This article is part of our College Football DFS: Thursday Slate series.
Welcome into Thursday's breakdown of the two-game DFS slate. Coastal Carolina checks in as the team to target with an implied total (46.25) that is nearly two touchdowns higher than any other team on the slate. Getting the right Coastal exposure will be key, as will extracting value from the other three squads. Houston checks in with the second-highest implied total and then Tulane and Arkansas State bring up the rear with IT's of 26.75. Without further adieu, let's dive into tonight's two-gamer. Below, you'll find our suite of DFS tools along with matchup info and a position-by-position breakdown.
- DraftKings Lineup Optimizer
- NEW Matchups Page (Vegas odds, opponent averages, etc.)
- Advanced Lineups Page
- Team Trends
- Defense vs. Position
- Team Rankings
Position by Position Preview
The Arkansas State Conundrum
The Red Wolves have employed a frustrating, back-and-forth quarterback rotation through five weeks. James Blackman has attempted 173 passes, completing 59 percent of them for 1,264 yards with eight touchdowns and four picks. Layne Hatcher, meanwhile, has completed 62 percent of his 79 pass attempts for 621 yards with seven touchdowns and two picks. Both quarterbacks seem to have a short leash with the coaching staff and Player X getting the start in a given week does not guarantee that Player X will finish the game. There's also the wrinkle that Coastal Carolina allows just 131.8 passing yards per game at 6.0 YPA. The Chanticleers haven't allowed a passing touchdown yet, either. You can get leverage by rostering Blackman, but you might also be stuck with fewer than 15 points from your quarterback or Superflex spot.
Grayson McCall ($11,000 FD; $8,500 DK) Coastal Carolina @ Arkansas State
As the highest-priced quarterback on a two-game slate, McCall is tough to avoid Thursday. There's GPP logic in fading him for the sake of differentiation, but I'd rather find contrarian plays elsewhere. After all, Coastal has an implied total of 46.25, which is nearly two touchdowns more than the next highest team on the slate. Arkansas State coughs up over 500 total yards (300.6 passing, 263 rushing) per game.
Now, you may notice McCall only averages just 20.5 DK points per game. Much of that has to do with Coastal playing in blowouts in four of five games. A blowout is certainly in the cards tonight with the Chants checking in as 19.5-point road favorites. That said, Arkansas State's defense is porous enough to where McCall can return value even if he isn't needed for all four quarters.
Clayton Tune ($10,200 FD; $6,600 DK) Houston @ Tulane
Tulane has fallen off a bit since giving Oklahoma a scare in the opener. Getting stomped by Ole Miss skews some of the numbers, but a 52-29 trouncing at the hands of East Carolina is concerning. While Tulane's biggest Achilles heel on defense seems to be against the run where the Wave surrender over 200 rush yards per game, it's not like it's stopping teams through the air, either. Teams average 275 passing yards and 8.4 YPA against Tulane. Tune gets the recommendation here thanks to his efficiency of late coupled with his value. At just $6,600, playing Tune gives the flexibility to target higher salaried options elsewhere. The one major drawback is that he has not been used in the run game much at all since tweaking his hamstring against Grambling as he has just five attempts for -1 yard in his last two games. It'll be on Tune's arm for him to return value Thursday, and I'm betting Tulane will be more than willing to oblige.
One other idea, if fading McCall, would be to game-stack Tune and Tulane quarterback Michael Pratt. Pratt has actually been the most productive quarterback on the slate on a per-game basis, but beware. Houston has a stout defense that ranks fourth in yards per game allowed. Tulane's implied total (26.75) is tied for the lowest on the slate.
Reese White ($9,700 FD; $5,700 DK) Coastal Carolina at Arkansas State
Shermari Jones ( $8,800 FD; $6,300) is expected back this week. Of course, he was expected back last week, too, and he never saw the field. Consider me skeptical of college injury reports in general (irony of recommending McCall notwithstanding) especially from smaller programs. White is the safer play here. White averages 7.1 YPC over 53 attempts and it's possible that Coastal leans more on its backs in the run game Thursday given that McCall was in a walking boot as recently as Saturday. Keep an eye for Jones updates pregame, but even if he's active, White can return value at $5,700.
Braydon Bennett ($7,800 FD; $4,700) is an interesting GPP play, especially if Jones is out or limited. He only sees 6.0 carries per game but those carries are going for 8.8 YPC and he has caught all 10 of his targets for 116 yards.
Alton McCaskill ($9,300 FD; $7,500 DK) Houston at Tulane
The highest-salaried back on the slate is McCaskill, but he's not all that cost-prohibitive all things considered. At $7,500, McCaskill is returning 2.69x value per game based on his production through five games. However, if you remove his four-carry, five-yard outing against Texas Tech in his collegiate debut, he's averaging 24.8 DK points per game. He has three multi-touchdown outings in the last four games, holds a 38 percent rushing share of the Houston backfield, and gets to face a defense allowing over 200 rushing yards per game. He's a core play Thursday.
Ygenio Booker ($6,000 FD; $4,200 DK) Tulane vs. Houston
Booker has just 17 carries on the year but averages 5.2 YPC and 15 of those carries have come in the last two weeks. He also has a good skill set for DraftKings as Booker has 14 catches on 18 targets with nine catches coming in the last two weeks as well.
Marcel Murray ($5,000 FD; $3,500 DK) Arkansas State vs. Coastal Carolina
This one is not for the faint of heart as the expected game script does not project for Arkansas State to get much going on the ground. Coastal Carolina holds opponents under 4.0 YPC and is favored by nearly three touchdowns. Still, Murray is an oft-injured but talented back who is now healthy following a three-game absence. He has a pair of 800-yard seasons on his resume and he could be in the backfield mix Thursday given the lack of production Arkansas State has gotten from its other backs.
Below is a sortable table of target data for tonight's slate
|Week-By-Week Targets||Averages||Receiving Totals|
|Rank||Name||Team||Pos||0||1||2||3||4||5||6||TAR/G||YDS/TAR||TM TAR %||TAR||REC||YDS||TD|
Isaiah Likely ($7,700 FD; $5,500 DK) Coastal Carolina at Arkansas State
As we've established, we want a lot of Coastal Carolina tonight with the Chants expected to score north of 40 points. While Javon Heiligh ($6,700) is fairly easy to fit into a lineup too, Likely stands out as a value. Likely has a 23 percent target share that is just three percent less than Heiligh's and he has just as many touchdowns (4). The star tight end is also explosive, averaging 10.8 YPT over 26 targets.
Speaking of explosiveness, Kameron Brown ($4,500) checks in with a 12.0 YPT mark and is coming off a season-high seven-target outing against UL-Monroe. He's a viable play tonight as well. Going beyond this aforementioned trio is tricky given that they account for over 60 percent of the target share of a low-volume passing attack.
Corey Rucker ($8,600 FD; $6,100 DK) Arkansas State vs. Coastal Carolina
Rucker is the slate leader in targets with 49, and he's turned that into 28 grabs for 458 yards (9.3 YPT) and six touchdowns. We're getting a discount, presumably because Arkansas State is such a heavy underdog and has such an unsettled quarterback situation. Even with those factors in place, Rucker is still getting fed targets at a high rate and regardless of whether it's Blackman or Hatcher at QB, Rucker will be heavily involved Thursday. The game script sets up well for an Arkansas State passing game that already ranks third in the country in pass play rate (68.6).
Sticking in that offense, Jeff Foreman is another interesting name to keep on the radar. Foreman ($7,400 FD; $4,400 DK) has collected 40 targets and registered 8.9 YPT this season. He is one of four players on the slate wh has seen 40 or more targets on the year. Again, Arkansas State will be going to the air early and often Thursday and Rucker can only see so many targets. Foreman is a nice pivot away from Rucker, or a nice pairing option.
KeSean Carter ($5,600 FD; $3,300) Houston @ Tulane
The Texas Tech transfer has yet to really put it together at Houston but that also helps keep him as a bargain bin option for tonight's slate. Carter is playing a healthy dose of snaps and is coming off a season-high four-target game against Tulsa. If you're looking for exposure to the Houston passing game that isn't Nathaniel Dell, Carter is worth a dart throw.