This article is part of our FanDuel College Football series.
As we enter Week 10, we finally get the last batch of college teams joining the fold with the PAC-12 and the MAC starting up. We get two PAC-12 contests on Saturday's main slate in Arizona State-USC and Stanford-Oregon, with the Trojans sporting the sixth-highest expected score on the 28-team slate.
Leading the way in that category is North Carolina, who is expected to put up 37 against in-state rival Duke. TCU comes next at 35 and there is a slew of teams right behind them, with Minnesota (34.5), Texas A&M (34.0), Cincinnati (33.5) and USC (33.5) all sitting above the 33-point mark and another three teams coming in over 30. The lack of major margins in the expected score department should lead to plenty of diverse lineup options on the slate.
Duke-North Carolina tops the totals chart (62.5), while Illinois-Minnesota (61.5) and TCU-Texas Tech (61.5) round out the games expected to go over the 60-point mark. The heaviest favorites on the slate is Cincinnati (-13.5) over Houston and Iowa State over Baylor (also -13.5), while North Carolina (-11.5), Oklahoma State (-11.5) and USC (-10.5) all check in as double-digit favorites.
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Week 10 Plays
Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati ($10,000) vs. Houston
Ridder has earned his spot near the top of the mantle with a couple of dominating performances versus SMU and Memphis. More of the same may be on the way for Saturday's contest, with the Cougars expected to top 33 points as 13.5-point favorites over Houston. The plus side with Ridder is that he's not out of the equation even if the Bearcats are running the ball in the second half looking to put the game away. Ridder has run for a combined 220 yards and five touchdowns over the past two weeks in addition to throwing for 271 yards and a trio of scores last Saturday versus Memphis. Houston hasn't been particularly vulnerable in that aspect of the game, but the Cougars' defense has had its issues defending the pass, allowing 9.7 yards per attempt, 268.8 passing yards per contest and 2.3 passing scores per game. The 1.8 rushing touchdowns per contest also bode well for Ridder's chances of reaching pay dirt again on the ground.
Tanner Morgan, Minnesota ($8,800) at Illinois
Morgan's start to the 2020 campaign has been less than ideal, with the signal-caller failing to top 200 passing yards in either of the first two games after missing that mark just four times over 13 games last season. Fortunately, the Illini defense should be the cure for what has ailed his passing game in the early going. The Illini secondary has surrendered 11.1 passing yards per attempt, 312 passing yards per game, and 3.5 passing touchdowns per game through the first two contests and it could have been worse had Wisconsin needed to continue throwing in the second half of the opener. Morgan still has an NFL wideout at his disposal in Rashod Bateman and a serviceable No. 2 option in Chris Autman-Bell, so this seems like a good opportunity for coach P.J. Fleck to get the passing attack in gear.
If you are looking for a low-salary option, Taylor fits the bill as a potential option to put up solid numbers and return plenty of value. First off, he takes on a Minnesota defense that has allowed 47 points per contest through the first two weeks to go along with 309.5 passing yards and 10.3 yards per attempt. That doesn't include the whopping 8.7 yards per rush attempt and four rushing scores the opponents are averaging. Taylor entered the season as the fourth-string option under center but wound up on the field for most of the second contest with starter Brandon Peters testing positive for COVID-19 and backup Isaiah Williams also joining the list of unavailable players. Robinson left last week's game with an injury early and seems like a long shot to take the field Saturday. However, he's considered the better passer of the two and could be in line for a big day if healthy and given the starting nod. Assuming Taylor gets the start, he provides a dual-threat option under center, having run 17 times last week and finished the day with 273 yards and a pair of passing scores versus Purdue. He could post some solid numbers in both facets Saturday if given the nod.
When looking at the top of the board, Hall and Williams have the optimal opportunities in terms of both matchup and expected game script. Both Iowa State and North Carolina are double-digit favorites in their contests, suggesting we may see a good amount of the rushing attack from both teams. The two clubs are also facing similar defenses. Baylor surrenders 177.3 rushing yards per contest, 4.1 yards per attempt, and 2.3 touchdowns per game, while Duke isn't far behind at 155.1 rushing yards per tilt, 3.9 yards per carry and 1.9 scores per contest. Duke's 3.9 per contest is also a bit skewed, as opposing starting backs have typically averaged well over four per carry. I still give the slight edge to Hall here with a slightly better matchup and the lack of a Michael Carter No. 2 to steal some carries, but both of these backs are viable options atop the board.
Gerrid Doaks, Cincinnati ($8,900) vs. Houston
Picking on the Cougars' defense again, it has given up nearly 167 rushing yards and 1.8 rushing scores per contest, as mentioned above. While just 3.9 yards per tote doesn't really pop, it's worth noting that Houston didn't really face a formidable rushing attack prior to last week's contest versus UCF. The Knights torched the Cougars defense on the ground, with the team's top three backs each running for a minimum of 87 yards and a score and averaging a combined 9.1 rushing yards per tote. Doaks is averaging 20 carries per contests over the last three and should be in line for plenty of work again Saturday, especially with the Bearcats likely looking to put things away in the second half as 13.5-point favorites.
There's a lot to like in the matchup for the Horned Frogs ahead of Saturday's game against a Texas Tech defense coughing up nearly 500 total yards per contest. While much of the damage typically comes through the air, the Red Raiders are also allowing nearly 160 yards and 2.3 scores per contest. Barlow has the most immediate path to some value after looking like the lead back last week versus Baylor en route to 117 yards and a touchdown on the ground on 16 carries, his high for the season by double his previous best effort. Evans hasn't had that level of run thus far but has seen his workload quickly expand over the last two weeks. He finished with 66 combined rushing and receiving yards versus Oklahoma on just six touches and topped that effort with another 91 yards and his first collegiate touchdown last week versus Baylor. Given how Evans has performed with the ball in his hand, there's a chance he will see even more of it Saturday, especially if the game script with the Horned Frogs favored by 8.5 points comes to fruition.
Another to consider: Mike Epstein, Illinois ($7,700)
As mentioned above, I think this is the week the Gophers finally put the passing attack into motion after a relatively stagnant start to the campaign. Despite a somewhat slow start in the first two weeks, Bateman tops the slate in target share (44.4 percent) and has the perfect matchup to reach pay dirt for the first time in 2020 after doing so 11 times over 13 games a season ago. While Bateman is a known commodity and will likely factor into the Illini's game plan, the same can be said for David Bell last week and it didn't stop the opposing star wideout from recording nine catches for 122 yards and a score. That bodes well for a massive outing from the Gophers' wideout Saturday. Autman-Bell, on the other hand, has been targeted just five times in the first two contests. However, he turned his five targets last week into four catches for 112 yards and a touchdown and added another catch for 45 in the opener on just two. Given the lackluster Illinois secondary, there's a chance Autman-Bell will be good for a couple of big plays to give him the necessary stat line to return value.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC ($8,200) vs. Arizona State
St. Brown is the leading receiver returning for the Trojans this season after finishing off the 2019 campaign with 77 receptions for 1,042 yards and six touchdowns on 106 targets. That's what makes it all the more puzzling how his salary lands $500 below Tyler Vaughns, who put up a massive campaign in his own right last year but not quite as spectacular. St. Brown finished off last season a tear, averaging seven catches and 128.7 yards over the last three games while also posting a pair of scores. His biggest of the three came against the Sun Devils, where he racked up eight grabs for 173 yards and a touchdown. With Kedon Slovis at the helm again, there's little reason to anticipate any drop-off and there could be even more big games on the way for St. Brown with Michael Pittman no longer in the wideout picture. It's worth taking advantage of the salary in this range while it lasts.
Cornell Powell, Clemson ($7,500) at Notre Dame
Powell hasn't posted any massive games, but it's worth noting he finished with his best effort by a long shot last Saturday versus Boston College in what was true freshman D.J. Uiagalelei's first career start under center. Powell's 12 targets were five more than he received in any game prior and could be a sign that Uiagalelei has a rapport with the senior wideout. The salary remains medial and the matchup doesn't appear particularly promising given Notre Dame's successes against the pass this season, but the Fighting Irish haven't really faced a strong passing attack to date either. Powell's 30 percent target share last Saturday also marks the highest single-week share for any Tigers wideout this season, suggesting the freshman is a bit more reliant on his primary options than Trevor Lawrence has been.
Pro Wells, TCU ($6,000) vs. Texas Tech
When you reach down this far, you're looking for just anything to grasp onto for some GPP plays. Wells might fit that mold this week, as opposing tight ends are averaging 14.2 points per contest versus the Red Raiders. Wells isn't technically a tight end this season but has the frame (6-foot-4, 250) of one and is essentially just a tight end lining up at wide receiver. This could wind up being a matchup to exploit in the passing game and Wells has proven to have some upside on occasion, turning in 12.8 FanDuel points versus Oklahoma and a coupe double-digit efforts last season as well. Given TCU's rather lackluster options in the passing game and the solid matchup, this could be one of the rare breakout weeks for him.