DraftKings College Football: Championship Week Picks
DraftKings College Football: Championship Week Picks

This article is part of our DraftKings College Football series.

Welcome into our Championship Week Main Slate breakdown, where we have an eight-game offering featuring some of the nation's best offenses and some of the nation's worst defenses. The headliners are, of course, the Big 12 showdown between Oklahoma and Texas as well as the AAC title game between Central Florida and Memphis. That said, the Alabama-Georgia and Ohio State-Northwestern games also check in with implied totals north of 60, and the Marshall-Virginia Tech matchup is wonky enough to garner some intrigue for our purposes.

Listed below are our tools to help you build your lineups, along with a cheat sheet and my position-by-position writeups.

Lineup Optimizer
Weekly Rankings by Position
Target Share
Team Trends
Odds
Defense vs. Position

Quarterback

Kyler Murray, Oklahoma ($10,300) vs. Texas

Welp, DraftKings doesn't make it easy, but I'll be rolling with Murray in most, if not all, of my lineups this week. He's $1,100 more expensive than the No.2 quarterback on the board (Dwayne Haskins), and he should still be worth every penny. Murray averaged 40.3 fantasy points per game during the regular season -- 6.2 more per game than Haskins, who ranked third in the nation in that regard. The Heisman candidate shredded the Longhorns the first time out this season, racking up nearly 400 total yards to go with five total touchdowns. Yes, the Longhorns are playing better defense right now, but not well enough to worry me about Murray's output Saturday.

Sam Ehlinger, Texas ($9,000) vs. Oklahoma

On the other side of the Big 12 Championship Game, we have Ehlinger. Any concerns regarding Ehlinger's health should be quelled after he turned in a full week of practice. As for the matchup -- it doesn't get much better. Oklahoma's defense really is as bad as they say it is. The Sooners canned their defensive coordinator after Texas beat them the first time, but it didn't spark the turnaround that they had hoped. Oklahoma allowed an average of 47.3 points per game in four November contests, and only one of those games came against a ranked opponent. Adding onto Ehlinger's upside here, Oklahoma's pass defense is especially weak, ranking 89th in S&P+. There are ways of getting both quarterbacks in this game, but if you opt to just go with Ehlinger and someone else at superflex, the Longhorn signal caller is still a strong play.

Superflex Du Jour: Darriel Mack, Central Florida ($6,800) vs. Memphis

He'll probably be trendy as a superflex, but I think it's with good reason. Mack isn't nearly the passer McKenzie Milton was, at least at this stage, but he's big and athletic with some upside. He checks in at 6-3, 230 (just a bit bigger than Milton) and can make a difference with his legs; Mack averaged 7.0 yards per rush this season and topped the 100-yard mark on the ground in his lone other start. Central Florida's receivers should be downgraded on cheat sheets with Mack's scattershot accuracy (48.8 percent completion rate), but Mack himself is a fine superflex option that opens salary at other spots on the board.

Others to consider: Jake Fromm, Georgia ($5,100) vs. Alabama; Brett Rypien, Boise State ($7,100) vs. Fresno State

Running Back

Brenden Knox, Marshall ($5,100) at Virginia Tech

Marshall has been looking for its rushing identity all season, and it may have found it in the form of Knox, who has run for over 100 yards in two of his last three games. He has nearly twice as many rushes (56) as counterpart Anthony Anderson (30) in that span, and Anderson has just 86 yards to show for it. The cherry on top here is that Virginia Tech is awful against the run. Now, before you say that it won't matter against a Conference-USA opponent, remember that Vegas only has the Hokies as 3.5-point favorites. The Hokies rank 108th (!) in run defense S&P+. If Knox's usage pattern holds, he'll be a steal at $5,100 on Saturday.

Darrell Henderson, Memphis ($9,500) at Central Florida

Henderson needs no introduction after rushing for 1,699 yards and 19 touchdowns with a 8.58 YPC. This is merely me giving the green light for those who opt to use a roster spot on a premium-priced running back. The price differential between him and Clemson's Travis Etienne may drive down Henderson's ownership, but there's a wrinkle here. Etienne, as I have written here countless times, can hit value on just a handful of carries. There's a difference between ROI and having the top-scoring running back on the board, however. Etienne's Tigers are near four-touchdown favorites, so there's plenty of reason to believe Clemson won't have to run him into the ground to win comfortably. On the other side, Memphis will need to get everything it can out of Henderson to pull the upset and win the AAC. He's pricey, but Henderson will be worth it.

Greg McCrae, Central Florida ($7,000) vs. Memphis

The days of getting McCrae on the cheap are done with as he checks in at $7,000 being priced below $5,500 the first 12 weeks of the season. McCrae has almost been a Darrell Henderson-light this season, averaging 9.04 yards per carry with eight touchdowns on 99 rushes. He took over the game when Milton went down against South Florida, dashing for two rushing scores over 30 yards. You won't get him in single-digit ownership this week, but McCrae is the hot hand in the Central Florida backfield and the Knights will be leaning on the ground game sans Milton.

Others to consider: Lyn-J Dixon, Clemson ($3,800) vs. Pitt; Tony Pollard, Memphis ($5,500)

Wide Receiver

Collin Johnson, Texas ($6,000) vs. Oklahoma

Lil'Jordan Humphrey is the headliner in the Texas receiving corps and is priced accordingly at $7,400 (2nd). Johnson is no slouch, though, and in a game with an implied total pushing 80, there will be plenty of offense to go around on both sides. He was targeted 89 times in 11 games and converted that into 57 grabs for 768 yards and six touchdowns. He's a matchup problem for smaller corners and has already had success against the Sooners this season (six catches, 81 yards, one touchdown). For $6,000, Johnson feels like a bargain against this Sooner defense.
Tyre Brady, Marshall ($6,500) at Virginia Tech

The Hokies are less vulnerable through the air than they are on the ground, but it's not like they have all the Fullers plus Kam Chancellor in the secondary, either. They are 98th in S&P+ against the pass, which bodes extremely well for Brady. Aside from Brady, no one on Marshall has more than 52 targets this season. Brady has 132. The efficiency isn't great (6.74 YPT), but the volume overrides that, especially in a full-point PPR format. Look for Brady to be the main attraction in the Thundering Herd's passing game as they vie for the upset to wrap up the season.

Vic Wharton, California ($4,700) vs Stanford

A punt play at $4,700, Wharton has sneaky value in a full-ppr site like DraftKings. He has 25 targets over his last four games, turning those looks into 17 catches for 187 yards and a score. Before you question a Cal recommendation, it's important to take into account that Stanford is actually leaky in the secondary, checking in at 97th against the pass in S&P+. Wharton isn't a great bet to go off; he's not that type of receiver. However, he has a reliable target volume with a sneakily favorable matchup. You could do much worse as a punt play option. If you want to go even riskier, Maurice Ways ($3,400) is the only other California receiver with more than 15 targets in the last four games.

Others to consider: Mecole Hardman, Georgia ($3,700) vs. Alabama; Henry Ruggs, Alabama ($5,400) vs. Georgia; Damonte Coxie, Memphis ($5,700) vs. Central Florida; Flynn Nagel ($5,200) vs. Ohio State (if healthy).

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John McKechnie
John is the 2016 FSWA College Writer of the Year winner. He is a Maryland native and graduate of the University of Georgia. He's been writing for RotoWire since early 2014.
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