This article is part of our FanDuel College Football series.
After a fairly minimal offering of games to open the 2020 season, the Week 2 pallet presents a much wider buffet. We have some early conference action in the ACC, but it's Big 12 country atop the expected scores list with Texas (50.75) and West Virginia (50). Clemson (46.75) and North Carolina (44.25) check-in next and also ranks third and fourth among the spreads to open the campaign despite facing conference foes in Wake Forest and Syracuse. The day's closest game is expected to be between Tulane and South Alabama, though that is still a 9.5-point spread in favor of Tulane. In terms of game totals, the two ACC clashes reign supreme with North Carolina-Syracuse at 65.5 and Wake Forest-Clemson at 60.
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Week 2 Plays
Sam Ehlinger, Texas ($10,700) vs. UTEP
Ehlinger heads into his senior season with some new faces at the receiving end of his passes, but there is still plenty of talent available to him across the board. He opens the 2020 season versus a UTEP defense that surrendered 8.2 yards per pass attempts and 2.3 passing touchdowns per game last season, and the Miners didn't perform particularly well against Stephen F. Austin in their opener last week either. The game flow certainly points to a blowout and likely a good number of second-half rush attempts, but Ehlinger should have a big hand in putting the game out of reach and can get it done both through the air and on the ground.
Skylar Thompson, Kansas State ($9,000) vs. Arkansas State
Thompson's 2019 season fizzled out with just a 57-yard passing performance against Iowa State in the regular-season finale. With just 12 passing touchdowns all season, the upside wouldn't seem to be there, would it? Well, Thompson added 11 rushing scores to his ledger as well and opens the season against an Arkansas State team that averaged 78.4 plays per game a season ago. Match that with some rough numbers against the run (5.0 YPC, 2.5 rushing touchdowns per game) and mediocre stats versus opposing passing attacks and it equates to sizable possibilities for Thompson. He averaged 33.3 FanDuel points over a three-game stretch versus TCU, Oklahoma and Kansas last season, and Saturday's contest is expected to remain within shouting distance, so he should have plenty of opportunities to get things done in both facets of the offense.
Keon Howard, Tulane ($8,000) at South Alabama
coming out of high school, Howard had power-five offers that included Louisville, Mississippi State and Ole Miss, but he chose to go to Southern Miss. After splitting time with Kwandra Griggs in 2017, he fell behind Jack Abraham last season and transferred to Tulane. He is set for his first chance at the lead job this season and opens up versus a Southern Alabama team who was more than amenable to opposing passing attacks last season, allowing 8.0 yards per attempt and 1.8 passing touchdowns per game. Like Ehlinger and Thompson, but to possibly a larger degree, Howard has some significant ground capabilities, running for 52 yards and a score in minimal action last year. He displayed his potential in a brief effort versus UConn, going 8-for-10 passing for 92 yards and a score while rushing for another 42 and a score, and could be an intriguing fantasy option Saturday and in 2020 in a full-time starting role. There are some questions surrounding his supporting cast, but Vegas likes Tulane to still manage and acceptable 31 points in what is expected to be a fairly close game.
Travis Etienne, Clemson ($9,700) at Wake Forest
While the Clemson wide receiver group is certainly still filled with talented pass catchers, it doesn't quite have the same look or experience without Tee Higgins (NFL) or Justyn Ross (out for season) heading the depth chart. The changes at wide receiver could open the door to a slightly larger emphasis on the running game. Etienne didn't need many carries to do damage last season, averaging 7.8 yards per carry, but he never ran the ball more than 17 times in a single game. If that number increases a bit this year, he could have an even bigger senior season in store. Etienne rushed 16 times for 121 yards and a touchdown (7.6 YPC) in last season's contest against Wake and should see plenty of action if Clemson has a second-half lead as expected and is salting the clock away.
Sandon McCoy, Army ($8,700) vs. ULM
McCoy opened the season with a bang last week, running 15 times for 50 yards and three touchdowns against Middle Tennessee State. The significant portion left out of his line is the fact that he spent a chunk of the second half on the sidelines once the game turned into a route. Army is favored by 21 points Saturday, so there is a danger of a similar outcome, but you can't bypass a ULM defense that gave up a slate-high 5.7 yards per rush attempt, 252.7 rush yards per game and 2.6 rushing touchdowns per contest. That is gold for the triple-option Army offense and McCoy is front and center of that rushing attack. He's also surprisingly priced seventh among all running backs Saturday, so he comes in at a decent range despite already having a great opener under his belt.
Tyrell Robinson, Army ($6,700) vs. ULM
Robinson received a minimal nine touches in the opener versus Middle Tennessee, but that didn't stop him from amassing 94 yards along the way. The freshman put on an electric display that made drew the attention of the commentators. After being off the depth chart for Week 1, he's moved into the two-deep, suggesting he should get some run again. While his touches may be somewhat limited again, Robinson should have an opportunity to make the most of them versus a the porous ULM rush defense mentioned above.
Jahmyr Gibbs, Georgia Tech ($4,900) at Florida State
Gibbs is an ultimate wild card if you are looking for something near the bottom of the board. He has yet to step on the field for the Yellow Jackets in a game setting but erupted in camp to the point where running back's coach Tashard Choice said: "The kid is unbelievable. So for him, there's no point of just trying to get him in; he's going to play." That certainly bodes well for a role of some kind; one that could warrant rostering him in at least a GPP setting at a highly affordable salary.
The best selection between the top wideouts for the Tar Heels likely comes down to the format you are playing in. Newsome's heavy target volume (8.5 targets per game in 2019) and catch rate give him the safer floor of the two players, having topped 18 fantasy points in seven of the last eight games last season. On the other hand, Brown doesn't need a heavy target volume necessarily to put up big numbers. While he didn't consistently top 20 points, Brown posted a 41.2-point week versus Virginia on just six catches, turning in 202 yards and three touchdowns. Newsome is the safer option and sports the lower salary as North Carolina prepares for a subpar Syracuse pass defense.
Ben Skowronek, Northwestern ($7,600) vs. Duke
Skowronek's numbers through four games last season don't exactly stand out, but he can't take the whole of the blame given the Wildcats' struggles in the passing game as a whole and inconsistent play under center. The fact that he came into South Bend and secured a starting spot for the opener likely says something, and he joins an offense that figures to chuck the ball around again with senior Ian book coming off of a 34-touchdown season as a passer in 2019. Skowronek posted his best season with Northwestern as a freshman in 2017, racking up 45 receptions for 644 yards and five touchdowns.
Cornell Powell, Clemson ($7,300) at Wake Forest
While I mentioned the fact that it's a somewhat inexperienced group topping the depth chart at the wideout group, that also means that we don't know quite yet how the pass attempts from Trevor Lawrence will be dispersed. The fact that Powell was unable to earn a starting spot until his senior season doesn't mean a ton given the level of talent Clemson possesses at the position. We also shouldn't be discount the fact that Powell was a four-star prospect out of high school and that presumed 2021 No. 1 overall draft pick Trevor Lawrence will be tossing the rock his way. It seems like a good idea to get a portion of the passing offense versus a Wake Forest defense that yielded a combined 358 passing yards and five touchdowns a season ago to the Tigers' passing attack.
Jordan Whittington, Texas ($5,600) vs. UTEP
Whittington was listed as the No. 2 slot receiver for the Longhorns when the team released its depth chart for Week 1 after a strong showing in camp. Since then, Jake Smith, the top wideout in the slot, has been ruled out for the opener, which likely positions Whittington for a spot in the starting group. He didn't contribute much as a true freshman last season but shifted back to the slot this offseason and looks to be in a spot to see some reps in 2020. Whittington was a five-star recruit in the 2019 class and should have a decent shot to take advantage of the Miners defense. He also offers a fairly value-friendly option to pair with Sam Ehlinger.