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This week's Saturday college football slate for DraftKings is significantly smaller than the others, as Week 15 merely features some conference championship games and a few leftovers from the Big 12 and AAC conferences. Still, there are plenty of tempting lineups to put together since this slate runs for the whole day.
Trevone Boykin - TCU vs. Iowa State ($9,400)
I'm normally averse to spending a lot on quarterbacks, but I'm all too glad to buy Boykin at this price on this slate. Boykin is averaging 36.7 DraftKings points per game at home this year, and he's going against an Iowa State defense that figures to get obliterated against the run, which is great news considering Boykin accounts for 25.8 percent of TCU's rushing yardage and eight of its 30 rushing touchdowns. The owner of 10 of those touchdowns (B.J. Catalon) is doubtful with a shoulder injury, furthermore. TCU is expected to go over 50 points in this one, and I'm firmly on board with that. It's senior day and, since the Big-12 doesn't have a conference championship, this is TCU's last chance to impress for the playoff committee. After their close call against Kansas a couple weeks ago, I think the Horned Frogs run up the score Saturday.
Jake Waters - Kansas State at Baylor ($7,500)
The Kansas State running back duo of Charles Jones and DeMarcus Robinson is rather horrible, and the Wildcats probably won't have much reason to use them anyway as they go against a Baylor team projected to race to a total of roughly 37 points. That means Waters should throw the ball often against a Baylor team allowing 293.8 passing yards per game to Big-12 offenses, as well as 18 passing touchdowns in eight games. Waters' Kansas State squad is projected to score roughly four touchdowns and, considering he owns 26 of the team's 46 offensive touchdowns (eight rushing), you have to like his chances of scoring at least twice, and perhaps three times since the Wildcats figure to call their most aggressive game plan yet.
NOTE: If Bryce Petty (concussion) sits against Kansas State, Seth Russell ($6,700) is close to a must-play. Petty is expected to be active, however.
QB Alternatives: Cody Sokol - Louisiana Tech at Marshall ($8,000), Greg Ward - Houston at Cincinnati ($6,600)
Aaron Green - TCU vs. Iowa State ($6,300)
B.J. Catalon (shoulder) is doubtful for this one, leaving Green as the clear lead runner for a team projected to score roughly 52 points. Green has 372 yards (7.0 YPC) and four touchdowns on the ground in his last three games, and he's going against an Iowa State defense allowing 250.7 yards (5.7 YPC) per game on the ground in addition to 34 rushing touchdowns in 11 games.
Dalvin Cook - Florida State vs. Georgia Tech ($5,800)
Even if we can't confirm that Karlos Williams (concussion) is out this week, I'm probably going with Cook. Cook is the much better player and has been very productive lately despite Williams' presence, totaling 717 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns in the past seven weeks. In Williams' last healthy game - a Nov. 22 match against Boston College - Cook totaled 14 carries to Williams' nine. Williams vultured a touchdown, of course, and that's at least a slight concern, but I'm banking on Georgia Tech's hideous run defense (5.1 YPC, 22 touchdowns in 12 games) to help Cook over the century mark and into the end zone at least once.
NOTE: If Devon Johnson (shoulder) is out, Steward Butler ($6,500) is a strong target.
RB Alternatives: Shock Linwood - Baylor vs. Kansas State ($6,400), Kenneth Dixon - Louisiana Tech at Marshall ($7,900), Kenneth Farrow - Houston at Cincinnati ($5,800), Ryan Jackson - Houston at Cincinnati ($3,900), Jalin Marshall - Ohio State vs. Wisconsin ($4,000)
Rashad Greene - Florida State vs. Georgia Tech ($6,200)
Greene hasn't been very good lately. He has 15 catches for 194 yards and no touchdowns in his last three games, and he's going against a Georgia Tech defense that's more than adequate against the pass. However, I'm inclined to think Greene's recent three-game stretch - a schedule featuring three tough pass defenses in Miami (FL), Boston College and Florida - is an obvious anomaly. Greene had 71 catches for 989 yards and five touchdowns in the nine games prior to this, and 171 catches for 2465 yards and 22 touchdowns in the 37 games before this year. So for his whole career - including his true freshman and sophomore seasons - Greene averages 5.3 catches, 74.5 yards and 0.55 touchdowns per game. I think another anomaly in the Florida State passing game is the recent success of tight end Nick O'Leary, who has three touchdowns in the last two games after totaling just 13 touchdowns in his previous 50 games. With Florida State still lacking a true No. 2 wide receiver, some of that should belong to Greene going forward.
Devin Smith - Ohio State vs. Wisconsin ($3,600)
Smith has been quiet the last three weeks. He has just four catches for 98 yards over that span, and he'll probably be heavily faded against a Wisconsin pass defense ranked second in the nation in passing yardage allowed, and tied for sixth-best with just 10 touchdowns allowed through the air. Smith has never been quiet for long, however, boasting a career average of 19.6 yards per catch and 26 touchdowns on just 114 catches. That's a touchdown every 4.4 catches, and Smith has gone four catches without a score. Moreover, the Wisconsin defense has faced perhaps the worst group of passing offenses among the AQ conferences. Iowa's Jake Rudock, one of the least accurate passers among AQ conferences, threw for 311 yards and two touchdowns against Wisconsin two weeks ago, averaging 10.4 yards per pass and completing two thirds of his passes. Wisconsin's best corner (Sojourn Shelton) checks in at about 5-foot-8, 180 pounds, lacking the size to jam Smith and the speed to keep up with him afterward. The loss of J.T. Barrett isn't much of a concern to me, as Cardale Jones is a big, deep ball chucker with a throwing trajectory you might compare to Zach Mettenberger or Ryan Mallett. That probably suits the long passing game better than the shallow.
Darren Waller - Georgia Tech vs. Florida State ($3,200)
This is definitely a bit of a punt pick, but I like its chances of paying off. The Yellow Jackets will be without standout wide receiver DeAndre Smelter the rest of the year, as he suffered a torn ACL in Saturday's victory over Georgia. Waller is the clear No. 2 receiver for Georgia Tech, his 16 catches for 255 yards and four touchdowns dwarfed by Smelter's 35 catches for 715 yards and seven scores, yet far ahead of any other challenger. After Waller, Georgia Tech's third-most accomplished receiver (Michael Summers) has five catches, and the pair of Antonio Messick and Corey Dennis with one catch each otherwise. By design, the Georgia Tech offenses features only one targeted receiver at a given time, so it's hard to see why Waller shouldn't own a strong majority of whatever passing production Georgia Tech has against the Seminoles. Quarterback Justin Thomas averages 113.9 yards and just over a touchdown per game against ACC teams, and I'm willing to gamble on Waller's chances for 80 yards and the touchdown at his near minimum price. Definitely feel free to sub him out with one of the alternatives listed if you'd rather not take the risk, though.
WR Alternatives: Curry Sexton - Kansas State at Baylor ($6,800), Josh Doctson - TCU vs. Iowa State ($5,100), Davonte Allen - Marshall vs. Louisiana Tech ($5,900), Josh Harper - Fresno State at Boise State ($5,000) Shane Williams-Rhodes - Boise State vs. Fresno State ($5,000), David Porter - TCU vs. Iowa State ($3,000)
Jake Roh - Boise State vs. Fresno State ($2,800)
I hate punting at tight end, but other than maybe Nick O'Leary ($3,700) or Eric Frohnapfel ($3,500), it's hard to identify a tight end who safely stands out. Roh is my top punt choice as the lead tight end on a team projected to score around 45 points. His numbers on the year aren't all that bad, either, considering he has 31 catches for 377 yards and two touchdowns. Still, no reason for excitement here.
TE Alternatives: Nick O'Leary - Florida State vs. Georgia Tech ($3,700), Eric Frohnapfel - Marshall vs. Louisiana Tech ($3,500), Sam Arneson - Wisconsin vs. Ohio State ($2,800)
Zach Laskey - Georgia Tech vs. Florida State ($4,900)
Laskey lost his starting job to Synjyn Days ($4,700) while recovering from a shoulder injury that cost Laskey three games, but Days lost a fumble against Georgia on Saturday and the Yellow Jackets turned back to Laskey, who came through with 140 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries. Days is too good to leave the picture entirely - the workload split might be relatively even between the two - but I have to go with Laskey due to his superior touchdown frequency (eight on 150 carries versus three on 117 carries). It's also reassuring that Laskey headed into this year as the clear lead running back for Georgia Tech, whereas Days had just 16 carries in the first seven games.