College Football DFS: Now Skyler’s Breaking Bad (Early Games)

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Hard to believe it’s week 4 of College Football DFS already, but here we are. I love this slate, as you’ll probably notice this week’s article is a bit longer than the usual. There’s just a ton of plays I like. I’ll be investing heavily in this group of games. Okay, let’s just jump right into it.

Quarterbacks

Trevone Boykin – TCU
[DraftKings – $10300 | FanDuel – $10300 | FantasyAces – $7000 | DraftDay – $20000]
– Call it chalk, call it boring, call it whatever you want. Trevone Boykin puts up points as consistently as any player in the country. Last week was the first real “Boykin Game” of the season, as he absolutely exploded against SMU. Over 400 yards passing with 5 scores and another score on the ground. Boykin was unstoppable. The matchup on paper doesn’t look the best, but that’s before looking at Vegas. This game has an insane 81 over/under with TCU’s total at 44. Boykin is the do all QB we love for DFS and through three games. Not to mention, he’s got around 25% of his team’s carries. His price has gone up, he’s still expensive but just play him. Find a way to do it and play him.

Skyler Howard – West Virginia
[DraftKings – $6800 | FanDuel – $8700 | FantasyAces – $5950 | DraftDay – $17350]
– West Virginia has ran the ball more than thrown this season (40 running plays per game vs. 26 pass plays per game). Howard has been pretty efficient with the limited attempts (72.55% completion percentage) going for 311YPG. It’s only been two games against mediocre defenses, but Howard has not turned the ball over and that’s a great sign for the young QB. Howard this week could be Boykin-lite. He probably doesn’t have the ceiling of Boykin, but comes at a fraction of the price so he doesn’t need to have the same ceiling. I really like Skyler Howard this week and even if he doesn’t run, the matchup through the air should be more than enough this week.

Mason Rudolph – Oklahoma State
[DraftKings – $7500 | FanDuel – $8100 | FantasyAces – $5900 | DraftDay – $15900]
– Rudolph gets to play against the Texas Longhorns’ garbage defense this week. Jared Goff threw over 250 yards and 3 touchdowns last week, so Rudolph should be able to score around the same. This game is projected to be pretty close despite Oklahoma State’s defense rating fairly solid. OSU hasn’t played the toughest of teams and Texas perhaps just found the answer at QB with Jerrod Heard. We want Heard and the Longhorns to keep this game close so Rudolph has to throw. It’s only a three point spread so it seems Vegas is feeling the same way. He has plenty of solid targets to throw to and should be able to do enough damage to solidify your lineups.

Matt Johnson – Bowling Green
[DraftKings – $9400 | FanDuel – $8600 | FantasyAces – $6700 | DraftDay – n/a]
– Just play Matt Johnson. The guy’s gonna throw the ball and then he’s gonna throw it some more and then he’s gonna throw it some more. Averaging a hair over 50 passing attempts a game, Johnson leads one of the most explosive offenses in the country. The majority of the offense runs through him and that’s exactly who we want in our lineups. He gets a great matchup this week (Purdue’s actually slightly worse than last week’s opponent, Memphis). You can’t play Johnson and Boykin (I mean, you can but good luck with the rest of your lineup) so you’re going to have to choose. I really don’t think you can go wrong with either. I actually like Boykin a TAD more due to price. I know that sounds weird but since Johnson is a little cheaper, he’ll likely be higher owned. Boykin becomes a bit of a contrarian play in a way. Cash games you can’t go wrong with building around either one.

Cooper Rush – Central Michigan
[DraftKings – $5300 | FanDuel – $6600 | FantasyAces – $5250 | DraftDay – n/a]
– Expectations should be limited for Rush. He’s facing the #2 team in the country, Michigan State. Doesn’t mean we have to avoid him entirely though. Michigan State is a 4 touchdown favorite in this game, but they have been a bit susceptible by the pass. Allowing 274YPG through the air, that’s including the game against Air Force. Air Force had just 6 completions for 149 yards against the Spartans including both a 44 and 32 yard pass. Air Force has only passed 14.29% of the time this season while Central Michigan has thrown it 59.76% of the time. Cooper Rush is throwing it 43 times a game and will have to again this week if Central Michigan has any hope of hanging around. For a cheap play, his floor is probably pretty high, but don’t expect any huge 40+ FP performance.

David Blough – Purdue
[DraftKings – $6700 | FanDuel – $5300 | FantasyAces – $3250 | DraftDay – $9000]
– Blough is an interesting case. He’s taking over for the turnover-prone Austin Appleby and steps in against Bowling Green, one of the worst pass defenses in the country. Now, the Purdue coach really emphasized ball security during this week’s press conference, so that could lead people to think Blough will be little more than a “game manager”. It’s possible, I can see it. But if that were the case, I don’t think Vegas would have Purdue favored and I don’t think they would have this game with such a high over/under (72 as of this writing). If Blough manages the game, who scores the points? I suppose they could run the ball more but to keep up with Bowling Green they will have to throw the ball. Blough’s price is worth the risk on everywhere but DraftKings in my opinion. He’s definitely an intriguing play for tournaments.

other plays: Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech), Kendall Hinton (Wake Forest), Jake Rudock (Michigan), Connor Cook (Michigan State)

Running Backs

Ezekial Elliot – Ohio State
[DraftKings – $9200 | FanDuel – $9200 | FantasyAces – n/a | DraftDay – $15800]
– With the struggles last week at the QB position, the Buckeyes could look to lean on their star running back this week. Being held scoreless last week for the first time since week 10 of last season, Elliot should easily bounce back this week against a Western Michigan team, who id allowing 304 yards per game on the ground this season. This is one of those no brainer plays, but the price makes it hard to play him. Playing Elliot (or Fournette for that matter) comes down to choosing between the Elite RBs and the Elite QBs. It’s tough but most players are going to choose the QBs more often than not. That leaves the RBs a bit underowned. Elliot has a real shot at being the top scorer of the night, regardless of position, it’s just tougher to build around him.

Wendell Smallwood – West Virginia
[DraftKings – $4900 | FanDuel – $5400 | FantasyAces – $5700 | DraftDay – $12600]
– Two games, two touchdowns. Wendell Smallwood is a big part of the West Virginia offense with over 30% of the team’s rush attempts and 15% of the receiving targets. It should be more of the same this week with WVU looking to score 38 points and favored over 2 touchdowns. I do also like Rushel Shell a bit as a GPP play, as he has 19 carries in two games and Maryland is not great at all against the run. This is a comittee backfield so touches could be spread out, but so far they’re leaning Smallwood’s way. Smallwood has been more effective with his touches and thus should continue to see more going forward.

Chris Hairston – East Carolina
[DraftKings – $4700 | FanDuel – $5300 | FantasyAces – n/a | DraftDay – $11450]
– Right now, East Carolina and Chris Hairson’s rushing numbers look downright ugly. One very good game in week 1 followed by two HORRIBLE games against very good run defenses. Things should open up a bit this week against Virginia Tech as they are more known for their pass defense. Their run defense numbers are a bit skewed from week 1 against Ohio State, but they did allow Furman to run for 136 and Purdue to run for 144. Hairston comes at a pretty low price, so numbers similar to what Furman & Purdue did would be welcomed. Hairston comes in with 58.44% of ECU’s rushing attempts so he should get the bulk of the work. I think this is a little sneaky of a play and will hopefully pay off nicely.

Chris Carson – Oklahoma State
[DraftKings – $5400 | FanDuel – $7800 | FantasyAces – $5700 | DraftDay – $11700]
– Carson cracked the century mark last week for the first time and scored two touchdowns. That’s a good sign going into this week against Texas. Last week, Texas allowed California backup Vic Enwere, to run for 73 yards and two scores. Carson is a much more talented than Enwere and his offense is arguably better as well. Before the season, it was thought that this would be a timeshare between Carson and Rennie Childs, but Carson has been the clear #1 guy. The game is projected to be pretty close so I look for OSU to lean on Carson when they have the lead, and try to wear out the Longhorn defense. He’s received at least 15 carries in all three games and he will likely get more than that this week.

D.J. Knox – Purdue
[DraftKings – $5100 | FanDuel – $6400 | FantasyAces – $4650 | DraftDay – $6500]
– Purdue will have to do something to hang with Bowling Green’s explosiveness. I don’t think they can go throw for throw with them all game, especially with a backup quarterback. The logical thing to do would be to try and run the ball and keep Matt Johnson off the field as much as possible. Knox is Purdue’s leading rusher and should be the focal point of the offense this week. Purdue is almost 50/50 between running and passing, but this should be the time when that leans heavily towards the run and Knox will be the likely benefactor. I also like Knox’s backup, Markell Jones. If Purdue runs more, he should see an increase as well. He’s scored in every game this season and could get another one against Bowling Green.

other plays: De’Veon Smith (Michigan), Leonard Fournette (LSU), Aaron Green (TCU), Madre London (Michigan State), Jordan Howard (Indiana), Virginia Tech RBs* (Virginia Tech)

*the matchup is very nice for the Virginia Tech RBs but they’re currently using a 4 player committee so picking the right one is tough.

Wide Receivers

Isaiah Jones – East Carolina
[DraftKings – $5000 | FanDuel – $5900 | FantasyAces – n/a | DraftDay – $16250]
– East Carolina has thrown the ball 72% of the time through their first three games and Isaiah Jones has received 27.78% of the team’s targets. That’s a pretty hefty chunk that equals out to about 13 targets per game. ECU’s toughest game this season was week 2 against Florida and Jones hauled in 14 catches for 135 yards and a touchdown. Virginia Tech has been slightly better than Florida against the pass, but Jones is so cheap and sees so many targets that I’m not sure it matters. Also, VT is only averaging one sack per game, so their solid pass defense comes from the secondary in coverage. That should mean that the QB will have time to get the throws off and most of them will be heading towards Isaiah Jones. VT’s defense is why I don’t like the ECU quarterback (Blake Kemp), but Jones is such a big part of this passing game I think he will be okay for his price.

Roger Lewis – Bowling Green
[DraftKings – $7700 | FanDuel – $7600 | FantasyAces – $6650 | DraftDay – n/a]
– If you’re rostering Matt Johnson, you’re going to want to roster Lewis as well. Going for a pretty insane 461 yards and 5 scores over his last 2 games, Lewis is the first read every time. Averaging 8 catches a game (a bit skewed with just two in week 1), there’s no doubt Lewis is a top choice at WR every week. We’re talking about a guy who’s seen one fourth of his team’s total targets that’s throwing the ball 50 times a game! Purdue is not great against the pass and will likely have trouble containing this offense, especially Lewis.

Aaron Burbridge – Michigan State
[DraftKings – $7400 | FanDuel – $6800 | FantasyAces – n/a | DraftDay – $14450]
– Just below Lewis in pricing is Burbridge. Like Lewis, he sees the bulk of his team’s targets (actually even more) with 34.88%. Michigan State throws the ball less but Burbridge is THE GUY. Only four players have caught more than five passes through three games for the Spartans. Burbridge has 20 and the next closest guy has just 9. Burbridge saves you a few hundred dollars, with possible a similar ceiling as Lewis. However, I caution you that they are in two different situations as Michigan State is favored by almost 28, which they may decide to run it more once they have a lead.

Josh Doctson – TCU
[DraftKings – $7500 | FanDuel – $8400 | FantasyAces – $6400 | DraftDay – $15950]
– I know it’s pretty boring of me to write up three of the probably top five WRs on the slate, but I really like these plays. Doctson is another guy getting a ton of his team’s targets (22.02%). This is going to be a fast paced, high scoring, explosive offense game between TCU & Texas Tech. There’s little to no chance that Doctson doesn’t have a big game this week. Boykin throws his way often (8 targets per game) and he makes the most of the chances he’s given (17REC/325YDS/3TDs). I really like pairing any of these three expensive WRs with their QB this week but I think the Boykin/Doctson combo will be the most contrarian of the group.

KJ Brent – Wake Forest
[DraftKings – $3400 | FanDuel – $5600 | FantasyAces – $4200 | DraftDay – $6500]
– Okay, I have to give you one cheap receiver, right? Brent from Wake Forest is going to be my “punt” of the week for WR. They’re welcoming one of the worst pass defenses in the country this week, the Indiana Hoosiers. Vegas is liking this game to be fairly high scoring (appx 30-26 in favor of Indiana) so Wake Forest should be trying to throw to keep pace and stay in it. I like Brent out of this WR group for two reasons: his price and he’s seen just a hair over 7 targets per game. He’s the only WR on the team with four or more catches in every game this season. If there was ever a time for him to really break out with all these chances he’s getting, it’s this week.

other plays: Bryce Williams (East Carolina), Ryan Burbrink/Gehrih Dieter (Bowling Green), Jake Butt (Michigan), Josiah Price (Michigan State), Corey Davis/Daniel Braverman (Western Michigan), Jakeem Grant (Texas Tech), David Glidden (Oklahoma State), Ben McCord (Central Michigan), Cam Serigne (Wake Forest), Deangelo Yancey (Purdue)

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