November 24th CFB DFS Picks: Roger that. Use the Falcons.
Welcome to Tuesday’s edition of the Daily Fantasy Rundown with “RealestChrisKay” and “TheNumbersGuy.” Each week we break down the largest college football slates to give you the best top, value, and cheap plays based on the Daily Fantasy Industry’s pricing for salary cap games. The goal of our analysis is to help you improve consistency and become a better player long-term.
If there’s something you’d like to see added or have any questions, please email us at email@example.com.
*Rankings are out of a possible 128 schools
**Advanced statistics courtesy of Football Outsiders (updated as of 10/31/15)
***Target statistics courtesy of NCAA Savant
1. Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
2. Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech
3. Quinton Flowers, South Florida
4. Riley Neal, Ball State
5. Ryan Graham, Northern Illinois
1. Joel Bouagnon, Northern Illinois
2. DeAndre Washington, Texas Tech
3. Marlon Mack, South Florida
4. Travis Greene, Bowling Green
5. D’Onta Foreman, Texas (questionable to play)
1. Roger Lewis, Bowling Green
2. Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech
3. Kenny Golladay, Northern Illinois
4. Gehrig Dieter, Bowling Green
5. Jordan Williams, Ball State
1. Sean Price, South Florida
2. Keith Heitzman, Ohio
3. Derek Lee, Bowling Green
Bowling Green @ Ball State
Bowling Green Team Total: 46.5
Def. Rushing S&P+: 80
Def. Passing S&P+: 78
Def. IsoPPP+: 75
Ball State Team Total: 24.5
Def. Rushing S&P+: 86
Def. Passing S&P+: 128
Def. IsoPPP+: 117
Bowling Green has put up points at an elite level in recent months, scoring 41 points or better in six of their last seven games. They struggled to get anything going in the first half of their game last week against Toledo, but still managed 28 points. This week, BGSU has the highest team total of all teams involved (46.5), and we expect that they’ll meet or exceed that number against Ball State.
This season, Bowling Green’s passing attack has been led by Matt Johnson and Roger Lewis. While these two have struggled to perform at a high level over the past two weeks, we believe both will produce big bounce-back games Tuesday. Johnson is averaging 34.6 DraftKings Fantasy points in 2015, compared to 21.26 (39% decrease) over the last two games. He hasn’t played that poorly (six touchdowns, 58.6% completion), but has missed the 300-yard mark his last two outings (first two times of the season). So, why the bounce-back game? Johnson will be facing the absolute worst pass defense in the FBS and a bottom 15 defense against big plays. Four times this season, Ball State has given up 10.5 yards per attempt or better. Over the last two weeks, Western Michigan and Ohio have thrown for 628 yards, six touchdowns, and zero interceptions. The top receiver for Johnson on the season has been Roger Lewis, but recently he’s struggled to put up star-studded numbers. We expect that to change because of that great matchup he has, but also because of the emergence of Gehrig Dieter (we’ll get to him in a moment). Lewis is the perfect player to target against bad IsoPPP+ defenses. He’s the leader in the FBS in 40, 50, and 60-plus yard catches this season. Not surprisingly, Lewis has 14 touchdowns and a 18.6 yards per catch average on the season. Gehrig Dieter is averaging 32.78 DraftKings Fantasy points over his last three games, providing value in cash and tournament formats. His routes are fairly short, as he routinely sees quick passes to the sidelines where he makes a move and gains big chunks of yardage. We could see more of the same, but there is extensive tape on this that defensive coordinators are sure to watch on repeat. We expect Ball State to play Dieter like the talented receiver he is and give him less space off the line of scrimmage. In cash games we won’t force Roger Lewis over Gehrig Dieter (due to salary relief), but will be targeting Lewis in tournament formats. Ronnie Moore and Teo Redding are both fine tournament options, but at different price points. Moore has turned into the fourth receiver on the field, but has plenty of talent and speed to take advantage of this matchup. Redding is the receiver that comes onto the field when BGSU goes five wide, so his usage is limited (eight targets over his last three games). He does have two touchdowns over his last three games and the matchup is good enough to accept risk associated with Redding in tournaments. Derek Lee, the tight end, should only be used as a salary relief player on FanDuel. Avoid him completely on DraftKings, where there are many other players at minimum price that have more upside.
Considering the high team total and usage (19.5) in recent weeks, it’s hard not to like Travis Greene’s high floor at running back. He has a good matchup, but it’s nowhere near as good as the passing game matchup. Greene will be used by the offense enough to love him in cash games, but doesn’t have the upside that others priced around him will have in this slate.
There are three relevant players from the Ball State offense, but only one is a priority for us. Riley Neal had a huge game at Ohio last week (30.08 Fantasy points), but is only averaging 19 Fantasy points per game on the season. We like the upside he has against BGSU even though their team total is just 24.5. He’s averaging 35.1 passing attempts and 8.4 rushing attempts per game in 2015. With an above average matchup and a game that should have a quick pace (BGSU eighth, Ball State 42nd in adjusted pace), we love Neal as a second quarterback on two quarterback sites. Jordan Williams has a three-game touchdown streak, but doesn’t add enough in the receptions or yardage categories to warrant value in tournaments. Over the last five weeks, Williams has yet to break 20 Fantasy points, even though he has a touchdown in four of those games. KeVonn Mabon has shown us in the last three weeks that while he is a talented receiver, he comes with too much risk to warrant cash game usage. Mabon is averaging 9.6 targets and 5.73 catches per game this season, good numbers but nothing outstanding. His inability to find the end zone (two touchdowns) is a bad sign for those looking for safety from Mabon in cash games.
Ohio @ Northern Illinois
Ohio Team Total: 21.5
Def. Rushing S&P+: 73
Def. Passing S&P+: 50
Def. IsoPPP+: 71
Northern Illinois Team Total: 34.5
Def. Rushing S&P+: 55
Def. Passing S&P+: 81
Def. IsoPPP+: 51
JD Sprague should be starting once again for Derrius Vick and makes for a good option in two-quarterback formats. Sprague has 40 rushing yards or better in three straight games where he has seen significant time. He is also coming off his best passing game of the season (275 yards, three touchdowns, 68.2% completion). It looks like Daz’mond Patterson, one of the two running backs utilized in this offense, will be out for this game. This could possibly bump up Sprague’s rushing tries to the 15-18 range. With Patterson out, A.J. Ouellette should see a huge bump in usage. Patterson left the game early last week and Ouellette ended up with 22 rushing attempts. The matchup is average, but his below average price is hard to beat considering his likely usage against NIU. Sebastian Smith is our favorite Ohio receiver, but will cost more than Jordan Reid by a decent margin. Smith leads the team with 9.2 targets, while Reid has 5.5 targets per game. Ohio is likely going to be forced consistently into passing downs, great news for the receiving group. Brendan Cope is a punt option that could provide value in tournaments. He’s averaging 4.4 targets per game and the matchup is above average, but it’s hard to love the third receiver from an offense that has a team total of 21.5.
The Northern Illinois offense is built around Joel Bouagnon and with good reason. He’s averaging 106.8 rushing yards per game, while adding 18 total touchdowns this season. Ohio’s run defense is their weakness, as it comes in just below average, but it’s Bouagnon’s usage and game script that have us liking him this week. He’s averaging 23 touches per game, which should be an easy number for him to approach considering NIU is an almost two touchdown favorite at home. Bouagnon is not a priority to our lineups (BGSU’s Johnson and Lewis are), but we love him as a pivot play to Roger Lewis. In four of Bouagnon’s last five games, he has generated over 30 Fantasy points on DraftKings. Jordan Huff, the backup running back, sees some usage week-in and week-out (7.5 touches per game), but will need a big run or blowout to hit value. Last week he ended with 159 yards on the ground, but 87 of them came on one play. He’s priced too high for any sort of usage in cash games, but the lack of cheap running backs allows for him to have value in multi-entry tournaments.
In the passing game, Ryan Graham has shown us he has the ability to be a safe option under center. Be aware that he has yet to break 200 passing yards or throw for more than two touchdowns, so he’s fairly limited in terms of upside. In his two starts, Graham has 32 and 34 touches producing 17.22 and 21.4 Fantasy points in those two games. The matchup against Ohio is below average, but the team total is one of the highest in the slate (34.5). We rank him similarly to JD Sprague, but below Riley Neal. Kenny Golladay has not been affected with Graham under center, as he is averaging 9.8 targets per game this season and 10 targets per game in Graham’s two starts. Golladay has posted two of his three best yards per catch average as well in those two games (23.5 and 23.3) He has really turned up his production in recent weeks, scoring five times in his last four games. Aregeros Turner has found himself a better role with Drew Hare out at quarterback and Graham now taking the snaps. 19 of his 48 touches (39.6%) have come in the last two games (has played in all 11 games). Those are impressive numbers, and even though his season numbers say he is targeted just 3.8 times per game, you can’t rely on those numbers. If you have watched the last two NIU games, you would see Turner being used on the ground plenty (six carries on jet sweeps and end arounds) as well as targets on legitimate passing routes. Turner is a safe option on both FanDuel and DraftKings.
Texas Tech @ Texas
Texas Tech Total: 37
Def. Rushing S&P+: 120
Def. Passing S&P+: 85
Def. IsoPPP+: 102
Texas Team Total: 35.5
Def. Rushing S&P+: 68
Def. Passing S&P+: 37
Def. IsoPPP+: 34
Texas is just about average on defense (ranked 76th in overall S&P+), so we expect an elite Texas Tech offense (ranked second in overall S&P+) to have success. Vegas agrees, pegging the Red Raiders with a team total of 37 (second highest on this slate).
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes is our second ranked quarterback in this slate. He’s accurate (65.7 completion percentage), explosive (8.2 yards per attempt) and very productive (averaging 3.6 touchdowns and 355.6 passing yards per game). He’s also productive running the football, averaging 4.1 yards per carry (9.3 carries per game). Matt Johnson is playing for the team with the highest team total in this slate and he’s our number one ranked quarterback, but Mahomes is a very good pivot in any format. Mahomes’ favorite target is Jakeem Grant (second ranked receiver in this slate). He’s averaging seven catches, 94.4 receiving yards and 0.81 touchdowns per game this season. Even though Grant is the number one target in this offense, he doesn’t have the upside as someone like Roger Lewis because the Red Raiders like to spread the ball to a multitude of receivers. We prefer Grant in tournaments. If you’d like to invest in someone from this receiving corps in cash games, Devin Lauderdale is a fine option. He receives a decent amount of targets thrown his way (5.6 targets per game), and he’s averaging four catches, 61.7 yards and 0.44 touchdowns per game this season. He’s a decent option in cash games, but his upside leaves a lot to be desired. Stay away from Lauderdale in tournaments. DeAndre Washington is one of the elite running backs in this slate. This season, Washington is averaging 6.6 yards per carry, 142.9 all-purpose yards and 1.27 touchdowns per game. His presence and activity in the passing game (three receptions and 26.4 receiving yards per game) gives him an added boost on PPR sites, but against this average rushing defense, he should be able to do enough damage on the ground alone. We’re not going to give him the nod over our other “studs” in this slate (particularly in cash games), but Washington is a nice pivot in all formats nonetheless.
From the Longhorns side of things, we’re mostly interested in their running game. D’Onta Foreman (averaging 7.2 yards per carry) has been by far the most productive running back in this offense, so it’s not a surprise to see his workload get a boost (12 and 18 carries in his last two games). Johnathan Gray was the number one running back in this offense, but he hasn’t been effective at all (averaging four yards per carry) and this is now Foreman’s job to lose. Unfortunately, Foreman just had surgery to repair a broken pinkie about two weeks ago. He had some time to heal (since Texas was on bye last week), but offensive coordinator Jay Norvell has already said that the offense is “proceeding as if Foreman and Gray (who’s also banged up) will be unavailable.” We’re still awaiting confirmation on Foreman’s availability, but if he plays, he will be an elite option in all formats against one of the worst rushing defenses in the country (surrendering 5.7 yards per carry and 3.2 rushing touchdowns per game). If Foreman doesn’t play, Chris Warren III will likely draw the start. Warren III is a freshman (four star recruit) and even though he’s only touched the ball 20 times this season, his near minimum price tag around the industry against this atrocious rushing defense makes him a very strong punt play. If we had any idea how good Warren III is we would name him a core play, but his overall context makes him a nice value in all formats as long as Foreman is out. The Longhorns have a two-quarterback system, so we usually don’t consider them for DFS purposes. However, Tyrone Swoopes can run the ball (6.1 yards per carry), and he generates red zone touches in this offense on a weekly basis. His skills and red zone touches give him upside in this matchup, so he deserves tournament consideration.
South Florida @ Central Florida
South Florida Total: N/A
Def. Rushing S&P+: 43
Def. Passing S&P+: 39
Def. IsoPPP+: 42
Central Florida Team Total: N/A
Def. Rushing S&P+: 105
Def. Passing S&P+: 111
Def. IsoPPP+: 114
Let’s get this out of the way quickly; Central Florida has zero appeal for DFS purposes most weeks, and especially in this slate. Their matchup against South Florida isn’t any good, and Central Florida (ranked 126th S&P+) is extremely challenged offensively. However, South Florida’s offense has nice appeal in an awesome matchup (Central Florida’s defense is ranked outside the top 100 in every advanced statistic that we use in our content). Quarterback Quinton Flowers is a good option in all formats. We’re not seriously considering him over our top ranked quarterbacks (Johnson and Mahomes), but he’s a good pivot if you need salary relief. Flowers is just average from an accuracy perspective (60.4 completion percentage), but he’s explosive both through the air (8.3 yards per attempt) and on the ground (averaging 5.1 yards per carry). A few blowout wins have kept his passing volume at a low 20 attempts per game, but he’s rushing the football 14 times per game (average of 34 offensive touches per game). Flowers (averaging 2.3 touchdowns per game) might not have the touchdown upside of Johnson or Mahomes, but his rushing abilities in a phenomenal matchup makes him a good DFS option. He’s a viable cash game and tournament option on DraftKings, but on FanDuel he’s priced a bit too closely to our top ranked options. We prefer him in tournaments on the latter site. Pairing him with his number one receiving threat (Rodney Adams) in tournaments gives you solid upside for two players that should be lower owned than the Johnson/Lewis or Mahomes/Grant combos. Marlon Mack (averaging 18 carries, 6.7 yards per carry and one touchdown per game this season) is just as good of an option as any of the elite running backs on this slate. His matchup against Central Florida’s rushing defense gives him added upside, and the only reason that he’s slightly ranked below Joel Bouagnon and DeAndre Washington in this slate is because the latter two running backs have more touchdown production than Mack. It’s difficult to fit Mack with an elite quarterback and receiver in cash games on this slate (unless Chris Warren III starts for Texas, which would open up a great value play), but he’s a good pivot if you’re trying to fit in a top-tier running back. Darius Tice saw 15 carries in a blowout win vs. Cincinnati, which he could very well replicate in another blowout scenario against Central Florida. He’s a fine punt option on DraftKings, where he can be used as a flex. Sean Price is the number one ranked tight end in this slate. Price has accumulated three receiving touchdowns and 108 yards since week 10. He’s likely the only tight end in this slate of games that can approach 20 Fantasy points. Use him in all formats.