This article is part of our DraftKings College Football series.
Welcome to this week's main slate breakdown for DraftKings, where we have a
14-gamer 12-game after the Wisconsin-Purdue and Arizona-Utah matchups were both canceled due to COVID-related reasons.
Even with those games off the board, we have a fun slate with several high-powered offenses in the fold. We also have the 2020 debut of the PAC-12. Even with no Arizona or Utah, we still have USC and Arizona State as fun newcomers to the DFS scene.
Looking at the big picture, Oklahoma paces the group as far as implied total goes, checking in at 50.25 against Kansas. Beyond the Sooners, Penn State, North Carolina, TCU and Minnesota round out the top five implied totals on the board.
On the other end of the spectrum, The Kansas State-Oklahoma State, Iowa-Michigan State, and Georgia-Florida feature the three lowest totals on the board, with none of those teams expected to score more than 30 points.
Below you'll find all of our tools and content to help you build your best lineup.
- DraftKings Lineup Optimizer
- NEW Matchups Page (Vegas odds, opponent averages, etc.)
- Advanced Lineups Page
- Team Trends
- Defense vs. Position
- Team Rankings
Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma ($9,100) vs. Kansas
Rattler has been posting good – not great – numbers since the season opener, completing 68.3 percent of his passes for 1,516 yards (9.2 YPA), 13 touchdowns and five picks against FBS competition. He hasn't hit 3X value since a 4OT game against Texas nearly a month ago. So why buy in this week?
For one, he's playing Kansas, which allows 2.5 passing touchdowns per game and 8.0 YPA to opposing quarterbacks. Secondly, his roster percentage may be ticking down. Oklahoma has started to roll on offense but, as we mentioned, Rattler hasn't been posting the gaudy numbers we're used to seeing from a Sooner quarterback. But with Oklahoma projected to score 50.25 points of the 63.0 point total, there's a high likelihood that this turns into Rattler's best performance of the season against Big 12 competition. He may throw just 25 times, but the accuracy and efficiency will still carry him to strong production.
Sam Howell, North Carolina ($8,100) at Duke
It's hard to find an under-the-radar game to target after the Arizona-Utah cancellation, and while a game with North Carolina never falls through the cracks in a large-field GPP, this might be a game with a little more to it than some of the chalkier games.
Howell commands a North Carolina offense that's expected to score the third-most points of any team on this slate. And Howell has been rolling in his own right after a sluggish start. In his last four games, Howell is completing 68.1 percent of his passes at 11.4 YPA with 11 touchdowns against just one pick.
This Duke defense is average across the board, allowing respectable but not intimidating YPA (7.4) and YPC (3.9) numbers through seven games. This is a great setup for Howell and company.
Deciding on Mohammed Ibrahim is the $10,000 question this week. On the one hand, you sink 20% of your salary into one player who doesn't offer much as a pass-catcher. On the other, you're likely locking in 25+ carries against Illinois' defense. Ibrahim clearly would have returned value on the $10K salary these first two games (34.7 DKPts, 47.7 DKPts). I'm just not as sure he does it this time around. Illinois' run defense has been fairly stingy thus far this season, holding Wisconsin and Purdue to an average of 130.0 rushing yards on 3.1 YPC. Ibrahim won't get shut down, but I'm not buying this as the smash spot that it was against Maryland, either.
Devyn Ford, Penn State ($5,900) vs. Maryland
Now this... this is a smash spot. Maryland is coughing up a slate-high 293 rushing yards per game and now gets to face a Penn State team looking to take out its 0-2 frustrations. Ford is the key to the Penn State run game, even though quarterback Sean Clifford accounted for the bulk of the rushes last week against Ohio State. Penn State won't need as many quarterback runs this week, so look for a workload similar to the season-opener for Ford when he got 20 carries against Indiana.
Being afraid of a blowout situation makes some sense here, but Ford is under $6K and is the only running back Penn State trusts at the moment. Journey Brown and Noah Cain being sidelined has significantly cut into Penn State's backfield depth and likely means a bigger workload for Ford out of necessity. Penn State is going to hang north of 40 points on Saturday and Ford is the only starter that doesn't carry a top-three salary at his position. He's a great way to get exposure to what should be a high-scoring offense Saturday.
Rhamondre Stevenson, Oklahoma ($6,900) vs. Kansas
Normally I'd think a play like Stevenson would be chasing points after his big 2020 debut last week in Lubbock. He ran for three touchdowns and 87 yards on just 13 carries in his return from suspension, while Seth McGowan and T.J. Pledger combined for 16 rushes.
Again, this is going to be a blowout and Oklahoma figures to use all three of its top rushers. That's fine. The basis of playing Stevenson is understanding that he will crush on a per-carry basis, and projecting for low double-digit carries from him makes sense. So even if Stevenson isn't pushing 20 carries, producing 100 yards and multiple touchdowns remains in play against a Kansas defense that surrenders 216 rushing yards per game on 5.2 YPC.
Jerome Ford, Cincinnati ($4,800) vs. Houston
The Alabama transfer is finally starting to look like an Alabama transfer playing against AAC competition. Ford took nine carries for 116 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Memphis last week and it might be impossible for Cincinnati to take him out of the rotation now. Gerrid Doaks is still the bell cow and quarterback Desmond Ridder is a threat with his legs as well, but Ford could start to push for double-digit carries each game the rest of the way. Ford is a low-floor, high-ceiling play on this slate and if Cincinnati takes care of business by two touchdowns like the Vegas line suggests, there will be room for him to get in on the action against a Houston defense that gives up 166.8 rushing yards per game.
USC returns a ton of talent in the passing game, starting with St. Brown and London. St. Brown is coming off a dynamic sophomore campaign in which he caught 77 of 106 targets for 1,042 yards (9.8 YPT) and six touchdowns. There's room for even more targets for him this year with USC having to replace Michael Pittman's 136 from 2019. Plenty of those Pittman targets will be going to London, too. London was the No.4 option in this passing game last season and still delivered strong numbers, catching 39 of 54 targets for 567 yards (10.5 YPT) and five touchdowns.
This should be a competitive game and USC is a pass-first offense by design (7th in passing play percentage in 2019) so there will be plenty of targets up for grabs from Kedon Slovis. St. Brown has the highest target projection and London, at 6-foot-5, profiles as a prime red-zone target. Both should be busy Saturday and both are worthy of consideration in your lineups, whether as one piece of a mini-stack or packaged as a full USC passing game stack.
Rashod Bateman, Minnesota ($7,000) vs. Illinois
Illinois is arguably the worst pass defense on the slate, having given up 11.1 YPA and 3.5 passing scores per game through two outings. Bateman doesn't need much help, but drawing a matchup this soft makes him close to a must-play.
The star receiver has caught 14 of 20 targets for 163 yards through two games, but he does not have a touchdown yet. This is a player who caught a touchdown on 11.2 percent of his targets a year ago. Obviously, that's a tough mark to maintain year over year, but Bateman won't be held out of the end zone past Saturday, especially thanks to this leaky Illinois secondary.
Josh Imatorbhebhe, Illinois ($4,200) vs. Minnesota
Imatorbhebhe hasn't gotten going just yet but he was the engine of the Illinois passing game last season and he still holds a 32 percent target share in this offense. He has seven catches for 69 yards and no scores thus far. But that's not what's important. He has 17 targets and a track record of producing with a heavy workload. He averaged over 10.0 YPT over 63 targets last season and also racked up nine touchdowns. The rub is that Illinois might be down to its third-string quarterback, Coran Taylor, with Brandon Peters out and Matt Robinson questionable. Still, Imatorbhebhe has a high target floor and Minnesota has the second-worst pass defense on this slate. Getting the No.1 receiver against a poor defense at $4,200 is something to consider regardless of the quarterback play.
Parker Washington, Penn State ($4,100) vs. Maryland
Again, getting exposure to the Penn State offense is a huge part of this slate and Washington offers a very cheap way of getting that exposure. Washington is a talented freshman with a path to targets, having seen eight through his first two games. He has turned that into six grabs for 85 yards and a touchdown.
Jahan Dotson is obviously a great play but he's the top-salaried receiver, so if you're looking for a cheaper way of getting the Penn State passing attack with a lower roster percentage than tight end Pat Freiermuth, Washington is worth your consideration.