College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 12/24/20

College football's bowl season continues on Christmas Eve with the New Mexico Bowl between Hawaii and Houston at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Because this is the only bowl on Thursday, our DFS options are limited to the single-game slate, which features one MVP, whose points get multiplied by 1.5, and four flex positions. In this format you can select any combination of players, regardless of their position.

In this preview, I'll break down the top MVP candidates -- who should also be used in the normal slots if not selected as your MVP -- while also highlighting some value plays and some players you may want to avoid. All references to betting totals and spreads are from the FanDuel Sportsbook.

MVP Candidates

QB Clayton Tune, Houston ($16,000)

Houston is favored by 10.5 points in this matchup with an implied total of 35 points, so Clayton Tune should be able to put up a strong number if this game goes as expected. Tune has reached at least 25 fantasy points in four of six games, with only UCF and Cincinnati holding him below that threshold. It's worth mentioning, however, that Hawaii's defense is holding opposing quarterbacks 6.3 fantasy points below their average (ninth-best in the nation) and has only allowed one quarterback to reach 20 fantasy points (New Mexico's Tevaka Tuioti). If you're building multiple lineups, it's probably worth creating a few based on the possibility Tune gets shut down.

QB Chevan Cordeiro, Hawaii ($15,000)

In Hawaii's last two losses, Chevan Cordero posted scores of 26.1 points (versus San Jose State) and 31.1 (versus Boise State), so he's proven to be a viable MVP candidate even in a losing effort. Cordero also leads the Warriors in rushing and averages 7.6 yards per carry excluding sacks, giving him a safe floor. The risk in rostering Cordeiro is the possibility he's overwhelmed by Houston's pass rush, which has generated pressure on 38.5 percent of opponents' drop backs, per Sports Info Solutions.

Cordeiro Pressure SplitsCompletion
Under Pressure38.5%5.13.1%
No Pressure68.9%7.21.8%

RB Kyle Porter, Houston ($12,000)

If you're looking to fade the quarterbacks in the MVP slot, Kyle Porter looks like the guy to target. Hawaii's success slowing down opposing quarterbacks does not hold true for the run defense. Opposing running backs are scoring 10.6 fantasy points above their average against the Warriors, the 10th-worst rate in the country. According to Sports Info Solutions, Houston primary runs the ball out of 11 personnel -- 59 percent of Porter's carries come in those formations -- and Hawaii is allowing an embarrassing 7.5 yards per carry when facing 11 personnel.

Value Plays

WR Jared Smart, Hawaii ($10,000)

According to Sports Info Solutions, Houston is allowing 8.9 yards per target to slot receivers, which ranks 103rd in the country. Jared Smart is Hawaii's weapon in the slot, averaging 5.8 targets per game.

WR Melquise Stovall, Hawaii ($9,500)

Melquise Stovall was dismissed from the Hawaii football program by former head coach Nick Rolovich last November but was reinstated prior to the start of the 2020 season by the new staff. After playing sparingly through the first few games, Stovall has since emerged as the top weapon in the Warriors offense, commanding a team-high 23 percent target share over his last four games.

WR Keith Corbin, Houston ($9,000)

Houston's number-one receiver, Marquez Stevenson, has opted out of this game, allowing slot receiver Keith Corbin to step up as Tune's top target. In nearly three full games without Stevenson earlier this year, Corbin generated a 24.8 percent target share, while averaging 9.5 fantasy points per game.

RB Mulbah Car, Houston ($6,500)

Backup running back Mulbah Car is a good punt option, especially in a lineup heavily stacked with Houston's stars. In the event of a blowout victory, the fifth-year senior is likely to see some action in the second half. Car showed his ceiling earlier this year, putting up 19.1 fantasy points in a 49-31 victory over Tulane.

Players to Avoid

WR Rico Bussey, Hawaii ($8,500)

Rico Bussey began the year as Hawaii's primary option in the passing game, posting a 27.6 percent target share through the team's first four games. Over the last four games -- coinciding with the emergence of Stovall -- Bussey's share has dropped to 9.9 percent, tied for fifth on the team.

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.