College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: Friday 12/18/20

Week 16 of college football is here! FanDuel's Friday college football DFS main slate includes four games.

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 as many slates as possible in the lead-up to the College Football Playoff. Today, we are only breaking down the Friday slate, which locks at 7:00 p.m. EST.

Let's break down which players are in great spots as well as identify some players with cheap salaries who will allow you to roster the high-dollar players.


Tyler Shough, Oregon ($10,500) – Shough is posting game averages of 277.8 passing yards, 51.2 rushing yards, and 2.6 total touchdowns. He’ll look to take advantage of the Southern California Trojans defense which was diced up by UCLA’s dual-threat quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson last week. DTR posted 364 passing yards, 4 TDs, and 2 INT in last week’s game. He also ran for 50 yards on 10 carries. On the season, USC is allowing 238 passing yards per game, and they’ve been throttled for 10 touchdown passes in five games. Shough should get his top receiving weapon, Devon Williams, back this week. Shough’s counterpart, Kedon Slovis ($10,700), is also a strong play this week.

Drew Plitt, Ball State ($9,400) – Plitt has accounted for 15 out of the Ball State Cardinals' 24 offensive touchdowns this season. Additionally, the senior is averaging 306.3 passing yards over the last three games. He’s tossed 9 touchdown passes and added 2 rushing scores in that time frame. The dual-threat signal-caller has run for 47 yards over the last four games.

Kyle Vantrease, Buffalo ($7,000) – Be aware that Vantrease has an absurdly low floor due to Buffalo’s heavy reliance on their two star running backs. With that said, we need salary relief, and he does provide upside. The junior has been held under 200 passing yards in four out of five games. However, in that other game, Vantrease pasted the Miami (OH) RedHawks for 353 passing yards and 4 touchdowns. This week’s matchup with Ball State is a great spot for the Buffalo passing game. Ball State has been solid against the run, but they have been roasted by opposing signal-callers. They’re allowing 284.3 passing yards per game (most on the slate). The Cardinals have surrendered 12 touchdown passes through six games.

Others to consider: Adrian Martinez and Artur Sitkowski (if he starts)

Running Backs

Jaret Patterson, Buffalo ($12,500) – Patterson is putting up video game like numbers this season. Literally, his “worst” game this season is 73 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. The Buffalo star has tallied 1,025 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns in only five games this season. Backfield mate, Kevin Marks Jr. ($7,600), is worth a look as well. He’s averaging 102 rushing yards and 1 touchdown per game this season.

CJ Verdell, Oregon ($7.400) – Verdell makes for an interesting tournament play. The talented runner is reportedly healthy after leaving the Oregon State game early (the Oregon Ducks have played one game since then). He only received six carries against California last week which was reportedly by design. Verdell could be an under-the-radar tournament play this week. The junior topped 100 rushing yards in each of the first two games this season. Additionally, he found pay dirt in the Ducks' first three games. Backfield mate, Travis Dye ($8,700), is the safer play for cash games.

Will Jones, Ball State ($6,300) – Star running back Caleb Huntley has opted out of the season. That leaves Will Jones and Tye Evans to handle the running back duties for Ball State. Evans has started the last two games with Huntley out of the lineup. However, it appears that he was bypassed by Jones in last week’s 30-27 win over Western Michigan. Jones out-carried and out-produced Evans in that game. Jones ran for 71 yards on 16 carries while Evans rushed for 25 yards and a touchdown on 8 carries. Jones is a solid source of salary and may be necessary to pay up for Jaret Patterson.

Stephen Carr Southern California ($5,900)/Markese Stepp, Southern California ($5,500) - With leading rusher Vavae Malepeai unlikely to play, USC will have to turn to Stephen Carr and Markese Stepp to handle the backfield duties. Carr backed up Malepeai in last week’s win over UCLA while Stepp was rarely used. Carr has run for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns as a reserve this season. Both guys are very cheap and viable on Friday night. Stepp has received praise by USC coach Clay Helton this week. To top it off, this is a great spot, as Oregon run’s defense has struggled mightily this season. Oregon is allowing 184.2 rushing yards per game, which includes a slate-high 4.61 yards per carry. They’ve also coughed up 12 rushing touchdowns through five games.

Others to consider: Brendon Knox, Travis Dye, Isaih Pachecho, Dedrick Mills, and Tye Evans

Wide Receivers

Justin Hall, Ball State ($9,200) – Hall headlines a loaded Ball State receiving corp. (Yo’Heinz Tyler and Antwan Davis are the other two starting receivers). Hall has caught at least seven passes in five consecutive games. Through six games, he’s piled up 44 receptions, 620 receiving yards, and 3 touchdowns. Moreover, he’s also utilized in the running game. The senior has at least two carries in all six games. In total, he’s run for 176 yards and a touchdown this season.

Drake London, Southern California ($8,400) – London has caught 5-plus balls and topped 90 receiving yards in two straight games. Additionally, USC quarterback Kedon Slovis is posting a team-high 147.6 passer rating when targeting London, per Pro Football Focus. Despite being out-targeted by fellow wide receivers Amon-Ra St. Brown and Tyler Vaughns, Drake leads the Trojans with 427 receiving yards this season.

Wandale Robinson, Nebraska ($7,500) – Robinson has been the lone bright spot in an otherwise forgettable season for Nebraska. The diminutive slot receiver is utilized in both the running and passing game. Per Pro Football Focus, Robinson has drawn 57 targets out of the 201 pass attempts from Nebraska quarterbacks (28.4% target share). In addition to his team-high 382 receiving yards, Robinson has run for 216 yards on 39 carries (third-best on the team). He’s likely to post a huge stat line against Rutgers' brutal defense on Friday night. The Scarlet Knights are allowing over 430 yards of total offense to opposing teams. They’ve been throttled for 31 total touchdowns in eight games. If you’re in desperate need of salary relief, former five-star prospect Bru McCoy ($5,000) may be worth a dart throw in tournaments. He’s cleared 50 receiving yards in two out of five games. Plus, the Trojans will likely throw the ball 40-plus times on Friday night. Nebraska’s Zavier Betts ($4,900) is on the field a ton and is a high-profile recruit, and Nebraska is desperately searching for a second wide receiver to step up alongside Wandale Robinson. McCoy and Betts should not be played in 50/50 contests or double ups. These wide receivers should only be played in large-field tournaments, as their floors are very shaky. The relief may not be necessary with the bargain basement salaries associated with the USC ball carriers.

Others to consider: Amon-Ra St. Brown, Bo Melton, Tyler Vaughns, Yo’Heinz Tyler, Devon Williams, Antonio Nunn, Antwan Davis, Hunter Kampmoyer, Shameen Jones, Artie Henry, Xavier Gaines, Myron Mitchell, Talik Keaton, Willie Johnson, Zac Lefebvre, Aron Cruickshank, Trea Shropshire, Austin Allen, Zavier Betts, and Bru McCoy.

Matthew Hiatt is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matthew Hiatt also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username easternmh. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her 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.