September 4 CFB DFS Picks and Analysis – Give your DFS Lineups a Shock
Welcome to Friday’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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Baylor Bears at SMU Mustangs
Spread: SMU +37
We’re all over the Baylor Bears tonight (and probably for the rest of the season, too). They’re one of the best offenses in CFB (ranked seventh in Offensive S&P+ last season) and we love their high pace (ranked first in adjusted pace). That high pace leads to a ton of opportunities for their offensive players, which is remarkable in DFS. When volume and quality meets a friendly matchup, watch out. SMU ranked 121st in IsoPPP+ and 124th in success (almost dead last in CFB), which means that this matchup is as favorable as it gets for this high-octane offense. The combination of a poor ranking in both IsoPPP+ and success rate, means that this defense both yields lots of big plays and consistently allows successful plays. Vegas certainly sees the upside here as well, giving Baylor an implied total of 55.5 points (no one comes close to that total on this slate).
Junior quarterback Seth Russell sat behind Bryce Petty for two seasons and now that Petty is gone, this is his team. He couldn’t ask for a better situation. He’s playing for a team that has a legitimate chance to reach the College Football Playoff. In this particular matchup, Russell rates as our top play at his position and he’s a staple of cash game lineups on every site. Others we like here at the skilled positions are Shock Linwood (top running back on this slate), KD Cannon and Jay Lee (number two and three receivers on this team but Baylor spreads it out pretty evenly) and back up running backs Devin Chaffin and Johnny Jefferson (cheap on DraftKings; Jefferson is close to the minimum on that site, which makes him a viable cash game option). On FanDuel, Linwood and Chaffin feel like core pieces of cash game lineups (most RBs are way overpriced in more difficult matchups). You want as much exposure to this offense as possible this evening.
Michigan State Spartans at Western Michigan Broncos
Spread: Western Michigan +17.5
The Spartans are another team with College Football Playoff aspirations. They lose their top RB (Jeremy Langford) and top WR (Tony Lippett) to the NFL but they have some intriguing, talented guys that could emerge as good DFS options this season. Receiver Aaron Burbridge and tailback Madre London are at the top of the depth chart at their respective positions for the Spartans but their roles aren’t very secure. We’re willing to use them on sites where their prices take into account this uncertainty (DraftKings), given that their matchup is very appealing (Western Michigan ranked 90th in Defensive S&P+, worse against the run than against the pass) and Vegas is pegging Michigan State with a team total of 38, the second highest of the slate. Their tight end (Josiah Price) is our top play at the position. His price is pretty friendly around the industry.
Rhode Island Rams at Syracuse Orange
Syracuse was awful on offense last season (ranked 110th out of 128 FBS teams in Offensive S&P+). Thankfully, they face an FCS school tonight that won one game last season and allowed 35 points or more in eight games. Syracuse’s quarterback Terrel Hunt is our main target here. We prefer Seth Russell and Ryan Finley (starting quarterback for Boise State) for cash games but Hunt is a worthy tournament play. He has dual threat abilities, which is nice for DFS. In 2013 (played 13 games that season; played six games last season due to injury), Hunt averaged 21 passing attempts and almost 10 rushing attempts but his production wasn’t very good (10 passing TDs, seven rushing TDs; averaged six yards per attempt and 4.7 yards per carry). We believe that this matchup will bolster his efficiency, making him a viable tournament target for his asking price around the industry. On DraftDay, Hunt is minimum price (nice cash game option on that particular site). If you’re looking to pair him up with a receiver in tournaments, Steve Ishmael is the number one receiver in this offense. He didn’t catch many passes last season (27 receptions) but was explosive (15.4 Y/C).
Weber State Wildcats at Oregon State Beavers
The Beavers were about an average offense last season in terms of efficiency (ranked 63rd in success rate) but they’re a slow pace offense (ranked 119th in adjusted pace). This matchup against Weber State, a FCS opponent that only won two games last season and allowed 30 plus points in eight games, represents a favorable defense to pick on. Unfortunately, they’re going to begin the season with a two QB system. We’re only interested in RB Storm Barrs-Woods here but his price is prohibitive in cash games. He’s a worthy tournament option, particularly in PPR formats. If you need a salary relief option, Jordan Villamin is minimum priced on DraftDay and he’s the number one receiver on the depth chart for the Beavers. He was pretty explosive last season (16.5 yards per catch) and his size (6-5, 231 lbs) should give him prime opportunities in the red zone area. Villamin is a good punt option on sites where he’s priced like one.
Kent State Golden Flashes at Illinois Fighting Illini
Illinois was a slightly above average offense last season, but their pace isn’t very DFS friendly (ranked 84th in adjusted pace). Like some of these other offenses on this slate, their matchup against a bad FCS school (Kent State allowed 40 plus points multiple times last season and they only won two games) should help. Quarterback Wes Lunt has tournament appeal but he’s not quite up there with Seth Russell and Ryan Finley (our top options at the position). Geronimo Allison is the number one receiver for this offense (Mike Dudek tore his ACL before the season started) and his price is fair on most sites. He’s a fine tournament value around the industry but his price on DraftDay is pretty high (I’d avoid him there). Josh Ferguson (running back) is expensive on most sites but he’s tournament worthy. He can catch out of the backfield (50 receptions in two consecutive seasons) and he averages five yards per rush and around 12 carries per game. With the loss of Mike Dudek, Allison and Ferguson will have to generate more production than they have in previous seasons. On a PPR site like DraftKings where Ferguson’s asking price isn’t much, he’s a cash game worthy option.
Washington Huskies at Boise State Broncos
Spread: Boise State -13.5
The Broncos have the third highest team total on this slate (35 points). Washington had a pretty average defensive year in 2014 but this defense is headed towards regression. They lose a bunch of starters on that side of the ball, particularly on their defensive line (four seniors). They’re also losing linebackers, including star linebacker Shaq Thompson, who is now in the NFL. Boise State ranked inside the top 10 in IsoPPP+ last season and top 20 in success rate. They lose their quarterback and running back (Jay Ajayi) but their whole offensive line is returning this season. Quarterback Ryan Finley has won the starting job and he’s priced favorably around the industry. Seth Russell is our top play at the quarterback position followed by Finley, who is our top value. Finley is only $4,100 on Fantasy Aces, where he’s too strong of an option in cash games to simply pass up. Receivers Thomas Sperbeck and Shane Williams-Rhode are good value options this evening. We prefer the Baylor receivers but if you’d like to have exposure to another receiving corps, Sperbeck and Williams-Rhode are PPR friendly and their prices aren’t prohibitive anywhere. Despite the perceived advantage in the trenches for Boise State, their RBBC makes it difficult to discern any DFS values at the RB position for them. If you want to start a Boise RB, Jeremy McNichols is at the top of the depth chart for the Broncos but it looks like he will be splitting carries. Given his price around the industry, McNichols should be utilized in tournaments.