This article is part of our DraftKings College Football series.
Welcome into the Championship Week edition of the DraftKings Main Slate primer, where we have an excellent eight-game offering with a great mix of familiar and unfamiliar teams and players from which to choose. Games like the MAC and Sun Belt Championship may be your first exposure to some of these players like Appalachian State's Darrynton Evans or Louisiana's three-headed monster in the backfield with Elijah Mitchell, Trey Ragas and Raymond Calais. Not to leave the MAC out in the cold, either, as Central Michigan has a handful of players that will be viable plays on this slate as you'll see below.
Looking elsewhere on the slate, we have Memphis and Cincinnati firing things back up after having just played last Friday. With Desmond Ridder coming back for Cincy, how will the Memphis defense respond? And in the Mountain West, the always alluring Hawaii offense gets the tough task of [laying on the road in Boise against a tough Bronco defense.
As for the Power 5 matchups, Clemson has the highest implied total on the board (41.5) while the Oklahoma-Baylor rematch carries the highest combined over-under on the board. And then we have an incredible strength-on-strength showdown in Atlanta with LSU's No.2-rated offense facing off against Georgia's No.1-rated defense. All of this should make for a great football watching Saturday with an eclectic DFS board that has me thinking of several different lineup builds. Below you'll find cheat sheets with relevant and sortable data along with our suite of DFS tools. Further down is my position-by-position breakdown of the slate with my favorite plays to help guide your lineup decisions at various price points.
|Team||Opponent||H/A||O/U||Spread||Implied Points||Plays Per Game||Opp. Pass Yds Allowed/ GM||Opp.Pass TD Allowed/GM|
|Central Michigan||Miami (OH)||N||54||-7.0||30.5||72.64||202.3||1.9|
|Miami (OH)||Central Michigan||N||54||7.0||23.5||63.55||240||1.8|
|Team||Opponent||H/A||O/U||Spread||Implied Points||Opp. Rush Yds/G||Opp. YPC Allowed||Opp. Rush TD Allowed/G||Offensive S&P+||Opponent Defense S&P+|
|Central Michigan||Miami (OH)||N||54||-7.0||30.5||180.33||4.22||1.8||77||80|
|Miami (OH)||Central Michigan||N||54||7.0||23.5||118.33||3.44||1.4||114||74|
Link to above data
Position by Position
Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma ($9,000) vs. Baylor
Hurts needs to at least be acknowledged in any slate breakdown that features the Sooners. We know what we're getting from him – he's the top-priced player on the board who averages 44.1 fantasy points per game, making him the only player in FBS with that level of production.
What helps separate Hurts from the pack is his ability to truly impact the game in multiple ways. He's the only player in the country with at least 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards. It's truly remarkable what kind of player he's turned into at Oklahoma. This week he gets a matchup against a Baylor defense that has already seen him and taken its best shot. That was a game in Waco where Oklahoma didn't have CeeDee Lamb. Neither of those conditions are being met this week with this game being at a neutral site and Lamb being good to go. That spells trouble for the Bears, even if they have a defense that ranks 15th in S&P+. Hurts is the driving force behind Oklahoma's No.1 ranking in S&P+ and he'll be very difficult to fade this weekend.
Zac Thomas, Appalachian State ($6,900) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Thomas ended the regular season on a tear, racking up 13 total touchdowns in the last four games. He's not the best bet to get to the 300-yard bonus as he hit that mark just once this year, but he's accounted for multiple touchdowns in every game he's played against Group of Five competition. In his first outing against Louisiana-Lafayette, Thomas was largely shut down through the air by going 11 of 17 for 147 and no scores, but he made up for it with a season-high 15 rushes for 63 yards and two touchdowns. As the engine of an offense projected to score over 30 points Saturday, Thomas is a strong pivot away from the top tier that frees up cap space in other areas while still giving you viable production.
Jaylon Henderson, Boise State ($6,400) vs. Hawaii
Boise State has used three quarterbacks this year and has still managed to flex its muscle as the preeminent power in the Mountain West with an 11-1 record. Henderson's number has been called of late and he's expected to get another start Saturday in this favorable matchup. Hawaii surrenders the fourth-most passing yards per game on the slate and has the worst defense (115th in S&P+). Henderson meanwhile has crushed it in his three starts, averaging 24.0 DraftKings points by throwing for a combined 732 yards and eight touchdowns while adding 68 yards and a score on the ground. If Hawai'i keeps this game competitive long enough for Henderson to throw his usual 30.7 pass attempts, things set up well for him to be another strong value option at superflex that you can pair with a pricier quarterback in a given lineup.
For the Bold
Bryce Perkins, Virginia vs. Clemson
I know the matchup is impossible. But Perkins at $6,200 is just low enough to get the gears churning towards considering him in a tournament lineup. This is easily his lowest price on DraftKings of the season and he has been playing some of his best football of late, racking up an average of 41.3 DraftKings points per game over the last four weeks. Of course, he hasn't seen anything close to Clemson in terms of defense as the Tigers rank 3rd in defensive S&P+.
At $6,200, we just need Perkins to get somewhere between 18.6 and 20 DraftKings points to make him a worthwhile play. It's fair to point out that Clemson's pass defense has been particularly brutal on opposing quarterbacks, but Perkins' mobility smooths over those concerns to an extent as he's run for a score in four straight games and has over 100 yards in three of those outings. This is a risky play considering the opponent and Perkins' shaky supporting cast, but there's a chance he does just enough relative to his price to make it work.
J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State ($8,000) vs. Wisconsin
It doesn't matter who the opponent is, Dobbins just eats. Dobbins averages 168.0 rushing yards per game against ranked teams, which is tops in the nation. In fact, that's 22 yards better than the next most effective runner against ranked teams, Alabama's Najee Harris. And unlike Harris, Dobbins has a four-game sample in this split while Harris played ranked teams just twice this year. But enough digs at Alabama, we're talking about J.K. Dobbins .
One of those ranked games came against Wisconsin, when Dobbins popped off for 163 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. So there's no need to steer clear of the matchup here, even if Wisconsin is tough against the run with just 96 rushing yards allowed per game. And with Justin Fields possibly limited in terms of mobility, Dobbins may be in for a major workload on Saturday. Dobbins, who has 10 rushing scores in his last four games, should be able to convert that heavy volume into the type of production that makes him worth paying up for.
George Holani, Boise State ($5,600) vs. Hawaii
This might be Tyler Snead Week 14 levels of chalky. I just don't care. Holani has everything in front of him for this game. For starters, he is the No.1 option in the Boise State backfield. He has 52 carries for 323 yards and two touchdowns in the last four games – no other Boise State running back has more than 30 carries in that span. And that runner, Andrew Van Buren, is recording just 3.52 YPC in that span. So we have Holani's rushing share covered. How about the matchup?
Well, Hawaii has the worst defense on the slate by far. Hawaii gives up 205 rushing yards per game – no one else gives up more than 180. It also has the worst defense in terms of S&P+, checking in at 115th. There's also the matter of the forecast lending itself to a run-heavy script with temperatures in the low 40s with rain throughout the day. Again, Holani will have an ownership percentage that could go north of 50, but everything points to him being a de facto Bingo Free Space on this slate more than a trap.
Jonathan Ward ($6,600) and Kobe Lewis ($5,700), Central Michigan vs. Miami (OH)
Central Michigan runs it 52.6 percent of the time, with Ward and Lewis shouldering most of the load. When healthy, Ward has seen the higher share of the workload with 40 percent of the carries on average while Lewis has seen a steady 36 percent share. Both have been highly effective, though, and both get to face a Miami defense that's the worst non-Hawaii unit on the slate.
Ward and Lewis have combined for 2,009 rushing yards and 26 rushing scores and both of them have at least 20 catches for 150 yards. Understandably Ward is the higher-priced option here with 15 of those rushing scores along with a more explosive per-carry average (6.44) than Lewis' 5.6. And there's room for both players to have success here, especially against this defense. Ward and Lewis have gone for over 100 yards in the same game on three separate occasions this season. If you have the space, Ward would be the better play but Lewis is a strong mid-tier option if you're up against the cap.
Louisiana backfield (Elijah Mitchell ($5,800), Trey Ragas ($5,900), Raymond Calais ($4,700)) vs. Appalachian State
It's been tough to guess right on this backfield all season. There have been Mitchell games, Ragas games, and Calais games all interspersed throughout, but one constant has been that at least one of them puts together a strong game no matter what.
Except, well, the time they played Appalachian State. Darn.
One bad game isn't enough to steer me away from the No.6 ranked rushing offense in terms of yardage per game, though.
In Mitchell you're getting the most productive of the three who also gets the most red zone work. Going Ragas or Calais would mean going after a more explosive player (both over 7.4 YPC) who's at risk of losing out on red zone work. But any of these three have cases at their various price points. I'm most inclined to go after Mitchell, however.
Others to Consider
Travis Etienne, Clemson vs. Virginia (Cash games)
If Clemson threatens to cover that massive 28-point spread, Etienne should be plenty busy as the Tigers look to burn down the clock and escape Charlotte with their playoff ticket punched.
James Cook, Georgia vs. LSU (GPP)
If Swift is limited with his shoulder issue, Georgia will have to explore its depth at running back. Brian Herrien clearly has the trust of the coaching staff, but Cook has the type of versatile and explosive skill set that could make him an X-factor against LSU. He's a GPP-only, but if you're punting at flex or at RB, Cook
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU vs. Georgia
It's a tough matchup but Edwards-Helaire has elevated his game of late and is busy as a pass-catcher with 43 receptions on the year. That raises his projection on a full-point PPR site like DraftKings. The ownership should be relatively low on him too, as many will gravitate towards Dobbins, Kenny Gainwell and Etienne among the high-priced rushers.
Ja'Marr Chase, LSU ($7,800) vs. Georgia
You may see the matchup and the $1,000 difference between Chase and the next-highest receiver and decide there's a better way to spend 15.6 percent of your salary. Perfectly reasonable. But...
Are you sure you don't want Chase in your lineup? Check this out...
Look at that. I filtered this down to receivers on the DraftKings slate and put the start date back to Week 10 (arbitrary, I know), then sorted by YPT. Chase is clearing more than 4.0 YPT more than the next best receiver in that category over that span with an absurd 18.6. As you can see, he has 27 catches for 708 yards and eight scores on 38 targets in his last four games. That's mind boggling. Only 40 receivers in the entire 130-team FBS had at least 705 yards and eight touchdowns all season. To do that in four games is just insane. So, what now?
Well, Georgia's defense is very good. S&P+ considers it the best defense in the country. Georgia allows 186 passing yards per game on 5.4 YPA. It had fewer passing touchdowns allowed (11) than games played in the regular season. But how tested was this Georgia secondary in terms of its secondary? The best quarterback Georgia faced this year was either Ian Book, Kellen Mond or Kyle Trask depending who you ask.
But it's 2019. I'll side with the offense here and I'll side with your Heisman favorite's favorite receiver, Ja'Marr Chase.
JaCorey Sullivan, Central Michigan ($5,100) vs. Miami (Ohio)
Sullivan is Central Michigan's most explosive receiver on a per-target basis, pulling in 10.47 YPT over 68 targets this season. Kalil Pimpleton has been strong in his own right and his volume (105 targets) makes him an appealing option in this format. But he's $500 more expensive than Sullivan, who has actually been the more effective receiver down the stretch. In the last five games, Sullivan has 32 catches for 496 yards and two scores on 45 targets, recording at least 50 catches for 80 yards in each of those outings. Pimpleton on the other hand has 27 grabs for 302 yards and two scores on 40 targets in that span. Not bad, but not worth $500 more than Sullivan, either.
Miami of Ohio is weaker against the run than it is against the pass so I wouldn't recommend a full passing game stack using Chippewas. But Sullivan is a strong one-off candidate with a quality blend of target volume and efficiency.
Tee Higgins, Clemson ($6,000) vs. Virginia
In going after Higgins, we're going after the top target on a team with the highest implied total on the board at 41.5. And as you can see in the chart above about Ja'Marr Chase, you'll notice that Higgins is the only one even in the same stratosphere as him over the last few weeks. Higgins has a 14.2 YPT mark in that stretch, turning 22 targets into 16 catches for 312 yards and seven touchdowns in four games. And yet he's just $6,000. In fairness, Higgins isn't a great candidate for empty calorie production the way others are in this format – he hasn't seen more than seven targets in any game since Week 5. There's some floor here, though, as Higgins has seen at least five targets in each game during his four-game hot streak. Virginia is respectable on defense (36th in S&P+) but it's not going to be enough to stop Higgins and this passing attack the way things have been going since the scare against UNC.
Garrett Wilson, Ohio State ($4,100) vs. Wisconsin
It was admittedly pretty tilting to not be in on Wilson's breakout game against Michigan after trying to time that up all season. But rather than take last week's game as a "if you missed it, you missed it – too bad," I think we can see that as the start of Wilson's dominant college career. He caught three of five targets for 118 yards and a touchdown against the Wolverines, marking his first 100-yard effort as a Buckeye. And it's not like Wilson had been totally silent before that game. He had 21 catches on 30 targets for 250 yards and four touchdowns heading into the regular season finale and his current stat line is in the same neighborhood as Binjimen Victor, who is $500 more expensive than Wilson.
Wilson is a GPP-only consideration due to the lack of projected target volume, but he is yet another Ohio State receiver who only needs a few looks to turn in a valuable fantasy performance.
Others to Consider
- Hennigan is more of the chain-mover between the two while Williams has slightly more touchdown upside.