September 10 CFB DFS Picks – Bulldog Matchup Taylor Made
Welcome to Thursday’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.
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*Advanced team statistics courtesy of Football Outsiders
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs At Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Louisiana Tech (31)
Western Kentucky (31)
Spread: Pick Em
Western Kentucky’s defense was one of the worst in the country last season and that’s why we’re going to target the Louisiana Tech offense in all game formats. Western Kentucky ranked 113th in Def S&P+ last season, with most of the damage done against them through the air (third worst in FBS at Passing S&P+). For those reasons, the Louisiana Tech offense has the best matchup of the slate and they have the weapons to put up big points. Jeff Driskel is a great play on DraftKings and will only cost you the third most at the quarterback position there. On FanDuel he’s $100 more than Brad Kaaya, making him the second most expensive quarterback. Driskel had a dynamite first game of the season (12-15, 274 yards, four TDs against Southern) and should be considered one of the best cash options at quarterback. He has multiple weapons to target including Trent Taylor (64/834/9 in 2014) and Paul Turner (42/514/4). Those two are the best two targets for Driskel and should be considered great cash options with their mid-range prices. Marlon Watts emerged as the number three receiver in the Louisiana Tech offense surpassing Carlos Henderson as that third option. Watts recorded four catches for 40 yards and a touchdown in the opener while Henderson didn’t even receive a target. Watts is an elite option on DraftKings with his minimum price while he’s easy to pass up on FanDuel due to his pricing being so similar to Taylor and Watts. On Fantasy Aces, all three are great options with Watts providing great salary relief at $4,000. Kenneth Dixon is the best offensive threat from a pure talent aspect, and he’s definitely priced that way across the industry. His ability to score (63 TDs in 37 career games) and his usage (18 carries and two receptions per game in 2014) make him an elite cash game option, but you’re going to have to pay up for it.
We came into this matchup expecting to heavily target Western Kentucky, but we’re leaning towards this offense only being considered for GPP formats. This Western Kentucky offense is normally a great offense to target, but it’s mainly due to their insane usage rates. Brandon Doughty only threw it 30 times in the week one loss to Vanderbilt, due to Vanderbilt’s near bottom pace of play rates (127 out of 128). While Louisiana Tech’s pace of play is faster than Vandy’s, they’re not that much better (78 out of 128). Two injury situations will impact the kind of plays this offense has in this weekday slate: Jared Dangerfield, wide receiver, and Joe Manley, offensive lineman. Dangerfield was listed as a starter on Monday’s depth chart and should be considered probable, while Manley’s status is unknown at this time. The offensive line really struggled against Louisiana Tech last season and in week one against Vanderbilt. Against LT last season, Doughty threw it just 35 times for 134 yards and was intercepted four times (also threw one touchdown). Their defense attacked Doughty with plenty of blitzes and it really threw him off of his game. We expect more of the same making him a GPP only play. His lack of projected attempts and matchup (LT defense Defensive S&P+ ranked 24th, Passing S&P+ ranked 22nd) make him very difficult to roster in a small slate as the top priced quarterback with clear value at the quarterback position. The safer way to get exposure to the high total from Western Kentucky is by targeting their receivers. Antwane Grant is the cheapest of WKU’s three main receivers (Dangerfield, Grant, and Taywan Taylor), so he is the receiver we’d target out of their receiving group. Leon Allen is a high usage player (averaged just under 21 carries and four catches per game in 2014), but only touched the football 19 times in week one. Allen will be affected by that slower pace and subsequently is a GPP play across all formats due to being priced as the second most expensive running back on the board.
Miami Hurricanes at Florida Atlantic Owls
Spread: FAU +17
The Miami Hurricanes have the highest team total on this slate in a matchup that offers plenty of upside. (Florida Atlantic ranked 107th in Def. S&P+). Our main target at quarterback is Brad Kaaya. In 2014 (his freshman season), Kaaya threw for 26 TDs, completed 59 percent of his passes and generated a healthy 8.5 yards per attempt. He ranked 17th in the latter (tied with Cody Kessler and better than Jameis Winston, Brett Hundley and Trevone Boykin). With more familiarity in this offense, we only expect Kaaya to improve moving forward. The most logical quarterback pairing on this slate is Jeff Driskel and Kaaya. While the matchup is certainly good for Kaaya, it’s even better for running backs. Florida Atlantic ranked 114th in Def. Rushing S&P+. We love the Hurricane running backs today because 1) the matchup is as good as it gets and 2) they’re the biggest favorites on this slate. The Hurricane’s backfield looks to be crowded but we believe that Joseph Yearby will ultimately be the number one back in this offense. Backup freshman Mark Walton looks like he will be an explosive change of pace back. He’s not big in stature (5’10, 190 lbs.) but he makes up for it with his explosiveness (7.24 yards per carry in his last year in high school) and is a four star recruit. He’s likely going to be a star in this offense at some point in the future. To add more uncertainty to this backfield, third string back Trayone Gray also got into the mix and got eight carries in Miami’s first game of the season. Yearby, Walton and Gray each scored a touchdown in week one. This is a game that could get out of hand, which means that Yearby will likely not see a full workload again. On sites where Walton is significantly cheaper than Yearby, he’s a better cash value than the latter. However, Yearby is the superior choice on sites where they’re priced closely. Target Trayone Gray in large entry tournaments (cheap everywhere and if Miami opens this game up early, Gray could see more touches down the stretch).
At the wide receiver position, we like Rashawn Scott quite a bit. He’s the number one receiver in the Hurricane’s offense and even though he has been injury prone throughout his career, he produces when he’s on the field (14.6 yards per reception in nine games in 2012). He showed his explosiveness in his first game of the season, accumulating six catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. He’s priced favorably across the industry. Target him across all formats. If you’re playing on a site that requires you to roster a tight end, Standard Dobish is our favorite value option at the position. Dobish caught a touchdown in week one and there’s the potential for more usage here. Miami’s second receiver Stacy Cooley and third receiver Braxton Berrios left the game early due to injuries. We’re not sure if they’re suiting up this week but either way, Dobish has a fair chance of seeing higher usage in this offense moving forward. If Cooley and Berrios are out, Malcolm Lewis becomes a viable play at minimum prices around the industry. He’s another receiver that has been derailed by injuries but was a high recruit (four star) coming out of high school.
Utah State Aggies at Utah Utes
Utah State (15.5)
Spread: Utah State +13
This game is rather unappealing in all formats. It has a total of 44 points and both defenses were ranked inside the top 35 in Def. S&P+ in 2014. These offenses are also not very good. Utah ranked 54th in Off. S&P+ while Utah State ranked 77th in Off. S&P+ in 2014. We’re excited to use Devontae Booker this season due to his huge usage and excellent skills but this is yet another difficult matchup for him (faced Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines in week one). Booker’s price point is a bit prohibitive in cash games. Target him in tournaments in hopes that the huge usage (26 touches per game in 2014; garnered 29 touches in week one) turns into more production this week. We’re also interested in LaJuan Hunt for tournaments. He received 25 touches in his week one matchup against Southern Utah. We remain skeptical about his skill set (3.5 yards per carry in week one) but that amount of touches at low price points gives him some appeal on a short slate. If you’re in need of a salary relief option at the wide receiver position, Britain Covey has some appeal in cash games. He led the team in receptions in week one. He’s small (5’8, 166 lbs.) and he probably won’t be a red zone target (due to his size) but might generate enough targets to be a viable option in short slate formats. Travis Wilson is a dual threat quarterback and should be considered for tournaments around the industry. Utah’s 28.5 implied team total isn’t that low relative to the other teams on this slate and Wilson is a high usage player. He threw 33 passes and rushed it 12 times vs. Michigan in week one. In 2014, Wilson averaged 24 passes and nine carries per game. If you need a salary relief option for cash games on tight pricing sites that require you to roster two quarterbacks (DraftKings), Wilson is a fine cash game pivot from Kaaya/Driskel. Keep in mind that Utah State is only returning about 55 percent of their defense from last year. There’s a good chance that their defensive unit regresses a bit, which gives us some confidence in players like Booker, Wilson and Covey. Utah’s tight end Siale Fakailoatonga is a secondary target at the tight end position on sites that require one.
*Hunter Sharp (Utah State) is suspended for this game.
**Jojo Natson (Utah State) was kicked off the team in June.