This article is part of our DraftKings College Football series.
CFB DFS Picks: DraftKings Main Slate Week 5 Plays, GPP Targets and Lineup Strategy
After an eventful Week 4 slate that was loaded with options, we're treated to a 13-game main slate on DraftKings that was much trickier to sort out. The two games that project to draw the most interest are TCU-Oklahoma and Florida State-Wake Forest as those games have the highest totals and also narrow spreads, meaning that both sides of each game are in play. Other games that have plenty of real-life college football ramifications, like Baylor-OK State and Mississippi-Kentucky, don't quite offer the same DFS juice as the aforementioned games. That's not to say they should be avoided entirely, but stack those games at your own discretion.
So what is the sneaky game on this slate that could change the shape of contests? Would it boil down to Arkansas hanging with Alabama long enough for the total to hit? Will there be offensive fireworks in College Park with a banged up Maryland team hosting Michigan State? Perhaps Kansas State-Texas Tech is the answer, but it's important to be mindful of Kansas State's ability to slow down the pace of play and limit play counts for both teams.
Below you'll find our menu of DFS tools to help you build your best lineups, along with slate-specific matchup info and my targets for each position plus some GPP darts at the end.
College Football DFS Tools
- Lineup Optimizer
- Matchups Page (Vegas odds, opponent averages, etc.)
- Advanced Lineups Page
- Team Trends
- Defense vs. Position
- Team Rankings
- Advanced Team Stats
College Football DFS Picks: Quarterback
Dillon Gabriel ($9,300) Oklahoma at TCU
This is the right time to buy back into the Oklahoma offense and specifically its passing game. $9,300 is a tall order in terms of returning value, but Gabriel is capable of doing so and has returned 3X or more value on that salary in each of his last two games. Gabriel is far from the reason why Oklahoma lost at home last weekend; the defense showed some holes against Kansas State's brutish attack and that could be an issue again with TCU on the docket this week. That means that it'll be on Gabriel to keep pace on the scoreboard if those defensive lapses show up again. TCU has a strong run defense (3.2 YPC allowed) and a weaker pass defense (272.3 YPG) so Oklahoma is likely to test the Frogs through the air. I don't always love recommending quarterbacks this pricey, but this is the type of setup where it makes sense.
Spencer Sanders ($6,500) Oklahoma State at Baylor
The chasm between the salary and Sanders' to-date production is gigantic. It's a tough matchup on the road, sure, but Sanders leads FBS in fantasy points per game among quarterbacks (38.3). I haven't always been a huge Sanders acolyte and had him ranked fairly low coming into the season; he has made me regret that so far.
A fair pushback to Sanders' hot start is the level of competition; an FCS opponent plus Central Michigan (104 Defensive SP+) and Arizona State (63rd). Baylor's defense ranks in the top 10 by that metric, so this is a major step up in competition.
Oklahoma State is coming off a bye and has had additional time to get rested and ready for this matchup. Even if Sanders' per-pass production lags behind his season baseline, this game will be competitive enough to where he's in there for the whole game and should be busy as both a passer and a runner; Sanders has run the ball at least 11 times for 50+ yards and a score in each of his two games against FBS competition.
This isn't a smash spot for Sanders, but the $6,500 price tag for a player who should challenge for 30 fantasy points is alluring.
Adrian Martinez ($7,800) Kansas State vs. Texas Tech
Martinez has been around long enough to where we can be wholly unsurprised that he had a combined 43.1 fantasy points through his first three games this season and also wholly unsurprised that he went nuclear in the upset over Oklahoma last week. OK, we can be a little surprised about the latter part but the point stands that Martinez has flashed this type of upside throughout his career. That was his fifth start with at least 35 DK points in his career, though last Saturday was a new high watermark.
Maybe this is chasing points, maybe Texas Tech will have a better game plan than Oklahoma did, but maybe last week was the start of Kansas State's offense finding a new level with Martinez being the go-to option down near the goal line. Martinez is tied for 19th in the country in red zone rushes with 16. As much as I love Deuce Vaughn, using Martinez in those spots makes more sense. You'll need rushing scores from Martinez to have a prayer at this play returning value, but I'm willing to bet he hits paydirt once or more against Texas Tech.
College Football DFS Picks: Running Back
Chris Rodriguez ($6,000) Kentucky @ Mississippi
Rodriguez's 2022 debut couldn't be coming at a better time as Kentucky has not been able to find success on the ground in his absence. The 'Cats rank 12rd in rushing yards per game (81.5), just a fraction higher than Mississippi State. It's understandable that Kentucky has trusted Will Levis a bit more this year and deployed a more balanced attack than in years prior, but Rodriguez is a piece that could unlock this offense.
Even if this isn't a great matchup -- Mississippi has allowed 3.2 YPC thus far, albeit against suspect competition -- Rodriguez is still a solid play at $6K. Kentucky figures to have no workload restrictions on him given the results its other backs have given it thus far, so this should be Rodriguez's backfield.
Kendre Miller ($5,200) TCU vs. Oklahoma
I whiffed badly in my analysis of the TCU backfield last week so, naturally, I'm going right back to it. I still think Emani Bailey should get more work in this backfield and is better than Emari Demercado, but Kendre Miller looks to be the guy for TCU. Miller has over twice as many carries as any other TCU back and is ripping off 6.58 YPC.
Not only is Miller a nice value at $5K regardless of matchup, but the matchup itself is a bonus given Oklahoma's deficiencies against the run. OU has been decent against the pass by the metrics so far, so there's a chance TCU attacks the Sooners more on the ground than through the air this week. In terms of lineup construction, Miller fits in nicely in a TCU-Oklahoma game stack as a run-back option alongside an Oklahoma passing game stack.
College Football DFS Picks: Wide Receiver
Charlie Jones ($6,400) Purdue at Minnesota
This is the wide receiver equivalent of the Spencer Sanders conundrum for this slate. Jones leads all receivers in fantasy points per game among wideouts that have played more than one game. Jones kept rolling last week against FAU with a pair of touchdowns on 11 targets despite having to play with backup quarterback Austin Burton, so any "...but the competition" arguments fall flat.
Of course, it's a concern that Aidan O'Connell is still up in the air for this game. And it's a larger concern that Purdue has to hit the road to face a Minnesota team that looks as good as it has in years and ranks third in defensive SP+. Those concerns would steer me away from Jones if he was checking in at his customary $8K tag, but not so much at $6,400. Like Sanders, this could be a trap and I certainly wouldn't stack Purdue in this spot but Jones being an option in the mid-tier is not something I thought I would see after Week 1. He'll still see double-digit targets and DraftKings is still full-point PPR. Jones might not work for stars-and-scrubs lineup builds but in cash games, he remains a solid play.
Marvin Mims ($8,500) Oklahoma at TCU
DraftKings is making it tough to build a Sooner Stack this week with a Gabriel-Mims combo taking up 35% of your salary. I won't be deterred though. In lineups where I'm already rostering Gabriel, I'll slot in Mims and figure the rest out from there. Mims has been up-and-down throughout the season in terms of production but he safely leads the team in target share (21 percent) and he saw a season-high nine targets against Kansas State in a close game. That's an important detail; Oklahoma is just a 6.0-point favorite, so a similar philosophy could apply here where Mims is Gabriel's go-to target. Jalil Farooq ($5,000) would be my preferred option from this receiving corps if I'm looking to go cheaper while still getting exposure to the OU passing game.
Jeshaun Jones ($4,900) Maryland vs. Michigan State
Picking receivers against Michigan State last year was a time-honored tradition. Though Sparty has gotten its secondary out of the gutter this year, it's still allowing 265 passing yards per game and nearly two touchdowns through the air despite facing only one legitimate passing attack thus far.
Maryland has injury questions going into the weekend, one of which can benefit Jones and one that could take him off the board. No.1 receiver Rakim Jarrett appears unlikely to suit up this weekend after a scary fall knocked him out of last week's loss to Michigan. Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, who was also banged up in that game, looks to be on track to play.
Dontay Demus and Jacob Copeland check in with higher price tags than Jones, but Jones has been the most productive of those three with 13 catches for 192 yards and two scores on 18 targets. Jones may end up being the popular Maryland receiver this week as a result, so keep that in mind. Copeland would be my other choice; he's averaging 15.1 YPT on 12 targets and has been seeing a high snap count that could convert into more targets if Jarrett is ultimately sidelined.
Myles Price ($5,400) Texas Tech at Kansas State
Price's long-awaited breakout for season-long investors finally happened last week against Texas as he erupted for 13 catches for 98 yards on 17 targets. The game flow likely won't be as frantic as the one against the Longhorns as Kansas State is much more methodical and ranks 20th in average time of possession at nearly 33 minutes per game. Still, Price could see double-digit targets and his catch rate (73%) suggests that he'll make a nice return on those opportunities.
College Football DFS GPP Targets
Both of these backs are studs who will have low roster percentages based on their matchups this week. Sanders faces a vaunted Alabama defense, but it would not be surprising for Arkansas to feature him and the ground game as a way of slowing down 'Bama's blistering pass-rush. For his own part, Sanders averages over 20 carries per game and has been effective as a pass-catcher with eight grabs for 117 and a score. Sanders is a nice way of differentiating yourself from the field and is talented enough to get to the 20 DK point threshold even against the Tide.
Meanwhile, the DraftKings pricing has caught up to Brown after being suspiciously low in his last two games. That's where things get interesting, though. Generally, it's bad process to use running backs against Wisconsin; the Badgers are low-tempo (62.5 plays/game) and run-heavy (65% run rate), which limits opponent's opportunities from the jump, and the Badgers traditionally have a strong run defense. The Badgers' run defense hasn't been as scary thus far this season as it has allowed 4.78 YPC against P5 competition this year. Ohio State is doing a lot of the heavy lifting in that sample, but still. Brown will have a lot of players scroll past him this week based on the matchup, and that makes me interested in the prospect of an under-rostered but talented running back going off and giving me leverage on the field. I won't have high exposure to Brown or Sanders, but they're interesting plays that I won't shy away from in a few spots.
Evan Stewart ($3,600) Texas A&M at Mississippi State
The Ainias Smith injury is a bummer all around for fans of the sport. Smith being out for the rest of the season could significantly impact the A&M offense going forward. The Aggies come into Saturday with a 45.3 percent pass play rate and that number could drop a bit as Smith was drawing a 25 percent target share and no one in this offense can truly fill his versatile role. Still, this opens the door for Stewart to shine. Stewart is an uber-talented freshman who is still figuring things out at this level but he has a big role as it is and that will only increase from here. He's tied for the team lead in target share and though the efficiency has lagged (5.9 YPT), I'm willing to bet that it improves dramatically.
I don't love the matchup and I don't love the offense or the quarterback situation, but $3,600 for a player with Stewart's talent and role is something you can't ignore from the bargain bin this week. Moose Muhammad ($3,500) has a flimsier projection and carries more risk, but is worth considering this week after drawing the start against Arkansas.
Trey Benson ($3,000) Florida State vs. Wake Forest
You almost wish Benson was closer to $4,500 so he wouldn't stick out as such a screeching value in this spot. Treshaun Ward has minimally more production than Benson but checks in at $6,200. Both average over 7.0 YPC and yet one is min-priced. Benson, an Oregon transfer, is a big part of Florida State's run-heavy offense that only throws the ball 40.8 percent of the time.
As for the matchup, this is a good spot for Florida State to try and bully Wake Forest with the run. Wake is coming off a marathon loss to Clemson and the Deacs rank 76th in run defense against FBS competition. In fairness, Wake Forest limited Clemson to just 4.18 YPC last week, so it's not a pushover against the run. Still, Benson has too big of a role in what has been one of the best rushing attacks in the country so far to ignore him at $3K even if it's chalky.