College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: Saturday 10/31/20 Main Slate
In this preview, I'll break down the Saturday main slate into three categories based on FanDuel 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 Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati ($9,500) vs. Memphis
Desmond Ridder has been an inconsistent fantasy performer throughout his career, but he's coming off a 44.9-point performance against SMU and faces a struggling Memphis defense. Opposing quarterbacks are scoring 5.9 points above their average against Memphis, the eighth highest rate in the nation. Excluding sacks, Ridder is averaging 13.9 yards per carry -- a skillset which gives him a solid floor and a high ceiling.
QB Joe Milton, Michigan ($9,200) vs. Michigan State
In his first game as the Michigan starter, Milton impressed with 24.2 fantasy points against Minnesota. He'll draw an even easier matchup this week against a Michigan State squad that allowed 38 points to Rutgers in their season opener. Milton's ability as a runner -- he carried the ball seven times for 60 yards, excluding sacks, last week -- should make him a consistent fantasy threat throughout the rest of the season.
RB Najee Harris, Alabama ($10,800) vs. Mississippi State
Mississippi State is holding opposing running backs four fantasy points below their season average, but it appears as though Najee Harris is matchup proof. The Tennessee defense entered last week's game versus Alabama with similar numbers, and Harris went off for 36.7 points. Since Harris has already faced Georgia -- likely the SEC's best defense -- there's no reason to worry about his matchups the rest of way.
RB Chuba Hubbard, Texas ($9,700) vs. Texas
In conference play, the Texas defense is allowing 32.1 points per game to running backs. Chuba Hubbard hasn't had any huge performances, which he occasionally posted last season, but his usage has been consistent. Oklahoma State has given Hubbard at least 20 touches in every game, including two games of more than 25. So it's only a matter of time before he breaks out with a monster stat line, and the Texas defense could be the unit that paves the way.
RB Khalil Herbert, Virginia Tech ($9,600) vs. Louisville
This showdown between Virginia Tech and Louisville carries the highest total on the slate (67.5 points), so many of the top offensive stars should be on your radar. Khalil Herbert looks like the top option to target based on his consistency and ceiling. Herbert has scored at least 22 fantasy points in every game, peaking at 32.7 against Duke. Louisville's defense is giving up 29.4 fantasy points per game to running backs in ACC play.
RB Kyren Williams, Notre Dame ($9,200) vs. Georgia Tech
Kyren Williams has been inconsistent from a fantasy perspective, posting two games of more than 30 points and three games with 15 or fewer. Running backs are scoring 6.7 points per game above their season average against Georgia Tech, so this could be another opportunity for Williams to reach his ceiling. The only concern for Williams is the possibility of getting pulled early if the game gets out of hand -- Notre Dame faces Clemson next week, so Brian Kelly will want to keep his starters fresh.
RB Tank Bigsby, Auburn ($8,900) vs. LSU
LSU has allowed at least 30 points to running backs in three of four games (only Vanderbilt was held below the threshold). That sets a solid ceiling for Tank Bigsby, who has clearly emerged as the workhorse in the Auburn backfield after a few early weeks of a committee. He's averaged 21.3 touches per game over the last three weeks. There's also the possibility he sees a bigger workload in the passing game if Auburn falls behind (LSU is favored by 2.5). During Auburn's loss to Georgia, Bigsby saw eight targets.
WR Tutu Atwell, Virginia Tech ($8,700) vs. Louisville
In this potential shootout, Tutu Atwell looks like the player to target on the Louisville offense. Atwell leads the team with a 31.4 percent target share, and 41.9 percent of his targets have come on explosive routes -- defined as route types on which FBS receivers average 20 or more yards per reception -- according to Sports Info Solutions.
WR Marvin Mims, Oklahoma ($8,200) vs. Texas Tech
The Texas Tech defense is giving up 56.2 fantasy points per game to opposing receivers, the third most in the nation. The Oklahoma offense is tough to sort out, but Marvin Mims appears to be the hot hand, coming off a season-high 27.2 fantasy points. Mims has been the team's highest-scoring receiver in three of the Sooners' last four games.
QB Sean Clifford, Penn State ($8,800) vs. Ohio State
Sean Clifford's salary is a little high to be considered a value, but there are 14 quarterbacks with a more costly cap hit, so we'll slide him into this category. Any quarterback facing Ohio State's defense is in a risky spot, so playing Clifford could backfire. However, Clifford is coming off a game in which he ran for 122 yards, excluding sacks. And Ohio State is coming off a game in which it allowed 135 rushing yards to quarterbacks (7.9 yards per attempt). It's tough to be confident based on one game, but if this is an area where the Ohio State defense is going to struggle, Clifford could potentially have a big day.
QB T.J. Finley, LSU ($8,600) vs. Auburn
In his first career start against South Carolina, freshman T.J. Finley posted 26 fantasy points. He's probably capable of a similar performance against this Auburn defense, which has struggled to get pressure on quarterbacks. According to Sports Info Solutions, Auburn is pressuring quarterbacks on just 26 percent of their dropbacks, the third worst rate in the SEC. Additionally, LSU is allowing pressure on 30 percent of its drop backs, the fourth best rate in the SEC. Finley was under duress on just two of his dropbacks in his debut -- with a similar performance from the offensive line, he should put up strong numbers again.
QB D.J. Uiagalelei, Clemson ($8,500) vs. Boston College
Freshman D.J. Uiagalelei will be filling in for Trevor Lawrence, who is in isolation with COVID-19. Since this wasn't announced until Thursday night, Uiagalelei's salary remains extremely cheap relative to his ceiling, and he's virtually a must-start, especially in cash games. In his high school scouting report, 247Sports references his "generational arm strength," so we should expect to see Clemson take some shots down the field this week. Additionally, we can probably expect him to run the ball at a similar rate to Lawrence -- he already has two rushing touchdowns -- which should give him a Lawrence-like ceiling. Since Lawrence's status for next week's showdown at Notre Dame is in doubt, there will also be incentive for Clemson to leave Uiagalelei in the game after it's in hand in order to give him as much experience as possible.
WR Alec Pierce, Cincinnati ($7,200) vs. Memphis
Alec Pierce made his season debut last week and immediately led Cincinnati with six targets. He entered this year as the Bearcats' leading returning receiver after finishing second on the team with a 17 percent target share in 2019. Cincinnati doesn't throw often enough for Pierce to have a huge ceiling, but a number-one receiver at this salary is tough to pass up.
WR Charleston Rambo, Oklahoma ($7,000) vs. Texas Tech
Charleston Rambo's salary has dropped $2,000 from opening weekend, but he's still the same big-play threat he was last year. Spencer Rattler's inconsistency has given Rambo a low floor, but he's also shown a solid ceiling with 22 points in the season opener and has led Sooners receivers in fantasy scoring in two of five games. Over his last three games, Rambo is second on the team with an 18 percent target share, so the opportunities are still there. He could potentially light up this struggling Texas Tech defense.
WR Jalen Nailor, Michigan State ($6,900) vs. Michigan
The Michigan defense will likely present a challenge for the Michigan State offense, but Jalen Nailor should see enough volume to prove valuable on this salary. Last week against Rutgers, Nailor tied for the team lead -- with Jayden Reed ($8,600) -- with 12 targets. With such an extreme salary difference between the two receivers, Nailor is clearly the Spartans receiver to target.
WR Zay Flowers, Boston College ($6,900) vs. Clemson
|Clemson Pass Defense by WR Position||Comp Pct||Yds/Att||TD-Int|
This has been a weak spot in the Clemson defense, and Zay Flowers should be the beneficiary this week. Flowers sees a 24 percent target share in the Eagles' offense, with 62 percent of his targets coming in the slot.
WR Javon Ivory, Memphis ($6,600) vs. Cincinnati
Memphis' number-one receiver Damonte Coxie opted out of the season earlier this month, opening the door for redshirt freshman Javon Ivory. In two games since Coxie stepped away, Ivory has posted 11.5 and 16.8 fantasy points. He's fourth on the team in targets over those two games, so he doesn't a huge ceiling, but Ivory is worth a look in tournaments due to his extremely low cap hit.
Players to Avoid
QB Sam Ehlinger, Texas ($11,000) vs. Oklahoma State
Sam Ehlinger might be matchup proof, but the highest-salaried quarterback facing an elite defense is typically a player to avoid. The Oklahoma State defense is holding opposing quarterbacks to 10 fantasy points per game, the second best rate in the nation, and has limited quarterbacks to single-digit fantasy outputs in three of four games. Ehlinger is almost certain eclipse those numbers, but his ceiling probably isn't high enough to justify rostering him at this salary.
RB Zach Charbonnet, Michigan ($8,000) vs. Michigan State
Zach Charbonnet was the Michigan running back to roster last year, but much of his fantasy value came from his use near the goal line. Charbonnet paced Michigan with 21 carries inside the 10-yard line in 2019, and it led to a team-high 11 touchdowns. In their season opener, however, Charbonnet saw just one of Michigan's six carries inside the 10. Joe Milton, who's listed at 6'5", 243 pounds, scored one of Michigan's rushing touchdowns, and it looks like he's going to cut into Charbonnet's opportunities near the end zone.
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.