College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: Saturday 9/19/20 Main Slate
Unfortunately, COVID-19 setbacks are hitting college football hard this week. Five games scheduled for Saturday have been postponed or canceled, including two games on the FanDuel main slate. As a result, be sure to avoid all players from North Carolina, Charlotte, Houston and Baylor -- they will still show up as options on FanDuel, despite no longer having games this weekend.
In this preview, I'll break down the Saturday main slate into three categories based on FanDuel's salaries: players to build around, value plays, and players to avoid.
Players to build around carry expensive salaries, but their ceiling is high enough to consider prioritizing them in your lineup. Value plays are lower-salaried options who usually come with some risk, but adding them to your lineup will help you pay for the expensive stars. Players to avoid are fantasy-relevant options you might normally consider but 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 D'Eriq King, Miami FL ($10,300) vs. Louisville
D'Eriq King has the highest salary of any quarterback on this slate, but he's still worthy of consideration for your lineup in this potential shootout with Louisville. In his debut for Miami, King put up 23.9 fantasy points, doing most of his damage on the ground (83 yards and a rushing touchdown). Louisville is improving under second-year head coach Scott Satterfield, but there's still work to be done on defense. Since the start of 2019, the Cardinals have allowed at least 20 fantasy points to nine different quarterbacks, including 36.4 to Miami's Jarren Williams in last year's meeting.
QB Spencer Sanders, Oklahoma State ($9,600) vs. Tulsa
Oklahoma State carries the highest implied total on the slate at 45 points, and Tulsa's defense has been particularly shaky against strong passing attacks. In 2019, the Golden Hurricane allowed an average of 21.4 fantasy points per game to starting quarterbacks. Spencer Sanders put up a somewhat modest 19.6 points against Tulsa last year, but it came in just third career game. With a year under his belt and a significant amount of returning talent around him, Sanders has the potential to far outperform his 2019 numbers.
RB Kyren Williams, Notre Dame ($10,000) vs. South Florida
Kyren Williams' salary leaped by $1,500 this week, but he's still a strong play against a South Florida team that allowed 200 rushing yards to The Citadel last week. In 2019, South Florida allowed at least 17 fantasy points to a running back in 7 of 11 games against FBS opponents, including three games in which a running back topped 25 points. Williams also factored into the Notre Dame passing game last week with six targets, giving him a huge ceiling against the Bulls' weak defense.
RB Cam'Ron Harris, Miami FL ($9,300) vs. Louisville
If Cam'Ron Harris' usage remains similar to the season opener, he's on track to be one of college football's breakout fantasy superstars. Harris racked up 28.4 fantasy points on 17 carries, and also added 4 receptions on 5 targets. Harris' five targets were second on the team, behind only wide receiver Mike Harley. Miami is a 2.5-point underdog in this matchup with Louisville, which features a total of 64.5, giving it shootout potential.
WR Jaelon Darden, North Texas ($8,700) vs. SMU
In his season opener versus Houston Baptist, Jaelon Darden racked up 27.6 fantasy points thanks to three touchdowns. That explosive performance will be tough to repeat, but he should turn in another strong outing against SMU. The Mustangs defense was frequently abused last year, allowing 15 or more fantasy points to 14 different wide receivers, including five games of 25 or more fantasy points. North Texas is a 13.5-point underdog, so the Mean Green will likely be forced to throw often to keep pace, potentially increasing Darden's workload from his eight targets in the season opener.
QB Sam Hartman, Wake Forest ($8,000) vs. N.C. State
Sam Hartman only managed 5.4 fantasy points against Clemson in his season debut last week, but the N.C. State defense will not present nearly as many challenges. As an added bonus for Wake Forest, this will be N.C. State's season debut -- which has appeared to be more of a disadvantage this year due to the unique offseason. The Wolfpack may be at a further disadvantage due to a COVID-19 outbreak on the team, which postponed practices in lateAugust and led to the cancellation of their scheduled season opener last week. Hartman saw extensive playing time in three games last year, putting up scores of 24, 21, and 17 fantasy points. So while his output against Clemson was disappointing, he's proven capable of excelling against lesser opponents.
RB Vincent Davis, Pittsburgh ($7,500) vs. Syracuse
A.J. Davis ($7,900) got the start at running back for Pittsburgh last week, but Vincent Davis ended up leading the team with 11 carries, including two touchdowns. Davis' performance apparently won over the coaching staff as he has been named the starter this week. Head coach Pat Narduzzi indicated others will factor into the backfield as well, but the Syracuse defense is porous enough for Davis to produce on a limited workload. Since the start of 2019, 10 running backs have scored at least 16 fantasy points against the Orange, including both Michael Williams and Javonte Williams for North Carolina last week.
WR Taj Harris, Syracuse ($7,500) vs. Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh's defense presents a tough challenge for the Syracuse offense, but the volume of targets Taj Harris is likely to see while playing from behind makes him an option on this slate. Last week, against UNC, Harris was limited to 8.9 fantasy points, but the more important number for projecting his future output was his 16 targets. That type of volume, regardless of the opponent, will make a receiver fantasy-relevant. With a relatively low cap hat, you can justify gambling on Harris in hopes he reaches the end zone on one of his many targets on Saturday.
WR Kobay White, Boston College ($7,400) vs. Duke
Former four-star recruit and Notre Dame transfer Phil Jurkovec is expected to take over at quarterback for Boston College. Unfortunately, Jurkovec is listed as a co-starter with Dennis Grosel, so it would be risky to use Jurkovec in your lineup. Based on this expected upgrade at quarterback, however, it may be worth taking a shot on the Eagles' top receiver, Kobay White. In 2019, White led Boston College with a 20 percent target share overall and a 27 percent target share on explosive routes.
WR Danny Gray, SMU ($6,100) vs. North Texas
Danny Gray is expected to play a significant role in replacing standout receiver James Proche in the SMU offense. Last week, Gray posted a solid line with 9.2 fantasy points on five targets, but fortunately, it wasn't enough to raise his salary significantly. Gray failed to reach the end zone, but he's the type of playmaker who is a threat every time he touches the ball -- he averaged 12.0 yard after the catch in his SMU debut last week.
WR Tyler Page, SMU ($5,600) vs. North Texas
Tyler Page is listed as Gray's backup as the slot receiver in SMU's depth chart, but it appears as though he's going to see a significant amount of work in this pass-heavy offense. Page led all SMU receivers with six targets in the slot last week. Gray is probably the safer bet of the two, but at this ultra-cheap cap hit, Page is worth a dart throw as well.
Players to Avoid
QB Micale Cunningham, Louisville ($9,900) vs. Miami FL
Micale Cunningham emerged as one of the ACC's top quarterbacks last season, but after being undervalued much of last season, his salary now reflects his talent. Miami boasts a strong defense that held UAB's Tyler Johnston to just 9.5 fantasy points last week and has allowed an average of 15.7 points to opposing starting quarterbacks since the start of 2019. In cash games, Cunningham is still worth a look, but his ceiling, relative to his salary, makes him a risky tournament play.
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.