This article is part of our FanDuel College Football series.
Championship Week is upon us, and we have some handy tools at your disposal for the upcoming FanDuel slates. With all of this information, we aim to arm you as much as possible each week.
It's that time of year. We have a slew of conference championship games ahead on Saturday, but none of them figure to be as up-tempo and high scoring as the rematch of the Red River Rivalry. The two teams combined for 93 points the last time they clashed, and the rematch figures to be nearly equally as high scoring. They are also projected to rank in first (Oklahoma) and sixth (Texas) on this week's slate in terms of implied points. Clemson is the biggest favorite on the slate by a large margin, rolling into the matchup as a 27.5-point favorite. The slate has been cut in half from 16 down to eight this week, for obvious reasons, so I will be giving no more than two picks in most tiers this week.
A full picture of some key statistical categories can be seen in the table below:
Note: All stats are opposing defense. I switched out plays per game for S&P+, which is a metric designed to look at passing and rushing defense independent of matchup.
YPA=Yards Per Attempt
Without further adieu, the following are some of the players I may target in the main slate this week.
Sam Ehlinger, Texas (vs. Oklahoma), $10,100
Ehlinger has been trending down in recent weeks with matchups against Kansas and Iowa State, but in matchups with most of the Big 12's other air raid offenses – West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma – Ehlinger has scored no fewer than 29.88 points. He totaled no less than 36 if the Texas Tech game is taken out of the mix. Ehlinger put up a season-high 47.06 points the last time these two teams faced off, and Oklahoma's defense hasn't changed, outside of a new coordinator, since then.
Clayton Thorson, Northwestern ($8,900)
With Ohio State needing a statement win to push its name into a playoff spot, the Buckeyes will likely look to score early and often in the contest. Northwestern enters the matchup as 14-point underdogs, and Thorson's offense could be playing from behind for much of the game. Ohio State's defense has surrendered 36 points or more in three of the last four games, and the only game in which it performed well was against a Michigan State offense that has totaled 14 points or less in four of the last six weeks, and no more than 24 points total over that span. Thorson has a 30-point game under his belt this season and could be a worthwhile option this week, especially if top target Flynn Nagel (leg) is able to play.
Secondary Pick: Trevor Lawrence, Clemson ($9,200)
Bargain Bin (<$8,600)
Darriel Mack Jr., UCF (vs. Memphis), $8,400
If you're pinning your money to any name in the bargain bin category during Championship Week, it should be Mack who stands out. He notched 20 points against East Carolina earlier this season and racked up 51 yards on the ground last Saturday against USF after taking over for McKenzie Milton. Mack also has numerous weapons surrounding him in the form of Gabriel Davis, Dredrick Snelson and Tre Nixon, not to mention Adrian Killins and Greg McCrae out of the backfield. The Memphis defense also checks in as mediocre in both facets of the game, providing an opportunity to take advantage of his dual-threat ability.
Secondary pick: None
Elite ($9,000 and up)
Darrynton Evans, Appalachian State (vs. Louisiana-Lafayette), $9,500
Although Evans posted one of his worst showings (12.1 points) from a fantasy standpoint last week against Troy, his volume remained steady at 44 percent of the carries. He rushed 20 times and for more than 100 yards in the contest, falling flat on the day only because he didn't find the end zone. That shouldn't be the case Saturday versus a Louisiana-Lafayette team allowing slate-worst marks of 5.0 yards per carry and 2.5 rushing touchdowns per game. The Mountaineers are heavy favorites in the contest, so look for them to pull ahead and potentially salt away the game running the ball. Evans also totaled 200 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns against the Ragin' Cajuns when the two teams squared off earlier this season.
Greg McCrae, UCF (vs. Memphis), $8,400
McCrae posted a big day last Saturday against USF following Milton's departure, notching three touchdowns and 181 rushing yards on 16 carries. With Darriel Mack slated for starting duties again versus Memphis, McCrae and the running game will likely be leaned on. He checks in $900 cheaper than Adrian Killins and has outperformed Kilims recently. Couple that with a matchup versus a mediocre Memphis defense surrendering 154.5 rushing yards and 1.9 rushing touchdowns per contest, and you have yourself a bargain at $8,400.
Secondary pick:Mike Weber, Ohio State ($8,100)
Bargain Bin (<$7,800)
Joshua Jacobs, Alabama (vs. Georgia), $7,700
There aren't really any running backs in this range that receive consistent work outside of Jacobs, who has really come into his own of late. After receiving no more than eight touches in the first six weeks of the season, Jacobs has posted nine or more touches in three of the last five contests. He's also managed to find pay dirt at least once in all three of those games. While Georgia is no slouch against the run, the Bulldogs are much better against the pass, ranking fifth in the nation versus the air attack by S&P+ standards. If looking for a cheap back with some upside, Jacobs should be your guy.
Tournament play: Tavien Feaster, Clemson ($5,900)
Elite ($9,000 and up)
Lil'Jordan Humphrey, Texas (vs. Oklahoma), $9,500
Simply put, Oklahoma's corners can't cover the opposition's star wide receivers. Whether it be David Sills IV and Gary Jennings last week, Tylan Wallace a few weeks back, or Humphrey himself (nine catches for 133 yards and a touchdown) the last time these two teams met, the Oklahoma secondary doesn't have the pieces to keep the lid on them. Humphrey's 3.5-point effort last week against Kansas may have led to his price sitting at just $9,500 this week. Whatever the reason, Humphrey is coming off of three games prior with at least seven grabs a piece. He should return to that form against the Sooners.
Secondary pick: Parris Campbell, Ohio State ($9,400)
Gabriel Davis, UCF (vs. Memphis), $8,400
Davis working with a new quarterback under center Saturday didn't stop his price from rising $400 a week later. He was the target of 64 percent of the pass attempts last week, clearly serving as the favorite option for Darriel Mack Jr. after he took over under center. With another week to gel, Davis could have a good week in store against an average Memphis defense. The offense without Milton could scare away a lot of people as well, potentially keeping his ownership low.
Bargain Bin (<$7,500)
Flynn Nagel, Northwestern (vs. Ohio State), $7,500
Nagel was the primary option of quarterback Clayton Thorson for most of the year, but he faded down the stretch, possibly a result of some nagging injury issues. After sitting out last week, it seems highly unlikely the senior will sit out arguably the biggest game in the program's history. Facing a leaky Ohio State defense and a Buckeye's offense that can light up the scoreboard, Nagel could be a sneaky cheap option.
Secondary Pick: Irv Smith, Alabama ($7,500)