College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: Friday 11/15/19
This week's Friday night slate brings us two potentially low-scoring games, which makes lineup construction slightly more difficult. The matchup between Louisiana Tech and Marshall Thundering carries a total of 55 points, while the Mountain West showdown between San Diego State and Fresno State is just 42.5 points.
In this preview, I'll break down the Friday slate into three categories based on FanDuel's prices: 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 a 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 J'Mar Smith, Louisiana Tech ($9,900) -- Opposing starting quarterbacks are averaging 22.7 fantasy points per game against Marshall this season. J'Mar Smith is averaging 21.3 points and has reached at least 24 points in three of his last four games. Smith has also been running the ball more lately, with 32 rushing attempts in his last three contests. That could give him an even higher ceiling against Marshall, which has been susceptible to running quarterbacks. Ohio's Nathan Rourke (118 rushing yards) put up 38.4 fantasy points on the Thundering Herd and Middle Tennessee's Asher O'Hara (76 rushing yards) posted 28 fantasy points.
RB Ronnie Rivers, Fresno State ($10,000) -- San Diego State's run defense has been smothering, allowing just two running backs to reach 15 fantasy points this season. So there is definitely some risk in using Ronnie Rivers. However, Fresno State has leaned heavily on Rivers, making him a viable option regardless of the matchup. According to Sports Info Solutions, Rivers has a usage rate of 27.8 percent when the score is within seven points. Fresno State is favored by just one point in this matchup, so in an expected close game, we can assume Rivers will maintain a high usage rate and potentially live up to this high price tag.
RB Justin Henderson, Louisiana Tech ($9,400) -- Marshall's defense is allowing just 3.78 yards per rush attempt, which ranks 42nd in the nation. So this likely won't be an easy game for Henderson. His value, however, is relatively stable due to Louisiana Tech's tendency to rely on him at the goal line. Henderson has 16 carries inside the 10-yard line, which have resulted in 10 touchdowns. Since none of the defenses on this slate are pushovers, relying on a running back who gets goal line carries could be a smart strategy, especially in cash games.
WR Kobe Smith, San Diego State ($8,300) -- After a hot start to the year, in which he scored 19 or more fantasy points in three of his first give games, Kobe Smith has been held to single digits in three of his last four contests. However, Fresno State's defense could be what Smith needs to break out again. The Bulldogs have allowed at least 15 fantasy points to nine different receivers in eight games against FBS opponents. Smith leads the Aztecs with a 29.4 percent target share, so he should see plenty of opportunities in this one.
WR Adrian Hardy, Louisiana Tech ($7,700) -- Excluding garbage time, Adrian Hardy leads Louisiana Tech with a 25 percent target share in the eight games in which he's played this season, according to Sports Info Solutions. That makes Hardy the most reliable receiver in the game which features a significantly higher total than our other option.
RB Juwon Washington, San Diego State ($7,500) -- Juwon Washington is the cheapest of the starting running backs on this slate and may draw the easiest matchup as well. Fresno State has allowed at least 15 fantasy points to an opposing running back in five of eight games against FBS opponents this year.
WR Malik Stanley, Louisiana Tech ($7,300) -- If you want to gamble on a player with low ownership but elite upside, Malik Stanley looks like the best bet on this slate. Stanley ranks fifth on Louisiana Tech with just 34 targets, but he leads the team with 10 receptions of at least 20 yards. His big-play ability already paid off once this year, with 212 yards and 31.2 fantasy points against Southern Miss. His small role in the offense gives Stanley a zero floor, but as the team's deep threat, he's also an ideal tournament dart throw.
WR Griffin Hebert, Louisiana Tech ($7,200) -- In the eight games in which Louisiana Tech's full receiving corps has been healthy, Griffin Hebert has a 15.3 percent target share, excluding garbage time. That makes him the third option in the Bulldogs offense, but his fantasy value is boosted as their primary red zone weapon. According to Sports Info Solutions, Hebert leads the team with 12 red zone targets -- 31.6 percent of his total targets.
TE Xavier Gaines, Marshall ($5,400) -- Xavier Gaines is the second option in Marshall's offense with a 16.7 percent target share and has seen just six fewer targets than leading receiver Armani Levias -- yet somehow he's $2,800 cheaper. The Thundering Herd spreads the ball around -- five different receivers have at least 20 targets and no one has more than 50 -- so everyone has a low floor. As a result, if you're going to use any of their risky receivers, the dirt-cheap Gaines probably makes the most sense.
Players to Avoid
QB Jorge Reyna, Fresno State ($8,800) -- San Diego State's defense is allowing just 12.6 fantasy points per game to opposing starting quarterbacks and only one quarterback (Wyoming's Sean Chambers) has reached 20 points against the Aztecs. Reyna has been inconsistent this year, twice scoring in the single digits (versus Colorado State and New Mexico State), so it's probably best to avoid him against one of the better defenses he's faced this year.