College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: Saturday 12/12/20
In this preview, I'll break down the Saturday main slate into three categories based on FanDuel 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 Kyle Trask, Florida ($11,200) vs. LSU
Kyle Trask carries the highest cap hit among quarterbacks, but it's worth finding room for him against LSU's defense, which is allowing quarterbacks to score 5.5 points above their average, the 14th highest rate in the nation. If that trend holds true for Trask, we'd expect him to hit 37.1 points -- a number he's eclipsed twice this year (versus Arkansas and Ole Miss).
QB D'Eriq King, Miami FL ($10,500) vs. North Carolina
D'Eriq King's rushing ability makes him a steady fantasy performer -- he's topped 20 points in seven of nine games -- and he'll have an elevated ceiling in this potential shootout. Miami is favored by just 2.5 points with the total set to 67.5, making this matchup one of the top shootout candidates on the slate. It's also worth noting four of North Carolina's last five conference games have hit the over, giving us further reason to trust the top offensive stars in this matchup.
QB Sam Howell, North Carolina ($9,800) vs. Miami FL
As previously mentioned, this matchup has elite shootout potential, making Sam Howell an obvious target. Miami's defense is holding opposing quarterbacks 3.4 fantasy points below their average, so he's the more risky play of the two quarterbacks in this game but is still worth rostering based on the expected game script.
QB Adrian Martinez, Nebraska ($8,800) vs. Minnesota
Proceed with caution, because Nebraska has rotated quarterbacks with little explanation throughout the year, but Adrian Martinez is coming off his best performance the season, which featured 30 pass attempts and 13 carries against Purdue. A similar workload against a completely inept Minnesota defense would give Martinez an elite ceiling. Opposing quarterbacks are scoring 6.6 fantasy points above their average against Minnesota, the 10th highest rate in the nation.
RB Mohamed Ibrahim, Minnesota ($11,400) vs. Nebraska
Mohamed Ibrahim is one of only two running backs with a salary over $10,000, so it will be tough to squeeze him into a lineup, but if you find some values you like, he could be worth the hefty cap it. Minnesota runs the ball from 12 personnel at the third highest rate in the nation, and it's a formation Nebraska struggles to stop. According to Sports Info Solutions, the Huskers are allowing 5.9 yards per carry versus 12 personnel, the eighth highest rate among Power Five schools.
RB Demetric Felton, UCLA ($9,500) vs. USC
According to Sports Info Solutions, 70.3 percent of Demetric Felton's carries have come when UCLA is in 11 personnel. That's bad news for a USC defense giving up 6.6 yards per carry when opponents are in 11 personnel, the eighth highest rate among Power 5 schools. Felton has shown an elite ceiling this year, topping 30 fantasy points twice.
WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama ($11,500) vs. Arkansas
Since Jaylen Waddle's injury, DeVonta Smith has received a 39 percent target share and topped 30 fantasy points in four of five games. He's an obvious target for cash games and also has value in tournaments based on the ceiling he's demonstrated with two games topping 40 points.
WR Kadarius Toney, Florida ($9,000) vs. LSU
LSU has used man coverage on 48 percent of opponents pass attempts, the sixth highest rate in the nation, according to Spots Info Solutions. When facing man coverage, Kadarius Toney is averaging 10.9 yards per target, compared to 8.9 versus all other coverages. In eight games, LSU has allowed 10 receivers to reach at least 15 fantasy points, with three topping 20.
WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas ($8,300) vs. Alabama
Since De'Vion Warren's season-ending injury, Treylon Burks' target share has climbed from 22 percent to 35 percent. Arkansas is a 32.5-point underdog to Alabama, so the Razorbacks will have to air it out in an effort to keep pace. That should create another big workload for Burks against an Alabama defense that hasn't been as intimidating as usual this season.
QB Will Rogers, Mississippi State ($7,800) vs. Auburn
Mike Leach may have finally found his quarterback in freshman Will Rogers, who has topped 300 yards in consecutive games. The Auburn defense won't be as friendly as Ole Miss' -- Rogers generated 440 yards through the air last week against the Rebels -- but he also threw for 336 yards the week prior against a solid Georgia unit. The volatile nature of Mississippi State's offense this season gives Rogers a low floor, but his cap hit reflects that and makes him a worthy gamble.
QB Connor Bazelak, Missouri ($6,300) vs. Georgia
Despite throwing for 286.0 yards per game over his last six outings, Connor Bazelak has somehow managed to account for just five touchdowns in that span. As a result, his mediocre fantasy numbers don't accurately represent the job he'd done for an improving Missouri squad. With Georgia favored by 13.5 points, the game script should dictate a higher workload for Bazelak, potentially giving him an opportunity to provide some value on this low salary.
RB Dedrick Mills, Nebraska ($7,000) vs. Minnesota
Dedrick Mills hasn't done much with his opportunities this year, averaging just 10.1 fantasy points per game. However, the Minnesota defense has been extremely generous, allowing running backs to score 12.0 points above their average, the highest rate among defenses on this slate. With Nebraska favored by 10.5 points, the game script should allow for a solid workload, making this Mills' best opportunity of the season.
RB Jashaun Corbin, Florida State ($6,800) vs. Duke
Jashaun Corbin has accounted for only 38.7 percent of the handoffs to running backs this year, but La'Damian Webb, who led the team with 41 percent of the carries, has opted out. With Corbin as the only proven option in the backfield, he'll likely see an elevated workload against a weak Duke defense. Running backs are scoring 9.2 points above their average against the Blue Devils, giving Corbin a nice ceiling if he gets enough touches.
RB Deon Jackson, Duke ($6,700) vs Florida State
Backup running back Mateo Durant is averaging more fantasy points per game and carries a higher salary than Deon Jackson, but don't fall into the trap of rostering Durant. Jackson is the starter, and when the score is within 10 points, Jackson has accounted for 63 percent of the running back touches in the Duke offense. Jackson also leads the team with 19 touches inside the 10-yard line, compared to eight for Durant. According to Sports Info Solutions, Duke runs from 11 personnel 88 percent of the time, while Florida State is allowing 6.2 yards per carry against the formation (10th worst in Power 5). With Florida State favored by just 4.5 points, this looks like an ideal spot for Jackson to outperform expectations.
RB Brian Robinson Jr., Alabama ($5,900) vs. Alabama
There's reason to think Najee Harris might not see his usual workload -- more on that later -- which could open the door for Brian Robinson Jr. to outplay expectations. The senior running back has been a steady contributor but never the workhorse for the Tide, and this could be the perfect opportunity for Nick Saban to reward Robinson in a likely blowout against Arkansas. Robinson has received between 10 and 12 touches three times already, averaging 9.0 fantasy points in those games. If he builds slightly upon the workload, it shouldn't be hard for him post a strong number for this low cap hit.
RB Donald Chaney Jr., Miami FL ($5,600) vs. North Carolina
Freshman Donald Chaney Jr.'s value will depend on the status of Jaylan Knighton, who was knocked out of the Hurricanes last game with an injury. His status has not been updated, so pay attention to the news on Saturday morning. If Knighton can't go, Chaney could be a steal at this salary. Chaney leads the Hurricanes in touches inside the 10-yard line and is also likely to be featured in the passing game. Due to Knighton's absence for most of last week's contest, Chaney saw four targets -- a number starting running back Cam'Ron Harris hasn't seen since September. Treat Chaney as purely a dart throw, but he has significant upside if this game turns into a shootout.
RB Jonah White, Baylor ($5,500) vs. Oklahoma State
Baylor might be without it's top three running backs, leaving Jonah White as the last man standing in the backfield. Keep on eye on the status of the rest of the Bears' backfield, but if White is the lone option, he's worth rostering even against a tough Oklahoma State defense. White saw a team-high 11 targets last week, so his value will not be dependent on the game script. Even if Qualan Jones ($6,200) is active, White might still be the running back to roster based on his role in the passing game -- Jones has seen just seven targets all year.
WR Wan'Dale Robinson, Nebraska ($7,100) vs. Minnesota
Over Nebraska's last four games, Wan'Dale Robinson has commanded a 33 percent target share and 25 percent opportunity share (percentage of carries and targets). Amazingly, he has yet to reach the end zone, so his fantasy value hasn't reflected his usage. With this usage rate and salary, he's virtually a must-roster player. If Minnesota's friendly defense finally lets him cross the goal line, he'll fly past the expectations set by this cheap cap hit.
WR Donovan Greene, Wake Forest ($6,600) vs. Louisville
Over Wake Forest's last four games redshirt-freshman Donovan Greene has emerged as a reliable weapon, generating a 25.2 percent target share. He broke out with eight receptions for 140 yards in his last game against North Carolina. Wake Forest holds an implied total of 30.5 points, so Greene should have an opportunity to post a strong stat line against Louisville.
WR Emery Simmons, North Carolina ($5,200) vs. Miami FL
Since Beau Corrales went down with an injury, Emery Simmons' non-garbage-time target share has climbed to 14.1 percent, third highest on the team. That number gives him a low floor, but in a potential shootout, it's also possible Simmons sees his strongest workload of the year. If you're stacking this game, Simmons is a great option to help fit both King and Howell into your lineup.
Players to Avoid
RB Najee Harris, Alabama ($11,000) vs. Arkansas
Statistically, the numbers would tell us to play Najee Harris against a mediocre Arkansas defense. However, with Alabama favored by 32.5 points the week prior to a tough SEC Championship Game showdown against Florida, there's reason to think Nick Saban will lighten Harris' workload. We saw Alabama in a similar situation prior to the 2018 SEC title game, when Damien Harris received just 10 touches in a 52-21 victory over Auburn. There are worse moves you could make than rostering Harris, but be prepared for the possibility he doesn't see his typical usage rate.
RB Khalil Herbert, Virginia Tech ($9,000) vs. Virginia
After a huge start to the season, Khalil Herbert has crashed back down to earth. In hindsight, it looks like Herbert's monster numbers early in the year were related to Virginia Tech's schedule being heavily front-loaded with poor defenses. In his last three games, Herbert has faced the top three rushing defenses in the ACC and posted fantasy scores of 6.1, 14.4 and 16.2. Virginia checks in at number four on that list, so a similarly mediocre performance should be expected. On a cheaper cap hit, Herbert might be in play, but those numbers won't cut it for a running back carrying the fifth highest salary on the slate.
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.