Welcome back to another week of DFS college football! The first CFP Rankings of the season were released this week with a surprise #1. This weekend’s set of games will be better than ever and should be a blast to watch.
I’m trying a new format this week in an effort to organize the article better and get it out in a more timely manner. Writing as a full-time student and a full-time employee in retail is not easy, and I want to be better! This new format will still feature the same amount of research an in-depth analysis but will focus on which plays to use in which formats. PLEASE give me feedback on this by utilizing our new “comment” section on the site or feel free to let me know on Twitter! I cannot improve unless I hear back from y’all!!
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*FORMAT CHANGE: DraftKings has now gone back to the minimum salary of $3,000, a $100 increase from last week’s minimum of $2,900.*
Note: Effective 11/3, DFS Report will no longer be covering the Tuesday or Thursday slate of college football but instead cover the early Saturday slate, in-depth.
To help us find the best plays for you to cash, we will be implementing a value system based on the scores for the last four $3 CFB Redshirt contest on DraftKings for the early Saturday slate. We will use average of the top scores* each week to set a total optimum score for GPP’s and a total minimum cashing score to see what it takes to finish “in the money.”
Players will be broken down by position into two groups: “safe plays” — plays that can be confidently used in “cash games” and as a solid core group of players to build your team around in GPP’s, and “GPP plays” — plays that are tremendous upside but also a low “floor” or potential for a “bust” game.
10/10: 180 cashes, 266 wins
10/17: 192 cashes, 311 wins (295 in 2nd)
10/24: 183 cashes, 288 wins
10/31: 210 cashes, 334 wins
Average over the last 4 weeks: 191.25 cashes, 295.75 wins*
*for 10/17: the “wins” score was over 10 points above second-place, which I consider an outlier. Due to this potentially skewing the data, I used the 2nd place score of 295.
So how will we determine which players to use in each format? I am implementing a value system for this article.
How the value system works
The total salary allocated in DraftKings’ CFB is $50,000. To use the value system, you will take the salary of each player (the first two numbers) by the value you would like that player to reach. Example: For a player to reach 4X value at a salary of $5000, the player would score 20 points (5.0 x 4). If you used ALL of the salary allocated and each player hit exactly 4X value, you would score 180 points, a little over 11 points away from the scoring threshold we are trying to reach to “cash” in GPP’s. Obviously, you want to score more than 180 points, so look for players who are candidates to reach 5 or 6X value.
4X value = good play
5X value = great play
6X or more value = elite play
For each player, I will use the value system based on his salary to project how many points we need him to get to “reach value.” For Cash games and “safer” plays, a 4X valuation may work dependent on salary. For GPP’s we’re looking for 5 to 6X generally.
One more example: If I player is minimum salary ($3,000) and is thrust into the starting lineup, a 5X value would be perfect in any format. Let’s say a player is ($8,000) and has not scored more than 32 FPS all season. He’ll be fortunate to even reach 4X value, leaving much more to be desired.
LAST THING before we get started: I tried to explain this system the best I can but I could easily see if it’s quite confusing. Regardless, it should start to make a bit more sense once we dive into the plays. Overall, trust me. I’m trying to help all of you win money and I am confident that this will do it.
Patrick Mahomes II ($7,600) — TT @ WV — Mahomes is one of my favorite plays on the slate. West Virginia is 99th vs. the pass and the over/under is a whopping 80.5. He’s WAY under-priced and is a candidate for 6-7X value with a floor of 4X. Pair him with WR Jakeem Grant ($6,500) in all formats and WR Ian Sadler ($4,100) for GPP’s if you feel so inclined. You can also roster RB Deandre Washington ($5,500) with confidence as a near lock at 4X value.
Nate Sudfeld ($5,200) — Iowa @ IU — Sudfeld faces a tough match-up but needs just 20.4 FPS to reach 4X value. He’s exceeded that point total 5 of the 7 weeks he’s played and should do it once again in what’s projected to be a relatively high-scoring game.
Dalvin Cook ($7,800) — FSU @ Clem — Dalvin Cook is below $8K for some odd reason. I really don’t care who he plays — he’s match-up proof and should be treated as a top 3 option on the slate. Expect 4X value out of Cook, at minimum.
Demario Richard ($6,800) — ASU @ WSU — How do you slow down a high-tempo passing attack when you can’t even trust your own secondary? You run the ball. WSU is allowing opponents to rush for an average of 206.6 yards per game and Richard should have no trouble reaching 27+ FPS.
Josh Doctson ($8,300) — TCU @ OKST — Doctson is perhaps the safest WR play on the board. 4X value is practically a guarantee with the way he’s going, and even 5X is realistic vs. an OKST team who allowed Jakeem Grant to catch 13 passes for 178 yards and a TD last weekend.
Laquan Treadwell ($6,700) — Mississippi; Drew Morgan ($4,100) — Arkansas: Let’s keep this simple: both secondaries are suspect and both guys are the #1 options for their respective teams. Expect both to reach 4X value, with Morgan likely to reach 5X.
Gabe Marks ($6,700) — ASU @ WSU — Marks is the #1 threat for the pass-heavy Cougars and should be in for a big game once again vs. Arizona State’s 100th ranked pass defense. Marks is the only true play you can trust in cash games, with his teammates Dom Williams ($5,300) and River Cracraft ($5,200) being better served for GPP’s. Williams’ price is a bit lower than it should be, and I’d trust him in cash games as well to reach 4X value in a high-scoring affair.
Tyler Boyd ($6,200) — ND @ PITT — In terms of volume, Boyd is one of the most consistent options on the slate. Boyd has averaged 9 receptions per game and has even received 13 carries over his last three games. Pittsburgh should be behind most of this one and Boyd should reach 4X value.
Malcom Mitchell ($4,300) — UK @ UGA — Sure, the Georgia QB situation is a mess (looks like Brice Ramsey ($4,000) but I wouldn’t be surprised to see multiple QB’s. It is something to monitor leading up to game time at min QB salary. Anyways, back to Mitchell. Regardless of who’s at QB, he’s the #1 guy for the Dawgs and Vegas likes UGA to score some points in this contest (despite the weather and the fact that the Dawgs haven’t scored a TD in 2 weeks). The Wildcats allow 232.4 yards per game through the air on average and Mitchell leads Georgia’s WR’s in all major categories. If it is indeed Ramsey who starts, expect some down-the-field throws — a nice bump to Mitchell’s value. Expect 4X value with potential for 6X.
Greg Ward Jr. ($8,600) — CIN @ HOU — Ward has had two sub-par fantasy outings in a row and that’s great for us. His ownership percentage should be down and his ceiling is practically non-existent. Look for Ward to hit near 5X value, even at his hefty price tag. For GPP’s, you could consider pairing him with his favorite option, DeMarcus Ayers ($6,100) although he is still just fine on his own with his rushing prowess.
Deshaun Watson ($7,900) — Plain and simple again: the upside is certainly there, despite the tough match-up. 32 FPS won’t be easy, but he’s done it before — twice to be exact. Nice price for Watson today. A GPP pair with Artavis Scott ($5,800) would be intriguing as Scott has certainly been hit or miss this season.
Thomas Sirk ($6,700) — Duke @ UNC — You could make a case for Marquise Williams ($7,000) here as well, but Sirk comes at a $300 discount and could be in for a huge day, particularly on the ground. Sirk is Duke’s leading rusher, in carries, yardage, and tied for the lead in rushing TD’s. UNC has the 104th ranked rush defense in the nation and will have a tough time stopping the Blue Devil QB. Duke will be seeking revenge after being wrongfully given a loss last weekend vs. Miami. Rain is in the forecast here so there’s plenty of risk of a “bust” performance, but Sirk has 6X upside.
Christian McCaffrey ($8,300) — Stanford @ Colorado — Let’s keep this simple: if Remound Wright ($4,100) doesn’t vulture a TD or two from McCaffrey, he has a chance to be a top 3 back on the slate. Colorado is 102nd vs. the run and Stanford is favored by more than 2 touchdowns. His high price makes him a bust candidate as he’ll need 33.2 FPS just to reach 4X value. It’s more than possible that he does this, even 5X-6X value — just be aware of the risk. Wright’s presence, even though it’s small, likely will limit McCaffrey to 4X-5X, which still is a solid day overall.
Wendall Smallwood ($6,400) — TT @ WV — Smallwood is a breakout candidate this weekend for sure. His price doesn’t quite match his production this season as he’s been forced to split carries with Rushel Shell ($4,000). The good news is this: Smallwood gets to face off vs. Tech’s “defense” — ranked 125th vs. the run, allowing over 270 yards per game, on average. I expect WVU to try to control the time of possession and slow down Texas Tech’s high octane offense. Not to mention, they could get up early and pound the rock. Smallwood has yet to break out… and this is the game for him to do it. His price is inflated (8th most expensive back) which will hopefully drive his ownership down. 4X value is realistic, but I really like him to go 5X-6X in a big game.
Deangelo Brewer ($4,400) — UCF @ Tulsa — Let’s start here: Zack Langer ($5,300) is the safer option in the Tulsa backfield. Langer gets the goal-line carries and could make 4X value this weekend, but Brewer is $900 cheaper and provides the explosiveness we love to see in GPP plays. He’s averaging almost 2 more yards per carry than his teammate and even though the stats don’t show TD’s, I have a feeling Brewer will start to gain on Langer in the last weeks of the season. Brewer’s received 39 carries over the past two weeks and should reach 4X value — with the potential for 5 or 6X if he can reach the end zone. UCF is 94th vs. the run and Tulsa should have a field day.
Shaq Washington ($5,700) — CIN @ HOU — Washington is the clear #1 option in terms of volume and you can;t help but love his price in this one. Houston has been below average vs. the pass this season and the Bearcats will be passing a lot. Washington should hit 4X value with ease but does face competition with several of his teammates battling for targets. The upside is still there, but it’s not as prevalent as I’d like.
Thomas Duarte ($5,000) — UCLA @ OSU — UCLA has a duo of WR’s that are fun to watch. For fantasy purposes, their basically opposites. Jordan Payton ($5,400) is clearly the “cash game” option — catching 6 or more passes in every game since week 4, while Duarte possesses the upside we love to see in GPP’s — having exceeded the 30 FP threshold twice in the last 4 weeks. Oregon State is in the top half of the nation in pass defense but I still like Duarte as a candidate to reach up to 6X value, with a floor of around 3X.
Nelson Spruce ($5,000), Shay Fields ($4,000), Donovan Lee ($3,500) — Stanford @ Colorado — The Buffalo will be playing from behind in a game with a 56 over/under and Stanford is nothing more than middle-of-the-road vs. the pass. Spruce is the safest option but hasn’t topped more than 22 FPS this season. Fields is still dealing with a high-ankle sprain, but is probable for Saturday’s game. He possesses the most upside, especially at this price. Spruce is a safe bet for 4X value, while Fields is certainly boom or bust. He’s only 8% of the overall salary cap and is definitely worth a GPP flier. Donovan Lee is considered as a WR on DraftKings but has led the Buffs in combined carries over the last two weeks. The best part is that he is still very active in the passing game, catching 7 passes last weekend vs. UCLA. He’s still a risk vs. a stout Stanford run defense, but needs just 14 FPS to reach 4X value.
Tevaun Smith ($3,100) — Iowa @ IU — Smith returned last weekend, catching 2 passes for 35 yards. As noted last weekend, he was expected to be the “go-to” guy coming into the season. Indiana is dead last vs. the pass (allowing opponents to an average of 342.2 yards per game through the air) and with the Hoosiers expected to keep this one within 10, Iowa should approach 30+ passing attempts.
Keep in mind: This article was intended to highlight several of the plays I like for the slate, although not all plays are included! If you feel that I missed someone, feel free to message me on Twitter and we can talk about that player! 🙂 Chances are, there’s a reason I did not include that player — although I do make mistakes, so I welcome all input!
Thanks for reading and best of luck to your teams this weekend.