College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: Saturday 10/10/20 Main Slate
Good luck sorting through all the great options on this slate of college football games. On the 14-game schedule, 12 teams have an implied total of least 30 points, giving us an abundance of quality candidates to slide into our rosters. Unlike some weeks, the challenge will be narrowing down our pool of players to choose from, rather than searching for viable high-ceiling options.
In this preview, I'll break down the Saturday main slate into three categories based on FanDuel's salaries: players to build around, value plays, and players to avoid.
Players to build around carry expensive salaries, but their ceiling is high enough to consider prioritizing them in your lineup. Value plays are lower-salaried options who usually come with some risk, but adding them to your lineup will help you pay for the expensive stars. Players to avoid are fantasy-relevant options you might normally consider but 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 Sam Ehlinger ($11,000) vs. Texas
Sam Ehlinger leads all college football players with an average of 37.3 fantasy points per game. His dominance makes him a viable fantasy option every week, but he draws a particularly strong matchup against Oklahoma on Saturday. This game feature the highest total (72.5) among games with a single-digit point spread (Oklahoma is favored by 2.5), giving it elite shootout potential.
QB Mac Jones, Alabama ($10,500) vs. Ole Miss
Alabama hasn't needed much from Mac Jones in two blowout victories, so he's averaging a fairly modest 25.3 fantasy points per game. But he'll have a huge ceiling in this matchup with Ole Miss, a team allowing 44.8 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, the most in the nation. Ole Miss' offense is also capable of putting up some points in this game, which should force Alabama to keep its foot on the gas a little longer than its previous outings.
QB Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma ($10,200) vs. Texas
As mentioned in the blurb on Ehlinger, this matchup is a prime shootout candidate. Spencer Rattler's four interceptions and eight sacks have slowed his fantasy production slightly, but he's still 11th in the nation among quarterbacks, putting up 27.6 fantasy points per game. The Texas defense has given up 27.1 fantasy points to TCU's Max Duggan and 30.0 to Texas Tech's Alan Bowman, so Rattler should have no issues putting up a solid number in this likely high-scoring affair.
QB K.J. Costello, Mississippi State ($9,300) vs. Kentucky
K.J. Costello was among the biggest busts last week, posting just 13.9 fantasy points versus Arkansas. We've already seen what his ceiling looks like (37.1 points against LSU), so he's certainly worth taking a chance on again this week against Kentucky. The Wildcats have built a reputation as one of the SEC's toughest defenses in recent years, but they've already given up 33.9 fantasy points to Ole Miss' Matt Corral and 24.7 points to Auburn's Bo Nix.
RB Breece Hall, Iowa State ($9,700) vs. Texas Tech
Breece Hall's usage makes him a viable target almost every week. He's averaging 23.7 touches per game and has reached at least 19 touches in each contest. The Texas Tech defense ranks in the middle of the pack, giving up 25.1 fantasy points per game to running backs (35th in the country), but Hall's usage makes him an extremely safe player to roster. It's also worth noting Hall has a usage rate of 62 percent inside the opponents' 10-yard line, so his six touchdowns through three games are no fluke.
RB Kyren Williams, Notre Dame ($9,000) vs. Florida State
Kyren Williams quickly established himself as Notre Dame's lead back in the season opener against Duke, carrying the ball 19 times and seeing six targets in the passing game. He wasn't needed as much in a 52-0 blowout win over South Florida, so his average stats don't look great, but we can feel reasonably confident he'll bounce back in a more competitive game against Florida State. The Seminoles are giving up 31.0 fantasy points per game to running backs, which ranks 53rd in the nation.
RB Cam'Ron Harris, Miami FL ($8,400) vs. Clemson
Normally we're avoiding running backs facing Clemson, but Miami's Cam'Ron Harris looks like an exception. Harris has posted at least 20 fantasy points in each of the Hurricanes' three games. We should also have some added confidence in Harris due to the 10 targets he's seen in the passing game. With Clemson favored by 14.5 points, Miami will likely be playing from the behind, but it appears as though Harris should remain a part of the Hurricanes' game plan in that scenario.
WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama ($8,800) vs. Ole Miss
Given Ole Miss' defensive struggles, an Alabama stack could pay off. DeVonta Smith leads the team with a 35 percent target share, making him the obvious pairing with Jones at quarterback. Jaylen Waddle ($9,800) has seen a 28 percent target share, and he's also a viable option.
WR Charleston Rambo, Oklahoma ($8,300) vs. Texas
It's a tough to fully trust any of Oklahoma's receivers because Rattler has spread the ball around so much this year. Since this game has elite shootout potential, however, it still makes sense to throw some of the Sooners' pass-catchers into a few lineups. Charleston Rambo leads the team with a 16.4 percent target share with freshman Marvin Mims ($7,300) right behind him at 13.6 percent.
QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh ($8,200) vs. Boston College
Kenny Pickett's salary dropped by $500 this week despite him posting 36.4 fantasy points against N.C. State last week. It appears as though the Boston College defense is getting some respect, which it hasn't really earned. Boston College held North Carolina's Sam Howell to just 15.9 fantasy points last week, but that may have had more to do with the Tar Heels' season being interrupted by COVID-19. Additionally, this Boston College offense under new head coach Jeff Hafley is not the same run-oriented offense of years past. which led to slow-paced games. Opponents are running 74.5 plays per game against the Eagles, the eighth fastest pace among the 28 teams on this slate.
RB Deon Jackson, Duke ($7,000) vs. Syracuse
A tough schedule has made it difficult for Deon Jackson to make an impact, as Duke has been playing from behind nearly all season. Duke is favored by 1.5 points against struggling Syracuse, however, which could mean an increased workload for Jackson. Despite the negative game scripts, Jackson is averaging 14.8 carries per game, so clearly the coaching staff wants to get him involved. Syracuse is allowing 32.8 fantasy points per game to running backs, which ranks 60th out of 72 active FBS programs.
WR Jake Smith, Texas ($7,100) vs. Oklahoma
Jake Smith made his season debut last week and immediately became Ehlinger's go-to receiver, as was expected prior to the season. Ehlinger favors throwing to the slot, where Smith was lined up on eight of his team-high nine targets last week (26.5 percent target share). This is the role Devin Duvernay played in the Longhorns' offense last year, which netted him 1,391 yards on 129 targets. Assuming Smith continues to dominate the target share, his salary will not be this low much longer.
WR Kearis Jackson, Georgia ($7,100) vs. Tennessee
Kearis Jackson leads Georgia with a 28.6 percent target share this season -- an incredibly high number for a player with a salary this low. Jackson hasn't reached the end zone yet this year, so he hasn't had a breakout fantasy game, but he does lead the team with four red zone targets, including two inside the 10-yard line.
WR Dazz Newsome, North Carolina ($6,900) vs. Virginia Tech
Through two games, Dazz Newsome has just three receptions on six targets (10.2 percent target share). Those are concerning numbers, but it's hard to believe this continues for a three-year starter who saw a team-high 104 targets a season ago. Virginia Tech is allowing 39.5 fantasy points per game to wide receivers, and that's despite playing Duke and NC State, who don't have nearly the offensive firepower of North Carolina.
WR Billy Kemp, Virginia ($6,800) vs. NC State
Through two games Billy Kemp has 26 targets (a 29.5 percent target share) and 17 receptions. He hasn't reached the end zone, which is likely why his salary doesn't yet reflect his usage, but it's only a matter of time if he keeps getting double-digit opportunities per game. North Carolina State is surrendering 44.3 fantasy points per game to opposing receivers and has allowed a receiver to reach at least 17 fantasy points in each game this year.
WR Lavel Davis Jr., Virginia ($6,100) vs. NC State
True freshman Lavel Davis Jr. has just six receptions for Virginia, but he's seen 16 targets (18.2 percent target share) and produced two touchdowns. The 6'6" receiver is likely to be Virginia's go-to weapon near the goal line, as he's currently tied for the team lead with a 33.3 percent red zone target share. With an implied total of 34 points for Virginia, Davis should see more scoring opportunities than he did last week against Clemson.
TE Austin Stogner, Oklahoma ($5,900) vs. Oklahoma
Austin Stogner has Oklahoma's third highest target share (12.7 percent), which makes his low salary immediately stand out considering the Sooners' pass-heavy offense, and his role within the offense makes him even more valuable. The 6'6" Stogner, who is listed as an H-back on the Sooners' roster, leads the team in targets on explosive routes -- defined as route types on which FBS receivers average 20 or more yards per reception -- according to Sports Info Solutions. On those routes Stogner has seven receptions for 133 yards. Additionally, he leads the team in red zone targets with four. His fantasy output hasn't been anything special because he has yet to reach the end zone, but with this usage in the Sooners' offense, it's clearly only a matter of time.
WR Jaden Walley, Mississippi State ($5,700) vs. Kentucky
Mike Leach is still tinkering with his receiving corps, so it's a little risky to roster any of the Mississippi State receivers right now. Seven different Bulldogs have double-digit targets and no one has more than 18. After seeing just one target in the season opener, Jaden Walley earned the start in Week 2 and finished with six receptions on 10 targets. Based on that performance against LSU two weeks ago, obviously his floor is zero, but at this incredibly small salary, Walley also has exciting upside if he remains a starting receiver in Leach's offense.
Players to Avoid
RB Najee Harris, Alabama ($10,400) vs. Ole Miss
Najee Harris has topped 20 fantasy points in each of Alabama's first two games and draws an easy matchup against Ole Miss. He's probably an acceptable cash-game choice, but in tournaments he could be a risky play. Alabama has a tough matchup with Georgia on the schedule next week, which means there may be added incentive for Nick Saban to pull Harris early if this week's game turns ugly. Last season, Harris saw just 13 carries in the game prior to Alabama facing LSU and just 14 carries the week before the Auburn game. That may give us some insight into the game plan for Harris against the Rebels.
RB Khalil Herbert, Virginia Tech ($9,200) vs. North Carolina
Among those who have played at least two games, Khalil Herbert is the highest-scoring running back in the nation, putting up 27.4 FanDuel points per game. The North Carolina defense will probably be his toughest test to date, however, as the Tar Heels are giving up just 14.0 fantasy points per game to running backs and have not allowed an individual running back to reach double-digit points. With the fourth-highest salary among running backs, Herbert is probably too risky to roster in this matchup.
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.