September 26 CFB DFS Picks (Late Slate): Be a Good Ole’ Rebel.
Welcome to Saturday’s late 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Rankings are out of a possible 128 schools
**Advanced statistics courtesy of Football Outsiders
***Target statistics courtesy of NCAA Savant
Chad Kelly (Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt) – A big reason why we’re not paying for Prescott in cash games is because Kelly is much cheaper around the industry, and his context is better. We haven’t recommended Kelly the past few weeks because we didn’t really know his true talent level. It’s still early, but here’s what Kelly has done through three games (including playing Alabama at Tuscaloosa): 12.2 yards per attempt (best yards per attempt out of any quarterback in the FBS), 4.8 yards per rush and an average of four touchdowns per game. His usage hasn’t even been that huge (about 30 offensive opportunities per game), but his production has been sensational. He had a prime time game against Alabama in week three and carved one of the best defenses in college football (341 passing yards, three passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown). He draws favorable matchup today (Vanderbilt ranked 81st in Def. Passing S&P+ in 2014) and Vegas knows it, as they’ve pegged Ole Miss with an implied team total of 39.5 points. Given that Kelly’s price point around the industry has still not adjusted for 1) the type of skills he has (very explosive) or 2) his production, we view him as a core play of cash games.
Joel Stave (Wisconsin vs. Hawaii)/Travis Wilson (Utah at Oregon) – Stave and Wilson (if healthy) are good options to pair up with Chad Kelly (or the quarterback of your choosing) on multiple quarterback sites. We’re drawn to them because of their cheap price tags around the industry. We believe that a cheap value quarterback slot in cash games is the way to go this evening, since most high priced quarterbacks are in bad matchups. Stave is playing for the team with a higher total (Wisconsin’s team total is 37.5 points/Utah’s team total is 28.5 points), but we like Wilson’s potential usage (24 passing attempts/eight rushing attempts in 2014) a bit more than Stave’s (28 passing attempts). Wilson is considered questionable with a shoulder injury that kept him out of last week’s game. Utah’s head coach hasn’t announced a starter yet but given Wilson is participating in practice, we expect he’ll get the nod. If Wilson gets the start, we also believe that Wilson has a better probability of accruing more Fantasy points, as he will have to keep up with the fast-paced Ducks (ranked inside the top 10 in adjusted pace; the Utes are 12 point road underdogs). Stave does have the better overall matchup (Hawaii ranked 111th in Def. Passing S&P+), but a game manager role may limit his upside in this matchup. Both are usable in cash games, but we’re leaning towards Wilson’s usage (if healthy) in a game that he will need to throw the football in order to keep up with Oregon.
Additional quarterback notes: Cody Kessler (USC at Arizona State) has a difficult matchup against Arizona State (ranked inside the top 30 in Def. S&P+), but we’re hoping that his skill set (close to 80 percent completion percentage/ 10.4 yards per attempt this season) can overcome the matchup. Take a shot at Kessler’s skills in tournaments. Mike Bercovici (Arizona State vs. USC) had his best collegiate game of his career against USC in 2014 (510 passing yards/five passing touchdowns) and despite all the hype about USC coming into this season, they’ve been an average defense (their cornerbacks haven’t been very active, as they’re ranked 100th in DB Havoc Rate). It’s still early in the season, so we don’t want to put too much emphasis on a three game sample. There’s a reasonable chance that this defense can improve moving forward, but using Bercovici in tournaments isn’t a bad idea (The Sun Devils are six point underdogs at home). Kyle Allen (Texas A&M at Arkansas) is starting to distance himself from backup quarterback Kyler Murray. Murray obtained four touches to Allen’s 41 in week three. That’s good news for Allen, as he draws an Arkansas defense that had a lot of hype heading into this season but they’ve been below average through three games (ranked 77th in Def. S&P+). Allen has produced very nicely to begin the season (averaging around four touchdowns per game), and his uptick in usage makes him an even better DFS option. Allen is a viable alternative to Chad Kelly in cash games. Sean White (Auburn vs. Mississippi State) is taking over for the turnover machine Jeremy Johnson, and he’s minimum priced around the industry. The matchup isn’t very appealing, but we’ll take any quarterback that’s minimum priced under Gus Malzahn’s high-paced offensive attack. Target White in multi-entry tournaments.
Royce Freeman (Oregon vs. Utah) – Freeman is the most expensive running back on most sites. We’re still targeting him across all formats, even in a matchup that isn’t very good (Utah is ranked 35th in Def. Rushing S&P+ this season). Freeman’s skills have historically been very good (5.4 yards per carry in 2014), but this season he has taken it to another level (6.8 yards per carry) and he’s producing more touchdowns too (about two touchdowns per game this season). This sort of production was likely inevitable for Freeman. He’s the starting running back for an elite offense that likes to play at a very high pace. With a favorable game script (Ducks are 11 point favorites at home), we believe that Freeman can overcome this matchup due to 1) his skills and 2) the offense he plays for.
Tyler Ervin (San Jose State vs. Fresno State) – We’re going to cheat here a bit. Ervin is only available on two sites (DraftKings and Fantasy Aces). On those two sites, we’re willing to roster the cheaper Ervin over the highest priced running back, Royce Freeman. Ervin is a very skilled running back (6.3 yards per carry this season), and he’s producing at a nice clip (averaging two touchdowns per game). He’s getting around 22 offensive touches per game this season, and we can’t wait to see what he does with that usage in this matchup (Fresno State is ranked 96th in Def. S&P+). Ervin has been very consistent this season, generating at least 30 DraftKings points in each of his first three games (at least two touchdowns in each game). Target him across all formats on sites where he’s available.
Dare Ogunbowale/ Taiwan Deal (Wisconsin vs. Hawaii) – Ogunbowale and Deal have made their way into our content yet again. Badgers’ starting running back Corey Clement is out four to six weeks, which means that Ogunbowale and Deal will have to carry the load. Remarkably, both of these running backs have tallied the same amount of carries since Clement went down (30 carries in two games). Ogunbowale has been used a little bit in the passing game (four receptions in the last two games), which has given him the slight edge in overall touches (34 to 30). They also have the same amount of touchdowns (two touchdowns each), but Ogunbowale (6.2 yards per carry) has been a bit more productive with his carries than Deal (4.3 yards per carry). They’re both in play against Hawaii (109th ranked defense according to Def. S&P+ in 2014). Ogunbowale is a slightly better option since he’s used in the passing game and he’s more productive with his carries, but Deal can be used in cash games on sites where he’s cheaper than Ogunbowale.
Damion Jones-Moore (Toledo vs. Arkansas) – This recommendation hinges on Kareem Hunt’s availability tonight. If Hunt is out, Jones-Moore will be the starting running back for Toledo. Jones-Moore has scored at least one touchdown in every game this season. The junior running back has never gotten an extensive look at the collegiate level, but he’s been very productive on a per carry basis (6.2 yards per carry over his career). He’s a smaller back (5’7, 190 lbs.), so he will probably never reach 20 touches per game. That doesn’t really matter tonight, as Jones-Moore is priced as a punt on every site. Even if he gets around 14 touches, that would still be enough for him to generate a nice DFS score. A favorable game script (Rockets are 7.5 home favorites) for Jones-Moore is also appealing. He’s a strong cash game option tonight as long as fellow starting running back Kareem Hunt is out.
Additional running back notes: Justin Jackson (NW) is only available on DraftKings and he’s more of a secondary play given the strength of the position. He’s a workhorse back (averaging 28.5 carries per game) in a favorable matchup (Ball State ranks 80th in S&P Rush+), and the Wildcats have an implied team total approaching 35 points. Marteze Waller (Fresno State at San Jose State) is another solid alternative to our top options on sites where he’s available (DraftKings and Fantasy Aces). The only thing that could potentially hamper Waller’s night is a negative game script (San Jose State is favored by four points), but we don’t think that will stop him. Waller is very skilled (6.1 yards per carry in 2014), and DFSers will likely fade him tonight since he hasn’t generated a touchdown this season. That bad streak will likely end tonight, as Waller draws a San Jose State rushing defense that ranked 110th in Def. S&P+ in 2014. Waller is also a bit cheaper than Tyler Ervin, so if you need a bit more salary relief, he’s a great alternative in any format of your choosing. Nick Wilson (Arizona vs. UCLA) might have a better matchup than we anticipated tonight. UCLA’s defense is stout (ranked 18th in Def. S&P+ this season), but one of their main defensive players (Myles Jack) is out for the season. That might help Wilson, who’s a skilled running back (6.1 yards per carry in his collegiate career) that produces at high level (22 touchdowns through 16 career games). Wilson can be used in cash games on sites where he’s discounted to the recommendations above.
Juju Smith-Schuster (USC at Arizona State) – How is Juju still not priced fully around the industry? Juju is by far the top wide receiver option on this slate and we consider him a core play in cash games. Through three games this season, here’s what Juju has done: 22 receptions (26 targets; next receiver on this team has 12 targets), 434 yards (19.7 yards per catch) and four touchdowns. He’s a 6-2, 215 lbs. receiver. Until he’s priced appropriately, we’re going to continue to name him a core play. His matchup is about average tonight, but does it really matter? Against a good Stanford defense in week three, Juju went off for eight catches, 153 yards and a score. We’ve ran out of ways to tell you that he needs to be in your cash game lineups, and he’s a tough tournament fade as well.
Laquon Treadwell/Cody Core/Quincy Adeboyejo (Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt) – Treadwell (25), Core (16) and Adeboyejo (12) lead the Rebels in targets this season. While Treadwell has generated the most red zone targets (11), he’s only scored one touchdown this season. Treadwell is more of a PPR receiver (11.9yards per catch in his collegiate career/134 receptions), but he’s a tall receiver (6’2) and he will continue to generate red zone targets for the Rebels. We believe that his teammates have the bigger upside. Core (24.9 yards per catch this season) and Adeboyejo (22.4 yards per catch this season) are incredibly explosive, and they’ve produced more touchdowns than Treadwell (combined eight touchdowns between these two receivers in only three games). We’re pairing quarterback Chad Kelly (core play at the quarterback position) with one (or two) of these receivers in cash games. We like Core and Adeboyejo a bit more in cash games and tournaments due to their explosiveness, but Treadwell is a fine alternative in cash games where they’re priced similarly. His red zone targets are an encouraging takeaway moving forward. These trio of receivers represent the best value plays at the wide receiver position.
Robert Wheelwright (Wisconsin vs. Hawaii) – After investing in Juju Smith-Schuster, Ole Miss receivers, Chad Kelly (or Kyle Allen) and Royce Freeman (or Tyler Ervin/Marteze Waller), you’re going to need a few punt plays. Thankfully, that third wide receiver/flex spot can be punted tonight. The best approach in cash games tonight isn’t to try to fit your roster with mid-tier plays (not enough great ones), but rather invest in our top tier of value quarterbacks, our top receiver and an elite running back. Enter Robert Wheelwright, who’s very cheap everywhere, particularly on DraftKings ($3,500). Wheelwright has been Wisconsin’s second most productive receiver this season (10 receptions on 16 targets/147 yards/three touchdowns), and his red zone targets are very encouraging. Through three games, Wheelwright leads the Badgers in red zone targets with 10. This tall receiver (6’3) has one of the better matchups on this slate (Hawaii ranked 111th in Def. Passing S&P+ in 2014/DBs ranked 98th in Havoc Rate), and at his cheap price point, we’re willing to consider him across all formats.
Johnny Jackson (Arizona vs. UCLA) – One of the most fun aspects of researching college football is encountering things that don’t quite add up. Let’s take for example, Johnny Jackson. Jackson is a red shirt senior who has played three different positions at the collegiate level (running back/wide receiver/safety). He was moved back to wide receiver this season, and he leads the Wildcats in targets (22), touchdowns (three; tied with David Richards) and he’s second in receptions (13). Jackson has scored a touchdown in every game he has played this season. We can’t believe any of this, but it’s very real. A team with Cayleb Jones and Samajie Grant is throwing the ball to senior receivers that haven’t been productive at the collegiate level. Richards and Jackson are leading this team in basically every single statistical category! Fortunately for us, sites haven’t caught up with any of this. Jackson is minimum priced on DraftKings and DraftDay, where he represents a strong cash game option. There’s a reasonable chance that the Wildcats turn to their more experienced receivers in tougher matchups (this matchup against UCLA qualifies as a tough matchup), but we’re not going to turn down Jackson’s minimum price point in cash games. He’s a perfect flex option on those sites.
Additional wide receiver notes: J.D. McKissic (Arizona State at Toledo) is a nice PPR receiver (18 targets/17 receptions) in a favorable matchup (Toledo ranked 109th in Def. Passing S&P+ in 2014). He’s a usable alternative to the Arizona receivers in cash games. David Richards (Arizona vs. UCLA) leads the Wildcats in receptions (15) and is tied for the most targets (22). His big frame is also attractive for the red zone, as quarterback Anu Solomon has targeted him in the red zone seven times already. He’s a bit more expensive than Johnny Jackson around the industry, but he’s stil usable in cash games (better as a flex option). Christian Kirk (Texas A&M at Arkansas) has 24.5 percent market share of targets in the Aggies offense. Kirk’s price point around the industry has now accounted for his role in this offense, but we’re still willing to use him in tournaments. If you’re looking to pair up quarterback Kyle Allen with a receiver from this offense, Kirk should be your number one target.
Hunter Henry (Arkansas vs. Texas A&M) – Henry (20 targets) is the main target on this offense with Keon Hatcher sidelined. Through three games, Henry has accumulated 14 receptions and 191 yards. He draws a matchup against a team that likes to go fast on offense, and Arkansas will have to throw the ball in this game (7.5 point underdogs at home). Henry is a bit pricey around the industry, and we’d rather utilize a punt play at the position in cash games. Use Henry in tournaments.
Austin Traylor (Wisconsin vs. Hawaii) – Traylor is your prototypical tight end. He’s mostly used around the red zone area, where he has found success as of late (two touchdowns in his last two games). He’s a touchdown dependent target in this offense (like most tight ends in college football), but he has a strong probability of reaching the end zone once again thanks to a great matchup (Hawaii ranked 111th in Def. Passing S&P+ in 2014). Traylor is our favorite cash game target at the position.
Additional tight end notes: We’re going to keep mentioning Evan Engram (Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt) until he does something. All kidding aside, Engram’s red zone opportunities (four red zone targets) will help him get into the end zone at some point. He’s a good cash game option on sites where he’s still minimum priced (DraftDay). If you need a minimum price tight end on FanDuel, give Gus Walley (Mississippi State at Auburn) a look in cash games. We don’t love his matchup against Auburn, but he continues to receive a decent amount of opportunities on a per game basis and his price isn’t reflecting that. Use him in cash games on that particular site.