The moment we’ve all been waiting for is here and week zero could not be any more representative of the college football community. On one side we have college fans that are intrigued by big named teams and close games and on the other we have fans that are into high-powered offenses, late-night games that take you into the next day, and teams that play on national television only a few times a year. And amazingly enough, this is exactly what you’re going to be watching Saturday night. Let’s take a look at the specifics surrounding this two-game slate for our Week 0 CFB DFS picks.
Our new CFB DFS Lineup Optimizer will be live this evening (we are finishing up some testing). We will produce projections for games each Saturday, maintained up until lock of the main slate. The optimizer also allows you to upload your own projections if you want to get your fix of weekly Thursday MAC CFB DFS contests.
Miami (FL) at Florida, 7pm
Spread: Florida -7
The Florida Gators come into 2019 with high expectations and much of that is because of the progression of Feleipe Franks. He struggled to start 2018 but became much more effective both through the air and on the ground as the year wore on (64% of his rushing yards and 86% of his rushing touchdowns came in his final six games). Albeit a small sample size, this just shows you his potential on the ground. When comparing Franks to the other quarterbacks in this slate, he’s just the third-highest according to projections. You can put part of the blame on the matchup: Miami’s pass defense ranked number one last season (135.6 yards per game) and was also a top 20 scoring defense (19.5 points per game). Using Franks as your super-flex does do two things for you though. It provides salary relief over McDonald/Tate, but it also allows you to target Arizona/Hawaii players the rest of the way.
What you’re going to find with Franks’ receiving options is that they all get a piece of the pie with no one guy being the star. Their top receiver is Van Jefferson, but his production wasn’t that far off from the other two starting receivers, Tyrie Cleveland and Josh Hammond. Jefferson rates the highest of the three, but his price tag on FanDuel limits your ability to target the top-rated players across the board. I’m much more of a fan of Josh Hammond if you’re looking for a receiver to stack with Franks that also provides salary relief. Freddie Swain is another name worth bringing up and is listed as “OR” with Cleveland as a potential starter, but this deep threat isn’t going to see enough targets in a lower scoring game to make him viable in anything more than a single bullet in a large tournament. Kyle Pitts and Lucas Krull should see the majority of snaps at tight end but possess no real value as they’re not going to play a large role in the passing game.
Maybe the most intriguing Gators player in this slate is Lamical Perine. The senior ran for 6.2 yards per carry and seven touchdowns in 2018 but only averaged just over 10 carries per game. He should be the top guy in their rushing attack, but we project him to only see about 40% of the rushing attempts on Saturday night. Oddly enough if you’re not using Franks or Jarren Williams at the super-flex position you’re going to find yourself landing on Perine a good bit on both sites. This is because of the limited options at running back and the need to fulfill at least one Miami or Florida player in your lineup.
The Miami Hurricanes surprised us all when they announced Jarren Williams as their starting quarterback for the season opener. The former four-star dual-threat quarterback will have his hands full in his first start as there are two Gators’ defensive backs projected to go in the top two rounds of next year’s NFL Draft. Williams does have talent around him and will be used on the ground as well, but the matchup, low team total, and this being his first collegiate start does scare me. I would look to target Franks as an alternative super-flex option in cash games whereas Williams’ salary relief and risk make more sense to target in tournaments.
In those tournament entries where you want to stack a receiver (or two), look at Jeff Thomas or K.J. Osborn. Thomas led the way in 2018, and while the numbers aren’t that impressive overall (35/563/3), he didn’t have much help at quarterback. His price puts him in play even if you’re not utilizing Williams in your lineup but makes the most sense when stacking. Osborn was electric in 2018 for Buffalo (53/892/7) and should slot in at the very least as the number two target. Like Thomas, he’s a more appealing option in a stack as well as on DraftKings. I would expect the three of Williams-Thomas-Osborn to be an extremely low owned stack that surely will result in a unique roster build, a rarity in a two-game slate.
Third and fourth options through the air for Miami include Mike Harley and Brevin Jordan. Jordan has more appeal to me on DraftKings than FanDuel because he’s the top tight end on the team and was productive last season (32/287/4) but doesn’t move the needle much overall. Pairing a Miami receiver with Jordan is also something to consider in large tournaments where unique builds are tough to create.
So far, both Miami and Florida have eerily similar offensive personnel and styles and it stays the same at the running back position. DeeJay Dallas is the top back on the team after coming to Miami as a receiver. He will likely see 12-15 carries a game but will command higher usage in the passing game than his counterpart, Perine. Dallas is a back I wouldn’t mind having in the same lineup as his quarterback as a contrarian tournament stack, whereas Perine’s lack of involvement in the passing game gives us no reason to stack him with Franks.