgins, Timmy Hernandez and Trevon Bradford -- finished with 59, 58 and 56 receptions, respectively. Hernandez graduated and Bradford is injured, so only Hodgins returns for Week 1 from that group. Flemings, who acted as a return specialist as a freshman, is listed as one of the three starting receivers for this matchup. Due to the Beavers' tendency to spread the ball around, he should be considered an option at this price. Opponents ran 74.9 plays per game against Oklahoma State last season -- ninth most among Power-5 schools -- so there should be plenty of opportunities for Flemings to see some targets.
WR Sadiq Palmer, Massachusetts ($6,300) vs. Rutgers
Rutgers was so non-competitive last season that only one wide receiver (Ohio State's Johnnie Dixon) reached the 20-point mark against them in DFS. But since Rutgers is favored by 14 points in this matchup, Sadiq Palmer should stay on the field for four quarters and have an opportunity to rack up points while the team plays from behind. Palmer is expected to step into the number-one receiver role, which was vacated by Arizona Cardinals draft pick Andy Isabella.
WR Jordan Nathan, Utah State ($6,700) vs. Wake Forest
Utah State graduated its top three receivers, leaving Jordan Nathan as the only returner who had more than 10 receptions a season ago. According to Sports Info Solutions, 33.5 percent of Jordan Love's throws were to the slot last season, where Nathan is listed as the starter. This matchup has the second-highest total on the slate (60 points), so there should plenty of targets available for Nathan.
WR Siaosi Mariner, Utah State ($6,900) vs. Wake Forest
With thee new starters at receiver, we can't be certain how Love will spread his targets around, but Mariner, a transfer from Utah, looks like the most likely red zone threat. In 2018, 6'3" Ron'quavion Tarver saw a 37 percent red zone target share, according to Sports Info Solutions, for Utah State. On the Week 1 depth chart, the 6'2" Mariner is the only receiver over 6'0" for the Aggies, making him a logical replacement for that role. All of Utah State's receivers are risky plays this week, but in a potentially high-scoring game, rolling the dice with Mariner could pay off.
WR David Bell, Purdue ($6,000) vs. Nevada
Purdue has high expectations for four-star freshman David Bell, and it's possible he'll make an instant impact on Friday. Bell is not listed as a starter, so proceed with caution. However, on last year's initial depth chart, Rondale Moore was a backup to Jackson Anthrop and finished with more receptions and yards in the Week 1 game than Anthrop had all season. Purdue quarterbacks attempted 39.2 passes per game last season, so there will be plenty of opportunities for another weapon to become fantasy-relevant opposite Moore.
WR C.J. Moore, Oklahoma State ($4,000) vs. Oregon State
This is purely a dart throw but given the price tag, C.J. Moore is someone to consider in your tournament lineups. The redshirt-freshman is listed as a co-starter (with Jordan McCray and Patrick McKaufman), so he likely won't see a significant target share. However, the 6'5", former four-star recruit stands out as an obvious candidate for red zone targets.
Players to Avoid
QBs Dru Brown ($9,500) and Spencer Sanders ($9,000), Oklahoma State vs. Oregon State
Cowboys coach Mike Gundy has stated he plans to use both Hawaii-transfer Dru Brown and redshirt-freshman Spencer Sanders. Since they're the third- and fourth-highest priced quarterbacks on the slate, it's best to just steer clear of this situation.
RB Corey Taylor, RB, Tulsa ($7,900) vs. Michigan State --This is a tempting price for Taylor, who averaged 14.4 points per game and topped 20 fantasy points four times in 2018, but this is a tough matchup. Michigan State returns eight starters from a defense that allowed just one 20-fantasy-point game to running backs a season ago (Penn State's Miles Sanders).
RB Connor Heyward, Michigan State ($9,300) vs. Tulsa -- Tulsa surrendered 233 rushing yards per game a season ago, yet only three running backs topped 20 fantasy points against them. The games simply weren't competitive enough for opponents to leave their workhorse on the field long enough to rack up points. Michigan State is favored by 23 points, and Heyward likely won't see enough touches to live up to his price tag.
Ryan McCrystal is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ryan McCrystal also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username cfbfilmroom. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.