This article is part of our DraftKings College Football series.
Happy New Year! Before we shut the book on 2021, let's delve in to a four-game slate on DraftKings which has a little bit of everything for college football fans.
Wake Forest backers have to be chomping at the bit with their replacement opponent in Rutgers as that defense will be much more attackable than what Texas A&M would have been. Vegas agrees as the Gator Bowl's over/under is at 62.0 points, the highest of the four games. Washington State was also able to find a replacement in the Sun Bowl as Central Michigan accepted the invite after their Arizona Bowl was canceled. This bout between mediocre Pac-12 and MAC teams should provide some under-the-radar fantasy plays for this slate.
After those warm-up appetizer games, we get the main course with the College Football Playoff semi-finals featuring Cincinnati vs. Alabama in the Cotton Bowl Classic and Georgia vs. Michigan in the Orange Bowl. All eyes will be on these two games and they have two completely different outlooks for fantasy purposes. The Crimson Tide are favored by 13.5 with an over/under of 57.0 which has their implied totals to beat the Bearcats by the score of ~35-21. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs and Wolverines thrive on their defenses with Georgia expected to win ~26-18.
Below you'll find our suite of DFS tools and info to help you build your best lineups for this slate, along with matchup info and position-by-position analysis.
- DraftKings Lineup Optimizer
- NEW Matchups Page (Vegas odds, opponent averages, etc.)
- Advanced Lineups Page
- Team Trends
- Defense vs. Position
- Team Rankings
Sam Hartman, Wake Forest ($8,500) vs. Rutgers
Although Hartman is highly-priced in the slate, he's the best value as this game should easily have the most plays and points with both teams having ineffective defenses. Hartman has extreme upside as he averaged 31.2 fantasy points in 13 games during the 2021 season and logged at least one rushing score in nine of those contests. Rutgers has the highest passing YPA allowed (8.4) and gives up 1.8 touchdowns per game through the air. There's a great chance he's fairly chalky with the Demon Deacons being the highest favorite on the board, but there are other areas to make your lineup different. In GPPs, it could be fun to pair Hartman with Noah Vedral ($5,000) in the superflex if the game does turn into a scoring-fest.
Jayden de Laura, Washington State ($7,100) vs. Central Michigan
If you don't want to pay up for Hartman, De Laura is my second choice against a MAC defense that allows 8.2 YPA and 260.4 passing yards per game. He quietly put together a decent season on the west coast while completing 64.3 percent of his passes for 2,751 yards and 23 touchdowns compared to just nine interceptions. The two favored quarterbacks in the appetizing match-ups seem like the better choice because it's where you can absolutely expect bad defense as opposed to the defensive units with the four best teams in the country. There's also a chance other DFS players stick with the household names in the playoff games.
Others to Consider:
Bryce Young, Alabama ($9,000) vs. Cincinnati; Desmond Ridder ($7,700) vs. Alabama
Brian Robinson, Alabama ($6,800) vs. Cincinnati
I absolutely love this play if you decide to go away from Bryce Young at quarterback. There's a realistic chance the Crimson Tide jump out to an early lead as 13.5 point favorites and decide to heavily feed Robinson the rock. In 12 games, Robinson averaged 18.6 rushing attempts and 3.3 targets per game which is elite volume when put within the context of the type of team that Alabama is. The best part is his price which makes him extremely valuable in the slate. He's a full $2,700 cheaper than Lew Nichols ($9,500) which doesn't seem right. I have no doubts that Cincinnati has spent a ton of time focusing on defending Young and the Alabama passing game which bodes well for them to zag with a strong running game.
Aaron Young, Rutgers ($5,300) vs. Wake Forest
With Isaih Pacheco declaring for the NFL Draft and Kyle Monangai ($3,900) not playing in the Scarlet Knights' regular season finale against Maryland, it makes sense to take a chance on Young who ranked third on the team with 49 carries. Pacheco accounted for a team-high 36 percent of the team's rushing attempts, so there's plenty of opportunity here. Wake Forest has the worst rush defense on the slate while giving up 202.0 yards per game and a 4.9 rushing YPA. Playing Young or Monangai if he suits up will allow you to get more expensive quarterback or wide receiver options in your roster build.
Blake Corum, Michigan ($4,400) vs. Georgia
When I first assessed the slate, I was pretty sure that I would be rostering no Michigan players against an angry Georgia defense. However, Corum at this price is far too cheap as it's reasonable to assume that he's now fully healthy from a foot injury sustained in Week 10. Teammate Hassan Haskins ($8,100) is a tough call in my opinion, but I feel comfortable utilizing Corum with the discount as both backs will be utilized against the Bulldogs as they are Michigan's two best offensive weapons. In a non-competitive game against Iowa in the Big 10 Championship, Corum had five carries for 74 yards and a touchdown. It was apparent that Michigan was saving one of their pivotal weapons for a heavier load in the semifinal game.
A.T. Perry, Wake Forest ($6,600) vs. Rutgers
This is the desired stack play with Hartman as Perry has been money in 2021 with 61 catches for 1,166 yards and 14 touchdowns on 120 targets. It only helps that Jaquarii Robertson has declared for the 2022 NFL Draft because it opens up another 24 percent target share for Perry who already led the team with 26 percent target share. If Wake Forest was still playing Texas A&M, I would be worried about the defense taking away the Demon Deacons' best receiver, however, Rutgers does not have the personnel to do something like that. Bombs away for Hartman and Perry!
Calvin Jackson & Travell Harris, Washington State ($6,100 & $6,500) vs. Central Michigan
Both Jackson and Harris are excellent plays against a Chippewas defense that ranked 109th in FBS while allowing 8.20 passing YPA. In 12 games this year, Jackson averaged 17.2 fantasy points per game and Harris averaged 17.7 fantasy points per game, so they both are extremely consistent options. It is worth noting that they will be popular plays in the upper tier with both John Metchie and Jaquarii Roberson ($6,400) not being available for the slate.
JaCorey Sullivan, Central Michigan ($5,700) vs. Washington State
For a little more value at the wide receiver position, go with Sullivan who ended the season on a tear with seven catches for 114 yards and three touchdowns on eight targets in two games. Many DFS players will migrate to Central Michigan's workhorse running back in Lew Nichols, but I have a feeling they're going to be put in a position where they will need to throw the ball against a better Washington State squad. This should make Sullivan a good play in both cash and tournament formats. Kalil Pimpleton ($6,300) is also in play, but the discount in price is a better value for roster construction.
Tyler Scott, Cincinnati ($4,300) vs. Alabama
Scott is my dart-throw recommendation for tournaments if you go expensive at other positions. The Bearcats will likely need to throw the ball against Alabama and it's clear Alec Pierce ($6,000) is their top target, however, Scott had five touchdowns on 42 targets and will have the low ownership. I wouldn't put him in cash line-ups because he has a low floor, but he's going to get a few targets and one of them could pay off in a large GPP field.