College Football DFS: Opening Ceremonies

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College Football DFS
For Games on September 3, 2015

FanDuel & DraftKings –
Florida International @ Central Florida (-17)
North Carolina @ South Carolina (-3)
Oklahoma State (-22.5) @ Central Michigan
Western Kentucky @ Vanderbilt (-2)
Michigan @ Utah (-5)
Ohio (-9) @ Idaho
TCU (-15) @ Minnesota
Duke (-10) @ Tulane
UT San Antonio @ Arizona (-31.5)

(Vegas spreads are known to constantly change so double check before finalizing your lineups)

DraftDay Exclusives –
ELON @ Wake Forest
Alcorn State @ Georgia Tech
Villanova @ Connecticut

*NOTE: FantasyAces also has some contests that run for Thursday & Friday’s games. I did not cover any of the Friday games here but I have looked into them so if you have any questions about them, feel free to ask.

College Football is back and the excitement is already at an all-time high for us DFS players. THREE live finals (the first 3 for the sport) already announced, one from DraftKings taking place in Miami and one from FanDuel taking place at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, and finally, FantasyAces is having one in Las Vegas the same day as FanDuel’s. How awesome is that?

Hint: It’s pretty freakin’ awesome.

We get a little bit of a CFB appetizer on Thursday with a 9 game slate. Now this isn’t a great slate so don’t go dropping all your dough into it but there are some intriguing plays and I think it will end up being pretty fun when the night’s over. Well, fun if you win some money of course.

I’m going to try a few different ways of writing these articles each week so any feedback is more than welcome on what you like/don’t like. Please forward any complaints to @ReganFP on Twitter as they’re likely his fault somehow, not mine.

Let’s get to it.

Quarterbacks: It’s no secret in CFB DFS that you want to pay for your quarterback(s). This slate is no different and may be a prime example of why it is important. Early in the season, some RBs & WRs can be moved around and depth charts changed. QB often stays consistent.

Marquise Williams (North Carolina)
[FanDuel: $10100, DraftKings: $9700, DraftDay: $20000, FantasyAces: $5850 ]
– Get used to seeing this guy’s name listed in CFB DFS articles this season, he’s going to be a mainstay. The focal point of a high-powered offense, he touches and controls the ball more than anyone else on the offense. Last year he was UNC’s leading passer and rusher, this year likely seems it will be more of the same. South Carolina’s defense was not spectacular last season and they bring back just 6 starters. While Williams is 1 of 6 starters returning for UNC’s offense, the others include their top 3 receivers from last season.

Another thing benefitting Williams will be the atrocious North Carolina defense. This game opened at a 64 o/u and will probably be higher come kick off. This game will likely be a shootout and when you have a player who accounted for almost 70% of his team’s offensive yards last season, you pay up and ask questions later.

Brandon Doughty (Western Kentucky)
[FanDuel: $10100, DraftKings: $9000, DraftDay: n/a FantasyAces: $5950 ]
– Speaking of high-powered offenses, here come the Hilltoppers. Doughty is going to be another player that you hear a lot about this season for DFS. Coming off a season where he threw for 4830 yards and 49 touchdowns. He also has 3 of his top 4 WRs coming back as well as Leon Allen in the backfield. Projected to score 37.8PPG this season, it’s going to be more of the same for the Western Kentucky Quarterback. I will be racking my brain trying to find ways of playing Doughty & Williams together on multiple-QB sites.

It’s probably asking a lot of Doughty to repeat last year’s numbers but Vanderbilt is not a team that will hinder him much. Vandy is actually favored in this game BUT it’s expected to be very close and very high scoring which means Doughty will have plenty of opportunities and this should only be the beginning. (NOTE: I am not paying for Doughty on 1QB sites as I can get Marquise Williams for the same or pretty close to it.)

Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State)
[FanDuel: $9000, DraftKings: $8100 DraftDay: $15250, FantasyAces: $5150 ]
– Having just 89 attempts last year, Rudolph got his feet wet. Hopefully it was enough cause he’s going to be given the ball this season in a very tough, offensively explosive conference. First on the schedule though, is Central Michigan. The game’s opening with OSU as a 22.5pt favorite and an over/under of 54. With the starting RB for OSU still a little unclear at the time of this writing, I would expect OSU to come out throwing and throwing often. That’s good because the Cowboys bring back their top 3 receivers from last season.

I don’t think this game will be close at all. OSU should jump out to an early lead and cruise through the whole game. I would think with it being the first game that Mike Gundy will give his new QB plenty of chances to show what he can do and work the timing with the WRs. I think Rudolph will be a little underowned with everyone likely being all over Williams/Doughty/Boykin. He may not have the ceiling of those guys but at a slightly lower price, he doesn’t have to.

Justin Holman (Central Florida)
[FanDuel: $7700, DraftKings: $6500 DraftDay: $9000, FantasyAces: $5300 ]
– I liked Holman a lot more before I saw his price across the industry as he’s in a good spot and his squad is favored by 17. I think a lot of it comes from him losing his top 4 pass catchers from a season ago. There’s probably some validity to that thinking but FIU is not that good and won’t be this season, despite returning 8 starters on defense.

I will make sure however, that I specify one thing. You play Holman if you absolutely refuse to listen about paying for your QB(s). UCF will probably win this game and if you ask me, it’ll likely be mostly due to their run game BUT it doesn’t take Holman out of the picture completely. He’s a cheap play for a reason, the upside is limited.

Other Plays: Trevone Boykin (TCU), Anu Solomon (Arizona), Matt Linehan (Idaho – not on DraftDay), Justin Thomas (GA Tech – DraftDay exclusive)

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Running Backs: College Football has studs at RB all over the country and there will certainly be some expensive ones this season. This slate doesn’t have any that are too overpriced but definitely some solid plays you’ll want to consider for your lineups.

AJ Oullette (Ohio)
[Fanduel: $8900, DraftKings: $6400, DraftDay: n/a FantasyAces: $4750]
– The Bobcats bring back 10 starters on offense and one of those is AJ Oullette at Running Back. While not an explosive offense, running the football is a big part of Ohio’s gameplan and they get to break into this season against one of the worst run defense from last year, the Idaho Vandals. Idaho allowed 246YPG on the ground last year and only bring back 6 of their defensive starters. They’re projected to get better but honestly, I don’t know if they can do any worse.

Oullette is one of my favorite RBs play in this slate, especially on DraftKings. He should see much more than the 13 carries he averaged per game last season and should have his way with this weak defense. Derrius Vick was named the starting QB for Ohio and he was the team’s 2nd leading rusher last season, it should force teams to stay back a bit and leave lanes for Oullette to take advantage of. The 9pt spread should point to this game being close enough where Oullette can have plenty of carries and plenty of chances for big yards.

Leon Allen (Western Kentucky)
[Fanduel: $9000, DraftKings: $9200, DraftDay: n/a, FantasyAces: $5300 ]
– When you have an offense that moves the ball and scores as much as Western Kentucky, you’re gonna have a RB that’s in a great spot for some points. Leon Allen is that guy. Luckily he’s pretty much the main back and there’s no split. Averaging 20 carries per game last season he led the rushing attack of WKU with 1580 yards and 13 touchdowns.

As I mentioned in the snippet about Doughty, this will be a high scoring affair and there will be plenty of touchdowns to go around just not as many as Vegas thinks there will be. Vanderbilt is not thought of by most as a strong team but their defense has the chance to be very good this season.   I do think this still becomes a somewhat high scoring game and Allen should be a big reason why.

William Stanback (Central Florida)
[Fanduel: $7600 , DraftKings: $6600, DraftDay: $6500, FantasyAces: $4950 ]
– One good thing about UCF having basically a new set of WRs this season, is we may see a heavier runload to start the season. That bodes well for Stanback as he is the team’s main point of attack in the run game. On paper the teams look pretty even, but one look at the spread tells you that UCF is in quite the different class of football than FIU.

One thing I worry about is Stanback’s YPC last season. It was 3.7 that will definitely need to improve this season if he is to be a staple in anyone’s lineups. These 2 teams played two years ago and in that game, UCF’s Storm Johnson went for 89 yards and 3 scores. I’d gladly take something like that from Stanback in this game though that is probably a bit too much to expect.

Nick Wilson (Arizona)
[Fanduel: $10100 , DraftKings: $9000 , DraftDay: $17250 , FantasyAces: $5550 ]
– This was a close game last season and the spread of -7 indicated it might be. This year the spread is -31.5 in favor of Arizona. That’s like.. a lot. Arizona brings back 7 offensive starters while their opponent, UT-San Antonio only brings back 6 total between offense and defense. Needless to say, Arizona has gotten a lot better since the game last year and UTSA has gotten a lot worse… like a lot. Seeing a trend?

Arizona is a run first kind of team, it was easy last year when they had 2 solid RBs. This year it’s the Nick Wilson show. Very good chance he’s the highest owned RB of this slate and there’s good reason for it. Averaging 5.8YPC last season and going for 16 touchdowns, Wilson led the way for this offense and it will be more of the same this season. The only downside to paying for Wilson will be how much he can give you before the game gets out of hand. I love him in this slate but have to temper my expectations a bit, however in CFB teams love to run up the score so I may be worrying about nothing.

Other Plays: Ralph Webb (Vandy), Shaquille Powell (Duke),  Broderick Snoddy (GA Tech – DraftDay exclusive)
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Wide Receivers: There are some very good WRs this year in College Football, well, every year really. I don’t like to pay too much at the position unless it’s a 1WR kind of offense (Higgins from Colorado State for example). That, combined with the high prices of QBs and RBs, I tend to save my money here. I’ll always try to cover at least 1 expensive WR a week, this slate though doesn’t really have one that is worth paying up for (in my opinion of course).

Ryan Switzer (North Carolina)
[Fanduel: $5500, DraftKings: $4900, DraftDay: $11200, FantasyAces: $4700 ]
– Switzer was UNC’s top pass catcher last season, pulling in 61 catches for 757 yards. However he only ended the season with 4 touchdowns. He is a pretty safe play but to be worth his price on FanDuel, he will probably need that touchdown. On DraftKings, he’ll receive points for catches so he’s a much better play over there. This offense is going to put up some points, Switzer returns along with Hollins & Davis and all 3 will probably be really solid plays. I think Switzer will score this season but they may be at unpredictable times.
*NOTE: Quinshad Davis & Mack Hollins from UNC are both the minimum on DraftDay for some reason, their ceilings are higher than Switzer’s but their floors are lower

Samajie Grant (Arizona)
[Fanduel: $6400, DraftKings: $5100, DraftDay: $9650 , FantasyAces: $4650 ]
– I’m going with Grant over Jones for this article because he’s cheaper. I like both WRs from Arizona but for sake of this article (which I’m trying to gear more towards paying for QB and RB) let’s go with Samajie Grant. This game is likely to be little more than a showcase for the Arizona Wildcats. Jones will get his, Grant will get his too. This team is losing 49 catches and 635 yards from the departed Austin Hill. Jones and Grant will be the first ones to fill in those losses.

Brandon Sheperd (Oklahoma State)
[Fanduel: $7300, DraftKings: $6000, DraftDay: $11250 , FantasyAces: $3950 ]
– Though OSU does return its top 3 WRs, and while they were all pretty close in receptions last season, Sheperd is the one that I look for to pull away from the rest. With an insane 18.9YPR last season, he led the team with 737 yards. Those numbers don’t blow anyone away but the Cowboys did not have the most consistent play at QB last year and that should change this season with Mason Rudolph taking over for Daxx Garman. Before pricing came out I thought that Sheperd would be the top WR for OSU and it seems like the industry agrees (he’s right around $1500 more than Glidden/Washington on both DraftKings and FanDuel) so he should be the #1 guy. He’s probably the most expensive WR I’ll pay for on this slate.

Jordan Akins (Central Florida)
[Fanduel: $6000, DraftKings: $4000, DraftDay: $6500, FantasyAces: $3500 ]
– Akins is UCF’s top returning WR which doesn’t sound great since he only had 12 catches for 135 yards last season (0 touchdowns) but someone has to catch the ball for this team right? The fact he played last year means him and QB Justin Holman will have at least some familiarity with each other. UCF needs to replace 174 catches and 2610 yards. That’s kind of a lot. Akins, even as just a Sophomore, is going to be counted on a lot in the passing game. The other 2 likely starting WRs are both Freshman (one a Redshirt). Luckily UCF gets a good matchup against a not great FIU team so they can work some kinks out in the passing game and hopefully Akins can take advantage of this opportunity.

Other Plays: Josh Doctson/Kolby Listenbee (TCU), Pharoah Cooper (USC), Dezmon Epps (Idaho – not on DraftDay)

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Tight Ends: Tight End stinks in College Football but unfortunately most sites STILL force us to use one. Buncha jerks they are really.

Jonnu Smith (Florida International)
[Fanduel: $4000, DraftKings: $4200, DraftDay: n/a, FantasyAces: $4450 ]
– Smith is basically FIU’s #1 receiver. He is the passing game for them and unless somebody else steps up, it will continue to be him. If you think he can get a Touchdown he might be useful on DraftKings as cap relief to fit some expensive QBs & RBs but I just cannot justify paying for him on FanDuel.

Jake Butt (Michigan)
[Fanduel: $3500, DraftKings: $3300, Draftday $6500, FantasyAces: $4000 ]
– Michigan lost their top WR in the draft (Devin Funchess) and they bring back their #2 and #3 pass catchers. #3 was Jake Butt (hehe, butt), the Tight End. New Head Coach, Jim Harbaugh used Tight Ends regularly at Stanford. The exact amount of use we’ll see out of Butt is unclear right now but he’s cheaper than Jonnu with probably similar upside.

Steven Scheu (Vanderbilt)
[Fanduel: $3900 , DraftKings: $3200, DraftDay: $8850, FantasyAces: $4250 ]
– Scheu was the Commodores’ leading receiver last season (39REC,525YDs,4TDs) in what became a heavy TE based offense as the season went on. Returning 9 starters on offense should bode well for Scheu’s upside as the chemistry between him and QB Johnny McCrary should only improve this season. I like Scheu over Jonnu on FanDuel and actually really like him on DraftKings for cap relief with upside.

Other Plays: Braxton Deaver (Duke), Cam Serigne (Wake Forest – DraftDay only)

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