In this college football DFS preview, I’ll break down the DraftKings Saturday main slate into three categories: players to build around, value plays, and players to avoid.
Players to build around carry more expensive salaries, but they are worth prioritizing in your lineup due to their high ceiling. Value plays are lower-salaried options that come with some risk, but adding them to your lineup will help you afford the expensive stars. Players to avoid are fantasy-relevant options you might normally consider but have a tough matchup this week and are unlikely to meet their usual expectations.
All references to fantasy points per game are based on the DraftKings scoring system. All references to spreads and totals are from BetMGM.
Key Play-Calling Data
Seconds per Play Overall Pass Rate 2nd Half Pass Rate w/ Lead 2nd Half Pass Rate Trailing Florida State 26.1 52.1% 41.9% 57.8% Florida 26.4 49.2% 41.8% 50.0% Wake Forest 22.0 54.5% 45.5% 63.2% Boston College 26.9 44.9% 32.2% 54.4% Georgia 28.6 43.1% 34.3% 37.5% Georgia Tech 25.9 51.6% 36.2% 58.7% Texas Tech 26.6 53.5% 47.3% 62.2% Baylor 28.2 42.0% 32.7% 46.2% Ohio State 25.2 53.8% 43.9% 67.8% Michigan 27.3 41.2% 34.1% 48.6% Maryland 23.9 57.3% 40.3% 60.4% Rutgers 26.3 46.8% 29.3% 51.4% Oregon State 27.7 42.1% 34.0% 52.2% Oregon 26.0 46.8% 33.6% 54.4% Alabama 26.8 54.2% 46.6% 63.0% Auburn 24.8 54.4% 32.3% 60.4% Northwestern 24.7 49.9% 26.3% 55.3% Illinois 26.8 44.9% 26.0% 57.0% Penn State 23.7 57.8% 49.2% 65.7% Michigan State 24.9 48.2% 40.1% 62.4% Indiana 26.0 52.6% 43.7% 57.8% Purdue 25.9 62.5% 52.3% 72.3% Virginia Tech 27.0 48.5% 39.9% 50.3% Virginia 24.7 67.8% 52.0% 75.0% Wisconsin 29.9 35.2% 24.2% 56.7% Minnesota 31.7 34.4% 22.8% 47.1%
Color Code: Blue: Top 20th Percentile | Green: 60-79th | Yellow: 40-59th | Orange: 20-39th | Red: 0-19th
CFB DFS Players to Build Around
QB Brennan Armstrong, Virginia vs. Virginia Tech
This is a steep salary, but Brennan Armstrong has topped 50 fantasy points in two of his last three contests, so he has to be in the mix in any given week.
Virginia Tech ranks 102nd in fantasy points per game allowed to quarterbacks, so we should assume Armstrong’s ceiling is within reach in this matchup.
The Hokies defense is also coming off its worst performance of the year, allowing Miami’s Tyler Van Dyke to throw for 357 yards and three touchdowns last week.
QB Sam Hartman, Wake Forest at Boston College
After a predictable down performance against Clemson, Sam Hartman’s salary has dropped $1,000. That definitely puts him back on our radar against Boston College.
The Boston College defense ranks 118th in pressure rate, according to Sports Info Solutions. Hartman is averaging 9.8 yards per attempt when kept clean, and should have no issues picking apart the Eagles secondary.
RB Brian Robinson Jr., Alabama at Auburn
Opponents are reaching the red zone on 42% of drives against Auburn in conference play, which ranks 11th in the SEC. So we should expect increased scoring opportunities for the Alabama offense.
Inside the 5-yard line, Brian Robinson Jr. sees a 58% usage rate, which always makes him a candidate for a multi-touchdown day.
Auburn’s run defense has collapsed lately, allowing 5.4 yards per carry to South Carolina running backs last week and 6.8 yards per carry to Texas A&M running backs in Week 10.
RB Travis Dye, Oregon vs. Oregon State
Oregon State is allowing 31.7 fantasy points per game to running backs, ranked 101st, and four individual running backs have reached at least 25 fantasy points against the Beavers.
Due to a negative game script against Utah last week, Travis Dye had just six carries, which has led to a nice discount in his salary 一 he peaked at $8,900 in Week 10.
RB Abram Smith, Baylor vs. Texas Tech
Kansas State shut down Abram Smith last week (6.2 fantasy points on 21 carries) but the Wildcats defense has held all but two teams below their season average in rushing yards.
The Texas Tech run defense is not as strong and ranks 92nd in fantasy points per game allowed to running backs (29.6 per game).
Some notable running backs against Texas Tech:
- Kansas State’s Deuce Vaughn: 37.0 fantasy points
- Texas’ Bijan Robinson: 30.1 fantasy points
- TCU’s Zach Evans: 29.3 fantasy points
- TCU’s Kendre Miller: 39.5 fantasy points
- Iowa State Breece Hall: 28.6 fantasy points
Clearly the top tier of Big 12 running backs has dominated the Red Raiders, and Smith is definitely in that class of talent.
RB Pat Garwo III, Boston College vs. Wake Forest
Against a potent Wake Forest offense, Boston College’s game plan will almost certainly be to control the clock with their run game. That should lead to increased opportunities for Pat Garwo III, who has at least 24 carries in three straight games.
Opponents are averaging 38.1 rushing yards per game above their season average against Wake Forest, which ranks 107th in the nation, so there’s reason to believe a run-heavy game plan will work for the Eagles.
Wake also ranks 109th in fantasy points allowed to running backs (33.4 per game).
WR Jahan Dotson, Penn State at Michigan State
The Michigan State defense has allowed a 53% completion rate on throws at least 10 yards downfield, ranked 115th, according to Sports Info Solutions. Jahan Dotson leads Penn State with an average of 4.9 targets per game at that distance 一 41% of his total targets.
The Spartans are also allowing 27.3 fantasy points per game to WR1s, ranked 127th. Dotson has been Penn State’s WR1 in eight of 11 games.
WR A.T. Perry, Wake Forest at Boston College
Since Week 8, A.T. Perry leads Wake Forest with a 30.3% target share and could see an increased workload this week. Jacquarii Roberson ($8,000) was injured two weeks ago against N.C. State, but returned against Clemson last week 一 though there was obviously extra incentive for him to suit up in a critical game.
Wake Forest is a five-point favorite in this game, and its offense is certainly capable of building up a big lead against Boston College. If the opportunity to rest Roberson arises, it would make sense for him to see fewer snaps.
When Roberson was limited against N.C. State, Perry saw a ridiculous 21 targets, giving us reason to think a scenario exists where Perry sees a substantial workload in this game.
WR David Bell, Purdue vs. Indiana
This is a surprisingly reasonable salary for David Bell, who has double-digit catches in three straight games with at least 25 fantasy points in each contest.
In that span, Bell has commanded a 35% target share and has been targeted on 23% of Purdue’s offensive plays.
CFB DFS Value Plays
QB Aidan O’Connell, Purdue vs. Indiana
Over the last three weeks, Aidan O’Connell has topped 30 fantasy points in each game. He’s been force-feeding the ball to David Bell, but no one has been capable of stopping that connection.
Purdue is favored by 15 points, so there’s some risk the game gets out of hand, reducing O’Connell’s workload. However, Purdue is such a pass-heavy offense (63%), that it would likely be building a big lead behind a strong performance from O’Connell.
QB Anthony Richardson, Florida vs. Florida State
In his one start this season, Anthony Richardson managed just 2.9 fantasy points against Georgia. The Florida State defense is obviously a different animal, and we should expect Richardson’s ceiling to be dramatically higher.
We’ve already seen Richardson top 28 fantasy points off the bench twice (versus LSU and South Florida), so this salary looks like an incredible value against a Seminoles defense ranked 118th in fantasy points per game allowed to quarterbacks (26.1).
Richardson’s strength is his rushing ability, and Florida State is allowing 7.0 yards per carry to quarterbacks (excluding sacks and kneel-downs), ranked 112th in the nation, per Sports Info Solutions.
QB Connor Blumrick, Virginia Tech vs. Virginia
Virginia Tech’s quarterback play has been tough to watch this season, but there might finally be a change on Saturday. Connor Blumrick, a transfer from Texas A&M, is reportedly in consideration to start over Braxton Burmeister ($6,500).
Burmeister lacks the ceiling to roster on that salary, but Blumrick is an interesting dart throw. In relief of Burmeister last week, Blumrick posted 25.8 fantasy points, mostly on the strength of 132 rushing yards.
Virginia ranks 117th in points per drive allowed. So if Blumrick starts, we can hope for a few rushing scores which would easily allow him to provide value on this dirt-cheap salary.
RB Chase Brown, Illinois vs. Northwestern
In each of Illinois’s two most recent victories, Chase Brown carried the ball over 30 times. The Illini are favored by 6.5 points, so expect another big game for Brown.
Opponents are gaining 64.3 rushing yards per game above their season average against the Northwestern defense (ranked 120th). Six individual running backs have topped 25 points against the Wildcats.
RB Blake Corum, Michigan vs. Ohio State
It’s been two weeks since Blake Corum took the field due to a recent injury, but he was reportedly available for last week’s game against Maryland. So it sounds as though he was held out as a precaution and is likely to be available against Ohio State.
Due to the missed time, Corum salary has fallen dramatically 一 it had peaked at $8,100 一 so this is an extreme discount and worth considering despite a tough matchup.
Ohio State ranks 21st in fantasy points allowed to running backs (20.5 per game), but mostly because its potent offense forces opponents to abandon the run.
Michigan has the best rushing attack Ohio State has faced since Oregon in Week 2, when C.J. Verdell posted 43.5 fantasy points.
WR Cornelius Johnson, Michigan vs. Ohio State
Due to Michigan’s run-heavy offense, Cornelius Johnson has been an unreliable fantasy weapon. However, in the two games where quarterback Cade McNamara attempted at least 30 passes (versus Nebraska, Michigan State), Johnson saw a combined 19 targets.
Michigan will be forced to throw at an elevated rate to keep pace with the Buckeyes, so this might be the first game all year where we can confidently predict a strong volume of targets for Johnson.
WR1s are averaging 20.0 fantasy points per game against Ohio State, ranked 80th in the country.
WR Parker Washington, Penn State at Michigan State
Michigan State can’t defend downfield (see Jahan Dotson) and Parker Washington sees 41% of his targets at 10 or more yards downfield.
Due to the likely high rostership for Dotson, Washington could be a valuable pivot. Washington has finished as Penn State’s WR1 in fantasy scoring in two of the three games it was not Dotson.
WR Xzavier Henderson, Florida vs. Florida State
This is strictly a punt-play suggestion, but Xzavier Henderson is a redshirt-freshman and former four-star recruit who could see an increased workload following the coaching change, since Florida is now obviously focused on the 2022 season.
With fellow redshirt-freshman Anthony Richardson likely starting at quarterback, it would make sense to give these two an opportunity to develop their connection.
Henderson already has an 11.7% target share on the year, with an aDOT of 11.0 yards downfield. According to Sports Info Solutions, he’s caught nine of 11 catchable targets at 10 or more yards downfield.
Other Quarterbacks to Consider
Anthony Brown, Oregon vs. Oregon State ($7,700)
Gerry Bohanon, Baylor vs Texas Tech ($7,100)
Jordan Travis, Florida State at Florida ($6,900)
Other Running Backs to Consider
Jashaun Corbin, Florida State at Florida ($6,500)
Isaiah Pacheco, Rutgers vs. Maryland ($3,900)
Other Wide Receivers to Consider
Dontayvion Wicks, Virginia vs. Virginia Tech ($8,300)
Chris Olave, Ohio State at Michigan ($7,600)
Garrett Wilson, Ohio State at Michigan ($7,400)
Keytaon Thompson, Virginia vs. Virginia Tech ($7,200)
Tre Mosley, Michigan State vs. Penn State ($4,300)
Ra’Shaun Henry, Virginia vs. Virginia Tech ($3,900)
Brian Cobbs, Maryland at Rutgers ($3,000)