This article is part of our DraftKings College Football series.
CFB DFS Picks: DraftKings Main Slate Week 6 Plays, GPP Targets and Lineup Strategy
Lawrence, Kansas is the center of the college football universe this week with College Gameday coming to town to be on-site for a matchup of ranked, undefeated squads. Less than a year ago, Kansas literally opened up the stadium to anyone who could get there -- no tickets required -- when the Jayhawks were putting a scare into Oklahoma. Oh, how quickly things can change.
Beyond that, we've got a great slate on tap this weekend. 14 games with half of them sporting totals over 60 points means there are a lot of ways to attack it. Oklahoma State-Texas Tech, Kansas-TCU, Texas-OU, Tennessee-LSU and Ohio State-Michigan State are the games with the highest totals but UCLA-Utah, Maryland-Purdue and Mississippi State-Arkansas all have interesting elements as well. And even for a slate this large, no game is truly off the DFS radar. Not even Wisconsin-Northwestern.
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College Football DFS Picks: Quarterback
Max Duggan ($7,200) TCU at Kansas
Just like we all expected, the Kansas-TCU game is arguably the key to a main slate in October. We're expecting a high-scoring showdown here with a total of 68.5 which is a half-point behind the slate-leading Oklahoma State-Texas Tech game. Kansas is getting a lot of love, and deservedly so -- the Jayhawks are an amazing story, but there's a reason why TCU is favored by nearly a touchdown. Duggan and company have laid waste to quality (?) opponents over the last couple of weeks with resounding wins over SMU and Oklahoma and the Frogs' offense hasn't been held under 40 points since the opener when they mustered a meager 38 points against Colorado.
The matchup isn't bad for Duggan; Kansas ranks 80th in defensive SP+. It's worth noting that Duggan hadn't done much on the ground before last week, so there's a chance that regresses here. Still, Duggan has been sharp as a passer in this new offense with a 10.6 YPA. Even if Duggan doesn't go for 50+ DK points again, everything lines up for him to have another strong outing relative to his $7,200 salary.
Donovan Smith ($7,000) Texas Tech at Oklahoma State
This is a tough matchup on the road, there's no getting around it. The 'Pokes are legit. Luckily, this Texas Tech system gives Smith a nice floor regardless of matchup. The Red Raiders play at warp speed with an FBS-leading 83.8 player per game. To help matters, TTU is also throwing it 58% of the time, which ranks in the top 10 in pass rate.
Those conditions help matters, but Smith is doing well for his own part. He's completing nearly 67 percent of his passes at 7.0 YPA and hasn't attempted fewer than 36 passes in any of his starts. The nightmare scenario would be a repeat of his performance against NC State on the road when he turned the ball over twice and managed just 5.9 YPA. Oklahoma State's defense being as good as it is certainly brings that into the realm of possibility, along with the game being played in Stillwater. Here's betting on the Texas Tech system putting things in place for the talented Smith to turn in another 30+ point outing.
Others to Consider: Will Rogers, Mississippi State ($7,700); Anthony Richardson, Florida ($6,700)
College Football DFS Picks: Running Back
Quinshon Judkins ($6,400) Mississippi at Vanderbilt
This feels like a layup. The only argument against Ole Miss cruising in this spot is them letting down on the road in a sleepy Vanderbilt environment after an emotional home win against a Top 10 opponent. Otherwise, it's hard to imagine the Rebs scoring less than 40 here.
As talented as Zach Evans is, Judkins has been the best back for Ole Miss this season. The freshman averages 6.29 YPC and leads the team in carries by a solid margin. If you're waiting on Evans to finally assert himself as The Guy in this backfield, you might have to keep waiting.
Now, blowout conditions could put a dent in Judkins' carry ceiling, but laying 17 on the road suggests that this one might be competitive enough for long enough for Judkins to reach his usual carry count. To top it all off, Vanderbilt is coughing up a slate-worst 4.6 YPC.
Dillon Johnson ($6,100) Mississippi State vs. Arkansas
A starting running back averaging 10 carries per game usually falls below the radar for these articles. When he's also getting nearly six targets per game and catching almost 90 percent of them, it's a different story.
Johnson is a strong RB play in this PPR format; he has no less than four catches or 21 receiving yards in any game this season. It's also interesting that despite Jo'Quavious Marks returning last week, Johnson still tied his season-high for carries (14). Johnson is averaging a strong 6.0 YPC on his 50 attempts and Arkansas has had issues against the run. More interesting though is Arkansas' deficiency against running backs in the passing game; the Razorbacks have allowed 251 receiving yards to opposing backs on 24 receptions.
Johnson might not have an extremely high ceiling unless he breaks off a long run or his target count creeps up towards double digits, but the matchup and his role in the passing game give him a high floor even at $6,100. Northwestern's Evan Hull ($6,300) is cut from a similar cloth in terms of his fantasy output, but that game's total is nearly two full touchdowns less than the Miss State-Arkansas clash and Wisconsin might perk back up after jettisoning Paul Chryst.
Bijan Robinson ($9,000) Texas vs. Oklahoma
Yes, yes, very bold to suggest Bijan Robinson this week. Anytime you're ponying up $9,000 in a non-quarterback, though, you need to be sure. So, what's the deal?
Well, this game has a strong total of 65.5 with Texas checking in as an 8.5 point favorite, so this implies that we could be seeing a lot of Robinson, especially in the second half. Second, Quinn Ewers' return should help open up the offense and keep Oklahoma on its heels as it can't simply load the box to stop Robinson lest they get carved up through the air. Robinson's floor is somewhere in the low 20s but this is a spot where he could go nuclear and I'm thinking that will be the case in this rivalry game with plenty of bragging rights and a nifty hat on the line.
College Football DFS: Wide Receiver Picks
Emeka Egbuka ($6,700) Ohio State at Michigan State
We'll continue to pick on Michigan State's pass defense and there's no better team to do that with than Ohio State. C.J. Stroud and company have the Buckeye passing attack averaging 10.3 YPA and over 300 yards per game and the offense is tied for the FBS lead in passing touchdowns with 19. We can recall what Ohio State did to Sparty in Columbus last year when the Buckeyes hung 49 points in the first half. It might not be that bad this time around, but it's not out of the question, either.
As it comes to Egbuka, it's hard to find a reason why he's priced $700 cheaper than Marvin Harrison when Egbuka has nearly doubled Harrison's receiving yardage total over the last three games and also matched him in touchdowns (3). Egbuka also averages 13.8 yards per target in that span compared to Harrison's solid 9.2.
Of course, Jaxon Smith-Njigba's status will be key because the target distribution could look entirely different if he's back so make sure to stay up to date as Ohio State goes through warmups. If Smith-Njigba plays, Egbuka is still a viable play at $6,700; Ohio State has an implied total of 46 and it can't all go to JSN, right? As an aside, if JSN does not play, Julian Fleming ($5,000) becomes an excellent option among the middle tier of receivers.
Michigan State is decent against the run and extremely vulnerable through the air and I expect Ohio State to attack Sparty in the passing game Saturday.
Xavier Worthy ($6,300) Texas vs. Oklahoma
Worthy is rounding into form at the right time and the price hasn't caught up just yet. We have Quinn Ewers coming back for Saturday's game and Worthy is coming off his best game of the season with seven grabs for 119 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Rostering Worthy this week isn't "buying high"; this is a player who had nearly 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns as a true freshman last year. He has checked in at a much higher salary than this earlier in the season and his salary has actually dropped $100 compared to last week when he went off.
Oklahoma's pass defense is showing cracks and Texas is expected to score over 35 points in this spot. The only question with Worthy is whether you want to run a full Longhorn stack with Worthy and Ewers along with Bijan Robinson. Jordan Whittington has a decent enough projection based on his role but is only $400 cheaper than Worthy, which just isn't enough value.
Mississippi State is an interesting team to target on this slate. For one, we know they're going to throw it; Miss State leads the FBS in pass play rate (67.5%) and is seventh in passing yards per game. Arkansas, meanwhile, is extremely vulnerable against the pass in a way that hasn't even been fully exposed yet. The Hogs played an A&M team that cannot throw the ball in Week 4 and Bryce Young's injury last week impacted the final box score from last week. This could be the week all the Hogs' warts on defense are fully put on display.
As for Ducking and Thomas, there's risk in that Mississippi State spreads the ball around so much. Four receivers, including Rufus Harvey and Lideatrick Griffin, have target shares north of 9 percent and south of 15 percent. So, it's a spread-out distribution in that four players are heavily involved, but they do account for a high percentage of Mississippi State's target share overall. Ducking and Thomas have good target floors (~6.0/G) and are more explosive than the aforementioned Harvey. Ducking leads the team with six receiving touchdowns while Thomas is pulling in 11.6 YPT-- the best mark on the team. Both are mid-range in terms of salary, which makes them very stackable. With so much attention on this slate likely to be paid to OK State-Texas Tech, TCU-Kansas and OU-Texas, Mississippi State is potentially a sneaky team to load up on and differentiate yourself from the field.
Kayshon Boutte ($4,800) LSU vs. Tennessee
It's no secret that Boutte is off to a rocky start this season with 11 grabs for 97 yards and no touchdowns through four games. Those are numbers he could have cleared in less than one game not that long ago. Obviously, LSU still has a lot to work through on offense, but this might be the start of the turnaround.
Tennessee is giving up 309 passing yards per game so far, the fourth worst in the country and the worst among P5 schools. Going into a hostile environment in Death Valley adds to the difficulty for the Vols, even if it's an 11 AM kickoff. Boutte is a year removed from being considered one of the top receivers in college football, and even if it's unrealistic to expect him to recapture that form, it's hard to imagine him languishing at 4.6 YPT on five targets per game much longer. This is a bet on Boutte's talent emerging and Tennessee being a soft enough matchup for him to wake back up.
Quentin Johnston ($6,800) TCU at Kansas
$6,800 might seem like a lot to pony up for Johnston when players like Taye Barber ($5,100), Derius Davis ($6,300) and Savion Williams ($4,200) are all cheaper and have outproduced him. We can use that to our advantage this week, though.
Those aforementioned details could drive up the roster percentage for the cheaper TCU options and keep Johnston's at a reasonable level. Johnston may only be catching just over 50 percent of his targets at 5.4 YPT, but it's important to remember his track record. He's been a 20-yards-per-catch, 10.7 YPT player through his first two seasons. The TCU passing game has never looked better while he's been in Fort Worth, and it's only a matter of time before he gets going.
Kansas drags the pace of play down but there's a reason the total is still pushing 70. Even if TCU's play count gets dragged down a bit, Johnston can still do damage in this spot and he might not be chalky on this slate.
College Football DFS GPP Targets
If you're looking to differentiate yourself on this slate, the Maryland-Purdue matchup may be a good path toward that end. The total sits at 59, which is actually fairly low for this slate, but it's still a decent number and the spread (MD -3) implies that both teams will be contributing on the scoreboard.
Neither defense is bad per se but it's fair to say the offenses should have the advantage throughout this contest. Purdue's run defense has been strong, so that could skew Maryland more towards the pass this week and the Terrapins are already throwing it over half the time. Purdue, for its own part, throws it nearly 60 percent of the time and O'Connell hasn't attempted fewer than 40 passes against any FBS opponent. Shake off last week's performance from O'Connell and focus on what he did against Penn State and Syracuse. I expect something closer to those stat lines this week in College Park.
Cody Schrader ($4,200) Missouri at Florida
I got a good glimpse at Missouri last weekend as they put a scare into my beloved Bulldogs and came away impressed with Schrader in particular. A transfer from D-II Powerhouse Truman State, which I had definitely heard of before last weekend, Shrader ran for over 2,000 yards there last season before coming over to Missouri. Nathaniel Peat is still the leader of the backfield but Schrader averages 5.7 YPC and looked good against the Bulldogs with six rushes for 89 yards. Florida is weak against the run, allowing nearly 200 yards per game on the ground, and Missouri will certainly pack its run game for a trip to the Swamp as the Tigers are already running the ball 56 percent of the time. Last week's showing should give Schrader a larger share of the workload, and this is a good matchup for him.
Xavier White ($3,400) Texas Tech at Oklahoma State
This hinges on Myles Price's status as Price is a game-time decision with an ankle injury suffered last week. White stepped up in Price's absence against Kansas State with nine catches for 120 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. He had a role prior to Price getting hurt, albeit a smaller one with 13 targets in his first four games, but he showed what he can do with more work last week.
Oklahoma State is a two-score favorite (-9) so Texas Tech projects to be playing from behind and the Cowboys' secondary has been the weak link of the defense (285 YPG, 7.4 YPA). If Price is back in, White becomes less viable even at $3,400. You will have to have a pivot in mind in that event because this game does not kick off until 3:30 Eastern.