College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: Saturday 11/7/20
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 Sam Ehlinger, Texas ($11,200) vs. West Virginia
There's a lack of elite quarterbacks in favorable matchups on this slate, so Sam Ehlinger is worth mentioning here due to his consistency. Ehlinger has reached 29 fantasy points in all but one game this season. However, it's also worth pointing out the West Virginia defense has held four of five quarterbacks below their season average. This matchup probably makes Ehlinger a better cash-game play than a tournament pick, but you can consider him for both based on the lack of obvious alternatives.
QB Kedon Slovis, USC ($9,100) vs. Arizona State
With nine quarterbacks carrying a higher salary than Kedon Slovis, he almost qualifies as a value play on this slate, which is incredible considering his success down the stretch of his freshman season. Slovis topped 30 fantasy points in four of his final five Pac-12 games, including 32.6 points against Arizona State. Slovis lost leading receiver Michael Pittman Jr. to the NFL, but with Amon-Ra St. Brown and Tyler Vaughns returning, there should be plenty of firepower in this USC offense.
RB Javonte Williams, North Carolina ($10,300) vs. Duke
Javonte Williams has reached the end zone in every game this season, including three multi-score games. With North Carolina carrying an implied total of 37 points in this matchup, Williams is a safe bet to reach paydirt at least once against Duke. The Blue Devils' run defense has also struggled in some of his toughest matchups, giving up 37 or more fantasy points to running backs from Virginia Tech, Virginia and Notre Dame -- so there should be plenty of opportunities for both Williams and Michael Carter ($8,500).
RB Breece Hall, Iowa State ($10,400) vs. Baylor
Breece Hall appears to be matchup proof -- he's topped 100 yards and scored a touchdown in every game -- and Baylor looks like a particularly good opponent for him. The Bears are giving up 29.2 fantasy points per game to running backs, third most in the Big 12.
RB Leddie Brown, West Virginia ($9,400) vs. Texas
West Virginia wants to lean on Leddie Brown -- he's eclipsed 20 touches in every conference game -- so he's among the safest bets on this slate against a weak Texas defense. Among teams on this slate, the West Virginia offense is running the most plays per game, while the Texas defense is allowing the most plays per game. That combination should create a strong workload for Brown, who is averaging 25.9 fantasy points per game.
WR Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State ($9,600) vs. Kansas State
In two full games with Spencer Sanders as his starting quarterback, Tylan Wallace is averaging 23.2 fantasy points per game. His slow start appears to be tied to shaky quarterback play in Sanders' absence, and we can now probably trust Wallace to consistently play at the high level he showed in 2019.
WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC ($8,200) vs Arizona State
It's tough to separate USC's top receivers Amon-Ra St. Brown and Tyler Vaughns ($8,700), but the slightly cheaper cap hit for St. Brown probably gives him the edge. Only five targets separated these two receivers a season ago, and Slovis is likely to give each a significant volume. If you're filling out multiple lineups with Slovis at quarterback, it makes sense to find room for St. Brown in some and Vaughns in others, as they both have high ceilings against a poor Arizona State defense that gave up 30 or more points in five of nine Pac-12 games a season ago.
QB Tyler Shough, Oregon ($8,100) vs. Stanford
There's some risk to rostering Tyler Shough because he carries the "or" designation on the depth chart along with Boston College transfer Anthony Brown. However, Shough has been practicing with the starters, so he's probably safe to start in this matchup against Stanford. In 2019, Stanford gave up 23.8 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks and allowed three quarterbacks to top 30 points. Stanford's defense has been trending in the wrong direction for a few years, so there's little reason to expect a significant turnaround in 2020.
QB Jarret Doege, West Virginia ($7,700) vs. Texas
Jarret Doege has topped 20 fantasy points only twice (versus Kansas and Eastern Kentucky), so it's certainly fair to be skeptical of him. However, quarterbacks have scored above their season average against Texas in every conference game by an average of 8.2 FanDuel points. Applying that trend to Doege, he would be projected for 25.7 points.
QB Coran Taylor, Illinois ($7,300) vs. Minnesota
Coran Taylor is expected to make his second consecutive start in place of Brandon Peters, who tested positive for COVID-19. Taylor posted 16.1 fantasy points against Purdue last week, but he should have a higher ceiling against a Minnesota defense allowing 34.4 points per game to quarterbacks, the most in the nation. Excluding sacks, Taylor carried the ball 14 times for 52 yards against Purdue -- that running ability gives him a nice floor and could make a strong option for cash games, too.
RB SaRodorick Thompson, Texas Tech ($8,000) vs. TCU
SaRodorick Thompson's fantasy production has been inconsistent, but this appears to be a uniquely favorably matchup against the TCU defense. According to Sports Info Solutions, 95 percent of Texas Tech's run plays come from 11 personnel. That's bad news for TCU, which is allowing 7.9 yards per attempt versus 11 personnel, the fifth worst rate in the nation. Thompson was banged up and saw limited action last week, so keep on eye on any news regarding his status on Saturday morning, but he's expected to be ready to play.
RB Mike Epstein, Illinois ($7,700) vs. Minnesota
Through two games, the Minnesota run defense has been shockingly inept, giving up 8.6 yards per attempt and 41.9 fantasy points per game to running backs. Excluding garbage time, Mike Epstein has seen 60 percent of the handoffs to running backs in the Illinois offense, so he appears to a safe bet to exceed expectations on this reasonable salary.
WR Drake London, USC ($7,800) vs. Arizona State
Amon-Ra St. Brown is listed as the starter in Michael Pittman Jr.'s spot on the outside, creating room for Drake London to take over as USC's slot receiver this season. As the primary weapon in the slot last year, St. Brown saw 105 targets and averaged 13.99 fantasy points per game. With the coaching staff still in place and the majority of the offense returning from last year, it's probably safe to project a similar workload for London in that role.
WR Taye Barber, TCU ($7,800) vs. Texas Tech
Taye Barber is generating a modest 10.5 fantasy points per game, but he leads the Horned Frogs with a 19.9 percent target share and draws a favorable matchup with Texas Tech. The Red Raiders' defense is surrendering 57.1 fantasy points per game to receivers, the third most in the nation.
WR Quentin Johnston, TCU ($6,100) vs. Texas Tech
Quintin Johnston has a 12.4 percent target share on the year, but he's tied with Taye Barber for the team lead with 11 targets over the last two weeks. The four-star freshman appears to be working his way into a more significant role, and there should be room for both him and Barber to excel against this struggling Texas Tech defense.
WR Mycah Pittman, Oregon ($5,800) vs. Stanford
In the seven games Mycah Pittman played during his freshman season, he saw a 13.3 percent target share -- tied with Johnny Johnson III ($8,200) for third in the Oregon offense. The former four-star recruit should step into an even more significant role with Juwan Johnson now in the NFL, and he's a candidate to significantly out-perform this ridiculously low salary.
Players to Avoid
QB Sam Howell, North Carolina ($9,900) vs. Duke
North Carolina has an implied total of 37.00 points, the highest on this slate, which will likely influence people to roster Sam Howell. It might be a smart move to fade him, however, based on the performance of Duke's defense. As previously mentioned, the Blue Devils have struggled to stop the run, but they're allowing just 18.2 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks and have held six of seven quarterbacks below their season average. Since North Carolina also has a strong rushing attack, this could turn into a more run-heavy day for the Tar Heels' offense, diminishing Howell's value.
RB Kyren Williams, Notre Dame ($8,400) vs. Clemson
Kyren Williams' salary has been discounted $800 from the previous two weeks, likely due to the matchup with Clemson. That's not enough of a discount, however, given the strength of this Tigers defense. Clemson is holding opposing running backs 12.1 fantasy points below their average, the fifth best rate in the nation.
RB Dedrick Mills, Nebraska ($7,200) vs. Northwestern
Dedrick Mills carries a tempting salary for a starting running back. However, the Northwestern defense has allowed a combined 24.6 fantasy points to running backs through two games. Maybe the Wildcats' defense will take a step back after this hot start, but it looks risky to trust Mills in this matchup.
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.