College Football Daily Fantasy Helper: Saturday 12/5/20
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 Justin Fields, Ohio State ($11,200) vs. Michigan State
The Michigan State defense has been solid, holding opposing quarterbacks to just 16.8 fantasy points per game. However, Ohio State likely understands they're narrowly hanging on to a playoff spot and some style points could help solidify their position. Justin Fields has posted at least 28 fantasy points in every game, and he could soar past that number if the Buckeyes' coaching staff turns this offense loose.
QB Mac Jones, Alabama ($10,200) vs. LSU
Projecting quarterbacks against LSU has been difficult this year. In seven games, the Tigers have held three quarterbacks to 10 or fewer points, but the other four all topped 25 points. Even if there's some risk in rostering Mac Jones, his ceiling against this inconsistent LSU defense makes him a worthy inclusion in tournament lineups.
QB Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina ($9,600) vs. BYU
This matchup between Coastal Carolina and BYU was scheduled only this week, so it's harder to predict how each team will perform with such little time or prepare. Based on ESPN's FPI metric, Coastal has faced two teams ranked in the top 50 -- Louisiana and Appalachian State -- and Grayson McCall posted 26.6 and 26.9 fantasy points in those matchups. That should make us fairly comfortable projecting him to put up a solid number against the Cougars in this potential shootout (the total is set to 61.5 points).
RB Najee Harris, Alabama ($10,600) vs. LSU
Najee Harris has scored multiple touchdowns in five games this season, making him a viable candidate every week for DFS. The only risk in using him against LSU is the possibility Alabama has built up such a lead by halftime that Harris rests during the second half. Harris has been limited to 15 or fewer touches in each of his last two games but still reached 20 or more fantasy points in both contests.
RB Travis Etienne, Clemson ($10,100) vs. Virginia Tech
Travis Etienne is always on our radar, but this looks like a particularly favorable matchup against the Virginia Tech defense. Excluding sacks, the Hokies are allowing an ACC-worst 5.9 yards per carry. This game features a total of 67.5 points, so there should be plenty of opportunities for Etienne extend his streak of reaching the end zone to eight games.
RB Rhamondre Stevenson, Oklahoma ($9,200) vs. Baylor
Since returning from suspension, Rhamondre Stevenson has accounted for 62 percent of Oklahoma's handoffs to running backs and is coming off a career-high 26 carries last week against Oklahoma State. The Baylor defense is allowing opposing running backs to score 6.2 fantasy points above their average, the highest rate among teams on this slate.
WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama ($10,900) vs. LSU
Since Jaylen Waddle's injury, DeVonta Smith has a 38.3 percent target share. With that usage rate, Smith is an option every week, especially in this matchup -- where Alabama's implied total sits at 48 points. LSU is allowing 46.5 fantasy points per game to opposing receivers, which ranks 106th in the nation.
WR Dax Milne, BYU ($9,000) vs. Coastal Carolina
BYU has been involved in so many blowouts that Dax Milne's fantasy production has been a little inconsistent. However, excluding garbage time, he leads the team with a 28 percent target share while picking up 18.8 yards per reception. He's BYU's big-play threat and could have a huge day if this turns into a shootout.
QB Jack Plummer, Purdue ($8,700) vs. Nebraska
In two starts for Purdue, Jack Plummer has posted 24.7 and 27.9 points, and similar production should be expected against a weak Nebraska defense. Due to the Huskers' inability to get off the field, opponents are averaging 75.4 plays per game against them, the 18th most in the nation. This should give Plummer plenty of opportunities to connect with his stable of receivers and out-perform this reasonable cap hit.
RB Kamari Pleasant, Washington ($7,300) vs. Stanford
Through Washington's first two games, Kamari Pleasant and Richard Newton split the workload. But Newton rode the bench last week against Utah, and head coach Jimmy Lake indicated it was a performance-based decision. With the Huskies trailing by 21 points at halftime, the game script didn't work in Pleasant's favor, but he still saw 16 touches. With Washington favored by 11.5 points over Stanford, he could be in line for a substantial workload on Saturday.
RB Bijan Robinson, Texas ($6,900) vs. Kansas State
In two games since Keaontay Ingram was injured (he has since opted out), five-star freshman Bijan Robinson has accounted for 65 of the opportunities for Texas running backs. Over its last four games -- all losses -- Kansas State is giving up 175.8 rushing yards per contest on the ground. With the Longhorns favored by 7.5 points, this could be Robinson's breakout performance.
RB Trey Sermon, Ohio State ($5,900) vs. Michigan State
Trey Sermon has yet to reach double-digit fantasy points this year, a result of failing to reach the end zone. That makes him nothing more than a dart throw in tournaments. However, this is an incredibly low cap hit for a player averaging 12 touches per game on an offense with an implied total of 41.5 points.
WR Rondale Moore, Purdue ($8,500) vs. Nebraska
Rondale Moore is a must-roster player on this slate due to an absurdly low cap hit for a player commanding a 37 percent target share since returning two weeks ago. Moore has seen 28 targets over his last two games, the second most in the nation in that span, and he's also had five opportunities in the run game.
WR Jaivon Heiligh, Coastal Carolina ($8,400) vs. BYU
Coastal Carolina runs a version of an option offense, but Jaivon Heiligh has still seen 61 targets on the season and leads the team with a 32 percent target share, excluding garbage time. With BYU favored by 10.5 points, the Chanticleers may be forced to throw more often than usual, potentially setting up Heiligh for a big day.
WR Wan'Dale Robinson, Nebraska ($6,600) vs. Purdue
Over the last three weeks, Wan'Dale Robinson leads all Nebraska running backs and receivers in both carries (29) and targets (25). His fantasy value hasn't taken off because he hasn't reached the end zone all year, but with that usage rate, it's only a matter of time. Purdue is favored by just 1.5 points in this matchup, and, with the total set to 62.5 points, this game has shootout potential. In a high-scoring game, Robinson has a chance to far exceed expectations on this low salary.
WR Jalen Nailor, Michigan State ($6,500) vs. Ohio State
Ohio State's defense ranks dead last in the Big Ten in pass yards allowed per game (291). The Buckeyes also rank last in the conference in yards per target on explosive routes (15.7) -- defined as route types on which FBS receivers average 20 or more yards per reception -- according to Sports Info Solutions. Jalen Nailor paces the Spartans with a 25 percent target share, with 51 percent of his targets coming on those valuable explosive routes.
Players to Avoid
QB Kyle Trask, Florida ($10,900) vs. Tennessee
Kyle Trask has topped 25 points in seven of eight games, so you don't necessarily need to avoid him entirely. However, it's worth mentioning Tennessee has allowed only one quarterback to reach the 25-point threshold (Georgia's Stetson Bennett with 25.7 points). The Vols even limited Alabama's Mac Jones to 21.9 points. So this might be a spot where Trask's upside is capped a bit.
RB Breece Hall, Iowa State ($11,000) vs. West Virginia
Breece Hall has seen at least 20 touches in all but two games, so his role in the Iowa State offense makes him a fairly safe play. However, anyone facing the West Virginia defense is going to be risky. Opponents are averaging just 61.8 plays per game against the Mountaineers, the lowest rate in the Big 12 and the 11th lowest in the nation. In what should be a slower-paced game, Hall is going to be more touchdown-dependent than usual. The total for this game is set to just 49.5 points, making everyone on the field a questionable selection.
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.