College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: Saturday 12/7/19 Main Slate
The final Saturday of college football before bowl season brings us a stacked slate of conference championship games.
With so many big names available, it's easy to be drawn to the high-priced stars on this slate. But remember, many of these players are facing some of their stiffest competition of the season this season. Ceilings will be slightly lower for some players in these games, so be sure to consider each matchup carefully before selecting your fantasy studs to build around.
In this preview, I'll break down the Saturday main slate into three categories based on FanDuel's prices: players to build around, value plays, and players to avoid.
Players to build around are more expensive, but their ceiling is high enough that you should consider prioritizing them in your lineup. Value plays are cheaper options who usually come with some risk, but adding them to your lineup will help you afford the expensive stars. Players to avoid are guys you might normally consider at their price tag, but who have a tough matchup this week and are unlikely to live up to their usual expectations.
All references to betting totals and spreads are from the FanDuel Sportsbook.
Players to Build Around
QB Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma ($11,800) vs. Baylor
Jalen Hurts is the most expensive player on the slate, but is still worth considering for your lineups. Hurts has been held under 30 fantasy points just once this year -- a 29.52 output versus Oklahoma State. Baylor may try to slow the game down to keep Hurts off the field, but they were unsuccessful in the first meeting as Hurts still posted 34.28 fantasy points.
QB Joe Burrow, LSU ($10,200) vs. Georgia
In 11 games versus FBS opponents, Georgia's defense is giving up just 10.7 fantasy points per game to opposing starting quarterbacks -- but they haven't faced the stiffest competition at the position. Auburn's inconsistent freshman Bo Nix tallied 24 fantasy points against Georgia, proving a quality game can be had against this Bulldogs defense. LSU's Joe Burrow put up 24.94 fantasy points against Auburn and 32.12 against Alabama, also proving he should be considered a matchup-proof fantasy option.
QB Cole McDonald, Hawaii ($9,800) vs. Boise State
Boise State cruised to an easy 59-37 win over Hawaii in their last meeting, but Cole McDonald still lit up the Broncos secondary and posted 33.44 fantasy points. Boise State is favored by 13.5 points, so McDonald will likely need to air it out again in order to keep pace. This game carries the highest total on the slate (64.5 points), setting a high ceiling for McDonald if it turns into a shootout.
QB Zac Thomas, Appalachian State ($9,500) vs. Louisiana
Louisiana's defense has given up 20 or more points to a quarterback just twice this season, but one of those performances was Appalachian State's Zac Thomas (24.18 points). There are other more proven fantasy studs to buy on this slate, but Thomas is in the unique position of his team needing style points in this game. Appalachian State is four spots behind Memphis in the College Football Playoff rankings for the top spot among the Group of Five schools. Only the highest-ranked Group of Five school is invited to a New Year's Six bowl game, giving Appalachian State incentive to run up the score, if given the opportunity. Creating a lineup stacked with Thomas and other Mountainers based off that possibility could be a strategy that pays off.
RB. J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State ($10,500) vs. Wisconsin
J.K. Dobbins has been one of the most reliable fantasy weapons in the country this year, scoring at least 20 fantasy points in eight of nine conference games. Wisconsin boasts a strong run defense and only allowed 20 or more fantasy points to two running backs this year. However, one of those games was a 35.6 point outburst from Dobbins. With Justin Fields a little banged up due to a recent knee injury, Ohio State may be incentivized to rely even more heavily on Dobbins this week.
RB Darrynton Evans, Appalachian State ($9,300) vs. Louisiana
Darrynton Evans has scored 25 or more fantasy points in three straight games and should see a significant workload in this matchup as Appalachian State is a 6.5 point favorite over Louisiana. Evans may also have some personal motivation in this game, as Louisiana held him to just 69 yards on 22 carries (6.9 fantasy points) earlier this season. Don't let that poor outing scare you away from Evans, however. Lousiana ranks 80th in rushing defense this season and has allowed at least 18 fantasy points to six different running backs.
WR J'Marr Chase, LSU ($9,700) vs. Georgia
During the nine games in which LSU has a fully healthy receiving corps, J'Marr Chase leads the team with a 26.5 percent target share. Against man coverage, that number climbs to 33.7 percent, according to Sports Info Solutions. Georgia is one of the few teams in the nation that favors man coverage, which could create an increased usage rate for Chase on Saturday.
QB Jake Fromm, Georgia ($8,100) vs. LSU
In eight games against SEC opponents, Jake Fromm has topped 20 fantasy points just twice (versus Florida and Tennessee). However, LSU's prolific offense and vulnerable defense has been elevating the fantasy output of opponents all season. Opposing starting quarterbacks are averaging 22.3 fantasy points per game against LSU -- and that's despite Texas A&M's Kellen Mond posting -0.1 points against the Tigers last week. Fromm is only the 10th most expensive quarterback on this slate and has a much more favorable matchup than many higher-priced players ahead of him.
RB Brian Herrien, Georgia ($6,900) vs. LSU
Brian Herrien's value is tied to the availability of D'Andre Swift, who injured his shoulder in Georgia's win over Georgia Tech last week. As of Tuesday, Swift was expected to play, but the situation is worth monitoring up until kickoff on Saturday. If Swift can't go, Herrian becomes a great value against an LSU defense that has allowed at least 15 fantasy points to five running backs in eight SEC games.
RB JaMychal Hasty, Baylor ($6,700) vs. Oklahoma
In their first meeting, Baylor running backs combined for five rushing attempts against Oklahoma (three for JaMychal Hasty). That plan obviously didn't work, as the Sooners outscored Baylor 24-0 in the second half. The best way to beat Oklahoma is by keeping Jalen Hurts off the field -- as Kansas State did with 45 rushing attempts and controlling the clock for 38 minutes. It will take a leap of faith to use Hasty after he was ignored in the first meeting, but if head coach Matt Rhule adjusts his strategy, Hasty will have a high ceiling against Oklahoma. The Sooners have allowed at least 15 fantasy points to five different Big 12 running backs this season.
WR Khalil Shakir, Boise State ($7,600) vs. Hawaii
According to Sports Info Solutions, Hawaii has allowed a 61.9 percent completion rate and 7.95 yards per target to slot receivers this season. That bodes well for Khalil Shakir, who leads Boise State with 63 targets (5.3 per game) from the slot. Shakir also posted 19.7 fantasy points against Hawaii earlier this season, proving the Broncos can exploit this matchup.
WR Tyrone Scott, Central Michigan ($6,700) vs. Miami OH
Three Central Michigan receivers are priced above Tyrone Scott, but as the big-play threat in the Chippewas offense, he could prove valuable at this price tag. Scott leads the team with 14 receptions of 20 or more yards this year -- that's 47 percent of his receptions on the season. Scott has scored double-digit fantasy points in three straight games and should have a similar ceiling with Central Michigan carrying an implied total of 30.5 points in this matchup. On a slate full of big names, Scott will also likely have low ownership numbers, further elevating his potential value.
WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State ($5,800) vs. Wisconsin
Superstar freshman Garrett Wilson has slowly earned a bigger role in the Buckeyes offense this year and is second on the team (behind Chris Olave) with 18 targets over Ohio State's last four games. Despite the increased role, there are four Ohio State receivers priced above Wilson.
WR Demetris Robertson, Georgia ($5,800) vs. LSU
Over the last three weeks -- during which receiver Lawrence Cager has mostly been unavailable -- Demetris Robertson leads Georgia with a 20.3 percent target share, according to Sports Info Solutions. Cager is out again this week, and Georgia will also be without George Pickens during the first half due to a suspension. LSU has allowed at least 20 fantasy points to five different receivers this year, and Georgia will need to throw to keep pace with the Tigers, giving Robertson an elevated ceiling in this matchup.
Players to Avoid
QB Justin Fields, Ohio State ($10,000) vs. Wisconsin
Justin Fields has scored at least 18 fantasy points in every game this season, so you could certainly justify using him -- especially in cash games. However, Wisconsin managed to hold him to 23.48 fantasy points in their last meeting, and Fields' running ability will likely be slowed by a knee brace. Given Fields' knee injury, suffered last week against Michigan, Ohio State will also have extra incentive to remove him from the game as soon as it's in hand. Based on those factors, his ceiling is probably lower than usual this week.
RB Travis Etienne, Clemson ($9,500) vs. Virginia
Like Fields, you could argue Travis Etienne should be considered matchup proof and worthy of your lineup every week. But there are also some reasons to fade him against Virginia in the ACC championship game. Etienne has put up huge numbers this year, but he's also faced just one rushing defense ranked higher than 50th -- Texas A&M, ranked 30th, held him to 53 yards on 13 carries and 12.5 fantasy points. Virginia, ranked 26th in rushing defense, could potentially hold Etienne to similar pedestrian numbers. Only two running backs (Louisville's Javian Hawkins and Notre Dame's Tony Jones) have scored over 20 fantasy points against the Cavaliers.
WR Antonio Gibson, Memphis ($8,100) vs. Cincinnati
According to Sports Info Solutions, Cincinnati plays the fourth-highest rate of man coverage in the nation. That likely means minimal usage for Antonio Gibson, who only has five receptions (out of 29 total) versus man coverage. Gibson also gets a handful of carries in each game to add to his value, but his ceiling is probably limited due to Cincy's defensive scheme.
Ryan McCrystal is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ryan McCrystal also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username cfbfilmroom. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.