This article is part of our FanDuel College Football series.
As we head into conference championship week, we have an abnormally large number of games still remaining due to a number of makeup games and the Big Ten and PAC-12 still playing one final regular-season contest across the board. Topping the expected scoring charts this week is LSU-Mississippi, which is expected to churn out around 75.5 points combined. The SEC Championship featuring Alabama and Florida comes in next on the list at 73.5, with the Crimson Tide expected to tally the most points on the late at 45.5. No other game sports an over-under north of the 60-point mark, suggesting these may be the two games to load up on.
Alabama also sits as the second-largest favorite (-17.5) on the slate behind Ohio State (-18.5) in the Buckeyes' matchup with Northwestern. Ole Miss ranks second in expected scoring overall at 39, with Ohio State checking in third (37.0) and LSU right behind them (36.5).
In terms of weather, there are no real causes for concern Saturday. The only thing notable is some wind a little over 10 MPH at Tiger Stadium.
Max Johnson, LSU (Prob) - Expected to start
Jalen Berger, Wisconsin (Doub) - Not listed on depth chart for this week
Tyrion Davis-Price, LSU (Out) - Ruled out for the contest
John Emery Jr., LSU (Ques) - Didn't practice much this week and deemed questionable for the game
Kenneth Walker, Wake Forest (OFS) - Opted out last week
Nay'Quan Wright, Florida (Prob) - Expected back after missing last week
T.K. Wilkerson, Tulsa (Doub) - Missing from depth chart
Deneric Prince, Tulsa (Ques) - Included on depth chart
Max Borghi, Washington State (Prob) - Warmed up prior to the last game
Donavon Greene, Wake Forest (Prob) - Expected to play Saturday
Warren Thompson, Florida State (Ques) - Norvell was mum on his status when asked about it, could suggest he's sitting out again
Austin Stogner, Oklahoma (Doub) - Isn't expected to play
Dylan Soehner, Iowa State (Ques) - Officially deemed questionable
Calvin Jackson Jr. Washington State (Ques) - Has appeared in just one game this season
Racey McMath, LSU (Ques) - Hasn't played since Nov. 21
Malik Heath, Mississippi State (Ques) - Left last week with hamstring injury
JaVonta Payton, Mississippi State (Ques) - Didn't take the field last week after warming up
Jalen Knox, Missouri (Out) - Won't play versus Mississippi State
Danny Davis, Wisconsin (Doub) - Hasn't done much in practice and is unlikely to play
Kendric Pryor, Wisconsin (Doub) - Also hasn't done much in practice and is in the same boat as Davis
Frank Ladson, Clemson (Ques) - Offensive Coordinator Tony Elliot is optimistic about him returning this week
Joseph Ngata, Clemson (Out) - Still out after undergoing surgery in November.
John Bates, Boise State (Ques) - Was unable to suit up last week
Michael Wilson, Stanford (Out) - Not expected to return this season
Connor Wedington, Stanford (Out) - Also expected to miss the remainder of the season
Jaylen Erwin, UCLA (Ques) - Hasn't played since Nov. 7
Kyle Pitts, Florida (Prob) - Should be available after missing last week
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Week 16 Plays
Mac Jones, Alabama ($10,000) vs. Florida
Jones posted his lowest fantasy output of the season in a route versus Arkansas last week, largely due to the blowout nature of the contest. Fortunately, we can expect Saturday's championship game to be more challenging, especially with the Gators slated to return the services of star tight end Kyle Pitts. Florida's defense proved last week again that it can be lit up, surrendering 26.16 FanDuel points to Max Johnson in his first start under center. Jones is far more experienced at the position and has thrown for more than 300 yards in six of his 10 games played. The senior is averaging 332 passing yards and 2.7 TD passes per game and should have a good chance to live up to that billing again Saturday at a reasonable salary.
Max Johnson, LSU ($8,900) vs. Ole Miss
Johnson saw a major salary hike following his three-touchdown effort versus Florida, which is likely a combined result of his performance and the matchup this week. The Ole Miss defense allows it's opponents nearly 75 plays per game while allowing 8.5 yards per pass attempt and 2.0 passing touchdowns per game and the Tigers, even sans NFL-bound Terrace Marshall and Arik Gilbert, have enough weapons to take advantage of it. Johnson impressed in his debut versus Florida, throwing for 239 yards and a trio of scores. There is no reason he couldn't repeat or even improve on that effort Saturday, especially with LSU's running back group banged up.
Jake Bentley, Utah ($8,100) vs. Washington State
Bentley heads into Saturday's game coming off of his best showing of the season versus a tough Colorado team, racking up 240 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns to go along with another 31 yards on the ground. This time around, he faces a Washington State defense that has yielded more than 300 passing yards and 3.3 passing touchdowns per game to opponents through just three contests. Oregon State managed to throw for just one touchdown last week, but Bentley and the Utes' offense is certainly capable of closing in on the 4.5 averaged by Oregon and USC. Bentley doesn't even need to hit four or five passing touchdowns to reach value for the day, and his ability to add in some extra seasoning on the ground could also pay dividends should he find pay dirt on a rushing score.
Others to consider: Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA ($11,500) vs. Stanford
Najee Harris, Alabama ($11,200) vs. Florida
Harris is coming off of a slight down week versus Arkansas due to the blowout nature of the contest and the fact that it was Brian Robinson's Senior Day last week. The gloves will come off again Saturday for Harris, who has finished with 20 or more FanDuel points in all but three of his 10 games this season. On the surface, it would appear Florida's defense has done a good job containing opposing running games this year, allowing just 3.9 yards per carry and 142.4 rushing yards per game. However, that takes into account the fact that Florida has led most of the games it has played in this season and often by enough to force opposing teams to abandon the run in the second half. It also accounts for Florida's 31 sacks for 225 lost rushing yards on the season. When narrowing the scope to just running backs, the per carry average jumps to just under five, while the Gators have allowed 10 rushing scores and another three through the air over 10 games. Harris, behind Alabama's offensive line, should have the ability and game flow to take advantage of that front.
Jerrion Ealy, Mississippi ($8,900) at. LSU
Ealy may not sport the carry percentage of some of the other backs on the slate, but he works in an offense that runs a ton of plays per game and should see plenty of touches in what is expected to be a shootout versus the Tigers. Ealy is preparing for a Tigers defense that has allowed 4.6 yards per carry and 153.7 rushing yards per game to go along with 1.7 rushing scores per contest. When looking at just running backs again, the yards per carry balloons to well over five and opposing backs have tallied more than a touchdown per game on average. Given the expected high-scoring nature of the contest and the absence of key weapons for Ole Miss in Elijah Moore and Kenny Yeboah, Ealy may be more involved than usual Saturday.
Keyvone Lee, Penn State ($6,400) vs. Illinois
Lee could be the "free space of the week" on this slate. The freshman has taken on the primary rushing duties for the Nittany Lions down the stretch with injuries hitting the position and has produced for the most part, running for 229 yards and a touchdown against Michigan and Rutgers before struggling to get it going versus a tough Michigan State defense last week. This time around he takes on an Illinois defensive front that has let opposing back run wild all season to the tune of 5.2 yards per carry and a slate-high 226.9 rushing yards per game. With the Nittany Lions entering as the third-largest favorites (-15.5) on the day, Lee should get plenty of work and should have a good shot to return to the end zone Saturday.
No team on the slate is allowing more points per game to opposing running backs than the Rebels, who have a given up a whopping 19 rushing touchdowns over eight games just to running backs. That paces the field by a wide margin and should benefit whoever gets the bulk of the work Saturday for the Tigers. The formula here is pretty simple in my eyes; start Emery if he's healthy and playing in the contest. The former five-star recruit is the more talented of the two options out of the backfield and has typically seen more work than Curry. However, evidenced by Curry's 17 totes last week, the LSU coaching staff isn't afraid to turn to Curry out of the backfield if Emery isn't up to the task. With the game expected to be a close one, the rushing attack should remain part of the mix in the second half. Given the struggles on Ole Miss's defensive side of the ball, it's certainly worth investing in here if you need to look down the list.
DeVonta Smith, Alabama ($11,000) vs. Florida
If there was ever a week to turn away from Smith on a slate, this isn't it. Coming off his weakest showing of the season due to the blowout nature of the game versus Arkansas, Smith should be raring to get back at it against a Florida defense fresh off an upset loss to a freshman quarterback who threw for three touchdown passes. In the four games prior to last week, Smith averaged a massive 39.8 FanDuel points per contest. Even at his current salary, anything anywhere near those totals is worth it to play him. The Florida defense is allowing 33.5 points per game to opposing wide receivers and hasn't faced a ton of top-tier passing attacks among their opponents this season. Smith's target share has hit 32.4 percent since Jaylen Waddle went down for the season, bested only by a few other players playing on the slate. He also sports the second-most yards per target of any player on the slate averaging more than four per contest. There's a lot to like here even at a salary that's $1,600 more than the next closest receiver.
While Northwestern's defense looks great on paper, it hasn't been tested by any offenses operating on the level of the Buckeyes thus far. Wilson and Olave are two of the more talented wide receivers in college football still taking the field and are both on the same team. The Buckeyes are reportedly dealing with some COVID issues, so one of the two missing out could be a boost to the other's target count. Either way, look for the pair to be heavily involved as the Buckeyes aim to make a statement with the College Football Playoff selection looming.
As mentioned above, Ole Miss will be without two of its top pass catchers in Elijah Moore and Kenny Yeboah last week. Moore in particular has been a target hog for Ole Miss this year, sporting the highest targets per game total for any player who has played in more than three on the year. His 39.1 percent target share also checked in second. This leads to more looks between the three of the remaining groups in a matchup that couldn't be much better. LSU's defense has allowed 15 receiving touchdowns to go along with 2,293 receiving yards to just wideouts over nine games. That equates 254.9 receiving yards and 1.7 receiving touchdowns per game just among the wideout group. Those totals will likely be distributed primarily among these three Saturday, with the potential for even more in an expected high-scoring game.
Kayshon Boutte, LSU ($7,000) vs. Ole Miss
Just in case you're not sensing a theme here, the LSU-Ole Miss games should be a game to stack heavily on Saturday. Despite the expected high point totals in the contest, a number of players who figure to be major contributors still sit within a highly affordable salary window. While Ole Miss' being low makes some sense given that Moore and Yeboah recently opted out, Boutte's still being in this range seems a bit puzzling given his back-to-back 100-yard receiving games and the matchup at hand. The freshman has taken the clear leading role as a receiver, garnering nine or more targets in each of the last three games while averaging 11.5 in the two contests since Terrace Marshall opted out. Look for that trend to continue and possibly explode (in a good way) Saturday.