This article is part of our DraftKings College Football series.
Welcome to this week's main slate breakdown. We've got a 13-gamer with plenty of good options, giving us several different ways to attack it and build our lineups. 14 teams are expected to score 30-or-more points according to Vegas, with Memphis, Florida, and Oklahoma State leading the way as the top-three projected scorers on the board. The Memphis-SMU showdown carries an implied total of 74.5, which is over 10 points more than any other contest. Without further adieu, let's dive into our options for this week's main slate.
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*Injury Note: Texas QB Sam Ehlinger is reportedly dealing with a quad injury and an injury to his left (non-throwing) hand and was limited in practice this week. He's expected to play and I'll have him in a decent chunk of my lineups once there's confirmation that he's a go, but this will be maybe the biggest item to follow in the lead-up to kickoffs Saturday.
Alan Bowman, Texas Tech ($7,600) at Kansas State
Bowman doesn't need much introduction. Of the quarterbacks that have played two or fewer games, Bowman easily leads all passers in attempts with 104. An overtime game against Texas helped, but Bowman was asked to drop back 52 times against Houston Baptist in the opener, too. Even if his efficiency (7.26 YPA) lags behind some of the other top quarterbacks on the board, his volume smooths that over. He is also somewhat turnover prone with four picks thus far, with three of them coming against Texas. Still, Bowman is a high-volume passer who has top tier weapons and is facing a Kansas State defense that has allowed 9.1 YPA and given up at least four passing touchdowns in each outing. That'll work.
Skylar Thompson, Kansas State vs. Texas Tech
Texas Tech's defense is on-brand this year and doesn't seem interested in stopping anybody. The Red Raiders actually gave up fewer yards to Texas in an overtime game than it did to Houston Baptist! There's a reason this game has the second-highest implied total on the slate and that Kansas State is expected to score north of 33 points.
Asking for a repeat from Thompson after last week's game is setting the bar high given his three rushing touchdowns, but him finding the end zone on the ground isn't a fluke. He ran in 11 scores in 2019 and five the year prior, so his ability near the goal line is established. Thompson also showed what he can do with a receiving corps at full strength last week as he torched Oklahoma for 334 yards on just 25 passes (13.4 YPA). He also has a new threat out of the backfield in Deuce Vaughn, who is capable as a pass-catcher and possesses blazing speed in the open field. This is a great setup for Thompson and a good way to get exposure to an offense that will put up points at home.
Mac Jones, Alabama vs. Texas A&M
Last week was a solid start to 2020 from Jones and a troubling one if you're an Aggie fan. Jones had no trouble dicing up Missouri with a workman-like 249 yards and two touchdowns on 24 attempts while completing 75 percent of his passes. Meanwhile the Aggies were sluggish in their opener, and while much of the blame falls on the offense, I don't think Vanderbilt's offense was enough to get the defense ready to slow Bama.
Jones might not have a particularly high volume projection this week but if A&M shows any sort of pulse, that could mean 30 attempts with 20+ of them going to Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith. I'll take that.
Other Suggestion: Max Duggan, TCU ($5,800) at Texas
Duggan is a really interesting piece of this slate's quarterback puzzle. He's priced like a premium backup or low-ceiling starter but we know Duggan is neither of those things. Duggan had his struggles last year and had a health scare this offseason but he looked like the blue-chip recruit he was billed as during his comeback effort off the bench versus Iowa State. He completed 16 of 19 passes for 241 yards and three scores against the Cyclones and only had 11 rushing yards. Given that he ran for 555 yards and six scores last year, there should be some rushing production coming Saturday as well.
Ulysses Bentley, SMU ($5,900) vs. Memphis
The Bentley play may be the key to Saturday's slate. A running back as productive as he has been checking in as RB18 is not something that'll just slip through the cracks. So even though Bentley will be a popular play, will he be that building block that all high-cashing lineups can't afford to fade? Will Saturday be a test of who can build the best Bentley lineup?
Having three games of sample helps, but Bentley leads the nation in several major rushing categories. He has an FBS-best 380 yards on the ground, but he has done so on just 36 carries (10.56 YPC). As you can imagine, Bentley's YPC is easily the best of any running back with at least 250 rushing yards on the season. He also has an FBS-high seven rushing touchdowns.
T.J. McDaniel (59 carries) is still a factor in this backfield and the Memphis defense will likely be the best that SMU has faced thus far. Still, Bentley can't be kept off the field for SMU and with a sub-$6K salary, it's hard to turn away from the value he provides when he's playing at this level.
You could say that no one player has been a bigger disappointment relative to expectations thus far than Hubbard and I wouldn't fight you too hard on it. He has 49 carries for 194 yards and two scores through two games. For context, he had eight individual games with at least that many yards or touchdowns last year. Eight! And it's not like the matchups have been overly imposing either (Tulsa and West Virginia).
A matchup against Kansas this weekend is a major opportunity to get things turned around. The Jayhawks had allowed 194.0 rushing yards per game against Coastal Carolina and Baylor on 4.6 YPC. Those actually aren't awful numbers compared to some defenses on the slate but that still sets up as a soft matchup. Hubbard should get 20+ bites at the apple against the Jayhawks, and the way he has played thus far coupled with the lofty salary number should keep his roster percentage in check in GPPs.
With Brown, he's just $4K and is seeing consistent work out of the backfield. It's just a 20-carry sample, but the senior is tearing off 8.3 yards per carry and if the pattern holds, he should push for double-digit carries against the Jayhawks as well. No other running back in that price range offers Brown's combo of upside and floor*.
Bottom line, if Hubbard doesn't get it going here, it's fair to wonder if he will at all this season. And if you're off Hubbard already, Brown is still worth your consideration.
Gerrid Doaks, Cincinnati ($7,800) vs. South Florida
I wish the discount was a little steeper after Doaks' clunker against Army, but that might actually help his case in GPPs since players may be less inclined to roster a player with a grand total of 43 rushing yards on 20 carries through two games. Still, the matchup against South Florida can't be understated for how favorable it'll be compared to finding room to run against Army. USF coughed up 281 rushing yards against Notre Dame, and while Cincy might not be able to lean on the Bulls to that extent, this sets up extremely well. Cincinnati will be able to move the ball on the ground at will against South Florida, and Doaks figures to lead that attack.
Jerome Ford ($3,900) had eight carries last week and has scored in each of his two games thus far. He doesn't factor into the passing game like Doaks but is a fine pivot if you still want exposure to the Cincinnati rushing attack. He is the LD Brown-lite of the slate.
Keontay Ingram, Texas ($5,200) vs. TCU
Maybe it was the Week 1 jitters but it looks like TCU's run defense could be a soft spot this season. It gave up a ton of yardage to Breece Hall and the Cyclones, though admittedly Hall can go off against anyone.
When it comes to Texas, the run game has been evenly divided between Ingram, Roschon Johnson ($5,000) and Sam Ehlinger – each of whom has between 19 and 24 carries. Johnson led the team with 16 rushes in a close game last week but is reportedly dealing with a minor rib injury. With Ehlinger (quad, hand) also a bit dinged up, Ingram's number could be called often this weekend.
Sifting through SMU
As you can see, there are four legit options from which to choose. Reggie Roberson ($8,100) has the highest salary but he also has the highest target share and has scored the most touchdowns among this group. Rashee Rice ($5,900) is a quality pivot who sees consistent volume and has been explosive with his targets (13.3 YPT). Meanwhile, Danny Gray averages 15.6 YPT and has found the end zone twice on 10 targets, so his volume may be lacking but he delivers when targeted. Granson is the X-Factor because he was dominant down the stretch last season when Roberson went out but now he has to contend with Rice and Gray for targets along with Roberson. I'll likely have the most exposure to Roberson but Rice and Gray are strong pivots that give more flexibility for your lineup construction. With value at quarterback a little tougher to find this week than last, finding a bargain at receiver when possible is important here.
JD Spielman, TCU ($3,600) vs. Texas
Spielman, the star transfer from Nebraska, had a quiet TCU debut with just two catches for 16 yards on two targets. He wasn't listed as a starter on the game-week depth chart but was on the field early for the Horned Frogs. And it's not lost on me that Spielman's targets came on TCU's final drive when the Horned Frogs were desperately trying to complete the comeback. Those are valuable targets that wouldn't be wasted on someone TCU didn't think could help move the Frogs down the field.
Spielman is the best receiver on this roster and it's only a matter of time before that starts becoming apparent in the box score. That he's down below $4K makes him a particularly interesting tournament play as he offers legitimate upside based on his track record, and rostering him gives you the flexibility to load up elsewhere.
Jake Smith, Texas ($5,500) vs. TCU
There's some risk here as Smith is making his season debut after missing the first two games with a hamstring injury. Hamstring injuries are obviously worrisome for wide receivers, and with this being his first game back there's a chance he plays a reduced snap count. The rub here is that Smith, when healthy, should be a $7,000 player. So you're betting on upside over risk in playing Smith, and he represents a discounted way to get exposure to the Texas passing game. It'd be wise to check back before kickoff to confirm he's warming up and playing, but assuming that he is, Smith should make an impact relative to his salary.
Shi Smith, South Carolina @ Florida
The matchup might not be as tough as I would've expected this time last week, but I still think Florida's defense tightens up this week. Still, South Carolina threw it (39 attempts) more than it ran it last week in a close game and this sets up to be a shootout where the Gamecocks need to go to the air even more in order to keep up with the Gator offense in the Swamp.
Smith clearly has a rapport with new quarterback Collin Hill as he was targeted 15 times (~40% share) against the Vols and he rewarded his quarterback with 10 grabs for 140 yards and a touchdown. South Carolina will need to get other receivers like Xavier Legette to pose a threat on the outside but Smith still profiles as the engine of this passing game. Smith is talented and experienced for his own part, and his high share of the targets in a favorable game script makes him a quality option in DraftKings' PPR format.
Elijah Moore, Mississippi : His target share is elite and Moore brings explosiveness along with that usage. If he can go for 35.7 points against Florida's defense, Moore should be in good shape Saturday against Kentucky, too.
An Ode To The Tight Ends
For years it has felt like the tight end position was being phased out of the college game. Or, at the very least, they had become close to extinct for our purposes in the fantasy community. I mean, DraftKings doesn't even make you specifically roster a tight end in your lineup. But there is a tight end renaissance happening right now and you'd be crazy to not at least consider some of what that position has to offer on this slate.
Now, Kyle Pitts isn't sneaking up on anyone (not that he should have last week) as the fourth-highest billed pass catcher on the slate, but he is plenty worth it. I don't care how bad the defense is, eight catches for 170 yards and four touchdowns in one game doesn't happen by accident. Good luck, South Carolina.
Looking past Pitts, we have Memphis' Sean Dykes ($5,000), Boston College's Hunter Long ($5,000), Duke's Noah Gray ($4,200) and Ole Miss' Kenny Yeboah ($4,000) all factoring in as major parts of their respective offenses. Dykes (one game sample) owns a 27 percent target share at 13.7 YPT, Long paces the Eagles with a 33 percent target share and two touchdowns, Gray leads Duke in every major receiving category and Yeboah turned his six targets into five grabs for 91 yards and a score in his Rebel debut. All of these tight ends are viable plays on this slate.