This article is part of our DraftKings College Football series.
We've got our customary 12-game slate this week and there are several different ways of attacking it. The Ohio State-Maryland game checks in with the highest total at 71.0 with the Buckeyes expected to do most of the heavy lifting given their slate-high 46.0 implied total. An expected blowout makes it tough to justify completely loading up on that game as we could see some reserves take over in the second half. Louisville-Virginia appears to have the clearest game stacking potential with a high implied total and a narrow spread along with a mix of core guys and value plays.
I'm curious to see how the field approaches Mississippi-Arkansas and Texas-Oklahoma. Obviously, Mississippi and Arkansas both disappointed in big spots last weekend against two of the best teams in the country. I expect both offenses to perk back up. The Red River Rivalry is usually bankable for fantasy production but Oklahoma has been famously shaky on offense this season and Texas (aside from the infallible Bijan Robinson) just struggled against TCU. Perhaps recency bias leads to these games having less DFS exposure than expected.
As far as units to target, the worst passing defenses on the board (by YPG/A) are Michigan State, Illinois, Louisville, Wake Forest and BYU. Unfortunately, Rutgers doesn't seem equipped to make Michigan State pay for that, nor does Wisconsin to Illinois. Syracuse's offense is under a transformation so it's difficult to have a firm verdict there, but there's some interest. More on that later. Boise State has an excellent group of pass-catchers and should be in a pass-first script against BYU.
The run defenses to target belong to Virginia, Boise State, Louisville, Texas and Baylor. All five allow more than 150 rushing yards per game and all but Baylor cough up 4.5 YPC or more.
Below, you'll find our suite of DFS tools to help you build your best lineup, 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
Brennan Armstrong ($9,200), Virginia & Malik Cunningham ($9,700), Louisville
This is a suggested game stack where you use the quarterback on both sides. Both of these players are frequent fliers in my articles and this matchup sets up as maybe the game to target on this slate. Virginia-Louisville has the second-highest total on the board (69.5) and has a narrow spread of just 2.5 in favor of the home team Cardinals. As such, both sides are expected to score well into the 30s and you can't say that for any other game on the slate.
With Armstrong, you have a player who ranks third in the FBS in pass attempts per game (44.8) and averages a strong 8.8 YPA with that high volume. He has stackable options in the UVA receiving corps, making him all the more appealing Saturday. What's more, Louisville allows the fifth-most YPA to opposing quarterbacks on the slate.
Moving onto Cunningham, who ranks second on the slate in FPPG behind only Mississippi's Matt Corral. He has run for two touchdowns in every single game this season and is coming off his best passing performance of the season (309/2/0 with a 11.9 YPA). His pass catchers aren't as stackable as Armstrong's, so going solo Cunningham on the other side of a Virginia stack is something I'm going to explore. Virginia gives up 7.8 YPA, the second-worst mark on the board this week.
Hendon Hooker ($7,900) Tennessee vs. South Carolina
Tennessee's offense is starting to really click, and that's bad news for the traveling Gamecocks as they head to Knoxville. Now, South Carolina's defense isn't as bad as Missouri's; in fact, it ranks 36th in SP+. Still, Tennessee's blend of tempo (78 plays per game) and bludgeoning run game make it a formidable offense to stop. Hooker is now the ring leader for the Tennessee offense and has thrown multiple touchdowns in four straight while also being mistake-free in all but one of those outings. Going back to the run game component, Tennessee's rushing attack ranks seventh in the nation at 255 yards per game and Hooker is starting to take on 10+ carries per game. Look for Hooker to have decent success through the air Saturday and bolster his production with a strong rushing effort.
Garrett Shrader ($6,700) Syracuse vs. Wake Forest
I don't know if this will count as sneaky after last week's outing, but Shrader is absolutely on my radar this week among the cheap QBs. Shrader is an extremely good athlete who, once upon a time, ran for 587 yards and six touchdowns as the starting quarterback at Mississippi State. He even briefly played receiver for the Bulldogs last season before transferring to Syracuse to try his hand at quarterback again.
Shrader has been impressive since taking over, delivering a win over Liberty and putting up a 43.7-fantasy point performance against Florida State. He has run for multiple touchdowns in three straight games. Shrader is unlikely to get much going through the air– it was never his strong suit at Miss State and he's completing just 58.3 percent of his passes with the Orange. He also doesn't have former WR1 Taj Harris at his disposal. Playing Shrader is a bet that he gets it done with his legs and Wake Forest isn't overly imposing on defense, checking in at 69th in defense according to SP+.
Others to Consider
Casey Thompson ($7,400) Texas vs. Oklahoma
Yes, Thompson flopped last week in a smash spot. We can forgive that this week with the Red River Rivalry game on deck against Oklahoma. Vegas expects this to be a close one with Texas scoring over 30 points in a narrow loss. Personally, I like Texas to win outright but that's beside the point of this article. My inclination is that Texas bounces back offensively this week and has a more balanced output rather than having to lean exclusively on Bijan Robinson to do anything against Oklahoma. The Sooners will be loading up to slow Robinson, which should allow Thompson to take some deep shots to the talented Texas wideouts.
Tyler Allgeier ($7,800) BYU vs. Boise State
The cat is out of the bag a little bit when it comes to Allgeier as he's coming off a 48.0-point performance against Utah State last week that marked his first outing over 100 yards this season. Fortunately, he gets another favorable matchup this week with Boise State coming to town. Unlike most years, Boise State has been soft against the run, allowing 194.0 rushing yards per game on 4.5 YPC. Allgeier has a monopoly on the BYU backfield with 102 rushes through five games while Lopini Katoa checks in as the second-most utilized running back at 36 carries. Allgeier has a high floor thanks to his workload and the matchup could lead to another spike week.
TreVeyon Henderson ($7,500) Ohio State vs. Maryland
More on this later, but I expect Ohio State to roll Saturday against the Terps. With the Buckeyes playing with a lead, expect the ground game to be a major factor. Now, Maryland has actually been stingy against the run this season, holding teams like West Virginia and Iowa in under 3.5 YPC. Still, neither quite measure up to what Ohio State has on the line or in the backfield. Henderson is just different.
The freshman averages 9.4 YPC over a 54-carry sample and has reached paydirt seven times. Henderson has seen eight carries in back-to-back games with each of those contests being blowouts, so there's some concern that if this game unfolds in a similar fashion that the freshman gets his workload dialed back. That stops me from going 100 percent exposure to Henderson, but I will still have him in multiple lineups. Henderson is reportedly all set to go Saturday, and even 10-12 carries should get him what he needs to return value.
Jalen Mitchell ($4,600) and Trevion Cooley ($3,700), Louisville vs. Virginia
By the numbers, Virginia has the worst run defense on the slate. The 'Hoos give up 194.8 YPC on 5.0 YPC. Obviously, Malik Cunningham is a huge factor in the Louisville run game, but that helps push Mitchell and Cooley down into bargain territory. Mitchell checks in as the RB1 with 77 carries through five games, but his production has been middling (4.3 YPC, 1 TD). Still, this is a spot for him to break out of his slump given the matchup. His track record as a freshman (6.7 YPC) suggests that he won't stay this inefficient for long.
With Cooley, he catches my eye after seeming to come along in his last two games. Cooley drew a career-high 11 carries for 61 yards in a close loss to Wake Forest last week, showing that Louisville trusts him even in tightly contested situations. This one projects to be a competitive game where Louisville leans on the run. Don't be surprised if Cooley matches his rushing volume from a week ago and there's a chance he improves on his efficiency as well.
Below is a sortable table of our target data starting from Week 1onward
|Week-By-Week Targets||Averages||Receiving Totals|
|Rank||Name||Team||1||2||3||4||5||6||TAR/G||YDS/TAR||TM TAR %||TAR||REC||YDS|
Rakim Jarrett ($4,100) Maryland vs. Ohio State
Hear me out. I expect Maryland to get boat raced Saturday. But that opens things up for garbage time and the Maryland passing game. Maryland just unfortunately lost Dontay Demus for the season due to injury, so Jarrett's role is set to increase. Jarrett, who was arguably Maryland's most talented receiver to begin with, was already averaging 8.1 YPT on an 18.8 target share along with a team-leading four touchdowns. Maryland is going to be throwing the ball a lot on Saturday and Jarrett will be option 1 and 1A against an Ohio State pass defense that is not quite what we're used to seeing.
Dontayvion Wicks ($7,000) and Keytaon Thompson ($4,600) Virginia @ Louisville
These are my primary targets from the Virginia passing game to pair alongside Armstrong. Wicks is the highest-priced option among the UVA pass-catchers and he finished third on the team in targets last week, and both of those factors could keep his roster percentage in check. Wicks is the most explosive Cav receiver, though, averaging 13.4 YPT on a 17.6 percent target share. If you have room for a $7K receiver, Wicks is your guy.
Down the board we find Thompson, another former Miss State quarterback who has gained fantasy relevance in the ACC. Thompson drew 10 targets last week and has seen fewer than six targets just once this season. He's averaging 8.7 YPT and his target volume makes him a strong option in PPR scoring despite the fact that he hasn't scored a touchdown yet. Thompson is one of my favorite value plays this week.
Brandon Sanders ($3,900) Rutgers vs. Michigan State
Bo Melton's health is a factor here as Melton commands 23.9 percent of Rutgers' target share. Melton was dinged up against Ohio State but is expected to play. Still, the door is open for Sanders to see some targets against the worst pass defense on the slate. Sparty gives up 309 passing yards per game –17 more yards than anyone else on the slate. Michigan State is also expected to be in the lead, so Rutgers should skew towards the pass. Sanders' seven-catch performance should keep him in the mix Saturday, and the per-catch efficiency should tick up against this soft pass defense. This is a play for those in need of a sub-$4K play with a little bit of floor.
Khalil Shakir ($7,000) Boise State @ BYU
This is a buy-low opportunity with Shakir down to his lowest salary of the season on DraftKings after being held to four catches for 70 yards and a score against Nevada. Shakir is still one of the best receivers in the country and one down game doesn't change that. Stefan Cobbs might draw added interest among Boise State after his big game this week, and that only helps Shakir's case as a DFS target Saturday. Shakir has a 25 percent target share who averages 11.5 YPT and has caught four touchdowns. He hasn't seen fewer than seven targets in any game this season. Boise State projects to be playing from behind so the passing game should be a major factor in addition to the fact that the Broncos simply can't run the ball this year. With BYU proving to be middling against the pass (7.2 YPA allowed), this is a great spot for Shakir.
Others to Consider
I'd buy back in on both Xavier Worthy ($5,000) of Texas and Jaxon Smith-Njigba ($5,500) of Ohio State. Worthy, like Thompson, did not deliver last week but is supremely talented and is in a position to bounce back. Smith-Njigba is seeing consistent target volume and is a good way of getting exposure to an offense expected to challenge for 50 points.