Russell Clay provides expert analysis for your CFB DFS teams to help you take down all the money!
The goal of CFB DFS Slate Breakdown is to review the main CFB DFS slates on FanDuel and DraftKings, and also add analysis that will help gain knowledge for EliteFantasy Subscribers for future weeks.
College Football is much like other forms of DFS sports, with the main difference relating to the information being less accessable. There’s a legitimate advantage to watching games (especially with the mid-major teams), and finding how these teams and offensive (and defensive) systems function.
Understanding that end of the spectrum, and providing actionable results, will help provide an edge on our non-subscriber competition.
It’s been a crazy and chaotic 2020 season in the college football world. But despite all that, let’s dive in, find some edges, and make this a winning slate for #Elitemafia.
Before we do this week, I want to point out something very important. MAKE SURE TO CHECK OUT OUR PROJECTIONS. While they’re FantasyCrunchers’ base projections, Ryan Clifford is in there making adjustments at times as well. He’s one of the brightest CFB DFS minds in our industry. While I’m certainly confident in my process, cross-checking my thoughts with those projections is how I do things, and I think you should do that as well.
I wanted to update this article. I talked to a few subscribers and they discussed some tweaks they’d like to see for the format. These all seemed reasonable, so here’s what we’re going to do:
I’m going to create positional rankings, noting my top 15 (or so) plays at each position on the slate. Basically, which players I’m getting exposure to.
I’m then going to highlight which games I think are the best from a game-stack perspective. I’m also going to highlight which games I’m avoiding.
Lastly, in games I’m avoiding, I’ll highlight a few individual players that are still viable, despite not being in ideal game-flow conditions.
While writing up each game is solid, I think it’s a smarter approach to give straight-to-the-point rankings for those who don’t want to read four thousand words. Then, easy to decipher breakdowns of which games to mine for fantasy points, and which to ignore.
Anyhow, let’s get into it.
In terms of the formatting, assume DraftKings projections, unless the player is on FanDuel only. If the player is only on one site, there will be a DK (DraftKings) or FD (FanDuel) next to the price.
Rankings are my favorite plays of the week at each position (QB, RB, WR). Next to the player will be pricing, matchup, optimizer projection (DK projections unless only on FD) and write-up/update when needed. The are not value-based. Strictly ranked based on who are the best plays.
1.D’Eriq King (9,300, 10,400) VS VIRGINIA TECH— Projection: 30.2
2. Dillon Gabriel (10,800 FD) VS TEMPLE— Projection: 28.2
3. Matt Corral (10,500 FD) VS SOUTH CAROLINA— Projection: 31.4
4. Hendon Hooker (9,700, 11,000) VS MIAMI— Projection: 29.9
5. Kyle Trask (11,200 FD) VS ARKANSAS— Projection: 29.2
6.Kedon Slovis (8,600, 9,800) VS ARIZONA — Projection: 29.0
7. Sam Howell (8,000, 10,000) VS WAKE FOREST— Projection: 27.0
8. Grant Wells (8,900 DK) VS MIDDLE TENNESSEE — Projection: 26.6
9. Malik Cunningham (8,100, 9,200) VS VIRGINIA— Projection: 23.8
10. Ian Book (7,000, 9,500) VS BOSTON COLLEGE— Projection: 19.4
11. Tyler Shough (9,900 FD) VS WASHINGTON STATE— Projection: 22.2
12. Michael Penix Jr. (7,200, 9,100) VS MICHIGAN STATE— Projection: 20.4
13. Brennan Armstrong (6,500, 9,400) VS LOUISVILLE— Projection: 20.1
14. Graham Mertz (9,000 FD) VS MICHIGAN— Projection: 19.8
15. Jayden de Laura (8,800 FD) VS OREGON — Projection: 18.4
1. Javonte Williams (9,500, 11,000) VS WAKE FOREST— Projection: 25.6
2. Kyren Williams (8,900, 9,800) VS BOSTON COLLEGE— Projection: 18.6
3. Kevin Harris (9,400 FD) VS MISSISSIPPI— Projection: 15.5
4. Brenden Knox (8,500 DK) VS MARSHALL— Projection: 17.0
5. Jerrion Ealy (8,400 FD) VS SOUTH CAROLINA — Projection: 15.3
6. Javian Hawkins (8,300, 9,700) VS VIRGINIA— Projection: 18.1
7. Khalil Herbert (8,700, 9,000) VS VIRGINIA TECH— Projection: 14.5 (Injured. Keep An Eye on His Playing Status)
8. Max Borghi (8,800 FD) VS OREGON — Projection: 14.0
9. Michael Carter (6,100, 9,100) VS WAKE FOREST— Projection: 14.2
10. Kenneth Walker (7,400, 8,700) VS NORTH CAROLINA— Projection: 12.9
11. Stevie Scott (7,200, 8,500) VS MICHIGAN STATE — Projection: 12.6
12. Leddie Brown (7,900 DK) VS TCU— Projection: 12.3
13. Cam’Ron Harris (5,900, 8,100) VS VIRGINIA TECH— Projection: 11.0
14. Zonovan Knight (7,700 FD) VS FLORIDA STATE— Projection: 12.6
15. Stephen Carr (6,200, 7,300) VS Arizona— Projection: 8.9
16. Dedrick Mills (5,700, 7,600) VS Penn State— Projection: 9.67
1. Elijah Moore (10,000 FD) VS SOUTH CAROLINA— Projection: 16.8
2. Jahan Dotson (8,800, 9,600) VS NEBRASKA— Projection: 16.83
3. Dyami Brown (7,100, 9,000) VS WAKE FOREST — Projection: 16.7
4. Marlon Williams (9,500 FD) VS TEMPLE— Projection: 14.6
5. Drake London (5,800, 8,600) VS ARIZONA— Projection: 16.53
6.Tutu Atwell (6,500, , 8,900) VS VIRGINIA— Projection: 16.3
7. Kadarius Toney (9,200 FD) VS ARKANSAS— Projection: 14.2
8. Amon-Ra St. Brown (6,700, 8,700) VS ARIZONA— Projection: 15.1
9. Jaylon Robinson (9,300 FD) VS TEMPLE— Projection: 13.8
10. Whop Philyor (6,100, 8,300) VS MICHIGAN STATE— Projection: 13.5
11. Artie Henry (6,400 DK) VS MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE— Projection: 13.44
12. Kyle Pitts (9,400 FD) VS ARKANSAS — Projection: 13.23 (Keep an Eye on Pitts injury status)
13. Billy Kemp (6,200, 7,100) VS LOUISVILLE— Projection: 12.9
14. Travell Harris (9,700 FD) VS OREGON— Projection: 12.8
15. Kenny Yeboah (8,600 FD) VS SOUTH CAROLINA — Projection: 10.46
16. Mike Harley (6,900, 8,500) VS VIRGINIA TECH— Projection: 12.3
17. Parker Washington (4,400, 7,300) VS NEBRASKA— Projection: 10.65
18. Jaquarii Roberson (4,900, 8,400) VS NORTH CAROLINA— Projection: 10.1
Spotlight games are the top games of the week from a DFS perspective. These games are game stack opportunities, or games with multiple high-end upside plays in them.
WAKE FOREST (4-2) vs. NORTH CAROLINA (5-2)
Spread: NORTH CAROLINA -13
While this game may not have many household names, it should yield a game-flow worthy of stacking from a DFS perspective.
On North Carolina’s side of the ball, we know what we’re getting. The RB duo of RB Javonte Williams and Michael Carter has been explosive, to say the least.
Through just seven games, both Williams and Carter are above 900 yards from scrimmage (Williams with 1,001, Carter with 907) and have combined for 22 touchdowns (17 for Williams, five for Carter). Because of that huge volume, the rest of the offense hasn’t quite produced as expected, but there’s still plenty of weapons to use.
WR Dyami Brown leads North Carolina by 400 receiving yards over second on the team, with 666. Brown was highly explosive in 2019, and it’s no surprise he’s doing similar things in 2020.
WR Dazz Newsome has taken somewhat of a backseat in 2020, but still represents upside as a tournament play. Similar to Newsome, tournament shots can be taken on WR Beau Corrales.
Of course, the immensely talented QB Sam Howell puts this offense together in an efficient fashion on a weekly basis, and is one of the main reasons there’s so much DFS value to go around.
Wake Forest is going into this game allowing 24.8 points per game, and they did play well defensively against Virginia Tech — but North Carolina’s offense is a different animal, more in the Clemson range (which they allowed 37 points to). I’d be surprised if Howell and company left this game with less than four touchdown drives.
While Wake Forest doesn’t have the same upside offensively, they do run a fantasy-friendly system, especially in comeback mode. I’ve never been a huge fan of QB Sam Hartman, but he’s certainly improved since the True Freshman version of himself.
Hartman, WR Jaquarii Roberson and Kenneth Walker are three players I’m eyeing in tournaments in lineups that I’m going with combinations of North Carolina players. It’s not ESSENTIAL to game-stack, but at least with Roberson, he offers a lot of upside for the price.
North Carolina has allowed at least 21 points in each of their last six games, and that includes two above 40 (45 to Virginia Tech and 44 to Virginia). Their offense has a way of pushing game-flow.
MIAMI (6-1) vs. VIRGINIA TECH (4-3)
Spread: VIRGINIA TECH -2
In terms of the matchup, I love this game. It’s two evenly matched teams with inconsistent but exciting offenses.
Virginia Tech has been all over the board from an effectiveness standpoint in 2020, but QB Hendon Hooker should have a good day here. Hooker has a good rapport with WRs Trey Turner, James Mitchell and Tayvion Robinson, and while their passing game has been inconsistent, he has solid tournament upside in this game.
Hooker obviously adds a bunch of fantasy value in the running game as well, accumulating 535 yards from scrimmage and eight rushing touchdowns already in 2020. Hooker is expensive, but represents a solid cash game play, especially if thinking about stacking him with Turner.
RB Khalil Herbert has been obscene so far in 2020, accumulating 918 yards from scrimmage and seven touchdowns on just 102 touches. Unfortunately, it’s unclear if Herbert will play this week or whether he’ll be effective if he does. Raheem Blackshear appears to be the handcuff in this situation, and would be an incredible value if Herbert doesn’t play. In tournaments, he’s worth pursuing even if Herbert does play, when considering injury upside.
Miami’s side of the ball is a little simpler.. beyond the TE Brevin Jordan situation. Jordan missed last game, but it wasn’t reported as injury related. Keep an eye on that. If he plays, I like him in all formats.
If he doesn’t? TE Mike Harley will be set up in a featured fashion on intermediate routes. I’d probably stick to tournaments with WRs Mark Pope and Dee Wiggins, but both do have upside considering Virginia Tech’s forgetful nature at times on defense.
RB Cam’Ron Harris is nicely priced and has upside in this game. I also think RB Jaylan Knighton has the ability to make a few big plays in this game and could be a solid tournament punt… though that’s pretty aggressive and not something I’d suggest getting high exposure to.
TEMPLE (1-4) vs. UCF (4-2)
Spread: UCF -25
I think I’ve written up UCF in this section every week I’ve done this article. I can count only a handful of times the UCF offense has disappointed over the last three years, and life hasn’t always been easy for them.
There’s been a large cast of characters to go through this system, and they’re all consistently optimized. Sadly, this game is only on FanDuel this week, but for those that play over there, you’re in for a treat.
If you’ve been playing CFB DFS this year, then you know QB Dillon Gabriel has lit up college football based on his amazing chemistry with WRs Marlon Williams and Jaylon Robinson. This trio has hit value on just about every slate they’ve been on, and I’d consider getting all three of them in a lineup again this weekend. WR Tre Nixon missing most of the season with a collarbone injury has opened up a ton of opportunity for Williams and Robinson, and they’ve run with it.
As always, RB Greg McCrae is a fine tournament punt due to his explosive abilities in this offense, and RB Otis Anderson has multi-TD upside in this matchup. UCF is 25 point favorites for a reason, but their defense is leaky enough to keep Temple close enough to keep pouring on scoring drives.
Temple QB Anthony Russo is likely to not have a comfortable day passing the ball, but the volume he’ll see makes him an interesting tournament play at his price, especially if stacking the UCF side of this game.
WRs Branden Mack and Jadan Blue are not the reason their team is bad, and should be able to find holes in this leaky UCF defense. I’ll probably hold off on the Temple running game in this one, but those three mentioned are worth tournament plays.
GAMES TO FADE
Games to Fade is all about trimming the fat. If you look hard enough, you can usually find a player or two that’s exciting from every game. But, this section is recognizing which games may not yield DFS-relevant game-flows.
NOTRE DAME (7-0) vs. BOSTON COLLEGE (5-3)
Spread: NOTRE DAME -13
INDIANA (3-0) vs. MICHIGAN STATE (1-2)
Spread: INDIANA -7
TCU (3-3) vs. WEST VIRGINIA (4-3)
Spread: WEST VIRGINIA -3
PENN STATE (0-3) vs. NEBRASKA (0-2)
Spread: PENN STATE -3
“Standalone plays” are players I’d consider using who are playing in the “Games To Fade”. Pretty simple. College Football has a lot of teams and offensive systems that focus around one player. While the rest of the team isn’t worth playing, sometimes those players can provide DFS relevant results in otherwise terrible games.
Kyren Williams (8,900, 9,800) VS BOSTON COLLEGE— It’s no surprise to see Williams as a solid stand-alone play. While Williams’ usage has been somewhat inconsistent in 2020, especially in blowouts, he’s found a way to hit value. Williams has four multi-touchdown games in 2020, and four games with above 130 yards from scrimmage. Now that Clemson is out of the way, and Notre Dame has a real shot at the College Football Playoff, expect them to turn on the gas, even if they’re blowing teams out. Williams did only see 17 touches against Georgia Tech, but beyond that has seen at least 20 touches in four of his previous five games. Boston College allowed 240 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns to the North Carolina duo, 172 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown to RB Khalil Herbert, and Clemson RB Travis Etienne produced 224 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns on 27 touches. Projection: 18.6
Whop Philyor (6,100, 8,300) VS MICHIGAN STATE— Philyor hasn’t been consistent through three games, but it’s clear he’s the top read in the passing game. Philyor is coming of an 11 reception, 79 receiving yard game against Michigan, which followed up a five reception, 137 yard game against Rutgers. Philyor is a senior, has a competent QB in Michael Penix Jr. and should be able to slice through this Michigan State defense.
Speaking of Michigan State, they’re coming off a 49-7 loss to an otherwise mediocre Iowa team. Through three games, Michigan State is allowing 37 points per game. This program is clearly in flux after Head Coach Mark Dantonio has stepped away, and their defense has been embarrassing so far. Projection: 13.5
Leddie Brown (7,900 DK) VS TCU— Brown has been just about the only consistent thing on the West Virginia offense in 2020. In seven games Brown has accumulated 917 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns. Brown has scored at least one touchdowns in six games, and already has four with multiple. I agree with the general idea of West Virginia’s offense struggling to put together consistent scoring drives in this matchup, but Brown’s price makes him a worthy play anyway. Brown has seen at least 18 touches in each of his last six games, and before last week, saw 23 or more touches in his previous five games. Brown was dealing with an unspecified injury earlier this week, but all indications are that he’s going to play. Keep tabs on this one if you plan on using him. Projection: 12.3