This article is part of our DraftKings College Football series.
The Mississippi-LSU game takes center stage this week with an over/under of 77 that dwarfs any other total on the board. The big factor will be Ole Miss' Matt Corral and his health after being banged up against Tennessee last week. If Corral is out or limited, it changes the complexion of not only the most appealing game on the board but the entire slate itself.
Next up is how to approach Oklahoma as the Sooners hit the road to face Kansas. OU's implied total (52.75) is over 10 points higher than any other team on the slate. But with Oklahoma checking in as 39.0-point favorites, how much can you trust the headliners to play long enough to return value?
Ole Miss, Cincinnati, Michigan and LSU round out the top five in implied total. Regarding LSU, it will be fascinating to see whether the Tigers continue to stick to the ground game after Tyrion Davis-Price's record-setting performance against Florida that was unlike anything we'd seen from that offense this season.
Looking at games with high totals and narrow spreads, we focus on Texas Tech (+1)-Kansas State (60.5), UCLA (-1)-Oregon (60.5) and Minnesota (4.0)-Maryland (54.5). All three of these games project to be competitive and relatively high scoring, making them appealing games to load up on to differentiate from lineups that go heavy on LSU-Ole Miss and Oklahoma.
UCLA, Oklahoma, Oregon, Illinois and Maryland have the worst pass defenses on the slate. However, most of those teams draw matchups against teams that either have questionable quarterback situations (Illinois vs. Penn State) or passing games that haven't shown they can take advantage of favorable matchups.
Run defenses to target start with Kansas, followed by Northwestern, Mississippi, Wake Forest and Illinois. Six teams on the slate give up over 160 rushing yards per game on the ground.
Below, you'll find our suite of DFS tools 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
*Note: Wyoming-New Mexico is not part of DraftKings' main slate
There seem to be a lot of landmines at quarterback this week. Matt Corral is banged up heading into Mississippi's game against LSU. Sam Hartman is a nice play on paper, but Army's opponents are averaging a slate-low 51.8 plays per game. There may not be enough volume to make him viable. UCLA and Oregon have two of the three worst pass defenses on the slate but Anthony Brown and Dorian Thompson-Robinson might not be in position to make the opposing D pay for it. A caveat is that DTR has a high floor thanks to his rushing production. Penn State's Sean Clifford has returned to practice and gets a favorable matchup but targeting a quarterback coming off injury can be risky.
With these factors in mind, here are the quarterbacks I'm targeting Saturday.
Caleb Williams, Oklahoma ($9,800) at Kansas
This is as chalk as it gets -- going with an OU quarterback against the hapless Jayhawks -- but it's good chalk. Williams has clearly opened up what Oklahoma can do offensively, leading the Sooners to 55 and 52 points since taking over early in the Texas game. He's averaging 10.8 YPA in those two outings while completing over 70 percent of his passes. That efficiency is key given that there's a chance he doesn't play all four quarters even if Oklahoma may be compelled to make up some style points with the Playoff rankings looming. Even if Williams only throws 25 times, there's a good chance he still challenges for the 300-yard bonus.
Adding on, Williams is showing to be a plenty capable runner, racking up 154 rushing yards and a pair of scores on 13 rushes in the last two weeks.
The Sooners have, far and away, the highest implied total on the slate at 52.75 and Williams should have his fingerprints all over that.
Henry Colombi, Texas Tech ($6,300) vs. Kansas State
Texas Tech's offense ain't what it used to be. And Colombi's numbers don't really jump off the page, either, as he has a 4:3 TD:INT with one rushing score in his last four games. He's completing a strong 65.3 percent of his passes at 9.0 YPA in that span, though.
As for the matchup, Texas Tech has an implied total of 29.75 (not great, admittedly) and Kansas State's pass defense allows 248.2 passing yards (96th in FBS). In conference play, Kansas State gives up 271 passing yards at 9.3 YPA.
What also draws me to Colombi is that he has stackable options. Erik Ezukanma ($6,500) and Kaylon Geiger ($5,900) are both receivers I'll address later as both have high target shares (22.2 and 19.0, respectively) with YPT marks north of 10.0. Colombi isn't a flashy play but at $6,300 with stackable options, he's a reasonable mid-tier target.
Max Johnson, LSU ($7,200) at Mississippi
A lot of DFS players will be drawn to the LSU run game this week after the Tigers flipped the script last week and pounded Florida with the run after entering that game with the ninth-highest pass play rate in the country. It made sense, though, with Florida sporting a top-30 pass defense and a much more susceptible run D. Plus, Kayshon Boutte was ruled out for the year earlier in the week.
This is the lowest salary Johnson has had on DraftKings this season, and I'm ready to buy low. Now, Ole Miss is bad against the run and LSU will test that of course. But the idea of Johnson throwing fewer than 25 passes in a road game against one of the most electrifying offenses in the country seems unlikely. That of course changes if Matt Corral is out or limited, so this is a bit of a conditional play.
Still, Johnson is in a spot where he should have a lower roster percentage than usual thanks to recency bias and this is a spot to take advantage.
Bryce Williams, Minnesota ($5,400) vs. Maryland
We touched on the Minnesota backfield last week in light of Treyson Potts' season-ending injury and it was Williams who established himself as the Gophs' top option. Williams took 17 carries for 127 yards and a score against Nebraska while no other Minnesota running back had more than seven carries or 28 yards.
This is a great matchup at home against a Maryland defense that's showing cracks against Big Ten opponents. The Terrapins are giving up 165 rushing yards per game in conference play. Minnesota has one of the highest run-play rates in the country and with Williams profiling as the new workhorse, it's a green light for him this week against the traveling Terrapins.
Blake Corum, Michigan ($7,100) vs. Northwestern
Northwestern is coughing up 205.7 rushing yards per game, second only to Kansas on this slate. You don't want to be that close to Kansas on any list.
Hassan Haskins' re-emergence as the apparent lead back may lead to some concern in paying up for Corum. That's fair. And Haskins checking in at $800 less might draw some more rostership in his direction. My point here is that Michigan is going to feast on Northwestern on the ground. The Wolverines have the sixth-highest run play rate in the country and average the sixth-most rushing yards per game.
With Michigan seemingly uninterested in testing teams through the air, being the 1B to Haskins' 1A doesn't hurt Corum's projection much, especially in such a favorable matchup. And as an added bonus, Corum has 14 catches compared to Haskins' three, which bolsters his floor in PPR.
Kennedy Brooks, Oklahoma ($8,600) at Kansas
An interesting subplot to Oklahoma's offensive renaissance with Caleb Williams has been Brooks' emergence as the workhorse back for the Sooners. Brooks was off to a fine start before Williams took over, racking up 54 carries for 318 yards and four scores in five games. However, over his last two games, he has combined for 45 carries for 370 yards and three touchdowns.
Teams having to worry about Williams' run threat opens things up for Brooks and he is making the most of it. With Brooks seeing bankable volume now, he's a top-end running back worth paying up for this week. Oh, and he's playing Kansas.
Henry Parrish, Mississippi $5,300 vs. LSU
It's probably safe to say we won't see Matt Corral tote the rock 30 times on Saturday like he did in Knoxville. That opens things up for the Ole Miss backs to see more looks, and though there isn't a clear-cut No.1, Mississippi has a solid rotation where Parrish, Jerrion Ealy and Snoop Conner all see plenty of work.
Conner is the top-salaried back for the Rebels this week as he saw 24 percent of the rushes last week, but Parrish still saw 10 carries and nine targets. Parrish is a nice pivot away from Conner while still getting exposure to an explosive Ole Miss run game that is facing a suspect run defense.
Kaylon Geiger Texas Tech ($5,900) and Erik Ezukanma ($6,500) vs. Kansas State
As prefaced earlier, I'm interested in the Texas Tech passing game at cost this week. Ezukanma has taken back over as the WR1 since returning to action, hence the higher salary. Geiger, meanwhile, saw his target count dip to four last week after racking up 16 in his previous two outings. Still, he's averaging 11.0 YPT and catching nearly 75 percent of his targets. With Kansas State tough against the run, look for Texas Tech to skew more to the air and support the fantasy production for Ezukanma and Geiger both.
Chris Autman-Bell, Minnesota ($6,200) vs. Maryland
Autman-Bell may be starting to round into form after an injury-riddled start to his season amid high expectations. He drew 12 targets last week for a career-best 11 receptions to go with 103 yards and a touchdown. That's the type of role and production many expected from him coming into the year.
This week he gets to face a Maryland defense that I believe to be one of the more vulnerable on the slate. Repeating a double-digit target outing again is within the realm of possibility, especially with some of Minnesota's other top wideouts dinged up.
Mike Brown-Stephens ($4,300) is an interesting dart throw from this offense seeing as he was second behind only Autman-Bell in targets last week and owns a 20.9 percent target share over the last two weeks. He hasn't been efficient in terms of catch rate with just seven grabs on 16 targets, but the explosiveness is absolutely there as he has turned those receptions into 197 yards (12.3 YPT, 28.1 YPR) and a touchdown. Minnesota doesn't throw much, but there seems to be a narrowly channeled target tree featuring these two at the moment.
David Bell, Purdue ($7,600) vs. Wisconsin
Wisconsin's defense is tough against the pass and that makes Bell a riskier play than usual. However, I would have said the same thing last week going on the road to Iowa and we all know how that went. At a certain point talent and role transcend any matchup concerns and Bell satisfies both conditions.
Since returning from injury, Bell has caught 17 of 23 targets for 360 yards (15.7 YPT) and a touchdown in two games against Minnesota and Iowa. There has only been one game in which Bell was targeted fewer than 10 targets and that was against UConn when he caught six of seven targets for 121 yards and three touchdowns.
Volume, a strong catch rate (73%) and 13.1 YPT paint Bell as one of the best fantasy options in the entire FBS. Again, Wisconsin is tough against the pass and Purdue has a low implied total of 18.75, but Bell is the type of receiver who can still return value despite those factors.
Others to Consider
One final thought: If, and it's a big if as of this writing, Matt Corral is out, take a look at John Rhys Plumlee ($3,500). He's a former quarterback who commanded the offense in 2019 and has since transitioned to receiver. Rhys Plumlee had over 1,000 rushing yards that season, including a 212-yard performance against LSU that year. Not sayin' anything, just sayin'.