DFS Main Slate Primer: Week 2

DFS Main Slate Primer: Week 2

This article is part of our DFS Main Slate Primer series.

Welcome to the second edition of our new college football DFS primer! Were this on an old Geocities site, we would have that little "Under Construction" animation on this article. I'm still figuring out things, tweaking the process, and what have you. As such, the article will look a little different this week, but it will still provide you with key information to help you set your lineup on DraftKings and/or FanDuel. 

Team stats are still stabilizing, so numbers like Maryland's 627 yards per game or Clemson ranking 36th in points allowed per game while Illinois ranks third should be taken with a grain of salt. Put another way, we have our doubts about the Illinois-Connecticut matchup being a showdown between two of the nation's stingiest defenses.

West Virginia (+14.5) at Missouri, O/U 64.5, 12 p.m. EDT

West Virginia stats breakdown: 66 plays per game (86), 294 yards per game (104), 13 points allowed per game (32), 328 yards allowed per game (63)

Missouri stats breakdown: 90 plays per game (7), 537 yards per game (22), 37 points allowed per game (107), 389 yards allowed per game (78)

I have a healthy skepticism about West Virginia's offense, which struggled to score 20 points last week against James Madison. I can't really comfortably recommend anybody from that squad, including new starting quarterback Austin Kendall. I am intrigued by Kelly Bryant ($7,700 DK, $9,900 FD), who transferred from Clemson to take the starting gig at Missouri. The fact that he

Welcome to the second edition of our new college football DFS primer! Were this on an old Geocities site, we would have that little "Under Construction" animation on this article. I'm still figuring out things, tweaking the process, and what have you. As such, the article will look a little different this week, but it will still provide you with key information to help you set your lineup on DraftKings and/or FanDuel. 

Team stats are still stabilizing, so numbers like Maryland's 627 yards per game or Clemson ranking 36th in points allowed per game while Illinois ranks third should be taken with a grain of salt. Put another way, we have our doubts about the Illinois-Connecticut matchup being a showdown between two of the nation's stingiest defenses.

West Virginia (+14.5) at Missouri, O/U 64.5, 12 p.m. EDT

West Virginia stats breakdown: 66 plays per game (86), 294 yards per game (104), 13 points allowed per game (32), 328 yards allowed per game (63)

Missouri stats breakdown: 90 plays per game (7), 537 yards per game (22), 37 points allowed per game (107), 389 yards allowed per game (78)

I have a healthy skepticism about West Virginia's offense, which struggled to score 20 points last week against James Madison. I can't really comfortably recommend anybody from that squad, including new starting quarterback Austin Kendall. I am intrigued by Kelly Bryant ($7,700 DK, $9,900 FD), who transferred from Clemson to take the starting gig at Missouri. The fact that he  threw 48 times while also rushing 11 times (for admittedly only 20 yards) makes it seem like the Tigers are primed to let him air it out. I also like Tyler Badie ($5,900 DK, $8,400 FD), who basically shared the load with Larry Rountree III ($7,200 DK,$8,500 FD) in the opener. In addition to carrying the ball 16 times for 53 yards and a touchdown, he had seven catches for 49 yards. That pass-catching ability makes Badie particularly interesting on DraftKings.

Prediction: This is the start of a long season for the Mountaineers. Missouri 35, West Virginia 14

Vanderbilt (+8.5) at Purdue, O/U 56.5, 12 p.m. EDT

Vanderbilt stats breakdown: 62 plays per game (106), 225 yards per game (120), 30 points allowed per game (81), 481 yards allowed per game (110)

Purdue stats breakdown: 81 plays per game (17), 519 yards per game (27), 34 points allowed per game (96), 404 yards allowed per game (81)

Here's a reason to not look at stats and rankings after only one game. Vanderbilt only had six points in their opener, but the poor, poor Commodores got stuck playing Georgia to open the year. They've already taken a conference loss, but they also got a tough game out of the way. 

Purdue was quite relieved to keep Jeff Brohm as its head coach in the offseason, but that relief was met with a harsh dose of reality in the opener as the Boilermakers lost their opener to Nevada on the road in an upset. However, they did score 31 points, which is more pertinent to fantasy players than wins and losses.

The name everybody is going to think of first in this game is Rondale Moore ($8,100 DK, $10,000 FD). Of course, that also means he comes in at a hefty price. He's earned that tag, though. As a freshman, he had 114 receptions for 1,258 yards and 12 touchdowns, and he threw in a couple rushing touchdowns for good measure. He already has opened this year by catches 11 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown. I wouldn't quite say Moore is matchup proof, mostly because of his quarterback than his own personal skill, but he's almost always a worthwhile lineup inclusion.

Everybody on Vanderbilt should have an easier day than against Georgia, especially given the numbers Purdue's defense put up last season. I like Ke'Shawn Vaughn ($6,100 DK, $8,700 FD) here. He rushed 15 times for 74 yards versus the Bulldogs, and he also led the team with three receptions and 24 yards. The game script should be more favorable for Vaughn to see steady work in Week 2, and the matchup is much better for his overall projection.

Prediction: Both teams have better games than last week. Vanderbilt gets something going on offense, but Purdue holds on for a win. Purdue 27, Vanderbilt 24

Syracuse(-2.5)  at Maryland, O/U 58.5, 12 p.m. EDT

Syracuse stats breakdown: 79 plays per game (24), 368 yards per game (85), 0 points allowed per game (1), 234 yards allowed per game (28)

Maryland stats breakdown: 78 plays per game (30), 623 yards per game (7), 0 points allowed per game (1), 68 yards allowed per game (1)

We can all agree 79 points is a ton. That's what the Terrapins, under new head coach Mike Locksley, put up in their first game. Yes, it was against Howard, but how many other teams scored that many points, against an FCS team or otherwise? Take it with a grain of salt, but there's some reason for enthusiasm.

Meanwhile, the Orange have the same offense run by coach Dino Babers. The difference there is that Eric Dungey is gone. Tommy DeVito ($6,800 DK, $7,100) got the chance to step into his shoes last week, but they seemed like an ill fit. Despite playing Liberty, DeVito completed only 48.6 percent of his passes, throwing or 176 yards and two interceptions. DeVito's price relative to the cap on FanDuel is intriguing, however, as he's QB29 in terms of salary. If he can prove that Week 1 was just a hiccup, DeVito could return solid value. Babers has a great offensive mind, and hopefully DeVito has what it takes to run this system.

I'm willing to believe in Josh Jackson ($6,500 DK, $8,300 FD), the quarterback for Maryland. Four touchdowns is four touchdowns, even against a team like Howard. Plus, when he last played a full season in 2017 he threw for 20 touchdowns while also rushing for six. As for the Orange, I am skeptical about their passing game, but not about Babers' high-octane offense. Give me Moe Neal ($5,000 DK, $8,700 FD), who rushed for 89 yards on 14 carries and also had 54 yards receiving to lead Syracuse.

Prediction: Maryland's offense is better than it was last year, but it still has work to do. Syracuse 31, Maryland 24

Army (+23) at Michigan, O/U 48, 12 p.m. EDT

Army stats breakdown: 64 plays per game (97), 284 yards per game (109), 7.0 points allowed per game (12), 243 yards allowed per game (31).

Michigan stats breakdown: 78 plays per game (30), 453 yards per game (57), 21 points per game (57), 301 yards allowed per game (54)

Army is here to throw a monkey wrench into everything. They run the triple option, which means almost every single one of those 72.4 plays in a given game are runs. That kills clock, that shortens a game, and that keeps opponents off the field. Also, these are two potent defenses. Michigan lost some talent from last year, but I still believe in the Wolverines. I also believe in Army after they shut down Rice in its opener. However, the Black Knights also only managed 14 points against the Owls, which is concerning.

Honestly, I would really like to recommend nobody in this game. Not Shea Patterson, not anybody getting carries for Army, not a soul. If I was going to recommend a player, though, it'd be Tarik Black ($5,600 DK, $8,800 FD). The Michigan wide receiver had four catches for 80 yards and a touchdown in the opener. Also, if you care about the eye test at all, I watched the game and Black looked good to me. The Donovan Peoples-Jones injury should continue to secure a solid target floor for Black.

Prediction: This game is over in less than two-and-a-half hours. Michigan 27, Army 20

Rutgers at Iowa (-20.5), O/U 49.5, 12 p.m. EDT

Rutgers stats breakdown: 75 plays per game (45), 554 yards per game (19), 21 points allowed per game (57), 304 yards allowed per game (57)

Iowa stats breakdown: 71 plays per game (67), 465 yards per game (50), 14 points allowed per game (36), 245 yards allowed per game (33)

In Rutgers' opener against UMass, McClane Carter threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns (plus three picks). Isaih Pacheco rushed 20 times for 156 yards and four scores. I'm not ready to buy it. The Scarlet Knights had one of the worst offenses in the FBS last season. Iowa had a top-10 defense. It's one thing to break out for 48 points against the Minutemen. Try doing that against the Hawkeyes on the road.

Nate Stanley ($5,900 DK, $9,200 FD) is an underrated quarterback based on skill, but the Iowa offense is too vanilla for him to really air it out. I like Mekhi Sargent ($6,200 DK, $9,900 FD) though. He's another of these running backs who led his team in both rushing and receiving in the opener. Hey, T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant are both in the NFL, and somebody has to catch passes for the Hawkeyes. You don't need to have a tight end in DFS, so don't worry about Iowa's Shaun Beyer, who drew just three targets in the opener anyway.

Prediction: Rutgers snaps back to reality, as its offense can't find the same footing when the competition gets stiffer. Iowa 28, Rutgers 10

Cincinnati (+16.5) at Ohio State, O/U 55.0, 12 p.m. EDT

Cincinnati stats breakdown: 76.2 plays per game (29), 417 yards per game (68), 14 points allowed per game (36), 218 yards allowed per game (20)

Ohio State stats breakdown: 74 plays per game (50), 469 yards per game (48), 21 points per game (57), 228 yards allowed per game (24)

It's a Luke Fickell revenge game! Cincinnati made things miserable for UCLA's offense last week, especially quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson. However, this week is a different beast. Did you see what Justin Fields did against Florida Atlantic? He showed us all why he was such a vaunted recruit, as he tallied five touchdowns (four passing, one rushing) with ease. The Buckeyes have a great offense, but the Bearcats have a legit defense. It's strength versus strength.

Funnily enough, that makes the other side of this matchup more interesting. Ohio State had issues on defense last year, which led to a complete revamping of the defensive staff. Cincy's offense numbers weren't shabby, because if you can finish in the top 30 in yards per game at the FBS level that's worth something. Michael Warren II ($7,900 DK, $9,800 FD) sticks out to me. He only averaged 3.5 yards per carry in Cincy's opener, but he also scored two touchdowns. The running back tallied 20 total touchdowns last year, so we know what he's capable of. What about Fields ($8,900 DK, $10,400 FD) you may be asking? He's as expensive as any quarterback, which makes him as expensive as any player. I want to see him do it one more time before I can buy in all the way at that price.

Prediction: Luke Fickell doesn't get revenge. But the Bearcats' backers in Vegas won't mind. Ohio State 34, Cincinnati 20

South Florida (+5.5) at Georgia Tech, O/U 59.5, 2 p.m. EDT

South Florida stats breakdown: 56 plays per game (122), 157 yards per game (128), 49 points allowed per game (124), 435 yards allowed per game (95)

Georgia Tech stats breakdown: 63 plays per game (102), 294 yards per game (104), 52 points per game (126), 632 yards allowed per game (129)

The triple option is dead and buried at Georgia Tech, but we also can't look at the numbers from Geoff Collins' first game as the Yellow Jackets' head coach because they were a sacrificial lamb at the altar of Clemson. So what can we say about Georgia Tech's offense? I just want to give them a chance to breathe before I even consider a Georgia Tech player for DFS.

Meanwhile, the Bulls just got trounced 49-0 by Wisconsin in their opener. As such, if I'm going to recommend anybody for this game it's going to be South Florida's running back Jordan Cronkrite ($5,600). Last season he rushed for 1,121 yards averaging 6.1 yards per carry with nine touchdowns. Johnny Ford ($5,800) is listed as a running back on DraftKings despite making the switch to receiver this offseason. He sat out Week 1 but is going to start in the slot this week and could rack up catches, especially considering how putrid this USF receiving corps looked without him against Wisconsin.

Prediction: We finally get to see what Georgia Tech will look like in their new offense and South Florida finally scores. In fact, the Bulls even score more than the Yellow Jackets. South Florida 23, Georgia Tech 21

Texas A&M (+18) at Clemson, O/U 59.5, 3:30 p.m. EDT

Texas A&M stats breakdown: 72 plays per game (43), 478 yards per game (23), 7.0 points per game allowed (12), 219 yards allowed per game (21)

Clemson stats breakdown: 79 plays per game (24), 632 yards per game (6), 14 points per game allowed (36), 294 yards allowed per game (52)

From a non-fantasy standpoint, this should be a lot of fun. These are two highly-ranked teams, and there is a ton of talent on both teams. Maybe Clemson has lost some guys from its amazing defense from 2018, but this is a team that recruits with gusto. I fully expect the Tigers to have a great defense again this year. Jimbo Fisher has been doing good stuff with the Aggies as well. There are also two excellent quarterbacks in this game. We know all about Trevor Lawrence ($8,700 DK, $9,300 FD), who has NFL teams dreaming of drafting him, but don't forget about Kellen Mond ($7,800 DK, $9,800 FD). Mond threw for 24 touchdowns against nine picks last year, and rushed for seven scores as well.

This might make me crazy, because I'm recommending somebody going against Clemson's defense, but I kind of am intrigued by Jashaun Corbin ($7,000 DK, $9,300 FD), the top running back for Texas A&M. He touched the ball rarely as a freshman, but he showed what he can do against Texas State. He rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown, and then added another score in the passing game. I haven't recommended a wide receiver yet, and the Tigers have two great ones at basically the same price: Justyn Ross ($7,400 DK, $8,600 FD) and Tee Higgins ($7,300 DK, $9,700 FD). Of the two, I like the veteran Higgins a bit more. He had fewer yards than Ross last season, but led the Tigers in receptions (59) and touchdowns (12).

Prediction: The Clemson train rolls on. Abandon all hope. Clemson 38, Texas A&M 21

Nebraska (-4.5) at Colorado, O/U 63.5, 3:30 p.m. EDT

Nebraska stats breakdown: 66 plays per game (86), 276 yards per game (110), 21 points allowed per game (57), 314 yards allowed per game (60)

Colorado stats breakdown: 60 plays per game (113), 474 yards per game (44), 31 points allowed per game (88), 505 yards allowed per game (113)

The Buffaloes have a new head coach in Mel Tucker, but they still have their key offensive weapons from last year. Laviska Shenault ($8,000 DK, $9,600 FD) wasn't up to his usual standards in Colorado's opener, he only had three catches for 48 yards and a touchdown, but I'm not concerned. There has been a lot of buzz about Nebraska. Will Scott Frost work his magic in his second season as the head coach like he did with UCF? Well, not to be a pessimist, but the Cornhuskers only beat South Alabama, 35-21.That said, they were in the top 20 in yards per game when Adrian Martinez ($7,000 DK, $9,000 FD) was a freshman. They should be better this year.

Speaking of Martinez, I'm willing to write off his opener as a fluke. After all, how many freshman quarterbacks through for 2,617 yards while also rushing for 629? I believe in his talent. And if Martinez snaps back into form, JD Spielman ($4,700 DK, $8,300 FD) should benefit after a quiet opener on offense. The price on DraftKings for Spielman is particularly tempting.

The guy that really excites me, though, is Colorado running back Alex Fontenot ($6,300 DK, $9,500 FD). He's stepped into the starting running back role after the graduation of Travon McMillian, and in his opener he racked up 125 yards and three touchdowns only 19 carries.

Prediction: We get some of that old Big 12 rivalry magic in a fun, high-scoring game. Adrian Martinez looks more like we expected, and Nebraska wins. Nebraska 41, Colorado 34

Illinois (-20.5) at UConn, O/U 63.5, 3:30 p.m. EDT

Illinois stats breakdown: 71 plays per game (67), 401 yards per game (74), 3.0 points allowed per game (6), 192 yards allowed per game (13)

UConn stats breakdown: 81 plays per game (17), 392 yards per game (77), 21 points per game (57), 185 yards allowed per game (12)

Connecticut had an all-time bad defense last season, but the Huskies only allowed 21 points and 185 total yards in their season opener. Sure, it was against Wagner, which had a losing record in the FCS last year but, you know, take the positives where you can get them, Huskies fans! The Huskies only managed 24 points themselves in Week 1, however.

Obviously, I like the matchup for both of these offenses. I don't think there is a quarterback I like more than Brandon Peters ($6,400 DK). The Michigan transfer stepped right into the starting role for Illinois and looked impressive. He threw for three touchdowns and ran for one more against Akron, who had a better defense than UConn last year. Kevin Mensah ($4,900 DK) is also looking like a nice value at running back. The Huskies basically put their offense on his shoulders in the opener. Mensah carried the ball 36 times for 144 yards and a touchdown. He ran for 1,045 yards last year, so this isn't necessarily a fluke.

Prediction: Before this game we see one of those screens telling us that viewer discretion is advised. This one may not be suitable for all audiences. Unless you are an Illinois fan, because you're probably going to walk away with a win. Illinois 42, UConn 20

San Diego State (+7) at UCLA, O/U 47.0 4:14 p.m. EDT

SDSU stats breakdown: 73 plays per game (57), 238 yards per game (117), 0 points allowed per game (1), 154 yards allowed per game (8)

UCLA stats breakdown: 62 points per game (106), 218 yards per game (122), 24 points allowed per game (69), 417 yards allowed per game (88)

These teams had some ugly, ugly offensive performances in their openers. San Diego State only scored six points against Weber State. Sure, the Aztecs shut out their FCS opponent, but the offensive output is concerning. They were bad enough on offense last year as is. Juwan Washington ($7,100 DK) was held in check to an alarming degree against Weber State. He's the best DFS option on this Aztec offense but if he's going for just 55 yards on 22 carries against Weber State, there's reason for concern that he won't be able to crack open the UCLA defense, either.

Meanwhile, the Bruins did have a tough matchup in Cincinnati, and they were on the road, but they only scored 14 points and Dorian Thompson-Robinson had four turnovers. I really don't want to recommend anybody from either of these teams. However, let's say Joshua Kelley is banged up for the Bruins again. That was the case in the opener, and wide receiver Demetric Felton ($4,500 DK) suddenly found himself playing running back. He only averaged 3.1 yards per carry, but the first-time back was given 23 carries, which feels notable. Plus, he took a pass and turned it into a 75-yard touchdown, so he does have big-play potential.

Prediction: You'll want to bet the under. UCLA 17, SDSU 13

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Morgan
Chris Morgan is a writer of sports, pop culture, and humor articles, a book author, a podcaster, and a fan of all Detroit sports teams.
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