This article is part of our DraftKings College Football series.
Welcome to this week's breakdown of the DraftKings main slate, where we have a 7-gamer with plenty of Power Five options and interesting Group of Five squads. I don't have much of a preamble this week, so let's get down to business and dive into this slate.
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Sam Howell, North Carolina ($8,900) vs. Syracuse
The top quarterback on the board earned that billing with his stellar freshman season that included 38 passing touchdowns against just seven interceptions. Howell also has his top two targets back for 2020 with Dazz Newsome and Dyami Brown – who combined for 2,052 yards and 22 touchdowns – in the fold. He'll face a weak Syracuse pass defense and Vegas likes North Carolina to put up north of 40 points, so everything is in place for Howell to put together a strong performance. The only catches with rostering Howell are that 1.) he eats up a high percentage of your salary cap and 2.) he'll have a high roster percentage. Sometimes you just have to go with the chalk, though. And Howell versus Syracuse is one of those times.
Skylar Thompson, Kansas State ($6,800) vs. Arkansas State
Arkansas State is coming off a tough outing in Memphis where it surrendered 222 yards on the ground, and it won't get easier against a physical team like Kansas State this week. Thompson is the centerpiece of the Kansas State offense, and while his passing projection for Saturday is middling, his rushing ability makes him a DFS target. He ran for 405 yards and 11 touchdowns last season and that was with the Wildcats having decent running back options. Kansas State is now thin at running back so even more of the rushing workload could be put on Thompson's shoulders. With that in mind and a favorable matchup, Thompson is a strong GPP option that should also have a reasonably low roster percentage.
Jashaun Corbin, Florida State ($6,800) vs. Georgia Tech
Cam Akers is gone and Corbin is ready to take over as the lead back for the 'Noles after two seasons at Texas A&M. It's fair to note that Florida State's offensive line won't be fixed overnight under Mike Norvell and that the running game has mostly been anemic in Tallahassee for the last two years. However, Corbin is plenty talented and Norvell has a strong track record of designing an effective run game from his Memphis days. There's the added bonus of facing a Georgia Tech team that is likely still a year or two away from its competitive window, so this should be smooth sailing for the FSU offense. Georgia Tech allowed 215 rushing yards per game on 4.8 YPC in 2019 and as long as Corbin sees his expected volume, he'll return value on $6,800.
Tony Mathis, West Virginia ($4,400) vs. Eastern Kentucky
We have the benefit of Eastern Kentucky having played a game already, and it's no surprise that West Virginia is projected for the highest point total of the day. EKU was steamrolled in every facet of the game against Marshall last week and it could be even worse this week against the Mountaineers. Now, Leddie Brown (3.4 YPC) has the highest salary among running backs on the board, but his production last year was underwhelming and it appears that West Virginia prefers a committee approach at running back. So why use $3,300 more of your salary cap on Brown when Mathis is projected to be option 1B behind Brown? And on a day where West Virginia is expected to cruise to a victory, it seems unlikely that Brown will stay in the game when it's no longer competitive. It could be the Mathis show in the second half Saturday and that type of volume against this Eastern Kentucky defense should produce results.
Jahmyr Gibbs, Georgia Tech ($3,500) vs. Florida State
It's a tough matchup with Florida State having game-wrecker Marvin Wilson in the middle of its defensive line, but Gibbs is still worth considering if you need a sub-$4k option to fill out your roster. Gibbs is the most talented back on Georgia Tech despite not having taken a snap yet, so while he won't overtake Jordan Mason right away, he will still be a part of the Yellow Jackets game plan. He was a highly rated recruit who was the gem of the Yellow Jackets' 2020 recruiting cycle. Don't expect more than 10 carries for Gibbs, but at $3,500 with his game-breaking ability, it may only take one carry for him to hit the value you need.
Sandon McCoy, Army ($6,300) vs. Louisiana-Monroe
This is the Warhawks first game of the season while Army already looks to be clicking on all cylinders following last week's romp over Middle Tennessee. That's not a good sign for ULM when it was already entering the season with, on paper, the worst rushing defense of any team on this slate. ULM gave up 252 rushing yards per game on 5.7 YPC last season. It's important to note that Army's scheme isn't overly reliant on any one running back so it's possible that other backs will get chances near the goal line, but at this stage it appears that McCoy is first in line for carries and will get plenty of opportunity against this soft ULM run defense.
Dazz Newsome, North Carolina ($7,900) vs. Syracuse
North Carolina has the best quarterback of any team playing Saturday and Newsome is arguably the most talented receiver, too. This is a dynamic pairing facing off against a Syracuse defense that will be on skates all afternoon. Newsome gets the edge here over Dyami Brown because he sees a greater target volume (102 in 12 games last season), and that's helpful in DK scoring. Both should have big days Saturday, however, and North Carolina is short on other options in the passing game so the targets will funnel to Newsome and Brown almost exclusively. A North Carolina passing stack is likely worth it Saturday but it eat up a significant portion of your salary cap.
Tamorrion Terry, Florida State ($7,800) vs. Georgia Tech
I'm going with bargains at running back this week so that I can aim high at receiver with players like Newsome and/or Terry. While Terry doesn't have Heisman-caliber quarterback play at his disposal, he does have immense talent and a favorable matchup. Terry is coming off a season in which he averaged 11.3 YPT on 105 targets in an offense that averaged 8.1 YPA, showing that he played far above the baseline of the offense – to borrow a phrase from our own Mario Puig. Georgia Tech might slow the game down when it has the ball, limiting Florida State's play volume to an extent, but Terry is such a vital part of the 'Noles passing game that it's hard to see a scenario where he doesn't get fed all day Saturday.
I don't often recommend tight ends but Kolar is worthy of making an exception. He ranked seventh in receptions (51) among tight ends last season and with Iowa State losing several options at receiver, Kolar is one of the few experienced option in the Cyclone passing attack beyond Tarique Milton. Look for Kolar to be a staple of the ISU passing game Saturday, especially in the red zone (5 RZ TD in 2019).
Hutchinson is more of a wild card. He's a junior college transfer but has already worked his way into a starting role on the outside for Iowa State. The Ragin' Cajuns will have their hands full checking Milton and Kolar, which should result in favorable matchups for the 6-foot-3 Hutchinson. He's a GPP-only consideration, but one that should have a low roster percentage to go with plausible upside in a game where Iowa State will keep its starters in for the bulk of the game as it's projected to be competitive.