Week 11 was much more predictable than week 12 and we’re glad for that. This weekend though, I don’t think we’ll see such obvious events occur. Sure, we have some blatantly obvious matchups like Pitt against UNC or Boise State against UNLV, but there are some very odd games mixed in. I like the potential of many sneaky plays this weekend and I’m hoping I’m alone on some of these picks. Like every week, I’ve talked about 40+ players including early and late games, but also added a late lineup for DraftKings to go along with four lineups from sites across the industry. Let’s hop on my first playmaker I should be alone with at quarterback.
1. Deshaun Watson, Clemson – Watson came back from injury last week, but didn’t play due to the fact they were playing Wake Forest. This weekend against Georgia Tech is a big game in the ACC with both these teams at the top part of the standings. The biggest reason Watson is listed as my top QB is his ability to be a playmaker. I liked and ranked JT Barrett last weekend against Michigan State for the same reason and look how that turned out. Now, Watson gets to build on his 8:2 TD to INT ratio as a starter in 2014. He’s thrown for almost 700 yards, 100 yards rushing, and two rushing TDs. Georgia Tech’s pass defense is below average and a fairly comparable QB in Marquise Williams threw for 390 yards, and four TDs while rushing for 73 yards and one TD.
2. Anu Solomon, Arizona – The inability to get the ground game going through running backs has benefitted Solomon as he has rushed more in the last two weeks and this past week he put up the big yardage. He ran for 112 yards against Colorado and added four TDs through the air. His passing yardage numbers have been down lately, but a weak Washington defense could change that. The Huskies have given up 300+ passing yards in four of the last five games with a TD to INT ratio of 8:2. Solomon’s TD to INT ratio in 2014 is 25:5 with ten TD passes in the last three games.
3. Cyler Miles, Washington – I’m not the biggest Miles fan that’s for sure, but I think I’m going to be on him this weekend. He has rushed for over 100 yards on 31 carries in the last two games and has three total TDs during that time, but against Arizona he should be facing a below average defense. They’re ranked 113th in passing yardage allowed per game and they can get beat up by running QBs. Brett Hundley just ran for 131 yards two weeks ago, so a guy like Miles could easily get half of that and provide nice value that way. The best things about this game are what should be a fast tempo and lots of points on the board.
4. Trevone Boykin, TCU – Boykin should be in for another huge game Saturday as TCU faces off against Kansas. This game should be a blowout, but it’ll be because of Boykin and his dual threat ability. While he hasn’t thrown for a ton of yardage in the last two games, he has added 172 yards and four TDs on the ground. In the four games before his mini cold streak, Boykin threw for 433, 410, 287, and 318 passing yards. Those are big games for a quarterback and Kansas is the 97th ranked passing defense. Even against Iowa State’s backup QB, Kansas gave up 275 passing yards and two TDs.
5. Josh Dobbs, Tennessee – Dobbs has really shown up for Tennessee since the injury to the two quarterbacks in front of him and I like him against Kentucky Saturday. He’s coming off a monster five TD game including 301 passing yards and 166 rushing yards. He did this against a bad South Carolina defense, but it’s not like Kentucky’s defense is any better. The Wildcats just gave up a five passing TD game to Hutson Mason and the Georgia Bulldogs. Mason himself went 13 of 16 passing with four TDs. Dobbs is way more athletic than Mason and can’t be any worse of a passer, so you have to think Dobbs has major potential in this one especially with his legs.
6. Michael Brewer, Virginia Tech – Brewer comes at a good price and has had plenty of usage in 2014. He has thrown 30+ times in seven of nine games this season and is coming of a 48-attempt performance. While Duke’s run defense is bad and the Hokies should have more success than in recent weeks, they’re still not reliable. The Hokies need to win two of their final three games to become bowl eligible and they’re likely to be behind in most of this game. Duke’s pass defense also benefits from a soft schedule including Elon, Troy, Kansas, Tulane, and a heavy run based offense in Georgia Tech.
7. Kevin Hogan, Stanford – Hogan has been extremely efficient in three of his last four games completing 64% of passes or more in those games. He has thrown for at least 200 yards in the last four games and six total TDs. While he has had some rough games, against Utah he should see a competitive game against a poorly ranked pass defense. The Utes have given up multiple TDs in four of the last five games. Hogan seems to put up passing TDs in bunches with games of 3, 4, 3, and 2 TDs out of his 13.
8. Paxton Lynch, Memphis – Lynch is an odd fantasy player with great efficient numbers, but really hasn’t done much in terms of TDs lately. It’s obviously killing his numbers, but against Tulane he might get those TDs finally. They’ve given up five passing TDs in the last two games Even with weak TD numbers he still has put up 13+ fantasy points in each of his last five games. Lynch is due at this point and has a good enough matchup to be considered a great GPP option. With plenty of eyes on him lately there’s a good chance he’ll be very low owned.
1. Grant Hedrick, Boise State – Hedrick has been a straight beast this season and especially lately. He’s coming off his second straight 350+ yard and four TD game. In those two games, he put up over 105 fantasy points! Now, he gets to face San Diego State, an above average pass defense, but one that has been beat before. They gave up over 250 yards to UNC, Oregon State, and UNLV in three of the first four weeks. Even with average matchups Hedrick has been good for 24+ fantasy points in six of his last eight games.
2. Nick Marshall, Auburn – Want to hear a scary thought? Florida absolutely pounded Georgia on the ground two weeks ago with basic plays. Now, they face Auburn, a team with elite runners and a much more complicated offense. It’s going to be a mess and I see Marshall as the safest player on the board in this late slate.
3. South Florida’s QB – It sounds like Quinton Flowers is going to start for USF against SMU, but it doesn’t matter to me. As long as I’m playing the starting quarterback then I don’t care who it is. SMU gives up almost 47 points a game and consistently gives up huge games to opposing offenses. The best part of this play is that any option USF throws at us means a cheap option. Pairing up this quarterback with a guy like Marshall could be great for offsetting how expensive he is.
4. Christian Stewart, BYU – Stewart has done an admirable job filling in for Taysom Hill, especially in the last few games. He has been throwing it a ton lately going for 45+ attempts in two of his last three games. In those two games, Stewart has thrown for six TDs and over 700 passing yards. He has been very efficient with those passes and now gets a really bad UNLV defense. I really like BYU’s running back in this one as well, but there’s no guarantee they run it all that much. I like the potential in both plays and with good reason. Stewart is going up against a pass defense that gives up a ton of yardage at times with low passing attempts like last week against Air Force where they gave up 156 yards on seven total attempts.
5. Matt Davis, SMU – Matt Davis made his first start in 2014 against Tulsa this past weekend and he played great. He threw for 212 yards and one TD, but also ran for 188 yards and two TDs. Now, he gets a good matchup against SMU and with him holding the reigns of a team that is always on offense, he has major fantasy potential. They’re about 13 point underdogs in this one, meaning Davis will be a gunslinger throughout the entire game. I can’t see them taking him out due to a blowout because he needs reps so SMU can see what they have.
1. Tevin Coleman, Indiana – Coleman is my top running back for how much potential he has against a really bad defense. I expect his third string, now starting, quarterback to play better and in return Coleman should see better numbers than lately. He put up 71 rushing yards against a really good Penn State defense and then has eight straight 100+ rushing yard games. I fully expect Coleman to get back into the end zone as Rutgers has given up 15 rushing TDs in the last four games. Heck, they even gave up three rushing TDs to Michigan and their brutal offense. Another great stat is Rutgers has given up the 14th most rushing plays of 30+ yards. Coleman is a big play runner breaking runs of 40+ yards in seven of nine games in 2014.
2. Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska – Abdullah was banged up and only had six carries against Purdue a few weeks ago, but you have to strongly consider him if priced like he is at DraftKings. Any time Abdullah steps on the field he is a threat to reach the end zone. He has 19 TDs on the season and before that six carry game against Purdue, he had run for 371 yards and seven TDs in the two previous games. Wisconsin has been great against the run, but that’s partially because they have avoided playing Michigan State, Ohio State, and Indiana.
3. Jalen Hurd, Tennessee – Hurd is going to run you less than a lot of the other running backs here and he has a lot of potential in this game against Kentucky. Nick Chubb just had a monster game against this Kentucky defense going for 170 yards. Kentucky’s run defense has given up 300+ rushing yards in three of the last four games. Hurd has a few things going for him that I really like. He is coming off his best rushing performance in 2014 going for 125 yards against the Gamecocks two weeks ago and he’s a big PPR threat. He has 15 catches in the last three games and 24 total on the season. Hurd seems like a really safe play across the board with this matchup.
4. Ezekiel Elliot, Ohio State – Elliot is coming off a huge game against Michigan State where he ran for over 150 yards and two TDs. While he struggled against Illinois, that was because of limited carries. Supposedly he was banged up and therefore only saw nine carries. He ran for a nice 69 yards in that game. So, besides that Illinois game, Elliot has rushed for 100+ yards in four of the last five games. Minnesota has struggled against the run at times in 2014 with huge games allowed against TCU and Purdue. Those teams averaged over six yards per carry. Elliot should be a great option going into this game.
5. Aaron Green, TCU – BJ Catalon was out last game and because of it, Green got the start. In that game against Kansas State he really showed up rushing for 171 yards and one TD. I would have to imagine Catalon sits out another game with the matchup against Kansas being soft and the way Green played. Kansas is a great matchup for TCU especially on the ground. The Jayhawks are giving up five yards per carry on the season and have given up huge games to West Virginia, Texas Tech, and Baylor in three of their last five games.
6. David Cobb, Minnesota – Cobb has one of the most consistent runners in the Big Ten, but he’s coming off a very weird game. Against Iowa, Minnesota threw for four TDs and Cobb only ran it 16 times. While his carries have gone down, it’s extremely random to me and it should go back into the mid 20s immediately. He has a TD in three straight games and 100+ yards in four of the last six games. With Cobb having a low fantasy game last week and Ohio State being a tough run defense, I see Cobb as a great GPP play. Michigan State was the best run defense Ohio State faced so far in 2014 and they ran for 178 yards and three TDs. I’m not buying this run defense because of some good games against Illinois, Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland, and Virginia Tech.
7. Matt Jones, Florida – Jones is a part of a tricky Florida backfield including his quarterback Treon Harris, and other running back Kelvin Taylor. Because of this, he can’t be considered a cash game play, but to me he’s a great GPP play. You can’t expect Treon to put up two rushing TDs again and Jones still got 17 carries in the game against Vandy. Against South Carolina, he’s facing a run defense that has given up 200+ rushing yards in four straight games (including the Furman game), and 14 rushing TDs during that time. Jones should get another 15-20 carry game and do bigger things than what happened in that Vandy game.
8. Wayne Gallman, Clemson – If you watched the Clemson game last week, you saw a pretty talented Gallman. He ran for over 100 yards for his second straight game and has done well with the starting running back gig. He has eight catches, three total TDs, and 246 yards rushing in those three games. Georgia Tech has been extremely bad against the run giving up more than five yards per carry and allowing 21 rushing TDs. Those stats rank Georgia Tech 110th for yards per carry and 104th for TDs. Gallman should continue to see 15 carries and with Deshaun Watson back more space to run.
1. Jeremy Langford, Michigan State – I hate doing this, but I have to. Langford has three TDs in each of his last three games and gets another great matchup going against Maryland Saturday. Before facing a terrible Penn State offense, the Terps had given up nine rushing TDs in their previous three games. Michigan State is going to try and get back on track after a tough loss to Ohio State and they’ll do it how they always have, by running the football. Langford has six straight 100-yard rushing games and 314 rushing yards in the last two.
2. Paul Lasik, BYU – Lasike is the guy replacing Jamaal Williams after his season ending injury and he gets a monster matchup against UNLV Saturday. UNLV is the third worst running defense giving up 28 rushing TDs to go along with 280 yards per game in 2014. There’s no way to know for sure if Lasike will get all of the carries in this game, but he does have games of 12 carries twice earlier in the season against Nevada and UCF. It’s also nice to see that he’s a threat in the passing game recording 12 catches in his last three games.
3. Marlon Mack, USF – Mack hasn’t gotten a large amount of carries per game in 2014, but he’s still getting the majority of them. He ran for 31, 22, and 24 carries early on in the season, but the offense has looked elsewhere lately. Mack has 25 carries for 101 yards in his last two games, but did rush 19 times for 130 yards and two TDs against Tulsa the week before that. With an offense that is good enough to put points up on SMU, you have to think that Mack gets 20+ carries or does good enough with 15 carries to warrant his price. SMU has given up 200+ rushing yards in seven of eight games this season.
4. Todd Gurley, UGA – Gurley is back in town and I’m sorry, but I can’t help myself from ranking him. He is priced lower than he was before suspension so we’re seeing a nice discount here. If you go cheap at quarterback then you can certainly squeeze him in. Don’t forget that before he was suspended he was averaging 154 rushing yards per game and had scored nine TDs in five games. In the last two games, Ole Miss and Texas A&M have run the ball very well against this Auburn defense in the last two games putting up 322 yards and two TDs on the ground.
5. Cameron Artis-Payne, Auburn – Ever since a weak showing against Mississippi State in week seven, CAP has been downright nasty. He has rushed for over five yards per carry in each game while scoring four TDs. He’s been a monster carrying the ball 82 times in three games. I see more of the same with Auburn being a slight underdog and that Georgia defense being very fickle. They had trouble with Florida’s offensive scheme, so Auburn’s should throw them fits. CAP could see another 25-carry 150 yard game with multiple touchdowns.
EARLY WIDE RECEIVERS
1. Amari Cooper, Alabama – Cooper isn’t just my number one receiver this week, but my number one player on the board period. He has been electric even against the better defenses Alabama has faced in 2014. In the last three games, Cooper has put up a stat line of 25/447/5. As I tweeted earlier in the week, he has accounted for almost half of the catches and yardage for Alabama through the air in 2014. Now, he gets to face one of the worst pass defenses in the country in Mississippi State. They’re the sixth worst team when it comes to passing yardage per game (300.6). Cooper is an elite talent with an elite matchup in a huge game. He’s going to put up for us this weekend.
2. Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh – This one seems really obvious as UNC’s defense is just downright awful. Everyone knows that UNC’s defense is bad, so let’s just talk Boyd. He has had great games in each of his last three even against one of the best cornerbacks in the country against Virginia Tech. In those three games, Boyd has put up a stat line of 22/363/1. While I love Boyd (everyone should) I would suspect his TDs come from big plays if at all. James Conner is going to steal any TDs inside the ten-yard line. Luckily for us though, Boyd should see at least ten targets and catch a high percentage of them.
3. Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma – I really think Shepard should be good to go in this game against Texas Tech as he almost played against Baylor. Obviously keep an eye on the situation, but if he does play then I love this matchup for him. He’s been a machine going for 100+ yards in five of his last six games besides the game where he got injured in the first quarter. The Red Raiders rank 101st in terms of passing yards allowed per game. They’ve given up 21 TDs through the air to just three INTs. Oklahoma State, Kansas State, and TCU all threw for 4+ TDs in 2014.
4. Mike Williams, Clemson – Williams gets his deep ball quarterback back for this game with Deshaun Watson finally being 100%. He relies a lot on the ability to break long passes, so this is huge news for him. He gets a solid Georgia Tech matchup and possible huge games again. In two Watson starts, Williams put up lines of 6/155/2 and 6/122/2. He hasn’t been completely irrelevant since Watson was out having a great game against Boston College putting up a line of 8/128/0.
5. William Fuller, Notre Dame – Fuller had a very nice game against Arizona State even if Golson had ten or so turnovers. He ended with six catches for 95 yards, and one TD. Fuller has a TD in four straight games and every game but one overall. Northwestern is an average pass defense and has given up big games to Cal, Western Illinois, and Iowa this season.
6. Deante’ Gray, TCU – Who has the best game through the air in this TCU game is a really tough one for me, but I’m going with the cheaper option and Gray. Doctson hasn’t put up any sort of numbers since returning from injury while Gray has a TD in three straight games. Kansas is a really great matchup and I expect a ton of points to be scored. Against Texas Tech in that thrashing, Gray had a stat line of 4/165/2.
7. Michiah Quick, Oklahoma – I really wanted to talk up Quick last weekend before the Baylor game, but I wussed out. He had a good game against Iowa State and was close to minimum price. Now, we see a low priced Quick in a great matchup and Shepard possibly is out (I don’t expect it though). If for some reason Shepard is out then Quick is a very good play coming off a 6/94/1 game. Having Trevor Knight back for this one would be better for him, but I don’t see his backup being that bad against this Texas Tech defense for him not to have good value.
8. Isaiah Ford, Virginia Tech – There are many lower end options to choose from at this position and I’m guessing Ford will be one of the lowest owned ones for sure. He is the favorite target for Michael Brewer and is coming off a very good 7/75/0 game against Boston College two weeks ago. He has three games of 7+ catches and with Brewer coming off a game throwing 40+ times I could see another seven catch game for him. Duke’s pass defense can be beat and Ford will be the guy to put up those points when it happens.
LATE WIDE RECEIVERS
1. Andre Davis, USF – I feel terrible just plugging and playing at this point against SMU, but that’s just the way it is. He’s coming off a terrible game against Houston, but part of that was due to being suspended for the first half. In the previous three games, Davis caught 18 passes for 355 yards, and five TDs. With SMU on the schedule, you can almost guarantee USF’s one passing threat gets his points as everyone else in America has against this brutal defense. SMU is giving up 46.8 points per game in 2014.
2. Tony Lippett, Michigan State – Lippett had a bad game against Ohio State this past weekend, but it was still good enough for double digit fantasy points. He had gone for 100+ yards in four straight games with three TDs. Lippett is Cook’s number one target and should be in for a good game against Maryland on Saturday. Other really good number one receivers have gone for 13/216/1 (Kevin White) and 5/121/1 (Alex Erickson).
3. Jesus Wilson, Florida State – A Miami native, Wilson gets to face off against his hometown team. I like to think that that shouldn’t play too much into a player’s efforts, but to a certain extent it does. Wilson has a lot of talent and is a cheap option, so it’s a smart play to me. He has caught three passes or more in every game this season and with Jameis Winston playing in a huge rivalry game I would expect a lot of points on the board. Their running back situation has gotten murky with injuries and multiple backs being used, so the passing game is going to have to be relied upon.
4. Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M – Reynolds has been hot and cold in 2014 and has yet to have over 100 receiving yards, yet I still like him this weekend. With Kyle Allen finally given the ropes to throw the ball aggressively, Reynolds put up his highest yardage total this season with 88 yards and added two TDs. This makes his third game of two TDs and has an average matchup against Missouri this weekend. While Missouri has been great for less than 200 passing yards in the last four games (against weaker passing teams), they allowed five games of 200+ passing yards to start the season.
5. Shane Williams-Rhodes, Boise State – For me, Williams-Rhodes is a super consistent player and if I’m playing cash games then he’s very enticing to me. His price hasn’t gone up too much if at all even after a 5/53/2 game last weekend. He ha a TD in each of his last five games and has really been great since the Matt Miller injury. San Diego State is an above average pass defense when it comes to passing yardage, but faces their toughest opponent since early in the season. In three of the first four games for SDSU, they gave up 260+ passing yards.
EARLY TIGHT ENDS
1. David Grinnage, NC State – Grinnage is the safe play here and won’t cost you too much. He has 2+ catches in three straight and in every game but one this season. What’s great about him lately is that Brissett has found him in the end zone four times in the last four games. Against Wake Forest we should see the Wolfpack in the red zone a bunch, so Grinnage owners have a good shot at another TD.
2. Ben Koyack, Notre Dame – Koyack isn’t as safe as Grinnage but he has more upside due to possible high volume of catches. Twice this season he has caught five passes in a game. He only has two TDs on the season, but against Northwestern you have to think that Everett Golson has his way with that defense. He threw for 446 yards against Arizona State on the road and now the Irish are back at home.
3. Jimmay Mundine, Kansas – If you’re willing to pay up for a tight end then Jimmay Mundine is the guy I’d go with. Since Cummings became the starter four games ago, Mundine has caught 22 passes for two TDs. In the four games before that, he caught 11 passes for zero TDs. Cummings looks for him more and Mundine is loving it. TCU has given up points this season although I don’t think Mundine’s upside is that high in this game.
LATE TIGHT ENDS
1. Jake Roh, Boise State – Roh had an off game against New Mexico, but I’m willing to pay almost minimum price if possible for him. Hedrick has been super hot and he has found Roh for two TDs in the last four games. He has been good for three catches in five of the last seven games.
Other TEs to consider: C.J. Uzomah (Auburn), Hunter Henry (Arkansas), Josiah Price (Michigan State)
FANTASY ACES ROSTER
DraftKings EARLY ROSTER
DraftKings EARLY ROSTER REVISED (ADDED COOPER)
DraftKings LATE ROSTER