Some good and bad in week one – which is to be expected. The guesswork slims down as the weeks go on. We begin to see exactly how running backs are being utilized, which receivers are becoming favorite targets, and what defenses are ripe for the picking. Let’s dive right into another massive Saturday in college football DFS.
Here you can choose which slate you’d like to jump to, or you can skip right to the rankings:
DraftKings Featured Slate, 12:00 pm (11 games)
RUTGERS @ IOWA (12:00 pm Kickoff)
Spread: Iowa -20 | Total: 50.5
Iowa shouldn’t struggle much here. Rutgers started slow against UMass last week, but really had things rolling by halftime. They run into a brick wall this week, however, I’m not expecting much from the Scarlet Knights.
From Iowa’s side, Mekhi Sargent ($6,200) seems underpriced. He was the clear #1 back in week one, touching the ball 18 times for 156 total yards and a rushing score. Nate Stanley ($5,900) is also priced right – especially for cash games. He piled up 24 DK points against Miami (OH) last week, and this Rutgers defense isn’t much better.
At WR, I’m interested in both Brandon Smith ($4,000) and Ihmir Smith-Marsette ($4,300). Along with Sargent, Smith and Smith-Marsette tied for the team lead in targets with 5 each.
For a team projected for 35+ points, their offensive starters are massively underpriced.
DFS Targets: QB Nate Stanley (IOWA), RB Mekhi Sargent (IOWA), WR Brandon Smith (IOWA), WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette (IOWA)
CINCINNATI @ OHIO STATE (12:00 pm Kickoff)
Spread: Ohio State -16.5 | Total: 55.5
Cincinnati is coming off a season-opening win over UCLA, but they were only able to put up 24 points on the Bruins in week one. Desmond Ridder ($6,700) is not a good enough passer to keep the Bearcats in this one through the air, and I have to think Ryan Day’s defense sells out to the run in order to keep Michael Warren ($7,900) bottled up.
For the Buckeyes, Justin Fields ($8,900) had an impressive debut against FAU, accounting for nearly 300 yards of offense and 5 touchdowns (4 passing, 1 rushing). His mobility is going to wreck havoc on opposing defenses all season, and even though this Cincinnati defense is good, they aren’t going to completely shut Fields down.
Chris Olave ($6,300) led the team in passing targets (6), and turned them into a 5-68-1 stat line. With so many other good pass-catchers on the field, I think it’s probably unlikely that he hits the 4.5x value we’d need for a GPP-winning lineup, but I’d be comfortable with cash-game exposure.
Otherwise, I think the Bearcat defense is decent enough to keep J.K. Dobbins ($7,900) from going off. We’re looking at needing about 20 DK points for cash value there, and I don’t see that happening as any sure thing.
DFS Targets: QB Justin Fields (OSU), WR Chris Olave (OSU)
WEST VIRGINIA @ MISSOURI (12:00 pm Kickoff)
Spread: Missouri -14 | Total: 62.5
Both teams had embarrassingly bad starts to their season. Missouri shockingly lost to Wyoming, while West Virginia hobbled over James Madison from the FCS – scoring just 20 points. Missouri’s clear weakness was on the defensive side of the ball, where they had absolutely zero semblance of a pass-rush – 0 sacks and only 2 tackles for loss. West Virginia’s weakness was on the O-line, where the big men paved the way for just 34 rushing yards on 24 carries by the Mountaineer backs.
Something’s gotta give this week. Wyoming rushed for almost 300 yards last week, but let’s put that into perspective. QB Sean Chambers accounted for 120 of those yards. RB Xazavian Valladay rushed for 118, but over half of those came on a 61-yard scamper. What’s left after that is just north of 100 rushing yards. WV QB Austin Kendall ($6,200) didn’t have a single rushing attempt against James Madison. I’m not high on this team’s chances of rushing for anything substantial here.
Wyoming passed for just 92 yards, so again, Missouri’s loss seems like a fluke of sorts. I’m not terribly interested in the West Virginia offense. The lone exception is WR Sam Jones ($4,000), who was targeted 10 times by Kendall, and came down with 6 catches. He needs only 10 DK points for cash value, which is very likely for the presumed WR1.
I took a long look at Missouri RB Tyler Badie ($5,900), who had 7 catches last week, and split carries right down the middle with Larry Rountree III ($7,200). Ultimately, I think his receptions came as a result of a game flow that is probably not going to happen again this week.
DFS Targets: WR Sam Jones (WVU)
SYRACUSE @ MARYLAND (12:00 pm Kickoff)
Spread: Maryland -2 | Total: 58.5
I’m trying not to overreact to Maryland’s 79-0 thrashing of Howard in week one, nor am I concerned about Syracuse only putting 24 points on the board against Liberty.
This should be a low-scoring affair, and I have little DFS interest. Syracuse WR Trishton Jackson ($3,400) was targeted a team-high 9 times, and is nearly minimum price this week.
Syracuse has one of the top D-lines in college football, so things will look much different for the Terps this week – I’m still in wait and see mode with QB Josh Jackson ($6,500), and I don’t see much value in Anthony McFarland’s $7,100 price tag.
DFS Targets: WR Trishton Jackson (SYR)
VANDERBILT @ PURDUE (12:00 pm Kickoff)
Spread: Purdue -7 | Total: 56.0
Ke’Shawn Vaughn ($6,100) averaged almost 5 yards per carry against a tough Georgia defense. He comes into week two underpriced, and should have no problem hitting cash value – and is one of the best bets to hit GPP value, as well.
Nevada threw for almost 300 yards against this Purdue defense in week one, so the Vanderbilt pass-game is firmly in play for GPP’s. Riley Neal ($5,000) started at QB, but I’m not sold that he’ll continue to get all the reps. He struggled mightily – only able to throw for 85 passing yards – and there are calls for Deuce Wallace ($4,500) to get more snaps.
Instead, I will just take some exposure to the pass-catchers – Jared Pinkney ($4,400) and Kalija Lipscomb ($5,800). Lipscomb exceeded the 17.4 DK points we’ll need for GPP value in 8 of 13 games in 2018. Pinkney hit 11 DK points in 9 of 13 games. It was a tough start for these two last week, but they should be able to get back on track here against Purdue.
15 targets for Rondale Moore ($8,100) in week one – picking right up where he left off. This will be Moore’s third time facing an SEC defense. In his first two meetings he went for 34 points (Missouri) and 27 points (Auburn) on DraftKings.
There are better options at quarterback than Elijah Sindelar ($7,500), and I’m not interested in any of the other Purdue options.
DFS Targets: RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn (VAND), WR Kalija Lipscomb (VAND), TE Jared Pinkney (VAND), WR Rondale Moore (PUR)
ARMY @ MICHIGAN (12:00 pm Kickoff)
Spread: Michigan -22.5 | Total: 47.0
Playing the Michigan pass-game was a big miss for me last week. Shea Patterson ($6,900) is…who we thought he was. That being said, he should be a solid bet to hit cash-game value this week, but I’m not touching him in GPP’s – and that’s the only Wolverine I have any interest in. There are too many moving pieces in the WR group, and we’re not even sure in Donovan Peoples-Jones ($5,800) will be able to return this week.
As a cheap flier, Connor Slomka ($3,400) starts at RB/FB in Army’s run-based option offense. This Michigan defense is stout, so it won’t be easy for Slomka, but he could reach cash value on volume alone, and perhaps sneak into GPP territory with a score or two.
DFS Targets: QB Shea Patterson (MICH), FB Connor Slomka (ARMY)
SOUTH FLORIDA @ GEORGIA TECH (2:00 pm Kickoff)
Spread: Georgia Tech -6 | Total: 61.5
USF hasn’t won a game since week eight of the 2018 season. Blake Barnett ($6,200) was yanked against Wisconsin last week, after going 13-for-30, for just 109 yards, while throwing 2 interceptions. He’ll start this week, but how long is his leash? I do like his salary, and you have to consider that he had the highest fantasy output of his career against Georgia Tech last season – piling up 36 DK points. Still, I’ll only be using Barnett in GPP lineups.
The USF playbook under new offensive coordinator Kerwin Bell is said to revolve around 5-foot-5 RB/WR Johnny Ford ($5,800). He was held out in week one, but should be back for this one, and I’m going to have a lot of exposure.
Jordan Mason ($4,500) was the clear leader in Georgia Tech’s backfield. This USF defense ranked No. 123 in the nation against the run in 2018, and started off 2019 by allowing 234 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground to Wisconsin. Mason is somewhat touchdown dependent, so I’d probably consider him more for GPP’s.
DFS Targets: QB Blake Barnett (USF), RB Johnny Ford (USF), RB Jordan Mason (GT)
ILLINOIS @ CONNECTICUT (3:30 pm Kickoff)
Spread: Illinois -20 | Total: 59.5
Illinois should roll the Huskies in this one. QB Brandon Peters ($6,400) looks like the real deal. He sliced and diced the Akron defense – completing over 60% of his throws, and passing for 3 touchdowns (he added another score on the ground). WR Ricky Smalling ($4,000) was targeted 10 times by Peters – far and away the WR1 in this offense.
The pass-game should light it up in the first half, with the running backs taking over in the second. Reggie Corbin ($4,400) is dealing with a lower-body injury, but is expected to play. He’d be the best bet from this backfield, but does carry some risk with the injury.
DFS Targets: QB Brandon Peters (ILL), RB Reggie Corbin (ILL), WR Ricky Smalling (ILL)
TEXAS A&M @ CLEMSON (3:30 pm Kickoff)
Spread: Clemson -17.5 | Total 64.5
Texas A&M turned in what was practically a perfect second half of football in last season’s matchup…and they still lost. Can they do it again? I don’t think it’s likely, but it all depends on Kellen Mond ($7,800). This is the kid’s moment. I’m starting to hear whispers about Mond’s NFL future – this is a huge opportunity for this kid to stamp his name on the map. I’ll have a GPP shot with Mond, but that’s about it for the Aggies.
Trevor Lawrence ($8,700) did not look comfortable against Georgia Tech last week – throwing a pair of uncharacteristic interceptions. He’ll look to get back on track against this Aggie defense that finished 2018 ranked No. 98 against the pass.
WR Tee Higgins ($7,300) has hit at least 9 DK points in 13 straight games, but has only reached the 21.9 points we’ll need for GPP value three times in that stretch. He continues to be Lawrence’s favorite target though, so he’s pretty safe for cash games. While Higgins is the cash-game target, Justyn Ross ($7,400) is the GPP target for me. He came on strong to finish the 2018 season, going 6-148-2 against Notre Dame and 6-153-1 against Alabama in the College Football Playoff. Last week he caught just 3 balls for 13 yards – I’ll be limiting my exposure.
Texas A&M ranked No. 2 in the country against the run last season, and held Travis Etienne ($9,400) to only 44 yards rushing in last season’s matchup. I’m not going to have any Etienne exposure this week – he needs a monster game to hit value just for cash games.
DFS Targets: QB Kellen Mond (TA&M), QB Trevor Lawrence (CLEM), WR Tee Higgins (CLEM), WR Justyn Ross (CLEM)
NEBRASKA @ COLORADO (3:30 pm Kickoff)
Spread: Nebraska -3.5 | Total: 64.5
Adrian Martinez ($7,000) was channeling his inner-Khalil Tate in week one. One of the most dangerous scrambling quarterbacks in the nation last season, Martinez finished last week with only 6 rushing yards. He SHOULD destroy this Colorado defense, but is GPP-only for me until I see it.
J.D. Spielman ($4,700) exceeded 14 DK points in all but one game he played in last season. His salary is way down after a bad week – it was a weirdly bad game in general for the Cornhuskers. I’ll get right back on Spielman, as one of my favorite WR plays in all formats.
Maurice Washington ($3,700) is in the bargain bin this week, but is one of two co-starters for the Cornhuskers. He looked great in the second half, entering after serving his first-half suspension last week.
Laviska Shenault ($8,000) was quickly becoming one of the top wide receivers in college football last season, but has all of a sudden been held to 65 or less receiving yards in each of his last three games. It’s becoming concerning, but after putting up a 10-177-2 stat line – 43 DK points – against this Nebraska team in 2018, you’ve got to at least consider him in your GPP lineups.
QB Steven Montez ($7,300) should be able to hit cash value with relative ease against this defense. Last season, he threw for 351 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Cornhuskers.
RB Alex Fontenot ($6,300) is going to be very touchdown dependent, and should probably only be used in GPP formats.
DFS Targets: QB Adrian Martinez (NEB), RB Maurice Washington (NEB), WR J.D. Spielman (NEB), QB Steven Montez (COL), RB Alex Fontenot (COL), WR Laviska Shenault Jr. (COL)
SAN DIEGO STATE @ UCLA (4:15 pm Kickoff)
Spread: UCLA -7 | Total: 46.0
There are some injuries we need to keep our eyes on at the running back position. For San Diego State, Juwan Washington ($7,100) is dealing with a banged-up ankle. If he misses this one for any reason, his backup Jordan Byrd ($3,200) almost becomes a must-play.
On the other side, Joshua Kelley ($7,600) is dealing with an injury to his knee, and is questionable again this week. If he’s out again, Demetric Felton ($4,500) is a WR that got most of the carries last week at RB for the Bruins.
DFS Targets: RB Jordan Byrd (SDST), WR Demetric Felton (UCLA)
Featured Slate (12:00 pm) Positional Rankings (ranked by value)
- Justin Fields, Ohio State, $8,900 (Cash or GPP)
- Trevor Lawrence, Clemson, $8,700 (Cash or GPP)
- Adrian Martinez, Nebraska, $7,000 (GPP)
- Nate Stanley, Iowa, $5,900 (Cash or GPP)
- Blake Barnett, South Florida, $6,200 (GPP)
- Brandon Peters, Illinois, $6,400 (Cash or GPP)
- Steven Montez, Colorado, $7,300 (Cash or GPP)
- Shea Patterson, Michigan, $6,900 (Cash)
- Kellen Mond, Texas A&M, $7,800 (GPP)
- Johnny Ford, South Florida, $5,800 (Cash or GPP)
- Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Vanderbilt, $6,100 (Cash or GPP)
- Maurice Washington, Nebraska, $3,700 (Cash or GPP)
- Mekhi Sargent, Iowa, $6,200 (Cash or GPP)
- Reggie Corbin, Illinois, $4,400 (GPP)
- Alex Fontenot, Colorado, $6,300 (GPP)
- Jordan Mason, Georgia Tech, $4,500 (Cash or GPP)
- Connor Slomka, Army, $3,400 (Cash or GPP)
- Jordan Byrd, San Diego State, $3,200 (GPP) *Cash and top play if Washington is out
- Rondale Moore, Purdue, $8,100 (Cash or GPP)
- J.D. Spielman, Nebraska, $4,700 (Cash or GPP)
- Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado, $8,000 (GPP)
- Jared Pinkney, Vanderbilt, $4,400 (Cash or GPP)
- Kalija Lipscomb, Vanderbilt, $5,800 (Cash or GPP)
- Ricky Smalling, Illinois, $4,000 (Cash or GPP)
- Tee Higgins, Clemson, $7,300 (Cash)
- Justyn Ross, Clemson, $7,400 (GPP)
- Brandon Smith, Iowa, $4,000 (Cash or GPP)
- Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Iowa, $4,300 (Cash or GPP)
- Chris Olave, Ohio State, $6,300 (Cash)
- Trishton Jackson, Syracuse, $3,400 (Cash or GPP)
- Sam Jones, West Virginia, $4,000 (Cash or GPP)
- Demetric Felton, UCLA, $4,500 (GPP) *Cash if Kelley is out
DraftKings Night Slate, 7:00
pm (8 games)
UCF @ FLORIDA ATLANTIC (7:00 pm Kickoff)
Spread: UCF -10 | Total: 68.0
These two teams put up 92 combined points in 2018’s meeting – those were different times for both programs though. Milton, Snelson, Singletary, and Whyte were a few of the playmakers from last year’s game that won’t be on the field for this one.
QB Brandon Wimbush ($6,800) looked a lot like the quarterback that started for Notre Dame early in 2018 – an inaccurate thrower with some wheels out of the backfield. UCF also gave Dillon Gabriel extended playing time, so I’m not sure we can touch Wimbush.
It looks like the Knights are still going with the big committee backfield – there are too many options for me to feel comfortable rostering any of these guys.
16 of Wimbush’s 23 pass attempts went to two receivers – Gabriel Davis ($6,300) and Tre Nixon ($5,400). I’m comfortable with either in any format this week, with the slight nod to Davis in cash, and Nixon in GPP’s.
Harrison Bryant ($5,400) is one of the top tight ends in college football. He finished with 6 catches for 79 yards against Ohio State, and was targeted a team-high 11 times. I’m not big on FAU, but will have some exposure to Bryant.
James Charles ($3,700) looks to be the lead back for FAU, and is a cheap option for cash games and GPP’s alike.
DFS Targets: WR Gabriel Davis (UCF), WR Tre Nixon (UCF), RB James Charles (FAU), TE Harrison Bryant (FAU)
BYU @ TENNESSEE (7:00 pm Kickoff)
Spread: Tennessee -3.5 | Total: 51.5
Outside of some GPP shots on WR Jauan Jennings ($5,700), I’m not too interested in the Tennessee offense.
BYU is likely to struggle against an SEC defense – even Georgia State had trouble moving the ball in their win last week. This should be a low-scoring snooze-fest if I had to guess.
DFS Targets: WR Jauan Jennings (TENN)
NEVADA @ OREGON (7:30 pm Kickoff)
Spread: Oregon -23.5 | Total: 62.5
Two teams coming off completely different week one outcomes. Nevada kicked a last-second field goal to shock Purdue, while Oregon lost in the closing seconds to an Auburn touchdown.
Justin Herbert ($7,500) was effective last week, and should put up some big numbers here if all goes according to plan – he’ll need his receivers to limit drops.
We’ll need to keep an eye on injury news, as I’m still not certain that Juwan Johnson ($5,000) actually plays. If he’s out, Jaylon Redd ($5,500) and Johnny Johnson III ($4,500) become big values.
C.J. Verdell ($7,700) is expensive, but I can also see Oregon keeping this one on the ground – especially if the score begins to get out of hand.
DFS Targets: QB Justin Herbert (ORE), RB C.J. Verdell (ORE), WR Jaylon Redd (ORE), WR Johnny Johnson III (ORE)
LSU @ TEXAS (7:30 pm Kickoff)
Spread: LSU -6 | Total: 55.5
This game is right up there with Clemson-Texas A&M as far as week two matchups go. This will be a chess match from start to finish – a fun game to watch, but not much to offer for DFS purposes.
LSU’s offensive stars are priced up a bit too high for my liking. I’ll probably have some exposure to RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($5,900). He is the lead back, and should have some opportunity to make a difference in the pass game, as well.
Sam Ehlinger ($9,200) only managed 169 passing yards against Georgia last season, and I don’t see him faring much better here. The Tigers back seven are just too big, too strong, and too fast for Ehlinger to do much damage on the ground, and I don’t trust his arm enough, either.
Freshman WR Jake Smith ($3,000) is still priced at the stone-cold minimum on DK. He was targeted 8 times by Ehlinger last week – equaling Collin Johnson’s ($6,800) target share. His salary is low enough to risk in cash-game lineups, and I will have a lot of GPP exposure.
DFS Targets: WR Jake Smith (TEX)
ARKANSAS @ OLE MISS (7:30 pm Kickoff)
Spread: Ole Miss -6.5 | Total: 50.5
Both teams had miserable results from their offenses in week one. The difference was on defense, where Ole Miss did an admirable job in shutting down the normally potent Memphis ground game.
Look for RB Scottie Phillips ($6,600) to get back on track out of the Rebels backfield. Game script did not favor the run game against Memphis, and Phillips still had 19 carries. If Ole Miss gets ahead in this one, I’d expect that number to rise.
DFS Targets: RB Scottie Phillips (MISS)
WESTERN MICHIGAN @ MICHIGAN STATE (7:30 pm Kickoff)
Spread: Michigan State -16 | Total: 46.5
Jon Wassink ($5,300) is a very good MAC quarterback. He had loads of success within the conference last year, and even put up good numbers against Syracuse in the season opener. When he was faced with a top-notch defense though, he managed just 3 DK points – 16-for-34 for 85 yards in a loss to Michigan. I’m not using him in cash lineups, but I could see WMU moving the ball in garbage time – it won’t take a whole lot for Wassink to reach GPP value, and I’ll throw a dart or two.
Cody White ($6,400) was only able to secure 2 catches on 9 targets in week one. Well, Western Michigan has not fared well against the pass going back to last season, so White should have plenty of opportunity to put up bigger numbers this week. I will likely pair White with QB Brian Lewerke ($7,000) in a lineup or two, although I don’t love him.
DFS Targets: QB Jon Wassink (WMU), QB Brian Lewerke (MSU), WR Cody White (MSU)
TULANE @ AUBURN (7:30 pm Kickoff)
Spread: Auburn -18 | Total: 51.5
Tulane has a very good team by AAC standards, but they will be outmatched here.
Bo Nix ($7,800) is a little more expensive than I’d like, but he’s got dual-threat ability, and should have the arm to take advantage of a Tulane defense that finished 2018 ranked No. 106 against the pass. WR Seth Williams ($6,000) was the number one target for Nix last week, and his price is right for any format.
JaTarvious Whitlow ($6,400) will be in a position to break off a couple big runs behind his big SEC-sized O-line, but Tulane has been very good against the run. Last week, they held FIU to only 59 rushing yards. Whitlow is an elite talent, though, so he’ll find his way into a few GPP lineups for me.
DFS Targets: QB Bo Nix (AUB), RB JaTarvious Whitlow (AUB), WR Seth Williams (AUB)
MIAMI @ North Carolina (8:00 pm Kickoff)
Spread: Miami -4.5 | Total: 47.5
Miami had an early bye week, and comes into this one well-rested. Freshman QB Jarren Williams ($6,500) wasn’t awful against Florida, and his sledding is about to get much easier. I have some GPP interest in what should be a low-owned Williams and this Miami offense. TE Brevin Jordan ($4,900) was the team’s leading receiver in week 0, and is one of my favorite plays at WR on this slate. K.J. Osborn ($5,500) and Jeff Thomas ($5,500) are also top talents, but I’d like to see Williams show some consistency in throwing to the outside before I invest too heavily in either of them.
Deejay Dallas ($6,600) is the team’s featured back, and looked like a superstar against the Gators. North Carolina ranked No. 111 against the run last season, putting Dallas atop my RB rankings as well.
North Carolina could rise to the occasion on their home turf, but this Miami defense should be too good for anyone on the Tar Heels to really go off.
DFS Targets: QB Jarren Williams (MIA), RB Deejay Dallas (MIA), TE Brevin Jordan (MIA)
Night Slate (7:00 pm) Positional Rankings (ranked by value)
- Justin Herbert, Oregon, $7,500 (Cash or GPP)
- Bo Nix, Auburn, $7,800 (Cash or GPP)
- Jarren Williams, Miami, $6,500 (Cash or GPP)
- Brian Lewerke, Michigan State, $7,000 (GPP)
- Jon Wassink, Western Michigan, $5,300 (GPP)
- Deejay Dallas, Miami, $6,600 (Cash or GPP)
- Scottie Phillips, Ole Miss, $6,600 (Cash or GPP)
- C.J. Verdell, Oregon, $7,700 (Cash or GPP)
- JaTarvious Whitlow, Auburn, $6,400 (GPP)
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU, $5,900 (GPP)
- James Charles, FAU, $3,700 (Cash or GPP)
- Brevin Jordan, Miami, $4,900 (Cash or GPP)
- Cody White, Michigan State, $6,400 (Cash or GPP)
- Seth Williams, Auburn, $6,000 (Cash or GPP)
- Harrison Bryant, FAU, $5,400 (Cash or GPP)
- Gabriel Davis, UCF, $6,300 (Cash or GPP)
- Tre Nixon, UCF, $5,400 (Cash or GPP)
- Jauan Jennings, Tennessee, $5,700 (GPP)
- Jaylon Redd, Oregon, $5,500 (Cash or GPP)
- Johnny Johnson III, Oregon, $4,500 (Cash or GPP)
- Jake Smith, Texas, $3,000 (Cash or GPP)
DraftKings Late Night Slate, 10:30 pm (4 games)
STANFORD @ USC (10:30 pm Kickoff)
Spread: USC -3 | Total: 44.0
Who would’ve thought seven days ago that this game would feature starting quarterbacks Davis Mills ($6,200) and Kedon Slovis ($6,400). I’m sure most didn’t even know who these guys were last week, but with K.J. Costello and J.T. Daniels each going down in the opener, this is what we’re left with.
This slate is challenging. We have three games with totals under 48 points, and the Arizona game up in the mid-60’s. There are a couple pieces I like in this one. Colby Parkinson ($4,600) is a pass-catching tight end that was targeted on almost 25% of Mills’ attempts. Connor Wedington ($5,800) was targeted by Mills just as much. He’s a little more expensive, and the USC secondary is probably a bit sharper than Northwestern’s, so I’d only use Wedington for GPP’s.
RB Cameron Scarlett ($5,900) will be the bell-cow in this offense, as evidenced by his 22 carries in week one. He gashed a very good Northwestern defense for nearly 100 yards on the ground, so he shouldn’t have much trouble getting things going against the Trojan D.
USC wideouts Michael Pittman ($5,000) and Tyler Vaughns ($5,500) lead the pack for the Trojans. Both scored double-digit fantasy points in last season’s meeting with Stanford, but there is some risk there with the young quarterback.
RB Vavae Malepeai ($6,000) will carry the load once again, but this run defense is tough. I’ll have a GPP dart or two, but that’s it.
DFS Targets: QB Davis Mills (STAN), RB Cameron Scarlett (STAN), WR Connor Wedington (STAN), TE Colby Parkinson (STAN), QB Kedon Slovis (USC), RB Vavae Malepeai (USC), WR Michael Pittman (USC), WR Tyler Vaughns (USC)
MINNESOTA @ FRESNO STATE (10:30 pm Kickoff)
Spread: Minnesota -3 | Total: 47.0
USC had a big game on the ground against Fresno State, so it’s the running backs I’m liking on this Minnesota team. Rodney Smith ($5,800) is the cash-game play as the lead back, but Mohamed Ibrahim ($4,700) is the more explosive player, and one of my favorite GPP darts.
Fresno State QB Jorge Reyna ($6,800) ran for 88 yards, and although he didn’t look sharp throwing the ball, he had 39 attempts, so he’s in play for DFS lineups based on volume alone.
Minnesota had a lot of trouble stopping the run against South Dakota State last week. Not only did Ronnie Rivers ($6,700) handle nearly all the RB carries for the Bulldogs, but he led the team in passing targets, as well.
DFS Targets: RB Rodney Smith (MINN), RB Mohamed Ibrahim (MINN), QB Jorge Reyna (FRES), RB Ronnie Rivers (FRES)
CALIFORNIA @ WASHINGTON (10:30 pm Kickoff)
Spread: Washington -13.5 | Total: 43.5
With a projected final of 28-15, we don’t need to worry about any of the Cal Bears for DFS lineups.
On the Washington side, though, I think there are a few options. Jacob Eason ($7,700) looked good – against an FCS squad albeit – but Cal’s defense is one of the best in the country. I will have a GPP shot or two, and that’s it. Hunter Bryant ($4,400) is the big pass-catching tight end, and caught 6 balls for 81 yards a week ago. He doesn’t need much to hit cash value, and could get himself into GPP territory with a score.
Andre Baccellia ($6,300) is turning into a star in this offense. He finished off 2018 with games of 14 DK points (vs. Washington State), 15 DK points (vs. Utah), and 26 DK points (vs. Ohio State). He began the 2019 season with 19 fantasy points against Eastern Washington, and led the team in targets.
Salvon Ahmed ($6,100) should have a big role for the Huskies this season. He’s a great runner in open space, and can catch the ball out of the backfield. This is a tough defense, but he should be able to reach cash-game value.
DFS Targets: QB Jacob Eason (UW), RB Salvon Ahmed (UW), WR Andre Baccellia (UW), TE Hunter Bryant (UW)
NORTHERN ARIZONA @ ARIZONA (10:45 pm Kickoff)
Spread: Arizona -28 | Total: 63.5
So here’s the chalk – and you’ll want to eat it.
Khalil Tate ($9,400) is going to go off. Against Hawaii in week 0, Tate had his first 100+ yard rushing game since 2017, which all but confirms it was indeed an injury that hampered him last season. Will Kevin Sumlin shelter Tate at all? They surely don’t NEED him to pile up rushing yards to win this one. That’s the only fear I have. If he is unleashed though, we could see another 200+ yard game on the ground for Tate.
J.J. Taylor ($7,900) is another one who could put up as many rushing yards as he wants on this Northern Arizona defense – but how much will Sumlin play him? If there is a player to be faded, I would say Taylor. In last season’s matchup against the FCS’ Southern Utah, Taylor was given just 8 carries (Tate, on the other hand, threw for 350 yards) – Taylor is GPP-only for me.
Maybe my favorite play on the entrie slate is Arizona WR Tayvian Cunningham ($3,000). The track star is min-priced, and had a big fourth quarter against Hawaii two weeks ago. Now listed as WR3 on the team’s depth chart, he’s in for an expanded role, and has the speed to take advantage of this FCS defense.
Jamarye Joiner ($5,100) is the WR1, and should also have a big game. He’ll probably have extremely high ownership, but is a tough fade.
If you’re looking for a piece of this Arizona defense, without the 80+% ownership most of these guys will carry, look at backup running back Michael Wiley ($3,400). I truly think Taylor is limited in this one, and it will be the true freshman Wiley that enjoys the lion’s share of carries.
It didn’t work with Southern Utah last week, but here are the skill position players you can look to for low-owned upside. QB Case Cookus ($5,700) is a fifth-year senior at Northern Arizona, and actually started against the Wildcats in a 62-34 loss in 2017. In that game he piled up 306 passing yards. WR Brandon Porter ($6,400) is the WR1, and had 6 catches for 140 yards and 2 touchdowns last week. He also threw a touchdown on the double-pass, which is a staple in this offense, and is sure to be called at some point Saturday night. He’s quite expensive considering the matchup, but should have very little ownership.
DFS Targets: QB Khalil Tate (ARIZ), RB J.J. Taylor (ARIZ), RB Michael Wiley (ARIZ), WR Tayvian Cunningham (ARIZ), WR Jamarye Joiner (ARIZ), QB Case Cookus (NAZU), WR Brandon Porter (NAZU)
Late Night Slate (10:30 pm) Positional Rankings (ranked by value)
- Khalil Tate, Arizona, $9,400 (Cash or GPP)
- Jorge Reyna, Fresno State, $6,800 (Cash or GPP)
- Jacob Eason, Washington, $7,700 (GPP)
- Case Cookus, Northern Arizona, $5,700 (GPP)
- Davis Mills, Stanford, $6,200 (GPP)
- Kedon Slovis, USC, $6,400 (GPP)
- Ronnie Rivers, Fresno State, $6,700 (Cash or GPP)
- Cameron Scarlett, Stanford, $5,900 (Cash or GPP)
- Mohamed Ibrahim, Minnesota, $4,700 (GPP)
- Salvon Ahmed, Washington, $6,100 (Cash or GPP)
- Michael Wiley, Arizona, $3,400 (Cash or GPP)
- J.J. Taylor, Arizona, $7,900 (GPP)
- Rodney Smith, Minnesota, $5,800 (Cash)
- Vavae Malepeai, USC, $6,000 (GPP)
- Tayvian Cunningham, Arizona, $3,000 (Cash or GPP)
- Jamarye Joiner, Arizona, $5,100 (Cash or GPP)
- Andre Baccellia, Washington, $6,300 (Cash or GPP)
- Colby Parkinson, Stanford, $4,600 (Cash or GPP)
- Michael Pittman, USC, $5,000 (Cash or GPP)
- Tyler Vaughns, USC, $5,500 (Cash or GPP)
- Hunter Bryant, Washington, $4,400 (Cash or GPP)
- Connor Wedington, Stanford, $5,800 (GPP)
- Brandon Porter, Northern Arizona, $6,400 (GPP)